Monthly Archives: August 2001

and finally

James arrives from Futon World and delivers are guest bed for the front room.

Peter from Burford’s puts a high-spec mortice lock on the door. The mickey mouse one could have been raided by a credit card shoved down it and window locks all round. Window locks apparently reduce burglary by windows in the UK to 0.6% of attempted break ins!

Day ends with crappy non-conclusive work meeting which pissed me off.

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Computers are not hard to use – fact, PERIOD

“Computers are really hard to use, they’re not intuitive. they’re not obvious, they complicated and clunky and tend to do the wrong things at the wrong time,” said new media consultant Bill Thompson.

Bollocks
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1502000/1502820.stm

Some people have just decided they like getting OLD. Well *uck you out there, I’m going to hang on to my youth as long as possible.

I believe age is just a STATE of mind.

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More of the same

Monday, popped into work to set up a cron jobs I urgently need the results on, plus I want to take some time out of work Tuesday, so I thought a bit of time shifting was in order.

There was a bit of a rumble in Camp Cross today, so I just bundled all my hifi into the car.
Grandma was apparently very upset, tuff, I didn’t start the shit this morning.

Flat duty brought clean bottom cupboards. Kitchen stuff for 907 slowing going in. (907 was Py’s old Uni room number.) The top of the cupboards still need cleaning, but I needed to get the pots and pans inside. The tops I don’t think have been cleaned since the flats were rebuilt from what I can suss.

I’ve discovered the only way to crack the tops will be Jif cleaner (Unilever product) and a pan scourer.

ALL My finger tips are now sore!

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Bank Holiday weekend

Saturday, we took “Brummer” to the crap yard.
MX, HW, Leona, Fred and Ros.

My mechanic very kindly lent me a fixed bar, but sadly Helga wasn’t up to it, so we used Fred’s Cavilier, Ros towed with HW driving and Ros did a cracking job.

The brakes on the Brummer went at Totnes Cross on the way to Nick Wayes. Good job it was a fixed towing bar.

Steam Packet for lunch – photos here.
4pm back home, changed, started the day in jeans and then roasted.

6pm back at the flat, cleaned the bedroom cupboards, 3 Jay clothes later. Clean and smelling good.
It took till 23:30 to do this operation. “major” Tim visited me from next door and he’s a little chatty. More on the major another time I guess.

Sunday, mowed all the lawns, strimmed the back banks.
3:30 leave for the council rubbish tip to drop the garden rubbish off. Going through town, steam out of bonnet, it had been raining, so I thought some that just dropped on to the radiator. hmm temperature needle isn’t moving down. Dump rubbish, bonnet up – oh shit, plug (temperature sensor) jump out of the cooling system. Water drained out of system. Pooh.

4:30 call AA, 5:15 “Steve” up, looks like O ring perished, unfortunately I didn’t loose a clip, but I did loose a washer which I suspect was knackered. Get it back to my mechanics, AA guy traveling behind. Someone who works there is working on their own car, raid the place for a washer, temporary fix till after the Bank Holiday.

6ish back at the flat, unpack all Py’s clothes.

Start on the kitchen cupboards….

10pm leave for late dinner – achievement, all the top cupboards are clean inside now. Bottom ones tommorrow.

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Database Nation – a damned good read

I’m just squeezing in some tech light reading Database Nation in between the Nancy Kress Beggars in Spain trilogy.

I have learnt, that in the US, if you default on any sort of loan / credit card is the IRS screw up and even if it’s there fault it stays on file. It only goes off file after 7 years because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1971. In some cases, people get refuse a mortgage and jobs because of their credit status, but the real problem is that as at time of the books writing, once in the system, the three main credit agency sub-sell their data to 117 other companies down the food chain.

The book narrates a real life horror story where one couple were reduced to one credit card company because of moving house twice, paying their IRS billing, the next two IRS offices loosing track of this. IRS serve $10,000 lien (reposs order), the renting tennant of one property is in shit with the IRS, so he’s doesn’t forward the letter. Next Position please, credit rating shafted and nobody actually calls and speaks to the people involved – they were abroad, they paid their tax, the IRS received it, the IRS had fucked up. Family doesn’t get to buy a new house for seven years. It could have cost them their jobs!

When the seven years were up the credit card offers came through like confetti.

They only seem to pass laws when a US politicans get there personal data abused. Example given Judge Bork, because a journalist got hold of Blockbuster records, but he didn’t find him renting any porn – so he was quite disappointed the judge was clean! So when somebody important gets shat on – que the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988.

Other than that, carry on allowing credit card companies to send out pre-approved credit cards. It all seems a good money making racquet to cc companies, but the misery identity theft is causing there by their completely half baked dependence on the SSN number. Social Security number – completely beggars common sense.

I’ve learnt that DNA matching is only a science – it is not fact, we all share 99% of the same genome. The data set frequencies which determine a false positive could still be in dispute.

1% of the population share exactly the same DNA – identical twins. And in the US, that’s 1 million people. (In year 2000).

Fingerprints are good. So are Iris prints, they are fixed in utero.
Retina prints suck – for women they vary with pregnancy. New arteries and veins branch out.

Why is British Telecom in joint venture with IriScan, who have developed an iris scanner which can “capture an iris print of a person in a car driving at 50 miles per hour”?

Presumably this was pre-privatisation and done on behalf of DERA / GCHQ? I mean, it’s got shed loads to do with making telephone calls hasn’t it!

I’m a quarter way through – but I’ve got a feeling that the mobile phone is going to be the cool state tracking device.

60% of all phones sold in the US by 2001 have to give 911 a position accurate to 150 metres. So if you are Nokia and Motorola, you’re hardly like to leave this out of the chip set and Iraq, China and those other nice friendly regimes will want’em down 1 metre not 150!

It’s easy to work out A to B. And the world ahead looks grim.

Although Simon’s Garfinkel’s book is excellent it is very US, but with not enough rest of the world observations, I had the UK’s one and only photograph encapuslated credit card issued by the National and Provision Building Society. He seemed to think this would help with fraud, the Abbey National purchased the N&P then stopped the scheme, I wrote complaining, they said that credit card fraud represented so little lossage – the photo card wasn’t worth it. This is because in Britain we have a radio based system which distubutes stolen card information on a 3 minute turnaround, even my local petrol (gas) station has one.

I am greating looking forward to the other three quarters to go, because it looks like Britain has been too state regulated to make the same mistakes with it’s citizens data. Or a least just doesn’t flog it off to the private sector for direct mail profiling. Anti-terrorism and fraud I can cope with, but state organisations flogging the data to private companies is just plain bollocks.

In Februrary 1999 the South Carolina Public Safety Department (like DVLC in the UK) sold it’s entire 3.5 million photograph database to Image Data LLC Nashua, New Hampshire. For … $5,000.

The Washington Post subsequently discovered that Image Data LLC had received a $1.46M grant and technical assistance from the US Secret Service in 1998.

They appear not to have been the only other state to have done this either.

In you are into information security and social hacking/engineering – READ THIS BOOK!

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Not quite bed – here’s a few good links from this evening

Useless Facts, Strange Facts, Weird Facts, Bizarre Facts, Brain Teasers, Stupid People Stories, Greeting Cards,
http://www.uselessfacts.net/

halfbakery.com – Communal database of original, fictitious inventions
http://www.halfbakery.com/

Digital Librarian: a librarian’s choice of the best of the Web
Yahoo without the advertising – how it used to be?
http://www.halfbakery.com/

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Linen and pans

Busy shopping day

Popped into work to back up my email, then of to wet Plymouth.

Stop off at MFI – wow found this great shelving just like the Lunida/Skandia stuff Py & I like and it’s on clearance. MFI are stopping manufacture. Now if I take the 1m high end and cut them to 60cms I can put a TV on a corner section. Excellent. Grab brochue and prices. Offer probably end Sept 5th.

Arrive – Plymouth roasting hot. Rain gone away.

Bought from the co-op in a genuine British sale, none of the Value City nonsense (US), where nothing
has ever actually been that price, in the UK it must have been actually on sale for 30 days
at the inflated price before they can mark it down and call it a “sale” price :

Super King Size Duvet (for 6 ft bed 🙂
Included two free pillows 🙂
Duvet case + Two matching pillow cases
2 Egyptian plain cotton sheets and pillow cases for other pillows – non sale 🙁
Underblanket – non sale 🙁

We have bedding.

Then what do I discover – it’s Plymouth’s first French day.
20 or so French Market trades have stalls in the street.

One old guy owns and runs a French enamelling factory :-

http://www.region-normande.com/artisanat/region6/h6/emaillerie.htm

We now have :

A wok
Two frying pans – one very large for a Steve & Lee invasion, fry Sunday morning + a small one for us.
A steamer pan set
A plain source pan
A chip pan
+ couple of lids

Funny to think our market traders couldn’t do the same – our command of French is too crap.
Their English was excellent.

The Washer is down to three (all German of course, I love nearly all things German especially their cars) :

Miele £1,200 – expected lifetime 20,000 hours
Bosch £779 – expected lifetime 10,000 hours
Whirlpool £559 – expected lifetime 10,000 hours

Whirlpool 5 years parts guarantee extra £19!
So if it breaks down in the first five years – you only pay for labour.
3 day repair guarantee – if they don’t fix it in 3 days – you get the whole repair free.

Back to MFI – me thinks I best pop in an order for this stuff.
Go through order with “Kelly” – the computer says, out of stock.
So can’t I buy the display. / Neogiate with the Manager.
Oh no – Head Office have to approve that and he’s only covering.
They’ll sell of the display at the end of the clearance sale.
Ah – so you’re going to continue to let people look at the display and then try to order the basic components to find there out of stock?
I’m sorry I only work here.
“Kelly” promises to call round the other branches next with my shopping list of components. I on the other hand hold out ZERO hope.
She’s not in Tuesday and Wednesday, but doesn’t expect a reply from their Intranet before that anyway!
Now that’s confidence in your company.
It has a fully computerised EPOS with central warehousing and it’s going to take them 3+ working days to do an SQL query on 6 line items.
Me thinks MFI ripe for takeover – must check out moneywhispers.com and the Fool.

Half an hour wasted driving around working out how to get back to MF *cuking I, only to find their management couldn’t escape out of a wet paper bag.

Dinner
Dog walk – that was funny, Abi slipped her lead on Mother and tried to leg it back home
Watched BBC2 – 1990 in music and pop videos documentary – God I feel old
Stella Artois
Bath
Chat to friend in Canada
Chat with Py
This blogging
Time to brush teeth
Bed

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Mr Baseball

Friday night unwound watching – Tom Selleck in Mr Baseball good light hearted flick. US and American/European cultural aspects of team and individualism.

Good because it shows a top sportsman going out on a good note then…. (You’ll have to see it)
And it true Hollywood fashion he just gets to keep the girl. (But that’s not giving anything away)

“Steven Spielberg wanted him to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), but he was still under contract for the “Magnum, P.I.” (1980) TV-series. ” – I bet you didn’t know that “pop pickers” – “not ‘half”.

MX

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god this is funny and VERY pythonesque

“Dave is a 27-year-old artist who works a night shift in a press clippings agency in London. He’s been getting into Flash recently, and Jada is his first effort. He has taken a large rabbit and combined it with a load of images that people had made on the Tsluts mailing list. Plus some fish. The result is, well, weird.”

Jada

Check out the egroup for B3TA

Somebody get this guy a NEW day job. Wake up Channel 4 and let him have a spot. He needs help fast!

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Cooling beer in New Zealand, X on the PS2

http://www.asciimation.co.nz/beer/

X on the PS2

Spy Satellites? What Spy Satellites? Posted by michael on Sunday August 12, @05:59AM
from the no-see-ums dept.
mutantcamel writes: “This story at Yahoo says that the actual orbits of US spy satellites are not the same as the ones that the UN thinks that they are. The errors include a launch of a satellite that was never registered, and only two of the last ten satellites have been correctly registered. The errors are bound to cast doubts on what will really happen with the Son of Star Wars programme.” Heh, “errors”.

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Looks silly but looks like fun (US only Oct 27th & Nov 245h 2001)

The Idea:

Inexpensive, yet surprisingly powerful laser pointing devices have become ubiquitous in America. Millions of people own such a device. Laser light stays coherent over vast distances, the beams spreading very little. In theory, even a single laser pointer could reach the Moon. The idea behind Paint the Moon is to organize millions of people in North America to try and shine their laser pointers on one area of the Moon at one time, to see if we can create a temporary visible field of color on our nearest celestial neighbor.

On October 27th at 11:00 P.M. EDT (10:00 P.M. CDT, 9:00 P.M. MDT, 8:00 P.M. PDT) and again on November 24th at 11:00 P.M. EST (10:00 P.M. CST, 9:00 P.M. MST, 8:00 P.M. PST), everyone who has a laser pointer and a clear view of the first-quarter Moon should turn on their pointers and aim them at the moon, just behind (to the left, or East) of the terminator (the line where the sunlight stops). The illustration at the top of this page shows approximately where you should aim. Continue to shine your pointer at this spot for five minutes. That’s it.

http://www.paintthemoon.org/

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I *think* this really is a .com to *watch* – keen.com

http://www.keen.co.uk/
or in the US
http://www.keen.com/

MSN back it July 2001
As do AOL Aug 2001

Fortunately, some entrepreneurs haven’t checked out of the asylum yet. Take Karl Jacob, CEO of the online-advice service Keen.com Inc. After a short stint as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Silicon Valley VC firm Benchmark Capital–where he admits he didn’t believe in eBay at first–Jacob started Keen. His aim was to get people to log on to the Web to locate experts on everything from astrological readings to computer repairs–and then pay to consult with them over the phone. Weird as it sounds, it’s working so far: Sales at the privately-held company have jumped from almost zero a year ago to more than $5 million in the first quarter. Says Jacob: “You can’t create lasting companies and great value by following everybody else.”
Business Week June 2001

“Keen’s revenues from the first quarter of this year are more than the total from all of 2000. Using the first quarter as a guide, the company projects that the total transactional revenue for 2001 will be about $25 million, which will be split between Keen and the speakers.”
Red Herring give Jacob thumbs up June 2001

Keen’s Press Release page

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Every day is wretched

When you are not with me
Seconds feel like minutes
Minutes feel like hours
Every day is wretched

Can we really be apart?
It cannot be the ocean
It cannot be the time
But every day is wretched

You feel my love for you
Because you know we’re not apart

I know your love for me
Because I feel you in my heart

(C) MX August 5th 2001

a dream I had a few nights ago – forgot to entry it staight away, but had typed it up

I dreamt that Py and I walked into this huge mansion property, it was on the side of a coastal area – like the Salcombe Esturary.

The house was empty – we found ourselves in a drawing room.

Py had sat down and when I turn around to talk to her the husband and wife who owned the house came in.

As I explained that we wondered in he told us that they we going to sell the house by auction to get the best price. The problem was not being able to advertise it in magazines like Country/Devon Life for fear of being robbed. (Then a son popped into the room).

(I can quite clearly visualise this room and where Py was sitting)

Early August 2001