Editorial

By August 18, 2005 Read More →

Make sure you patch your Windows!

A war has broken out between hackers behind viruses that exploit a recently discovered loophole in Windows 2000.
The viruses written by the competing hacker groups are fighting it out for supremacy on infected machines.

Some of the variants seek out and delete rival viruses they find on machines they manage to penetrate.

The slew of malicious programs exploiting the loophole caused trouble for many organisations early this week as the bugs began infecting computers.

It is important that anyone using Windows 2000 patch their OS as soon as possible using Microsoft Update. The viruses exploit a weakness in the Plug-and-Play component of Windows 2000.

It also looks like the vulnerablilty affects other versions of Windows. Please look at the Microsoft Security Bulletin

Its also worth making sure that your firewall blocks port 445!

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): microsoft, windows, patch, technology, software]

Posted in: Editorial
By August 16, 2005 Read More →

Hi-tech screws?

I recently ordered a Bluetooth card for my laptop from Dell. It arrived today in a large box, inside the box was a small plastic bag with the Bluetooth card and the screws to fit it. When I looked more closely I noticed that there was the usual warning about static sensitive parts.

The actual warning ready “Screws: Attention, Static Sensitive Devices”. Wow, this thing must be good, even the screws are static sensitive and were separately wrapped in a pink static bag!!

Apparantly the Bluetooth card itself isn’t static sensitive, that was lose in the main plastic bag. Luckily it worked ok!

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): dell, bluetooth, technology]

Posted in: Editorial
By August 12, 2005 Read More →

Terrible ISP!

A big sarcastic thank you to Easy NET.

EasyNET is my ISP. I host my own webserver on site and use EasyNET for the internet connection. I lost my primary internet connection at 6am on Friday 12th August and over 24hrs later the connection has still not been restored.

I’ve had no email and no website in that whole time which is a nightmare for me. I have over 60 people working here with me and, as you would expect with modern business, we rely heavily upon the internet for email communication and information finding.

I understand that things can and do go wrong with technology and its not always easy to resolve but my main complaint with EasyNET has to be the fact that I have had so many stories from them about the problem. I thought I would share a few:

7:45am Friday
EasyNET: We installed some new hardware over night and are just finishing configuring the exchange. The situation will be resolved with the hour.

9:00am Friday
EasyNET: There was a minor fire in the exchange overnight and we are just working to resolve the problems this has caused, connection will be resolved within the next hour.

11:00am Friday
EasyNET: We have an engineer on site. He is just finishing up, any time now.

1:00pm Friday
EasyNET: We need to reboot the exchange. There are about 25 customers in your position but we are unable to reboot the exchange until 6pm.

2:00pm Friday
Call from EasyNET engineer: We are just calling to advise our customers connected to this exchange that we are about to reboot the system. You may be without Internet connectivity for about 15 minutes(!!)
Me: We haven’t had any internet connectivity all day!
EasyNET: Oh well your connection might come back up after the reboot.
Me: What about the fire then?
EasyNET: What fire?

4:00pm Friday
EasyNET: We have broken the exchange and don’t know what’s wrong with it. Call back later and we’ll tell you.

5:00pm Friday
EasyNET: An engineer is on site and will be replacing a card. He will not leave the exchange until the problem is resolved.

6:15pm Friday
EasyNET: The engineer is waiting for a new card to arrive. He is on site and will fit it as soon as the part arrives.

8:00pm Friday
EasyNET: The engineer has fitted the part and is just testing the system. Connection will be restored within the hour.

9:30pm Friday
EasyNET: The engineer has just collected the replacement card from our offices and will be going to site straight away. Internet connectivity will be restored by 11pm.
Me: I was told the engineer had already fitted the new card and had been on site all day!
EasyNET: I can’t see that information anywhere on the system.

11:00pm Friday
EasyNET: The engineer is now working in the exchange

4:00am Saturday
EasyNET: We are waiting for the engineer to collect a replacement card from our offices.
Me: I was told he did that last night and was on site fitting it at 11pm?
EasyNET: I don’t see that on my screen.

7:30am Saturday
EasyNET: The engineer is on his way from Birmingham to London to collect the part that he needs then he will be going to the exchange to fit it. The connection will be fixed by lunchtime today.
Me: I was told the engineer was on site all day yesterday and had the part at 8:00 yesterday and would not leave until the connection was fixed.
EasyNET: I can’t tell you if he was there or not yesterday but he will be there today.

ARGH!!!!

Needless to say the internet connection has not been restored. EasyNET do not know when this will be fixed and will presumably dream up further excuses in the mean time.

I’m sure that EasyNET will give me a big cheque for compensation – YEAH RIGHT!

So I’m temporarily using my home connection to host my blog. If anyone has had the patience to read all this – and I doubt there will be anyone, then I apologise of the page has taken a long time to load!

Matt

Posted in: Editorial
By August 5, 2005 Read More →

Is broadcasting terrorist video a good idea?

I blogged about the latest al-Qaeda video earlier this week on our blog where Osama Bin Laden’s lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri was ranting about the reasons for the recent London Bombings being entirely Tony Blair’s fault, blaming his foreign policy.

I understand and accept that these sorts of video announcements are news worthy and that we should all be told about them, however, is broadcasting the actual video footage on television a good idea?

My point is that the video could well contain hidden meanings or codes that may give instructions to terrorist cells based here in the UK or the USA.

Has anyone else notice that whenever you see these broadcasts there is always a rifle in the back of the shot? Could this also be something of relevance?

Surely it would be sufficient to show a library image of the person, in this case Ayman al-Zawahri, and read out a summary of what has been said?

I’m not really one to go for the whole conspiracy thing but is it that hard to believe that things like this can and do happen?

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): bombs, london, terrorism, news, al Qaeda, antiterror, blair, Ayman al-Zawahri]

Posted in: Editorial
By July 31, 2005 Read More →

Olympic Lottery Taxed?

I work in London and consider myself to be a part-time Londoner. I was pleased when the Olympic comittee awarded the 2012 Olympic Games to London. I did wonder how London would finance such a major sporting event but my question was soon answered: The UK National Lottery

Camelot who run the UK national lottery have started a special Olympics fund raising scratch cards. The first of which has already gone on sale is called ‘Go For Gold’ and offers a top prize of £2012.

This seems like a great idea. I assumed that most if not all of the profit from the sale of these scratch cards would go towards financing the London Olympic Games. This is normally about 28% of the £1 ticket price.

So imagine how shocked I was to learn that the Labour Government has decided that 12% of the profit from the sales of Olympic Lottery tickets will be creamed off by the treasury for an ‘Olympic Lottery Tax’! This is expected to be about £340 million.

This is just plain old wrong! This money should go directly towards the Olympic Games. Why should the goverment profit from this?

Read the articles from The Conservative Party HERE

Read the BBC news article Olympic Lottery Puzzle

Matt

[Technorati tag(s): london, olympics, lottery, London 2012, sport, taxes]

Posted in: Editorial
By July 16, 2005 Read More →

Courier companies: The weakest link?

So we are well and truly in an age where everything and anything can be purchased online. I buy about 80% of items from the web. There’s better choice, more information and more competitive prices available online, not to mention the convenience of buying goods without leaving my seat.

So what’s the problem? Well the weakest link in this online boom is getting the goods to our door steps. Countless times have I had to re-arrange deliveries, give drivers directions and make sure that someone was there to take delivery.

Just this week I ordered some electronic goods from a UK site. The items where shipped same day and were on an overnight delivery. This was perfect for me as I wanted the items for a job I was doing over the weekend. I arranged for someone to be here to take the delivery and even called the courier to make sure it was out for delivery.

It’s now Saturday morning, the goods didn’t arrive and I’ve been told a variety of excuses:

  1. The Driver left a card as you weren’t in; I was and no card was left.
  2. The Driver said that your company wasn’t listed on the building directory; This is my home address not a company.
  3. The Driver couldn’t find your house; Isn’t it his job to find my house? My house is easy to find, and he could call for directions. Is this the same one that put the card through my door?
  4. We can’t find your parcel; Then why did they tell me it was out for delivery?

Courier companies are clearly the weakest link in home shopping!!

If someone came along with a company that could:

  1. Employ quality staff that can read a map
  2. Advise approximate delivery times
  3. Call if they have a problem

Then they would be on to a winner.

Matt

Posted in: Editorial