Posts Tagged ‘cheat’

Cheating mobile step counters

Monday, May 4th, 2015


Got involved in an inter-agency stepping competition using an app-based pedometer. It seemed kinda accurate but inevitably, my curiosity drifted towards trying to figure out how to automatically gain steps while watching TV.

Cue my trusty Arduino, a small RC car servo, some blu tac and some precisely tweaked variables. Took a while to find the optimum ‘swing, pause, swing back’ timings. Too quick and it didn’t register the pauses either end. Too slow and it didn’t think it was a complete step. Eventually arrived at the Goldilocks setting. Just right.

Here’s the result. Works with a FitBit too btw.

Cookie Clicker – iPhone ‘cheat’

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

I like my cheats a bit old-skool so came up with this way of getting up to 50 clicks per second using a small solenoid to move your finger for you! Lazy? Yes. Cunning? Yes. Practical? No, not really. But hey, it’s only clicking a cookie.

Here’s the science… I used a small solenoid controlled via an Arduino board connected to my computer to ‘tap’ my finger. Took about 10 mins to put together with the help of this great tutorial on Instructables, and even uses the built in basic ‘Blink” Arduino demo code. Easy!

This example is a bit clunky but when you hit the sweet spot, it’s doing 50 clicks per second. More if you tweak the code. In fact, the app hangs it clicks so fast!


UPDATE: I original solenoid in this video was quite weak and didn’t have a return spring (I had to improvise one), so I ordered a new one of Ebay described as “DC 5V 1.1A Pull 5mm Stroke 50GF Force Open Frame Solenoid Electromagnet“. Try searching for that if you want one too. Cost about £3.60 and looks like this…

Incidentally, I did try to make a ‘false finger’ using an old Nerf dart covered in that anti-static bag stuff, but in the end, a real finger was much more reliable. And yes, you could just edit the plist, but where’s the fun in that!

Right, back to doing important things…

O2 Insurance – Full of Niggles and Narks

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I’m in day 1 of what’s turning into a very painful process with O2’s insurance sub-contracted call-centre, The Listening Company. The irony of their name will become apparent. I also note with irony O2’s new ‘PR’ campaign “Banishing the Narks and Niggles”… doing away with underhanded practices and cheating customers. Oh dear…

So, a short history. I’m a business customer with O2. I swapped from Vodafone to get an iPhone early 2009. My iPhone appeared with a big crack one day, March time maybe. I keep it in my back pocket and must have sat on and cracked it… or it was in bag and got trodden on. Either way, it didn’t look good. The metal rim split and the screen popped off. I snapped it back in and soldiered on with fluff a crumbs accumulating under the touch screen for a few months until  I figured enough is enough, let’s try that expensive insurance and get this sorted. At this point I should say I’ve been paying for insurance since 1997 and never claimed a penny. So this was my first time.

I call O2. All good. They transfer me to The Listening Company. 45 mins later, still on hold, now 6.25pm I give up.

Next day, I call O2. They put me through to The Listening Company. 25 Minutes later, “Fatima” picks up the call.

It went something like this:

Fatima: Did you drop your phone?

Me: Nope

Fatima: How it is damaged?

Me: It has a big crack in the case and the screen pops out

Fatima: How did this happen?

Me: I’m not sure exactly, it must have been in my pocket and I sat on it and has been getting worse over the last 4 months.

Fatima: Ok, so I’ve rejected your claim due to wear and tear. There is a plan you can buy…

No matter how much I questioned her on her reasoning for this wear and tear decision out of the blue, she wouldn’t give any information. I was expecting to have a few more questions, maybe even give a detailed description of what was wrong. But the “computer says no” Fatima had ruled. It seems “damage” automatically becomes “wear and tear” if you don’t do anything about it at the time. Clearly bonkers but the key point is that as soon a Fatima pressed the “no” button, that was it. She wasn’t authorised to unpress it. That was that. Doesn’t matter if you subsequently clear up the confusion… it’s done. On your file. Case closed.

I asked to speak to a manager. Fatima assured me there wasn’t one. After a little back and forth, she said, “If you don’t agree, you’ll have to take it up with my manager, I’ll go and get him”… silence… Me: “So you lied to me?”… Fatima : “No I didn’t. Please hold while I get him”.

So I speak to the manager who was perfectly civil and I explain what a model employee Fatima was but that I didn’t think she was helping the company’s image much. Manager explains that he will review the recorded call and let me know later in the afternoon.

Yep, you guessed it. Nothing happens..

Later that day, I call O2. They put me through to The Listening Company. 35 Minutes later, still on hold, I give up.

I’ll will update this post as and when it happens.

However, in the meantime, I thought I’d share some tips on what I’ve learnt during my first claim, other than never use O2’s insurance…
So, assuming you have insurance…

  • The insurance is dealt with by a separate company whose sole job is seemingly to not pay out a claim wherever possible. The ‘wear and tear” clause seems to be their best friend.
  • First, remember all calls are recorded and are used to settle disputes, so be nice but annoyingly specific when needed.
  • Before you start the conversation, I’d suggest you agree very specifically that you want the operator to summarise the entire claim evidence verbally before they make an assessment to double-check that you are happy that the evidence you have given is complete.
  • Once they press the ‘computer says no’ button, this can’t be undone and I assume the record stays on your file. Hence why it’s important to feel you had the chance to say EVERYTHING you felt was appropriate and they have repeated it back to you.
  • Assuming your was dropped and cracked… if they ask you ‘did you drop it’, say yes. Go straight to claim.
  • If they ask you how it got damaged, give it both barrels. Don’t give them any cause to try and call it wear and tear. Don’t lie (obviously) but it seems you have to be as blunt and dramatic as possible of jolt them out of automatically classing it as wear and tear. I.e. “It fell off the table and smashed”. DON’T say “I’m not sure exactly when it happened, I only noticed it last week, I think I may have knocked it but I do it so often, it’s hard to tell what actually cracked it”. You may be describing the same incident, but one will get a much easier path the other they will try and claim that as ‘wear and tear’ to get out of the claim.
  • Don’t dither about the timing. It seems this is one of the main contributing factors to the ‘wear and tear’ ruling. So phone up as soon as it happens to avoid being suckered.

As I say, this is my first experience so maybe this is just how it is. Heaven knows how much I’ve paid for insurance over the years and it’s dawning on me just why the insurance sector is so well paid.

It seems I’m not alone either… oh dear. Average of 1.3 out of 5.

Still, look on the positive side, I did learn something today. The Listening Company is an oxymoron.