Friday, October 20, 2017

change someone from stakeholder to basic contributor VSO

The VSO/VTFS website control panel is so damn confusing!

We only get 5 seats with the free version, and subscriptions are waaay too expensive.

So I have to swap my occasional guys in and swap someone else out.

This is how you do it.

Step 1

Click the VSO symbol in the corner

Step 2

If necessary press the ... menu and select Users.

Step 3

Press the next ... menu by the user you want to change from Stakeholder to Basic Member.

Boy that's hard to find each time!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Neighbour with dog goes out to work

For 8 years we've had this house and it has been so tranquil.

I'm a programmer so it was ideal as I can concentrate on my work without any disruption.

This changed last September when the new neighbour moved in.

She has 2 very noisy dogs that now roam her yard.

This yard is much closer to me than her "home office", which is on the other side of her house.  So they bark all day.

Even more frustrating is that she has a full-time job, so just clears-off in the morning letting the hounds charge about her plot barking madly at anything that takes their fancy; birds, cats, or people in the street.

I cannot describe how irritating this is.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

47J Notice Avoidance Solution

My brother got a 47J PCN (fine) notice from Kingston Borough Council (where he lives in London), for parking in Bus Stop.

I have to say that this policy and its method of enforcement is one of the most disgusting and annoying things that happen in the UK and one of the reasons I left.

Here is some video footage that was taken, and I tweeted from my @redplanettravelboss account.
You can clearly see some things:

1) There was little traffic in Clarence Street at that time.
2) There were no buses in the stop.

Talking to my brother he explained why he needed to pull up quickly.

1) The bus you see rounding the corner at the end of the sequence is the X22 service to Heathrow.  The friend he was dropping needed to get on this bus.  The X22 is limited stop so the next stop will be somewhere near Teddington probably.
2) My brother had spoken to the driver around the corner when they were stopped at the lights, about where the X22 stops in Kingston - the bus driver had told my brother it was the next Stop.
3) The X22 runs hourly.  Miss it and it's a problem.

Now, I understand the need to keep traffic moving in London.  I (and my brother) did stints at London Transport as drivers in our younger years.   I fully support drives to achieve this, but on the other hand, a 30second drop off here would have caused less disruption than having to queue, then navigate a car park, drag bags down stinky lifts if it had been done in the "proper" way - paying for Parking in Kingston.

The most annoying thing is that Kingston Council - together with many over the country are simply using this as a Revenue Generating Exercise.   There is clearly no real hold up or problems caused by my brother's parking here.

In years gone by a traffic officer (who was not incentivised) would sensibly ignore this infraction, maybe only intervening if it was rush-hour and parking there would cause delays.

Anyway, there are ways and means around these things:  My brother said next time he's in that situation he will just stop in the main carriage way and drop off his friend.

"There is no penalty for that"


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where does office lens store files on android phone?

Question: where does office lens store files on android phone?

Answer: Surprisingly hard to find. I found them in \camera\pictures\office lens


Friday, July 21, 2017

301 redirect website

When a webmaster needs to move from one domain to another he or she needs to employ what is technically know as a 301 server redirect.

Most people are familiar with an error 404.  This is a "Page Not Found" error code that is understood by your browser.

There are many errors in the 400-499 range, and they all mean something (kinda expected) went wrong on the client you were connecting with.  There are many others but seen less often; for example, error 401 is "unauthorised" - maybe your username and password sent was incorrect.

You can see all the well-known error codes on this site:

Status codes in the 300-399 are "redirection" codes; not errors.  They instruct the viewer (either a robot like Google's indexer, or a normal person using a browser) that they should in future not bother loading the original page, but go directly to the new page.

Why might you want to redirect visitors to a new page?

This happens for a variety of reasons:

  • Your company rebrands and changes domain name
  • Your company merges with another and the absorbed companies' website becomes part of a merged website 
  • Your site changes structure due to technology changes or a revamp

When this happens there are existing links out on the Internet that "point" at pages that will no longer be there.  If the webmaster is not attentive visitors will get a 404 page not found error; which is very annoying as the information they wanted to read - is not there!   A "search" function may be provided which is sub-satisfactory as most often internal site search engines are nowhere near as Google, and besides it requires more keystrokes from the visitor to find the required information - with no real guarantee that they'll find the new page (it might have been deleted for example).

A well-prepared webmaster will redirect all pages from an old site to the exact correct page on the new site.

They will map an old page to a new page, and configure their server to issue a 301 page moved command for each one.

However, this can be a massive job.  Hence why you quite often see 404 errors when there has been some reorganisation.

A site with 10,000 pages; where some move here, some move there would take weeks to manually setup the lookup tables where one page is mapped to another.

There is now a service that I wrote that will help in many situations like this.   Using a set of Rules which are patterns that match web pages a webmaster can quickly and easily redirect large groups of pages to new ones using my site 301 redirect website.

I purchased a website and wanted it integrated into an existing site that I owned.  So I wrote some code to do this.  I thought it might help make like easy for other webmasters in the same situation so I tidied it up a little, put a login module on it and made it public.

Webmasters can enter a few rules to redirect many pages from one site to another.  Using a wildcard they can make rules for whole groups of pages using just one rule.

A bit like rule matching for a firewall like IPtables these can be constructed very efficiently.

In order to have a map of all pages the site, the webmaster can use an XML sitemap that has been generated for their website; and import this into my system.

Additionally, my site will log active traffic (real life traffic hitting the old site), that might (for technical reasons not appear in the XML sitemap) and these too can be identified and redirected to the new page on the new site.

I've made the site free to use; just asking for a link back from the webmaster's new site.

Please check it out at:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to export items from the UK to Andorra

Andorra is outside the EU. The UK is currently inside the EU!

That means if you get something delivered to Andorra from the UK you don't have to pay the 20% UK VAT.

You will have to pay just 4.5% IGI in Andorra.

The simplest method I have found is to order the item and have it directly transported to Andorra.

Someone like the NA Grup (You see their trucks regularly around La Vella town) are good to the transportation. Thomas there speaks English.

That way the selling company in the UK can simply not charge you any VAT on your Invoice as they have a delivery address outside the EU.

The delivery can get expensive, so you might consider doing it yourself.

In which case: The key phrase you are looking for the UK retailer is "VAT retail export scheme".

You won't be able to get anything by mail order, eBay or any other internet retailers doing it; you will have to pick up whatever you buying in person.

If they are member of this scheme you need to request the EU-Export under it.

They will give you an invoice that needs to be stamped by customs on the French or Spanish side.

You will then be able to use an agent (Credit Andorra Bank for example) to refund the VAT to you. They will make a hefty charge, so this really only works for higher value items.

Don't forget to stop on the Andorran side of the border and own up, and pay the 4.5% charge.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What do to if your phone is stolen in Andorra

Andorra is a very safe place.  You are likely to get it back.

However, you might not.  I was skiing up a Pal (Vallnord) and was using my phone - a lovely shiny Lumia 950 with Dual SIM - about £600 retail - and must have mislaid in the toilets.   Looking back I think I left it on the sinks.

Anyway I got to the car, realised my error - but by the time I got back; it was gone.

I went to the office to report the loss, they have a log book there.  I then drove home.  When I returned I asked my wife to ring the phone - it was ringing, but no-one was picking up.

I'd setup find my phone; so went to the website and this is what I saw.

The phone was now at the town-end of the cable car!   I was hopeful that someone had picked it up and was returning it to the office at that end... But then why were they not picking up the phone?

A while later it was further down the road - so that's it.  Someone (probably a spanish youth) has decided the phone is now his.

It had a PIN code on it, but you can turn it off by pressing the buttons - so that's where it went off; near the Credit Andorra bank on the main street in La Massana.

In recent years I normally buy 2nd hand phones;  and very rarely lose my primary phone.  But this one hurts bad.  Not only was it new, and expensive, but it was also a special treat to myself:

During my 20s and 30s I had an endowment policy that was originally used as mortgage payback vehicle - I'd got a new mortgage and started an ISA to pay that back - leaving the endowment policy disconnected; but I'd continue to pay it.  It was about 20 quid a month.   Now during my 20s, a score was a lot of money - easily a good night out - but I saved this money - it had been a sacrifice.   So when it ended at age 45 and payed out around 20K, it is a welcome boost for me at this time as I try to setup my online business, but I also thought I'd treat myself to a new phone.

Here is a little rant video I made when walking into town to report the loss to the police.  More of an aide-memoire to myself not to buy a new phone again, than anything else.

So the sod who nicked it has no concept of what that phone means to me, or the cost over the years.

The Andorran blocking

In Andorra it is simple enough to block the mobile.  You must get a "denunciar" from the Police - like a Police report.

Turn up during working hours to the main police station in Escaldes, walk in and report the loss to one of the clerks.  They will give you a stamped form that you take down to the STA office and they will cancel the SIM; and the phone will not be able to connect to the Andorran network.

Spanish blocking

But I suspect most likely that it was someone from Spain (it was crawling with tourists that weekend)  - I have a Spanish phone number with the Yoigo operator, as we disappear off to Spain often for weekends and longer breaks.

They have an email address (spanish language only); so I sent off the copy of my Andorra denunciar to them, and crossed by fingers.

All told it took about 2 months all told;  but yippee!  I got an email from Yoigo telling me they'd blocked it and all other operators in Spain (they are all in the same scheme) had been requested to blocked it too.

"Hola, ya hemos solicitado al resto de operadores el bloqueo del terminal con IMEI 351851072216410 e IMEI 351851072216402."

So this 2 month period is long enough for my light-fingered friend to have got used to his new toy - maybe got all the music download he likes, all the settings just right - and woke up today to find it's dropped off the network - and is now as useful as a brick.  I hope so anyway!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do they drive on the left in Andorra?

Normally you have to drive on the right in Andorra. Duh.

But us old Brits, well, we are bit quirky, so we drive on the left.

If you want to feel like you're back in Blighty there is a 80m strip of road you can get your fix of left hand driving.

Unfortunately the fix will be to just look at the cars driving as not anyone can drive here; you will need a pass for one of the blocks of flats on there, haha, as it is residents only.

It's near the big ferriteria/freezer store, and Parc Central. At the end of that road is the bus station (soon to be closed).

Distributed Backlink Service

Wouldn't it be great to work together and create a "distributed search engine" with the index spread across thousands of peer...