Skip to main content

The Price of Love

It's Valentine's Day and the first in three years where the weather has been good. I should know, because Valentine's Day for me is normally a busy date in the flying season for my Airads business, as men - and sometimes women - all over the country propose or send special messages - pictured - to their sweethearts with a banner towed by one of my aircraft.

This year, nothing! Several enquiries and for the first time an attempt to pass-off a stolen credit card for a booking. the latter attempt was almost laughable, because my 'other job', as readers may know, involves a specialisation in crime and fraud.

Being suspicious about the telephone transaction for a flight over Bradford, I told the client, who was booking on behalf of someone else - sounds dodgy - I would call her back and then quickly used some subscription-based tools of my own to cross check her details, discovering that she should be 56 years old. As the caller clearly wasn't, I double checked the registered card address, found a related business telephone number and then called the real "Mrs Smith" to double check 'her' authorisation. The poor lady was really quite surprised and concerned to hear she had earlier booked a Valentine's message flight over an address in Bradford for a girl named "Jaan" and I advised the she immediately contact her bank and cancel her Maestro card; probably get on to Equifax too and make sure her identity wasn't being used for other fraudulent transactions too!

I did try and warn the credit card company, after all, I had the bogus client's mobile phone number too but I if you own a Maestro card, there's no way of people like me reporting such a thing and Visa don't want to know either. It's part of the reason why credit card fraud is such big business and policing it is a shambles; there's too much of it happening and so the banks simply absorb it. However, if you happen to be the merchant involved, even if the card authorises, which this one would have done, the funds would have been reversed the moment a fraud was discovered and so its the business that loses heavily and the fraudster that wins.

Ironically, the other job this week was for Greater Manchester Police with a neighbourhood policing message over the city.

Card fraud aside, even my local greetings card shop tells me that while business was brisk this week, customers are seemingly more cost conscious of their choice of cards, "Me to You" love bears et al. So perhaps under Labour even the price of true love is now becoming too high, which may explain yesterday's figures that married couples are now officially in the minority; perhaps because they can't get a mortgage on the cost of the wedding.

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…