Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Risk of Jets Flying Near Nuclear Power Plants

New Scientist

The Torness nuclear reactor is relatively close (within 20 miles or so ) of our family home. Therefore this article is of interest, especially since they mention an incident in April 2003 where a jet flew so close to these reactors that intruder alarms were activated.

However ... I wonder the actual probability of a jet aircraft actually hitting a particular spot--the spot being a nuclear power plant. They rarely crash. Yes, it happens. I fully support efforts to enforce "no-fly" zones around nuclear reactors, but I can't help but think that occasional breaches of this policy are not as important to manage than other risks associated with nuclear power plants.

PayPal and Online payments noticed by The Economist Magazine

The Economist has noticed PayPal. See | Online payments

"ONE of the most powerful forces in e-commerce is the “network effect”: the more people who flock to a particular website, the greater its appeal. The latest beneficiary of this phenomenon is PayPal, which now handles online payments at an annualised rate of more than $17 billion. PayPal is not a bank, but for online buyers and sellers it performs much the same function. It already has 45m account-holders worldwide, one-quarter of the number of the mighty Citigroup."

We are hoping to use PayPal for Scottish Oil Club Bookings.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

How to Speed-Read the Net

How to Speed-Read the Net

Intersting article at MSN, including a list of favourite RSS feeds that can be imported into a RSS Reader. We use Newsgator here.

Organise your life the Downing Street way

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Organise your life the Downing St way

I like this article. It explains the essentials of Time Management and how Tony Blair's Government used the "grid"

The Grid is a weekly diary, filled with all sorts of forthcoming events so that all arms of the government can know what everyone else has planned, and therefore what are good or bad days to plan anything else.

The article goes on to provide guidance from David Allen, author of: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity

The first thing to grasp is that organising yourself is not rocket science, says David Allen, author of The Art of Stress Free Productivity.

"Sure it's a discipline to fill in something like this, but it's a discipline in the same way that taking a shower is.

Whatever you do, write it down says Allen
"Once you get used to it, you have no trouble living that way."

The key is getting into the habit of at least once a week reviewing "every single loose end, every single commitment" to think about what you need to do. You should also review the last two weeks to see everything you might have missed. "That can trigger thoughts - oh that reminds me I ought to do so-and-so," he says.

Download details: Threat Modeling Tool

Interesting tool from Microsoft, released yesterday for free download.

Download details: Threat Modeling Tool: "The Threat Modeling Tool allows users to create threat model documents for applications. It organizes relevant data points, such as entry points, assets, trust levels, data flow diagrams, threats, threat trees, and vulnerabilities into an easy-to-use tree-based view. The tool saves the document as XML, and will export to HTML and MHT using the included XSLTs, or a custom transform supplied by the user.

The Threat Modeling Tool was built by Microsoft Security Software Engineer Frank Swiderski, the author of Threat Modeling (Microsoft Press, June 2004)."

Update 25 May 11:55: Been trying all morning, but can't download...

Monday, May 24, 2004

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

Blogger provides an easy tool for adding a comment to a Blogger blog. Will give this a try...

Security Tradeoffs

Bruce Schneier writes that we need to weigh the costs vs. the benefits of measures taken to ensure our security.

"Much of what is being proposed as national security is a bad security trade-off. It's not worth it, and as consumers we're getting ripped off."

Subscribe to Mr. Schneir's newsletter Crypto-gram at

The Internet Arrives In Virgin Territory

The BBC writes about how the Internet arrived to a remote island in the Maldives. Is this a good thing?

Project Communication with Blogs

Chad Dickerson of Infoworld has written an article Blogging Behind the Firewall. He writes how, in very short order, using bloggs (based on Movable Type). He details the tangible benefits seen by his organisation as they have begun to reach a critical mass of contributors.

Some unexpected benefits:

"First, it forced the team to strategically organize its IT initiatives into a coherent roadmap fit for broader internal consumption. Next, it created a sense of accountability for these initiatives within the IT team because we had collectively agreed on the initiatives and documented the process. Finally, posting our plan for the entire company to see helped foster a sense of accountability to our non-IT colleagues within the company.

They also are seeing improvements in internal technical documentation.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Fascinating "Test" of Knowledge for Theory of Constraints

I recently ran across this web site which is a very realistic test of knowledge of Goldratt's Theory of Constraints. A Case Study of a small manufacturing company called Case Coil Limited. The "manager" of Case Coil has tried to cut costs and increase sales but despite all efforts, costs are increasing and margins are not sufficient. The case asks you to evaluate the situation and recommend a solution. Recommended.

SpamAssassin Starting to Let Noticeably More Spam Through

I have been using SpamAssassin for a few years. Until recently it caught almost all spam. Starting within the last few weeks, more spam is leaking through.

The good news is that of what leaks through, Outlook 2003 spam filters seem to recognise it and moves the mail into my "junk" folder in Outlook. As the "junk" folder exists as a file on the mail server I am running SpamAssassin's Bayesian learning program, spam-learn; however, the onslaught continues.

The spammers are clearly getting more cleaver in how they consruct their mail to slip through the nets.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Here's something Interesting. TrafficCam in Tehran

Now you can watch traffic conditions in Tehran. File in "Interesting..."

Update 23 May: The images don't seem to refesh. The same traffic photos are displayed days at a time. Guess not a real site. Just something found "on the web".

Monday, May 10, 2004

Blogger has changed!

The changes Blogger has made are impressive. This is the the tool to use.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Is Blogger the way to go?

This is my first entry with Blogger. I have been watching the Blog software for quite some time, and I think it now appropriate to get started.

I considered Movable Type ... it's great. I like how it looks, how it works, and and optimistic about its future. However configuration and installation is not simple and its license does not allow free use for comercial sites.

I considered CityDesk ... it's also great. The demo version is surprisingly un-restrictive and permits up to 50 postings. However, it is relatively expensive and really better suited/applicable for teams of people.

I've settled on Blogger and will use it for the time being. I'm still tweaking the template, so please bear with me on that.