Phone Hacking and Security Awareness or Not

31125732_a9c0396956It’s enough to send a techie mad, all this talk about phone hacking. We all know that it is not really about hacking a person’s phone but simply getting access to their voicemail by assuming that the majority of people don’t change the default pass code on their voicemail, so armed with someone’s mobile phone number and network you can easily gain access to their voicemail.

I mean we struggle to get people to secure their bank PIN codes, computers, and the other paraphernalia of modern life so how do we hope to get them to set up a pass code for their voicemail. For instance a quick search tells me that Vodafone’s default voicemail PIN is 3333 and the short guide (which no-one reads anyway) has no reference to the need to change your voicemail PIN. Also most networks I have been on do not start prompting you about setting a PIN unless you phone in from a landline, and even if it does who cares most of the time.

So let’s firstly try to use this to make people understand the need to be aware of security in general, and secondly the need to change their voicemail pass codes to avoid them becoming targets for so called ‘phone hacking’. Surely the press should be raising awareness of this, but then again they would have no-one to ‘phone hack’ if they did.


Just read ‘Smartphone users choose convenience over security‘ where we get the following information;

When asked about password protecting their mobile devices:

  • More than half of respondents said they do not use a password or PIN to lock their smartphone or tablet
  • 44 percent who do not lock their mobile devices said that using a password is “too cumbersome”
  • 30 percent who do not lock their mobile devices said they “are not worried about the risk”.

Says it all really.

Picture by Garrettc



Ctrl-Alt-Del Cups
Well it’s time to reboot this blog, it has lain in lain in hibernation now for more than 2 years and it is not as if I don’t have anything to say. It’s just that, as often is the case, it is very easy to procrastinate and put off that post, just like with anything else.

So with a view to using this to get better at prioritising and planning, I am going to reboot this blog and see whether I can get better at a regular schedule of postings. I also have a number of things I am working on that could provide a rich source of material for this blog and help me to think things through as well, as I work through them.

That and the fact the my son launched his blog a few weeks ago and is putting me to shame with his way with words, if you fancy putting a smile on your face go take a look

And while I am it I have moved this blog to my own domain name so it can found at, the existing URL will redirect you there as well.

Google Chrome and IE – is it war?

While catching up on news over the weekend I came across Boagworld’s well reasoned post “Can Google Chrome topple IE?”. He asks “The question is whether we will need to start testing our sites in Chrome? Well, take has been strong with figures rising up from 1% to over 6% shortly after launch. But is Chrome going to finally overcome the dominance of Internet Explorer or just cannibalise the market share of IE’s rivals? That is harder to judge.”

I would have to say – NO! Having the benefit of dealing with quite a few members of both my immediate family and circle of friends in, as in normal with being into technology, helping them sort of computer problems, etc. As has been said elsewhere (most) everyone associated the internet with that little blue ‘E’ on their computer. So I believe Chrome will hit Firefox rather than IE since it is the tech savvy people who have moved to Firefox and it is those very same people who may consider moving to Chrome if it answers their needs, for the rest of the population this will be a small sideshow and IE will rumble on.

You only have to look at the usage stats for the major sites out there to see that it is the sites frequented by the tech savvy which have most Firefox visits and it will be those very same sites that see Chrome usage creep up (to the detriment of Firefox).

Join In – Save Jodrell Bank

Again we have the problem of the UK missing the point in putting Science development on the Agenda with the plan to remove critical funding for Jodrell Bank’s future in being able to make new discoveries. For the sake of £2.5m funding the whole future of not only Jodrell but the whole of the UK being at the forefront of astronomical research is being put at risk. We are continually implored to get more kids studying science and technology, and yet we continually loose key parts of our scientific past and future. Jodrell Bank stands out for all to see, lets keep it going.

Our local radio station has put together a song and video to add to the campaign. Join in, watch the video and spread the word, the blogosphere can and does make a difference to public and, even more importantly, government opinion.

Attention – That’s what counts

The wonderful Presentation Zen posts recently to “Don’t Make a speech. Put on a show” and this reminded me of the lecturer I remember most from my University days. Most, if not all, other lecturers used books, papers, overheads (days before PowerPoint and projectors), etc to bring us the topic of the day.

But what did this lecturer bring, well nothing – sorry he did always bring in an index card but that contained the work he would set for homework at the end of the lecture. So to start your focus was on him and what he said and he would then use hand drawn diagrams to illustrate his point, but never refered to a page in our text books. That was for us to go and read after the event – I mean we were capable of that weren’t we!

So not only did he put on a show but his method made sure we remembered him and his topic. He is the one that stands out most as I look back these 20 odd years to my University days, so that tells you something. So in essense this my goal as I present as well, make sure that people are focused on you and what you are saying, not on trying to read your 9 point PowerPoint slide, or your handouts.

The iPhone is not a Phone!

Just been reading up on the Apple iPhone announcements and it looks really cool. BUT it is not a phone, what phone requires you to press a button before you start dialing and I still didn’t see in Apple’s videos how to get a dial pad up quickly.

Now my Windows Smartphone my have its problems but if I want to dial somebody I just dialing their number or entering their name on the keypad and in a few presses I can dial their number. The iPhone UI looks cool but seems to me that it forgets to be a phone so really it is an iPod Phone, i.e. a music player first and a phone second, and that is what this post on it being a PDA done right argues as well. Not so sure about it being a full PDA yet though, what about over the air email sync?

So cool, good first try, but not a phone.

Enough Already !

Stop this nonsense labelling everything with 2.0! Ever someone coined the phrase Web 2.0 nothing is cool unless you label it with a 2.0, the lates of which is lunch 2.0. Come on this is just getting ridiculous. Just cause you label it 2.0 it does not make it a success, or new, or intresting.

Rory gets it with his post Hello v2.0, time to hold back on that 2.0 moniker and make sure it really makes sense. Just adding 2.0 does not make it interesting, good, worthwhile.

Negative Positives or is that Positive Negatives

Sorry it has to stop!  Recently I have noted a trend in myself and others towards using the phrase ‘not too bad‘ in response to the question ‘How are you?‘. What on earth does ‘not too bad’ mean, what is ‘too bad’, are you feeling good, close to death, who knows. Huh! It is time to make a stand and start using positive reponses not positive negatives (or is that negative positives?) to these simple daily questions.

I have taken now to stopping and deliberately replying with a positive response to the question, it only has to be a one word response either ‘good’, ‘excellent’, or ‘bad’, whatever is appropriate. Not only do you feel more positive and decisive overall, but it is more economical!

It strikes me that it is imperative that with every question we should seek to provide a postive answer which actually provides some value to the questioner, since when did we all become politicians afraid to answer even the simplest question. Time to take back the initiative and strike a blow for positiveness.