Insidious Mobile Directory Enquiries Service

A new directory enquiries service has recently launched here in the UK called 118 800. It will allow you to ask for someone’s mobile number.

Most people, I suspect, feel that their mobile is their very private domain and don’t want it invaded by cold callers. It’s bad enough when that happens on one’s home telephone.

I’d heard about this service before but thanks to the weekly email I receive from Money Saving Expert (an excellent service for finding the best deals on insurance, utilities), I learnt just how insidious this service is. If you’ve ever forgotten to opt out when signing up for an online service (or offline come to that) and provided your mobile number, the chances are that this service will have bought your details and added you to their database.

But all is not lost! You can opt out! Don’t forget to do your partner’s phone and particularly those of any children you might have as many (most?) kids phones are registered to a parent and so outside the rules governing contacting minors. 118 800 have a removal page here.

I strongly recommend that you take action now!

Is a software flaw worth a life?

For about 18 months I’ve been a very happy user of VAServ’s cheap and cheerful VPS platform. The control panel was called LXAdmin (later renamed to Kloxo). A major series of security bugs was found a few weeks ago, and last Sunday the security company that identified the bugs decided in their wisdom to publish the bug list online because they had not had a response to their emails to LXLabs.

Well the sky fell in, and the fall out has been very painful. VAServ lost just about everything: over 100,000 domains taken off line while they tried to fix the break-in/security breach(es). For this company the pain is awful as they have been forced to be acquired (as far as I understand the email I received) by their UK datacentre partner who supplied man power to help out. I doubt the owner, who spent years building his company up, received very much if anything for it.

I lost all my domains. The reason you are seeing this is because I was forced to move to Hostgator to try and get my domains back up and running – I’m one of the lucky ones in that I had full backups of all my sites, both SQL and themes/plugins etc. Not everyone will have been so lucky.

Which brings me to the unfortunate owner of LXLabs who sadly appears to have committed suicide on Monday.

Is a software flaw, no matter how serious, really worth a life?

Joining the Netbook Revolution

I’ve joined the Netbook Revolution and become a network road warrier in the process!

I’ve bought an Advent 4211 from my local Currys electrical store. Linux was quickly installed using Fluxbox as my window manager – this was easy as the Advent is a rebadged MSI Wind so there are lots of helpful articles all over the ‘net.

It fits inside a canvas shoulder bag I bought years ago and never used, along with an A4 jotter pad and all the other paraphernalia I need for meetings so I’m recycling too. Talk about feeling smug as I set off each day!

So now instead of permanently being behind on email, I can stay on top of it on trains, buses, planes etc etc. And with a Huawei E220 bought on eBay (as I know it is Linux compatible) and a cheap-as-chips PAYG data card from T-Mobile, I’m truly a mobile warrier!