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January, 2010:

Stupid Email Disclaimers #1: Scottish Widows

In the spirit of Jeff Goldmark's Stupid Email Disclaimers, I thought I'd independently continue the series whenever I stumble upon a corporate email disclaimer largely composed of bullshit.

The reasons for why corporate email disclaimers are usually worth less than the electrons they're sent with is explained on Jeff's web site... To get us started, here's the email disclaimer from Scottish Widows (a part of Lloyds Banking Group, as they helpfully tell us) with linebreaks added for readability:


As part of the Lloyds Banking Group, Scottish Widows is proud to be
an Official Provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

This E-Mail is confidential. Unauthorised recipients must notify the sender
immediately on 0131-655-6789 and must delete the original E-Mail without
taking a copy. We virus scan and monitor all e-mails but are not responsible
for any damage caused by a virus or alteration or our email by a third
party after transmission. The E-Mail is not intended nor should it be taken
to create any legal relations, contractual or otherwise.

The following companies are part of the Scottish Widows Group and,
with the exception of Scottish Widows Services Limited, are authorised
and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. They are all registered
in the United Kingdom:

Scottish Widows plc, Co No. 199549/FSA Register No. 191517;
Scottish Widows Annuities Limited, Co No.199550/FSA Register No. 191518;
Scottish Widows Services Limited, Co No.189975; Scottish Widows Unit
Funds Limited, Co No. 74809/FSA Register No. 202648; all having their
Registered Office at 69 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8YF.

Scottish Widows Bank plc, Co No. 154554/FSA Register No. 201601.
Registered Office at 67 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8YJ.

Scottish Widows Unit Trust Managers Limited, Co No. 1629925/FSA
Register Co No. 122129, Registered Office at Charlton Place,
Andover, Hampshire SP10 1RE.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Limited, Co No. 794936/FSA
Register Co No. 193707; SWIP Fund Management Limited,
Co No. 406604/FSA Register No. 122135 and SWIP Multi-Manager
Funds Limited, Co No. 5582499/FSA Register No. 455821; all having
their Registered Office at 33 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HZ.

Scottish Widows Fund Management Limited, Co No. 74517/FSA Register
No. 119359; Pensions Management (SWF) Limited, Co No. 45361/FSA
Register No. 110422; all having their Registered Office at
15 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5BU.

Lloyds TSB Investments Limited, Co No. 106723/FSA Register No. 122130,
Registered Office at 60 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BE.

Scottish Widows Administration Services Limited, Co No. 1132760/FSA
Register No. 139398, Registered Office at 25 Gresham
Street, London, EC2V 7HN.

All of the above companies are part of the Lloyds Banking Group.


In this case, the email disclaimer was over 5x longer than the content of the email - if I was feeling grumpier, I would've classified this message as spam.

More coming as/when I get them.

Photos: inside a Virgin Media cable street cabinet

Once upon a time (way back in 2007!), I was walking home and noticed the door on my road's Telewest distbox was hanging open (the lock had been forced). Having always wondered what was in one of those unassuming grey (or green) street cabs, I decided to have a quick look... And take some pictures. (And yes, I did let Telewest know the box had been broken into afterwards)

Tiplet: Recovering a 'ghost' domain in DirectAdmin

I added a domain name to an account on one of my DirectAdmin-managed servers yesterday, and when I came to tweak some of its settings a few hours later it had mysteriously disappeared from the domains list in the control panel! (I think this was due to a dirty restart of the core DirectAdmin program, but I'm still not 100% sure). What was strange was that all the files (private and public_html) were still there if I FTPed in, the domain still resolved and loaded if I typed in its URL into a browser - but I couldn't access the control panel settings for it (so no email, no MySQL management etc). A crippled domain.

Even more frustratingly, attempting to rename/delete the domain's folder via FTP or SSH didn't work, and I couldn't re-add the domain to the account as DirectAdmin could (bizarrely) still see that it was already hosting it! Moving/deleting the domain's DNS zone file didn't work, and neither did a DirectAdmin restart. So, Catch 22... What to do? (more…)

Cleaning suede or nubuck shoes - what I've learnt

Etnies Ronin skate shoes (angle profile)
How a boxfresh Ronin should look...

In autumn and winter, it gets wet outside! Suede and nubuck HATES water, mud, snow and rock salt to boot (natch).

So, protect your shoes BEFORE you destroy them! Get some suede or nubuck protector spray, I mention some later in the article, and give your shoes a good treating before you step out.

I always spray treat my shoes straight from the box, and they're all still great. £5 and 15 minutes' work makes a long-lasting difference.

Back in 2010, I ventured out in some brand new trainers (a pair of Etnies Ronin skate shoes, which are black and white suede/synthetic material mixture with a white trim round the sole). Unsurprisingly, it rained the next Saturday evening, and when I came back my shoes were DESTROYED.

Unfortunately, mine weren't quite caked, but were fairly smattered in nasty looking mud. But what to do? Well, after some careful research (and even more careful testing), here's some tips for cleaning these kinds of skate shoes.

Shoes like the Ronins aren't all suede - they have what Etnies describe as an "action leather upper" combined with synthetic, woven sections (for example, the material around the E motif on the side of the shoe is a different fabric). However, in my case, the whole lot was just smothered with nasty, gunky mud.

So, what to do? First things first... read more after the jump.

Tiplet: Force Ejecting stuck DVDs from Macs

Once again, the MBP I (have to) use at work encountered a problem: OSX refused to eject a perfectly good audio CD from an external Lite-On DVD burner. I tried the usual things - dragging the disc icon to the Trash, right-clicking and choosing Eject... Nothing worked.

Fortunately, the MacRumors Guides site had a page with some protips to help eject stuck CDs/DVDs - including a nice drutil command which solved the problem nicely. Once again, the Mac Users community saves the day 🙂