Category Archives: Wibbles

A place to rant about stuff.

Atlas Direct will weasel out of travel insurance claims due to volcanic ash

In light of the recent flight disruptions caused by volcanic ash, I decided to enquire as to whether my travel insurance provider, Atlas Direct, would attempt to weasel out of claims should we be hit by problems (we don’t travel until August, so should be safe, fingers crossed, but wanted to check…).

10 working days later, I finally received the following response:

We do not consider volcanic ash to be “adverse weather” therefore there is no cover under the “Travel Delay and Abandonment” and the “Missed Departure” sections.

Additionally it is not a stated reason to cancel or curtail a trip and therefore there is no cover under the “Cancellation, Curtailment and Trip Interruption” section.

If the Insured is stranded abroad their policy will be automatically extended for the period the Insured is abroad provided you return on the earliest possible flight to the UK. The Insured is only covered for “Medical Emergency and Repatriation” and “Luggage”.

Additional accommodation and travel costs due to volcanic ash incident are not covered under this extension.

So, if you’re using Atlas Direct, do be aware that, if you are affected by flight cancellations from volcanic ash, they will not help you. Hopefully your airline/tour operator will, but they will not. I previously held Atlas Direct in fairly high regard and was happy to be insured with them, now I’m not so sure. (I know they’re not alone in wanting to weasel out of any claims due to the ash,though!)

Users don’t like new “Facebook login page”…

Seems a lot of clueless users have been trying to get to Facebook by searching for “facebook login” rather than going to Facebook, and landing on a blog post titled Facebook wants to be your one true login from ReadWriteWeb, not understanding that they’re on an entirely different site, and bitching (in depressingly moronic ways) that they don’t like the new Facebook login, or can’t understand how to log in.

The comments on that post (all 7 pages, as of last time I looked) make for depressing reading.

Now, I don’t like to make fun of people just because their computer skills might not be particularly good, but the lack of literacy, reading skills, logic and general comprehension shown in the comments is just… it’s depressing.

Some examples:


wtf is this bullshttttttttttt all about. can i get n plzzzzzzzzz

This is such a mess I can’t do a thing on my facebook .The changes you have made are ridiculous,I can’t even login!!!!!I am very upset!!!

i do not like this, please go back to the old one or drop me from facebook.

My daughters&sons show me how 2 use facbook,Iwas confuse then now i’m really confuse just let me log in the old way this way really sucks!!!!!!!!

this is a waste of time, go back to the way it was!!!!!!!!!!!

I like thr old way to sign in this sucks big time let me in

this is not a good thing i just don’t think u have thought this thru. I haven’t made a decision yet but i might give facebook up this is too much trouble

I hate this bring the old facebook back. Cannot login.


i dont like this new changes i like the way was before and now is a disaster at list live the page the same of before i dont’ care if they change the owner.ok?bye now hope you go back the same of before

Ok If I have to I will comment,I love facebook so right now just want to log in if thats ok with Keep up the good work…

OK, that’s enough examples of epic fail.

It makes you wonder how some of these people survive in general life, and how they managed to get on the Internet in the first place.

Newsflash: America not centre of world

KFC advertisement in Australia sparks race row

The Australian arm of the fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has had to withdraw an advertisement after accusations of racial insensitivity.


When the advertisement reached America via the internet there were complaints.
It was accused of reinforcing a derogatory racial stereotype linking black people in the American deep south with a love of fried food.

Picked up by the American media, the advertisement immediately stirred controversy, because it was alleged to have perpetuated the racial stereotype that black people eat a lot of fried chicken.


It is the second time in three months that something broadcast in Australia has caused a racial stir in America.

Dear America: the world does not revolve around you; please pipe down and shut the fuck up about things that don’t concern you. Kthx.

Jack Thompson is a fucking idiot

Jack Thompson, the muppet who made money-grabbing attempts to sue game producers for producing adult games has now decided to attempt to sue Facebook as he’s unhappy they haven’t immediately defended him from gamers speaking their mind on his stupid, money-grabbing antics.

Facebook groups he objects to include ones like:

Jack Thompson should be smacked across the face with an Atari 2600


Edit: I should add that this guy was permanently disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court after it ruled he “abused the legal system by submitting numerous, frivolous and inappropriate filings.”

Texas Instruments DMCA abuse over signing keys

Paul Dixon, owner of, received a DMCA takedown order from Texas Instruments, relating to a pastebin post that a user had submitted to, "containing the signing keys for a range of Texas Instruments calculators which, if I understand correctly, allow you to digitally sign a replacement operating system so that the hardware will accept it"

They seem to overlook the fact that Paul is in the UK, and is hosted in the UK, so throwing DMCA notices around is a little pointless, acheiving nothing more than making themselves look bad.

In fact, the Streisand Effect pretty much guarantees that such attempts backfire, and result in nothing more than causing the material they desire to censor to be more widely distributed.

In fact, with information leaked to wikileaks, it’s a lost cause already.

When will companies learn that attempting to artificially control what people can do with their devices which they bought and legally own needs to stop, and that the Internet routes around censorship attempts?

Suspicious Vodafone bonus text message

I got a text message on my old mobile phone (which I’ve moved to PAYG, to keep the number active), purporting to be from Vodafone, received 15-Sep-2009, and stating:

Thanks, for being a Vodafone customer, we'd like to give you £1 free credit. Just text REWARD to 97888 for free by 24Sep09. To stop texts send STOP to 9774

This made me immediately suspicious, as it’s trivial to fake the sender of a text message to appear to have come from “Vodafone” or whatever name/number you like, and it sounded like a reverse-billing SMS scam.

However, I recognised 9774 as the number Vodafone really use to stop receiving texts, so if it was a scam, they’d at least done their homework.

Googling reveals that the shortcode 97888 is indeed a Vodafone number, used, among other things, to request their “Vodafone Passport” deal, and turns up a forum thread on the subject.

(Amusingly, the forum thread includes a nice little rant:

I GOT NOTHING and its annoying i cannot believe voda sending these messages then again , yes i can..
its like the annoying canvassing phone calls.
can we do anything to stop them ? from voda.
one annoyed voda customer.

Um, what? The clear, simple “To stop texts send STOP to 9774” at the end of the message too hard to understand, perhaps?)

Guinness World Records PR Fail

And the Guinness World Record for failing at Internet PR goes to… Guinness World Records Ltd.

Recently, FAIL Blog posted a story with a screenshot of the Guinness World Records website, showing the record for “Most Individuals Killed In A Terrorist Attack”. Underneath details of the record, was a link cheerily inviting the reader to “Break this record!”.

It’s clearly a standard part of their site template, but was amusingly unfortunate appearing on that particular record.

However, in a show of complete lack of humour and PR, Guinness World Records Ltd decided to send the owners of FAIL Blog a legal bluster email stating that the GWRL logo is trademarked and demanding that it be removed from the page in question.

I’d like to think that use of a company’s logo when talking about them would be covered by fair use, but fair usage is increasingly murky and hard-to-define legally.

FAIL Blog have decided to comply by blurring out the GWLR logo, but I can’t help thinking GWRL have really shot themselves in the foot by bullying FAIL Blog into removing the logo (even if the GWRL name wasn’t mentioned, you’d easily guess).

This is how *not* to do PR in the Internet age, folks.

Jacko dominates the charts, again

Michael Jackson was a true legend, one of the best musical entertainers for a long time, and of cause his untimely demise was a big shame.

But, what’s with the number of his songs in the charts?

I don’t understand this – the real fans who will really miss him will already *have* his albums, so why are his singles now suddenly selling so much? Who are these people who presumably didn’t think much of him when he was alive, but now want to buy his music so much now he’s passed on?

Granted, it’s good to see the quality of the music in the charts inproving, but how’s this for mad (this is looking at the chart for the week of 2009-07-06):

Position Song
2 Man In The Mirror
10 Billie Jean
12 Thriller
13 Smooth Criminal
19 Beat It
25 Black Or White
26 Dirty Diana
32 They Don’t Care About Us
33 Earth Song
34 The Way You Make Me Feel
35 You Are Not ALone
38 Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough
40 Bad
43 I Want You Back (Jackson 5)
46 Ben
50 ABC (Jackson 5)

That’s just those within the top 50 – there’s a few more between 50 and 75 too.

It’s a fitting tribute to a great entertainer, but it still puzzles me.