May 252016
 

As regular readers will know, on August 1st 2014, an errant driver in a Toyota Aygo hit me while I was riding my bicycle.

The crash was pretty brutal, I broke my collarbone.

The break was a bad one, three surgeries later I am still not fixed.

Today I was seen by the medical assessor who will create the report for the insurance company that will be looking to settle my compensation claim.

This is the final opinion, it has been close to two years, it is time to put this to bed once and for all.  Continue reading “Crash – the last update ?” »

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Mar 242016
 

I used to think that the next American civil war would be caused by an uprising of the great unwashed. The red-necks, the cowboys, the NRA nut jobs and their ilk.

I believed that one day they would all jump in their good old boy F150 pick-ups, loaded up with more ammunition than the average third world militia owned and head to Washington to teach the ‘guvmint’ a lesson.

I imagined that it would be a fairly short, but incredibly bloody confrontation, resulting in perhaps thousands of casualties, perhaps a lot more if the red-necks managed to make a few bombs.

I suspect that the red-necks would become domestic terrorists, protesting government over-reach, protesting laws that protect those that they hate – basically everyone that is not a  white heterosexual male and that the civil war would probably all be over fairly fast.

That was before Trump.

I see now that this can go two ways.  Continue reading “The next American civil war ?” »

 Posted by at 9:42 am
Feb 242016
 

Leader of the Pack.The working title for my game is ‘Lane Splitaz’.

The game itself is fairly simplistic, you are the rider of a moped and you have to split the lanes of traffic under a variety of conditions against the clock….

Level 1 – The easy intro.

Bike – 50cc scooter, no mirrors.
Traffic – Entirely stationary cars
Gaps – about 2M wide

The only difficult section here is that you pretty much have to be totally flat out the whole time to reach the end of the course.  Continue reading “I have this idea for a video game….” »

 Posted by at 10:16 am
Feb 202016
 

My office is abHeathcliff out 37 miles from home.

If I take the train, it takes about an hour and a half. Assuming everything all works out beautifully. Which is pretty much never the case, because this is the train net and this is England. The station is about ten minutes walk away, the train to Stratford takes about 52 minutes, then it takes about five minutes to walk to the DLR, then about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach Canary Wharf.

The problem is, there are several places that a delay is introduced, the trains are often a few minutes late here and there, or they stop outside Shenfield for a while for reasons that appear to be entirely random.

An hour and half is really a very good trip.

Coming home it is even worse, the trains run every ten minutes or so, in theory. But during January, I was delayed more often than not and I failed to get a seat for about 30% of the trips back, at least for the first 40 minutes or so.

There are other options.  Continue reading “Trains, planes and Automobiles.” »

 Posted by at 4:30 pm
Jan 282016
 

This is an email that I received from fitness for less a couple of days ago. My immediate response was that this was a very poor phishing attempt that probably used a PDF vulnerability.

Curiousity got the better of me though, because I remember getting an emai form the gym last year about an extra payment that was for ‘gym improvements’.

I cloned and then fired up a virtual machine that was pretty much disposable  and forwarded the email to it.

The pdf was a legitimate one. They were informing me that they are taking a couple of extra ££’s this month.

There are a lot of things wrong here.

The email checked pretty much every known box when looking for suspicious emails.

Fitness for less know my name, yet nothing was personalised.

The email contained nothing at all of value, if you wanted to find out the details you have to open the PDF.

The phraseology feels awkward.

So I replied to the email . I explained that I was not going to open the pdf. I told them that it looked like spam and a very amateurish phishing attempt.

Sadly they just sent me a wall of copy pasted text explaining that they had invested £100k in the website And the payment that they are taking would do towards that.

It’s a shame that they did not spend a few ££s on a decent CRM system that was capable of spitting out personalise emails.

I wonder how many people disregarded the email and are now wondering why their bank account is a little short ??

 Posted by at 7:48 am
Dec 312015
 

Many aspects of our lives are protected in one way or another with passwords.

A Password needs to follow contradictory rules.

  • It needs to be easy for us to remember.
  • It should be close t0 impossible for anyone else to guess.

Many password protected sites attempt to get users to use passwords that adhere to the second rule, yet ignore the first one, by adding a degree of complexity to all passwords.

Ideally you should also add two-factor authentication too, but that is a whole other subject. 

Continue reading “The Problem with passwords” »

Dec 022015
 

231684088487_1As I type this, there are a bunch of politicians in London discussing wether or not the UK will go to war with the Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL. The proposal is that the UK will help with strikes against the training grounds and the control centres.

Given that ISIS/ISIL have pretty much waged war on the west, on the face of it, blowing them to bits and wiping them off the planet seems like a no-brainer.

The problem is that we, the west, created ISIL in the first place.

How about a little history lesson ? Continue reading “Oil is the Problem” »

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 232015
 

IMG_0593Or why you should stop worrying about passwords and just enable two-factor authentication….

If, like me, you have several e-mail accounts, a few forum accounts, bank and credit card accounts, eBay, paypal, Apple, gym and numerous others, you probably have a small number of passwords that have some level of re-use or even variations on a theme.

For example, your gmail might be Pa55w0rd!, your bank account Pa$$w0rd! your credit card P4ssw0rd123 etc.

If you can find any variant of it in the top 500 worst passwords list, then you have a problem.

Unless you are using two-factor authentication that is.  Continue reading “My password is password” »

Nov 202015
 

GP-ExxonSomething over five years ago, I wrote a post, Planet Fret, in which I pointed out that oil is probably not finite and that using it at the rate that we are is probably not leaving a good legacy for our children.

One thing that I almost entirely failed to mention in that post is of course the potential damage to the environment in terms of global warming.

Much of the blame for that omission is due to my living in the US at the time.

In the US, many of the oil companies have spent significant amounts of time and money leading the general public to believe that climate change is not only not-man made, but actually does not exist at all. Any variations are purely down to cycles, rhythms or bad data.  Continue reading “Planet Fret revisited” »

 Posted by at 3:00 am