The Fugitive

The Fugitive is a good action-mystery, based on the original TV series. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones both put in solid performances, and Jeroen Krabbé is subtle as the slimy Charles Nichols. The plot is careful, without too much flabbiness. It perhaps lacks the shine of a classic, but it’s definitely very watchable.


Armageddon is:

Armageddon has:

  • A ridiculous plot. Deep-core drillers are hired by NASA to land on an asteroid in space shuttles and blow it up with a nuclear warhead?

  • Unbelieveable characters - Frost, played by Ben Affleck, is this only one who seems to have his feet on the ground, and his part is so lacking in depth it doesn’t make much difference.

If the film didn’t take itself so seriously it would be easy to excuse these shortcomings, and the cheeky The Right Stuff rip-offs. But it does, so it isn’t.

South West Trains Strikes

It looks like ASLEF are going ahead with three days of strike action on South West Trains’ services. I went to their website to look for an mention of it but could find none. The same was true of the RMT, who are also taking part. Meanwhile, South West Trains have put up notices in stations indicating that ASLEF has announced these strikes because SWT managers drove trains to alleviate recent strike action. As SWT put this, ‘we think this is good customer service’. Well, quite. I would support any measures by SWT to reduce union membership amongst their employees if this is what results.


Apologies for the lack of posts recently on WebSphere ESB. I’m currently out of the office and out of ‘work’ mode, so I’m not writing many posts on that topic. I’ll be getting back to it in a week or two, though, so please stay tuned. Incidentally, if you’re not already aware, you can subscribe to RSS feeds for just a specific topic on this blog, such as SOA & ESB (feed here) - in fact, you can do this with any WordPress Blog. Just go to the category archive (select from the list on the right-hand side), then append ‘/feed’ to the URL.

  • Your friendly editor

Security Ignorance and Fraud

Richard has been talking about security scams over at Gendal World. There certainly seems to be a lot of empirical evidence that security principles aren’t well understood by the general public.

For example: My credit card expired recently. On receiving the new one, I forgot to sign it, and put it in my wallet with the back blank (yeah, I know). I’ve since been able to use it twice unsigned:

  • At a pub, I paid for ~£10 worth of drinks. They didn’t use chip-and-pin, so I was asked to sign. When the barman noticed I was missing a signature, he pointed out that I really should sign it, but ‘this time’ he’d take other ID. I showed him my photo driving licence (with a signature), and there were no further questions. I was sufficently fazed that I forgot to sign it again, and:

  • At a shop in Southampton airport, I went to pay for a magazine. Again, no chip-and-pin. When noticing the card was unsigned, I was again encouraged to sign it, but this time no other ID was required - even though I offered my driving licence. ‘I’ll trust you’, I was told.

Of course, it is dumb for me to walk around with an unsigned card in my wallet. However, it’s also dumb for these retailers to accept it. You could argue that it’s a low risk for them - I look respectable, I have other ID with my photo and signature, and these are low amounts involved. Whether they are breaking their contract with the bank by accepting it, though, I don’t know - I suspect it would frowned upon, at least - and they are probably liable for any fraud.

I was tempted to leave the card unsigned and see how much longer I could get away with it. If I wasn’t putting myself at risk, I’d do it, but I’m paranoid about losing things, so I haven’t. But it’s curious to see just how easy it is to get away with some things.

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