*be sceptical - take nothing for granted!
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With the extraordinary revelations coming out of England’s regarding ‘The News of the World’, personal privacy had suddenly hit the headlines; at least in the non-Murdock papers.  

But of more concern than having one’s telephone tapped, is the risk of having one’s computer tapped.  Private papers, photographs and other files as well as your bank accounts and other ecommerce connections are particularly vulnerable to anyone with direct or remote access to our computers and/or personal devices.           

How might we prevent a ‘private investigator’, ‘investigative journalist’, ‘hacker’ or other criminal getting access to our files and invading our privacy?    

And how secure is the Internet that most of us use everyday?

 

 

 

 

Over the years I have written many small applications and utilities.

 

In order of sophistication these include:

  • Simple HTML web pages
  • Command line scripted utilities and batch (BAT) files
  • Embedded Java code in web pages
  • Word and Excel macros typically written in Visual Basic for Applications VBA
  • Simple databases with VBA or Visual Basic (VB) VB frontends
  • Database related SQL queries batch data manipulators, templates and structures
  • Simple stand-alone utilities in in VB
  • Windows utilities written in plain C++ or using the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC)
  • Fully featured relational databases using SQL Server and VB
  • Complex applications written in C++

 

Some examples include:

  • Automatic footers and metadata updater code for Word and Excel; optionally to bring up a dialog to ensure file naming conforms to a standard.
  • A utility to process business financial data to reveal a variety of comparable ratios indicative of business health.
  • An applications to change registry settings and to install and run files on desktops and servers across a network.
  • A library (DLL) of simple encryption routines that add no overhead (don't change the file size) that can be used on any file; or encrypt in URL friendly characters to secure URL strings sent to web pages.
  • Several applications based around this library that can easily be called by applications written in languages other than C (VB, VBA, Java, C# etc).
  • File manipulation software for archiving, file moving and general file management; providing scripted batch processing archiving and reporting.

 

I'm happy to provide more information on any of these on applications or tools.  Use the contact facility on this website.


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Travel

Romania

 

 

In October 2016 we flew from southern England to Romania.

Romania is a big country by European standards and not one to see by public transport if time is limited.  So to travel beyond Bucharest we hired a car and drove northwest to Brașov and on to Sighisiora, before looping southwest to Sibiu (European capital of culture 2007) and southeast through the Transylvanian Alps to Curtea de Arges on our way back to Bucharest. 

Driving in Romania was interesting.  There are some quite good motorways once out of the suburbs of Bucharest, where traffic lights are interminable trams rumble noisily, trolley-busses stop and start and progress can be slow.  In the countryside road surfaces are variable and the roads mostly narrow. This does not slow the locals who seem to ignore speed limits making it necessary to keep up to avoid holding up traffic. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

We hired a Jeep

 

In Sicily we hired a Jeep to get from Palermo around the island.

I had my doubts about this steed. Our two big bags wouldn't fit in the boot. One had to be strapped in on the back seat - a bit disappointing.

At above 130, the speed limit, there's something odd about the steering – so much so that I stopped quite soon to check the tyre pressures. I was regretting my choice.

Reassured about the tyres we set off again.

On the plus side the fuel consumption seemed OK and the zoned climate control worked well.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Discovery of the Higgs boson

 

 

Perhaps the most important physics discovery of my lifetime has finally been announced.  I say 'finally' as its existence has been predicted by the 'Standard Model' for a long time and I have already mentioned this possibility/probability in an earlier article on this website (link).

Its confirmation is important to everyone, not just to physicists working in the field of quantum mechanics.  Like the confirmation of the predictions of Einstein's Theory of Relativity we are now confronted with a new model of reality that has moved beyond an esoteric theory to the understanding that this is how the Universe actually is; at least as far as the Standard Model goes.

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