Monday, August 29, 2011

How to avoid a Cityrail fine if you've forgotten to buy a ticket before boarding.

So most of us who catch the train have forgotten to buy a ticket before getting on once or twice. Personally I think I'm now up to about 8-10 trips where I've forgotten to buy a ticket.

The first time I forgot to buy a ticket I panicked. I reached Town Hall station where I departed the train. I was seriously shitting myself. I thought the best thing to do would be to simply explain myself to a Transit Officer. This turned out to be a mistake he told me that I now need to give him my full name and address and "You may receive a ticket in the mail". Lucky for me in this situation I never did receive that ticket in the mail. Phew.

I thought to myself lesson learned. Never forget to buy a ticket, Yeah right. As above I've forgotten to buy a  ticket about 8-10 times now. So i've learned a thing or two about what to do to make sure you don't get a fine for getting a ticket.

1. Don't Panic. You are human like the rest of us. If there are no Transit Officers on the train you're still going to be OK. Keep Calm, let's do a little social engineering to get out.

2. Don't get off the train at any of the main CBD stations (Town Hall, Central, Wynyard or Martin Place). the reason for this is Transit Officers frequently target these stations and will be on the look out to check your ticket. Aim to get off at a station that are frequently unattended or manned with skeleton staff (Museum or St James). Personally I would aim to get off at Museum as it has 2 exits and often the exit that heads towards the city doesn't have anyone manning the gates.

3. Target Cityrail Staff not Transit officers to plead your case. Transit Officers do have unofficial quota's to meet and they will most often or not send you a fine in the mail for "travelling without possession of a valid ticket". Cityrail Staff  have no power to fine anyone, often they just want your problem out of their face.

4. Be direct and explain yourself like so "I'm sorry, I forgot to buy my ticket before getting on my train this morning. Can you please let me through so I can go and buy a ticket now?" Avoid  explaining your life story and wasting Citryrail Staff's time the goal is  for you to be through that gate a quick as possible. 

5. Catch a train to a less busy station. If you see Transit officers manning the exit gates move to go back down to the platform and catch the next train to the next station and try again. Beware though if you quickly turn around and go back  you may attract the attention of the Transit Officers (hopefully they will be to busy checking tickets to notice you).

6. Have some evidence that you a regular train commuter. IE  a few old train tickets may help you prove your case (It won't get you off that fine though if your pleading your case to a Transit Officer).

7. Be well dressed. Transit Officers are looking for that easy ticket. So if you're wearing a suit you may be better off. You'll look more like a typical city commuter if your are well dressed as compared to if you were wearing your tracky-dacks.

8. Take a look around, sometimes people drop valid tickets on the station floor. You might get lucky. I use to place my valid tickets in the crevice of  windows so  that anyone else could use them after i'd finished with them. 

9. Don't Panic.. I know I've already mentioned this but it's important.. keep calm. You are after all only human. If you do get a fine don't bitch about it, pay it, accept you a human, move on. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Killnotes.exe doesn't support silent commands. How to kill notes silently.

If you've bee around Lotus Notes as long as I have you learn to hate the fact that when notes crashes you usually have to reboot to clear out all the stuck notes related files. That was until someone at IBM crafted up Killnotes.exe which looks for any notes processes and threads still in use then will kill them off.  This is great for the occasion when you Lotus Notes crashes and you want to reopen without rebooting..

The problem is if we want to upgrade/deploy Lotus Notes and use Killnotes.exe to terminate Lotus Notes before upgrading. We can't do this out without having some user interaction. A better solution instead is to use the inbuilt NSD.exe of notes to shutdown lotus notes.

If you want to script it here it is;

set WshShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
TerminateNotes = WshShell.Run ("c:\notes\nsd.exe -kill -nolog -ini c:\notes\notes.ini",1,True)

If you are running this through a deployment system you will find you need to include the -nolog and -ini options or the script will error trying to locate the notes.ini because its running under  the system account and not the local user.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Vodafone - Mis-information at every turn.

Thank you Vodafone for wasting my time. It's good to know that Vodafone are NOT willing to remain competitive to even try and keep your existing customers. 

The link i'm referring to at the start on the conversation is 

Both plans have a minimum cost of $1296  except that virgin give you 3 moths access free during the plan saving you 147$ off that total bill. 

Update: I called Vodafone on the weekend and was told that because I am an existing customer I do not qualify for the those Voadafone plans advertised on the Vodafone website. What a ripoff. Nice way to try and rip off your existing customer base Vodafone. 

I was even asked why do I want to drop down plans when the plan I'm on "represents great value" uhh.. no it doesn't compared to others in the market. I recall Vodafone years ago pledging to always to tell their customers that they would tell us when we could save money. No not these days. 

My last several encounters with Vodafone have been met with Mis-information, no callbacks as advised, different information every time and generally not a very good understanding of there own products. 

How to prestage Windows 7 Thin PC in SCCM R3

Chaohao Xu over on Technet has posted a quick article on how to create pre-staged media for windows 7.1  using SCCM 2007 R3. The post is more of a here's a quick how to. I'm sure there are better more in depth articles to be found elsewhere. 

Check the link for the article

How to create Prestaged Media for WES 7.1, PosReady7 and ThinPC in ConfigMgr 2007 R3