Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Is your money safe in your bank?

Drawn by Lawrence's 5 year old daughter Maddie
Well it's been a while but I had to get this out there, please take the time to read this and pass it on to as many people as you can, Thank You, Neil

I am posting this on behalf of my good friend Lawrence Harvey to raise awareness of this issue and hopefully to prevent it happening to anyone else:

A cautionary tale of how the contents of my bank account held with Yorkshire bank was transferred into someone else’s account in less than two hours. Right under Yorkshire Bank’s nose, without them smelling a hint of rat.

I've held business and personal accounts with Yorkshire Bank for nearly thirty years. You would think they would know my spending habits like the back of their hand. But you would be wrong, they didn't question the transaction, didn't check with me, they didn't raise an eyebrow, just paid out my money to an online fraudster. You might assume after thirty years of building up a transactional history they might question sending every penny in my account to an account labelled ‘DORU D RUSU” at an undisclosed account with Barclays Bank. 

You would also assume as a trusted bank Yorkshire would have processes in place to prevent this sort of crime? That's what passwords are all about isn't it? The thieves that hacked my account with Yorkshire bank messed up the password twice, but the nice people at Yorkshire bank let them have another go, then POOOF! I was cleaned out, every penny I had worked so hard to earn gone in a flash, no money to pay regular bills, nothing left to pay the mortgage let alone feed my kids. Thanks Yorkshire Bank. Champion!

You might also assume that there would be an emergency number manned by people, should disaster happen. Well, you would be wrong. You might assume that they, and Barclays, could follow the money trail like a rat through an aqueduct. Modern banks should be able to do that financial forensics stuff, they have the technology, don’t they? Surely they can tell me where my money went? 

It all began 6 days before the online theft, on July 22nd, when I lost my internet connection. Me and the Missus are self-employed – both relying on the internet for work. So I contacted my Service Provider (Utility Warehouse) who, after a few checks with my help to test the equipment and the phone socket, announced that it was definitely a line problem, therefore BT would need to ‘sort it’ by fixing it remotely or making contact with us. 4 days went past, by which time we were pulling our hair out. By Tuesday 26th we still had no internet. We were getting desperate then, hallelujah, we had a call, supposedly from BT, who told my partner that we had been under attack, malware had probably been installed and the ‘line’ was being hacked. Someone would be back in touch to help us ‘protect’ our line. We waited, then Wednesday 27th saw a slight improvement in internet function and finally on Thursday 28th (approx 10.00am) I received a call from the BT engineer. We were on the line for about 2 hours doing ‘remote diagnostics’ before my suspicions were raised as it seemed that someone else was in control of my computer, obviously helping themselves to sensitive information on my hard drives. I know, I know… a dumb thing to do but with a memory like mine, I needed to have a list of information easily to hand – so I’d set up a word document with stuff I couldn’t remember easily. My logic was that I’d rather have that info hidden away in my computer than in a notebook that any burglar could help themselves to. Big mistake, huh?

We hoped we could stop this fraud straight away before any more damage was done. So I called the Yorkshire Bank branch, 01419587830, twice, no reply. So I then phoned their 08705 168656 number – another automated line, call back later message. Then tried their 08705 168658 number – same automated message.  Staff shortages I guess? I finally got through to a person, as opposed to a machine, a couple of hours later.  A very polite lady verified who I was with a couple of security questions and then asked me if I'd transferred £3,450 from my savings account to my current account?’ Errr… no, not me. ‘And had I then transferred £7,455 to our mysterious DORU D RUSU?’ That also wasn’t me. After all, why would I remove the entire contents of my account at the end of the month when most of my standing orders go out? She sounded worried. I was terrified.

By the end of the 28th, the Yorkshire Bank Fraud Team had traced the money to the recipient Barclays Bank. A letter has since arrived from Barclays Bank Investigations (dated July 29th by the way), which means that within not many hours of receiving the information from Yorkshire Bank, they’re already satisfied that they had complied with all regulatory requirements concerning the opening of the DORU D RUSO account and have looked into the matter ‘very carefully’ and they’ve put all that down in this letter to me. I smiled briefly at the Barclays liability-disclaimer…”a transfer you made into a Barclays account”… er, wasn’t me C. Watkins (the name at the bottom of their letter). A sliver of good news though, from C.Watkins. They were able to recover some of the funds in that account and ‘… are therefore in a position to return £2,114.65 back to the remitting account holder.’ And they’re not going to make any charges when returning the payment. And Barclays allow themselves up to 30 days to do that. That’s good, because being self-employed with two young children (aged 5 and 2) that pot of money was the only thing keeping the wolf from the door in these disastrous recessionary times. The amount of money that I lost equates to about 6-months survival if I have no work. Yorkshire Bank were very prompt in setting up an emergency overdraft for me (many thanks to the very helpful Nickie Treloar) but that won’t last forever. Friends and family have waded in with some temporary help. As our 5 year-old said “Why would anyone take our money?” Our 2 year-old looked from me to the open window (it was a warm day) and asked: ‘Did they get in through the window Daddy?’ 

Be very careful out there – you can lose the lot in a flash. 

Rant over,  and ‘Game Over’ for me and mine if I can't get Yorkshire Bank or Barclays Bank to see that they are complicit in the loss of my money. They could do more, a lot more, not just for me, but to help protect all their customers. I not only became a victim of online fraud, I also fell foul of banking practices that are not fit for today's new breed of thieves. 

Lawrence Harvey. Customer of Yorkshire Bank for more than a quarter of a century.

Please send this to as many people as you can, maybe we can stop someone else being scammed in this way.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Blog no longer updated

Hi there, as you probably released this blog is no longer being updated, but thanks for visiting.

I do write occasional articles for Redsharknews, News, Views and Know-How for the Moving Image Professional. Well worth a visit.

I am now working as a product specialist for Forscene, Professional Video Editing in the Cloud.
One day, all editing will be this way.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Supercharge your Mac Pro!!

There's life in the old girl yet
If you were a little disappointed with the announcement of the new Mac Pro at the WWDC in June and you would still like to carry on working with your Mac Pro I have some great news for you.

My friends at Jigsaw24 in the UK have put together some amazing upgrade packages for existing Mac Pro towers which will ensure that you are getting the best possible performance from your system.

These packages can be installed in any recent Mac Pro and will dramatically improve the performance of 3D packages, Adobe Creative Suite, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro and Smoke 2013.

The packages are priced as follows:

Mac Pro Booster packages

Adobe and Maya Base option
240gb SSD with 2.5" to 3.5" sled
Nvidia Quadro 4000
£659 ex VAT 
RAM is optional dependent on system 

Smoke Booster
240GB SSD with 2.5" to 3.5" sled
Nvidia GTX680 for Mac
FusionIO IOFX 420GB Memory tier for GPU
£1399 ex VAT
RAM is optional dependant on system.

DaVinci Resolve V10 Ultimate
240GB SSD with 2.5" to 3.5" sled
FusionIO IOFX 420GB Memory tier for GPU
2 x Nvidia Geforce Titan
£4799 ex VAT or £5099 ex VAT with a Blackmagic Decklink 4k card
RAM is optional dependant on system.

They can also offer 32GB of Mac compatible RAM for £250 ex VAT (4 x 8GB Modules)

If you have a Mac Pro with a GT120 card they can offer configurations with the Nvidia Titan as the main GPU.

If you compare these prices with other suppliers you will see that these are incredibly good deals. The Smoke booster package is the same price as the IOFX on it's own!

If you want more information or would like a specific quote for your system just send a mail to:

Monday, 15 July 2013

Have you ever wondered what Smoke can do?

Smokes new Trimview

I have been a user and trainer on Autodesk Smoke for over 10 years now and it's amazing to see all the developments that have happened since it was ported to the Mac.
Smoke is an "all-in-one" system that can Edit, Conform, Grade and add complex Effects to media at resolutions up to 8K and in almost any format.
The latest version, Smoke 2013 Extension 1, has a number of useful enhancements to improve your workflow, such as the new trimview which is shown above, and it also has support for Blackmagic Video I/O hardware such as the Decklink and Ultrastudio.

Trial version

You can download a trial version from the Autodesk website but it can be a bit daunting at first so I'm very pleased to announce that I will be presenting a webinar at 12:30 BST (thats 11:30 GMT) on Tuesday July 16th.
I will be running through the basics of Smoke and also showing some of the new features in Extension 1. 
You can sign up for the webinar here
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nvidia have released new drivers for OSX 10.8.4

Nvidia have released new graphics drivers for OSX 10.8.4 which includes a new driver preferences panel, performance improvements and bug fixes.

The update includes support for the following cards:

GeForce 600 series:
GTX 680 for Mac

GeForce 200 series:
GTX 285 for Mac

GeForce 100 series:
GT 120

GeForce 8 series:
8800 GT

Quadro series:
K5000 for Mac, 4000 for Mac

Quadro FX series:
FX 5600, FX 4800 for Mac

You can download the drivers here:

and the latest version of CUDA for the Mac is here:

It should also work with PC Nvidia cards, let me know your experiences in the comments.



Wednesday, 12 June 2013

No room for upgradable graphics in the new Mac Pro :-(

Apples New Mac Pro
At the WWDC in California Apple have shown a sneak peek of their new Mac Pro desktop computer.
To say it is a radical design is an understatement, it moves away from all of the typical properties of a workstation, particularly in terms of upgradability.
Apples decision is to fix the CPU and GPU options whilst providing six Thunderbolt 2 ports for expansion.
Thunderbolt 2 will allow for storage, monitors, Video I/O and coprocessors to be easily attached but unless there is a change from Thunderbolt 1 there will not be the option to add external GPUs.
Apple have chosen two of AMDs Firepro GPUs to power the graphics. Although these are very high performance chips I'm surprised that Apple didn't go with Nvidia, I'd have loved to see a pair of Titans in there. This means there is no support for CUDA, only OpenGL and OpenCL.
Some software has been rewritten to use the AMD chips instead of CUDA, Blackmagic Resolve 10 apparently screams on the new Mac Pro, but I'm curious to see what will happen with Adobes software which relies heavily on CUDA.
I'm also sad to see the end of the old Mac Pro tower, still one of the most beautiful workstations ever made in my opinion. At least this should bring down the second hand prices :-)
I would love to get my hands on a new Mac Pro and try it out, even if it does look like it escaped from the Death Star. :-)

Let me know if you've managed to get your hands on one,

All the best,


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Apple have released Mountain Lion 10.8.4

Apple have released Mountain Lion 10.8.4 including the following updates:

The OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.4 Update is recommended for all OS X Mountain Lion users and includes features and fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including the following:
  • Compatibility improvements when connecting to certain enterprise Wi-Fi networks
  • Microsoft Exchange compatibility improvements in Calendar
  • A fix for an issue that prevented FaceTime calls to non-U.S. phone numbers
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent scheduled sleep after using Boot Camp
  • Improves VoiceOver compatibility with text in PDF documents
  • Includes Safari 6.0.5, which improves stability for some websites with chat features and games
  • A fix for an issue that may cause iMessages to display out of order in Messages
  • Resolves an issue in which Calendars Birthdays may appear incorrectly in certain time zones
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent the desktop background picture from being preserved after restart
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent documents from being saved to a server using SMB
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent certain files from opening after copied to a volume named “Home"
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent changes to files made over NFS from displaying
  • Resolves an issue saving files to an Xsan volume from certain applications
  • Improves Active Directory log-in performance, especially for cached accounts or when using a .local domain
  • Improves OpenDirectory data replication
  • Improves 802.1X compatibility with ActiveDirectory networks
  • Improves compatibility when using mobile accounts
New mention of new graphics drivers but apparently there are new AMD drivers and people running the beta reported support for the Nvidia Titan, the GTX780 and the GTX770 

Let me know if you install it on a system with a PC graphics card.