Friday, September 28, 2007

Your Card In Their Hands

The phone rang last night and a man from my bank told me (after running though a couple of security questions) that there were some transactions on my credit card that required clarification.

Weightwatchers? He asked
That's legit, I replied. (Embarrassing).
That's the bill from the toerags who investigated my car while I was on my hols, said I. (Grrr)
£1.80 from itunes?
Er..I've never bought any mp3s off itunes - ever. (Wha??)
How about £1500 from the Natwest Currency centre in Peterborough?
That ain't me.(Jesu Cristus!)

Fortunately it was the massive currency trade that flagged it up, and the transaction was refused. But where was the protection from the much vaunted chip and pin system introduced with much fanfare two years ago?

The crims have stepped up their game, he told me. They get jobs in data handling centres, duplicate your credit card details into a USB memory key when nobody's looking then sell on the details to other crims via the net. It's rife, and so much safer than taking a sawn off to the local branch with Ed the wheels in the motor outside.

On reflection, this is how ID cards will fail. There'll be a chip, a PIN, your records in a sliver of metallicised plastic - but your details in some data handling centre staffed by kids and others on £6 an hour. The anonymous and ever increasing power of the net means that our details will be for sale in no time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Tube Isn't All Bad

Everyone's seen this apparently but I love it. A group of students decide to stage a dinner party on the tube down from Harrow. A brilliant idea and due to a shortage of staff no jobsworth is available to tell them to stop. Hurrah!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Turn of the Season

It was definitely colder this morning; I noticed it on my run round the park. The wind was blowing a bit but thankfully no sudden downpours like Monday. There was bright sunshine instead, and I noticed my poor old limbs didn't hurt quite so much this time.

There's no virtue in this sudden exercise kick, it's all venal. I have joined weightwatchers online, and it seems you can eat a bit more if you run. So I had a steak sandwich and a pint this lunchtime. Two steps forward, one step back.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cycling? No Thanks

Lots of people look dubiously at my ever swelling paunch and ask me why I don't cycle to work.

This is why not.

Lycian Games

Ms T and myself spent the last two weeks in Turkey, in the village of Gelemis on the South coast. The sun shone all the time, and the water was warm, so much swimming was done. Eating was also a priority, and the food was excellent.
The most interesting thing about that area is the remains of ancient cultures dating back to when Gelemis was called Patara, and its ownership passed between the locals, to the Greeks, and finally to the Romans.
Their remains are everywhere. They're not fenced off or patrolled by men and women with tabards holding clipboards, as they would undoubtedly be if they were in England. You can go and sit where people sat two thousand years ago to get their entertainment, pass laws, walk where they did their shopping and venture into their baths.
There's writing everywhere, on stones and walls. The Lycians had an intensely literate culture, based on Greek, and some of their letters we still use today; a testament to their power living on long after they disappeared.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lost in West Sussex

These chickens thought we knew where we were going. They were wrong. If you're going to use the Time Out book of Country Walks to navigate the countryside on your day off, use the updates off the net. Or prepare to stand about for ages looking at stiles and saying, this isn't right is it, and asking when the pub shuts.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

He's back..

Hank, the venerable pussycat who'd traumatised friends and neighbours by disappearing has calmly returned. I'm pleased to report he's none the worse for his experience, wherever it's been. He is an old fraud.

That's not him in the washing basket, that's Dylan, who's sneaked into this post.