Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Fresh Rash of Phishing

Don't you think that's quite a nice and mellifluous title for an email?

Oh well, I do. I am wasted here, I tell you, wasted. :)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Please help send the Infanta Marfs to Uganda

The Infanta Marfs is spending a year in Uganda, teaching in a primary school, under the auspices of the amazing Project Trust. The only slight snag is the money - the four-and-a-bit-kilopounds she has to raise, rather quickly. Do you want to buy some cakes? If you would like to know more, or even, bless you, cough up a few quid to help, please visit her page at Justgiving.com. Thanks!

Friday, 27 March 2009

How much fun did I have doing the Grand Union Orchestra?

And how much fun did I have doing the Grand Union Orchestra?

... er, about a million zillion zekkabytes of fun is how much. Bliss. These people are incredible. I am not worthy in any way to be within about seven kilometres of them but, hell, I was anyway.


Thank you so much. More when I get a moment, or a life, or something.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Am I, in fact, Nuts?

phish I have just telephoned a Belgian company, DWB Motors, to explain that part of their web site is, as of right now, being used for naughty phishing.

  • DWB Motors does not speak any English.
  • Vogel von Neustadt's French is really quite amazingly bad, especially under pressure.
  • An example of "Pressure" in this case might be something like, ah, maybe ringing up a foreign company out of the blue and trying to explain to them that a corner of their site's been hijacked. Especially if your French contains NO technical vocabulary beyond site web.

This was an interesting conversation. They were very polite and pleasant but I have no idea at all as to whether we were actually communicating or not. For all I know, after we said a pleasant goodbye to each other, they may now have the lasting impression that I was trying urgently to enquire about the price of a new fanbelt for my Massey Ferguson MF 5460 tractor (4.4 litres, intercooled, you know the one?)

I hope I was some help but it's difficult to know whether this was a good use of bits of my lunchtime, telephone money, limited brain power or anything much else. And the site is still up, yes, and presumably still hoping to collect some juicy bank details from the naive reader of email. Hmmm.

I think I should probably not make a habit of this.

Weekend From Hell (but in a good way): Survived

Oh alright, yes I must stop being such an old drama queen. No, it wasn't really a "weekend from hell", it was lovely - just a bit busy. And since I wanted it to be busy and chose to do these things I should not be moaning about it. Tsk.

The latter part of the working week was a bit difficult - I had an amazing, showstopping headache which manifested itself first on Wednesday and pretty much wrote off Thursday and much of Friday. I think it's just the very unfortunate fallout (aha) from a cold but late on the Wednesday night I was thinking, insofar as I was able to do so at all, rather more sinister thoughts than that. However I am back at work now and (almost) as bright as a new shiny 2p bit, or whatever. And people blogging about their health is possibly the most boring form of blogging there is, so enough already.

Friday night I went up to Cambridge to go to an important meeting, about which I should/may write separately. The Iarlles Loötës kindly accompanied me (a-one, a-two; a-one two three four) and was helpfully observant and inputful. We then went for a lovely dinner at the Free Press, a tiny pub tucked away in a small street a little away to the east from all the posh stuff - closer to Anglia Ruskin University with which (in its former guise of Anglia Polytechnic University) I had some nice dealings a few years back.

And now I have run out of time, and will have to finish this later ...


Monday, 9 March 2009

Oopsie-Beebs-a-blog™ - deliberately tasteless, or just stupid? (fixed)

dominoOh dear, I hate coming over all disapproving but I really thought this was a bit much: on the BBC News UK page, the little header thingy for the little taster thingy for a story about the possible consequences of the Antrim shootings read, for a while this afternoon, "Domino effect". In case you didn't realize, the soldiers killed were taking delivery of a delivery from a Domino's pizza, and the delivery drivers were also shot and injured.

On the other hand, the story to which the header referred, Fears for Army killings fall-out, does genuinely describe a concern about a possible domino effect or, perhaps better in this instance, chain reaction in which the shootings could lead eventually to the collapse of the Stormont government.

So the question really is whether it was a very stupid, tasteless attempt to be clever by pulling the Domino's name into it, or just a very stupid, clueless failure to think, by someone who had composed the line without knowing or remembering enough about the story to be safe in doing so. Either way, it seems a bit of a naff, tabloid-smelling performance from an organization which usually has much higher standards. 4/10 see me.

I should add that either lots of people (including me) moaned, or someone with more clue at the Beeb has had a look, as it has been changed. It now reads "Uncertain days" which is about ten million percent more acceptable, thank you Auntie.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Nowt much

It's a beautiful morning.

I have two orienteering events to go to this weekend, which is very nice. If the weather is anything like this tomorrow or Sunday it will be great. It's not warm, but this is the least of my problems when running, or rather lumbering. More sunshine like this would just be fabulous, though.

I only get to go orienteering if the car is OK ... it's going in this morning with a list as long as your arm of (we hope) minor defects. Going Oing without the car would be somewhere on the difficult < - - > impossible spectrum, probably well towards the right. The car is getting on a bit, to put it mildly, so every visit to the garage is a bit worrying in case it's going to be the one where they turn round and tell us it's time to give it up!

After the weekend I get stuck into a couple of very busy weeks. The next Haydn Chamber Orchestra concert is on the 21st and there is a Grand Union Orchestra show at the Hackney Empire on the 20th and 21st. Because of the HCO gig I can only do the 20th with GUO but even so I am thrilled to bits to be back with them after quite a few years. So the next two weeks have plenty of rehearsals, alongside a few other things which I want to do or which must be fitted in or both.

I am quite pleased with myself because I've assembled the HCO programme on my Wretched Young Persons' Portable Phonographic Device and am making efforts to be a bit less clueless than usual by actually having done some listening, practice etc. Actually I know two of the items already (one of them very well) and only one is really new to me (Haydn Symphony no 60) so it's that one that's getting most of the attention. On the Radio 3 website I found a rather good Discovering Music programme about the Haydn so I've got that to listen to now as well.

Mrs von Neustadt and I are hoping to go to the flicks tomorrow night to see The Class (Entre les murs) although looking at the schedule I am assailed by sudden doubts (about when/whether we can go, not the film itself) so watch this space.

I can't go to the luncthime concert today as I have an important meeting. Missing the concert is a pity but not the end of the world - there are certainly plenty more to come!

And I think that's it. Sorry it's a bit waffly and inconsequential but I don't have time to write anything profound or edit and post an existing longer piece and it's still better - for me, anyway, if not the reader! - to write something than nothing at all. Have a nice day, as they say.