Posts

Showing posts from January, 2005
Image
Joined-Up Realities

It’s the 31st January and on the BBC Breakfast News, I watched an amused Declan Curry warn self assessment taxpayers that they had until midnight tonight to file their annual return or face a one hundred pound fine. However, said Curry, so many people are trying to access the self-assessment website that the system is unable to deal with the last minute strain, with the Inland Revenue, by way of excuse, pointing out that people had had months to submit their returns.



Now imagine if this was Amazon.Com or some other popular online site on the last shopping day before Christmas. Picture a spokesperson for the company telling angry and frustrated customers, “I’m sorry, it’s all your own fault, you had three hundred and sixty four days to do your Christmas shopping and you can’t blame us if the Website can’t cope.”

Last year, of the approximately 9.5 million taxpayers, nearly 10%, 900,000 missed the deadline and received an automatic £100 fine as a result and of course,…
Image
Clarke Pulls a Police State Out of the Hat

“I Have a Horrible Feeling That We are Sinking into a Police State.”

George Churchill-Coleman, a former head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist squad

In a speech at Cambridge in 1999, I warned that "The rights and privileges given to us under Magna Carta were being rapidly dissolved by this government." Since then, it has become even worse than I could have imagined at the time. (Simon Moores)


Salvador Dali

By violating the human rights of British citizens too, Clarke will address the finding that the law discriminates against foreigners. The new power will apply house arrest to everyone. Worst of all, it will be wielded by a politician, the home secretary.

Michael Portillo - Sunday Times
Image
Labour's "Pigs will Fly" Election Poster

Fell or was pushed?

Call me suspicious but I think there is more to the Labour Party "Pigs Will Fly" poster than a suggestion of anti-semitism.



Arguably, Labour has lost the confidence of the Moslem community in Britain for good reason. When the Government isn't placing young Moslems under house arrest without trial, it's supporting the flawed and misguided American policy towards Iraq, which has reportedly brought about the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

So what is one way to devious way recapture a small part of the disaffected Moslem vote in Britain? It may be to allude to the Jewish ancestry of the leaders of the Conservative Party, that might do the trick; quite accidentally of course.

Given the strength of Islamic feeling over the abuse of human rights in Palestine, a little anti-semitism from Labour might help recover some lost votes.

Could Labour really stoop that low? I ask you, can you…
Image
Pfizer Axes Jobs in Kent

News that Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company are to cut four hundred jobs in Sandwich, comes as a shock for many local people, as a significant chunk of the local economy "floats" on the drugs giant's influence.

The historic Cinque Ports town of Sandwich is now buried in the middle of the enormous Pfizer complex and the road from Dover has just been widened to accomodate traffic. If Pfizer gives up on Thanet and relocates to where it can find cheaper manufacturing, not only will there be a dramatic cost to the area, with thousands of direct and ancillary jobs lost but it will leave a huge industrial eysore in sitting in the Kent countryside. After all, who wants to buy a giant drugs manufacturing club on the cheap if the worst happens?


As soon as the weather clears, I might jump in the aircraft and take a few photos of the site and the "Top secret" Bronze Age archeological dig at Cliff's End in Ramsgate.
Rise of the Digital Mafia

A frightening online development is the increasing involvement of organised crime groups in internet scams. It represents a significant challenge for corporate IT to defend against as threats - particularly theft of confidential company data and denial of service attacks - are likely to increase in intensity

Computer Weekly
Image
Farenheit 911

I've been watching Michael Moore's documentary Farenheit 911 and my jaw bounced-off the floor a few times.

Knowing the Bin Ladens shouldn't be enough to damn someone, after all, I know them and they are delightful people but knowing them in the way that Moore alleges the Bush family does, is an entirely different matter, if you happen to be a President of the United States of America.



My own theory on Osama Bin Laden is that the US Administration would rather not capture him if at all possible and neither would the Saudis. Don't capture him but contain him or kill him would be more politically expedient.

A captured Osama would be far to embarrasing to place on trial, as his presence in a court of law would open up too many avenues of inquiry and many separate cans of worms for both the Saudi Government and the Bush Presidency with its divided loyalties.
Image
Remembering Auschwitz

Except that more 40% of the UK population hasn't a clue what Auschwitz the Nazi industrialisation of mass murder, was or represents! This represents a remarkable victory for our education system, mirroring the results of a recent poll over D-Day, "D wot mate?"



With more student than ever achieving Grade A GCSE results one has to wonder what on earth they are learning instead of history? They're not, it's all about social history these days I suspect and not about the ltrue lessons of history, such as the Second World War and Vietnam which repeat themselves quite happily for the benefit of uneducated men in position of power.

According to Conservative Party plans outlined today, children should be given compulsory history lessons up to the age of 16 to ensure "the survival of the British nation." David Starkey, the historian and broadcaster, welcomed the idea of making history compulsory up to 16.

"History is at least as importa…
Image
UK Tech Police: Cash-strapped and Ineffective

Doesn't make for great reading with cybercrime on the rise...


Home Secretary Charles Clarke

A senior UK high-tech crime buster has warned that his investigations are being severely hampered by a lack of money and has said funding could still be pared down further to the point that police units such as his become untenable. Silicon.com
Image
Memories are Made of This

It's somebody's birthday today. I remembered the date even if it all seems very distant now. So if you ever read this Weblog or find it by accident, here's the first verse that springs to mind, a Haiku favourite of mine.

Summer grass.
Of stalwart warriors splendid dreams
The aftermath


Image
Told You So
Blogger has been unavailable most of the day, which was quite frustrating. I came across the photo below, which says it all, I think, about Iraq. Two years ago, if you look back at this Weblog, I warned that the misguided adventure to replace Saddam would be a total disaster on a parallel with Vietnam. On the bloodiest day yet for US forces, I wasn't far wrong. Have a look!

That few people in power understood the difference between Sunni and Shi'a Islam and the religious divide in Iraq, amazes me. At best with its entrenched tribalism and secular and religious strife, Iraq looks as if it will resemble the Lebanon on a bad day. Possibly the only thing, with Iran as a neighbour, that prevented Iraq from collapsing into a religious civil war in the first place was the presence of a vicious tyrant like Saddam. I wonder if they'll offer him his old job back after the trial? The whole story of this war makes me so angry. Michael Moore's Farenheit 911 is on TV ton…
Image
A Doctor's View of the NPfIT

Can the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) deliver on the Health Secretary’s promise of better healthcare, a "service designed around the patient?"

A recent Westminster meeting of The Conservative Technology Forum heard from Parliamentarians and physicians that a radical centralisation of systems and processes is in danger of failing to recognise the needs of clinicians.


Malcolm Harbour, Michael Fabricant and Glyn Hayes

Sharing the platform with Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP and Shadow Industry and Technology spokesman Michael Fabricant MP, Dr Glyn Hayes, chair of the BCS Informatics Committee and president of the UK Council for Health Informatics Professionals, warned the meeting that a programme of such ambition and scale that refused to consult properly with health professionals. “It has”, Says Dr Hayes, “killed an innovative UK software industry for health, by squeezing out smaller expert companies and has instead given the marke…
Image
Computerising the Chinese Army
Information Systems in the NHS

The NHS is now the second largest employer in the world (the Russian Army has shrunk). The current National Plan is the largest civilian computer project in the world, ever. The UK public sector and many of its suppliers currently have a serious credibility problem with regard to the delivery of large programmes. There has been widespread neglect of the people disciplines necessary for success: beginning with clarity of objectives, priorities and responsibilities.


Andrew Lansley MP, Michael Fabricant MP,Malcolm Habour MEP and Dr Glyn Hayes, BCS

Read the report from centre-right "Think-tank" Aediles and The Conservative Technology Forum:

Computerising the Chinese Army - Information Systems in the NHS - Adobe PDF File.

March of the Spiders - Policy Challenges for Intellectual Property Legislation in the Digital Age

Below is a link to the Release version (11) of "March of the Spiders" Please click on the link below to download the document which is published under a Creative Commons licence.

The first review of the work can be found at Silicon.Com

Should you have any problems downloading this file which is over 1mb, please let me know by email.

Download March of the Spiders as an Adobe Acrobat (5.0) PDF file
Online eBay Criminals Could Cost You More Than You Bargained For

eBAY, the internet auction website, is at the centre of an online scam perpetrated by criminals using software that records their victims’ details.

Gangs, thought to originate from Russia and Eastern Europe, were behind a number of attacks on people who were tricked into revealing their online log-in details by e-mails purporting to be from eBay or internet banks.

Times Online
Image
Sea of Souls

I wanted to write this down somewhere while I still remember. I was just watching the BBC drama "Sea of Souls", which figured a story surrounding regression or reincarnation. It reminded me of an experience at University in the states twenty-five years ago.



At the time, I had a popular party sideline as a stage hypnotist as a consequence of my motivational psychology studies. And one of the thing that my fellow students used to ask me to do, was to hypnotise them to help them study for exams. Believe it or not, it used to be quite effective on some. I would put them under with their study materials for half an hour or so and they found that the single-minded concentration helped. Then one evening, with a young woman called Cathy, I chanced upon the phenomena of "spontaneous regression."

Cathy, a twenty-two year old from rural Maine, was one of those people, roughly ten percent of the population, who scored highly on what is called "The Stanford Sus…
Image
The Hughtrain

Why do we buy iPods or Harley Davidson motorcycles? "The primary job of an advertiser is not to communicate benefit, but to communicate conviction."

The "Hughtrain" is a must read Weblog: "It’s no longer just enough for people to believe that your product does what it says on the label. They want to believe in you and what you do. And they’ll go elsewhere if they don’t."


I SpyA Review of Microsoft's Anti-Spyware ToolsMatthew Fordahl has written a review of Microsoft's anti-spyware tool and has declared it, in a word, 'ineffective.' Though the methodology isn't carried out completely (he uses another anti-virus program after trying MS's tool, but doesn't do the same with the anti-spyware tool), it's a fairly good anecdote on the MS product's usefulness."
Image
Hatz Off

I've been taking advantage of the weather and flying around this morning taking photos over Kent.

First off, before flying towards Hastings and then a coffee at Lydd, was a shot of Chris Knight's "Hatz" biplane with the pilot wrapped-up against the cold. I had to scrape the ice from my own aircraft before getting going.



Then is was back over the Isle of Thanet, where I live and which looks set to become another one of the Government's "Housing Hotspots."

You can see from the map that the area between Canterbury and Ramsgate, figures in the government's plans to build thousands more houses, without regard to local infrastructure, such as sewage, roads, schools and above all jobs.



If you drive or indeed fly around the island, as I do, the amount of building is now noticeable. You can see the devastation now taking place in Westgate at what used to be St Augustine's, The Abbey School, where I once taught many years ago. The gardens which on…
Image
A Living God

Watching the inauguration of George W. Bush, I was struck by the uncomfortable parallels with ancient Rome. First you had "Augustus" Bush and then there was "Tiberius W.Bush and next, I assume, it will be Jeb Gaius (Little Boots) Bush -.

For those of you who didn't read Latin at school, Caligula means "Little Boots" a nickname given to him by the legions as a small boy - The son of Germanicus - and their mascot before he went stark raving mad.



Anyway, it all made me remember the scene in the BBC production of "I Claudius", when Caligula confronts his uncle Claudius:

"Haven't you noticed anything different about me?"
"the light from your face Lord, I could read by it"
"Anything else?"

Claudius stuttering..."Forgive me Lord I should have noticed immediately, you've become a God."

That's America for you I suppose. It's changed rather alot since I went to University there. Like my own co…
UK.gov urged to lead fight on e-crime
The UK government has been urged to take the lead in fighting cybercrime. Parliamentary lobby group EURIM and think tank The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said yesterday that the UK has an historic opportunity to spearhead the international fight against cybercrime whose economic effects "already far outstripped that of physical crime". [via The Register]
New and Interesting Ways to Rob You Blind
Phishers learn new tricks [via ZDNet]
An Overrated Threat Perhaps? - Evil Twins

'Evil twin' fear for wireless net People using wireless high-speed net are being warned about fake hotspots called "evil twins". [via BBC News]
Image
A Cup of Cocoa

I’ve been pretty unsuccessful in finding a subject to write about today although there’s plenty to think about. Last night I had dinner with our UK head of eGovernment, Ian Watmore – among others – at an awards ceremony. I did rather buttonhole him on the subject, poor chap but then it’s a subject that is guaranteed to stir strong feelings. I may write a little more on the subject soon.



On the way home to the coast from Victoria station, late that night, a large African lady in cultural dress and three young children, joined me and one other person in the carriage. The children were tired but playful and I immediately guessed, that like other journeys from Victoria, they were along for the ride, on “The Train to Nowhere”, which stops at Ramsgate but discharges it’s passengers from distant shores on to the streets of Margate and into the welcoming arms of the Nayland Rock and other refugee processing centres in the area.

What I wondered were they doing travelling at this …
Image
A Slip and Trip SocietyStudents face 'stark inequalities'There are big variations in how many children from different neighbourhoods go to university, a report says. The most advantaged 20% are up to six times as likely to enter higher education as the least advantaged 20%.But is this a big surprise? The Government and BBC's use of "Advantaged" smacks of an unhealthy socialist regard for what "Advantaged" often means. It can for me and many of my friends, involve scraping and saving to send a child to a private school in a search for a better education rather than a wide-screen television and it can mean the defense of values that hold literacy and numeracy and even an appeciation of art, ahead of supporting Manchester United and the Big Brother House.



Of course there's a social and demographic gap. There always has been. I was told recently that the compensation culture also has a visible demographic mark. A lawyer told me that well-defined areas of…
Image
Best Photo Share SitesPhoto Sites Share and Share Alike - Here's a roundup of four of the best. Today, nearly everyone has a digital camera or camera phone and many new online services offer varying features for people who want to share their pictures, post them to blogs, or tag or comment on others' photos.

Here's a roundup of four of the best of these services. [via Wired News]
The Year of Linux - Again!Linux Getting Harder To CrackLinux systems are getting tougher for hackers to crack, security experts have reported today," summarizing "A study conducted by the Honeynet Project has found that it takes about 3 months before a unpatched Linux machine will be owned, compared with about 72 hours in the past. According to a report on the study default installations are now more secure with less services enabled by default, added to this is newer versions of software such as OpenSSH being more secure. Interestingly Solaris 8 and 9 did not fair so well."
Image
If You need Good Advice on eGovernment...

The trend to devolution is pulling in completely the opposite direction to the central technology programmes There is a contradiction in the government's thinking that threatens to add to the woes of public sector IT implementations. On the one hand is the New Labour philosophy of regionalisation.... continued in (Computing Magazine)



Ask the dog in the hat. It's what I do and you'll get more sense out of him than many politicians, who rather than seeing a bottomless pit of expenditure imagine a "Shangri La" world of joined-up, efficient and cost effective public services. Well, some of them work but mostly in Local Government as we will see in the annual awards ceremony this month but the dog's rather bored expression says it all about Central Government I think.

PS... Microsoft has created a new role: National Technology Officer (NTO). The post's remit is to oversee the development of the software giant's strat…
A £100m bill follows NI IT problems
Government plays catch-up to notify pensioners of deficienciesProblems caused by computer failures on the Inland Revenue's National Insurance Recording System 2 (NIRS2) will cost £100m to rectify.The government is undertaking a huge catch-up exercise notifying state pensioners... Read the full article[via Computing.co.uk]
Lessig on Copyright Extension
Lessig On Copyright Extension Double Billing There isn't much new here if you've heard Larry Lessig talk before, but he puts together a succinct explanation for why copyright extensions don't make sense, pointing out that the point of copyright is to encourage creative works -- so once they've been created, it's hard to see how extending the protection to those works increases the incentive to produce works that have already been produced. Obviously, the protection at the time of creation was enough to inspire the creation. To him, it's "double billing" the public, who has already paid the price of granting monopoly rights to the creator. He argues, persuasively, that if they must extend copyrights, why can't it just be for works that still have commercial value? The vast majority of older works have no commercial value under copyright any more, but could have some if they were moved to the public domain. Unfortunately…
Domain Hijacks - New Trend?
ISP fights for return of hijacked domain    - Told you this might happen one day. [via ZDNet]
Man Accused of 'Zombie' Web Blitz

A man has been arrested on suspicion of launching attacks over the internet after an operation between Scottish police and the US Secret Service

The searches were carried out by officers from the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency's (SDEA) National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.

They were part of Operation Casper, a joint investigation which has concentrated on what are known as "denial of service attacks". BBC NEWS :
Image
A Coldwellbanker Day in Hell

It’s a sad fact of life that while the United States, Europe and many other countries are fighting to control unsolicited email (Spam) through legislation, a great many others are doing absolutely nothing and provide a legal safe haven for the spammers.


Would you buy a Timeshare Hotel from Ahmed Eltahawy?

I’m particularly annoyed by the activities of a real-estate company with offices in Egypt, http://www.coldwellbanker-eg.com/coldwellbanker/nu/eng/index.asp and their sales representative a Mr Ahmed Eltahawy - ahmed.eltahawy@coldwellbanker-sharm.com who persists in bombarding me with offers to buy timeshare units at a hotel in Sharm El Sheikh City. How they found my name, I don’t know but I can see they are pushing their bulk email through an address wezyeltahawy@yahoo.com

I'm sure that Coldwellbanker are a reputable international company who would be shocked by the unrestricted use of spam marketing and I warned Mr Eltahawy by email that if he continued …
Image
No Responsibility Only Quangos

Among the list of 168 “Quangos” that an incoming Conservative government has pledged to scrap, one in particular caught my attention, The Central Sponsor for Information Assurance (CSIA), which while helping to protect the country’s communications and IT infrastructure, the party claims, “overlaps the work of other bodies”, principally the NISCC, the National Infrastructure Coordination Centre, I assume.


That Top-heavy Quango Feeling

The Conservatives have been relatively astute in spotting that the CSIA, a legacy of the now defunct Office of the e-Envoy and a department of The Cabinet Office appears to have achieved very little in its short history of alleged quangoid existence. Apparently, its role: “Provides a central focus for information assurance in promoting the understanding that it is essential for government and business alike to maintain reliable, secure and resilient national information systems.”

Given that the people of the United Kingdom no…
Image
Happy Birthday Charlotte M.

Charlotte Moores has a special message from her friends towed by Airads, above her 10th birthday party at the AMF bowling centre in Margate



Charlotte who attends Charfield School in Westgate, is seen below with a close friend who prefers milk to orange squash.



Image
Malware, Spam Prompts Mass Net Turn Off

Both beginners and veterans are finding the Interweb experience so repellent that they're disconnecting in droves, blaming malware and spam. Despite an overall increase in numbers of humans connected to the internet, the mass turn-off is beginning to hit ecommerce in the United States.

"Instead of making life easier — the essential promise of technologies since the steam engine — the home PC of late has made some users feel stupid, endangered or just hassled beyond reason," writes Joe Menn, who penned the definitive book on the Napster phenomenon..

The Register

New Apple "Poo" PC Makes It's First Appearance this week

A recent survey estimates 80 per cent of PCs are infected by malware. The speed with which an unprotected labs was infected - just four minutes - bears that out. And there's little sign of respite. Malware authors are creating 150 zombies a week!
$100m computer fraudster stole identities of 30,000 Americans

Bank accounts were plunderered by Nigerian gangsters who bought confidential data

A British immigrant who worked on a help-desk for a New York software firm has been jailed for 14 years for his part in the largest identity theft in American history.
Philip Cummings, 35, who now lives in Cartersville, Georgia, apologised to the court for downloading passwords and credit information and selling them for $30 (£16) each to a ring of Nigerian immigrants who used them to cheat about 30,000 people out of an estimated $50 million-$100 million. The federal district court in New York received statements from around 300 victims who had seen their bank accounts emptied and fake loans taken out by the Bronx-based gang.

Times Online
Spam Slows

Is Spam Growth Stabilizing? While the various spam watchers don't agree on how much spam is out there, there is some evidence that the amount of spam may be stabilizing. Of course, that could probably be explained by pointing out that the vast majority of email is clearly spam, and there's only so much higher you can go in terms of percentages. Basically, it sounds much more like spam may have reached a saturation point, rather than any evidence that spammers are giving a second thought to their chosen profession. One interesting trend is that spammers appear to be targeting corporate email accounts more than personal email accounts these days, on the theory that personal ISPs actually have done a decent job with filters -- but corporate IT departments are still a bit behind. [via Techdirt]
Image
In Absentia

"We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction." - General Douglas MacArthur

Where I wonder is the Government’s eCrime strategy?

A year ago, many of us were asking the same question and at the 2004 eCrime Congress we were given every reason to expect it would appear “Soon” but soon became the Autumn and that in turn became 2005 and still not a sign, not a word of any strategy appearing from the Home Office and I doubt now we’ll see one this side of General Election.



Should we bothered by this? I certainly think so. Confidence and trust in the Internet as a safe environment is at an all time low and hardly a day passes without some new story appearing on phishing or viruses, identity theft or fraud. In fact, the latter has become so prevalent that it’s a game everyone can play, with the arrival of “Scambaiting”, an exciting new sport for those who might be tempted to have their own back on the people who regularly send us emails from Africa and else…
Hacker breaches T-Mobile Systems, Reads US Secret Service eMail

A sophisticated computer hacker had access to servers at wireless giant T-Mobile for at least a year, which he used to monitor US Secret Service email, obtain customers' passwords and Social Security numbers, and download candid photos taken by Sidekick users, including Hollywood celebrities

The Register
Image
A Kick in the Pants

Today, I've been out with Airads, towing an advertisement for the Leicester Mercury, advertising a jobs fair in the area. A bitterly cold day with strong winds in the North of England, didn't prevent us being on time and on station as required at Leicester airfield to pick up the banner



A nice view of the Cessna 172 G-OMAC disappearing towards Leicester, dragging the banner behind it while I remained on the ground to take the photos.



This wasn't the day to take passengers up. The hurricane force winds in Scotland were generating turbulence further south and it was quite literally one of those days when you get the occasional kick in the pants or your head risks being banged against the cabin roof with the turbulence. If I hadn't been concentrating on flying the aircraft, I would quite possibly have been airsick.

Possibly one of the most difficult final approaches I've ever had, coming back into Maypole from the sea, with the wind right across the…
Image
Airport Security

I wonder if anyone can explain why my wife had her small blunt-ended bandage scissors confiscated by airline security yesterday? Obviously, she and my nine year old daughter fit the terrorist profile to the letter and while one airline tells her "They're medical scissors, that's OK", another gives her the third-degree.

It's rather like the security checks on PCs. At Heathrow T4, you don't have to turn your laptop on but at Manston airport in Kent, which a band of boy scouts could capture if they wished, PC checks are mandatory.



The reality is that airport security is open to wide interpretation and little imagination. Anyone with determination has a very good chance of smuggling a lethal weapon on-board an aircraft, even if it's a sharpened pair of chopsticks, which could kill anyone as easily as a firearm.

Meanwhile and last month, the French managed to lose a kilo of plastic explosive in someone's baggage at Paris airport. They put i…
Image
Free Culture = Communism - The World According to Bill Gates

In an interview on news.com, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates described free culture advocates as a "modern-day sort of communists" and the story is picked-up by a number of news sources, including the Guardian newspaper, with a column, "The war on copyright communists", "Bill Gates wants software patents to protect his profit, not the public."



The Guardian comments:

"Bill Gates is an intelligent man who has done a great deal of good in the world. So when he gets caught out in a bare-faced lie this should matter to all of us; and last week, when he called the opponents of American intellectual property law a "Communist" movement he was encouraging a mistake that could impoverish the entire world. "

The full interview can be found at the Web Site "Boing Boing", with the Gates quote:

"No, I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe …
Image
How to Sniff-out an Unsecured WebCam

Use this search string below with Google, and you will find dozens (hundreds?) of unsecured webcam feeds (most seem to be security cams).
inurl:"ViewerFrame?Mode="

See what the dogs are up to right here!



Here's an example that throws-up 2000 Webcams on Google.

Boing Boing: Googling unsecured webcams
Image
Death of a Cashpoint

The picture that confronted me at my local cashpoint this morning. Windows appears to crash at least once a week on this machine, based on my own experience and I can't help but wonder why?

If I had a better resolution on my phone's digital camera it would be much clearer.


Image
2005 - The Year of Cool Devices

For the information technology industry, 2005 will mark the first year of economic recovery in tandem with an exciting new wave of device convergence which will introduce the benefits of a digital lifestyle to a much wider audience than ever before.


5 Megapixel Samsung Phone

The signs are there to see. Investment funds are bullish on technology for the first time since the Internet bubble burst in 2001 and for further evidence, I’ll offer you exhibit “A”, my wife, who in the space of two weeks, has changed from being a reclusive GSM phone owner and has instead discovered the world of ‘3G’, now she has a Motorola smart phone with a digital camera and her own email address.

Do you own an Apple iPod? I don’t but I have a Creative Zen music player which seems just as good and I’m now downloading my favourite music from Tesco, Napster and MSN Music. Where Personal Computer growth has been slowed by an absence of new and exciting applications, it’s the smaller …
Image
Scambaiting - Your Chance to Trick The 419 Fraudsters

Scambaiting is an exciting new sport for those who might be tempted to have their own back on the people who regularly send those emails from Africa and elsewhere begging for help in transferring large amounts of money out of the country via your bank account.

Thousands of people fall for these scams each year but here's a website , 419Eater, devoted to fighting back against the bad guys, who most recently and as predicted, have now switched their attention to Tsunami charity fraud which you can see at the FraudAid site.


Say "NO" to 419 scammers!
Image
Eighteen - No Way!

I didn’t know whether I should laugh or not.

The three houses with their bright yellow protest banners outside had all made the same change,



It’s in the village of Hoath and they’ve protesting about the application to increase the number of flights from the Farmstrip at Maypole. Originally the application was for 25 movements a day, up from the present 12 but this caused such a ruckus that the application was recently changed to 18, which some might think is reasonable. Others may not.

So the three protestors have dutifully papered over “25” and replaced it with the number “18” in a quick cut-and-paste job.

I’m obviously biased, after all I’ve been flying this morning before the predicted hurricane hits and very bumpy it is out there too. Only one other soul dared the weather and I doubt there have been 12 aircraft movements in the last ten days in total.

The protestors appear to believe that an application for 18 flights a day means just that, when instead it’s aime…
Image
Gale Force

The gales across the country have been pretty devastating overnight and the town of Carlisle looks to be partially underwater after nine inches of rain. Apparently winds reached 128mph in the North of Scotland.

The rain missed us in the South, as the small hurricane continued out to sea to batter Denmark. There are fourteen ships sheltering from the gale in the bay in front of my window this morning. I'm guessing the windspeed must be at least sixty mph and if it gets much stronger, we may see some structural damage to buildings.



The small coaster in this first photo is so close to the shore that I was wondering if he had engine problems but he seems to be maintaining his position against the force of the wind and the outgoing tide on a very wild North Kent coast this morning.

In the second photograph you can see some of the larger vessels hiding towards Margate. In this wind, it's quite likely that my small aircraft is quite literally hovering above the ground over …