The latest installment of my Market Comment Blog at The Investment Network is available here.
Annual awards are very of the moment, are they not? Every organisation has them. There’s car of the year, boat of the year businessman of the year, business woman of the year, even condom of the year! So in on the same note, I have decided to do the same and dish out my own annual awards. At this point I apologise for the fact that this post is more of an essay than a blog. Outstanding Excellence of the year award When I mentioned to a friend and colleague that I was writing this blog, he said he would not like to be mentioned on this one and also suggested that a few others involved might prefer not to be mentioned as well. So here goes. Earlier this year for various reasons I was right up against it and right in the whatsit. A number of colleagues in four different countries and a count of hundreds who will never know just how much help they have been came to my rescue and all in their own way made sure that everything that happened, just when it had to happen with the utmost of precision that is normally reserved for an accomplished orchestra playing its most challenging piece of music ever. This award is for every single one of those people involved even though they might not know it. Never before have I seen so much fall into place even when the chips are down. Thank you all so much. Car of the year Volkswagen Golf R32. What I did with this car cannot be discussed here. The police will want a chat. But its sticks to the road like s**t to a blanket and accelerates like Ed Balls backtracking when hes questioned by Jeremy Paxman. A well deserved award. A special mention goes to the Mercedes E-Class a from the point of view of being driven in one at high speed while highly stressed. Racetrack of the year The M1. With special thanks to the traffic police for leaving me be. I can say no more especially about the speeds I have taken this road at especially this year. Ever. Airline of the year Sod the cost, they are expensive but this one goes to Sky Work Airlines, based in Berne. Customer service simply does not come better. British Airways, please take note! Hotel of the year Hotel Baren Ostermundigen, Switzerland are the very worthy winners. Expensive but customer service is second to none. Ever. This is 2900 nights spent on hotel rooms worth of experience talking! Even The Dorchester in London is not as good as this! A special mention does go to Hotel Seattle in Brighton. Car hire Hertz win this one, especially when I got away with standing next to the fuel tank to cover the dent I put in a certain rental car at a certain airport! Well done! I can’t believe it award! This one goes to the co-operative organisation, especially Co-op bank! What were they thinking! I cried into my coffee award This has to go to Sealine going into administration. I did cry into my coffee when I saw this. Now reincarnated this was the end of a prolific boatbuilder as we knew them. Tech Kit Awards Customer Service, Lenovo. They are beating everyone else hands down at the moment. Software: Owncloud. A great private cloud alternative to the usual freemium services. Biggest disappointment: Apple. Going down the pan fast. Old values seem to be failing fast now. Hack: Cyanogen Mod: How to breathe new life into an old android tablet device! Pub of the year award Three winners this year. The Green Man in Ewell, my old stomping ground, for always being a great pub. The Mannor in Tooting for being so accommodating when I spent quite a bit of time there and my local. The Rose and Crown in Wimbledon Village for being a fantastic pub Corporate idiots award The Child Support Agency. When will you ever learn to talk properly, answer questions properly and honestly and stop talking to a script that makes you looks like a corporate version of the Goonies?! Plonkers of the year The Metropolitan Police officers who park on double yellow lines outside my local branches of Costa and Starbucks and lounge around usually for an hour or so when they should be arresting burglars and rapists. Laugh of the year This one is mostly deserved by UK Border Agency staff at Brussels Midi who asked me what the purpose of my trip to England was when I handed over my paperwork pone evening. I live in England you muppets! A special mention must go to the crowd behind me who gave me a standing ovation when I pointed this out to the relvant staff! Lifetime award for utter incompetence and complete spastication Its a bit premature to be giving out a lifetime award but this is so richly deserved. The winner is St Georges Hospital NHS Trust and each of its approximate 8,000 (according to its website) staff. Regular readers of my blog will know I have had a number of run in’s with this outfit over the past 12 months. Never before in my life have I come across a more incompetent organisation. Ever. From the chief executive to the most junior member of staff. Especially on Cavell Ward. Their only saving grace is the Marks and Spencer on the ground floor of the Grosvenor Wing and even their service is farcical! Indeed such is the level of stupidity and incompetence, more of which can be read here that I am concerned for the organisation’s future. Indeed I have already suggested on these pages that that the place be bulldozed for the good of the local community and replaced with well landscaped executive homes. Indeed it goes so far that I wonder and worry about the parents of each and every member of their 8,000 staff and am amazed that these parents never considered either contraception or abortion.Thats 16,000 parents to worry about! St Georges is that bad and as for cleanliness and data protection, well, don’t get me started. They are therefore the most worthy winners of this award.
As some of you may know I live quite close to a railway line. Every 2 months or so I get kept awake by engineers working on the tracks usually with heavy machinery. I have taken Network Rail to task in the past for failing the basic communications test of letting people know before you keep them awake all night. I was therefore quite surprised to open a letter this morning from Network Rail informing me that they are going to be keeping me awake all night over the next three weekends. Its a start I suppose. Next task for Network Rail? Work out how to perform engineering works in complete silence please. I know I am not the only one who will rejoice if they can sort that one out!
Adobe, a very large and successful computer software company had their systems hacked most recently. Nothing new in that companies get hacked every day. There are even occasions when they try and hack me. On this occasion information on over 150 million users was stolen and some of it posted online! According to the BBC however it seems individuals will not wake up and smell the coffee. According to this article so many of the passwords were so weak. Lets break this down. These were the top 20 passwords:
Top 20 passwords
I’m sorry this is like walking around town with “Mug Me” tattooed to your forehead and fifty pound notes hanging openly out of your wallet. You might as well leave the front door and all the windows of your house open and invite the burglars in! How would you feel if these hackers emptied your bank account? In this day and age the security of personal information is as important as personal security and home security. Using passwords such as the ones above is a silly silly thing to do and only puts you at further risk. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.The other thing here is that most people will reuse the same email address and password for different networks such as banking, Facebook, Twitter and much much more. For the avoidance of doubt as a seasoned IT Professional I recommend using passwords of between 10 and 18 characters that includes special characters such as !, *, &, – or #, capital letters and numbers. For the avoidance of further doubt Adobe have themselves to blame for this attack as well. It would seem that they haven’t been too security conscious either. I mentioned above that the hackers try and have a pop at me occasionally. What do they get away with? Nothing, Zilch, Nada, Zero. Why? Because I take my own advice and make sure the shop is secure! If you are using silly passwords please, please please; wake up and smell the coffee.
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So Blackberry Messenger has been available on the Android operating system through the Play Store for just over a week now. Over the weekend I have been paying attention to battery life on my tablet.I have noticed that my battery is not lasting a day I have noticed that BBM is draining the battery and causing some data leakage. The cause seems to be the “always on” feature. Even of you kill the task using a task killer it automatically comes back to life a few minutes later. I am going to remove it until they bring out a new version. This is a pity because it is actually a good app. If you notice the batteries on your Android device seem not to last as long as they should and you have BBM installed its quite possible that BBM maybe the culprit.