My keyboard had a hairball...

IMG_4087-25pc Once upon a time, I received the gift of my first very own PC from doting parents. Whilst this was long after getting my first computer (the first was an amazing Acorn A3000, fondly called "The Beast") I still remember the PC's specs well: a Pentium III 450 (on a riser card!), Voodoo Banshee, 128 MB of blazing SDRAM and a 10 GB hard drive. ("I'll never fill all this disk space...")

However, the best thing about that computer: the humble keyboard. After using one ages before getting my own, I knew immediately it was an awesome peripheral. The Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite (model A11-00337, M/N E06402COMB) is just about everything a hardcore computer-er-y person would ever want: incredibly ergonomic; devoid of a zillion pointless 'hotkey' and Function buttons; a lovely muted yet definitive keypress response, a wrist rest angled 'just right'... and even made in Mexico. ¡Olé!

This little keyboard is a resilient little bugger and it's still trucking. Just some of its previous adventures:

  • Half a dozen LAN parties
  • Half a dozen housemoves
  • Years of frustrated / angry / drunk / careless / overzealous users... (Well, user)
  • An entire pint of orange juice (poured into it by yours truly, by accident)
  • Countless knocks, drops and bumps, some from considerable height
  • Several kilos of toast
  • Evidently, several pounds of hair, or two tribbles (we'll get to that)

Add to that the fact that it's both PS/2 (USB with included adapter) AND off-white plastic (mine's beige from age!), all being told it should have died a long time ago. HOWEVER, it just refuses to go! It's amazing and I think I may actually have real feelings of love and concern for this keyboard. Or I might be drunk again. Who can tell.

The only thing it's missing are its little rubber feet from the underside of the front, easily solved with a little bit of (vintage) bluetack. I think you can even reorder those parts from Microsoft.

ANYWAY! I began to wonder, 'what's inside my favourite keyboard of all time? Perhaps it would work like a boxfresh unit if I took it apart and hosed out the rubbish?' (because when you can hear crumbs rattling round inside, it's time to get the desk-vac). Soon, nothing else was to be done except take it apart. And take it apart I did...

Buying from the States, attempt 2: self declaring duty & VAT

I've placed an(other) order from the rather excellent site SplitReason. And, in an attempt to avoid a repeat of August's ridiculous episode (tentatively titled "Royal Mail Handling Fees, or, exorbitance and stupidity in equal measure") I've decided to give our besieged postal service a rest and handle the admin work myself.

This involves one critical thing - getting SplitReason to mark my parcel as "to be customs cleared by importer". I've put the request in and I'll be updating this post as developments occur. I'm determined to import a single purchase and pay any applicable customs charges directly myself (as is perfectly feasible according to UK tax legislation), I don't need Royal Mail's help.

Stay tuned for updates fellow international shoppers!


Quirky / curious email of the week: Anonymous - "Operation Jubilee"

This dropped into my inbox early this morning, a lovely abuse of the email spec and some poor person's mailserver (more fool them for not securing it properly)...

To: me
 Subject: Anonymous Operation Jubilee - 5 November 2012

 Dear Anonymous,

 Rally Millions To
 Parliament, London
 5 November 2012

 Cancel All Debt
 Stop War
 Redistribute the Land
 Eliminate Poverty

 Please, spread this message to everyone you know.

This message was, quite cleverly, entirely included in the email subject field, newlines and all. Thunderbird enjoyed parsing it.

So, November the 5th, Parliament Square? See you there.

"Tesco" Facebook scam returns, as Timeline Removal Plugin

  • File under '...really, Amazon?!'

In another example of Amazon's AWS abuse detection failing spectacularly, likely the same culprits behind last week's Tesco Voucher Giveaway scam have targeted Facebook users again -- this time with a "Timeline Removal Plugin" scam.

The scam seems to function thusly: victim clicks the link from a previous victim's event, creates a Facebook event with the same TinyURL in the Event description (containing a link to a Google Translate-wrapped AmazonAWS link) and so the cycle repeats. This doesn't involve the sharing feature, probably a technique Facebook locked down after last week's abuse.

Here are some screenshots of what will appear in your feed when a friend falls victim... Continue reading ""Tesco" Facebook scam returns, as Timeline Removal Plugin"