Archive for Misc

Dash4Dosh -day 4- Jyderup to Kolmården

Starting Location: Jyderup

Ending Location: First Camp Kolmården

Total Distance Traveled: 1398km

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :8

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :2

Tracking availability - Good!

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I woke early that morning in my tent and began the packing process.  Knowing I have zero experience I wanted to start before everyone else so I was not a cause of “flaffing” delay.  By 8.30am we were having breakfast and Thomas was standing guard over his baby.  A fully restored Mini Cooper S lovingly brought back to life over many years by himself.

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After breakfast and much flaffing (I managed to lose my keys for a while) we set off with Vladimir taking lead on our first stop.  A quick visit to the resting place of Kenneth Kjaerbye to thank him for the fantastic weather so far.  There is no doubt he would have been joining us on this trip, and many of us wanted to visit.  After that, a quick stop at Hillerød Castle (yes, that castle!) to meet up with the infamous Christian Denkler who wanted to wish us well.  As you can see from the picture, the weather was stunning.

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Then north, to Helsingor harbour, to catch a 30minute ferry to Helsingborg in Sweden.  (Tip – ferries are equivalent to busses to Scandanavia.  Typically you pay when you get there or even on the ferry).

From there onto the E4 for a long slog heading northeast. Swedish motorways:  Huge, smooth and very very dull.  We had 5 hours of it.  The first petrol stop had an aeroplane at the side converted into a candy store for kids.  By the time the second fuel stop arrived, the heat and sunlight had given me a splitting headache, and everyone was pretty tired from the motorway trudgery.  Paracetamol consumed with water and onwards to our first waypoint of the evening.  Well, the second one.  The first planned camp site had nobody there to meet us, so we left and found a much superior one by the name of First Camp Kolmården.  By finding this second one, a theme was developing.  Sat Nav on the bikes was supplied by two Garmin Zumos (Roy and Chris) and TomTom app on my iPhone.  The iPhone was vastly superior in almost every respect.  Something to keep in mind if you do this trip.  Anyways, I digress.  This camp, based on a lake, they offer tent sites or cabins.  Gregg, Vladimir and Roy elected for a cabin.  Chris and I setup our tents.  We then had to get back on the bikes to get food and fuel and drifted off to bed about 11pm.  It was still bright.

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You can still donate to Dash4Dosh.  Just go here and throw some money at it.  Alternatively like it’s facebook page if you can.  It all helps a good cause.

 

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Dash4Dosh – day3 – Esbjerg to Jyderup

Starting Location: Esbjerg Harbour

Ending Location: Jyderup

Total Distance Traveled: 830km

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :9

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :1

Tracking availability - Good!

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At 1pm (local) our DFDS ferry lurched into Esbjerg and we trundled off East with a plan for a short ride, petrol stop and then ride on to Jyderup.  After getting out of the town, we hit the E20 and headed east. Petrol stops on the motorway were few and far between and our tanks were getting close to empty (Chris was down to 7km free) so we decided to implement emergency measures and go searching for any local town one asap. We pulled in to check Sat Navs and saw there was one 4km away.  So we headed through the countryside on the blessed faith of TomTom and Garmin.  This is when, approaching a roundabout, a bee flew into my helmet.

What is your most terrifying moment?  Picture the worst thing that could happen to you, causing blind panic and being unable to do jack shit to prevent the inevitable.  Think back…. Yea well fuck you.  Approaching a roundabout, a bee flew into my helmet.

Screaming and not crashing I managed to crush the little bastard but not before he stung my lip and caused a minor heart attack.  Pulled over, disposed of remains and headed on.   Fuel done and lessons learned to plan better in future.

En route to Jyderup we had to cross the Great Belt.  One of the longest bridges in the world. We decided to stop on the west side for a photo near the coast, and ended up in Nyborg.  No real view of the bridge, but a lovely place.

IMG_1469 The ride over the bridge was windy, but from an engineering perspective, amazing.  All of this is recorded in video which will get on youtube when I get time to edit ti all.  On the east side, we headed to Körsor, so we could get pictures of the bridge, the Naval base and take  a few minutes break.

IMG_1471After that, North to Jyderup, where the fourth and fifth riders were waiting for us.  After arriving in the town, on blind faith of satnav we headed up a rough path on the bikes to a house in the distance.  There, at the end, Vladimir, his family, Gregg Eldred, Thomas Lindberg and Kirstin Denkler were waiting and waving us into a barn, to park up for the evening.

IMG_1476  We sat in the sun, made fun of each other and discussed the upcoming route while having a few beers and a bbq.  That evening, my tent cherry was popped (whilst being supervised and laughed at during the “erection phase”.  Later as I lay inside, constant pings of “what the hell have you let yourself in for” popped into my head.

IMG_1479Sleep came late.

 

 

You can still donate to Dash4Dosh.  Just go here and throw some money at it.  Alternatively like it’s facebook page if you can.  It all helps a good cause.

 

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Dash4dosh – day2 – Liverpool to Harwich

Starting Location: Liverpool Harbour

Ending Location: Harwich Harbour

Total Distance Traveled: 550km

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :9

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :4

Tracking availability - Good!

Day 2 started on the Stena Line Ferry to Liverpool, after (at most) 2 hours sleep.  Possibly nerves or overthinking the route ahead was keeping me awake, along with  finishing off bits and pieces.

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 At  6am I got back on the bike and took it to Preston, meeting Sean Cull and Roy McGeoch.  Roy, all kitted out in his new GS1200 took off like a scared rabbit through the UK motorway traffic.  Myself, being a bit scared of the width of the panniers (there is an old rule on bike filtering that if your front mirrors make it through the rest will follow – with my bike that is not exactly accurate) filtered at half the speed.  But we ploughed through the horrendous UK motorways and arrived at Cambridge to a welcoming committee.  Steph, Arshad, Abigail and baby Daniel joined us for a coffee while the third rider, Chris Harris was on the way.  While there, we got talking to Irish/Scottish trio just back from their european alps adventure.  When they heard about the route and the charity, they fished out their last Euros and handed them over wishing us luck.  Top folks!

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After an hour we said goodbye to the ex Teamstudio and BCC staff and headed southeast to Harwich.  A small point about riding through the UK.  It is a horrendous experience on the motorways.  With where I live, I have to cut through the UK to get to Europe, and for a country with amazing A and B roads, the motorway experience is hideous.  Regardless, we made the ferry about 30 minutes before boarding.  Then, and only then, did it start to rain.

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After tying up the bikes (DFDS Harwich ferry is shite for bikes.  Almost no room and no assistance) we settled in for the 18 hour trip and got talking to the other bikers there.  Marcus from Austria was a young land that seems to have worked everywhere and was now off to take a summer break riding around Iceland.  It seemed this is a popular destination, as other bikers were heading there too (something to consider for the future).

The other lads were more rested than I was and stayed in the bar.  I passed out in the cabin.

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Dash4dosh – day1

Starting Location: Belfast

Ending Location: Belfast

Total Distance Traveled: Not very much

Bike Comfort Factor (1-10) :10

“Tired” Factor (1-10) :1

Tracking availability – Good!

Today went as planned  Staring early with work to finish off everything and remind people that this is one of the rare vacation slots I take where I will actually be *unavailable*.   If your server goes tits up while I am in the arse of Scandinavia, good luck with it.  At 3pm I signed off and started to pack.  In fairness I had everything I planned to take already in a room, so it was just a matter of chucking 50% of it and packing the rest.  In the end, I have one pannier for clothing and personal items. One pannier for tools and tech (with space), and the topbox with “what you will need quick access to”.  I have spare space though.  I could have left the topbox at home but you never know what will happen and I may regret it, so it comes along.

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A friend of my wife couldn’t understand the ability to pack everything for 2 1/2 weeks into the panniers, so I gave her an example of what it would be like to travel with her (hair dryer and straighteners coutsey of Lynne):

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So I packed up, showered, got ready, said goodbye to everyone, enabled the tracker and head on the long treck… to Belfast Harbour.  Yes, day 1 consisted of about 15 miles riding.   Then after strapping the bike up on the ferry, I have now found myself in the ferry Bar with a pint of stella and some spare time to get things sorted.

Tomorrow, Liverpool->Preston->Harwich and another Ferry to Denmark.  Onward!!!!!!!

You can still donate to Dash4Dosh.  Just go here and throw some money at it.  Alternatively like it’s facebook page if you can.  It all helps a good cause.

 

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Stunning

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As I have been asked a few times (ethical hacking / Domino)

After the BP107 presentation “defending the perimeter” at IBM Connect, I have had a few (quite a few more than I would have expected) queries on if I would run the ethical hacking/domino workshop again.  The answer is the the typical answer of any consultant when asked if they would run a paid workshop again.

“Of course”

Just get in touch.  I have ran it at events and also on customer sites.  You just need to do the paperwork with my pimps.

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The future of mobile communication.

I remember when my mobile phone bill could have been calculated by the weight of the  posted invoice.  Any international road-warrior with requirements to provide support and be contactable has suffered extensively from roaming bills for calls and data.  I wince at the thoughts of how much I cost my company on the mobile phone for making and taking calls from anywhere,anytime.

This is starting to change.  Three.co.uk have made a brave move.

A few months ago I switched to the Three phone plan for my use from O2.  This includes the “feel at home” data roaming option.  Simply put, once I am in a country that is approved (including USA, ROI, Denmark, Sweden and m0re) I can happily data roam on my phone, or call the UK, all out of my normal plan.  No extra charges.  No selected networks.  Now my smart phone stays smart, without having to worry about the cost.  Hopefully other carriers follow.  IMG_1102

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A government bond site.. sending clear text passwords

A year ago, Tescos (US readers, think Walmart) got in a *lot* of hot water for sending clear, unencrypted passwords by email to customers.    When tech security hits mainstream press, you know you have screwed up (or been caught) big time.  With the haze of the holiday period disappearing, I plunged into my mailbox and noticed a couple of emails from an Irish Agency.  The irish government prize bonds agency.

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It was real, from their real address with my online bond-tracking password in clear text.  Let’s put this in some level of perspective.  It is estimated (by end of 2010) that the total value of Irish prize bonds was estimated at €1.33 billion.  Over 1% of the country’s's national debt. (source).   Figuring something was up, I logged in and changed my password.  Then did a “forgotten password request” to get my new password sent to me, in clear text.

I emailed them querying this woeful security.  Some of the response.

I understand that you have received an e-mail containing a Bond Tracker password. I can confirm that this e-mail would have been sent from the Prize Bond website.

In the event you have not requested your  password we confirm from time to time this can happen and is usually the result of one of two possible scenarios.

1) A Bond Tracker user in logging on, makes a typing error which may result in the user name being wrong by one digit or letter. (this username will then be the same as yours). The password will then be rejected and the user requests that the forgotten password is e-mailed to them. As they’ve inadvertently logged on as you, the e-mail will be sent to your address.

2) From time to time you can get people who browse various websites and randomly try usernames to try and access details. If one of these people guessed your username, they could request your password. Again the password would only ever be sent to your e-mail address.

In both of these cases your password is only ever sent to your e-mail address. No one else receives it. Both of these scenarios are rare and of the two I would say it’s a case of someone accidentally keying in your username and then requesting the password, which they never receive.

In the event you have requested your password it will be sent directly to your email address which will contain your new password therefore to use when logging onto the Bond Tracker.

My follow on email explaining that the basic premise of the security model is terrible and do they understand that has as yet, remained unanswered.  For a basic site or free service to do this, it is poor.  For a company to do it, terrible.  For a multi billion government agency to do this, it is .. “fascinating”.

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So… 2013 happened

I best jump on the bandwagon of writing up an epitaph to 2013.  Of course, of the many blogs I read in various communities I know that mine will be mostly uninteresting in comparison, but sure here goes anyway.

In short, 2013 was defiantly a year where I felt “older”.  Some of this is related to actually not being as healthy as I used to be, and the rest was due to incidents and milestones.  It was a mixed bag of a year on a personal front.  Some good, some bad.  Technology wise, it most definitely was a year of transition.  But treating technology as simply “technology” reminds me that the problems and the people will always be the same.

January involved my seventh trip to Lotusphere (screwit – I’m sticking with that name).  Many other people put it a lot better than I did about the events of that week, but needless to say I have very vivid memories of certain things.  The rest was just an unimportant blur.  Sadly the vivid stuff still haunts.

In February, Gab Davis and I rewrote Connections101.net for version 4.  It took a few days and as ever Gab’s commitment and simple desire to educate people stuns me.  No hidden agenda, no bullshit.  She just wants to help everyone… anyone.  February also involved Kenneth’s funeral in Denmark.   After that, early March I managed to check a box and finally get to Australia, albeit for a very short trip.   However, Tony and I managed to squeeze in a lot and for once I travelled in style.  Auslug, and its organisers did themselves proud.  LCTY in Hamburg, BLUG and Madrid all quickly followed.

A highlight of the year was traveling to the Catalonia Moto GP  in June with my wife, Tony and Roy Holder.  A great break and I was hooked on race weekends instantly.  July and August was very busy with work, house hunting and study.  A week out for a holiday break in September just after the last UKLUG, which I rode to with Sean Cull and Simon Peek.  Good times.  Admincamp in Gelsenkirchen followed straight by a customer visit in Tampa (and visiting the Dolphin Hotel to meet up with Gab and Tim).  October, November and December went way too quickly, with many short trips and fortunately lots of work.

Lessons learned?  Quite a few on the professional side.  I screwed up once but also managed to pull off another project in a manner I’m proud of, so I consider that even (ok… I focus on the screwup but what did you expect).  On the professional/personal side I started to ignore people that drain energy.  No badness, just simply not trying to pander to folk as much as I used to.  One regret is taking this long to start doing that as it’s working out quite well!

2014 has many new projects on the horizon (two starting next week actually).  I have a suspicion that travel will be frequent in the coming year, but three personal projects are going to take priority over work.  One will be announced in about a month (get ready to put your hands in your pockets), the other two are kicking off soon.  The coming year is a game changer in many ways for me.  Hopefully 12 months from now it will have all worked out.

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