If that was a small earthquake…

If that was a small earthquake, I never want to be in a big one!

For just a few seconds this morning (maybe 4) the building shook in a way buildings shouldn’t shake accompanied by a low rumbling sound. It actually felt like the building lent way from me while I sat at my desk but I would guess that’s just perspective playing tricks. I did get up and check the back to see something hadn’t driven or fallen onto it (tree perhaps?) but all seemed normal so I got back to work wondering if that was an earthquake.

Time to check the news services to find out about it:
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk
www.guardian.co.uk

Sword of Honour (Alexander Kent)

I love flying, I like sailing. Therefore a book involving sailing is probably going to hold my interest though I found this one hard going. I’m not sure it’s the books fault, more the fact I took a couple of weeks to go through the first few chapters before I had more reading time. It improved towards the end, but even so it’s not one I’d choose to read again or rave about to my friends.

Sharpe's Honour (Bernard Cornwell)

Another classic Sharpe, I’m amazed by just how many stories Bernard Cornwell has written about one man, in one historically accurate time-line of 20 of his characters years.

Sharpe is politically outmaneuvered early in the story by Major Pierre Ducos which results in Sharpe being hanged….. except we know he survives as he is in the next book. Exactly how he survives and how he proves his innocence of the accused crime is a masterpiece of creative thought and story telling. Another great read.

Spam Wars – Success?

I confess I’ve not been doing a lot on the spam wars front. There are far more interesting things to be doing in life than fighting spam, like earning a living (plug!). However, there are two companies that have been REALLY annoying me lately, so much so I had to do something about it.

I complained about one of them to the Information Commissioners Office. They are responsible for ensuring people and companies comply with the telecommunications regulations. In my view, they are an INTELLIGENT government department, they don’t wade in taking everyone through the courts for the genuine oversight or misunderstanding of the regulations, they first ensure the company/people are educated to know the law. Only then, if the company persists in breaking the law will they take action. So I understand they haven’t taken action in court against anyone for sending spam. I’d like to think this is because the companies they have ‘educated’ have stopped sending spam.

Anyway, I filed a complaint about kt8.com and their various trading names. I’ve just received the following response from the ICO:

10th April 2007

Case Reference Number ELE0154373

Dear Mr Root

Unsolicited marketing email complaint

Thank you for your correspondence regarding unsolicited direct marketing emails from ‘Intelligent Mailer’.

The Information Commissioner advises on and enforces the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). These regulations cover the way organisations market subscribers by electronic means (for example using telephone, fax, text and email). Marketing can include the promotion of goods, services, aims or ideals.

Regulation 22 of the PECR requires that companies and organisations do not send unsolicited direct marketing by electronic mail (including email) to individual subscribers (which would include non- limited liability partnerships in England) without their prior consent.

There is an exemption this rule which can apply in the case of a clearly defined customer relationship. However an organisation must satisfy all of the following criteria for this exemption to apply. They are:
1. Your contact details are collected “in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale”.
2. Your details are only used to send marketing messages about similar products and services.
3. You are given the opportunity to opt-out when your details are initially collected and you are given the opportunity to opt-out in every subsequent marketing communication.

The prior consent requirement of this legislation does not apply to corporate subscribers (including limited companies and non limited liability partnerships). However in this case it appears from the information provided that although the email addresses you are receiving these communications on are business addresses, Roots Kitchens and Bedrooms are a non-limited liability partnership, so would come under the definition of ‘Individual subscriber’ and should not be receiving unsolicited direct marketing emails without having given prior consent.

Under the PECR the Commissioner has no powers to punish an organisation for a breach of the Regulations. His aim is rather to achieve compliance with them. In light of this we have written to Intelligent Mailer reminding them of their obligations under the PECR and explaining the action they must take to comply in future. We have also asked them to suppress all the email addresses at your domain from their marketing list. This should take no longer than 28 days. After this time you should not receive further emails from them.

We will, however, keep this case on file. In the event that you receive further emails from Intelligent Mailer (or their associated sites such as KT8.com) to your email addresses please let us know in writing, quoting the reference number above. Where appropriate we will pass your complaint to our Regulatory Action Division for them to consider formal action.

Where an organisation seems to be persistently breaching the PECR we can take further action to compel them to comply. More information about the factors we take into account when deciding if further action is appropriate can be found in our ‘Strategy for Regulatory Action’ which is available from our website www.ico.gov.uk (follow the links for ‘Tools and resources’, ‘Document library’, Data protection’ then scroll down to ‘Detailed specialist guides’) or from our helpline on 01625 545745. Details of the formal action we take or are considering can be found on our website at: http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/privacy_and_electronic_communications.aspx

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

So there we have it. I am right to say that I should not be sent spam by these companies. What do you think the chances are they will stop now? I’ve asked the ICO by email what the response of kt8.com was when they were contacted. Particularly why kt8.com ignored my requests they stop sending me email yet will apparently stop now the ICO has asked (I’m not sure if this is a standard response letter and kt8.com haven’t actually responded).

So, if you have received spam from any of the following domains and they have ignored your unsubscribe request (not that you subscribed in the first place, they took my email addresses from a number of places) complain to the ICO as well and lets see what happens.

intellimailer.org.uk
int-mailer.org.uk
emaileronline.co.uk
int-mailer-uk.co.uk
ukmailing-co.co.uk
uk-mailing-co.co.uk
emailer-online.co.uk
the-intelligentmailer.co.uk
kt8.com
mailing-software-uk.co.uk

You may also like to know these domains are registered both as companies and as individuals.
The company mentioned on one is: “Domain Host Ltd”, who are the same address on the domain registration as “Domainhost Ltd”, companies house have them as company number 05632256 so (giving the benefit of the doubt) they made a typo on the domain registration. Perhaps it was “Paul O’Brien” who made the typo, he appears as the private individual that owns several of the domains as well as being the admin contact for kt8.com. KT8.com happens to haves the same PO Box address in Whitstable as Domainhost Ltd. As I said, benefit of the doubt, it could be a whole collection of typing errors when registering the domain names.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you all what product they were trying to sell in their spam….. Server based software to send large amounts of marketing emails. As they say on their site:
“With Intelligent Mailer your mailings are faster and more likely to get through spam filters”
I couldn’t make it any more ironic if I tried.

Glasshouse (Charles Stross)

Sometimes I feel I’m paying too much for a book. This was my thought as I handed over the 5 to the cashier in the high street bookstore (I know 5 isn’t a lot, but I usually get my books from a second hand bookshop where 2 is about the highest ticket price). One hour later, as I sat enjoying coffee in a comfy chair near Canterbury Cathedral (Rhonda went shopping, my broken foot gave me the ideal excuse to sit and wait), I knew this book was worth every penny of the 5. So much so, I’m adding Charles Stross to my mental list of authors who’s books are worth buying.

It’s a science fiction book based upon… well, it’s quite hard to explain without giving away some of the story. There is a political factor, an all action hero in a kind of not so all action way, some exceptionally clever twists made feasible by the future setting, a love story, oodles of death and just as much re-incarnation (which is an everyday occurrence in the future apparently). I enjoyed this just as much as I enjoyed Asimov’s Foundation Series.

Now I’m left with just one problem, then next book I spend 5+ on has an even higher standard to live up to.

Another Business Acronym

i-592cd2ebb73f8f7bef0aa8171092d213-USA.gif I’ve been talking to a nice lady in America about a sink and her email was signed of “DBA…..”. I never knew that in America DBA is a common abbreviation for “Doing Business As…”, I guess the same as we use “T/A” for Trading As where the business is legally one name but uses a different trading name.

La classe de franais

i-4806ab9b1ae6df16782ca4bf0457910b-frenchclass.jpg
Back row left to right: Irene, Lynda, Michle, Brigitte, Steve
Front row left to right: Rita, Mark, Jorge

Michle:bonjour tout le monde!
C’est un moment historique!
C’est la premire fois que Michle utilise un blogue!

Jorge:Se sour je pri une fote de la classe

Mark:J’aime boucoup votre site

Brigitte; je trouve cette classe trs sympa.

Rita.Je ne comprends rien encore.

Lyn: C’est la dernire classe et nous allons au pub

Irene bon voyage, a bien tot…..!

Welcome my first guest article writers for my blog.
My French teacher discovered my blog and made me talk about it in our French lesson – in French of course. OK, I didn’t need much persuading to talk about myself! The university rooms all have computers with internet connections and projectors. I decided to get them all to write something here themselves – easy when you know how.