Ready for take off – ok ready to taxi at least

I can’t believe it – the only thing that’s flying is time.
It is two and a quarter years since I posted to this blog and nearly two years since I flew a light aircraft. The blog thing is not a case of inertia, more a case of blog hacks and I got seriously cheesed off with it.

So I’m back on a trial posting basis as there will be lots to reveal in the coming months.

I’m also heading off to the USA soon to dust off the paperwork that comprises my pilot’s licence biannual revalidation and to fly with my aviation buddy John Speedie.

I’ll be sparking the flight simulator up in the next couple of weeks before heading down to East Midlands Airport for a medical and check ride (the start of the serious money drain).

And then I’ll be looking forward to that Rainy Night In Georgia.

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Magnificent data import (not really)

I received an unsolicited call today which illustrates some rather poor data munging

Caller: Can I speak to Mr Kirkby
Me: There’s nobody here of that name, sorry
Caller: Mr Stephen Kirkby
Me: No sorry you have the wrong number
Caller: Is that The Software Development Company?
Me: Yes
Caller: Sorry  I must have been given the incorrect personal details

Damn right she had as my postal address includes the nearest town – “Kirkby Stephen”

Caller: I’m ringing to offer you some excellent free marketing services exclusively aimed at selected companies in Yorkshire
Me: That’s handy as I am not located in Yorkshire – Goodbye …

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Blog restoration (no thanks for the hack attack)

Well I guess it is partly my own fault for not blogging since April of this year as I clearly don’t then have an eye on a ball so to speak.
Two of my wp pages were hacked resulting in a server 500 error (and obviously I have cleaned that up and upgraded wp to the latest version).
It is such a pain to have to keep control of scores of sites just to stop the hack attacks but I guess that’s the name of the game…

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Twitter Hiccup

403 Forbidden: The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it.

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More podcasts from the man and the desk

Now I am back in the saddle with regular contributions to CNIRadio you can catch up with my ramblings at One Man & His Desk – The Podcast
n the latest recording you can find out about the Gyroscopic Self Levelling Pool Table and much more.

Listen now.

Posted in Trivia and stuff, TV & Radio | Leave a comment

The LUG Slug

Is there any wonder people are put off by switching to linux (rhetorical question). How can I convince people to take a tour of the linux world when the Linux User Group (at least for the North West) is so out of date and … well quite frankly, rubbish.
I have been looking for an active linux user group in the area and here’s what I got from the two potentially closest, first Lancaster, the LUG directory entry last updated in January 2010:

Template Error: The template file must be given

And for Cumbria, the last update for which was December two years ago, it simply takes you to a page belonging to the group’s coordinator with a one-liner advertising his business.

Come on linux users - “must do better”

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Masterful thinking – so full of surprises

Seldom do I ask people to watch/listen to things on the internet (knowing that I don’t want too many reciprocal demands) but I can’t help myself here. This is my favourite TED presentation to date:

(thanks to Keith Edmunds for bringing it to my attention)

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Moody – My latest 8tracks

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Top of google – Data recovery done best – Not!

Hard Drive Data Recovery – No Data No fee. 15yrs exp.
ISO 9001 Student/Non-Company Discounts.

And here’s the link result:

Microsoft VBScript runtime error ‘800a0005′

Invalid procedure call or argument: ‘left’

/keyword_capture.asp, line 11

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Orange turns blue (well my language nearly did)

Beginning with yet another mobile phone mast outage (the price you pay for rural living) I was surprised to discover I had no signal when I went to town. A quick visit to the Orange shop led the ‘specialist’ to determine that my phone was broken. Despite it being 3 days out of warranty (call me unlucky Alf) I made a call to Orange myself (since the store staff wouldn’t do it) and they decided to send me a replacement. A couple of hours later they called to say that there was no need as my phone had been blocked. It took me a few more calls to find out why. Coincidentally at the same time as the mast outage (over 3 days), one person in London had managed to bypass Orange security and order a new phone (on a new 24 month contract), whilst a second person in a completely different place (Dagenham) had managed to order a replacement for a lost phone.  Both were trapped in the system (though I was never contacted to inform me that my account may have been compromised).

Now the only way I discovered all this was because I just received a letter two weeks after the event welcoming me to  my new contract which I thought was somewhat odd, especially as it had gone up by £15 per month.
I tried to sign in online and my password didn’t work. It turns out that someone had reset it. Worse than that I was able to reset it myself over the phone with very basic information – name, address, date of birth and one other simple piece of information from the pool of questions.

My case is currently under investigation since I have also been charged for a new handset (which Orange have kindly refunded), but the lesson is simple:

Get yourself equipped with a secure password system such as lastpass ( and make sure you tighten up where the service provider may exhibit poor telephone security.

Call your provider, reset your password and make sure that they flag it on the system to disallow the bypassing of a password using any other means.


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