Complaint re. HSBC Online Banking Secure Key

Thursday 21st July, 2011 @ 13:57

Seems like it’s a week of complaints… just had to write one to HSBC regarding their introduction of the Secure Key:

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing today to express my dissatisfaction with your introduction of the HSBC Secure Key.

When attempting to log-in to my online banking today I was presented with a screen insisting that I must activate my secure key which you sent me. I have not done so up to now, as I have been able to skip the registration process and log-in via the method I have been using for the past 5 years or so, however today I was not given the option to skip.

Not having the secure key on me, I then had to call up your customer services, who were thankfully able to extend the secure key registration deadline until August for me, but this does not solve the overall issues.

These issues are as follows

  1. There was no consultation with customers as to whether this was a necessity
  2. The secure key creates a massive barrier to entry for me to access my online banking – if I do not carry it around with me 24-7 then I may not have access to my banking when I need it
  3. I only have one secure key. To truly make this useful I need at least 3 for me to leave at different locations I may need to be at.
  4. The point of online banking is to be able to access your bank when you need to. Without carrying the secure key with me I cannot do this. In an age when people are trying to cut down on the things in their wallet/bag, this is just another thing to carry around or to lose.
  5. I do not want the secure key. I have never been a victim of fraud via your online banking, and I have never requested additional security measures, and I do not appreciate having such restrictive methods of security forced upon me.

Ultimately, no form of security is hacker proof (as has been shown by the recent RSA hacking), so while additional levels of security obviously help prevent malicious attacks, if they are restrictive to your customers then they are ultimately pointless.

I would urge you to reconsider the necessity for all people to use the secure key and give people the option – I don’t doubt that many people will appreciate the additional security, however I am also sure that an equal number are unhappy with this. At least give us the option to not use it.

I look forward to a response regarding this matter – having banked with you for over 8 years I am seriously considering a move due to this, purely to make my money accessible again!

Yours Frustrated,

Andrew Griffiths

Please note: This has also be posted to you.

 

Trust i’m not alone in this?! Urge anyone with similar thoughts to write to them about this!!

Complaint to the BFI IMAX

Tuesday 19th July, 2011 @ 13:28

Last night I saw Harry Potter, part 7, part 2 at the BFI Imax. It was very good.

However, one thing spoiled it for me. My complaint below should sum this up, and perhaps other cinemas may listen to the related criticism too…

Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to complain about the 9pm screening of Harry Potter last night (although I suspect this applies to all screenings)
As a regular attendee of the IMAX, I value the professionalism the venue shows, the minimalism of the adverts and the experience. This was ruined for me last night by one simple thing.
Prior to the screening, you showed stills from the film that I was about to watch! This is simply not acceptable! It’s bad enough when you get trailers for video games or anti piracy ads that spoil elements of a film, but this is almost understandable. However, when you show stills of a film before its even been watched, that completely ruins the experience.
Having read the books, and therefore knowing the outcome, I paid to see the film not so much for the story, but the visuals. I have avoided spoilers on the web to build the excitement, but having these visuals thrust in front of me before the film is something I would not have expected from a venue of your calibre. There is simply no excuse. You could have shown pictures from the previous 7 films – that would make sense as an interesting recap, but showing scenes from the film to be watched is illogical and irrational, and can not have been truly acceptable to anyone preparing to see the film.
I trust someone will come back to me regarding this – I visit the IMAX at least 8 times a year on average and would hate to think you didn’t take your customers feedback seriously.
Kind yet frustrated regards,

Andrew Griffiths

What do you think? Fair?

Doctor Who: City of the Dalek’s Review

Tuesday 15th June, 2010 @ 8:00

Originally Written for Cultural Wormhole

Doctor Who: City of the Daleks is an interesting game to review. On one hand it’s a stand alone game, perfectly adept at holding its own, yet on the other, it opens itself up to be seen as an episode fitting into the middle of the season five TV series. On top of this conundrum there is also a need to review it differently from different sides of the ocean. From a British perspective, the game is a freebie, thanks to our television licence fees, but for anyone reading this in the States, you’re unfortunately going to have to pay for it!

Amy's ready for the 100m sprint...

So with this in mind, the first thing that needs saying about City of the Daleks is that it’s easy. Very easy. The game is clearly aimed at providing something that anyone can pick up and play, which fits the Doctor Who business model nicely; fun for all the family. But if you’re looking for a challenging game, then move on!

For all intents and purposes, the game is a point-and-click adventure allowing you to take the role of the Doctor, and at certain sections his trusty companion Amy. Combining items and progression is mostly carried out through a series of mini-games, either involving careful negotiation of mazes in a similar manner to the old buzzer games, or matching symbols that slowly scroll across the screen. These are not especially hard, and are actually more of a distraction from the interesting stuff than anything challenging. Apart from these mini-games (which begin to get a bit repetitive as you move through the game) the bulk of the action takes place in avoiding the watchful gaze of the Daleks. This is initially challenging (and unforgiving – being seen means instant death), but as your progress you learn how to stay out of sight with relative ease. I think I may have died three times throughout the game. Thankfully the game itself is incredibly forgiving, and you will find yourself having to repeat two minutes worth of previous action at most, since the game saves checkpoints at practically every room entrance or any action taken. As I said, this is a game aimed at the whole family.

The real interest in City of the Daleks however is the story. Without going into spoilers, the story revolves around the Daleks having destroyed Earth in the 1960′s and only one man left to save the planet… Not exactly original as Doctor Who stories go, but still enjoyable and, importantly, in keeping with cannon. The visuals are spot on, with the character models looking exactly as they should, and even the movements seem to match those of the original actors.

It is also worth noting that the game defaults to the most basic graphics settings to ensure it works on all but the oldest PCs, yet you will see a vast improvement if you can afford to run at the higher settings. The voice acting is performed by the original cast, and includes a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments of banter between the Doctor and Amy. This is probably the game’s strongest asset.

As a member of season five, City of the Daleks fits the tone nicely, and is certainly a welcome addition, however this being said, it is missable. It adds nothing of grandeur to the story, no insights into character that you wouldn’t otherwise get, and nothing that you’re going to want to tell your friends about. The length of the episode is touted at around two hours, but in reality it took me a little under an hour; right on par with the length of a TV episode. To be honest, this is just about right; any longer and I think I’d have been bored of the rinse and repeat actions that you have to take throughout the game.

In conclusion, City of the Daleks is a fun hour-long distraction, but not a whole lot more. If you crave a bit more Doctor Who, and have always wanted to play with a sonic screwdriver, then you’re going to want to play this, but if you are looking for a new game that’s going to provide a challenge and replay value then you may want to look elsewhere. There are collectibles that you can pick up throughout the game, which provide interesting facts about the Doctor Who universe, but you’ll probably get all these on the first play through, and the story isn’t deep enough to bring you back again.

However, there is a very large redeeming feature of the game; if you’re a fan in the UK, for the price of £0 you can’t go wrong and it’s hard not to recommend giving it a try. On the other hand, if you’re reading this anywhere else I’d consider your purchase carefully – as far as I’m aware there’s no word on pricing yet, but I think if I’d paid more than $5 for it I’d be a little disappointed. Hopefully episode two will provide some more variety in the puzzles and a slightly deeper story to warrant the fans taking time to play it, but in the meantime, I will look forward to it with baited breath.

Score: 6 out of 10

And so on a day of change…

Friday 7th May, 2010 @ 13:35

…another leopard changes its spots…

You may have noticed a re-direct when visiting this site, or you may simply have been notified via the old address, but GambitUK.com has moved, forever…

The reasons are twofold;

  • There’s a finance company at Gambit.uk.com, and I kept receiving their e-mails… (a minor annoyance)
  • Due to my previous hosts SniffHost being incompetent, even though I registered the domain, I didn’t actually own it, and could not therefore move it.

And it is because of this, I now have a shiny new domain name – UltimateGambit.com

And there you have it.

I’m planning a massive redesign in the coming months, depending on my spare time over the summer, but in the meantime if you do spot something broken, please post below and I’ll fix it!

Digital Economy Bill passes. Rage Follows.

Thursday 8th April, 2010 @ 11:06

Well, it’s been a while since I have blogged, but since the Digital Economy Bill has just been passed, and I have received a response from my MP, I feel I needed to post something!

After contacting my MP (Tessa Jowell) via the 38 Degrees Site: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl

I finally received a response, not surprisingly, after the bill had been passed. The response was as below:

Thank you for contacting me with regard to the Digital Economy Bill. I have received a large amount of correspondence on this issue and am fully aware of the strength of feeling on both sides of this debate. As you may know the majority of this bill was passed by the House of Commons last night and has now been sent to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

I have written to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills on this matter and on a number of individual concerns raised by constituents. The response I received can be viewed on my website via the link below.

http://tessajowell.net/uploads/d68b6478-8279-5fa4-3574-fe9e1a54e3f9.pdf

Thank you for taking the time to raise this issue.

Regards and best wishes,
Tessa Jowell MP

I cannot put into words how enraged I am by this bill passing; it has not had a proper debate (only 20 MP’s were present for the majority of it’s first reading), and for such a significant issue which is likely to hold back the future of technology development, this is absolutely appauling.

Anyway, I have responded to Ms Jowell with the below.

Thank you for your response.

I would like to point out that these kind of draconian measures will NOT be earning my vote at the upcoming election. I had been planning on voting for Labour at the next election, however I will be moving my vote on the back of this, as I am sure many other constituents will do.
This government seems focused on supporting bullying from rights holders (the majority of which are not even based in the UK) rather than looking at the bigger issue, and listening to the people of the United Kingdom.

This issue ultimately is not about illegal copyright infringement, it is about Net Neutrality, and the fact that we should live in a free country. There is no way to carry out these measures without spying on consumers of the Internet. If someone insisted on opening every piece of mail you received through the door before you had chance to see it, I am sure that you would object. This is no different.

Not only this, but it does not seem to take into account that there is considerable evidence that it is in fact those people who ‘illegally’ download content who actually go on to purchase more of it.

The fact that anyone educated in technology was opposed to this view should have opened your eyes to the true facts that this is an underhand way of giving money to the heavy handed music industry at the cost of the general public.

This bill needed proper debate, and until the Labour government retracts this bill and ultimately takes a stance firmly against it, you will stand no chance of receiving my vote.
This is unfortunate, as I don’t want to see a Cameron government, however I simply cannot support such a backwards party.

I hope that as my MP you will take these views on board; they may just be the opinions of one voter, but they stand for the rights of every citizen of this country who has the right to surf the Internet without prejudice.

Yours Sincerely,
Andrew Griffiths

I await her response with baited breath.

If you believe in this country and it’s freedom, I urge you not to vote Labour until this farce is put to rest.

Twitter is down!

Thursday 6th August, 2009 @ 13:57

Twitter is down… and i can’t even tweet about it!!!

Arghhhhh!!!!

Building a 3.5mm 5.1 Surround Sound Switch / Splitter Box

Saturday 9th August, 2008 @ 23:27

I had a problem which needed solving.

I’ve just bought a Dell 2709w Monitor which takes DVI and has 5.1 output using the standard PC solution of three 3.5mm jacks, coloured Green, Orange and Black. I had hooked up my Xbox 360 via HDMI to the monitor, and the sound comes out of these (unfortunately only in Stereo since it’s in Dolby Digital, but that’s another story). This would be great, however there is no similar input, meaning that I have the issue that I had to keep swapping the jacks on my subwoofer if I wanted to get any sound from my PC or the Monitor. Having carried out much searching on the internet, I was unable to find a box that does this, and while many people seem to have similar problems, very few people have a solution.

My first test was to simply try a headphone splitter in reverse on each individual subwoofer channel. This didnt work, since the computer’s output always took presedence over the monitor’s output. It was then that I came across the following article on Bl3nd.com – 5.1 Audio Switch. It’s at this point that I decided to contact Joey Hazlett, the owner of the site to get some information and increase my knowledge on building such a device, with a mind to do it myself. I have to say that Joey was masses of help and the following guide wouldn’t be possible without him.

Joey’s guide was good, however in the UK I was struggling to find many of the parts. It was then I decided to use three switches to control each channed independently. So, here i a guide to building a box like I have now got…

Read the rest of this entry »

Wii Storage: This makes me angry

Thursday 12th June, 2008 @ 7:13

So, I’ve just read that NOE Marketing Director Laurent Fischer has been quoted as saying that Wii storage is not a problem, and that the issue is only relevant to Geeks and Otaku.

I don’t care what he says. I have 2 VC games and 2 WiiWare games and my console is full. Perhaps I fit into those above catergories, but that’s irrelevant – surely that’s the audience that will be spending their money on these games.

If the big N really want to get into the downloadable content game, they need to sort this out soon. Lets just hope he’s building hype in preparation for an announcement at E3…

For now, I certainly wont be buying any more VC or WiiWare games until they release some external storage – it’s just too much of a hassle.

Apparently I’ve infringed copyright…

Saturday 17th May, 2008 @ 15:08

This morning I received an e-mail from YouTube claiming that I’ve infringed upon copyright.
Now, I don’t use YouTube much, i’ve probably put no more than 10 videos up in all the years I’ve used it, and as far as I was aware, none of these were breaching copyright. The culprit video was entitled “Goo Goo Dolls – Give a Little Bit (Live!)” and was a recording that I took of the Goo Goo Dolls performing Give a Little Bit at the Carling Academy in Birmingham.

The person who claimed the infringement was apparently a guy called Roger Hodgson. A name that after googling I should probably have known, but I didn’t. So I wondered who this was – as far as I was aware, he was nothing to do with the Goo Goo Dolls, and I was right. Roger Hodgson is the guy who wrote the original version of Give a Little Bit, and member of Supertramp.

This brings up an interesting situation in my mind. At what point does copyright kick in? Roger Hodgson has clearly given the Goo Goo Dolls permission to use his song – it’s on one of their albums, and they regularly perform it at gigs. I clearly had permission to watch the original performance as I had bought a ticket, and there was nothing to stop me taking a video or photographs; in fact at points during the performance the ‘Dolls actively encouraged it. So in my mind this means that I have the right to this video. But I stick it on YouTube, and Roger Hodgson can have it removed. Now, I’m not really angry or even bothered by this at all – it’s not me who’s missing out on seeing it, it’s not me thats missing out on the potential publicity from the video, and it’s not me that’s missing out on the potential revenue that could come from a greater knowledge of this song.

Am I wrong? Should Roger Hodgson have the right to remove this song, even after he has passed the permission onto numerous others? Or should it be allowed to stay up? I’m not knowledgeable on copyright law, so I really don’t know, but I’m interested to hear other people’s opinions on this… I suppose the worst part of this is that there are a lot of other versions of this song on YouTube, both by the original artist, and by the Goo Goo Dolls (even at the same gig as I was at!)

Why is it me that has be singled out?!

You can find the text of the original e-mail after the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Report – new website launch

Wednesday 30th April, 2008 @ 19:34

Steam ReportI know that there are a few gamers who read my blog, so I want to point out a brand new site that myself and John Griffin have launched: SteamReport.com.

To quote the site, Steam Report:

“aims to be the foremost place for news, releases, patches, updates and editorials centered on everyone’s favorite platform; Steam.”

If you use Steam, or even if you don’t (you should be), check it out. We appreciate any support in the launch of this new venture!