Alarm Monitoring (With Raspberry Pi)

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I'm responsible for a commercial buildings that, as you would expect, have monitored alarms, access control and such like. However, commercial alarm monitoring is horrendously expensive, and most of them are stuck in the dark ages; I want to be able to monitor the condition of my alarm remotely, and get notifications in a useful way. Piece of cake pi My usual solution to these sorts of problems - Raspberry Pi. I've found use for this £30 mini Linux box in lighting control, information displays, presentations, video servers, phone systems and more... Connecting to the alarm Most alarms have a c…

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iMessage Preview

So, iMessage has a handy new feature - both on iOS and MacOS - where if you send someone a URL it will extract some metadata from this URL and display it as a clickable link; You'll be used to this behaviour if you use Facebook or Slack, as it provides useful meaningful content for a link. However, there's a big difference between their implementation and iMessage. When you use Facebook or Slack, the website you've linked to will see a request from Facebook or Slack's servers. Information Leakage iMessage makes a request from the device itself which reveals some significant information; The ta…

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What a difference a 0 makes

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Or, why it's really important to dial the correct phone number. Or, alternatively, how to have people willingly hand over personal details to scammers. Nuances of the UK phone system Two thing conspire to make this possible in the UK; Overdialling The UK phone network supports 'over-dialling', that is if you were calling 07700900123 and you dial 077009001234 the additional digit, 4, is ignored and the call is connected as you expect Local Dialling If you are in a local area (e.g. 01632) you can dial the local number without the leading area code. e.g. for 01632 9601234 you would simply dial 9…

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I'd like an Invoice please (Avis)

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As someone who reasonably regularly has to claim expenses for business travel it never ceases to amaze me quite how inept some companies (for whom people like me make up a large percentage of their business) are at the simplest of things. I regularly book cars with Avis. This is done through their website directly, and paid in advance. I can't, however, claim this payment at the time as it's a "pre-paid voucher" rather than "car hire" Later, this "pre-paid voucher" settles the car hire account and, in theory, I should get an Invoice (which they can't give me at the time, but 24 hours after the…

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Estate Agents - a follow up...

One of the professions many love to hate, estate agents. I recently posted my rant/review of a few estate agents when selling in Glasgow for a move north to the Highlands. The right choice? After inviting four agencies to quote (three of which bothered turning up); McEwan Fraser Legal (who I don't trust), Nicol (whose attention to detail was sadly lacking) and Rettie (who actually seemed pretty good!) we eventually settled on Rettie in Newton Mearns. And ultimately, yes, they were. Whilst the market in Newton Mearns is a bit more buoyant than it is up here, selling in four days was unexpected!…

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