* Posts by mark

25 posts • joined 28 Sep 2007

Fetish club forces ID scanner climbdown


Lib Dems Need to get Their Own House in Order First

I might take Mr Huhne more seriously if it wasn't for the fact that Southwark is a Lib Dem council to all effect. Any complain to them about it is met with an appalling "it's not our fault, the Met are asking for it" response.

The wonderful Shunt (also in Southwark, also not ICO registered) has also done this and as such my friends and I have not been since the implementation.

/Unhappy card-carrying Lib Dem member

Euro Parliament agrees roaming caps

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Domestic Texts?

Will this apply to domestic texting too? I'm pretty sure O2 charge more than €0.11 per text for domestic texts ATM.

Street View captures traditional British Christmas

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Bit of trouble with the law

Looks like the police weren't too impressed with streetview - looks like they're trying to book one of the drivers in this one:


Google Street View hits UK streets


And the first Streetview victim is...

in Shoreditch. Natch.


Home Office plans to force CCTV on shops and pubs

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It's already going on...

Southwark Council in London recently included in the license conditions of one of my favourite drinking establishments (Shunt, under London Bridge station) a requirement that they store an image of an identity piece of every single punter going into the place.

Aside from the fact that a collective of artists-cum-bar managers is hardly likely to have a clue about data protection and privacy (as revealed in various emails that have been going back and forward between myself and them), the fact that they haven't bothered registering with the ICO, and the fact that their door staff will scan your ID without asking for your consent or explaining what it's for, the council seems quite happy with the arrangement.

They have implemented a system called Clubscan - http://www.idscan.co.uk/uk_products_clubscan.php - which boasts amongst its selling points the ability to build a whopping database of customers by OCRing the data off of identity cards, including, for example, the address from a driving license, allowing the place to build up a mailing list. Not to mention the ability to link up with other systems stored in the area, so that once a person is barred from one club, they're barred from all.

The people agreeing to this in local councils don't appear to have the foggiest about the data privacy issues at stake here.

Google will tell your mates where you are

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Quite Useful

It's pretty useful for seeing which of your mates are in the area and thus who to phone for a beer - seems like a good idea. Except it's not available for any SE phone, and many Nokias. Fail.

BNP leaked list claims first victims

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@ "Banned from the Police" commentors

Actually, police officers are not able to be members of any political party, be they Labour, Tory, BNP, UKIP, MRLP. I think there are similar guidelines for the civil service.

Employees of the state (be they teachers, doctors, police) are required to provide support and assistance to people regardless of their nationality or ethnic background.

The BNP openly state that they wish to send immigrants back to their home of ethnic origin, and that white British workers are prioritised in employment. To me, espousing views that people of differing ethnic origins are not entitled to remain in this country, and have a lesser entitlement to employment is fundamentally incompatible with holding any kind of public sector work where you have to interact with such people on a daily basis.

Don't ban the BNP as a party - let them say what they have to say - I'm a strong believer that if you give them enough rope, they will hang themselves; but you cannot dispute that the BNP openly demands a hierarchy of entitlement in the UK according to ethnic background, and that is fundamentally racist and incompatible with public service.

Apple bans iPhone app for changing version number

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@ "O2 Unlimited" Contributors

O2 can and do monitor bandwidth usage. I use my Sony Ericsson phone as a 3G modem (rather than buying a separate dongle). I managed to get myself a letter from their "Head of Risk Management" complete with a real signature (shock, horror), accusing me of using the service "excessively".

Fun times.

Morning voting in America

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Queueing Times

I'm amazed that the government gets away with queues that are hours long - this disincentivises voting and inhibits the operation of the democratic process. Every year there are 'record' queues - why is nobody buying more equipment, opening up more polling stations?

I'm in the UK and have never seen a queue at a polling station like those in the US - madness.

Royal Navy won't fight pirates 'in case they claim asylum'


I hate to be a pedant, but...

...asylum seekers are not the source of council flat shortages, and it really hacks me off when people suggest that they are, because you end up with an uprising of right wing lunatics who go off chaning xenophobic "Britain for the British" slogans blaming all of society's evils (such as council flat shortages) on foreign nationals.

My particular borough in London has a waiting list of 11,000 households wanting a council flat - last year 85 got housed. The housing shortage has nothing to do with asylum seekers hoovering up council property - it has everything to do with there being simply not enough council housing stock.

Seeing as The Reg has such a distaste for the Daily Mail, any chance you could stop pedalling its lies?

I think I'll get my coat - it's the one with flameproof lining.

Ban booze in supermarkets, says health adviser

Paris Hilton

Higher Prices Work

They've got a similar system down under. I can't say I'm particularly bothered where I get my booze from, in fact if it means that my local offie gets a higher volume of sales and so can afford to bulk-buy and discount, it'll save me a trudge to Mr Sainsbury's establishment.

The comments about the price of alcohol having an impact on drinking levels are true though... many London clubs have a penchant for charging £4 for a 275/330ml bottle of beer... at that price it's impossible to drink yourself silly.

Only problem is that if a government tried imposing that kind of price across the country, it wouldn't be long before cross-channel traffic doubled with vans laden with "booze for the family wedding, honest guvn'r." And there'd probably be a popular uprising.

Paris, because she knows how to handle her drink

Submarine cable cut torpedoes Middle East access


Re. Serves 'em right

...because I've never ever received crappy telemarketing calls from someone based in the UK, or dealt with inept customer support / service desks based in the UK.

Had a wonderful call with my bank's customer service desk at 10pm the other night where the girl (sounded as though she was UK based) said (in a coarse Goerdie accent) "Uhh, I'll be honest sir, I'm not really sure how to resolve that, and we don't have any supervisors to help us at this time at night, could you possibly call back tomorrow?"

There are some truly awful offshored call centres, but this is generally where the business has chosen a shit partner to get extra cost savings, only to realise that (because they're paying peanuts), they're not getting people who speak the Queen's English. Those companies that have bothered to work to identify a good solid partner have actually turned out OK. National Rail Enquiries seems to do alright, despite having to deal with obscure train station names & spellings that the previous UK staff seemed to struggle with.

Ofcom boss demands action on data roaming charges



...Cue many years of wrangling where the poor penniless network operators claim that they can't possibly survive without the revenue and will have to find another way to survive...

In total agreement with the comments about unlimited BB / Data too. O2 make precious little mention of the fact that their 'u/l' package doesn't cover you when abroad.

Would love to sign the petition on pm.gov, but don't want to help the government build a profile of my political persuasion (where's my tin foil hat again?)

US switches off the incandescent lightbulb

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Most of the gigs / theatrical performances that I've been to in recent months have been mostly using LED lighting - saving a fortune in leccy bills. The only things LED stage lights are a bit pish for are spotlights and projecting stencilled patterns.

Technical problems mar Barclays' PINSentry roll-out

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Adios Barclays

I recently worked out that I was about £100 worse off banking with Barclays than (say) Nationwide, thanks to low current account interest, overdraft interest rates, and international ATM charges. The pinsentry device was the icing on the cake really. Completely impractical if you use online banking anywhere other than in the home. Farewell Barclays, and no longer shall I have to listen to your callcentre staff trying to upsell 'Additions' accounts or home insurance poicies.

Google trials GPS-without-GPS mobile navigator


A bit fuzzy still...

In both my home and office, I'm getting my location within a "1,700m radius." That being said, despite Google using that disclaimer, the location that it's placed has has never been more than 600m away or so.

Still, given that I both live and work in Zone 1, London, a little disappointing. Unless this is just a reflection of how crap O2's network infrastructure is in the city.

At least I'm safe from the black helicopters...

Singapore Airlines bans A380 rumpy-pumpy



Quite a gaping hole in the specification, I can't imagine the designers of the SAL cabin thought that one through too well. If I were them I'd try and get the spec changed for the aircraft that are currently being built. It's not something they're going to stop now, is it?

Jailed terror student 'hid' files in the wrong Windows folder

Black Helicopters

RE: Anarchist's Cookbook

It's already happened, some 17 year old kid was hauled up in front of a judge earlier this month for "possessing material for terrorist purposes.... alleged he had a copy of the "Anarchists' Cookbook""


There's another court hearing on this tomorrow, should be interesting.

Carphone bets on iPhone peripherals and free laptops

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ISP bosses told to get real on broadband speeds

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I think you've hit the nail on the head - most people don't realise there's a difference between Mb and MB, so when they get an 8Mb connection, they expect to get 8MB through their pipe in any given second.

I'm sure ISPs have a part to play in not bothering to enlighten the public...

BT home router wide open to hijackers

Dead Vulture

More from BT

In case anyone's interested... had another message from BT. Not entirely convinced, but then again - who am I to say, without trying this myself?

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 9th October 2007, your e-mail has been logged under the reference number xxxx.

I am writing further to your query concerning the security vulnerability with the BT Home Hub. I apologize for the inconvenience you have recently encountered with the security vulnerability of the hub.

Please note that BT has released a new version for the firmware of the BT Home Hub. The installation of the new firmware should resolve all the issues related to the security vulnerability of the BT Home Hub.

If you need any further assistance with your BT Total Broadband service, please visit our website http://www.bt.com/broadband/help for solutions to most technical questions and to contact us in future.

Thank you for using BT Total Broadband.


BT Total Broadband Support Team.

Dead Vulture

Fantastic Customer Service, As Always

Here's BT's word for word reply to my support request on this. Of particular delight is the sentence "As it is already been secure, there will not be a necessary to obtain a patch to address this vulnerability."

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 9th October 2007, your e-mail has been logged under the reference number xxxx.

I am writing further to the concerns which you have raised about the security vulnerability with the BT Home Hub. You wish to know where to obtain a patch to address this vulnerability.

Please note that BT Home Hub has many advanced features. The BT Home Hub has been designed for all current and future BT Total Broadband services - including high-speed Internet access, cheap broadband phone calls, wireless Internet, BT Fusion and more - all from one box. Key benefits include:

• Security: An enhanced security package to keep you, your computer, and your family safe and secure

• Wireless: Advanced features to free you from restrictive wires and help you connect to multiple PCs, printers, and games consoles

• Gaming: Features to help you match your skills against the best gamers in the world

• Remote updating: Get access to new products and services as they are launched

• BT Broadband Talk: Make the most of great value calling plans, low cost calls over your PC, and video calls

Please be informed that wireless routers use various security technologies to prevent unauthorised users connecting to the Internet over your wireless network. The BT Home Hub or BT Voyager Wireless routers, Voyager 2091 for example, are preset with WEP wireless security and are protected by a key known as a wireless network key. WEP security offers protection against unwanted connections on a typical home/small office network. As it is already been secure, there will not be a necessary to obtain a patch to address this vulnerability. Your patience and understanding is highly appreciated. Please visit the following link for more information about secured wireless connection:


If you need any further assistance with your BT Total Broadband service, please visit our website http://www.bt.com/broadband/help for solutions to most technical questions and to contact us in future.

Thank you for using BT Total Broadband.


BT Total Broadband Support Team

Zep promoter piles into eBay

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I'm all for preventing ticket touting, but when promoters make moves to block what is morally legitimate transfer of tickets between friends at face value (i.e. if someone can't make the gig) then they themselves become the rip off merchants.

When tickets for some gigs go on sale 6 months in advance, how the hell am I to know if I'm not going to be able to make it due to a wedding/family shindig/work crisis, etc.

Of course, it's nice to think that you'll make every effort to attend a gig, but if there's a legitimate reason why you later decide you can't make it, the current obstructive measures make the promoters no less of a rip off merchant. Plenty of independent ticket sellers (e.g. wegottickets) allow for the re-allocation of tickets to other named individuals - but none of the big players do.

Ticketmaster keep talking about implementing a system to allow people to re-sell tickets if they can't go to a gig. How about actually implementing the damn thing instead of hypothesising?

O2 goes flat on data


Getting Better

Misleading aside, this is a huge step forward for a company that until a few months ago, would only offer consumers a 4MB data 'bolt on' for a fiver, and charge them £3 per MB afterwards.

At least the money I'll save from this will make up for the money that I will lose from O2 choosing to no longer take 0870 / 0845 calls out of your free minutes...

Phone companies are all the same. Every penny you save, they'll find another way of extracting from you.


O2 Linky

By the way, the details are on O2's website at http://www.o2.co.uk/mobilestariffs/tariffs/consumerdatabolton

Interestingly they don't really make the clear distinction that the £7.50 one is not 'intended' for using your phone with a data cable. Suggesting the £30 is only for 'data cards' leaves the whole thing open to interpretation.


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