Cold Calls

We’ve had 3 phone calls this week that very much fall into the category of “cold calling”. Odd, as we’re registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) not to receive calls like this.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a central opt out register whereby individuals can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS.

So, what can we do about these calls?

If you are receiving unsolicited sales and marketing voice recorded messages down your telephone line, and you have not given prior consent to receive such messages, you can ask the marketer to stop sending these.

They are legally obliged to act upon your request.

However if you are still receiving such calls (or it is not possible to ask the company to stop sending these types of messages) you can complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They are the government body responsible for enforcing the regulations.

I’d therefore suggest that when you receive such calls, to do the following…

  • Ask for details on which company they represent
  • Tell them you are signed up to the TPS. This often causes an immediate reaction, as they know the consequences of this.
  • If this makes no difference, point out that it is illegal for them to call you when you are registered with the TPS.
  • If this makes no difference, tell them you are going to report their company and that you don’t wish to be contact again. Hang up.

Everyone makes mistakes, so that’s all that may have happened here… give the company a chance to realise their mistake and correct it. If they’re unwilling, then DO contact the ICO.

Unfortunately, none of this applies if the company is outside of the UK (the company they represent, not necessarily the company calling you) as TPS and ICO have no jurisdiction. Never-the-less I’d still ask the previous questions about TPS and, if not helpful, ask them to remove you from their contact lists. If all else fails, ask them to never call again and hang up.


The New Highway Code

I’d like to take this opportunity to make a plea. To drivers. First of all an extract from the Highway Code.

Driving on the motorway – Rule 259

When you join the motorway you will normally approach it from a road on the left (a slip road) or from an adjoining motorway. You should

  • give priority to traffic already on the motorway
  • check the traffic on the motorway and match your speed to fit safely into the traffic flow in the left-hand lane

Now, I assume the same applies to slip roads onto other roads, such as A roads.

What the Highway Code DOESN’T say is

  • Drive up the slip road, with your indicator on, until you get to the end.
  • Join the main carriageway, whether clear or not. You have priority so other drivers must move out of your way

End of todays lesson.

Gaming Life


No, I’m not sliding down a bannister.  Instead, Santa brought me a Wii for Christmas (or rather did a few months ago, before stocks starting running out, and I had it in a cupboard until Tuesday).

Wow, great machine. Immediately bought some Wii points and splashed out on a Virtual Console game (Mario 3, which Laura was struggling to play on her laptop) and the Internet Channel. So, if you’re thinking of getting one, here are some tips that I wish I’d known before…

  •  Super Mario Galaxy is THE game to get. Very, very addictive.
  • I didn’t think I’d need a second Nunchuck, but I was wrong. Lego Star Wars requires one for the second player. Cheapest price is £13.99 from DVD.CO.UK
  • Some of the virtual console games WON’T work with a Wii controller, and require you to buy a classic controller. That will be an extra £15 (, Argos, etc). Depends if old NES and N64 games are your bag though.
  • You can buy Wii points from outlets such as Amazon but you can also buy via the Shop Channel on the Wii. It’s £7 for 1000 points (Internet Channel was 500 points and virtual games are usually 500-1000 points each).
  • The Shop Channel is dog slow unless it’s on certain router channels (1 or 11 I think). I use 6 as I have a Super-G option.

And, thankfully a tip I found beforehand, Nintendo are providing free protective “jackets” for the controller. If you’ve not got one (or how many you need) then they’re recommended.


Netgear DG834GT Firmware

Netgear has recently released a firmware upgrade for its DG834GT router. I have that modem and one of the enhancements was to VOIP, which I’ve started using in the last week. Ideal.

Except I spent many frustrated hours yesterday wondering why the wireless connectivity on my daughers laptop wasn’t working. Then I tried my work laptop and that didn’t work either.

Both are on WEP security (insecure I know, but I also have a Nintendo DS on the network and that doesn’t use WPA). I found that switching to WPA temporarily worked (as did turning off encryption). Eventually I rolled back to the previous version of the routers firmware and it worked again.

Having read about other people having this issue on various Netgear forums, it would seem to be a problem impacting Super-G and G wireless – hence why the Nintendo DS continued to work even with the new firmware installed.

Meantime, Netgear continue to have the firmware download available on their site. I can only assume they don’t read their own forums, so I’ll be submitted a fault report to them. Hopefully they’ll then pull the link.



The not-so-fun bit of living near a private school is the swathe of shiny, black, massively sized Tonka cars that I have the joy of having to avoid as they drive like idiots. Today I had another near-miss with one of them as they decided to drive across the road in front of me, not even aware of my existence, my right of way or whether they even possessed a set of indicators or not.

Well, for once, I’m going to say nothing more on the subject. However, I will quote from Marcus Brigstocke, who was talking about 4×4/SUV drivers. I’ll let you decide whether I agree with him or not (bear in mind that I once said that anyone who buys a Subura Imprezza should immediately have their licence revoked because, let’s be honest, you’re going to drive it like a git anyway).

“Screw you, you selfish, ignorant, retarded, gas-guzzling, child-killing, planet-wrecking, status-obsessed, tractor-driving, prick-like, Chris de Burgh-listening, wingy, backward, bull bar-bearing bastard. Shut your petrol-filled mouth, think about someone other than yourself, get a better car, learn to drive and stop being dicks. There we go. Good to get that off my chest.
“I need it for the children” SHUT UP! “It’s the only safe way I can..” no, SHUT UP! “I can drive when I want, this is political correctness gone mad” no, SHUT UP! You’ve not got a leg to stand on, so stay seated and don’t speak.”