Sunday, 31 March 2019

BMW Announce recall for high performance John Cooper Works (JCW) Minis

Important - Vechicle Safety Recall

Action Required

BMW have announced today a new safety recall of John Cooper Works high-performance MINIs. The details of this recall are presented in this letter but please check with your local BMW dealership for further information. Models impacted are MINI R51.. R60 and F54 & F56 with JCW modified engines.

As part of ongoing quality analysis at BMW mini it has been determined that excessive travel of the accelerator pedal in these cars can result in high and sustained vehicle speed. As part of the safety recall JCW mini's will be also be adjusted to comply with the new EU rules and directives due to come into force in 2020.

As part of the recall process the following works will be undertaken:

* Areo devices and spoilers will be reversed to create upforce.
* Anti-lock brakes (ABS systems) will be adjusted to become always-lock brakes (ALB).
* All-4 Drive systems will be reconfigured to power one wheel at a time.
* Tyres are to be resized to ratios 80 profile and above.
* Navigation systems will be updated to "shout like your mother" if the current speed limit is exceeded.
* Vehicle suspension struts and shock absorbers will be un-slammed to ensure wheel arch clearance is enough for an EU bureaucrats head.

During the recall.

Cars that are subject to this recall should be taken to the nearest BMW dealership as soon as possible. To avoid disappointment with small underpowered micro hatch cars, replacement vehicles will not be provided. Instead an "Uber golden ride multi tickets" will be issued to each customer. These tickets are of course valid in all three of the major UK cities.

The vehicle rework time is unknown so please be prepared to be without your vehicle for an extended period of time. Rest assured the vehicle will be washed and hoovered before its return.

Thank you for your understanding during this vital safety recall program.

Richard Pricey
Aftersales Director

: Not for for public release before 1st April 2019


Feast your eyes on this R60 JCW All-4 Countryman

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

How many 8s between 1 and 100 ?

This popular meme catches folks out with most popular wrong answers being 11 and 19.

The correct answer is 20 - ten each in units and ten in tens column.  
08,18,28,38....,98 and 

88 is counted twice having a 8 in both the units and ten column.

Shifting the range from 1..100 to 00..99 makes this easier to visualise the answer. 

In 00..99 there are 100 two digit numbers each built using two digits 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Each digit is used evenly including the same number of 1 & 2s etc because that's how counting works. 200 digits divided by 10 choices is 20. There must be 20 each of all the digits. 

This puzzle would be harder asking the 1s that needed to be painted (21 to include 100) or using roman counting.

An alternative voice has the workman painting 1..100 on {each} of the 100 apartments making 20 * 100 = 2000 number 8's. This is a less useful arrangement as the post man will just dump all his mail for the whole building thought the first door he sees.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Filevault Decryption stuck - blocking upgrades Mac OSX - Remedy re-image

Had a problem with a MacBook Air running High Sierra that got stuck decrypting FileVault.


FileVault was being used on an existing machine that had been passed along to a family member. The machine worked fine but occasionally would ask for a older user account to unlock the system when being rebooted.  Machine owner wanted to add a partner as another user account to the machine. This was done but it was found that the owner user had to the the one to unlock the system after a reboot or restart.  Decided to remove Filevault as this was a known cause of the single account to unlock syndrome.  Set system to remove encryption and handed back. Both accounts could now be used to unlock the system. This was not the end of the story as the system came back after getting stuck on an  OS upgrade. A number of related symptoms were seen.


1) Upgrade fails

After a couple of weeks when the MacBook was brought over the to house for a TimeMachine backup to the the Time capsule on the network at the house it was noticed that an upgrade was waiting to install.  When trying the upgrade the message "macOS could not be installed on your computer" and  "Unable to install to "Macintosh HD" Because it is currently encrypting data." "Quit the installer to restart your computer and start again."


2) Filevault Decryption progress bar bounces around as per this video.

3) fdsetup gives variable results ...

From Terminal output

House-MacBook-Air-2:~$ sudo fdesetup status 

FileVault is Off.
House-MacBook-Air-2:~$ sudo fdesetup status 
FileVault is Off.
Decryption in progress: Percent completed = 20.23

Even after leaving machine switched on and set to not sleep the percent complete does not move.  Does not even make progress when system is awake and at the login screen, with no-one logged in the background.

4) diskutil says decryption is needed

Last login: Mon Jan 21 00:30:50 on ttys000
House-MacBook-Air-2:~$ diskutil cs list
CoreStorage logical volume groups (1 found)
+-- Logical Volume Group 2Cxxxxxx3-AA11-48A1-B90A-756xxxxxxF39
    Name:         Macintosh HD
    Status:       Online
    Size:         250140434432 B (250.1 GB)
    Free Space:   18882560 B (18.9 MB)
    +-< Physical Volume Dxxxxxx1A-1061-4343-8E2C-D8AxxxxxxD78
    |   ----------------------------------------------------
    |   Index:    0
    |   Disk:     disk0s2
    |   Status:   Online
    |   Size:     250140434432 B (250.1 GB)
    +-> Logical Volume Family 1xxxxxxE-4477-4DC4-801F-80xxxxxxFB50
        Encryption Type:         AES-XTS
        Encryption Status:       Unlocked
        Conversion Status:       Converting (backward)
        Reversion State:         Reverting
        High Level Queries:      Not Fully Secure
        |                        Has Visible Users
        |                        Has Volume Key
        +-> Logical Volume 1xxxxxxD-B8AE-4390-93B0-E93xxxxxx13
            Disk:                  disk1
            Status:                Online
            Size (Total):          249769230336 B (249.8 GB)
            Conversion Progress:   Failed
            Revertible:            Yes (unlock and decryption required)
            LV Name:               Macintosh HD
            Volume Name:           Macintosh HD
            Content Hint:          Apple_HFS


Despite a few reboots and leaving switched on for long periods both logged in and log out the decryption did not progress or resolve itself.  A hunt round the forums found a few others that had similar problems that had not been resolved.

The only feasible solution I found was to re-image the machine using the most excellent Time Machine.  
  1. Attach an empty external hard drive of larger capacity than the mac.
  2. Add the new drive as an extra Time machine drive.
  3. Wait until the back up competes to the new drive
  4. Check to ensure that the new backup is of the same size as the contents of the mac
  5. Unplug the backup drive
  6. Reboot machine holding  R to enter the recover console.
  7. Use disk utility to erase the main drive.
  8. Use "Recover from Time Machine backup" to restore the system. Noting but ignoring the warning about using encrypted data to restore an unencrypted drive.
  9. Restart machine once recovery is complete.
  10. Complete the OS upgrade from the AppStore.
  11. Remove the extra drive from the TimeMachine backup configuration
  12. Switch on Filevault again ( optional )
Sorry I could not find some fancy hack to free up the decryption just grateful that TimeMachine could  save the day ( again).

Friday, 18 January 2019

BBC Pointless - Four things wrong with this show.

A couple of years ago I posted these three things that are just wrong with Pointless the popular BBC TV quiz program....just adding a new one.
1) The host Alexander often goes on about how many jackpots have been won latetly as though it makes difference to the cost of running the game. Each day another £1000 is added regardless, it matters only to the contestants if the jackpot is won or not. Alexander has not done this recently (2018).
2) The mark on the descending column is at the 63/100 level and yet is half way down and should be at 50. That's just wrong.
3) In the head to head round the winner is the team with the most points. To keep with the rest of the show the team with the least points should win. Each team should start with two blobs and loose one when a round is won. The first team to lose both blobs wins the round.
4) Can't see the size of the Pointless trophy from the clips shown.
5) A fairer prize distribution would be for the final round contests to get prize fund / N where N is the lowest score from the three answers given. If finalists get a pointless answer then Prize fund/0 gives them twice the jackpot, 1 point gives them the whole jackpot. If say 5 is the lowest score then prise/5 is given.

See this handy round up of Inside Pointless information.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Broken washing machine Hotpoint BHWD129

Hotpoint BHWD129 Broken drum bearing 

We have had good service from this washing machine for about 6 years. After an incident of probable overloading a funny clanking noise was heard which sounded like a broken drum bearing. After a quick disassembly this was shown to the the cause.  The inner drum bearing has failed allowing the drum to wobble inside the plastic casing. This is a terminal fault as the drum is welded closed and cannot be dissembled.

I had forgotten how much fun it is taking stuff apart to investigate faults. The disassembly mission here was to make the machine easier to recycle and better still sell any useful looking parts on Ebay to recover the machine replacement costs.  Once up the dump, having separated the metal, concrete and electronic each was put in the correct bin. Turn out the "correct bin" is all the same bin were washing machines and parts are recycled. 

So far made £60 (-fees) selling the Door, Hinges, and switch & control panels.

Other interesting parts found inside the machine and listed on ebay.

Springs and dampers
Rubber ducting and ball valve
Waste water pump
Dryer fan and assembly
Main drum motor
Main control board
Switch panel
Inlet control things

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Euro Rant found in a message

I was sent a Euro bashing opinion piece in a message - I do know who sent it but I don't know it's origin. Just looking to see if it is fact based or rhetoric.

The overall passage reads like a speech or lecture with paragraphs starting with But, And, So "I think not" , Now and Also. The article looks like an extract from a longer set of lectures as it starts right out with three assumptions taken as fact.  Writing what you speak does not necessarily become wrong but often becomes less convincing when taken out of it's broader context.

In the text content there are lots of opinions, incorrect assertions,  co-joining of fact with unsupported allegation, statements of policy without examples and inflammatory rhetoric.  Plenty of use of "They" without definition of who they are. The piece also (strangely) praises a core achievement of the EU.

Overall quite a poor piece of anti-eu rhetoric that says in essence the "See how I say that EU is like the USSR. It therefore must be bad." Very similar (unsubstantiated) arguments about poor tiered governments could be made about the USA state and federal levels but would be no more valid.  The historical development of USSR, EU & USA multilevel governments all come from different contexts and have different democratic checks and balances.

"It controls without any possibility of opposition by representation of the people."

The author seem unaware of the EU parliament and it's oversight and scrutiny role. The poor performance of this institution in many of it's budgetary and representative duties does however explain some level of discontent with the EU.  Partly explained by this quote From 2014  "Only one in 10 UK voters say they can name a member of the European parliament in their region, and even fewer have ever contacted one".  The worsening voter turn out leading directly to poor accountability.

The complexity and decades taken to build multi-tiered governments precludes a single malevolent mind. The USSR and unmentioned China, with their expansionist policies, came about from the brutality of the post WWII dictators Stalin & Mao continued on by an un-accountable elites. Those governments in no way compare to the EU that was built from democratic governments cooperating and trying to build the world into a better place. To assert that an elite can take power unwillingly from elected representative parliaments is no better than ranting against the illuminati.

The Cato Institute has a much better considered EU critique from 2016.

For me this cartoon sums up Brexit.....

If only the EU had done more things like abolishing mobile phone roaming charges across the EU and not taken decades to act on structural problems such as the :
 The size of the EU budget and how member states spend that money, inevitably leads to accusations of wastage and "pork barreling"

I do feel conflicted, the more you look to see how the EU operates and fails to resolve problems the worse the EU becomes but casting ourselves out of the club on unresolved term is probable madness. Thinking that leaving the EU will engender positive change, as opposed to working to improve the club from the inside, is futile and classic lazy political thinking. 

========= The Text ( it's a bit shallow and unsubstantiated )  ==========

"Worth a read: Over the last couple of days, you have heard me say talk of The European Union.

I have spoken about how it came into existence, without the consent of the people it would govern, through the direct actions of the governments and by using trickery and manipulation to overcome resistance. I have described how it is not the democratic institution it purports to be, being analogous to the Soviet system of governance, with rule by a politburo. How the only democracy allowed is also analogous to the Soviet, being a Parliament that only exists to draft legislation to enact the political decisions of the Politburo and being incapable of its own decisions. And I have outlined how, just like the Soviet model, it is based on centralised governance and will brook no dissent from its constituent Republics.
I would just like to conclude my critical analysis of the European hegemony by considering why The European Union exists, why it was necessary as seen in some quarters and what it ultimately hopes to become. In the aftermath of World War Two, Europe was comprised of many nations, each of which was struggling to deal with the legacy of the economic impact of that conflict. Also too, many nations had defaulted back to a Left-Wing ideology, politics of the Right and Nationalism having, at that time, something of a taint. This led to a series of Left-Wing governments in European nations that were at best Socialist and stretching right across to Communism.
As time passed and economies stabilised it was seen among the governments of the nations of Europe that disparity between trade regulations and customs duty hindered the effective marketing of goods across national boundaries.
Thus was the Treaty of Rome established in 1957, creating the European Economic Community, sometimes colloquially called The Common Market. It established a free-trade area right across the signatory states that removed customs duties and established regulatory parity. The effect was to treat the aggregate area of the signatory states as though it was one large domestic market. This was very useful from the point of economic growth.
But there was one other issue that was playing on the minds of two of the largest nations in Europe. France and Germany had a run of almost continual progressive Socialist governments since the war, moving towards ever deeper Socialism.
But as the leaders of these nations looked out across Europe they noticed an unsettling issue. Other nations in Europe periodically chose to elect governments of the centre-Right, whose policies would then undo the progressive Socialism of the previous administration.
They wondered if there was some way that Socialism could be locked, if there was some way the tendency of centre-Right governments to roll back their progressive policies could be mitigated. Thus the idea of a political union was born, an overarching tier of supranational government that could support socialist governments in individual nations and override centre-Right governments when they tried to apply their policies.
The European Union would be exactly this supranational state. But how could it be brought into existence? Obviously, the people themselves could not be trusted to make a decision like that. At best it would have formed a Union only of those nations that consistently chose Socialism.
But if the governments of the nations themselves could be persuaded to sign up to the Union without reference to their people, if it could be offered on the basis that it benefitted the economy, it could be done without the need for consent of the people.
So, the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 establishing The European Union was signed. With a stroke of the pen, each nation surrendered its sovereignty, submitted itself to a political construct based upon the archetype of The Soviet Union.
Now it did not matter if an individual nation did not wish to pursue a social policy, it would have it imposed upon them by The European Union. It did not matter if an individual nation wanted to establish a political treaty with a non-EU nation, The European Union would not permit it.
And it did not matter if the judiciary of a nation wished to rule on a position which would do something against the liberalist agenda of the EU Socialists, the Supreme Court of The European Union would overrule it. How could there ever have been such an all-encompassing act of treachery by politicians against their own people in recorded history? To compel them to accept the government of a Soviet-style foreign entity and to hand their own powers of government to that entity without mandate of the people.
This was HOW this Socialist hegemony, with its Politburo governance by diktat came to be. This is WHY it came to be. So that democracy, the very essence of choice to determine their own ultimate form of government could be stolen from the people and replaced with a tyranny that could decide it knew best what its Proletariat needed, what policies should regulate it, what laws should govern it.
The European Union was created without the consent of the people. It governs without the mandate of the people. It controls without any possibility of opposition by representation of the people. And where is this Union going? It’s avowed purpose is ever closer political and economic union. In other words, an ever more perfect replica of The Soviet Union. It this what the people of Europe desire. To give up control of their destiny to a European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
I think not. But there it is. The great deception that is The European Union."

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The new face of Blackmail

Got this badge now ..

The new face of Blackmail is an Email crafted to look like it came from your own account threatening to release video recorded from your own webcam whilst you were visiting a p*rn site.

This is no more real than promises of riches from a Nigerian prince but does seem to be a new trend. I had a few to/from different email addresses with similar text using different bitcoin accounts.

Bitcoin and variants used as a hard to trace
global money transfer system.
The email says "I have seen and recorded your naughty web activity from the inside of your machine and captured all your data. Pay a few hundred £ $ € into a Bitcoin wallet or all will be revealed." The use of Bitcoin wallets provides a hard to trace money laundering service. Bitcoin wallet addresses look like a string of characters such as  12ziVv4aQkZTA1gj86Y9uYQByG4CcdVcTA  This address has currently had 157 reports of abuse on the Bitcoin abuse database

The examples below include one sent from client-ip=; but other have come from Russian .ru and Vietnam .vn domains.

These are a clear and present danger to cyber folks as a review of the transaction associated with this bitcoin show inbound transactions of the amount asked for See Here

A good follow the money investigation is written here.
If you get one of these just ignore it after filing a report on

* Update March 2019 *

In an interesting twist we can see the Internet immune system is fighting back against this sort of spam. The foundation of many spam detection systems is using easily recognisable strings in order to filter spam messages. A bitcoin address is uniquely well suited to being filtered. The bitcoin address cannot be obscured using uppercase & lowercase or foreign letters because those are significant changes to the address meaning the bitcoin address would not work. An old spammers trick is to email an image of the message as a picture rather than including actual text that could be analysed and filtered. That tactic fails dismally as the instructions in the email say cut and paste the bitcoin address. Having an image of the bitcoin address rather than the actual text makes cutting and pasting impossible. In the last few messages that arrived I have seen this image tactic being used.  After receiving more than ten of these sorts of messages lose their terrifying impact.



We can also see very similar messages pimping for these bitcoin

1FihzQa76MNyGtkGDYaswgWWWCyPAKZ8ar , 
1MBmZsY5NdBc4swF6rJ8jyLatigooBUUKs ,
16ohM4oFgd4iy3SQWTptMrF6RvryYXAX9F ,

and this cluster of coins

1NkQMBosJTeN1zs1T4X3QM5BLFX24YPKys ,
12YXRfYeszfDSTzc5zH7wBbHPWpJkeSD3p ,

one has to assume that there is more than one person pushing out these scam blackmail messages.


I greet you!

I have bad news for you.
27/08/2018 - on this day I hacked your operating system and got full access to your account x@x.x
On that day your account (x@x.x) password was: 55816

It is useless to change the password, my malware intercepts it every time.

How it was:
In the software of the router to which you were connected that day, there was a vulnerability.
I first hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.
When you entered in the Internet, my trojan was installed on the operating system of your device.

After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all your contacts).

A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a small amount of money to unlock.
But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, and came to the big delight of your favorite resources.
I'm talking about sites for adults.

I want to say - you are a big pervert. You have unbridled fantasy!

After that, an idea came to my mind.
I made a screenshot of the intimate website where you have fun (you know what it is about, right?).
After that, I took off your joys (using the camera of your device). It turned out beautifully, do not hesitate.

I am strongly belive that you would not like to show these pictures to your relatives, friends or colleagues.
I think $918 is a very small amount for my silence.
Besides, I spent a lot of time on you!

I accept money only in Bitcoins.
My BTC wallet: 12ziVv4aQkZTA1gj86Y9uYQByG4CcdVcTA

You do not know how to replenish a Bitcoin wallet?
In any search engine write "how to send money to btc wallet".
It's easier than send money to a credit card!

For payment you have a little more than two days (exactly 50 hours).
Do not worry, the timer will start at the moment when you open this letter. Yes, yes .. it has already started!

After payment, my virus and dirty photos with you self-destruct automatically.
Narrative, if I do not receive the specified amount from you, then your device will be blocked, and all your contacts will receive a photos with your "joys".

I want you to be prudent.
- Do not try to find and destroy my virus! (All your data is already uploaded to a remote server)
- Do not try to contact me (this is not feasible, I sent you an email from your account)
- Various security services will not help you; formatting a disk or destroying a device will not help either, since your data is already on a remote server.

P.S. I guarantee you that I will not disturb you again after payment, as you are not my single victim.
 This is a hacker code of honor.

From now on, I advise you to use good antiviruses and update them regularly (several times a day)!

Don't be mad at me, everyone has their own work.

hello, my sacrifice.
I write you since I attached a malware on the web site with porn which you have visited. My malware grabbed all your personal information and turned on your camera which captured the process of your solitary sex. Just after that the soft saved your contact list. I will erase the compromising video and data if you pay me 800 EURO in bitcoin.
This is wallet address for payment :
I give you 30 hours after you view my message for making the payment. As soon as you view the message I'll know it immediately. It is not necessary to tell me that you have sent money to me. This address is connected to you, my system will erased automatically after transfer confirmation. If you need 48 hours just Open the calculator on your desktop and press +++ If you don't pay, I'll send dirt to all your contacts.       Let me remind you-I see what you're doing! You can visit the police station but anybody can't help you.  If you attempt to cheat me , I'll know it right away!  I don't live in your country. So no one can not find my location even for 9 months. Goodbye for now. Don't forget about the shame and to ignore, Your life can be ruined.
==================== Also in French
Bonjour, cher utilisateur de
Nous avons installé un logiciel RAT dans votre appareil.
Pour l'instant, votre compte e-mail est piraté (voir pour , j'ai maintenant accès à vos comptes).
J'ai téléchargé toutes les informations confidentielles de votre système et j'ai obtenu des preuves supplémentaires.
La chose la plus intéressante que j'ai découvert est celui des enregistrements vidéo de votre masturbation.

J'ai posté mon virus sur un site porno, puis vous l'avez installé sur votre système d'exploitation.
Lorsque vous avez cliqué sur le bouton Play on porn video, à ce moment-là� mon troyen a été téléchargé sur votre appareil.
Après l'installation, votre caméra frontale prend une vidéo chaque fois que vous vous masturbez. De plus, le logiciel est synchronisé avec la vidéo de votre choix.

Pour le moment, le logiciel a collecté toutes vos informations de contact sur les réseaux sociaux et les adresses e-mail
Si vous devez effacer toutes vos données collectées, envoyez-moi 581$ en BTC (crypto-monnaie).
Ceci est mon portefeuille Bitcoin: 1NkQMBosJTeN1zs1T4X3QM5BLFX24YPKys
Vous avez 2 jours après avoir lu cette lettre.

Après votre transaction, je vais effacer toutes vos données.
Sinon, je vais envoyer une vidéo avec vos farces à tous vos collègues et amis !!!

Et désormais, soyez plus prudent!
Visitez uniquement les sites sécurisés!
Au revoir!

================  A common version

Hi, your account was recently infected! Modify your password right away!
You may not heard about me and you obviously are most probably surprised why you are getting this particular e-mail, proper?
I'mhacker who openedyour email boxand devicesseveral months ago.
It will be a time wasting to try to msg me or seek for me, it's impossible, because I directed you a letter from YOUR account that I've hacked.
I have developed malware soft to the adult videos (porn) website and suppose you have spent time on this website to have fun (you understand what I mean).
During the time you were watching vids, your internet browser began to act as a RDP (Remote Control) that have a keylogger which gave me access to your desktop and network camera.
After that, my softwareaquiredall information.
You have wrote passcodes on the sites you visited, I sniffed them.
Surely, it's possible to modify them, or already changed them.
But it really does not matter, my spyware renews it regularly.
And what I have done?
I compiled a backup of your device. Of all the files and contacts.
I got a dual-screen videofile. The 1st part shows the clip you had been watching (you have got a good preferences, haha...), the 2nd part demonstrates the video from your own webcam.
What do you have to do?
So, in my opinion, 1000 USD is basically a good price for this small riddle. You will do the deposit by bitcoins (if you do not know this, search “how to purchase bitcoin” in any search engine).
My bitcoin wallet address:
(It is cAsE sensitive, so just copy and paste it).
You have only 48 hours in order to make the payment. (I built in an unique pixel to this email, and from now I understand that you've read this email).
To trackthe reading of a letterand the activityin it, I usea Facebook pixel. Thanks to them. (Everything thatcan be usedfor the authorities should helpus.)

In the event I do not get bitcoins, I will immediately give your videofile to all your contacts, such as relatives, colleagues, etc?