A Quintic is the lowest order polynomial for which there is no known algorithmic solution. I chose Quintic as the name for my first Company, as there were five of us, and we were a disperate lot. Not surprisingly after 3.5 years there was a split. That company finally disolved in or around 2015.
In 2016 I started up another company called Quintic. I Quintic beacuse I like the name, and, as the previous company has c.losed down, its name was available. This company’s web site, (but not the company) is still active at www.quintic.co.uk
And, finally, if you search Google or, better still, DuckDuckGo for” Quintic Cambridge” you will no longer get any references to the 1995 Quintic company. Oh Yes!!!
The following is a list of scam phone calls or phishing emails that I have received or delt with recently.
Home Appliance Insurance scam
7-Nov-2019. Just had a scam phone call from Jade at ‘Home Guard Care’ or some such company, informing me that my Home guard insurance policy had just expired, but as I hadn’t made a claim in the previous two years I could renew at a reduced price of Â£90.00 for two years, down from the Â£108 I paid two years ago.
Trouble is I do not have an insuance policy with this crowd. Now, according to Jade, I made a payment to this lot on November 5 2017. When I asked Jade to stay on the line whilst I went to check, Jade hung up.
This is the second time this lot has tried this scam. The phone number was withheld so I am unable to trace it back. Not that it makes much difference, because the phone numbers used are usually ‘one-off’s.
Been informed that a number of suspious transactions have been notes on my HSBC account. Am provided with a URL to click on order to check. Just one problem, I do not have a HSBC bank account.
June 2020. My neighbour received an email proporting to be from the TV Licensing Authority stating that she need to to pay her TV licence Fee now that the licence is no longer free for over 75’s with a link on where to go to pay it.
The URL was obviously NOT the TV licensing authority, and the requirement for over 75s not receiving the pension top-up to pay for the TV Licence has been delayed until September.
Expect these types of scams to resurface come September.
24-Sep-2020. Recieved a text message from +44 7487 305443. Proporting to be from Vodafone. “We were unable to process your latest payment. In order to avoid fees, please update your information via https://vodafone.uk.id-01879.com/?v=2”
6-Oct-2020. Next door neighbour received an automated phone call message stating that her Amazon Prime payment of Â£35.02 was overdue and could she please call the following number to arrange payment. My neighbour does not have an Amazon Prime account, but due to Amazon’s dirty little trick earlier in the year of making it appear when ordering that you were not accepting their 3 month free trial, when in fact you were, a number of people were conned into opening Amazon Prime accounts. This blantant mis-direction by Amazon opened up a massive window of opportunity for the scammers and phishers.
Thank you Amazon
Microsoft Worldwide Web – Your Computer has a virus
Jan-2021 I thought this scam had completely run its course. But no. Still out there. In case it is one you have not come across, the scam goes along the lines of
“Hello we are from Microsoft and we have detected that your computer has a virus. If you help us we can remove the virus from your computer” What they want is either bank account details as you sign up for a phoney service contract or access to your PC where they will extract every bit of data they can and/or install key logging software.
Used to be a time when I would play along with the call just to see how long I could keep them on the phone. No fun anymore though. Now I just tell them they are lying, put the phone down and block.
Feb-2021 Scam phone call saying we owe HRMC Â£85 and that the bailiffs were coming round to seize property and issue a court summons. Press 1 to speak to a representative about making payment.
Reported to HMRC.
Feb-2021 Email purporting to be from Vodafone saying that my account had been blocked. Link provided to unlock account.
Reported to Vodafone.
March-2021 Received the following text message – supposedly from +44 7810 098864
Now most of the above is freely available on the DVLA web-site. Just type in a vehicle registration and you can gleen everything on the right hand column.
What you cannot get from the DVLA web-site however, is the association with an e-mail address. So, that someone has been able to connect those two dots is worrying. The above was reported to DVLA and firstname.lastname@example.org
March-2021 Received email stating I was entitled to a Tax Refund from HMRC. HMRC do not use emails for this type of communication. Reported to both HMRC and email@example.com
April 2021. Received an automated phone call proporting to be Amazon sayying that a purchase for Â£115.95 was made today. If I recognise the purchase then do nothing. If I do not recognise the purchase, then contact Amazon Customer Service by pressing button 1.
No idea what happens if you press button 1. Could be an attempt to get credit card / bank account details, or it could be a connection to a premium number.
Received several of these Autumn 2021 – Text message to mobile phone stating that your Norton Anti-virus is about to expire and click on link to renew.
October 2021 – Email on one day, supposedly from BT, stating that their Broadband T&Cs are about to change. Next day another email again suposedly from BT, refering to previous day’s email, and requesting that you click on a link in order to renew your T&Cs.
I have had a Synology DNS NAS drive now for about five years. I bought it originally as a safe, central, (relatively) fast storage for my photos, of which I have literally tens of thousands.
I also uploaded all my CDs to the NAS. it meant I could listen to my music whilst working and could play it through my Hi-Fi without having to search racks and racks of CDS looking for the one I wanted (No I did not have my CDs classified and catalogued)
Two years ago I purchased and set-up an Alexa, really just to see what these devices were like. Lets face when tablets cost between Â£500 and Â£750 and mobiles between Â£500 and Â£1000, Â£50 for an AI based Smart Speaker / Home Assistant is nothing.
In fact it begs one of two questions:
Are they selling AI Speakers at below cost in order to capture the market?
Are Tablets and Mobiles over hiked?
Anyway that aside having got my Alexa, I wanted to be able to play my music through it. And that is when the fun started.
The first problem I hit, and one that really did surprise me, is that whilst Alexa may be connected to my network, it cannot / will not talk to any devices on the network directly.
Alexa will only communicate with devices via the Cloud. So, any devices that you have that are not cloud based cannot communicate with Alexa.
Synology Audio Station
Goods news for those with a Synology NAS drive is that one of the applications that you can download is Audio Station, and Audio Station can be configured to operate with Alexa.
The bad news is that whilst configuring Audio Station to operate with Alexa is relatively easy (see XXXX), getting Alexa to work with Audio Station is a whole different ball game.
Audio Station install on Synology DNS
Audio Station configured to operate with Alexa
Synology DNS configured to accept internet traffic (i.e Broadband hub configured to forward at least one open port to the DNS)
SSL Certificate installed on Synology DNS (Self signed certificates are not accepted by Alexa)
URL on certificate, exactly matches url given to Alexa, exactly matches URL in Audio Station Configuration
Port given to Alexa matches port identified in Audio Station configuration, matches prot forewarding set up on Hub.
Note: Steps 3 – 6 are only necessary because Alexa will not talk directly to other networked devices.