Making the Most of the Internet - Blog


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Threshers 40% Discount on Wines and Champagnes


Threshers may have made a mistake with their Christmas offer.

They put up a 40% voucher that could be printed over the Internet and it has been well and truly distributed. I heard about it on Radio 5 Live where they were talking to a South African wine company called Stormhoek.


UK Anti-Spam Day


The Times on Saturday summed up the problem of spam, but what we need is a sound method to fight it.

As they point out, the main problem is the millions of computers that are not protected. But methods of protection are available, that are either very affordable or in some cases absolutely free. Just as with smallpox, if everybody is inoculated, then the disease has nowhere to go and it just dies.

The media, such as the newspapers, serious and not-so-serious, and broadcasters, like the BBC, ITV and Sky could be the key to stopping the menace of spam. It's a war out there, so we must use all the battalions we can muster.

For instance, if we made Friday, December 29th, UK Anti-Spam Day, the media could use its immense power, with articles and programs to get everybody to inoculate their computers. I'm sure companies, advertisers and Monty Python would all enjoy the publicity.

Why that day? How many of us are going up the wall over Christmas and are looking for something worthwhile to do?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fifth Third Bank and H-BoS - Part 3


Just after two this morning, bank phishing scams for H-BoS stopped. But they are still continuing at the same rate for Fifth Third Bank.

I find this odd, as all the scams appear to be similar and coming from the same place. Surely, the banks are all working together to fight the spammers in which case both sets of scams would have died together.

But they didn't!

Does this mean that there is none or only a rudimentary anti-spam network amongst the banks?

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Another Serious Article About Spam


This article on ZDNet backs up all the things I've been saying for several months.

I'm not pleased about the growth of spam, but I am please that their figures agree with mine.

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Refreshing Browser


I was asked by a client to provide a browser with no borders that refreshed. Not that easy, as you need to have some means of control, so that you can switch the program off and configure it. I solved that with a small control panel you can click in the corner.

His application sounds bizarre in that he wanted to display text messages on a screen in an entertainment venue, such as a bar, pub or club. Think about it though and your mind races as to what purposes you'd use such a system for. I will not speculate here. But as you can see he wants the maximum screen and he wants it to look like television rather than a web browser.

I succeeded and the result was an update to my Refreshing Browser.

The applications have since cracked on apace.

I have friends who use it to demo their product on the web as on a laptop the extra screen space is valuable.

The program can now be script driven, so that sequences of web pages, such as news, sport and adverts can be put together as simple displays for a shop, cafe or pub.

Thinking this through, you could have a company like Starbucks, that has a display in each cafe, that serves up a mixture of news, sports and adverts, silently to all their customers. It would only require a standard PC with a large plasma screen and an broadband Internet connection. All control would be central, with only a reboot required locally.

I ran this through with the manager of my local computer store which is part of a large UK chain and he was very enthusiastic for all sorts of reasons, but mainly the central control which would save his staff time.

I have received several enthusiastic reactions and feel it should be shared as many on this list, may have applications in their companies or clients.

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Affordable Christmas Presents


Try eBay and the other auction sites.

I've bought some very interesting things for under a fiver, including a brand-new £30 Endurance swimsuit for the wife! She a manic swimmer and wears them out!

I've also sold some very odd things that I know have made good presents for that sum. Currently, I'm selling hundreds of tools that can be used to point brickwork that are the remnants of a bankrupt company, I once invested in. Most go for under a fiver including postage!


Sunday, November 26, 2006



Smilers are an interesting innovation from the Royal Mail, that allows you to print your own stamps to go with their more legitimate ones.

I would think that they have some very interesting marketing applications, in that you could print a stamp showing your new team, product or whatever and add them to a promotion.

It's funny, but the Royal Mail is not thought to be an innovative company in an innovative industry. But actions speak otherwise.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Serious Article About Spam


The Times today has a serious article about spam.

Reading it, I can only agree with what they say.

Now we need to fight back.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Fifth Third Bank and H-BoS - Part 2


They're still going!

Two more URLs to add; and Both point to the same place in Canada. Well it might be in Canada.

I would have thought by now that the two banks could have done something to protect their customers. Or is it that they just don't care? Or are they frightened of these crooks who try to ruin their customers?

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Fifth Third Bank and H-BoS - Part 1


I'm now getting bank phishing e-mails for just these two banks.

As they use the same URLs, they are from the same crook in possibly Canada.

Does this show how few of these crooks there are out there and how easily they can be stopped? But judging by the response of the banks, who seem to take weeks to clear up an attack, their performance in this area is bad.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

H-BoS Erupts


I've had a massive amount of bank phishing scams from Bank of Scotland/Halifax today. The count was eventually 221 e-mails and they're still coming.

All but two have come from a server registered in Canada at (Click the link and you get nothing!) Domains named include,,, and All domains and the server have been registered in the last few days.

I suspect all the registrations are bogus, but they may not be, so if you feel like checking some of the phone numbers, who am I to say no. Perhaps the unfortunates might complain to the police and something would be done about those that register domain names in the names of innocents.

Most of the details lead to :-

Domain Discreet
P.O. Box 278
Yarmouth, NS B5A 4B2
Phone: 1-902-7495331

It does seem that the Canadians don't seem to bother too much.

Perhaps, it would be a good idea not to buy anything Canadian.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Google's New Toolbar


I've recently installed the new Google toolbar. I wasn't sure about it at first but I'm beginning to like.

It does do some interesting things though.

Today, Tony Blair met Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazahstan. They appeared to have enjoyed themselves but what does Google know about Mr. Nazarbayev.

So I put Nazarbayev into the new Google toolbar, which always suggests words that you might like to use in the search. In this case Google only had one suggestion, corruption.

Perhaps you should always judge a man by the friends he keeps.

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Michael Peel and Nigerian Fraud


Michael Peel of Chatham House and the Financial Times has written a very interesting report accusing governments, and especially the British government, of ignoring the problem of fraud carried out by Nigerian nationals, both in their home country and abroad.

Governments, financial institutions and banks just hope there problems will go away. They won't unless positive action is taken.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nationwide Drops a Laptop


I hate laptops.

They are difficult to use, the screen is small, the mouse is awful and above all they are fragile. Drop one and say good-bye to your data. My Son, George, makes money by resurrecting them. Often people don't back them up which makes matters worse.

But then so many people think of a laptop as an extension of their ego and want the biggest and best, when quite frankly a better desktop would be much more suitable.

They have their uses, but these are much more in the fields of collecting data and doing demonstrations.

So what do we read this morning?

A story about how an employee of Nationwide Building Society had his laptop stolen in a domestic burglary. And everybody's account details were on it!

Two questions must be asked?

1. What was that data doing on his machine in a place where it could be stolen?

2. Why did Nationwide take three months to release details of the theft, when account security might have been compromised?

It shows yet again, how some banks do not treat the security and the Internet in particular seriously.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are Alliance and Leicester the New Barclays?


Last week I got 4395 phishing e-mails for Barclays. That's just over 700 a day!

This week, since Sunday, I've had 128, 5, 2 and none.

At about six on Sunday morning someone put the boot in to the crooks who were sending this stuff. A lot of all bank phishing has now disappeared, with the average last week at 900 a day and this week so far at 240. Let's hope there are some nice people in a jail somewhere. I will not speculate, but judging by most of the countries where this evil rubbish comes from, I doubt that it will be as pleasant as a guest of Her Majesty.

Now though most of the scams are aimed at customers of the Alliance and Leicester.

It's funny but why are most scams aimed at British banks?

I certainly would never bank on-line with anybody that featured in my databases. Most seem indifferent to scams, with one or two notable exceptions, who strangely hardly feature at all.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Miserable World


The news is bad, taxes are going up, Ipswich can't win and it's pouring buckets outside.


There has been a ray of light from an unlikely source. My phone line and broadband went stone dead at 1:30 this afternoon and BT said that their man with the hammer would come tomorrow.

Imagine my surprise when I was phoned at about 4:30 from a very wet hole in the ground by a BT engineer, to say that the break had been fixed.

So there is service out there, despite what the miseries of this world say!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Rise and Rise of Bank Phishing E-Mails


This last week has been the worst since I started collecting Bank Phishing Scams. I got about 6,000 this week which was a record.

Bank Phishing E-Mails - Click for large

The graph shows the rise since the beginning of May.

Note that the blue on the graph is Barclays. They still seem to be the bank of choice for Bank Phishing e-mails.

I would never bank with them on-line.

A note is now available for downloading and distribution which gives full details.

The Rise and Rise of Phishing E-Mails

Feel free to read and distribute as you require.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On-Line Banking


Many on-line banking systems are not fit for purpose.

This is why we get large amounts of phishing e-mails. I have received over 4,000 in the last week, of which over 80% were for one UK bank. I would certainly not bank with that bank, as they must be targeted because their customers are easier to fool.

Before you bank on-line, make sure you use a system which has a password system that can't be easily fooled. And never bank with one for which there are large numbers of phishing e-mails, as this must be a bank with poor security.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

UTube and YouTube


This is an interesting Internet spat, that if people don't watch will end up with large legal bills.

Make sure when you put up a web site there is no confusion over the name.

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Google AdSense


Last night I added Google AdSense advertisement links to my three blogs.

I'm not really a lover of adverts on web pages, but I wanted to see how the links behaved and whether they were beneficial.

Perhaps, this was best answered by the first link that came up on my Coeliac Diary blog. It was for a company called Wiltshire Farm Foods that sell all sorts of ready meals over the Internet.

I'm not sure whether I will taste them or not, but it does show how Google can target the right sort of advertisement for your site.

I've also put a link in the sidebar so that you can sign up for Google AdSense.

I'll let the adverts run for a bit and see if they make any money. That is the real test.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blogger versus WordPress


I've integrated several Blogger blogs into web sites and found it pretty easy to modify a standard template to how I wanted it. It helps a lot if you choose a template that has a similar layout to what you want.

The blog shows a Blogger blog fully integrated into a web site, but just changing the Scribe template. I just added my header and links to the top of the template, moved a few things about and it looks totally different and fully integrated. Anybody who knows HTML and CSS to a reasonably level would have no problems.

I've recently set up a blog for someone on WordPress. It would appear that to change things as radically as I have done with the example, would mean that I have to pay money.

So I would always choose Blogger over WordPress, if I wanted to integrate a blog.

Note that you have the problem that once you've created a large blog, it is a devil's own job to move it.

It is also a good idea to store the created blog on a domain for which you have control, so that if you have to move it, you at least have the HTML.

I shall investigate the other blog sites, to see if any others are better.

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