Threes' "upgrade" to Turbo Broadband

In the last few weeks the area I live in has received an “upgrade” to Threes' Turbo broadband service from it’s normal 3G service. This is suppose to be a good thing because it would offer more speed, but alas reality is not what Three would have you beleive. Since the “upgrade” the connection has been unreliable to put it politely. The connection drops out at random intervals and this can be part of the way through downloading email, pulling up a web page, or anything.

Is the maven repository creaking at the seams and starting to blow

This one is a bit of a post for the techies, so if you’re more interested in the business side of my blog you may want to skip this post.  One of the things that, on paper, Apache Maven appears to do well is dependency handling. It checks down the dependency chain to verify that libraries versions match up, and that the latest library is used….. except with the current repository it isn’t guaranteed to work, and you can easily end up with multiple versions of the same jar on your classpath and not know about it.

Adobe blatently ripping off customers in the UK

I’ve recently been looking at Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS3 for web development, but they’re so blatantly ripping off customers here in the UK that I’m going to be looking elsewhere. The price for DreanWeaver CS3 in the UK is around 390 pounds, the price in the US is 399 dollars (about 200 to 210 pounds). So we’re basically being charged twice the price just for living in the UK. I asked Adobe for details of the reason why I should pay the nearly 200 pound difference and was told the following things (in this order);

Wireless Broadband for a SOHO using a Huawei E220 and a router

I’ve heard a few people are looking for a solution to using a cellular modem for their small or home office. The solution I’ve used is based on the Draytek Vigor 2800 and the Huawei E220 USB modem. The instructions on configuring these two can be found on Drayteks' site at

Cellular Broadband in the UK

For the last couple of months I have been using a cellular broadband system instead of a standard ADSL line and I’ve got to say that I think describing as broadband is probably stretching the truth a little. I’ve been using a Huawei E220 on both the Three and Vodafone networks and the biggest problem I’ve seen is signal strength. I’m currently in a village with around 5,000 residents which is three miles from the Maidstone (the county town of Kent which has around 80,000 residents), so I’m not exactly in the sticks.

Orange customer (dis-)service

After Orange coming up with a sensible solution to the “fun” of not existing in experian and equifaxes databases due to moving to a newly built house, they’ve unfortunately shown how not to treat a customer, and here is their special recipe. In order to prove to Orange that the house I live in existed I was asked to obtain a bank statement which showed my name and the current address.

Credit Reference Agencies - No substitute for customer service

I’ve recently moved into the second house to be finished in a new development and found out that due to a local transmitter the Vodafone signal is so poor that it’s barely usable, so I decided to switch to the Orange network (which has good signal strength), but hit a small snag called Experian. Experian basically make money from selling other peoples information, but the problem is their information isn’t update to date and so they say the house that I’ve now been living in for two weeks doesn’t exist.

Doesn't the UK have enough enemies already?

It’s rare that anything in UK politics actually surprises me, but you would have thought after the bungles in Afghanistan and Iraq the UK government would think twice about blindly following US policy, but, alas, the UK governments endorsement of the US’s recent sanctions on Iran seem to show that it is still more interested in staying close to the US than it is about thinking about anything else. One key theory in group control is that if you can get the group to fear a common enemy you can get away with a lot of big mistakes.

Advertising practices bordering on the dishonest

Everyone knows that in advertising there is a certain amount of creativity, and that there are bounds to what most companies would consider responsible advertising, but I’ve come across a company which seems to be willing to set the borders of responsible advertising a little wider than most.  The company is Crest Nicholson, a UK house builder, who, in web pages that are thinly disguised adverts for two of their developments (here and here) have large glowing quotes about how good these developments are and the company in general.

Distributed computing, the next money saving step?

A password breaking program called John the ripper has been modified to use the CPUShare pay-per-MIP parallel processing network as a test. This means that anyone with an MD5 hashed password can now look to rent enough machine power to take a serious shot at finding the original password. This is a step along the current path of technology which is leading us away from single expensive solutions and on to more organic systems which can adapt to changes in usage as neccessary.