Saturday, November 24, 2007


Classic Digg Comment
And on the 7th day God created Google to do the rest of the work for him.

Tried Firefox 3 Beta 1 and decided it was too unstable after two crashes in a very short time. The other problem is the plugins aren't working yet. Without the plugins I would rather use Opera.

ZonTube╬▓ is a really useful site for trying albums. It links amazon and youtube with a really simple ajax interface allowing you to try every song.

I heard the lead single of Joseph winner Lee Mead's album this morning on the news. I didn't watch the show and I really don't like manufactured pop but this song has an unusual appeal. I don't think I like it but it has a really odd pop style. Will have to think about my opinion of it.

Funny flag seen at a Rock Concert.

Bought a Rice Cooker today. Looking forward to giving it a try tonight.

The dots
in gmail addresses make no difference. You can put them anywhere in the address. (except of course)

Fox News : "Marching Americans towards Nationalistic Fascism one manufactured story at a time" - Random Digg Comment


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Missing HMRC Data

It appears that the Inland Revenue have misplaced two CD's containing the Name, Address, Family Details, Bank Details and NI number of 25million people, about half the UK.

Not the greatest hour for the Treasury.

Around the same time this data went missing, 15,000 more details went missing in the same way from another department.

The data lost was unencrypted, produced as part of the standard process used in transferring data to other departments and external companies (e.g. pension providers).

I'm reliably informed that the same practices have been going on since the late 1980's without anyone flagging up the problem.

It seems astounding that only now problems have arisen as a result. Personally I expect it has happened before but it was kept quiet (probably not the department hiding it from the public but rather a low level worker hiding it from his boss!).

I can't honestly believe that a large computer firm designed a system that allowed all the database to be dumped onto a CD in an unencrypted format. If a backup is needed then surely a basic level of security could be implemented. The system cost £2.8bn! Someone should have spotted this as a potential problem.

Nick Assinder, the BBC political correspondent, has written a good column covering the potential political damage from the whole affair which pretty sums up my thinking on the matter - So long as the CD's stay lost it will just be a big cock-up. If there is criminal involvement (which I doubt), then heads will roll.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, made a reasonable effort to criticise the government for the mistake but he seems to be missing the point:
Why does HMRC still use CDs for data transmission in this day and age?
If the data were encrypted then the transfer medium wouldn't make any difference. You could use floppy discs without a problem. Using electronic transmission without encryption would be no more effective.

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Naughty, Naughty Mr. Miliband!

Naughty, Naughty Mr. Miliband! You really should not be sitting on that patients bed.

I just spotted this story on the Shields Gazette RSS Feed and I couldn't resist commenting on the picture.

We are constantly warned by the ward matrons that we are NEVER to sit on patients beds for infection control reasons. Matrons are normally pretty scary (though nice) people so even the most egotistical consultants don't mess with them.

I suppose being sat somewhere else wouldn't look as good in the photo.

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