Your face is not your fortune

Speaking of security things (which I was, again, just a few days ago)…

You keep your password secure and safe, yes?

You restrict unfettered access to your Facebook and other social media, yes?

You do not broadcast every single thing you have done, are doing, and are going to do to the entire world, yes?

And you would be against anyone, whether corporate or public body, having this much knowledge about you, yes?

Well… unlucky.

It’s happening here in the UK, and it is about to happen in the US.

In the UK there is an AI (artificial intelligence) engine hooked up to a software application called ClearView.

ClearView is, in turn, hooked up to every social media platform that exists (yes, even MySpace but joking aside, Facebook is definitely part of this tale).

ClearView is also hooked up to the UK Police National Computer.

ClearView is able to pull information about you from all of these sources, and present the output to public sector employees, Central Government agencies, anti-Crime organisations, and other entities too shady to mention by name.

Where does ClearView get the trigger for all this activity?

From looking at your face.


In May 2019, a man was fined £90 for refusing to show his face to a police camera that had been set up to film members of the public as they walked about East London.


The Metropolitan Police said it was ‘a trail’.

Guess what they were ‘trailing’?

Well, let’s not pull any mental muscles trying to work it out, eh?

Falling in and out of love

Two years and two months ago (and where the hell did those 26 months go?) I posted about my lovely Bose QuietControl 30 in-ear Bluetooth headphones.

They are, without a doubt, the most effective noise-cancelling headphones I’ve ever tried.

With noise-cancelling turned all the way up they are so efficient they block out all engine noise from my 1,000-litre motorbike.

Not that I’d ever use them while I was actually riding the bike, of course.

The headphones also give the best quality audio of any in-ear, or over-ear devices I have ever owned or tested.

But very gradually… I. just. stopped. using. them.


For context, my favourite means of listening to music whilst I’m on the go, is (was) my trusty iPod Classic.

To connect the Bose QuietControl30 headphones to my non-Bluetooth Classic, I have to plug a non-Apple device into the foot of the iPod.

This handy Chinese gizmo turns the iPod into a Bluetooth-enabled device.

Which is pretty nifty, I think we’d all agree.

Except that little gizmo sticking out of the foot of the iPod doesn’t just turn it into a Bluetooth-enabled device. It turns the iPod into a clunk-adverse device.

The wrong kind of clunk or clank against a solid object could turn the plug-in, or the iPod, into devices that just won’t work any longer.

So without much by way of conscious decision, I slowly relegated the Bose to the back of the cupboard, and picked up using my usual plug-in Sennheiser earbuds.

But lately, alongside my still trusty iPod, I have adopted two new ways of listening to music: occasionally I use my phone because it has acres of storage and an awesome battery life, but much more frequently I use a streaming service.

So over the weekend I brought out the Bose, blew the dust off them, charged them up, paired them to my phone and to my laptop and Robert’s your Mother’s brother…

My ears are back in audiophile business.

Which is lovely, obv.

Mind you, trying not to sing at my desk is proving more difficult than I would have thought.

Later: (just got told off for tapping my feet. may have bee actually thumping them in time to Taylor Swift)

User Access and Identity Management

Speaking of security(ish) things (which I was), in one of those annoyingly regular events, I had to change my AD password yesterday.

So I changed it from one incorrectly-spelt, mixed-case Welsh town (with two numbers and three special characters).

For the new password I chose another incorrectly-spelt, mixed-case Welsh town (with two other numbers and three other special characters).

Trouble is I can’t remember where I put the mis-spelling in the new password.

And it’s a longer placename than any of the easy choices:

Bwlch (or Bwlchgwyn)

Hǝllo’ ʍɥɐʇ,s ʎonɹ uɐɯǝ¿

I get a helpful security alert for a couple of webservices that I own.

The security alert gives me threat-metrics based on attempts to gain access (or overpower the webservices through a DDoS attack).

The threats are categorised by IP address ranges assigned to countries, and the output is ordered by country.

Which is, of course, meaningless.

As easily as I could GPS-spoof your Satnav, I can IP-spoof a country’s IP ranges.

I suppose security alerts (and the IT security industry in particular) need to hang their hats on something, but using national-specific IP ranges aren’t the right pegs.

Where Angels Sing (2)

The reason I posted the words to that song isn’t just because there are many websites that offer song lyrics, but they all have that song wrong.

There is another, deeper reason, for wanting to know the words of Where Angels Sing.

I shall discuss that reason further, shortly.

Don’t call me shortly.

Where Angels Sing

Where Angels Sing. Lyrics: Stephen Allen Davis. Artist: Meatloaf

This song was dedicated to Valeria M.

Meet me downtown, on the corner.
I’ll be waiting in a big old yellow cab.
Don’t bring a suitcase,
You won’t need a thing.
There’ll be no worries,
Where angels sing.

[Angelic backing voices]

I got my ticket in my hand.
You know my price is paid in full.
No man can stop me.
Their words won’t sting ya.
No dreams will haunt me.
Where angels sing.

(Yeah I think I’ll sing)

I get so weary,
On this troubled road.
Unlock these chains,
And gently rock me home.
Beyond the clouds, and the rain…

Where angels sing.
Where angels sing.

Where lies can’t hurt me.
The flesh desert me.
No in or out.
No loss or doubt.
No living with or doing without.
Where money ain’t the power key.
And kindness is the most precious thing.

Where angels sing.
Where angels sing.

[guitar solo]


Where time means nothing, No hustle,
No one rushing,
No dark of night,
No hate or spite,
No wrong or right,
No day or night,
No towns, and no cities,
No pain, and no pity,
Where hunger is no longer,
And a good man… just gets stronger.

Where angels sing.
Where angels sing.

[guitar solo]

Where angels sing.
Where angels sing.

[guitar solo]

Where angels sing.

[guitar solo]

Where angels sing.

[guitar solo]


Unpopular opinion

The start of every year is the start of a new decade. We’re just not counting from zero, but that doesn’t make the count any more or less of a decade. A decade is still ten years, it doesn’t matter where you count from.

Setting this one obvious point aside for a moment, here’s some more…

The whole New Year thing is fixated on the passing of time. Is it a healthy fixation?

New Year Resolutions also, in a slightly oblique way, mark the passing of time in a not good way.

They mark our aspirations for the next 12 months (and, likely, they highlight our past failures).

There’s been some decade-related action on the Twitter.

It has been interesting to see people Tweet photos taken 10-years apart. Some surprising in either direction, others not so much.

A lot can happen in the space of ten years.

I made a list of significant events, and had to go back and edit in a very significant event I really shouldn’t have forgotten.

Ten years ago my screen time involved the same TV series that I’m re-watching again.

But the really important thing is that ten years ago I was a very different person.

I think I’m a better person for the passing of time. And I’m the only person qualified to give me an opinion on that, so it must be true.

0202 ni tuoba gnikcuM

There’s something monumentally anticlimactic about flipping the calendar over on to a New Year.

I mean yes, it actually is a new year. But it’s also just a mere 24 hours since you last woke up.

So you haven’t really Rip van Winkled your way through twelve months. Just six hours (if you have dogs that’s about all the sleep they’re going to let you get).

And on that topic…

Today is 2nd January 2020 and it is Robyn’s birthday, One year old – which is very difficult to believe, because none of us (humans) can remember a time when Robyn hasn’t been with us.

28th February 2019 was the day she came to live here.

We love her to bits.

And she us.

What would they think?

I have been thinking about my Nana and Bampa a lot, lately.

We used to visit them on a Sunday, about once every 2-3 weeks.

Nana would always lay out a proper tea and there would be sandwiches and little cakes and lemonade, and ice cream so cold that it steamed.

And there would be the smell of Bampa’s pipe that I can’t quite recall the scent of, but it would be there in the house.

We would have to wear Sunday Best to visit.

I remember I disliked dressing up, but I was made to do it.

Sometimes we would walk to the shop on the corner.

Sometimes we would be allowed to play in the parc on the swings and slide and roundabouts.

Bargoed, their little town, in that valley, surrounded by its coal heaps and mines and slag heaps and mineral railway and coal-buckets.

Coal buckets that crossed the valley

It’s another world.

Even though the images are clear in my head, the pictures are of a time long gone.

In the last 30 years alone the world has changed almost beyond recognition.

How would our rapidly evolving world look to them? How comfortable would they be in it?

We used to visit my Dad’s sister, Auntie Mair as well.

She lived some way distant. To get to her house we would have to go past the railway viaduct in Ystrad Mynach.

Her little terraced house backed on to the railway at the end of the garden.

She had cable television (!) from Redifusion, and an outside toilet.

Nowadays I wonder about these two things co-existing, but back then I didn’t give it another thought.

I was far from being a perfect child. I like to think I have fewer imperfections these days.

I look at how we live now, at the country we live in and at how we conduct ourselves.

And I look at the world, and the damage and destruction and devastation we have inflicted, and are continuing to inflict on it – and on us.

I look at our leaders and see how they wear their faults and failings as if they were badges of honour.


And I wonder, I truly do wonder how Nana and Bampa and Aunty Mair and all of their generation would regard this world now.

How would they look upon us.

I can’t answer my own question with any great detail.

But I feel I can say, with some certainty, that they would be unimpressed.

As am I.