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Showing posts from June, 2005

A First Helicopter Lesson

Helicharter Manston June 2005 - Simon Moores 27
Originally uploaded by DrMoores.
My first helicopter lesson and Stuart Okin is right, it’s addictive and the aircraft, so light to the touch, it makes me look quite ham-fisted

A local success story, Helicharter, based at the Manston Business Park, held an open-evening today with a BBQ and helicopter rides for visitors and a bouncy castle for anyone who didn’t fancy a quick spin around Thanet.

With eighteen helicopters, fourteen employees and a dozen freelance instructors, Managing Director, Gary Slater, tells me that Helicharter now operates across the UK as far a Edinburgh and the Open Golf Championships, logging over five and half thousand flying hours a year across a number of different assignments which include pipeline inspection, executive travel and regular pleasure flights into the heart of London, where it now has a heliport facility in Dagenham.

Slater comments that he has yet to see any real impact from the presence of EUjet at Man…
Has Anyone Seen My Cap?

It blew off over the beach at Westgate on the photo shoot with the TG Aviation Stearman from Manston.. find it and you can claim a mystery prize.. it's got a Red Star with "Yakovelev" on the front

Lot's of photos and a short piece on this historic aircraft coming soon. In fact it's available for anyone looking for an unusual trial flight and the latest photos can be seen here.

Thanks to Mark and Tony for the fun!
Trafalgar Day 2005

Trafalgar Day Endurance
Originally uploaded by DrMoores.
HMS Endurance with the Queen on board reviewing over one hundred warships in the Solent today. Six hours flying over the top of the show gave us some interesting stories. The Lynx helicopter in the photo below was trying to push us away from the airspace above the royal party, as Endurance had strayed outside the exclusion zone on making her turn back on the second leg of the fleet review. More photos here and more of a story here! Trafalgar Review.pdf

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’ve grown a few more grey hairs since writing my last column, in part due to finding myself sitting on a Police working party on economic crime. Tony Blair has, this week, been extolling the virtues of identity cards and I’m typing this on a train as I head towards a meeting at the European Parliament offices to discuss this and other security matters.

Unlike the Prime Minister and Charles Clarke, I don’t believe that identity cards will deliver the kind of magic bullet against crime, terrorism and immigration that politicians imagine. I wish it could but for a number of well-worn technical and implementation reasons I believe we are investing too much faith in technologies that have yet to be proven on the scale that government envisages.

Cards, chip and pin solutions are a well-established technology with a strong business case to support them. I have, after all, a wallet full of such things and the financial services industry find them both useful a…
Le Touquet - A Pilot's Guide

Le Touquet Arrivals
Originally uploaded by DrMoores.

The link to my slightly cut-down version of a Pilot's Guide to Le Touquet for any visiting aviators looking for flight information, directions and good places to eat can be found below. The slide show of local photos is HERE.
A Pilot's Guide to Le Touquet

Well, I didn't get to Sandown on the Isle of Wight after all. Sitting in Thanet this afternoon you might be forgiven for thinking that the sunshine and thirty degree heat extends across the country but it actually stops this afternoon on a line from Sittingbourne to Brighton.

Just in case Al Qaeda try and nick it!

I flew as far as Bognor watching the sky become progressively darker and listening to the controller warning of a storm moving across Benbridge to Bournemouth. By the time I reached Bracklesham Bay, there was no sign of the Isle of Wight, A big island shaped object which should have been visible to the south and so preferring not to fly towards the gathering darkness out to sea, I turned-around and dropped into Shoreham, regretting it almost immediately, because the landing fee is now £16.

Coming back to Kent, there's a curtain of heavy cloud stretching up to the Thames and the forecast for late this afternoon includes a risk of hail as well as thunderstorms. We n…
Microsoft Says: Our Way Or The Spam FolderA year ago, it certainly looked like a standards battle was brewing concerning various email sender authentication techniques. While some of the different standards did eventually merge, no real standard came out of it, so Microsoft appears to be doing what it likes to do in those situations and just ram through its own standard as if it was the default. That's why Microsoft has announced that any email not using their Sender ID system will automatically be put in the junk mail folder. In other words, Microsoft is basically making its email offerings via MSN and Hotmail a lot less useful, since a lot of perfectly legitimate email is probably going to get flagged as junk. [via Techdirt]
Internal Security Attacks Affecting Banks

Internal security breaches at the world's banks are growing faster than external attacks, as institutions invest in technology, instead of employee training. According to the 2005 Global Security Survey, published by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, 35 per cent of respondents said that they had encountered attacks from inside their organisation within the last 12 months, up from 14 per cent in 2004. In contrast, only 26 per cent confirmed external attacks, compared to 23 per cent in 2004. [via The Register]
Netcrime Report June 23rd 2005

In this week's Netcrime report, from an Integralis security briefing at London's Great Eastern Hotel in London, we talk with Nigel Rix of Integralis, Tom Gillis of IronPort, Mark Sparshott of Postini,Nigel Hawthorn of Blue Coat and explore several of the key issues that they are seeing in the information security space today.


I've just found a completely new use for my Bluetooth earpiece as I paddled my kayak along the coast to Margate harbour this lunchtime.

Wrap my phone carefully in a "Stay-fresh" Tesco bag and I'm hands free all the way and able to take calls to my office, which just happens to be several hundred yards offshore at the time.

The sea today is like a Gordons gin bottle, flat calm and so clear under the boat, that there's no point going to the Cote d'Azur, as the Isle of Thanet is offering better weather this week. Along the way I spotted a number of pulsing blue and brown jelly fish, which is unusual so early in the summer. More evidence of global warming perhaps?

Margate from offshore looks quite picturesque with the beach almost empty. I managed not to drop my camera-phone overboard. Pity about the Arlington tower though.
Security Products 'Riddled' with Bugs

The number of flaws in computer security products is rising sharply and threatens to become more of a problem than vulnerabilities in the products they are designed to protect, a study by Yankee Group out Monday warns [via The Register]

A new study suggests that the biggest security threat may be holes in all of these security programs you have. It appears that malicious hackers are beginning to realize this, and are having more fun attacking the security offerings than the easy targets like your operating system and browser. Perhaps that's how these companies stay in business after they wipe out (ha, ha) whatever malware they're supposed to be wiping out: they focus on offering software to fix their own vulnerabilities. Hey, if it works for Microsoft... [via Techdirt]
Copyright Extension As A Game Of Leapfrog
The Times Online has an excellent editorial explaining copyright extension in the UK makes no sense and would actually be harmful to the "creative industries" said minister is supposed to be protecting. The arguments made in the article are mostly familiar to those who read Techdirt often enough -- though, it's still a worthwhile read. One especially amusing point, though, shows how both sides of the Atlantic seem to be justifying copyright extension by using a "leapfrog" process. That is, when the Sonny Bono copyright term extension act was put in place, part of his argument was that the US had less strict copyright protection than Europe, and we needed to extend copyright to keep things in line or else it would be "hard to do business" with our friends across the pond. Of course, the extension then went beyond what Europe had (leading to the debate today), so now one of the reasons for pushing for copyright e…
A Great Success - Flight Thanet Airshow

On the hottest day of the year so far and with almost perfect weather, the Flight Thanet Airshow, sponsored by looks to have been a great success.

I've attended a number of airshows over the years and this one was certainly good value. I had expected Margate to be gridlocked with cars and even took my motorcycle to Palm Bay but the traffic was not as bad as I expected, with ample parking and excellent marshalling.

First photos of the Airshow can be found here and it will be on again tomorrow, Sunday.

Infrastructure Under Attack

The Register reports that hackers are targeting British workers with a series of specially crafted Trojan horse attacks. The attacks are delivered either through email attachments or through links to maliciously-constructed websites, the UK's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) warned today.

Approximately 300 UK government departments and businesses critical to the country's infrastructure have been the subject of Trojan horse attacks, many reportedly originating in the Far East. "The attackers' aim appears to be covert gathering or transmitting of commercially or economically valuable information," NISCC warns.

It’s true, you can smoke a shisha pipe and write a weblog over a 4Mb wireless connection at the same time!

When you think that the Weblog is hosted in California and I’m sitting outside in a hotel bar in Amman with my laptop open in front of me, it’s all rather confusing. If I had my webcam and microphone to hand, I could even stream video and sound to the website and show you tonight’s very pink desert sunset.

Next stop Kabul

With an early morning flight back to Heathrow to catch tomorrow, it’s been one of “Those days” today. Having moved a meeting with the previous ICT Minister to the afternoon to suit the diary of the Finance Minister, the latter suddenly resigned, - not my fault- leaving me no option but to find a Jordanian sushi bar before trekking over to another meeting at MOCIT, the Ministry of Technology. From there, with everyone else apparently evacuating Amman for the weekend, it was off the meet Fawaz Zu`bi, the previous Minister of Information & Communications Tec…
Tuesday it Must be Amman

We rather take street names for granted at home but imagine if there weren't any? It used to be this way when I lived in Saudi Arabia and its the same in Jordan, so finding an address with a taxi demands a map and a taxi driver who either speaks English or can understand pidgin Arabic clearly enough to get you to your destination. I'm told that GPS devices are banned here for security reasons. It sounds crazy if it's true.

In Amman, everything is referenced the five main roundabouts thatrun through the city and I'm sitting in an office in one just off "Circle 5". When I lived in Jeddah, I had an apartment near "Thumb Street", a giant replica of the King's Thumb. There was a nose and other parts of the royal person dotted around the city and so one used to give directions like, "Third on the left off Thumb street." All well and good until they moved the Thumb one day, causing chaos and a near strike by taxi driver…
Blogging from Amman

There may be wireless but the Ethernet connection in my room, here at the Intercontinental in Amman appears to be dead and so I'm sitting here, picking up my email in the hotel lobby over its open wireless connection.

3:35 this morning and the Muezzin's call to prayer wakes me, declaring that "God is Great" in the most resonant Arabic voice that I've heard in twenty years of travelling in the Middle-east. It was worth being woken-up for and one wonders at the discipline of the faithful who will be starting their morning prayers at his call at the first glimpse of dawn each day.

I've been asked to a meeting with the British Ambassador on Tuesday morning, so I have the next twenty-four hours to formulate a quick view on Jordan's national progress towards the goal of becoming an information society. I wonder if the hotel technician has the Ethernet connection in my room working yet?
Do Not Adjust Your Set

I'm catching the British Airways flight to Amman this afternoon and will be largely out of circulation until Friday.

If I can post the occasional entry or photo from the hotel in Jordan I certainly will but broadband access is not a luxury that is generally available in the Arab World, although I do hear that the Intercontinental has wireless access and perhaps even a Starbucks if I'm lucky!

Back in time for next week's Thanet Airshow.
Public Sector Workers Face Crackdown on Internet Porn

A huge increase in viewing computer pornography by workers in town halls, police stations and hospitals is due to a “culture of complacency”, the public spending watchdog says today. - Times Online:
Don't Forget Your Trousers

An interesting comment piece below from e4all Magazine, the official magazine of Dubai eGovernment, by Salim Khamis Al-Shair , who heads up the eGovernment programme in Dubai.

Status Quo and the Mentality of Change

"Successful migration to electronic channels is not solely dependent on having the technology. Rather, it depends on people’s ability to move away from conventional channels.

Migration to electronic systems cannot be viewed purely as an economic or management activity. It is a social phenomenon that directly affects different groups of people. There exist, within the government as well as among the public, anti-change people who believe in the proverb, “A known devil is better than an unknown one.”

Some fear that migration to electronic systems will take away some privileges that are offered by paper-based transactions. Some elderly people, mostly over 50, think that they are too old to adapt to electronic systems. And some explain away their …
Infinite Waste

The Conservatives have exposed the massive waste of public money involved in botched Whitehall IT programmes. And Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has argued that the scandal undermines the credibility of the Government's proposed computer-based ID card system.

Figures compiled by the Party reveal that government departments have already overspent two billion on computer system upgrades over two years, with the figure expected to increase further. And more money has been wasted on schemes which have been set in train, then scrapped.

For example, a new courts computer with an original budget of £146 million, rocketed to almost 400 million; a move of the GCHQ spy centre computers to a new building cost a staggering £450 million, instead of the projected £20 million; and a new national insurance payments system turned out at £90 millions over budget, after mistakes and problems had to be corrected.

News Story
Paris Plage

Forty minutes. It takes longer to drive to Canterbury but today, I've been over in Le Touquet, taking photos for a Pilot Magazine feature I'm writing for first-time aviators risking the seventeen miles of water between here and Calais and expecting the reward of a bottle of wine at the other end, for getting there without incident.

Mid Channel looking towards Lydd

There's a slide show of the photos here but today I found the Paris Plage resort very quiet and mostly populated by English pensioners and parties of school children on coaches. What struck me most today was how smart, if that's the right word, the French school children looked in their uniforms this afternoon, particularly the image-conscious girls in vivid contrast with their English counterparts who looked like refugees from the BBC's "Grange Hill." Le Touquet is of course a splendidly "Chic" resort, its high street lined by fashionable boutiques and the English tourists do…
Security Researcher Fined Again

In March, we noted that a security researcher in France who had published a report noting some security holes in an anti-virus product was threatened with being sent to jail for exposing the vulnerabilities. Eventually, the courts decided to just fine him. However, at the same time, there was another civil suit against the same researcher, and it looks like he's been fined again. Between the two cases, it looks like he's going to have to pay over 15,000 euros for pointing out that this particular software had serious security vulnerabilities. [via Techdirt]
Companies Warned They May be Targets of Trojan SpiesUK businesses should take urgent steps to check their systems are secure, police have warned after discovering one of the world's largest industrial espionage and hacking operations. [via ]
Attack Trends: 2004 and 2005In 2004, 41 percent of the attacks were unauthorized activity of some kind, 21 percent were scanning, 26 percent were unauthorized access, 9 percent were DoS (denial of service), and 3 percent were misuse of applications. [via Schneier on Security]
Online Security, Offline Problems

On a more serious note, despite the sound and fury around hacking, and phishing and what not, most identity theft happens because of offline problems. Back in February, Bank of America lost computer tapes containing data for some 1.2 million U.S. government employees. A few months ago, Time Warner lost confidential information on most of its employees. ChoicePoint and LexisNexis have also suffered problems. [via Om Malik's Broadband Blog]
Airliner World - EUjet Review

Should anyone wish to read the feature I wrote on EUjet, with photos and an interview with Stuart McGoldrick, then it can be found in the July issue of Airliner World, out this week, with a photo of an A380 Airbus on the cover.

Welcome to the 21st Century

The year is 2015, and much like any other day of the week you squeeze into your car for the daily struggle into work. After your impossible mortgage, running a vehicle is your greatest family expense, on a par with the monthly shopping bill and sometimes more. With half a billion more Chinese consumers entering the car market every ten years, the price of fuel is at all time high and Britain’s own position as a net oil exporter dried-up at the end of the last decade, driving the cost of living to a level that made owning a car an impossibility for lower income families and rebounding on businesses who could no longer rely on a distant commuter workforce.

When the last Labour government replaced road tax with a roads toll, which automatically billed movement, based on time and road position to a mandatory GPS-powered black-box in every car it also managed to do away with speed cameras, as the vehicle would now report any traffic infringement directly to DVLC, …
Boxing Clever

Are ISPs wising up to tech threats? It sounds like a lovely dream - According to one company which claims to work with "the top two ISPs in the world", increased importance is being placed on diagnostics and intelligence gathering about what data is flowing over the network and, crucially, where it is going and why. [via]
Raining Malware

Hackers Plot Massive Botnet - Computer Associates has warned of a co-ordinated malware attack (CMA) described as among the most sophisticated yet unleashed on the net. The attack involves three different Trojans – Glieder, Fantibag and Mitglieder – in a co-ordinated assault designed to establish a huge botnet under the control of hackers. CA reckons that access to the compromised PCs is for sale on a black market, at prices as low as five cents per PC. [via The Register]
The Netcrime Report - 2nd June 2005

A roundup of this week's NetCrime news and an exclusive interview with Detective Chief Superintendent Ken Farrow, Head of the City of London Police Fraud Squad, on the consequences and benefits of new Fraud Act now passing through the UK Parliament.

Thanet Life

I've become a little pre-occupied with my ThanetLife project, a local website, which has started soaking-up rather a lot of visits and my attention with it. I seem to have found myself in the position of running at least four active websites on different topics, which means that I have to time share between them.

My visit to Amman to review the second phase of Jordan's eGovernment project has been scheduled for the second part of this month, a series of interviews with Government officials followed by a benchmarking report I need to write when I'm finished. Jordan appears to be making all the right noises but lies behind its much wealthier Gulf neighbours in terms of internet penetration and "joined-up" Government services and so I'll be interested in what I find and ways that I might be able to help.

Meanwhile, it looks as if EUjet won't be able to give me a right seat trial on one of their Fokker 100 passenger jets for me to right a review for …