Saturday, 26 June 2010

Hotmail shenanigans

I'm part of the e-book drop scheme for Coalition Troops. It is organised by Ed Patterson. He collates the email addresses of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq who have requested to join the scheme. Participating authors then send invitations by email to the troops for a free download of e-books versions written by those authors. The troops normally visit to use a voucher code to download the books free of charge.
I've discovered recently that hotmail is rejecting a lot of emails either wholly or to the junk queue of individual email accounts.  I've been wondering why the level of response to the programme has been quite low, but checking through the list of addresses it turns out a lot of them are using  The microsoft email system may be free but it's crude email filtering means that opportunities like the E-book drop scheme are being lost to the account holders. Sometimes free is not cheap!

Monday, 21 June 2010

University Student Fees

When I was of unviersity age life was a lot easier. If you obtained good GCE A-Level examination results you could obtain a place in University. There were no University fees and if your parent's income was low the student was given a grant to pay living costs.

The current tertiary education system is a massive con trick! Now students have to pay fees and do not get a grant. It is in effect taxation of students. Part of the con trick is to loan the students money to pay/living costs. That "loan book" is then sold to investment bankers who then recover the loan money from the students. In other words the tax money is spent now, but paid back later.

Universities are now pushing for annual fees of at least £7,000 per student. This is totally outrageous. Most students will only get a few hours lectures a week in what is effectively a 30 week year. Universities in the UK are very poor value for money.

I wonder if the need to have increased fees is not unconnected to the massive salaries now paid to the professors and senior management of the universities? Over recent years these payments (& pensions) have risen in an uncontrolled fashion. Rather that double the Student Fees we should see a halving of the salaries paid for the professorial sinecures.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Shouldn't do that to a camel

It's amazing how a slightly screwy headline can attract the attention. If I'd written Russians declare war on Apple it may have the same level of attraction. It does seem that the Russian antivirus software house Kaspersky is doing just that! Last night I tried to browse the website only to find that the site was "hanging". At first I suspected my own network, but there was no problem with other sites. Then I thought maybe was getting some form of DDOS, but when I used a Linux computer to browse the site there was an immediate display of the Apple home page.

Eventually my suspicions fell onto the recently installed business version of Kaspersky 2010 Internet Security. After some hunting around on google I eventually found the cure on Kaspersky's own technical forum. To access to the website you have make a specific entry in the depths of the configuration screens to tell Kaspersky that www, is a trusted site!! The are no problems with any other big name sites. I didn't have the problem with earlier versions of their product on the same PC.

I wonder if there is a software developer working in a dark room in the Moscow offices of Kaspersky who has a grudge against Apple? I have a great respect for Russian software, but this has put a serious dent in my confidence in the impartiality of developers of the Kaspersky software.

It may be useful as a sub plot in book number 4 of the Adam Cranford series though!


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Financial Services Authority

I've just had one of those letters from the UK Financial Services Authority warning me that I may be targeted by Boiler Room Fraudsters. What a laugh! I've been having calls from Boiler Rooms once every couple of weeks for the past four years. They usually mention my shareholding in Pilkington Glass that I had briefly a few years ago. The calls are obvious and a source of entertainment for me. I love extending the fraudster's phone bills and where possible try to get them to post me big heavy glossy brochures, it must cost them a fortune.

Sadly though the Financial Services Authority failed to do their job in spotting the biggest fraudsters of all, namely the Bankers. I lost far more of my savings (and interest payments) as a direct consequence of the FSA being asleep at the helm when the bankers were driving their own ship onto the rocks. The boiler rooms are small fry compared to the bankers.


Rolling back the repression

It is excellent news that the new coalition government in the UK is rolling back the repressive government introduced the previous Nu-labour government. They are cancelling the child abuse vetting scheme. Don't get me wrong, we need to protect children from abuse, but the way the scheme was proposed was authoritarian and pretty ineffective in achieving the desired end result. The way it was proposed was to treat all people as guilty until proven innocent. Volunteers could have been banned on the basis of unproven gossip. What a waste of public money it would have been.

They were proposing to register 9,000,000 people rather than the actual previous offenders. The Labour establishment were deaf to complaints about the proposed "service". Of course the other good piece of news was the scrapping of the National Identity register and also the national child register (Contactpoint).


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Massacre in Cumbria

I feel great sadness at the deaths of 12 people in Cumbria UK at the hands of a deranged gunman. This will be a great tragedy for the families of the innocent victims involved in these shootings.