Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Loss of personal data from HMRC

I guess most people will have heard about this shocking act of incompetence.

Some CDs being sent between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the National Audit Office (NAO) have gone 'missing'.

These CDs contain child benefit details of 7.25 million families (about 25 million people), with information including names, addresses, dates of birth, bank account and National Insurance numbers.

The status of these discs is unknown and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated that so far there is no suggestion that anything dodgy has happened as a result of the discs' loss.

The worrying point here is that if the discs fall into the wrong hands, the information could be exploited for identity fraud.

Advice from ITsafe:
  • Ensure you are following good password procedures as explained by GetSafeOnline - if any of your passwords are things like date of birth or name, these should be changed.
  • Do not give out any personal information or account information if anyone contacts you unexpectedly, and in particular be vigilant for spoof emails, which could, if this additional information became available, look more convincing if they claim to come from HMRC or banks.
  • Monitor your bills, invoices, receipts and bank statement entries for things you do not recognise, and if you find any, inform your bank immediately: if you are the innocent victim of banking fraud you will not have to pay.
Further details on the issue is available from HMRC and from APACS, the Banking organisation:

Friday, 16 November 2007

Momail - email on your mobile

Momail is a new mobile email service which allows you to check your existing email from your handset. You can either forward email from your accounts to your Momail account or set Momail up to check them. There's no need to change your email address for receiving or sending email as Momail uses your existing details - Momail's Dynamic Sender function keeps track of the address to which the email was originally sent so your reply always uses the right address. Momail also optimises emails for your mobile phone to minimise the amount of data that is sent. It even includes spam and virus protection. Best of all Momail is free.

There's no software to install, Momail uses the handset's existing email client so it integrates seamlessly into the handset.

I set Momail up on my Nokia E65 with no problems and it works brilliantly. I've tried a few mobile email services and this is the best so far.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


TalkPlus has just soft launched their service in the UK. You can now sign up for a UK (London) number. TalkPlus is one of a new breed of Voice 2.0 providers moving control to the customer from the network. To understand the power of the service you really need to try it.

Features include:
  • A second number on your existing mobile, maybe to keep personal or business calls separate
  • Outgoing calls at rates much lower than regular mobile rates
  • Incoming calls can ring multiple phones simultaneously
  • Mirror number so you can present the CLI of another of your lines, e.g. your landline, on your outgoing calls
  • Call screening so you can listen in as callers leave voice mails
  • Visual voice mail so you can see the list of voice mails on your handset before listening to them
  • Ability to transfer calls to another line mid conversation
The website is still US centric & you have to dig down to find the UK info but it's a very neat service and works on a variety of handsets. I'm using the Nokia S60 version which integrates very well on my E65.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

A better week with technology ...

Got my PC back today with a new cooling fan for the heatsink. Seems that it's smart enough not to boot when the fan's not working to avoid over-heating the processor. The fault with the fan seemed to be intermittent but eventually the fan died completely.

Great service from Assured Computer Services in Oxted, my local Fix IT Local specialist.

Fingers crossed ...

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Alex Light

Alex Light sell the best reading lights I've found anywhere. Everything about them is top quality. There are a number of different styles including desk, floor standing, wide beam for newspapers, focussed beam for books and others. They come with a five year guarantee and also offer a risk free trial. I've had my light for two years now and it is without a doubt the best light I've ever bought. The customer service from Alex Light is also exceptional.

A bad week with technology

Yesterday my desktop PC wouldn't boot. Nothing happens, not even the BIOS loads. Opening it up it turns out that the cooling fan for the processor heatsink has failed so the processor may be 'cooked'. Just waiting for it to be picked up to get it fixed. Glad I've got everything backed up with Carbonite, just in case ...

A couple of days ago I discovered that every time I plug any USB flash drive into my business laptop it 'blue screens'. Decided to live with it for now as it's 'end-of-life' and I am awaiting a new laptop in the next few months to replace it (long overdue, delivery keeps slipping). I don't want to go through the pain of configuring two replacements ...

A coincidence but they're both Dells!

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