The Evil Weed


Come Monday, smokers will become second class citizens in Ireland. It will be illegal to smoke in the workplace, enclosed public places and on public transport or get fined 7,000 Euros.

Country publicans are understandably upset – tabacco sales are a handy sideline to alcohol sales. Also the traditional Irish pub has nicotine coated walls and woodwork from years of punters Woodbines, Major and Carroll’s No.1 cigarettes; people died so that you can sit in a darkened pub. The blue haze of tabacco smoke gives it a mysterious air, a cigarette fills up your spare hand that could otherwise require another full pint glass. Even with punitive tabacco taxes a cigarette is still cheaper than a second pint of the dark stuff.

Reuters take on the tabacco ban.

Next stop – fried breakfasts and people who eat white bread criminalised.

Not so smartphone


I had to share this link that Bob sent through. You go out and have a few drinks, do you need a software program to tell you that you are likely to be drunk? Well according to TA Cybernetic Solutions, you may well do. For the princely sum of 2.45 USD you too can buy Blood Alcohol Level 1.0. According to the blurb. “If you love the taste of alcohol and love drinking. This application is the best for you.” Wrong, wrong, wrong – if you need to monitor your blood alcohol level you’re probably a designated driver. Step back from the beer now! To quote from Fosters lager marketing collateral – ‘If you drink and drive you’re a bloody idiot’ – couldn’t have put it better myself.

I guess that people are really scrapping the barrel for finding compelling applications for the latest smart phones. What next? New 3 phone with built-in Leatherman multi-tool and shot glass – a phone ready for any emergency.

Makes the 3 billion USD spent on ringtones worldwide last year seem worthy of a Nobel peace prize in comparison

Mutually Assured Disruption

Symbiot a Texas based Internet security company has announced a new technology that allows companies to ‘strike back’ at cyber attackers. Symbiot is looking to become a sort of ‘Smith & Wesson’ or Winchester of the ‘world wild web’, this may not be a good idea. Imagine giving bank staff access to machine guns. Then imagine telling them that you are going to export their jobs to Mumbai or a 14 year-old kid upsets them and you end up with a Falling Down type scenario. Further imagine that the bank employee kills a whole pile of bystanders.

This is the real-world equivalent of what could happen on the Internet. Hackers and script kiddies use slave machines to mount an attack whilst being concealing their own identities. ISPs and POPs (the internet equivalent of bus companies and roadways) could end up casualties, whilst the real perps get away scot free. In fact, this infrastructure disruption could encourage hackers to seek out and provoke a Symbiot powered response as a ‘denial of service attack by proxy’ on a particular network provider.

Now, imagine if one of Symbiot’s killer boxes was hacked and got into the hands of someone who really knew how to do it?

While the Dept of Homeland Security worries about the risk of radical Islamic hackers, its time they should start looking a little bit closer to home….

You can read my contribution to AlwaysOn about Symbiot here

Just another sucker on the vine

So it comes to this, a sad, yet necessary departure. A bitter sort of weak surrender. A long-delayed recognition that my reality doesn’t reconcile with my self-perception. Yes, I own a ‘hoover’.

Not just any ‘hoover’, mind. This is a gleaming mulberry 1976 Hoover TurboDrive Junior with one prior and now deceased owner. It’s suction power was unrivalled for the decade of its manufacture and I note, with some satisfaction, its extended handle seems perfectly designed for platform boot wearers. Its action is factory fresh and its suction really sucks.

My initial temptation to road-test it immediately has been resisted largely because I have no carpet but were I not so hung up on the nasty paedophile echo of Gary Glitter’s ‘Leader’ I might take it for glam-glide round the floorboards of my flat. There is sadly an additional problem here – I’ve got no floorboards.

My builder ‘D’ya GetMe’ Dave, is poised to sort out my structural deficiencies. This has involved long conversations about galvanised joist supports and penetrated Victorian slate damp courses during which each sentence ends not with a full stop, but a ‘D’ya GetMe.’ I’m getting on quite well with Dave – it’s my first encounter with a construction professional and, having privately calculated that the work will cost me between 30% and 50% more than the quote and take 30% to 50% longer than the schedule, we have made a breakthrough – I have assured Dave I’m good for a grand and I think, at long last, he gets me.

So here I am with a mortgage, an artisan in my employ and the brand royalty of home suction devices. This was not meant to happen but at least I have resisted acquisition of an iron.

Additional Contributors

Well-known journalists Bob Emmerson and George Malim have agreed to contribute to the blog. This won’t happen for a while because Bob has a trade show in the US to attend, but I look forward to having my own copy disrupted by some well written postings!