9 August 2015
Congratulations! Many of you have plodded through eighteen years of the Befouled Weakly News. Many life sentences don’t last that long. However, the good news is that this is the last ever edition of the Weakly News you’ll ever be subjected to and even better news – there will be no publication of any description next week. We move house on Friday and, while I’ve no doubt that in itself will be an adventure worthy of inclusion in a publication, we shall have no telephone, television or broadband until some point in the following week. We are, apparently, moving to the back of beyond, a telecommunications back water.
To be honest, we should have had telephone, television and broadband when we move in next Friday; I placed the order in plenty of time and felt moderately convenient that everything would be switched over seamlessly. However, for reasons better known to themselves (or to no one in particular), our provider messed up our order and hence we are looking forward to being virtually incommunicado for four or five days.
It’s a long and boring saga which I shall, of course, be delighted to share with you. We placed the order for the transfer of everything in plenty of time. However, a few days after receiving confirmation that everything was “GO” we had a frantic message on our answering machine instructing us that the order would have to be cancelled. It seems that BT, who provide all the telephone and broadband infrastructure, had queried the address. I had given our provider our new address – Framington House, Upper Green, Moreton Pinkney. BT had no such address within their database – instead they had the remarkably similar address of Framington, The Green, Moreton Pinkney. Our provider insisted that the order had to be cancelled as clearly these were two different establishments and we would be usurping someone else’s telephone line.
Of course, there are not two houses with virtually the same address – the village of Moreton Pinkney has, perhaps, a hundred houses. It seems beyond the wit of man to recognise that “Framington” is the same as “Framington House” and, of course, to the computer they are indeed entirely different. So, the order was cancelled and I spent the next four days trying to get it reinstated. Every time I rang there was a problem – one part of the system had cancelled the order but it remained open somewhere else and so we couldn’t proceed. By the time everyone was convinced that there is only one Framington in the village and all the various bits of the order had been finally cancelled and everything re-ordered, we had “lost” our appointments and hence look forward to a few days in the telecommunications wilderness.
Hey ho. If that’s the only that goes wrong we shall consider ourselves fortunate.
In packing things up ready for the move I made a startling discovery – I clearly do not need four virtually identical hand saws. They are identical in every way apart from their degree of sharpness and hence their efficiency at performing the task of sawing wood. Clearly, I purchased or in some other way acquired each of these four saws at some point in time. Presumably, I purchased new ones when each previous one lost its edge (and, although I could and probably should have sharpened each one in turn, new saws are so cheap and, initially, at least, come sharpened like a barber’s straight-edge razor). The real question, though, is not why do I still have four virtually identical hand saws. Rather, it’s why did I wait eighteen years before finally discarding those saws which have lost their edge.
If you missed all the previous correspondence concerning the new house, you can see the agent’s particulars here. Much to our delight, we discovered that the house used to be a pub – the Dun Cow. And, we even found a few old photos in the Oxfordshire Archives of the house in its former glory. It’s all downhill from here, I guess.
Finally, a bit of a rant.
Poor David Cameron. He has never been regarded as the brightest of his generation and even his most staunch supporters concede that he is hardly the sharpest chisel in the toolbox. One of his many pronouncements during the run up to the election was his intention to tackle terrorism by banning end-to-end-encryption in electronic messages and communications generally. As a Guardian journalist pointed out back in January:
David Cameron managed a rare political treble: he proposed a policy that is draconian, stupid and economically destructive.
The problem is that Dave doesn’t understand how the technology works. Then, on top of that, he doesn’t appreciate that the technology isn’t somehow confined to the UK, that all the banks, and online retailers wouldn’t be able to operate without encryption and, finally, that much of the technology is built in to the devices people use – as one wag pointed out it’s only North Korea (so far) which confiscates mobile phones. The idea that UK Border personnel would impound travellers’ mobile phones is laughable but then Dave is the one who signed all his text messages “LOL” because he thought it meant “Lots of love”.
The Guardian can highlight the issues much more efficiently than I can:
If Cameron is proposing an end to encryption in the UK, then any information sent across the internet would be open for any company, government, or script kiddie with 10 minutes “hacking” experience to access. It would spell the end of e-commerce, private online communications and any hope of the UK having any cybersecurity whatsoever.
In his eagerness to look tough on terror, Cameron instead looks like a man flailing wildly and virtually at random. Charitably, it can be hoped the prime minister was seeking to propose an unworkable policy for a few days’ good headlines.
The fear is that he is serious, and understands so little of what he is legislating that he really believes it would be possible to somehow stop terrorists communicating privately without astonishing collateral damage to Britain’s economy, freedom, and security.
Finally, some photographs from the National Geographic Photography Competition for 2015.
And finally, finally, I can’t remember where I ran across it but the following map identifying the location of Costa Rica is wonderful.
And finally, finally, finally we need to pass on birthday wishes to a plethora of our August celebrants. So, Happy Birthday Sarah. Happy Birthday Azaela. Happy Birthday Sandy, Happy Birthday Amanda, Happy Birthday J. And, here’s hoping the wedding Steph & Hope are hosting on Saturday will be a wonderful success.
Much love to you all,