Thursday, September 26, 2013

Because Drummers Are Awesome ...


#Sherlock - For Those Of Us Who Feel We Don't Quite 'Fit In' ...


Do You Know Victims Of Domestic Violence? Give Them #OneVoice ...

No more.
As a male of the species, one of things I hate most is male violence against women.

It belittles all of us. It degrades those who are the victims, those who allow it to happen, and those who fail to protect and help the vulnerable.

I've written about this before, here and here, and I am certainly not alone in this opinion - as the campaign Men Against Violence (@MAV_Preston on Twitter) testifies.

A campaign has recently come to my attention which aims to provide support to victims, past and present: support which is sadly lacking within current legal or social services, or even government policy.

Founded and run by Eve Thomas (EveThomas40 on Twitter), The #OneVoice Campaign is worthy of your attention and your support.

The campaign's Mission Statement is to provide:

No more.
"A pool of resources for all abuse. Charity contacts and diverting people to sources and information, providing fund raising opportunities, initiating talks and change."

One of the campaign's main aims is :

"A victim of domestic violence/abuse should never be held in contempt of court and face prison for withholding their flee/safe address. This is an infringement of human rights and reveals a dangerous conflict in domestic legislation and human rights and puts victims in direct danger."

I never actually knew that safe/flee addresses were *not* protected? Eve appeals to all Westminster MPs to get behind her campaign, and she even has an endorsement from President Barack Obama to back her up.

The site also contains lots of important advice, and contact details for help and support.

No more.
So. It's time to act. Please support their national campaign to protect victims of domestic violence and their children.

Here is the link.

Eve, the founder of OneVoice, is a former victim herself of this kind of abuse - and has come through the other side of that dark place, stronger, and very determined to change things. And I applaud her for it.

The OneVoice Facebook page is here. Please 'Like' and spread the word.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Doing @BTCare 's Job For Them - A Working Fix for The @BTSport #VC019 Issue ...

Fail.
If you're getting this error, and tearing your hair out as various fixes work or don't work, try this one for Mac and Windows - I've just discovered it and it seems to work for a few people.

It appears that one particular SilverLight file - mspr.hd - might be corrupted and is not upgraded automatically - so you have to delete it by hand, after which SilverLight will nicely spot that it's missing and replace it when you next run the BT Sport app.

So try this ... Go *offline* first, and find and delete this file :
  • Windows 7:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hd
    (you might need to change view options to 'Show All Files')
  • Windows XP or Vista:
    C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds
    (you might need to change view options to 'Show All Files')
  • Mac OS X:
    [main hard drive]/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/PlayReady/mspr.hds
I'd be interested to see how many people this works for - it if does, please let me know!

Email me at johndpoc@gmail.com.

----------------

Update - @BTSport actually tweeted me after this and stated they would pass this onto their technical team. As I said, doing their job for them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

@BTCare Reply On The #VC019 Issue ... Effectively, it's "Not Our Problem" ...

Fail.
Further to previous posts on the #VC019 error which has stopped so many, possibly 1000's, of BT Sport subscribers actually watching the service they've paid for, here's the reply from BT Care - also known as BT "We Don't Really Care At All".

It's dismissive, apparently final, and completely unhelpful.

We are therefore exploring other avenues, such as legal action and/or national media.

From BTCare:
We have no known issues with our on line player or App at this time and what you are advising is computer related and this is not something that we could take up on your behalf as we do not maintain your computer and its operating system. I am sorry that I am unable to offer assistance on this issue for you.
And that's pretty much it.

And my response: 
"We have no known issues with our on line player"

I see.

"I am sorry that I am unable to offer assistance on this issue for you."
 
So, to summarise:

Although after many, many hours of frustrating work, I have managed to get the three machines in my own household working, the group of subscribers I represent (see previous email) still have 19 of 43 machines still unable to view BT Sport via the online app - despite having up-to-date operating systems and up-to-date software, and yet are still being charged.

To say that we are disappointed is an understatement - disappointed in a very poor implementation, and in poor technical support. This matter all stems from BT's ill-informed choice of SilverLight as it's media streamer, and BT's reluctance to take responsibility for that decision.
We will have a further online meeting in a few days time after I disseminate your reply and allow time for perusal.

It is highly likely that each individual subscriber will be applying individually for a rebate or reduction in subscription for a service that is not being supplied. The possible actions afterwards are, as previously mentioned, legal action and national print and broadcast media attention.
As I mentioned in my reply, I have finally succeeded in getting BT Sport online app actually working in the three machines in my household - but that is after *hours* of research and hours of implementation - and I'm very IT-literate. God knows what a struggle it is for those less so.

We continue to investigate other avenues.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Reply To @BTCare On The #VC019 Issue ...

Lots of unhappy subscribers...
Readers will be aware of my struggle over the dreaded BT Sport #VC019 error - which has stopped me watching BT Sport despite paying for the subscription.

Twitter followers will also be aware of my frustration over @BTCare's lukewarm response to this issue which affects thousands of users - who, of course, are still having their Direct Debits processed.

Here's my reply, today, to @BTCare's email :
Sirs, 
Regarding your email (attached) on the subject of the VC019 issue. 
"our services are tried and tested before it is introduced to the public" 
Clearly not *sufficiently* tested in this case. If I implemented a 'solution' that worked as intermittently as this, I would not get paid for my work. 
"like all technology there are faults." 
Not when implemented correctly. 
From your 'Help Page' : 
"The BT Sport online player will work on the following browsers:
For Windows PCs
> Internet Explorer 7 or above
> Firefox
> Chrome"
  
"Will work" ? I think for the sake of accuracy you should amend that to "probably will work". Your use of the word 'will' without provisos is extremely misleading, otherwise the forums would not be full of BT Sport subscribers who have Win7+ and MSIE7+ and a new install of Silverlight - and yet *still* have the VC019 error.
I have tried, already, the fixes you have mentioned on the help page that you directed to me. All of them, from No. 1 to No. 11. Some of them, if you are aware of the technology behind Silverlight, actually have no effect. In fact, I specifically stated that I had tried these 'fixes' in my original communication - so directing me to that page was rather pointless. Did you read my original communication at all before replying? 
"Silverlight isn’t a BT Product and we don’t support it. " 
No, you don't support it. But you chose it. In terms of support, even Microsoft have virtually abandoned it. This issue stems from your IT people's choice of a flaky system of media delivery. That responsibilty is yours and yours alone. 
Update on the users meeting that I mentioned in my communication: 
A number of us suffering from this issue - and still paying our subscriptions - held an online meeting on the evening of Wednesday the 9th. Amongst our number were both experienced coders, IT professionals with decades of experience, and legal advisors. 
Between us we were able, online, to get some laptops and desktop systems working, mainly using a combination of 'Update Time' fix and reinstalls. 
Our main complaints, as a subscriber group, are these, and we wish BT to urgently address these issues. 
1. The VC019 issue can be solved, in some cases, by extensive research into various fixes, attempting all the possible fixes until one works. This is well within the capabilities of those who are extremely IT-literate, but certainly, we would suggest, outside the general skill set of most BT Sports subscribers. BT needs to communicate these fixes to it's subscribers in a clear, concise manner, and, we would suggest, develop a simple downloadable tool to check which fixes have been applied and which can still be attempted. 
2, BT appears to be downplaying this issue. This is understandable, given the potential public relations issues so soon after launch. BT needs to display it's integrity and honesty by making a public statement in the form of a Press Release on the VC019 issue as part of it's solution. 
3. BT needs to consider rebating subscription fees to users who are still unable to view the services they have paid for - until a solution is implemented. 
Our group has also, as I mentioned before, taken advice on a possible legal action on behalf of all users suffering from this issue, yet still being charged for the service. We have been advised that our case is quite strong and we have legal professionals willing to provide their services. 
They advise, however, that we allow BT Sport additional time and further communications before proceding, and we will do so. 
We can also advise that we have had further communications with national print and broadcast media who have adopted, for now, a wait-and-see stance.
We would insist, therefore, that BT Sport address the three points above, and and we will allow sufficient time for this to take place, before we consider our next action. 
:: John D. P. O'Connell 
In short then:

BT Sport are continue to charge many subscribers for a service that does not work as advertised, as a direct result of poor implementation by BT Sport.

BT Sport are continuing to advertise in order to gain new subscribers despite being fully aware of this issue.

BT Sport are failing to fully address the VC019 issue for fear of poor public relations so soon after launch.

I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Creative Cycle Theft Deterrants ...

The wonderful BikeyFace site does it again...


Getting The @BTSport 6030/VC019 Error ... ?

Having opted for BT Broadband (Infinity) over Virgin just three weeks ago, for the BT Sport channels, life as a sports fan has been underwhelming, as we've been hit by the now infamous 6030/VC019 error.

... No, it doesn't.
For the uninitiated, this error code is about all you get to see, half the time, when trying to watch one of these new channels, using the online application at http://sport.bt.com. And it's not just me - try searching for 'vc019 error code' and you'll see that various forums are jam-packed full of 1000's of others in the same boat.

The problem lies with a piece of software called Silverlight. Designed by MicroSoft, it's a bit like Adobe Flash - except that Flash actually works as it's supposed to. How on Earth BT came to the decision to use Silverlight is beyond comprehension - I have no idea what they were smoking at that particular meeting but I reckon someone said 'Let's use Silverlight' as a joke, the minute-taker wrote it all down, and someone was told to implement it.

Silverlight is not cutting edge. It's old, flaky, and unreliable. Microsoft haven't updated it for nearly two years and, frankly, IT insiders know full well that it's one of Microsoft's mistakes that they'd rather forget about - and frankly, sweep it right under the carpet. So BT's choice of Silverlight is rather mystifying.

To add salt to the wound, just days after we opted for BT, our second-choice provider Virgin announced they would carry the channels. Now we are locked into a BT contract that doesn't provide us with a service that works.

NO. It DOESN'T !
So what do we do? Try the Customer Care Line? Technical Support? Look, I'm a total tech-head and *I'm* struggling with fixing this. Most Tech Lines Staff can't go further than the basic fixes - and if they worked we wouldn't be in this mess.

But we have a solution. Oh, boy, do we !

Seeing as this is a clearly a faulty (I would personally say naive and incompetent) implementation, we are not being provided with the service we have paid for, and BT are still advertising despite knowing about this serious issue, we've decided to go the legal route. A group of us have been conversing on Twitter and Skype about options, and having discussed the matter with solicitors who are technology specialists, we believe we have a strong case.

We have also had conversations with national print and broadcast media, who are awaiting our response from BT before examining the issue further.

We'll keep you updated.

--------------

Addendum:

Wow, thanks already for all the responses. Yes, we're all pissed off about this, and hopefully a reply from BT or some news from our meeting tonight will move things along. Thanks again!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

xkcd : Student life ...

The brilliant xkcd cartoon series just nails it time after time ...

Bill Hicks - It's Just A Ride ...

I still miss Bill Hicks ... The guy spoke more sense in a minute than most politicians in their careers.

The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it's very brightly colored, and it's very loud, and it's fun - for a while. 
Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, "Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?" And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, "Hey, don't worry; don't be afraid, ever. Because this is just a ride." 
And we...kill those people. "Shut him up! I've got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real."   
It's just a ride. 
But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok? 
But it doesn't matter, because it's just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, not work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. 
The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.  
Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.