Friday, December 27, 2013

Still Wild Outside

It's a Google Robot Dog
It's been a pretty wild Christmas and we are still waiting for the worst of the weather to pass us by.

When I look at some of the chaos and destruction the storms have wreaked elsewhere in the country, it places my own experience in perspective. I'm a firm believer in the notion that we are best measured by how we respond to sudden adversity. For so many people, this Christmas will be fixed in their memories for yeas; one of my pilot friends only had his power back yesterday afternoon, after four days without electricity and two small children waiting for Santa.

The papers are desperate to have aerial photos of the small inland sea that was once called Surrey but as you can imagine, with my own aircraft looking very much worse for wear, I'm a bit stuck. Having built-up a reputation among the picture desks of being able to get the job done and delivered in all weathers, this particular Atlantic storm has defeated me in more ways than one.

This morning, I'm waiting for the arrival of the information 'Super Highway' as opposed to the 'Information Highway.' A BT engineer is scheduled to connect me to their 'Infinity' service, now available from the Westgate exchange and delivering up to 60Mb; which is nice. It's over two years since I pleaded with the MD of BT in Parliament's Committee Room 20, to make Thanet one of it's pilot locations for the service and quite honestly, nobody was more surprised than me, when they announced that Westgate was going to be one of the first; totally unexpected.

Pictured for Sale Today SE5A - I'm Tempted
I've noticed today, a surge in the number of crude malware and virus email attempts, not unusual in the Christmas holiday period. If you don't recognise the email sender, don't open any files and given the number of people who have had their Hotmail and Gmail accounts hacked, even if you do recognise the sender, think twice before opening anything unexpected or unusual. I'm sure several readers will probably receive an email from uncle Bob or Auntie Sue or a close friend who has lost everything in a far-off land and is begging that you send them a Western Union money transfer so they can get home. Anything with 'Western Union' should immediately set-off an alarm bell as it's an irrevocable money transfer. Once you have sent it to some nice chap in Lagos, it's gone for good.

I should really try and sit down to make some predictions for 2014 but I expect most if not all of them are rather predictable, at least here in Thanet. What I do expect however, is that the Internet and particularly Twitter, will become increasingly important as a local news source, as the printed reach of the local papers continues to decline. This is both good and bad news, if only because of something called 'affirmative bias,' in that people invariably select, read and believe what fits in with their own prejudices and beliefs rather than that which contradicts them. Increasingly, the Internet is becoming a place where the truth, whatever that might be at any moment in time, is increasingly had to find or even recognise when you see it. That unfortunately is most true of our local online news, with so many conflicting agendas, than possibly at any time in the past.


Anonymous said...

Boundary wall leaning precariously at an angle, it will tumble tonight. Very strong winds here in Victoria Avenue, just have to wait for it to pass. We are not flooded and have electricity, so it's not so bad.

Rock Doc said...

Even more of our famous Kingsgate chalk arch has gone during last nights battering. I really thought that this particular coastal feature would last sometime. However, sadly at this rate it may well succumb this winter.

Don Wood said...

Hope you can soon get airborne and treating us to your wonderful pics. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours, Don

Richard Eastcliff said...

Here in the Millionaires' Playground we've been on Infinity for over a year. Ha! There have been some teething problems, however. And I'd be interested to know your view from a security angle on the bit of the wifi hub that BT generously allows the public to log in to.

Oh, and Happy New Year, if I'm not being too premature! Pip pip!

Simon Moores said...

Happy New Year...!

One of the problems identified with the BT Openzone service I recall is a simple security one by which the bad guy buys a mobile wifi hub.. Names it BTOpenzone, leaves it open and then waits for passing trade in cafes. I kind of remember that over here the networks look for the. Rand automatically. Dont know if it has been addressed yet.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Flamin' Norah! I've only just realised that the pic below is of your very own kite all pranged up. Sorry to see that, Simes. As you know, I'm not much of a plane spotter, but it's still sad to see expensive machinery knackered. Good luck with the insurance people!

Simon Moores said...

TX ECR.. not pretty and very expensive too!

Anonymous said...

4.44 PM. It's Monday, 2 hours ago the aforementioned brick wall tumbled. It took our neighbours shed door with it ! High winds in Victoria Avenue today. Neighbours chimney doesn't look too healthy !