My heart is breaking for Barcelona.
I love the city, I love the people of the city, it is a place of many happy memories.
Once more though an attack has been launched on the innocent. Just reading this morning about the many people that have died and the many people that have been hurt in this attack was terrible, I shed tears.
As far as I can see, none of these people had any military or government, or heck, even church leadership or influence.
This is literally slaughter of people that do not have any influence or probably an opinion in the ongoing conflict with Isis/Isil/IS/Daesh.
It feels that we are attempting to deal with a bunch of cowards.
But then, as I pointed out in when Paris was attacked, it is very, very hard to wage war on an organisation rather than a country.
As far as I know, Spain does not even have a hand in the war against Daesh, beyond actually being a western country.
Once again though, my heart is breaking for Barcelona.
I really am not sure where to begin with this one
At some point in my life, I started to wear a watch. I have vague memories of the very first watch I owned, I think it was a Timex much like the one on the right.
It was replaced by an Orange faced ‘divers’ watch with a rotating plastic bezel that fell off a lot.
As far as I can remember that was replaced by a digital watch, I think my first was a Commodore.
This watch was a small, but battery hungry, technological marvel. It was accurate to within about a minute a year, and when you pressed the button it would tell you the time in glowing red numerals.
I think that the first battery lasted about a week.
Eventually technology progressed, the LED watch gave way to an LCD one that had considerably better battery life. It also had some functions that became addictive. The stopwatch that could measure hundredths if a second was absolutely amazing. The alarm less use than it could have been.
Over the. Why few years I had every technical watches. But multiples time zones have little use when you are a teenager.
On starting work I bought myself a watch, it was a very, very pretty Seiko analogue quartz Chronograph. This was, as the time the state of the art of analogue quartz watches and it cost me something like a months salary.
I wore this watch for many years.
I would sometime swap to a Swatch, but I would fall back to the Seiko.
Eventually I got my first high end watch. A Tag Heuer 2000 series watch. Soon after I got a TAG F1, then a TAG S/EL. Sadly the 2000 and the F1 were sold eventually to fund a cot for Sam. Luckily I held onto the S/EL.
As I gained more watch budgets I added other watches. A Deep Blue, several more Seiko watches and an awesome TAG F1 Indy 500, and then an Apple Watch.
Somehow I returned to a technological watch. I even used it as a digital watch for a long time.
I like it a great deal, but it has no soul.
As of a couple of weeks ago, I am back to an analogue watch. I sort of miss the notifications. But really, truly it is much nicer to wear.
I will still wear the Apple Watch for gym and other workouts. But I am back to proper watches.
The term ‘at sixes and sevens’ means being in a state of confusion. It was used a lot in our family household.
For the last few months I have been torn over wether or not I wanted to trade my iPhone Six in for a Seven.
On paper the Seven is little more than than the device that the 6s should have been. The camera is better, the processor is faster and the home button redesigned to no longer be a button. It looks like the 6 too. In fact the only way to tell them apart is the lack of a headphone socket on the newer one.
I had pretty much decided that I did not need to upgrade.
So the 7 is rubbish then ?
Well no. It’s really rather good. It is considerably faster than the 6. So much so that I am still quite amazed every time I use it. The camera a is not a hit just better, it is way better. Every photo is better. The software that takes advantage of the new camera module is smarter. Smart software and higher resolution. What is not to like ?
I have been playing ‘Word with friends’ for several years. I have played something over 1600 games so far, mostly against family and friends. I win more than I lose, this is mostly because I have a fairly large vocabulary, I am pretty good at pattern recognition and also I try words that I think might be legal.
Sometimes I will play a random player, just to see how I stack up against others. Again, I am usually pretty good.
So imagine my surprise when a random person, with whom I have been very closely matched over many, many games for a couple of years, suddenly ups their game. The scores went from 320ish each and a very close parity in won/lost stats, to an absolute demolition. In the last game we played they scored 617 to my 341, the previous game to that was 558 to my 337. Prior to that it was something like 500/350.
Words with friends is a game where improvements come gradually, my average score has increased by a small number of points per game over the years, because I have learnt how to avoid giving others big score chances and how to leverage the multipliers.
So, how has this person suddenly got a whole lot better – and, I may add, a whole lot faster so quickly ?
If you are not aware of PlanetX bikes, then you are probably not into bicycles and you should probably skip this blog entry entirely. If on the other hand you are aware of them, then I probably do not need to tell you much about the company, because you probably already know.
I’ve been riding mountain bikes for a long time, probably 15 years or so, the last mountain bike I had was a home-brew bike that was literally made out of discounted parts from local bike shops and the internet. It had a 2×10 Shimano XT drivetrain and very high end, but previous year components. It was fast and fun to ride. It was also a 26’er, which in modern terms means that it was archaic and not worth bothering with. I disagreed.
Earlier in the year PlanetX had a sale – again if you know them, this is absolutely nothing new, they are always selling something cheaply. I took advantage of the cycle-to-work scheme and snagged a 45650B with pretty much every option maxed-out within the limits of the scheme. The pre-sale price was something over £2000, talking off the VAT and making the payments pre-tax I will end up paying way under £1000.
The name 45650B comes from the bikes ability to run 4, 5 or 6 inches of front travel and 650B wheels 4-5-650B, get-it ?
Configuring it was hilarious, ‘would sir like a dropper seat-post’, oh, yes please ! Would Sir like the upgraded brakes ? Obviously, and the ? check, check, check, check, double-check. The only things I did not upgrade were the saddle and the handlebars. Honestly I probably should have done, but I wanted to ride it before I committed to changing the touch points.
In hindsight, the saddle is terrible and the bars are a tad wide for me. The bars are an easy fix, the saddle less so.
So, what did I get for my money then ?
A steel framed, hard-core trail monster !
Ask anyone what the best gig they have ever been to is, and you will get a multitude of answers.
Some may say that it was a mega stadium hair-band thing, others a small intimate performance is way better. For me though, it was neither, it was simply a very unexpected gig that made me smile.
Back in October 2004 we went to the El-Ray theatre in Los Angeles, a small venue with seating capacity of apparently just seven hundred and seventy one people. I would have guessed lower than that, but irregardless it was packed out. Sure there were ticket touts selling outside the door, but they seemed to be running low while we queued to get in.
Ben Folds was playing a gig. He has never really done the ‘big stadium’ thing, his style and music does not really translate to big audiences. I had seen him play at a small venue in Solana Beach called the Belly Up Club (capacity 450 ish) a couple of years prior and really wanted to see him again. Our seats were on the left, but close to the stage.
There was a buzz, there was chat that there was a special guest, that that guest might be William Shatner. That you could buy a copy of the (rather good) William Shatner CD called ‘Has Been’ from the merchandise stand seemed to confirm this, but there was no official word.
The news is full of the US elections today, but yesterday there was a different headline.
‘Thousands of Tesco Bank Customers lose money’
Or similar to that.
Immediately the security world started to look into the reports. Within minutes links to previous issues were being pointed out, within hours a big old game of ‘join the dots’ was mostly complete.
So, what happened ?
Well quite a few things it would appear. Mostly, from guess work and taking the odd peak at the defences that Tesco put up is looks like this.
- The main web site – tescobank.com still supports TLS v1.0 – this is utterly stupid. TLS 1.0 is long deprecated due to the ease with with a malicious actor can perform a ‘Man in the Middle’ attack.
- There are literally hundreds of phishing sites that appear to be aimed at tesco. A simply search using a database of domains logged 214 domains added within the last six months that contain ‘tesco’, of which 12 of them appear to refer to bank or other financial products. None of these are owned by Tesco.
- The password requirements appear to be rather dumb – 6-10 characters, mix of letters and numbers, no special characters and upper/lower case treated the same.
- Getting the password wrong many times does not appear to lock out the account.
- There does not seem to be any place for multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Actually figuring out which of these vectors a malicious actor actually took is quite difficult.
I am not going to get an iPhone 7.
This is weird for me, because almost every year since the very first iPhone came out, I have caved in and bought one within a few weeks/days/hours of its release. Worse still my entire personal computing infrastructure is built around Apple products. I have a MacBook Air, an iPad, iPhone and even an Apple watch.
So, I hear you ask, why not an iPhone 7 if you have had near all of the predecessors ?