Another two incidents caught on camera

Another day, another incident or two captured on my Blackvue camera.

This time, early morning and my commute to work. First off, I spotted a cyclist that appeared to be sticking to the rules of the road for a change. But that didn’t last very long as the clip will show.

Thinking that this must be it for the day, just moments later another numpty pulling a stunt that almost resulted in an accident. Watch the reversing lights carefully towards the end of the clip:

I have quite a few more clips to retrieve from the camera that I will upload after Easter.

In the meantime, please like the video on Youtube or place a comment here on this blog. You too must have seen bad drivers, cyclists or pedestrians?

Dashcam footage – lucky girl

So I was travelling from work to Hoddesdon the other day. Not too long into the journey I was approaching a pedestrian crossing. The light was showing green, so I proceeded, keeping within the speed limit of 30mph.

You can see for yourself what happened:

As the title says, one lucky girl! It was a very close call.

I will post more dash cam videos over the next few days showing some antics by motorists. Seriously, I am not deliberately seeking out these situations – they just happen on my day to day travelling.

Blackvue dashboard camera

So I decided to treat myself to a brand new Blackvue dashboard camera.

I settled for the DR500GW model and ordered a bigger mini SD card to go with it.

it arrived within the week and was packaged very well.

After inserting the mini SD card into the camera and powering it up, the device installs the necessary software and is good to go.

I also downloaded the app from the Google playstore and installed it onto my Android phone. The handy app allows a “live” view of the camera, playback of the clips stored as well as changing all of the setting of the camera remotely.

So far I am impressed with it and recommend the camera.

I will be posting some videos in later posts.

The Mark Duggan verdict

So a Jury selected from ordinary citizens of England has decided that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed by V53, the police officer that was in the unfortunate position to have to pull the trigger because he had an honest held belief that his life was in danger.

One would have thought that this would be end of the matter.

But the Duggan family and their supporters think different. They cried out for an inquest by Jury and are now not happy with their conclusion and will fight until they presumably get the conclusion they so desperately want.

Some of those supporters (that is you Stafford Scott) are bringing the race card to the table. But this whole incident has nothing to do with race. Duggan got shot not because of the colour of his skin but because he stupidly decided it was a good idea to get a gun and travel across London with it. When apprehended by the police, he decided to throw the gun away and then made a movement that was perceived as a threat.

The cold hard fact of this case is that if Duggan was not involved with guns he would still be alive.

Rather than hold a vigil outside Tottenham police station, perhaps the family and supporters ought to address the “community” and bang it into their heads that guns and gang culture lead to awful things. Duggan paid the ultimate price for mixing within this culture.

There are no lessons to be learned other than that if you mix with guns it will end in tears.

How to enjoy a spam free phpBB3 forum

It appears that the last solution on the honeypot forum has done the trick. No spam bots have registered an account for 9 days.

The solution is very simple to programme into your phpBB3 forum and makes use of the question/answer module already available to prevent these spambots making an account via automatic means. It is not, of course, going to stop manual spam accounts being created.

The first step is to open the file named captcha_qa,html in the respective template directory of the style that is in use on your forum. Then simply change this line:

<label>{QA_CONFIRM_QUESTION}:</label><span>{L_CONFIRM_QUESTION_EXPLAIN}</span>

to

<label><a href='http://name of your site/question.html' target='_new'>CLICK HERE</a> for the code to enter:</label><span>{L_CONFIRM_QUESTION_EXPLAIN}</span>

ensuring that the name of your site is inserted.

As far as the programming is concerned, all that is remaining is to create a html file called question.html containing this code:

<font size="6">gH22IUas!3</font>
<br><br>

<input type="button" value="Close this window" onclick="self.close()">

making sure that the code that is to be inserted as the answer is contained. This code is to, preferably, contain a mixture of numbers and ordinary and special characters. Upload the html file into the root directory of your site.

In order for it all to work correctly is to enable to question and answer module through the admin panel of the phpBB3 software and to make sure that the cache is refreshed. Please ensure that the code that is displayed on the question.html page is inserted as the answer on the phpBB3 admin page.

The question.html page can be amended to suit your needs. You can, for example, display a number of codes with the one to be selected displayed in a different colour or for it to be marked in a different way.

The solution that has been given here has worked for my honeypot forum. The forum has now served its need and has been deleted from the server.

Honeypot Forum – update on the last stage

It has now been 4 days since the last stage of the honeypot forum has been invoked and with the new strategy it appears that the spam bots have finally been beaten.

To date there have been no registrations by the bots.

Will give it a few more days to see if that is indeed the case or if I shouted too early.

The programming solution that is currently in place to stop the spam bots will be revealed at a later stage for every reader to use on their phpBB forum.

Margaret Thatcher – RIP

The death of ex Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has, once again, devided the Country.

Loathed by those whose policies influenced their lives in a negative way and seen as a hero by those who did well when she was in power.

There is no doubt that she was not always right in what she did and that mistakes were made. But to ignore the good things that she did is not being realistic about what Thatcher achieved.

When Thatcher came to power, there were certain issues that needed sorting. The Unions had too much power and the holding the Country to ransom had to stop. With determination she achieved this. It was a bloody war that created many innocent victims. Victims that were were used as cannon fodder by the Unions to further their own agendas.

She should have realised that by closing the mines, communities that were dependent on those mines would suffer and should have put measures in place to assist these communities.

Thatcher stopped Europe being the bully boy and stood up. She negotiated the rebate that this Country still is benefiting from.

The Poll Tax wasn’t the best of her ideas and ultimately led to her demise. The decision was quickly reversed by John Major via the Council Tax.

But what can’t be said is that Thatcher did not have the determination and gut to tackle a problem, something that has sadly been missing from subsequent leaders of the Country.

RIP Margaret Thatcher – loathed by some, loved by others.

The honey pot forum – a further update

Just six days after the last update, the number of registrations and posts have gone through the roof on the spam forum.

A total of 173 spam bots registered and activated their account. In addition to that, a total of 60 registered but didn’t bother to activate it. A total of 37 posts were made on the forum.

The conclusion is an easy one to make: the question and answer attempt to block the spam bots does not work. In fairness, the question asked wasn’t difficult to answer.

The slate has been wiped clean, once again, and the next stage of the honey pot has now started in earnest.

Time will tell whether to new measure has the desired effect.

The spam honey pot forum – Stage 2

It is now time to start stage 2 of the experiment on the honey pot forum.

But before doing so, here at the statistics for stage 1. As a reminder, stage 1 was a bog standard phpBB3 forum with the standard captcha supplied with the software.

  • Total number of posts made: 22
  • Total number of spambots that activated their account: 74
  • Total number of spambots that did not activate their account: 28

These are quite impressive numbers considering that the forum has not been advertised at all. The only link to the forum is the one provided here.

Stage 2 has now been activated by means of a not too difficult question that needs answering before an account can be created. The question is “what is the Capital city of the United Kingdom”.

I will, as always, provide regular updates to see if this question makes it more difficult for these bots to register an account.

Mick Philpott and the benefits system

It has been widely commented by the media about the remarks that George Osborne – the Chancellor of the Exchequer – made in relation to the sentencing of Mick Philpott who, with his wife and a friend, killed six of their children by deliberately setting fire to his house in order to get custody of his other 5 children by his ex mistress.

Mr Osborne made it pretty clear that only Mr Philpott was responsible for the death of these kids but that Mr Philpott was an example of why the benefit system needs reform. Some media have made the link that all people on benefits are like Mr Philpott. That is not what Mr Osborne said at all.

It is true that there is an abuse of the benefits system in the UK. It is also true that, financially, the welfare system can’t be sustained any longer. There is not enough money in the pot to make “living on benefits” a life style choice, something that the Prime Minister has commented on only today.

And he is right. The welfare system was set up as something to fall back on in times of need. It was never meant to take care of a person from cradle to grave.

Going back to Mr Philpott. Having 17 children would have meant 17 times child allowance. That is just too much. A cap on the number of child allowance claims, to say two per household, would be a sensible solution. If more than 2 children are wanted by a family, then surely the expense of bringing up these children should be firmly down to that family and not down to the state.

The sense of entitlement to benefits, which appears to be the norm these days, has got to change. If it is not, I can foresee the collapse of the whole benefit system which will result in those needing it (rather than wanting it) being left out.

The spam honey pot forum

A further update on the forum that was especially set up to see how many spam visitors it will attract.

To date, a total of 31 bots have signed up and activated their account. In addition to that, 10 of them registered but couldn’t be asked to activate the account.

A total of 15 posts were made onto the forum, all of them will never ever be shown to the world which defeats – of course – the object of these pests joining and attempting to display their rubbish to all and sundry.

What is of interest is the large number of posts made in the non English language. The posts appear to be in Russian and all of them include links to websites which are bound to be less than safe to visit.

I will continue for another week with the current format, after which the ante will slightly increase with another form of “bot prevention”. It should still be easy to break though so it will be interesting to see what the numbers look like a further two weeks from then.

Check back soon on further progress updates!

Update on the spam honeypot forum

Just two days in and a total of 8 spambots have registered onto the forum. Of these eight bots, 5 have activated their account whilst the other 3 have not bothered doing so.

A total of 2 posts were made. One was about some sort of drug obtainable in Russia and the other one in a language not known to me containing a number of links. Naturally, I have not begun to attempt clicking on them as – quite frankly – I don’t know what kind of nasties can be picked up by doing this.

The forum has not been advertised at all. The only links available to it are within this blog. I dread to think the number of these pests that would have registered had it been a heavily advertised or well known forum.

Will keep all readers informed about how the numbers have changed in the next few days.

Ditching Skycig for uk-eliquid

Having had a bad customer experience with Skycig, it was time to switch brands. Skycig did me a favour because I am now properly vaping with an eGo battery, tank and many a flavour and strength of juice. Vaping this way has an added bonus of being cheaper to boot!

My preferred site for all of my purchases is:

Click here to order your juice

(Click the above logo to get to the website)

Their delivery service is excellent, prices are competitive and they quite often have promotional deals.

Here is a little tip: if you order 3 x 10ml of the same flavour you automatically get a discount. The reason for this is because they stopped stocking the 30ml bottles which were cheaper than 3 x 10ml bottles.

As soon as I spot a discocunt code for you to use, I shall post it here on my blog. All of us like a little money off at times!

Abu Qatada can’t be deported from UK

As has been reported by the BBC, radical cleric Abu Qatada can’t be deported from the United Kingdom because it is going to infringe his human rights.

What an absolute load of rubbish. This person is a danger to the United Kingdom. The simple solution would be for him to sod off to where he belongs, which is not England. One would have thought that he would want to do just that given that he can’t stand our culture.

But no he doesn’t. He must like something for him to stay. Perhaps it is the benefits that he gets from a Government that he does not like and sees as his enemy.

His lawyers should hang their heads in shame. Yes, that is you Edward Fitzgerald QC. How can you sleep at night having earned a tidy sum defending this waste of space in Court?

Once again we have a great example of an abuse of the Human Rights Act. An act that had good intentions but is, these days, being used and abused by those that commit crimes or, in the case of this “cleric”, inciting hatred in our society.

This Government should just take the bull by its horns and deport Abu Qatada and suffer the consequences that may (or perhaps may not) follow.

Jordan – the country he is hopefully at some time to be deported to – has repeatedly said that Abu Qatada will get a fair trial. Why the Judges that decided this latest fiasco of a trial didn’t take that on board is perhaps a sign that these Judges don’t live in the real word too. 

Now the Government is to spend yet more money appealing the latest decision. More tax payers money to be wasted when perhaps a David Kelly style of disappeance is the way forward and much cheaper. I am sure not a lot of tears will be shed if that were to happen.

Spam problems on forums

It is well known that when you run a forum on any kind of subject, it is going to be bombarded with spam if you don’t take the necessary counter measures.

As a test, I have created a “honey pot” forum here on this website. It can be accessed through the link in the top menu bar, or by simply clicking this link. (Update on 21/04/2013 -> the forum has now been removed).

I have not allowed for new posts to be displayed simply because I don’t want the readers to be subjected to all kinds of stuff these spambots post. Instead, any posts made are held in the moderation queue. A queue of posts that will never be displayed though!

The project is going to be in stages.

The first, where we are at now, is an ordinary custom phpBB forum without any security measures other than the standard CAPCHA which is reportedly broken.

We’ll see how many spambots sign up and how many posts they will attempt to make.

I will give it a couple of weeks and will then beef up security with a custom question that is fairly easy to resolve.

A further two weeks down the line, security will be beefed up once again to – hopefully – one that can not be broken by these spambots.

Will keep all readers informed on the progress on a regular basis.

Crime in Barbados – Tripadvisor censors discussion

Following my post a few days ago, perhaps not surprisingly, Tripadvisor has now deleted the post that I linked to. It has totally disappeared from their site without an explanation given.

It is a sad state of affairs when a website that claims to provide information for tourists / visitors to places censors discussion about the safety of these visitors.

I have no doubt that some members of Tripadvisor have been reporting the topic, it therefore resulting in it being deleted. These members of Tripadvisor have a different agenda. They don’t accept criticism of the island they so dearly love.

These members are in the “burying your head in the sand” camp hoping that if crime doesn’t get reported it will magically disappear. That is not going to happen. It only results in visitors not being aware of crime and taking the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim of it.

Without a doubt, reported crime in any tourist destination will have a negative impact. One can either deal with the problem or do the wrong thing and censor the reporting of it. Until one day the latter is going to backfire and then it really will be too late.

Come on Tripadvisor… get your act together. I thought that freedom of speech was something you Americans were proud of!

Crime in Barbados – is the island still safe to travel to?

On the 18th March 2013, two Britons were shot in Barbados -in broad daylight for the sake of a purse / handbag.

Whilst it is accepted that crime can happen virtually anywhere in the world, the fact that shots were fired puts this crime into a different area.

Living in London, I hear about shootings frequently. Most of these shootings are between rival gangs or simply a murder of a person known. It is unknown for a tourist to be targetted and shot at for a purse or handbag.

It is understood that the Bajan police have made an arrest. That is, of course, good but what it doesn’t do is assure potential visitors that it is safe to walk in broad daylight in Bridgetown (the capital of Barbados), or anywhere else on the island for that matter.

Recently, the number of attacks against tourists has increased in Barbados. And that is a worry because as a tourist you are a target. A tourist stands out like a sore thumb in Barbados and the risk being involved in a crime has now increased. It is not just some random person that is being targetted but the person that is travelling in a car displaying the “h” prefix, the white person on the beach that 90% of the time is likely to be a visitor to the island.

A posting over on Tripadvisor (edit 27/03/13 -> the post has now disappeared!) is now being heavily censored. I would guess it is being censored by those that like to bury their head in the sand. Making excuses that crime happens everywhere in the world and that a tourist does not have to worry about their safety in Barbados. Perhaps they work for the Bajan government or Bajan press who prefer that reports of crime are kept away from the world.

Barbados has to act and act quickly. It is quickly losing its reputation of being a safe island to travel to.

Barbados relies heavily on tourist revenue – the group of people that are being targetted by criminals on the island.

Will it stop me travelling to Barbados again? Considering that the world is a big place, it certainly wil not be the automatic first option I will take.