30 June 2011

Fantastic Evening at Castlemorton Common

Summer Evenings don't get much better than this...

Ant Hill - not sure what the flowers are though

Castlemorton Common
The map was printed at the wrong scale - so it was a bit further than I thought - good time though

26 June 2011

Today we are orienteering at Aston Hall - in the past everyone would have looked-down-their-noses at Park Orienteering - but what with it being mid summer and all brambly and that in the local forests...
Someone said "Aston Hall as in Aston Villa FC - where is the football ground?"  "you will see...".  The stadium towers over the Northern part of the park.
After the sprint

Round and round getting dizzy - but still a challenge - the red circle is where they were playing cricket

25 June 2011

Begwns & Hergest Croft

Orienteering at Begwyns
What a strange place is Begwyns - a fun drive out in Black SAABath, fried breakfast on a laneside near Hay-On-Wye followed by a mammoth score event on The Begwyns.  Known to the local running club as the Best Turf Underfoot Known To Man - this a fantastic open common loved by runner, walkers, riders, archaeologists and orienteers alike, but strangely unknown to Google Maps and even Streetmap misses by a couple of miles (location map here)

Not a big turnout and even though I over-committed - I won
Afterwards a swift and twisty drive* to Hergest Croft Gardens - for a nice toasted sandwich and a creme tea.  The gardens are still lovely, so is the arboretum and the wild wood (and a bit brambly) but all so very very quiet - is it the recession?

*I discovered that turning sharply left is followed 20 seconds later by a VERY strong smell of petrol... hmmm, the fuel filler pipe is at a very shallow angle a design flaw?

I strongly recommend a visit - the Black Dog of Hergest not withstanding

No idea what this is - probably Chinese and really quite pretty

Abies Delavayi -definitely from China
And every cone has a diamond!

A doubly lonely Sciadopitys verticillata - surrounded by big bully trees and the only member of it genusIt is a "living fossil" and has no leaves - flattened stems fulfilling the necessary function - I guess it went through a period of desert living before ending up somewhere wet again - like that tree I met on Kauai
Taxodium Ascendens - or Swamp Cypress - no knees though as it is growing on dry land.

At last I get to see a handkerchief tree flower

Davidia involucrata

24 June 2011

Some more visitors to Number 27

I have not idea what they we playing

But it looks like fun

The "egg white free" peppermint creams we made were a partial success

22 June 2011

Why you now need a different password and a different ID for each account

You can't trust even the biggest companies to have sensible security.

My electricity supplier decided to get serious with using the web - what started as just a trivial "send us your meter reading" ID was migrated to be an "account management" ID - with bank details and direct debits and address and mother's maiden name and so on.  All very useful stuff to know.

Problem was most of the website was updated before they migrated me (or told me about the new system) and suddenly I was being asked for a 12 digit number I did not have.  No problem - the help line was very helpful - the agent was able to access all my details, and my ID, and my email address and my password in plain text - which were all emailed to me - in plain text.

No one ever needs to see a password!  Possibly generate a reset but never see the password.  Really really stupid.  Even more stupid to send the password in an email.

A doubly big problem if you use the same email/id and password on more than one site!   Really stupid to trust call centre staff with this sort of information.

So I set about changing all my IDs and passwords, which went fine until this stupidity

I changed my password and then it sent it to me!  Maybe there was a pending "request" - but good sites send you a reset link or a reminder 'phrase' - not the actual password. And this from a legal advice site as well.

And what do I do about services that are no longer available - because of expired membership, subscription or "gone out of business"?  The data is still up there - even if you can't access it - someone else can.

I don't care is someone hacks my UKSAABS ID or password - but if this gives them a clue to what I use for more critical sites - very bad.

This needs some thought

Unique IDs are tough as most sites use email addresses, unique passwords it will have to be - what a pain.

[Update June 26th - I found out (but only via the BBC news) that Travelodge (UK) have been hacked and had customer data stolen  and on Friday I got an email from a computer game maker warning me that customer data associated with a 10 year old game had been compromised.  So that is "small games company 1/major corporate with whom I currently do business 0)]

[Update July 20th - and now I am receiving spam mail directed to the email address I only use for Travelodge - and still they have not warned me that they have lost identity data]

19 June 2011

Good Times at Breakneck Bank

A really sunny day at the, much delayed, Harlequins Breakneck Bank orienteering race.  The forest has never been better - mature and runnable - but there are ominous signs that felling is about to commence (new earthworks and upgraded access)