New Labour lose benefit records in the post

There’s no need to post BBC News links about this, everyone already knows about it. This “data protection” government have lost the benefit records of 25,000,000 people (nearly half the population) in the post, because someone at HMRC burnt them onto a CD-ROM and sent them in the mail, unrecorded and unregistered. They’ve now gone missing and could be absolutely anywhere.

Despite the obvious stupidity of this “blunder”, Alistair Darling has made some fucking stupid statements that, in my opinion, further highlight just how much he’s in over his head with his job:

“The police tell me that they have no reason to believe that this data has found its way into the wrong hands.”

Yes, Darling, but you (they) also conversely do not have a shred of evidence to suggest that they haven’t fallen into “the wrong hands” (an ironic term when used by the government that lost the records in the first place), due to their quite obvious and undeniable “lost” status. You can’t hope that people will find that reassuring when you still don’t know where they fucking are.

Mr Darling said people should monitor their accounts “for any unusual activity”.

What, that’s your official fraud prevention measure following on from this monumental, awesome fuckup? Keep an eye on our bank statements? I’m sure glad we’ve got someone as sensible and as clued up as you in charge of our economy! Still I don’t suppose you can be any worse than your wretched fucking predecessor.

As it’s been pointed out over and over again over the past couple of days, this is the same government that wants to introduce super secure ID cards for everyone to protect us from the nasty terrorists. Who apparently will be able to just download our information off Bittorrent.

More people need to lose their jobs over this. Having some no-name in HMRC resign simply isn’t enough, no matter how senior he is. The government also need to put their house in order regarding data protection laws. The private sector face very stiff penalties if they violate the Data Protection Act, with the most serious offences potentially leading to company directors being imprisoned. I don’t imagine Alistair Darling or any of his wretched New Labour cronies visiting Strangeways any time soon. One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

I’m just glad I don’t claim any benefit (for once).


Mac Mini Memory Mayhem

I’ve just spent the last hour and a half attempting to upgrade the memory in my Mac Mini from 1280Mb to 2Gb by replacing the remaining 256Mb module with a second 1Gb module. The new 1Gb module works fine, but in the process of upgrading I’ve somehow managed the fry the first 1Gb module; it no longer functions. If you didn’t know, taking the Mac Mini apart to upgrade the RAM is not for the faint hearted, requiring an odd assortment of tools including a putty knife, a 1p coin and some post-it notes, so having a net end result of zero is not really what I wanted!

The bust DIMM is still in warranty, in that I bought it less than 12 months ago, so I shall see if they’ll replace it. It would be easier in this situation if it was the new one that had broken, but they might find it a little suspect that the old one stopped working during the upgrade procedure that put the new one in. At the end of the day it would only be another £15 to replace, but still, it’d be a waste.

I’ve also Leopardized the five Macs that Chris and I use between us using the stonking “family pack” that Apple offer, whereby if you want to install Leopard on five computers then you only pay £130 instead of £80 x 5 = £400, which is what Microsoft would make you do, except the £80 would be £240 in their case. I don’t mind paying for software if it’s reasonably priced, but £240 for Microsoft Windows is just fucking ridiculous and I’m glad that I’m no longer subjected to the Microsoft upgrade path.


Zurückgegangen VON Boston

Yeah, so I spent exactly four days and four hours traveling to Boston, being in Boston and travelling back from Boston this week. It’s kind of a surreal feeling; I feel as if I should be totally overwhelmed by such an intense trip but I’m not, I’m really chilled out about it and it feels like Boston is no further away than London rather than being five timezones away over the Atlantic. Each journey and each day went off without a hitch; never before have I had such a relaxed and straightforward trip abroad. Would that all our holidays were the same!

The conference itself, Fall VON, was very interesting and I truly immersed myself in the IP communications world for two whole days, meeting some very clever people and some notable industry names. I’ve gathered a wealth of information that will prove to be very useful for my current project at work and so the trip was well worth it from a commercial point of view. A couple of the talks were by people who had used the technology with which I specialise in specific applications and while these applications were reasonable clever they weren’t on the sort of scale that my current project is going to be, so I’m going to see if it’s reasonable and feasible for me to do a talk myself at next year’s event once my project is finished.

Boston is a marvellous place. My favourite city in the United States is of course New York, but Boston comes a very close second. Its relative age combined with its New England environs, cleanliness, friendly inhabitants and functional transportation systems make it a pleasure to be in. Manchester, Boston and New York are the three places in the world where I really feel at home, more-so even than my birthplace. The only thing it’s really lacking is the sort of gay scene that I’m used to in Manchester, but then I’m willing to admit that my standards have been set pretty high in that regard. Not even New York comes close to Manchester, mostly thanks to the Republican Party, but that’s a different story.

The local baseball team, the Red Sox, apparently won the “world” series last week, although unclear how much of the rest of the world beyond the United States were invited to participate in this tournament. There was a giant parade through Boston on Tuesday which lasted practically all day. I didn’t see it because I was at the convention centre, but it was apparently enourmous.