Sunday, 30 December 2007

Student/Leaner driver agreement


I am helping out a teenager to learn to drive. They are having professional lessons, so this is just practice time. However this can be a stressful and fraught time for both helper and student. After a few sessions I decided to form this agreement to help reset the right expectations .... Lets see how this goes

Student driver agreement

I the undersigned student driver agree the following :

1) When I am driving and parking, I will be in complete control of the car at all times and I am responsible for road positioning, speed, direction, lighting and engine control.

2) Guidance, hints, tips and advice are NOT personal criticism and will be received in a accepting and positive manner.

3) The actions of others are not in my control but how I react to the actions of others are fully my responsibility. I will try to anticipate situations but will always be ready to react to the unexpected.

4) Anger, impatience, stress and annoyance have no place in my vehicle or mind. My positive attitude and relaxed but alert state of mind are an important factors for driving success.

6*) I acknowledge that these are the most common mistakes that new, and particularly, young drivers make:
• Not slowing down in complex road situations
• Not looking around or using mirrors enough
• Overconfidence
So I will always be ready to listen for guidance on these and any other driving matters.

NAME: ___________________________

DATE :___________________________

* Partly from the helpful



Saturday, 22 December 2007

Does google ignore it's own community ?

I have a small blog - its so far just a colection of random thoughs -
but my friends can find it on google if they look with the right words - Yes ?

Starting at on 23 Dec 2007
Your search - gannett-hscp blog - did not match any documents.
Your search - "RAND(squawk)" - did not match any documents.
Your search - "rand(squawk)" - found stuff that is not yours...
Your search - gannett-hscp - did not match any documents.
Your search - - did not match any documents.
Your search - - did not match any documents - just how much more specific do you have
to get ?

So whois Domain Name:

Registrar Name:
Registrar Whois:
Registrar Homepage:

Administrative Contact:
DNS Admin (NIC-1467103) Google Inc

Does google ignore it's own community ?
Aparently so why waste your electronic breath ?


Wednesday, 5 December 2007

A couple of signs you are getting old ..

Its true I had a couple of signs recently that age is crawling on :

Firstly a favorite film "Blade Runner" now has a twenty fifth anniversary edition. Woh hang on a minute, I saw Blade Runner when it came out in '82 it really can't be 25 years since then. I saw a promo reel at an Easter convention back then and went with a crowd of to see it the week it came out. Great then and even better now a film that really moved on the genre.

Secondly you know when your getting old when you get new techno from your kids. litt'n got a new phone when they upgraded to a new contract with twice the minutes and texts ( hopefully not 1/2 the coverage) for the same monthly cost. I get the hand-me-down a deep red and rather smooth Motorola Pbel. That's an upgrade for me, so much better than my 5+ year old basic Nokia from work. I have to say that T-Mobile were OK about providing phone number port code and subsidy code to unlock the Pebl. If it doesn't work out with the new provider we will be back. I also got the knackered Ipod mini for use in the car via direct hook up. Great for Audible books and podcasts on long journeys. I guess that's what goes around cause I bought and set up the old man's PC back in 2001. He still has it Win98, dial up modem and all. Going to have to do something bout that soon.



Monday, 19 November 2007

Net promoter / Net detractor

A lot of noise has been heard about the whole concept of "Net Promoter" especially at "The Ultimate Question" book and in customer survey driver Statmetrics. The idea is quite simple most people have a small set of products that they rave about be it an iPod or a bar of soap. Those products can do no wrong, and folks will miss no opportunity to tell you why. For these products you will answer the magic question "Will you recommend this product to a friend ?" with a big wide yes. Measuring the quantity of your customers that are net promoters gives any business person a good steer for the likelihood of future growth.

Well here is the list of products for which I am a net promoter ..

BMW 3 Series Diesel engines An excellent motor that will cruse at over 60 miles per gallon ( approx. 6l per 100Km). Torquey and responsive the power-plant will pull and pull. 12,000 miles between services and with 120k under its belts the block still motors hard.

Green and Blacks Chocolate - Aromatic, smooth and absolutely delicious. Put away that slimy lard, and feast your senses on some real chocolate. All of the products are organic, certified by the UK Soil Association and the Maya Gold range is fairtrade based.

Apple computer- It has to be a design thing, I can't design for toffee but oooh that ease of use and low cots of ownership pushes my buttons. Scratch my surface and you''ll find a Unix Geek inside so I know a thing or two about troublesome tech at work; having a Mac at home just fits right. Over the last 17 year since the first Mac ( an over clocked IIsi ) arrived on the desk, there have been big highs from System 7 and Tiger, and lows from clicking Zip drives and pricy software. In the round however all the Macs, IIsi, Q650, G3 Blue and White, Imac Sunflower have delivered great and trouble free service. It's key value is just not getting in the way of what needs to get done.

oh yes just one more thing.. Metal Tavern Puzzles - When you work with your brain all day having a solid tactile metal object to manipulate and solve with hands is a joy. I guess that tinkering with cars and the mechanics of engines comes close. Maybe its a bloke thing but it sure is a great way to unwind after a day pounding the keyboard.

So for every upside there is a down side ... Net demoters are

MBNA - Home of the sub prime credit card, with auto-rising interest rates and the biggest junk mailer in the uk, MBNA is responsible for 100 million mailshots a year to UK households.

Time - Some may think this a strange element to dislike, but you try controlling it. Unlike wealth, love, health and food over which we have some human control but with time there is no control. It's gone in a flash when you want to revel in the moment and drags slowly to cross a void.

That it for now ...

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A week with Leopard

Well it has been a week or so since the Leopard arrived on the G5 * 2GHz * 4GB and I have to say it's sweet. The new finder view coverflow with quick look is great for photo and file review. The dock tweaks look good and replace folders with useful links that previously littered the desktop.

The only issues I have seen are video extraction application "TivoTool" not working, a rather worrying Crash while sleeping and application windows sticking to the glass in Spaces.

Spaces does work with two monitors ( different sizes ) just as I hoped it would. Fantastic.


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Just another joined up day

Today I was working helping along a tech support guy based at his office in Italy while he worked ( shared screen) with the end customer based in Turkey.

Meanwhile a Tech support person based in India tweaked my PC remotely to coax some email back out of an on-line vault store.

Just another world wide joined up day as predicted in "The World is flat."


Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Four ways past the guards

Digital security is important. Who is who is not a trivial issue. Just ask your bank for a refund after an ATM or wire transfer and see how hard it is to prove you are you and you didn't do it. Come to think about it, you know remembering names and faces is hard enough IRL so give the servers a 1/2 chance and they will get it wrong.

Setting up secure and reliable logins to accounts is the 101 of e-commerce. People are lazy, learning a 4 digit pins is too hard, yes but we are OK with a 9 digit phone number. If you are protecting an email/blog account, single delivery point book buying service; user selected names and password are kind of OK. But for the real money I want to be more confident that that it's only me that can get in. If you look around you can see a lot of authentication mechanisms are flawed.

(1) Users make their own user names and passwords. We know thay are lazy so I bet they use the same username and password for most of the accounts that they set up.
I set up a web based service to send ring-dings and cards and then apply the same UN/PW to Amazon, Ebay, Facebook and all those valuable E-services. <\Bad guy>
COUNTER: Pick a password that is two elements that have a varying letter element in between eg fredXblogs! for blogs or fredAblogs! for Amazon. Alternately use a mutating password system such as N letters out of a long word or Secure-ID

(2) Secure-ID is in play and widely distributed across all the entry point in our networks. This gives me a new 6 digit number every minute that has to be in the password to access the net account. <\Good guy>

I see your keys strokes in real time. I know the entry points to your net and I reuse the same unique number at another entry portal before it expires. I am in and I look like you so I can do what I like. <\Bad guy>

(3) Because you have implemented Secure-ID as an add-on to the password which is used as well as the Secure-ID code and I see your keys, I just call up the service and say my Secure-ID woggle is broken and get them to reset the account back to just a UN/PW. I have that. <\Bad guy>

I pick 3 letters using drop downs from a long password and you can't copy me.

I see your field selections I save them for later.<\Bad guy>

4) Well the password doesn't change and I see the drop downs you select. Because the chars are always asked for in order eg char 2,5,8 or chars 3,7,8 It doesn't take me many surfings to figure out the order of the letters and solve the anagram of the letters used. COUNTER: Ask for the letters out of order and insist on non-dictionay passwords elements.
<\Bad guy>

Being a pragmatist i know that level of authentication has to match the level of assets protected. No one needs 10's of random chars passwords that change every 90 days just to get through the day but you do have to watch the implementation details to get the security you think you have.


Monday, 22 October 2007

End of the week, start of the new world

Am looking forward to the end of the week when the OSX Leopard arrives. From the feature list it looks like a solid upgrade to a great OS.

Just hope that the Workspaces feature understands multiple monitors. Having used various multi screen systems all the way back to a Radius Pivot I know there is no substitute for a big TV for the computer as well as in the living room. Pixel density*area that is digital horsepower.