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Showing posts from May, 2005
Jedi News

For any potential Jedi Masters, of which there seem to be many, try your skills with a selection of light sabres on this website:


Thanks to the Red Arrows who gave Charlotte a small display on request this afternoon.

Originally uploaded by DrMoores.

We were coming back towards Manston, when I heard them returning on the same frequency, clearing the skies ahead of them as they hurtled at low level down the Thames Estuary towards Thanet.

"I've got a ten year old fan in my right hand seat", I told them and the Manston controller, "Do you mind if I position over the lakes and watch you come in?"

"Alright", said 'Red One', stay eight miles clear to the south and we'll do a fly-by", and they did, along the Manston runway and then up vertically, breaking in a starburst in front of us.

Charlotte says "Thank you!" PS.. Don't forget that the Red Arrows will be among the aircraft displaying at next month's Thanet Airshow.
ID cards May Cost £300 Per Person

When the previous Home Secretary David Blunkett, first attempted to place its proposal for its ID card legislation before Parliament, I thought that the many technical, fiscal and civil liberties objections presented a sound platform for its rejection. At no time, for example, did Government risk debating its plans on any of the platforms offered outside Parliament and in one example, a year ago, at the London School of Economics, (LSE) nobody from the Home Office appeared to sit alongside Conservative Shadow, David Davis, David Cameron, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, Liberty, Statewatch, The Law Society, The Information Commissioner, The Muslim Council of Great Britain, Ross Anderson and many more leading figures in the privacy and identity space.

At that meeting, I wrote: “Never, have I seen a pillar of Government policy look so demonstrably fragile and flawed. Neatly dissected by the opening arguments of the Shadow Home Secretary and th…
First Production Issue of The NetCrime Report

In this week's first production broadcast of the Netcrime Report, we hear from Richard Starnes, the UK President of ISSA, Philip Virgo, Secretary General of the all-party Parliament-Industry Group, EURIM and Graeme Pinkney, Head of Threat Intelligence for Symantec in Europe followed by a round up of the computer crime stories that figured most prominently over the last week.

The RSS/XML feed to post into iPodder or any other RSS media aggregator is


If internet crime interests you, then I'm trying an experimental broadcast or webcast on the subject at a new website, . At present you'll only find the short pilot episode and Podcast, but I'm working on a much longer episode one, with inetrviews, this week and it should be up on Friday with luck.
The Weald's Favourite Airline

It came as a surprise. Walking onto the apron at Manston with the other passengers for EUjet’s flight to Dublin, we walked past the two Fokker 100 jets and on towards the squat-looking Airlinair ATR 42-500 turbo-prop aircraft that I had previously wondered about, tucked-away in the corner.

Photo of the ATR taken at Dublin - Not Manston.

Can I take a photo I asked our escort? “No” she replied, “Security”, and I nodded knowingly, EUjet having confiscated my blunt nail scissors half an hour before.

Where the BAA have now re-allowed blunt nail scissors to be carried on passenger flights, EUjet, which has it’s aircraft under an Irish registration, is still bound by Irish regulations, so no scissors or anything vaguely metallic or pointed that may pose a security risk to the aircraft or its crew.

I recently interviewed EUjet boss, Stuart McGoldrick for Airliner World and knowing a number of people, management and crew at the airline, I have been asking EUjet if …
Endless Surprises

Just back from speaking at the Irish Software Association's annual conference in Dublin, to discover that my old friend, Ed Gibson, has been appointed as the new Microsoft Chief Security Advisor in the UK, to replace the energetic and affable Stuart Okin, who went to Accenture at Christmas.

Sol Gradman of the High Tech CEO Forum, Minister Michael Ahern TD and Simon Moores

Ed began his FBI career in 1985 as a Special Agent, tackling cross border organised and white-collar crime, terrorist financing and fraud in the financial, illegal drug and healthcare sectors. As a Supervisory Special Agent between 1995 and 2000, he was a nationally recognised expert in asset tracing and confiscation, money laundering, intellectual property theft and financial crime. From 1993 to 1995, as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, he prosecuted federal money laundering and asset-conviscation cases for the FBI.

Well done Ed. This put's a whole new slant on Microsoft's eCri…
Rise of 'HomoiPodi' challenges IT, says Gartner According to the Gartner analysts, there's a wide assortment of major forces that will have the potential to disrupt markets and create new opportunities. Here are four of them: Global micro business: large numbers of low income individuals are set to become "consumers" in emerging economies. Each year, India adds 20-30 million consumers enabled by mobile handsets. Green field business: as the business application technologies of the Internet era mature and integrate and far more effective business operating models become possible. (i.e. JetBlue, Tesco, ING Direct, Proactive transparency technology: foisting transparency on companies faster than most management cultures can adjust. Design innovation: Combining aesthetic design with IT will be a major source of customer value and market disruption over the coming decades as the Apple iPod example has demonstrated. Another major takeaway for IT leader…
Technology 'Baffles Old and Poor'Older and lower income people are still excluded from digital life and industry must look more closely at their needs, says UK communications watchdog Ofcom. [via BBC News ]
MP3 File

Wizards of Technology

In an earlier column for The IT Portal, “The Death of Radio”, I wrote about the impact of Podcasting on modern technology’s oldest communication’s medium, wireless. Since then, I’ve been taking a few tentative steps of my own in adding a Podcasting feature to my Weblog.

Podcasting today is where MP3 was in 2000. I can remember discussing the potential impact of music sharing technologies on Sky News at about that time and it was characterised by Napster and a kind of new musical frontier that was best understood and exploited by those under the age thirty. I still have my original Diamond Rio MP3 Player, which looks a little underpowered, at 64Mb against the 12 GB of my Creative Media Player today.

The arrival of the Apple iPod and its imitators has of course “kicked-off” another technology frenzy and very soon, photography will be added to the mixture and even more opportunities for innovation will start to appear.

Podcasting isn’t quite a seamless experienc…
That Monday Feeling

This morning, I'm depressed.

Government on both sides of the Atlantic appear hell-bent on the road towards the introduction of ID cards and the gradual introduction of a police state and democracy isn't what it used to be under either Government.

Ken Clarke, seriously imagines that as a leader of the Conservative Party, he might attract the affection of the voters - think again and Microsoft is launching its own Windows security service - see story below -

Even Star Wars Director, George Lucas appears to have seen the parallels with the politics and decline of the Roman Empire - not Ken Clarke though - in an interview he's just given. I think it's time for me to move to a "yurt" - felt tent - in outer Mongolia and put it all behind me but I can't, as I'm registered for VAT and PAYE, so I can't leave the country for more than three months at a time and without an ID card, they won't let me back in again if I return!

A first Pod c…
Microsoft Unworried by OSS Schools Report
The long-awaited report on the use of open source software (OSS) in schools was published today by Becta, the Government's lead agency for ICT in education. As expected, the report concludes that OSS can offer a "cost effective alternative" to proprietary solutions. But it also cautions that an OSS implementation needs careful planning and support [via The Register]
The Irish Software Economy

A very pleasant dinner last night at the Irish Embassy in London, hosted by Ambassador Daithi O’Ceallaigh and the country’s Minister for International Trade, Michael Ahern T.D.

Ireland, the “Celtic Tiger Economy”, Ahern tells me, exports £1 billion of IT goods annually with a further £240 million of services, in 2004, up 8% on the year before. Of course, one of Ireland’s principal trade partners is the UK, with a balanced two-way trade of £20 billion and an overall IT spend of £74 billion, which Irish companies would like a share of, in areas like our National Programme for IT.

Ireland is a member of the “Three I’s Club”, India, Israel and Ireland, each one wishing to be a significant global player in the IT development, production and service sectors and Ireland happens to be the largest exporter of software in the world, because so many large companies base their European production operations in the country.

I’m speaking at the Irish Software Association’s an…
Major Survey Finds SMEs and Older People Disconnected from Technology

Ministers' ambitions to make the UK a world-leading knowledge economy have received a reality-check from research showing that the digital revolution has bypassed much of the population.

eGov monitor
An Open Source Moment

I’m having an Open Source moment, again!

This week our re-shuffled government will have to ponder the news from the British Educational Communications and Technology Association (BECTA) that UK primary schools might save as much as half of their IT budget by moving to Open Source software Secondary schools may reportedly save as much as a quarter of their considerable IT spend if they went the same way.

Elsewhere, Open Source is beginning to gain small footholds in local government and eGov monitor reports that software, described as "significant advantage" for councils from the cost/benefit perspective, is now available to help establish up online forums focused specifically on local issues at little to no cost. Two pilot projects, Brighton & Hove Council and the London Borough of Newham are using the Groupserver software under the GPL license, to host online forums where citizens and public leaders can join in debate about important local issues.

But …
Why Corporate Blogging Works.

The other day somebody asked me to explain why corporate blogging works. Sure, we know it's the hot new thing and people are paying attention to it (including big media)... but why? [via gapingvoid]
Moving Targets
Fraudsters deploy Botnets as DNS Servers to Sustain Phishing Attacks Hacker-controlled botnets are running their own DNS nameservers on compromised computers, complicating the task of shutting down malicious sites.Botnets controlled by fraudsters are running their own DNS nameservers on compromised computers, complicating the task of shutting down malicious sites. The technique can keep phishing sites accessible longer by making the nameservers a widely distributed moving target amongst thousands of compromised machines within a bot network. [via Netcraft]
China A Huge Source of Spam
Crime time for Chinese net users Life online for Chinese people is quite different to that of the West say experts. Around 20% of the world's hijacked computers sending out spam, attacking websites and hosting unsavoury material are in China, says a report. The figures, from security firm Ciphertrust, come amid spiralling rates of internet use in China. China already has the second biggest net-using population in the world, even though only 8% of its people go online. [via BBC News ]
E-Government Worsening Digital Divide?

Will putting more government services online actually worsen the digital divide?

This is the implication of research into the impact of online school admissions systems, which warns there's a risk that only the parents who are already comfortable with the internet are likely to use them.
ISA Conference 05: Winning Strategies

On May 19 the Irish Software Association (ISA) holds its annual conference at Croke Park in Dublin. But this year, in many ways, is crucial for the simple fact that the Irish economy is faced with some stark international realities.

The theme of this year's ISA conference is "Winning Strategies." One of the premier events in the software and information technology calendar it is an excellent opportunity for software companies to meet with peers and discuss today's challenges in developing and selling software, as well as listening to high calibre international and Irish presentations.

The conference will give a global picture of emerging opportunities for the Irish software industry. It will also address in detail the strategies that must be deployed to allow Irish software entrepreneurs to develop successful software companies of significant scale.

Simon Moores will discuss how Irish software businesses remain ahead of the curve. a…
UK Schools Could Halve IT Spending by Dumping Microsoft ?

Open source schools save millions

UK PRIMARY SCHOOLS could halve their IT budgets it they stopped buying Microsoft software, research carried out by the British Educational Communications and Technology Association (Becta) suggests. Schools spend around £1 billion on IT equipment and software each year. The Inquirer
Blown Away

Today was supposed to have involved a trip to Antwerp in the Stampe SV4, with friend Terry, for a fly-in to celebrate the 60th anniversary of VE day. Thanks however to a nasty-looking occluded weather front sitting off the edge of Holland, we are going nowhere and even getting off the ground on Sunday morning for a second attempt to make the airshow, looks decidely "iffy."

It's intensely frustrating, sitting here when you know there's a BBQ and a party to go to only ninety minutes away, around the edges of several thunderstorms which would turn the aircraft into confetti before dropping it in the English Channel.

We'll have another look in the morning and if that doesn't work, there's the Spanhoe show up towards Corby which I have an invitation to. Meanwhile, thunder and rain is battering my window again and the trees in the garden are the only things in danger of flying this afternoon.
Red Letter Day

Just back from towing Labour and UKIP's election banner around Kent and narrowly avoided being shot at by the farmers below!

Today is the last day of election madness and it's really now a question of counting the votes that will lead to an historic third term for Tony Blair and very probably, a first term for Gordon Brown; perhaps as early as Christmas, as several of the political pundits are suggesting. Something to look forward to then?
Red Banner Fleet

The howling gale outside may keep the voters away from the polling stations on Thursday. If you visit the very good Theyr weather site you can see an animation of tomorrow's weather which looks rather much like today in Kent but with the wind a little less strong.

"Watch out for Tory anti-aircraft fire over Canterbury boys"

If we can get off the ground in the morning, I'm allegedly towing both the UKIP and the Labour Party election banners with Airads. This has already caused a few moments of humour today I'm told by pilot Bob Shilling. Apparently Birmingham Control asked him what he was towing and he told them, "The Labour party election banner", At which the controller replied: "Clear Off out of my airspace then", a non-standard ATC phrase, which apparently prompted some chuckles and comments from the pilots of other aircraft flying into Birmingham and Coventry airports on a rather dull Wednesday afternoon.

Pilot Bob has been aw…
Brits Fall Prey to Phishing

One in 20 Brits have lost money to some sort of online scam such as "phishing", according to research commissioned by AOL UK.

Half of those surveyed by pollsters YouGov said they had received "phishing" emails which attempt to trick people into handing over personal information such as bank account details and passwords.

The survey of 2,000 net users found that five per cent had fallen victim to scams and had lost out financially. Half of victims received no compensation from their banks while one in ten is still waiting for the matter to be resolved.

The Register
Welcome to the Internet

German Police estimate from internet exchanges that there are 204 Germans ready to be slaughtered to feed a cannibal, 13 are ready to watch such an act and 29 would like to eat a human being.

Times Online:
A Letter from Iraq

Letter of the day goes to a Mr Arthur Nelson, allegedly serving in Iraq.

Arthur writes: "I am presently serving in Iraq with a coalition army. I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $17, million to your country or any other safe country of your choice, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here."

He adds: "Some money in various currencies was discovered concealed in barrels with piles of weapons and ammunitions at a location near one of Saddam's old palaces during a search and rescue operation, and it was agreed by the members of my unit present that the money be shared amongst us, this was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives for the course of freedom, and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for us, so with the help of a contractor with a British security company working here, I was abl…
Immortality Inc

It’s a presentation to the management board of one of one of the UK’s best known brands and I’m dusting-off my old Rubik’s Cube that had been occupying a place of honour in a box in the attic.

Budget Zen Garden

The talk has me trying to predict how new and evolving technology will impact their online business in the next three to five years and the Rubik’s Cube is a stage “Prop” I’m using to illustrate the interaction between the six key trends that I believe will play a part in their business planning.

I’ll admit that I never managed to solve Rubik’s three-dimensional puzzle as I was older than twelve when it first appeared. But if you stick labels with “Web Services”, “Security”, “Storage” and three more issues on the six sides of the cube and then imagine rotating the sides in a Rubik shuffle, you may grasp more clearly what I mean.

In reality and for any business now relying on technology, I’m now up to eleven dimensions which rather illustrate the complex nature of the…
Thanet - The New Dubai?

More frenzied election coverage this morning with Labour and the Lib Dems throwing rocks at each other while the Conservatives enjoy the spectacle.

Labour are of course making the economy a central theme of their campaign but what worries me is that none of the parties are addressing the real future of our economy because it’s too frightening for the voters and Europe, not just the UK, has no solutions beyond the text of the Lisbon Agenda and a number of straws to clutch at.

Very briefly, we can see the evidence in the demise of Rover, the collapse of Marconi and thousands of other companies over the last decade. I’ve been on the news a couple of times to talk about the outsourcing of jobs and manufacturing to India and the Far East but it was Ben Verwaayan, the Chief Executive of BT who said at a meeting before Christmas:

“In Bangalore, I visited a campus with 15,000 young people, with an average age of 24, average month’s salary, five hundred dollars, and average…
Abingdon Away Day

I was sneaking out of house on my motorcycle early this morning, when a passer-by on a mountain-bike stopped and asked: "Are you not Blogging this morning then?"

I wondered if it was the motorbike that had given my identity away but it turned out that it was a local reader, Keith Smith, who had been introduced to Thanet Life by his neighbour, Barrie Smith. "I'm off to the Abingdon airshow", I replied, which is where I've been all day, staggering home again at 7PM after flying over there and back via Rochester for fuel, in Terry Brown's fabulous Stampe SV4 biplane.

With Terry Brown in the Stampe

Now with the registration G-BRXP, it started life as a French Stampe SV4A before being assigned to the Armee de L'Aire as a trainer. In 1955, it moved to St Yan (SFASA) a special aerobatics unit, with a distinctive red and yellow colour scheme in which it is painted today.

Between 1956, its first major overhaul and 1961, it served with the Patroi…