I just bought a ticket on Southern Railway. As ever, I will pick up the ticket from an automatic machine, before I travel.
I noticed that it said on the site that the method I chose was the preferred one for UK and Overseas customers.
If this is true and I’ve no reason to doubt it isn’t, then say an Australian booking a ticket in the UK, should do the following.
1. Ascertain the train company, who handle the route he wants to travel. The National Rail Enquiries web site, tells you this, when you check train times.
2. Go to that company’s web site and book your ticket, paying for it with a debit/credit card. Note that the actual company seems to always give the best price and often, you’ll find a special deal. Using an intermediate company is inevitably more expensive and they all seem to be generators of unwanted e-mails to your Inbox.
3. When booking, elect to pick up the ticket, any time before you start your journey. you need to chose a station, but it’s not important as tickets can be picked up at any station with a machine.
4. Make certain, you note the 8-character booking reference, the card you used and the journey you booked.
5. As you can pick up the tickets two hours after booking, probably by the time you arrive in the UK, that limit will have expired, so perhaps it’s a good idea to go and get all your tickets at a quiet time soon after arriving. Even if the company you specifically want doesn’t accept foreign credit cards, it certainly looks that some do.
Californian senator Leland Yee said he wanted a law passed to stop the manufacture of 3D-printed guns.
“I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure public safety and stop the manufacturing of guns that are invisible to metal detectors and that can be easily made without a background check,” he said in a statement.
According to Defense Distributed, most of the 100,000 downloads have been in the US, followed by Spain, Brazil, Germany and the UK.
The blueprint has also been uploaded to file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, where it has become the most popular file in the site’s 3D-printing category.
Calls to make such a gun illegal and stop the downloading, will fall on deaf ears. After all to create an illegal gun factory, all you need is a few thousand pounds or dollars to buy a quality 3D printer. Many aspire to have a weapon for personal protection or to settle scores with rivals or neighbours.
This gun is still crude and what worries me is not this gun, but the follow on designs, that will be possible as 3D printing gets more affordable and a lot better.
How long will it be before a crime is committed using a gun, that has been downloaded from the Internet and printed?
A Leader in today’s Times has alerted me to Bitcoin. this is a sort of mission statement from their web site.
Bitcoin uses peer to peer technology to operate with no central authority; managing transactions and issuing Bitcoins are carried out collectively by the network. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment systems.
As a software man, I think it could be a good idea.
But according to The Times, it has been a preferred method of payment for drug-related transactions.
They also think is could be another bubble, as does the Telegraph.
But the thought of a peer-to-peer transaction network, unencumbered by credit cards and bank charges has a certain appeal.
I shall be watching, but I don’t think I’ll be using it yet!
In the meantime, ideas like this, are just another reason to get rid of your bank shares.
I look at a lot of web sites and every one seems to get more and more strident about asking whether I mind if they store cookies on my computer.
I wouldn’t use their web site if I minded would I?
An aside here is why isn’t the the form of mind, I used in the previous line, mound? After all it’s find and found, bind and bound and wind and wound.
Isn’t English wonderful!
I got a survey request apparently from Marks and Spencer this morning. If I entered the survey, I would have a chance to win a prize of £10,000 in my local store.
That sounded generous and as it would be difficult to spend that in the local store at either the Islington or Hackney stores, my spam filter kicked in with a strong positive.
I then saw that it was sent to my old e-mail address and not the one I normally use and it also came from an e-mail address that didn’t shout Marks and Spencer.
But it looked very genuine and professional and even had an unsubscribe link. I clicked that and got a feasible unsubscribe page.
But in Italian!
I have since phoned marks and Spencer and they will investigate.
The e-mail address it came from had clash and clnews8 in the address.
If you get any from these jokers, use the delete key.
Passwords are one of the things that the Internet and computer systems often get wrong.
How many times, does your chosen password, which is of a type that has been acceptable on Site A, been unacceptable on Site B?
There are two things, I really hate.
The first is sites that generate your initial password as a string of characters, which need to be cut and pasted into the logon. I’ve even found sites, that don’t let you change the password. Is there a better way to piss off your clients? There are several shopping sites, I’ve used in the past that think they are being clever and secure. In fact, they’re being stupid and I’ve never used their sites a second time.
The other is passwords that insist you use the shift key for at least one character. As I have trouble with shift and generally span my right hand to type upper case characters, which is not a reliable process, any site that insists on that type of password is out. So I never use a credit card with Verified by Visa on-line. This would be helped if all sites were like Zopa and allowed you to show the password, as you type it in.
So could we come up with better passwords, we’d always remember, that are totally unbreakable?
Here’s a few ideas!
My first car was a 1946 Austin 8. I still remember the registration, which was three letters followed by three numbers. Not long enough for some sites and rightly so, but this would be totally unbreakable, as how many criminals, would know the registration of the first car you owned. If you were someone like me, getting towards the last few decades of your life, it could be a good password. You could even have the simple password hint of “First Car” If I wanted a secure password, who could break it, if I used the registration number of the first Porsche I owned! I doubt that even my son, would know that registration.
And then there are memorable phone numbers and addresses from childhood. I doubt, there are few people, who don’t know these from where they grew up. Certainly, I was told to memorise them, so that if I got lost, I could find my way home.
I can also remember the address and phone number of my father’s print works as 38-44 Station Road and Bowes Park 2165.
The great things about passwords like these, is that you can write them down or put them in something like Outlook as say First Car or First Married Address and nobody will know them, except perhaps your partner or child.
There is a password strength checker here on Microsoft’s web site. It rated bowespark2165 as a strong password. It’s also easy to type.
In my view passwords must be easily memorable, as suppose you want access to say your credit card account in an emergency and you have to do it by using the memorable data, you don’t want it to be something you can’t recall.
Tesco have taken over the Giraffe restaurant chain, as is reported here in the Guardian. This paragraph explains their strategy.
For a retailer that accounts for more than one in every £8 spent in UK shops, with UK sales of £47.3bn, the deal is pocket change. But added to the grocer’s recent 49% investment in artisan coffee shop Harris + Hoole, the group’s Dobbies garden centre business, and a stake in the embryonic, luxury bakery Euphorium, and the beginnings of a bold strategic shift begin to emerge.
I also wanted to look something up on the restaurant’s web site and got this message.
Due to today’s Tesco announcement we are experiencing extremely high volumes of traffic to our website.
We are currently working to accommodate the extra demand and will be back online later this evening. We apologise for any inconvenience.
I wonder if the wags will come up with jokes about Tesco swapping horse-meat for giraffe-meat.
Type the title of this post into Google and you get linked to an episode on Brookside.
But this is wrong!
So the Internet isn’t always right!
What a lovely name for a cookery book featured in The Times yesterday. The recipes they showed were all gluten-free or could be made so by using gluten-free flour.
I may not buy the book, but I think I’ll try and find a copy and have a browse.
A year ago, I’d have just bought it on Amazon. But their tax antics and the offensive tee-shirts, they have sold recently, have put me off buying from them.
I went to the football at Ipswich today. at least the trains were running normally and after a late breakfast or was it an early lunch, I caught the 13:30 from Liverpool Street station. Before I’d left home I’d tried to buy the ticket I’d wanted which is an Off Peak Return from Harold Wood to Ipswich, but for some unknown reason the computer wouldn’t let me choose this ticket. Why Harold Wood incidentally, you may ask? The reason is that my Freedom Pass takes me that far and so I just need to buy the extra.
So I had to buy the ticket in the booking office at Liverpool Street station. Usually, they sell me an Off Peak Return from Harold Wood to Ipswich, but this time, they sold me back-to-back Off Peak Returns from the Zone 6 Boundary to Manningtree and from Manningtree to Ipswich. The cost was £18.25. Two weeks ago, I was sold one ticket for the journey from Harold Wood to Ipswich at £20.95. I questioned this with the clerk and he said this was the best deal.
On the train, just like I usually do, I upgraded to First Class at a cost of £7 each way. But this did give me pretty good free wi-fi and a soft drink or coffee if I wanted one.
My reason for calling it ridiculous is that if I want a First Class Off Peak Return ticket, why can’t I buy one in one go on the Internet? I know that my Freedom Pass only gives me Standard Class to the Zone 6 Boundary, but surely they could have two Senior First Class tickets, one for those with Senior Railcards and Freedom Passes and one for those without the Freedom Pass. Properly priced and thought through, it might actually be a big seller, as quite a few of those in their later years spend money on the better tickets.
As it is I bought the First Class Upgrade on the train and got yet another orange ticket. I was also issued with a Penalty Warning on the way up to Ipswich. According to the Inspector, this was Department of Transport rules, but I’ve never had one before.
I do wonder how much all this paperwork costs GreaterAnglia and their passengers in extra charges. But at least all of the staff I met, were extremely curteous and had my needs uppermost in their mind. And the clerk saved me £2.70.
The system would probably be easy to implement as everything is computerised.
If you are buying a ticket on the web, it would just be necessary to check a box to say you had a Freedom Pass.
If you’re buying at a Ticket Office, the clerk needs to see your Freedom Pass anyway to give you the right ticket. He would do the equivalent of checking the box.
The orange ticket would instead of having SNR have another code of perhaps SNR* to indicate it was only valid with a Senior Railcard and a Freedom Pass.