Royal Mail Fax Numbers

September 3rd, 2010 by Richy B. 1 comment »

If anybody else needs these contact details:
Royal Mail Fax Number (to be honest, I’m not sure where this one goes): 020 7250 2030
Royal Mail Redirections Centre Fax Number: 01782 406 120 (however, faxes sent at 1pm on a Friday won’t get looked at “until Monday, possibly Tuesday and then will take 5 days to action”)
Royal Mail Redirections Telephone: 08457 740 740, option 2 2 4. However, extremely busy at 4.30pm on a Friday (20 minute hold times!) and reasonably busy at 2.40pm on a Friday (8 minute hold time).

Request Tracker (RT) and Google Apps

June 23rd, 2010 by Richy B. 2 comments »

If you are trying to setup Best Practical’s Request Tracker (RT) system (originally written by Jesse Vincent, but I more associate Dave Rolsky with it), to work with a Google Apps hosted domain (so you have Google Mail/Gmail for your domain), you may find the following useful.

  1. First of all, install “rt” on your Linux box and install “fetchmail” using your package manager if it isn’t already installed
  2. Setup an email account something like “support@” or “rt@” (I’ll use “rt@” in these examples) in Google Apps. Make a note of the password you set
  3. In /opt/rt3/etc/ (if you used the default install location), you’ll need to set the following:
    Set( $RTAddressRegexp,'^rt(\+[a-z]+)?\@example\.com$');
  4. Do the basic configuration of “rt” and make your queues – I made the following queues:
    Queue name Reply address Comment address
  5. Log into your new Google Apps Gmail account with the details you created and agree to the terms of service etc
  6. Click on “Settings” and “Filters” and create a series of filters such as:
    • To: [Next step]
    • Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
    • Apply the label: backend
    • Never send it to Spam [Create filter]
    • To: [Next step]
    • Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
    • Apply the label: backend-comments
    • Never send it to Spam [Create filter]
  7. For the “general” queue’s “Reply” address (, do not setup a filter
  8. Once done, on your Linux server where you have installed the Request Tracker, edit /etc/fetchmailrc to read similar to:

    set daemon 60
    set invisible
    set no bouncemail
    set no syslog
    set logfile /var/log/fetchmail
    proto IMAP service 993 user pass PA55W0RD
    folder Inbox ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url --queue General --action correspond"
    proto IMAP service 993 user pass PA55W0RD
    folder general-comments ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url --queue General --action comments"

    proto IMAP service 993 user pass PA55W0RD
    folder backend ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url --queue Backend --action correspond"
    proto IMAP service 993 user pass PA55W0RD
    folder backend-comments ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url --queue Backend --action comments"

    Of course changing to the email account you created, PA55W0RD to the password set for that email account, to the location of your Request Tracker installation (it has to be accessible from the server you are creating this file on), the “folder” name to correspond with the label you set for that queue and comments, etc and repeating for as many queues as you have.

  9. Save the file and start fetchmail using /sbin/service fetchmail start or your Linux distribution’s service starter
  10. Watch the log file using tail -f /var/log/fetchmail

    And that should be RT up and running with Google Apps for you!

Too many good ideas

June 20th, 2010 by Richy B. 1 comment »

Dammit, I’ve had an idea for a really good service/website, but I haven’t got the time (nor the money) to invest in it to get it built: which is a shame as I think it’ll be brilliant and a godsend to many people. Why can’t I win the lottery so I can help make the world a better place?

Memories…or how I learnt new names for old products

June 1st, 2010 by Richy B. No comments »

I have memories of eating Marathon chocolate bars (now Snickers) or sucking on Opal Fruits (now Starbursts) and then cleaning up using Jif cream (now Cif) and Bounty towels (now Plenty).

Now wonder my memory seems to be going – history is being re-written…

Incidentally, and what sparked this post off, is that “Bounty” have recently rebranded in the UK as “Plenty” – but watching US adverts (such as those currently on the Discovery US Mythbuster’s site) shows they are still using Bounty as the name in other markets… Interesting

General Election – What would it be under PR?

May 7th, 2010 by Richy B. 4 comments »

With the UK 2010 General Election now finished (with 649 of the 650 seats declared – “Thirsk and Malton” is delayed until the 27th of May due to a candidate’s death), we official have a “Hung Parliament” which means no single party has an overall majority (326 is the number needed). The two major parties, Conservatives (306 MPs) who are trying to take Government control from Labour (258 MPs), are now “courting” the Liberal Democrats (57 MPs) to try and form a coalition so jointly they can make a majority government. However, one of the key policies/principles for the Liberal Democrat party is that of Electoral Reform – more specifically changing the UK’s voting system from “First Past The Post” to “Proportional Representation”. This means, in a very simplified manner, than instead of each constituency “returning” an MP who has managed to get the largest number of votes in that area, the votes are then pooled on a regional/country basis and then split proportionally – i.e. if 50% of the votes were for party X, then party X would get 50% of the MPs. At the moment, it’s possible (as indeed happened), for a party to get 23% of the vote but only 8.78% of the seats.

So, what would the General Election look like under PR? Would we still have a Hung Parliament? Well, I’ve taken the data from the BBC’s General Election website and calculated how many seats each party would get under a very very simplified Proportional Representation system. It’s very simplified as I’ve just pooled the votes nationwide and then worked out the percentage: under “real world” situations each constituency would join others to make a large one and then pool on that level.

Well, the table is in the “Read More” section of the post – but what conclusions can I draw?

  • We would still have a Hung Parliament
  • The Conservatives would actually lose 71 MPs compared to now (from 306 to 235), and Labour would lose 69 (257 to 189)
  • The Liberal Democrats would actually gain 93 seats to go from 57 to 150 (so it’s understandable why they like PR)
  • The Green party would increase their single seat to 6 seats (a gain of 5)
  • Unfortunately, “right wing” parties such as the BNP would go from no seats to 12 and the UK Independence Party would also go from no seats to 20
  • The Conservatives could only form a majority government with the help from the Liberal Democrats with 150 MPs: all the remaining parties only have 76 seats spare – Conservatives would need 91 seats
  • Labour could only form a majority government with the help from the Liberal Democrats with 150 MPs: Labour need 137 seats to go over the 326 majority threshold

So, in realistic terms, not much would be different to the current situation – EXCEPT (and this is the most important part in my eyes), the mixture of MPs will more accurately represent the voting intentions (and wishes) of the electorate. I might not agree with them, but if that’s what 5% of the voting public want then perhaps we should have some.

Proportional representation may actually lead to more coalition governments in the future – after all Germany “the powerhouse of Europe” has a coalition government, but Greece and Iceland (both who have had major major financial difficulties recently) have majority governments…

Anyway, here’s the data:
» Read more: General Election – What would it be under PR?

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