Thursday, 31 October 2013

Free For All?

Infringing Sites Can Be Reached through UK Public Wi-Fi

More than half of public Wi-Fi networks in the country fail to filter porn content, while hotels don’t even ask for user’s age. 1/3 of the cafes and restaurants lack safety filters to prevent kids from viewing adult content, with 20% failing to restrict customer access to virtual sex dating websites.
The recent research examined about 200 locations in major UK cities, including cafes, restaurants, shops, hotels and public spaces. The results of the study showed that over 50% of free Wi-Fi hotspots allowed unfiltered access to pornographic material. Apparently, British parents were not happy with the results of the study. For example, over 50% of cafes and restaurants don’t filter access to Internet stores selling knives and swords. 4/5 of them also provide free access to drug-related content.

In the meantime, recently there’ve been two convergent trends: a big increase in public Wi-Fi on the one side, and greater access to smartphones and other devices with a Wi-Fi capability on the other side. This is how children can get access to all that harming content.

The researchers point out that whilst hotels are predominantly private places, where filtering may be inappropriate, such places as hotel lobbies, cafés and restaurants are definitely public, so the content policy should reflect that. According to the results of the study, hotels scored the worst for filtering of pornographic material compared to cafes, restaurants, retailers and public spaces. Indeed, only 20% of hotels blocked access to adult content, and 10% filtered access to online weapons shops.

Filtering should cover not only pornography, but also content related to drugs and violence which is just as harmful but often overlooked. It turned out that publicly owned spaces had better filters in place. The researchers explain that having filters in public spaces is just as important as other restrictions – for example, the smoking ban and modesty covers on adult magazines. But simply having a filter is not enough to protect everything.

Of all the public Wi-Fi hotspots investigated throughout the country, government-owned property and public places like train stations appeared the best in filtering out adult content. 90% of government sites restricted access to porn, though 1/3 of them still allowed full access to Internet weapons stores.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How To Extend Office 2013

How to stretch Microsoft's Office 2013 free trial offer

Perhaps you're a student who only needs Microsoft Office for a limited time. Maybe you want to kick the tires on Microsoft's office suite for more than 30 days or just don't want to plunk down the money for it yet.
Here's a way to extend the free trial period for Microsoft Office so you can get the full features without paying for it (for at least 180 days).
How-To Geek posted this handy hack, which renews the 30-day trial period Microsoft offers—for up to five more times. This gives you about six months of full usage of Microsoft Office.
To do this, you'll need to find the Microsoft Shared folder under C:\Program Files\Common Files, then open a command window and run the Microsoft-provided utility, OSPREARM.EXE. Easy peasy.
The downside is you have to do this every 30 days (maybe set a calendar reminder?), but it's worth it if you want to get as much use out of your trial period as possible.
Don't forget, though, if your company participates in Microsoft's volume licensing program, you can get Office 2013 Professional Plus for just $10. That applies to many university students, major corporation employees, and even government employees (who aren't getting a lot of breaks lately).

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Woman calls 911 because she’s too drunk to get out of her car

A drunk driver was caught after calling police because she was too inebriated to get out of her car.
When Carole Frances Omeara ended up stuck outside her house for four hours, she decided to call 911 for some roadside assistance.
The 55-year-old was asked by an operator if she was stuck because of mechanical or medical problems. She bluntly replied by saying: ‘No, I’m just too damn drunk.’
When police arrived, she allegedly told them that she drank a pint of vodka during a five-hour binge at a bar before driving home.
A breathalyser test showed she was four times over the legal limit for driving, and so she was charged with a felony DUI. It was her fourth drink-driving offence.
The woman, from Montana in the US, appeared in court on Wednesday, but she remains in prison on a $3,000 (£1,880) bond.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A Bum Deal??

Bye bye to builders’ bums? Health minister in bare cheeks crackdown

Britain’s construction workers should banish their builders’ bums and get in shape, a minister has warned.
Public health minister Jane Ellison has made the crackdown on bare cheeks her top priority, just days after starting her new role at the Department of Health (DoH).
A department spokesman said: ‘The image of the bottom baring, overweight builder is being replaced by workers who are hands-on well-oiled machines who operate building sites up and down the country.
‘To build on this, today’s new pledge outlines how the construction industry will further help its workforce to lead healthier lives.’
The DoH has enlisted the help of celebrity builder Tommy Walsh, of Ground Force fame, to front the new campaign to help construction workers get fit.
‘The construction industry is a vital part of the UK economy and it is important we do all that we can to sustain a healthy workforce,’ explained Ms Ellison.
‘Builders often work in difficult and demanding environments and we must support them to ensure their health is not put at risk.’
However Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the ‘condescending’ campaign was an example of ‘the nanny state gone mad’.

Sunday, 27 October 2013


Groom forgets his bride at motorway petrol station

A newlywed couple’s honeymoon period didn’t last very long after the groom forgot his bride at a petrol station.
The German couple were on their way home from their post-marriage holiday in France when they stopped near the town of Bad Hersfeld.
After filling up their tank on the journey home to Berlin, the hapless groom then drove off, only noticing his wife was missing hours later.
His new bride had been sleeping in the back but got up to use the toilets and he drove off before she returned.
He finally noticed she was missing after two and a half hours on the road and called police who said she was patiently waiting back at the petrol station.
‘My first reaction was: is he stupid?’ the 33-year-old told radio station FFH. ‘I had no money and no telephone with me.’
She added: ‘I’m not angry with my husband. He didn’t mean it.’

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Cash Or Coin?

BitCoin ATMs to Launch in Canada

BitCoin, the alternative online currency, is a great idea, but the experts point out that actually using the platform as cash can appear difficult, because at the moment finding the right Internet exchange and retailers to spend digital money isn’t really user friendly. This is why it is good news that an enterprise in Vancouver, Canada, is going to open 5 BitCoin ATMs.
Vancouver is planning to buy up 5 RoboCoin BitCoin ATMs. Each of the machines costs $20,000. Something that represents a digital wallet (for example, a QR code) will identify the user. The customer will then be able to cash in, a small cut will be taken, and the user will get their BitCoin cash sent digitally to their wallet.

At the moment, BitCoiniacs offers transfers to BitCoin, but only after the appointments. The ATMs are supposed to make the process easier. As you know, BitCoin is a decentralized digital currency with a thriving, enthusiastic community. The supporters of the idea claim that it’s a way to democratize cash flow outside of major banks, while the critics admit that there are pros and cons – like artificial inflation and market crashes. Indeed, Internet users themselves can “mine” the digital currency by dedicating compute power to solving complex algorithms as part of an online network. The industry experts confirm that the network recently passed the 1 exaFLOPS point, and made it faster than top supercomputers combined.

Like any other innovation, BitCoin has received its fair share of criticism – the observers marked it as unstable, and after this year’s flash crash, BitCoin has been sensationalized as an easy method to buy drugs or other illegal wares on the TOR network. On the other hand, there are many supporters of the currency worldwide, who point out that the system also offers possibilities and alternatives to the way markets operate in the future.

The latest move of BitCoiniacs proves that the currency is going to become real soon. However, they weren’t the first who wanted to embrace the new and promising technology – for example, a pub in Hackney, London, was among the first bricks-and-mortar establishment to support BitCoin in the United Kingdom. The Pembury Tavern has been accepting BitCoin as currency since earlier in 2013.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Rescue Me!!

Guide dog saved baby by pushing pram away from car

A guide dog saved the life of a baby after it broke free from its owner and pushed a pram out of the path of a car that had careered out of control.

The dog managed to wrench herself free from the grip of her owner Jessica Cowley, who is registered blind, after she spotted the car heading for the pram, which had one-year-old Jacob in.
Jet, a black Labrador who has been a guide dog for five years, pushed the pram out of the way of the car, which then hit Mrs Cowley, knocking her to the ground.
Mrs Cowley, who is registered blind and has tunnel vision, said Jet had not been specifically trained for this type of rescue but was very protective of her young son.
Mrs Cowley, 28, said: "Just after we stepped off the kerb to cross the entrance of the car park, I heard a screeching of a car and it banged into me sending me flying.
"Just before it hit me I felt Jet let go. She a strong dog and she pulled out of my hand and actually pushed the pram out of the way.
"The pram toppled over but Jacob was out of safety and even while I was lying face down on the ground, I was happy to know he was safe.
"She reacted really quickly, and she's just amazing."
The car is thought to have been shunted behind from another vehicle and forced off the road to head for Mrs Cowley and her son as they crossed the entrance to a car park in Leigh in Lancashire, near their home.
Mrs Cowley was knocked to the floor face down, and had her leg trapped on one side of a bollard.
The pram was knocked on its side, but Jacob only suffered a cut to his lip.
Mrs Cowley added: "Jet is trained to help me but she's not trained to do that sort of thing.
"It doesn't bear thinking about what might have happened if she hadn't have done what she did.
“She was worried about me but once she had licked my face and checked I was conscious she was fine.
“She loves Jacob and thinks of him as her own. What she did was extremely brave and I am very proud of her.”
Vet Caroline Purnell, who saw the incident, said: "We feel that she really demonstrated exactly how important these dogs are. She showed no concern for her own safety and went to protect her handler's child before helping her handler."
Jet has lived with Mrs Cowley and her husband James for five years.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

You Think??

Piracy Laws Have No Success Worldwide

According to the recent report from Monash University, “three-strikes” laws introduced to stop digital piracy don’t work. The results of the research showed that graduated response laws designed to reduce online copyright infringement were useless and failed to make people pay for legitimate content.
The researchers from the Monash University’s Faculty of Law were trying to find connection between the “three-strikes” legislation and reduced piracy, but failed. Their report was published by Australian Policy Online, and it says that if “effectiveness” means reducing infringement, then the law is definitely not effective.

The research was built on case studies from a range of countries where “graduated response” system is in place and working – France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. All of the mentioned countries have enacted legislation which penalized subscribers in some form, including fines and disconnections, for repeated infringements. However, all of them had significant drawbacks.

For example, France’s HADOPI failed to identify and process the worst repeat offenders, while Internet users in New Zealand simply changed their behavior – there was a fall in P2P traffic, but encrypted HTTPS data volumes rocketed. This meant that pirates were simply encrypting their antics so nobody could tell what they were doing. The matter is that the legislation in New Zealand applies only to file-sharing through peer-to-peer networks. It can be simply bypassed by switching to other networks, including Usenet, cyberlockers, VPNs, and remote access protocols. Seedboxes became the most popular method for Kiwis to circumvent the law. Seedboxes are basically remote servers hosted on high-speed networks in other jurisdictions, to which people are able to download content through BitTorrent and then directly access over an encrypted connection.

Talking about South Korea and Taiwan, the anti-piracy laws appeared to have had very little if any impact on illegal file-sharing. Despite the fact that the Taiwanese legislation has been in effect for several years, there’s no evidence in the English language materials that any user has had their access to the Internet suspended. Perhaps, the ultimate goal of the law was to get the country removed from the US Trade Representative’s special watch list.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pirates Ahoy!!

There Are 430 Million Active Pirates Out There

A recent survey has discovered that online piracy is growing rapidly (well, this wasn’t a news). According to the estimations, 432 million people per month used the worldwide web to access copyright infringing material. Within a month, all these pirates consumed 9,567 petabytes of illegal content, mostly via BitTorrent. To put it simply, about 25% of all Internet traffic is attributed to piracy.
The conclusion of the report was also nothing new – despite anti-piracy policies and enforcement actions, piracy cannot be stopped. The researchers admit that the practice of infringement is “tenacious and persistent”. Sometimes the industry succeeds in limiting infringement, but not for long. At the moment, the piracy universe not just persists in attracting more users, but also hungrily consumes increasing amounts of bandwidth.

Among the most visible trends the observers point at direct download “cyberlockers” losing plenty of visitors within the last couple years, while other platforms, on the contrary, expanded their user bases. So, within 2012, the number of pirates using cyberlockers decreased by 8%, and the most obvious reason for this is MegaUpload shutdown. In the meantime, the number of file-sharers using BitTorrent and video streaming platforms grew by 27% and 22% accordingly.

Today most illegal file-sharers use direct download and torrent services, both accounting for 200 million unique users per month. This figures excluded users who never download any infringing content, and their share is only 4% for BitTorrent and 8% for direct download services.

The total bandwidth generated by illegal file-sharers in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific is estimated at over 9,500 petabytes of data – so, you can guess that global traffic far exceeded 10,000 petabytes. Here BitTorrent is the absolute leader, and this makes sense – people both download and upload content, thus generating twice as much traffic. At the same time, cyberlocker users downloaded relatively little data – about 338 petabytes per month.

Talking about regional trends, direct download services are preferred in the Asia-Pacific region, and BitTorrent is popular in Europe and North America. Although there is no clear way these numbers could be translated into losses for the entertainment industry, the latter will undoubtedly leave no opportunity unused to turn the results of the survey to its advantage.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Here’s A Surprise!

Search Engines Are Slammed for Encouraging Piracy

The entertainment industry has accused search engine providers for doing not enough to prevent people from finding pirated content on the Internet. It claims that over 50% of people looking at copyright infringing material used search terms which suggested innocent intent.
The MPAA said that almost 60% of the search queries users enter before accessing infringing material contained generic of title-specific keywords only. In other words, users weren’t necessarily seeking to find pirated content when they began a search – instead of searching for a phrase which would imply a search for illegal content, like “torrent” or “free download”, users only entered the name of the movie and were served up links to illicit material.

The industry insists that search engines remain the most popular way users access illegal content: 3/4 of the respondents admitted to using a search engine to discover pirated content or navigate around domains with infringing material. At the same time, the report shows that only 20% of users access pirated content via search engines, while 35% come from linking services. The rest come from the “other” sources.

In response, Google repeats that it can’t be held liable for people’s decisions to access illegal content like movies and TV shows. But the MPAA still charges the anti-piracy methods of the search giant with being ineffective. The industry claimed that Google’s plan to “demote” the search ranking of websites supporting piracy, enacted a year ago, actually left referrals to those websites flat. However, the Internet Association argues that the industry was blaming the Internet and technology for its problems, because in reality, the worldwide web is empowering content creators and consumers to access more legitimate material than ever before.

The search giants declined to comment at first, but the recent anti-piracy report revealed that Google laid out exactly how it decides to demote and remove infringing websites. The company used the number of valid copyright removal notices as a signal for ranking purposes, but never removed pages from results until receiving a specific removal request. Google explained that even for the sites with the highest numbers of notices, the number of noticed pages was just a tiny fraction of the total number of pages on the website. This is why it would have been inappropriate to take down entire sites.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Oh No……Not Another!!

Racier 'Calendar Girls' bare a little too much for locals

After the success of the film Calendar Girls, it was perhaps inevitable that some people would decide to take the idea to the next level.

So when the women of Castleside in the Durham Dales got together to raise funds for their crumbling community hall, they were not quite as intent on protecting their modesty as the Rylstone Women's Institute in North Yorkshire had been.
While the original calendar girls used strategically positioned cakes to keep things as respectable as possible, the Castleside women had a little more on show in their version.
In one shot, 10 of them pose naked on hay bales, while in another, a local beautician, the parish council clerk and a sales rep run hand-in-hand across a cornfield, their bottoms fully bared.
Spurred on by the unkind suggestion by some members of their village hall committee that donors might be pay more to see them keep their clothes on, they rounded up would-be models of all ages in their bid to save the 100-year-old hall.
Heather Thompson, 45, who organised the Castleside Calendar, told the Daily Mail: 'The original Calendar Girls calendar is lovely but they are hiding behind their buns.
“We are in for a penny, in for a pound and it is all out there. It is more Geordie than North Yorkshire in that respect.”
Miss Thompson’s idea was initially rejected at the hall’s committee meeting, but she was undeterred.
“It made me quite annoyed,” she said. “I was so determined, I literally went out that night and knocked on people's doors to ask them if they were willing to do it.
“I was amazed how many people said "Yes", even though we didn't know each other.”
With the help of a local photographer, who offered her services free of charge, and the donations of well-wishers, the £10 calendar was published.
Sadie Ayton, 76, was the oldest of the group to strip for the cause.
She said: “My wedding reception was held in the village hall, so I knew I had to do something. First of all, I thought it was just sponsoring them.
“Then they asked me to take my clothes off. I am naked when I go to bed each night anyway, so I thought, ‘Why not?’”

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cast A Spell??

Wookey Hole witch hangs up her broomstick

The resident witch at Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset has quit her £50,000-per-year post to become an entrepreneur.

Actress Sunny Van der Pas is leaving her role after two years to launch her own clothing line based upon her costumes.
But now directors at the popular tourist attraction need a little magic of their own to find a replacement witch in time for Halloween.
Wookey Hole Director Daniel Medley said: “Our new witch has to be someone who can work school holidays and weekends and who is not allergic to cats or children.”
The attraction employs a witch pro rata, largely over the summer holidays, Halloween and Christmas, They are expected to live in the site's caves during busy periods and to teach witchcraft and magic.
The role normally attracts thousands of applicants, who then compete in for the post X Factor style auditions.
Legend has it that the original Wookey Witch was turned to stone by Father Bernard, who had been appointed by the Abbott of Glastonbury exorcise her from the village.
The attraction has had a live-in witch for more than a decade and she is expected to go about her every day business as a hag so visitors can see what like in the Dark Ages.
The original Witch lived in the caves with some goats and a dog, and was blamed for a number of ills, including crop failures to disease.
The previous incumbent in the role, Fiona Robertson, caused controversy when she was spotted by her bosses performing on X Factor, in her costume, despite the fact that she was off sick.
She faced disciplinary proceedings, but was allowed to keep her job after overwhelming public support.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Catch All??

UK VPNs Caught in Government’s Porn Filter

Mobile operator GiffGaff, running on the O2 network, has at least one VPN in UK Prime Minister’s deeply unpopular porn filter dragnet.
Media reports revealed that a number of VPNs have already been automatically blocked under the guise of a porn filter of some mobile providers. It turned out that GiffGaff has been placed on a blacklist because it could potentially let kids get around age restrictions.

As you know, Virtual Private Networks is one of the ways to route traffic away from Internet service providers and through independent providers. The services of VPN have gained popularity in many oppressive regimes which impose censorship on their citizens. Despite the fact that this method can be used to access adult content, it is obviously not the primary purpose of a VPN.

GiffGaff admitted the response received from head office has confirmed that sites and services offering any way for children to access adult material without age verification should be blocked by O2 and are not controlled by GiffGaff. Therefore, GiffGaff reserves the right to restrict access to specific services due to age restrictions.

Actually, this is the same reason UK Prime Minister used to justify a censorship program that would see new subscribers actively have to opt-in to having access to adult services. Although the proposal was initially made to protect kids, the terms of censored material were vague: aside from pornography, the policy also included sites classified as containing violent or extremist related content, as well as suicide related, anorexia and eating disorder services and even “web forums” and esoteric content. People over 18 can enable such material, but industry observers point out that the terms are deliberately vague and therefore can be applied to a wide range of online information.

As you know, Internet activists have a long history of circumventing centrally imposed sanctions. The industry observers admit that the entertainment industry’s red tape attempts to shut down piracy, via policy or any other methods, have turned into a game of whack-a-mole a long time ago. If one service is blocked or closed down, another appears in mere minutes – good example would be streaming websites, which can be accessed through proxy services hosted outside a nation state’s borders, thus making them more difficult to filter or control.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Picture Perfect…..Not!!

Microsoft’s Security Measures Failed

Although Microsoft has been claiming that picture passwords are very safe, the researchers have found out that they can be cracked easier than the software giant believes.
When Microsoft offered a Picture Gesture Authentication (PGA) system on its new Windows 8, many thought it was a brilliant idea. However, a paper issued to the USENIX Security Conference has revealed that some setups were easier to crack than others. The document was penned by Arizona State University, Delaware State University and GFS Technology researchers, titled “On the Security of PGA”, explaining why unique picture password gestures may not be as unique as Microsoft believes.

Apparently, using a picture of an individual and then three taps as their gestures, with one of them on the eyes, was equivalent of making the text password “password”. The security experts managed to develop an attack framework and attack models that were able to take out Picture Gesture Authentication.

All a hacker has to do is work out a person’s password selection process, which allows cracking a considerable portion of collected picture passwords under various settings. The main problem is that most people simply upload their own photo to setup their picture gesture password, paying no attention to the method provided by Microsoft.

As you can guess, there’s an obvious relationship between background pictures and an individual’s identity, personality or interests, with 60% of users choosing areas on an image where “special objects” are located. The most popular area is eyes, followed by nose, hand or finger, jaw and face.

In the meantime, some people choose a landscape photo because it normally does not have any information about who you are, while others chose computer games posters or cartoons. According to security experts, such moves don’t necessarily protect users’ privacy.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

We Can Watch…..You Can’t!!

British Parliament Accessed Porn 300,000 Times a Year

A Freedom of Information request has showed that there were more than 300,000 attempts to access porn on the Parliamentary Network in 2012. Although there are almost 5,000 people working in Parliament, including MPs, peers, and a lot of staff, the number is still very high.
In response to a Freedom of Information request, the UK House of Commons admitted that users of the Parliamentary Network, including MPs and staff, repeatedly tried to access sites tagged as pornographic. In the meantime, the numbers fluctuated wildly – for example, almost 115,000 attempts were registered in November and 55,000 in April, while in May there were only 18,000 attempts.

Of course, the Commons explained that the figures don’t prove that the access was intentional – indeed, users could have accessed a website containing optional or automatic links to other websites or other pop-up arrangements, which could be recorded as direct requests.
However, it is clear that the sort of sites which are known for throwing up such dodgy ads are grey-area legal themselves – they are largely dating sites or ad-packed content streaming. The Commons’ spokesperson added that they also had no intention of restricting Parliament’s ability to carry out research.

Industry observers point out that the dodgy figures were revealed mere months after British PM David Cameron decided to launch a moral crusade against porn content by introducing a blanket opt-out option for all largest ISPs. Apparently, 300,000 attempts is obviously a fair amount of research to discover material classified as violent, extremist, terrorist, alcohol, smoking and web-blocking circumvention tools or porn which is so extreme it can’t be bought in a licensed sex shop.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Harvest Time Again??

Record Studios Asked ISPs to Harvest Information on Illegal Downloads

According to the UK Internet watchdog Ofcom, 18% of users aged 12 and over have recently pirated material, of which only 9% are afraid of being caught. ISPs were asked to collect data and build a database of subscribers who illegally download entertaining content that could be used to disconnect or prosecute persistent infringers.
Representatives of the entertainment industry asked largest UK providers – BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk – to sign up to a voluntary code for policing unauthorized downloading. The negotiations on the issue have been under way for a while now with the BPI and the British Video Association, whose members are the BBC and Hollywood studios.

According to Ofcom’s statistics, within the tree months 280 million songs, 52 million TV shows, 29 million films, 7 million programs or games, and 18 million ebooks were digitally pirated in the United Kingdom. In response, the final season of Breaking Bad was released to British viewers on Netflix and iTunes within hours of its US airing – this was a clear attempt to limit digital piracy.

It is understandable that movie studios and music labels want action now, as the DEA, which was designed to fight piracy, still doesn’t work despite being voted into law by parliament three years ago. Such delays suggest that the legislation won’t be enforced until 2014 at the earliest – moreover, it could be pushed back until after the general election in 2015.

So, the ISPs are currently offered a “voluntary agreement”, under which they will have to create a database of repeat offenders. At the beginning, subscribers would receive warnings from their ISPs saying their IP had been used for infringing copyright and explaining the consequences, while offering legal alternatives. After receiving three such warnings, users would face sanctions, including throttling online connections, blocking certain websites, disconnecting from the Internet and ultimately prosecution. The creative industry wants ISPs to keep a list of those subscribers they had sent letters to.

However, industry observers claim that such a database might be illegal under the Data Protection Act. The latter states that companies can only retain data about individuals where it is needed for commercial purposes.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Just Too Big!!

For motorists the problem of parking just gets bigger

Drivers who find that parking only seems to get harder may attribute it to their increasing age, or perhaps harbour suspicions that slots are getting smaller.

However, the problem most likely lies in their car just being too big.
A study found that while parking spaces are no larger than they were 20 years ago, cars are 16 per cent bigger — on average two inches wider than the gap they have to squeeze into.
It means that the average car is now two inches wider than the 5ft 11ins (1.80m) minimum recommended by Whitehall.
So drivers of a standard car like a Ford Focus at 6ft 7ins (2.01m) will struggle to get into the space without pulling in the wing mirrors.
Having squeezed into the space, getting out of the car without scuffing the door is proving too much for many motorists.
Car doors have accounted for 50 per cent of car park mishaps, bumpers 14 per cent and wings a further 13 per cent.
Halfords and G3 Pro, a company specialising in fixing scarred paintwork, estimate 10 million motorists a year are having to repair their paintwork.
''The majority of drivers we questioned blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them but our research shows that the actual size of parking spaces is leaving them little choice," said a Halfords spokesman.
With the average repair costing around £50, Britain’s drivers are paying out £500 million a year to smooth out the scratches.
Supermarket car parks are apparently the worst according to a 38 per cent of drivers who participated in the survey.
Shopping Centres have accounted for 29 per cent of nicks and station car parks a further 18 per cent.
However an AA spokesman said 80 per cent of its members had complained of a ''parking ding'', but added that technology was being developed to help them.
''With even small cars getting bigger the familiar beep-beep of the parking sensor is a reassuring sound to many drivers. It certainly helps a driver avoid chickening out of taking on a tight parking space and risking embarrassment all-round for getting it wrong and exchanging some paint.''

Monday, 14 October 2013

Table For Two Sir?

Teenagers asked to leave McDonalds over posh banquet

Two teenagers are asked to leave McDonalds after bringing a tablecloth, candles, cutlery and wine glasses to the restaurant to enjoy “romantic meal”.

Cameron Ford and Adam Welland dressed up in shirts and black ties and decked out their table, complete with a straw centrepiece, in order to bring some “class” to the fast food chain.
But while some members of staff were amused by their prank, which was photographed by their friend Will Peachy, one took exception to their atmospheric dining and asked them to leave, they claim.
However, the employee is said to have been overruled by other staff members and customers, meaning that they were allowed to stay.
It is believed that it was the cutlery which the McDonalds worker took exception to.
The photographs have gone viral since they were posted on Twitter, and one has been re-tweeted more than 14,000 times.
Mr Ford posted one along with the message: “Cheers to my beautiful boyfriend on our special night. Love you Adam.”
He said the pair were “bringing romance to the next level”, adding: “We just thought the place needed a bit of class.”
Mr Welland later clarified that they are not in a relationship and the meal was just for their amusement.
Mr Peachey had originally posted a photograph of the two claiming that they were all being banned from the Kingston restaurant.
But Mr Welland later clarified that this was because at the time they thought they were about to be kicked out but the staff member later backed down.
He said: “We weren't kicked out in the end, one staff member asked us to stop but he was outruled (sic) by others and customers”
He said that the candles were fakes, adding: “I'd say more 'asked to leave' than 'kicked out'. Either way, they didn't appreciate it some of the staff found it funny, but others clearly did not.”
Mr Ford later joked: “It was the cutlery, they didn't like us using our own. Forking idiots.”
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: "We are aware of the two customers who dined at our Kingston restaurant on Saturday night and are pleased that we were able to offer them an affordable treat.
“We are happy to provide plastic cutlery to those customers who request it. We ask that any items brought in by customers, such as cups or plates, are used responsibly and taken away with them after use.”

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Gate Crasher??

Brad Pitt 'crashed wedding reception'

Brad Pitt stunned wedding guests when he crashed a wedding reception at a luxury five-star hotel.

The Hollywood actor, 49, was sat at the bar at the Stoke Park Hotel in Stoke Poges, Bucks, where he was staying the night after filming new World War Two thriller Fury.
Bride Abi Lingwood, 28, said the star's appearance capped a “dream day” and he ended up posing for a photo with her and her new husband.
But the Fight Club star was forced to retreat to his hotel room when her female friends got word that he was there and bombarded him with requests for photographs, she said.
Mrs Lingwood, from Chippenham, Wilts, said: "The girls were going wild and mental so Brad and the people he was with went upstairs to a room for their meeting.
"It all started when my husband said to me Brad Pitt was at the bar and that I had to go with him so he dragged me across the hotel. I thought he was joking.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Oh Bugger!!

Wedding ceremony stalls when owl fails to deliver rings

It should have been a memorably romantic touch to a particularly personal wedding ceremony.

But a bride’s secret plan for a barn owl to swoop to the altar with the wedding rings attached to tassels on its feet went awry when the bird had other ideas and fell asleep.
The ceremony had to be put on hold when the owl, called Darcy, took to the rafters of the 900-year-old church that was hosting the ceremony and stayed there.
It remained perched high above the guests’ heads at the Holy Cross Church in Sherston, Wilts, for an hour, during which time it dozed off.
After repeated failed attempts to coax it down, Rev Chris Bryan decided to continue the ceremony using a back-up set of rings.
He said: "It would have been absolutely superb if it worked. It was a lovely idea and it was supposed to be really stunning.
"It was a complete surprise to the groom, although the bride was in on it. It was the bride's mother's idea.
"The groom is into falconry as a bit of a hobby and so it was secretly arranged for two falconers to suddenly appear at the moment when the best man hands over the rings.
"This chap popped up at the front of the church next to us with a gauntlet on, as another chap appeared at the back of the church with a box.
"The owl appeared, and took a bit of coaxing to take to flight.
"It paused for a little bit, eventually saw the gauntlet, and then took off.
"But instead of landing on the arm of the man by us and delivering the rings it went up over our heads and landed up in the roof space.”
"The idea was it would be amazing and would swoop over the heads of the guests, and they'd all feel the air rushing from its wings, but it didn't quite work like that."
The couple and their guests were able to see the funny side, however, and there was a plan B in place, he added.
"They say never work with animals, so we had a back-up pair of rings,” Rev Bryan said.
"After a few minutes, we gave up trying to get it down and carried on. It was actually rather nice when we went up for prayers and the owl was right above us."
The couple, from Oxfordshire, had left the church by the time Darcy was finally brought back down, with the aid of a long ladder.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Keeping It Up??

North Warwickshire town named as England's Viagra capital

A quiet market town nestled in the North Warwickshire countryside has won itself an unusual accolade, as the Viagra capital of England.

In Coleshill, which has a population of 6,343 and was once most famous as the home Brylcreem, there is little to belie the passions that run deep underneath the surface.
But NHS figures show that the town consumes anti-impotence drugs at a rate unrivalled elsewhere in England, according to the Sunday Times.
In 2012 in North Warwickshire, the town’s local district, 54.87 prescriptions were issued by GPs per 1,000 men, putting it way ahead of its nearest rival, Wychavon, in Worcestershire, with clocked up 42.66 prescriptions per 1,000 males.
One surgery in Coleshill had both the highest number of prescriptions for the region and the highest number per registered male patient.
The statistics, collected by the NHS, show that larger cities tend to have lower prescription rates, although this could be due to the fact that there are more opportunities to get the drugs privately.
The lowest rate was in the City of London.
The rates rise in rural areas and coastal towns - communities which have a larger proportion of older residents, suggesting that they are not letting their age get in the way of a good time.
Figures released in July showed that the NHS spending on Viagra has trebled in the decade to £30 million, with more prescriptions being issued in the North of the country.
But further analysis pinpointed Coleshill as a hot bed of Viagra use.
While some residents were surprised by the town’s new claim to fame, Mick Stanley, leader of North Warwickshire council, said: "We have to have something to do."
Derek Pickard, a North Warwickshire councillor and an expert on health matters, said: "I am not surprised. It's an interesting statistic and my guess is it is to do with age, or maybe we have some compliant GPs. It is a good afterdinner conversation point."
Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are the commonest medications for erectile dysfunction, but GPs restricted prescriptions after it became known as a party drug.
Dartford, Kent, takes third place in the Viagra table, with an average of 42.40 prescriptions per 1,000 males, followed by Hastings, East Sussex (41.15) and East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (39.68)
The City of London has the lowest average of 1.05 prescriptions per 1,000 adult males, closely followed by Tower Hamlets in the East End of London (1.45) and then Islington (3.17).
Outside of the capital, men in Cambridge had the fourth lowest usage (3.82), followed by Newcastle upon Tyne (3.9).

Thursday, 10 October 2013

What’s In A Name!!

Mrs Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele wins battle to have name on driving licence and ID

A woman in Hawaii with a 36-letter surname has won her battle to have it written on her ID card and driving licence.
Janice ‘Lokelani’ Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was angry about what she claimed was a lack of respect for her Hawaiian heritage.
For years she has carried two forms of ID – her driving licence, which has room for 34 characters, and her official Hawaii state ID card which in the past had room for all 35 letters.
But the 54-year-old’s problem arose after her state ID was renewed in May and it came back the same as her driver’s licence, with the last letter ‘e’ missing, and with no first name.
She said she felt compelled to raise the issue with officials after a policeman questioned her about her licence when he pulled her over.
‘I said wait a minute, this is not my fault. This is the county’s fault that I don’t have an ID that has my name correctly,’ she told Honolulu television station KHON.
The police officer suggested she could use her maiden name.
‘I said, how disrespectful to the Hawaiian people because there’s a lot of meaning behind this name.
‘I’ve had this name for over 20 years. I had to grow into this name. It’s very deep spiritual path.’
She said her last name means: ‘When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos.’
Caroline Sluyter, from the Hawaii Department of Transportation, now said the state was working to increase the number of characters on driver’s licences and ID cards.
By the end of the year, the cards will allow 40 letters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.
Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele started using the name when she married her Hawaiian husband in 1992.
He used only the one name but had similar problems before he died in 2008

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Call Me A Horse!!

Man steals horse after failing to find taxi on night out

Most people have been faced with the dilemma of not being able to find a taxi after a night out – but few have decided a good alternative would be to steal a horse.
Nevertheless, Ronald Temprell was arrested by police after he mounted a steed at Tulliallan Farms, near Alloa, which was just two-and-a-half miles away from his residence.
He was tracked down after neigbours heard the horse’s hooves beating on the ground and on further inspection spotted the 25-year-old on the stallion and two other men walking beside him.
‘On the night I took that one, I had been drinking and it did seem funny,’ Mr Temprell said.
‘I wanted to get home, but I’m not going to bump a taxi, so we were walking and came across the horses.
‘As I knew about how to get the stuff on, I just started to saddle it up.
‘It took me about an hour and a half. I could probably do it faster when I’m sober.’
Mr Temprell will now have to complete a 12-month community payback order after being sentenced at Alloa Sheriff Court.
He added he had fallen in love with horses after watching the Black Beauty film and also said his jaunt on the steed had earned him a new nickname.
‘People used to call me Rocket Ronnie but they are calling me Frankie Dettori now,’ he added.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Clowning Around??

Clown crashes attempting U-turn but police say oversized shoes not to blame

An 83-year-old clown with oversized shoes crashed a van after attempting a U-turn – but police confirmed the accident had nothing to do with his large footwear.
The joker was travelling with a few other jesters when he tried the manoeuvre in West York, Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately it went wrong and the driver of the car was left with pie on his face (which he should be used to).
Authorities said he crashed into another van when he passed an exit he was meant to get off at and then tried to return to it.
There were no injuries reported except to Dimples the Clown, aka James Billingsley, 83, who had a small bruise on his head. He had to be taken to hospital.
He was one of four clowns travelling to the York Fair in the van that was also pulling a clown car behind it.
The driver escaped any serious charges but police say he will receive a citation for the illegal U-turn.

Monday, 7 October 2013

A Goatee??

Man jailed after having sex with a goat

A man who admitted having sexual intercourse with a goat has been jailed for six weeks.
Robert Newman, 23, launched the night attack on the animal in a barn in Devizes in Wiltshire.
North West Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court in Chippenham was told the goat needed treatment for injuries sustained during the assault.
Newman, of Devizes, admitted having sex with a living animal between April 5 and 16 this year, contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Magistrates yesterday jailed Newman for six weeks for the offence after hearing a victim impact statement from the goat’s owners.
The attack happened when Newman was the subject of a suspended sentence for burglary.
Defending, Anne Ellery told the court Newman’s actions were a “symptom of isolation rather than depravity”.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

That’s The Way To Do It??

Father gets own back on daughter by wearing short shorts to dinner

A father got his own back on his daughter by wearing a pair of short shorts in public after she refused to take hers off and put on longer ones.
Scott Mackintosh decided to surprise his teenage daughter Myley by wearing the attire to a planned dinner and miniature golf outing.
On top of this he sported a t-shirt that said: ‘Best. Dad. Ever.’
Despite the numerous stares and the wholly awkward evening, the 52-year-old’s daughter didn’t seem to mind and even posted photos of him in the shorts on her Tumbler account.
‘I know it sounds weird to try to embarrass her but I wanted her to know that she’s of great worth,’ Mr Mackintosh told Good Morning America.
Myley added: ’It got a point across. I just learned the lesson of how much he loves me and that he really cares about it.’

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Another One Bites The Dust

Hotfile Lost to MPAA in Piracy Battle

The Motion Picture Association of America has scored a significant victory against the file-hosting service Hotfile. The District Court of Florida ruled that Hotfile failed to control the distribution of pirated films via its service. The anti-piracy outfit was happy to hear the verdict and claimed that Hotfile’s business model was built on mass distribution of stolen works.
Once in the top 10 file-sharing websites, Hotfile has recently become a prime target for Hollywood. More than two years ago the MPAA filed a lawsuit against the website, and since then the court battle was watched by industry observers. Moreover, Hotfile even sued MPAA member Warner Bros. right back for allegedly abusing its copyright takedown tools.

The movie industry hoped to avoid a trial and asked for a summary judgment on the alleged copyright violations committed by the file-sharing service. In response, Hotfile insisted that it is just a service provider and wants a jury to decide the outcome of the case. In result, Florida District Court Judge has decided in favor of the industry. Although the verdict has yet to be released in public, the outfit has already claimed its victory, revealing that the court noted that the file-sharing service was successful in large part because it failed to control infringement activity on its system. The judge most likely found Hotfile responsible for secondary copyright violation, or a related charge.

The movie studios insist that Hotfile’s entire business revolved around piracy. The MPAA boss described the court ruling as “a victory for all of people who work hard to create the movies and TV shows. However, Hotfile has always contested the characterization of being a “pirate haven”. In addition, the service previously pointed out to the judge that it had been following the DMCA. In the meantime, Hotfile demonstrated that the most downloaded files were not pirated films but Open Source software. Finally, the service argued that affiliate programs are essential for compensating content creators for their works. However, in the end the District Court sided with the Motion Picture Association of America and issued a summary judgment.

Considering the time and effort Hotfile has spent in the legal battle thus far, the experts believe it is going to file an appeal.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Personal UK Data Going Cheap !!

British Councils Sell Voter Information Cheap

Personal information from the edited electoral register is sold on to corporations by local councils for just £4.50 a pop. Within the last 5 years, more than 300 councils sold data from the register for marketing reasons. Despite the fact that the register is smaller than the full register, and is opt out, taking part in a representative democracy for many could also mean handing over personal data to private companies by proxy.
Indeed, it turned out that the personal details are up for grabs for anyone. The cheapest instance was Ryedale Council which sold details for £4.50, while others sold data for £25. Anyway, it’s not much of a difference for someone concerned with privacy whether the data was sold for a penny or a million.

A freedom of information request revealed details were purchased almost 3,000 times over the last 5 years from 307 councils. According to the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, the councils earned more than £265,000 on that. Their clients ranged from churches to PR companies to pizza shops to colleges. Even such entities as insurance companies, estate agents, financial services, driving schools, and dentists were buying details.

Introduced a decade ago, Labor considered banning the sale of such information, but for some reason changed its mind and took no action. So, the Coalition government has now committed to keeping it in place. Meanwhile, the privacy campaign group claimed that the sale of personal data by public authorities, especially for marketing purposes, is not right. The entity called for the edited register to be abolished, because its very existence impacts on election participation, because voters are concerned about their personal details being shared for marketing purposes and undermining trust in the electoral registration system.

The privacy campaign group has penned a letter that concerned voters can use to permanently opt-out of the edited electoral roll. According to a representative from the Electoral Commission, the latter doesn’t support the commercial sale of any information provided for the purposes of electoral registration. It is clear that this situation will act as a deterrent to some people registering to vote.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

We’re Watching You?

UK Entertainment Industry Calls for “Music NSA”

The leader of the UK Pirate Party, Loz Kaye, had to hit back at the UK entertainment industry pressuring top broadband providers to introduce a database of suspected infringers for copyright breaches. It looks like the industry wants to turn ISPs into the music NSA.
A few days ago it became known how major UK ISPs, including BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk, were all being told to adhere to create a database of subscribers who illegally download stuff, in order to prosecute persistent offenders one day.

The country’s Digital Economy Act has been harshly criticized – designed to make fighting piracy easier for the entertainment industry, the bill was voted into law 3 years ago, but it’s now clear that it may not become active policy until after the 2015 general election. But this fact has definitely frustrated the UK’s content industry, represented by the BPI, which is calling for action.

The database in question is expected to be used to send notifications to repeat offenders, but it might later be used to target broadband customers by blocking them from using certain portals, temporarily disconnecting them, throttling broadband connections, or prosecution. The UK Prime Minister will sit down with the BPI , reportedly focusing on piracy in discussion.
Now Internet service providers are resistant to such blanket measures, claiming that the current proposals are “unworkable”, while customers’ rights definitely come first, so the companies would never agree to anything that could compromise them.

Loz Kaye believes that the proposals are in line with Prime Minister’s current policy approach to web censorship and urges the Coalition government for clarity. The Pirate Party leader pointed out that after failing with the democratic and legal route as the DEA doesn’t work, the industry now wants to skip that and get broadband providers to do the policing on their own. Experts admit that such approach will be an unwarranted intrusion, with no clear positive result.

Perhaps, the BPI simply wants to take advantage of the Minister’s current wish to blame the worldwide web for everything, while the UK government’s digital policy making is in chaos. Indeed, there are too many questions about the Internet in the country, and until there are some answers, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can have no credibility on digital policy.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Drunk As An ……..Elk?

Man calls police on group of ‘drunk elks’ after they prevent him from entering home

Facing a group of elks is scary enough but going up against five that are also drunk is a daunting prospect.
That’s what a man was reportedly faced with when he returned to his home in Stockholm, Sweden.
He was apparently unable to enter his residence because he was being stared down by a rowdy bunch of elk that had got inebriated on fermented apples that had fallen from a nearby tree.
‘Five drunken elk were threatening a resident who was barred from entering his own home,’ a police incident report said.
Police spokesman Albin Näverberg agreed the man had no option but to call the authorities as the animals posed a big threat.
‘They can be really dangerous. They become fearless,’ he told The Local.
‘Instead of backing away when a person approaches, they move toward you. They may even take a run at you.’
This isn’t the first time the man has had to deal with drunken elks.
According to reports his wife was chased by one a couple of years ago

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

4x4 Sex??

Naked man caught 'having sex' with Land Rover

A naked man was caught 'having sex' with a Land Rover parked on the street.

A court heard how drunken Daniel Cooper, 24, was stripped off and started grinding against the blue 4x4 Land Rover Discovery.
Cooper was caught on CCTV simulating sex with the Land Rover which was parked outside a takeaway restaurant.
Cooper said he was so drunk he could not remember what happened until he was shown the CCTV pictures.
Father-of-three Cooper – described as normally being "a caring family man" – stripped off during a drunken night out with friends.
A court heard that earlier shocked revellers had seen him simulate sex with the counter of the kebab shop.
Cooper was also seen laying on the floor of the takeaway to simulate sex – with his trousers around his ankles.
Prosecutor John Wylde said: "First of all he was seen to be urinating.
"He was then seen to go down the High Street with his trousers around his ankles and his T-shirt pulled up over his head.
"Cooper was waving at cars and then took off his shirt completely.
"He was seen to enter a kebab shop where he was simulating the sex act against the corner of the counter.
"At one stage he lay on the ground and simulated the sex act. Then he did the same to a Land Rover Discovery vehicle which was parked nearby."
Police arrested Cooper in the town centre at Holywell, North Wales.
He told officers he was not used to drinking and had gone out with only £13 in his pocket on the night of August 18.
Cooper, of Springfields, Holywell, admitted indecent exposure when he appeared at Flintshire Magistrates Court sitting at Mold.
He was given a three-month community order which bans him from going outdoors between 7pm and 7am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights for the next three months.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs.
Gary Harvey, defending, said: "My client is mortified and totally ashamed. He cannot recall what had occurred.
"He is a responsible family man who looks after the children while his wife went out to work."
The registration number of the Land Rover Discovery was not released to the court.
Cooper has changed his name to "Daniel Hotcock Cooper" on his Facebook page since being arrested.
His sex act with the counter of the kebab shop was filmed by some of Cooper's friends but was later deleted.
One of his pals said: "Daniel will never live this down – everyone is saying he was 'tyred' and 'exhausted' afterwards.
"He is not a pretty sight when naked. We all felt sorry for the Land Rover and hope it wasn't offended."