Tuesday, 1 December 2015

More bashing about

Yet another day and night of strong winds and rain which resulted in Waiouru being pushed hard against the edge on our mooring and developing a list.  There was a rattling sound on the roof which suggested something might be loose, however everything up there had been lashed down.  Eventually Jan worked out it was the TV mast vibrating.

Yesterday we went back to The Black Lion for our usual Sunday Roast.  The barber had already informed me there wasn’t a good eating location in Ellesmere but we have both found the food in The Black lion to be acceptable.  I just wish they wouldn’t pour the gravy onto the meal before serving it.  I don’t like the gravy on my lamb!  I might mention it if we decide to eat there again.

I telephoned ID Mobile and gave the required 30 days notice to cancel the mobile data contract.  It was one of those pay numbers and annoyed the hell out of me that I had to listen to all the advertising whilst waiting for the “options” to be advised.  Eventually I managed to speak to Davinda in Mumbai who wanted to know my reason for cancelling the contract.  I could have told him the truth, but that would only have resulted in a long discussion whilst he attempted to change my mind (and I was aware I was paying for the call by the second).  I told him the plan didn’t suit our needs.  The contract ends on 26 Dec and (I hope) ID Mobile will cease plundering our bank account.  Blog reader Bill alerted me to an ASDA Christmas deal where you can get a SIM and 12Gb of data for £5.  I’ve ordered the SIM which should arrive later this week.  Still no sign in the post of the EE Christmas SIM with 100Gb of data. 

Down the Tunnel (this part is nerdy)

Several months ago I watched a documentary film named “Terms & Conditions”.  The subject was about companies and governments using (and perhaps abusing) the Terms and Conditions you agree to when accessing their services.  It was rather interesting, and perhaps a little frightening, to see how companies are using your personal data to build a profile of you along with your friends and family.  For example; Facebook never deletes anything.  You might think you have gone back and edited or deleted something you entered into Facebook but all they do is hide the original content from you.  I won’t write more on the film as you can watch it if you’re interested.  However we are now more careful than ever with our personal information. 

Every time a user access the internet their computer/tablet/phone, sends some information about the device they are using.  Information like the type and version of the operating system, the unique device address (mac) and the type of device.  This allows the website to display the page in a format suitable for the device.  It also enables you internet provider to identify and follow you. 

In a further effort to protect our privacy we have joined a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  This involved installing a piece of VPN software on our laptop/tablet/phone(s) which we activate prior to entering the internet.  Part of this activation process requires us to identify our desired destination.  This software acts as a personal and private tunnel.  The VPN software also encrypts all the data before it leaves our device.  Our internet provider will now only know where the entrance of the tunnel is but not our exit point.  Additionally, because the data is encrypted the provider doesn’t know what was sent or received.

In selecting a VPN provider I looked for one that had

  • competitive pricing
  • many exit points all over the world
  • high speed servers
  • kept no record of where we went (we are anonymous)
  • wasn’t based in the USA

I included the last two criteria after watching “Terms & Conditions”

Using a VPN doesn’t just protect your privacy.  You can use the VPN to appear to be in another country.  For example, BBC iPlayer will only work if you have a UK internet address.  However if you are living in New Zealand and have a VPN you can enter the tunnel in NZ and exit in the UK with a UK internet address.  BBC iPlayer will think you are in the UK and allow you access.

If you don’t have a VPN the likes of Facebook and Google obviously know where you are and tailor their marketing accordingly.  I find it rather amusing to come out of our VPN tunnel in Romania and login to Facebook or Google to see the Ads in Romanian.


A Heron's View said...

Sorry that you don't like gravy poured over the meat, but it is the accepted way of serving meat in these islands.

Tom and Jan said...

On a number of occasions we have had the gravy delivered to the table in a boat rather than on the meal. Actually I don't mind the gravy already being on beef but I'd prefer to put apple sauce on pork and mint sauce on lamb.

Ade said...

Hi Tom & Jan, A very interesting post that one particularly the VPN bit. I dare say you left off your preferred provider on purpose ? If not would you share your findings .


Boatwif said...

I hate having everything swamped in gravy on my meals and have resorted to asking for NO GRAVY and sending it back if it comes covered in liquid. I like sauces, cook my own and provide gravy (classed as excellent by my family but that may be biased)to all who want it. Drowning everything in brown liquid is not my idea of a good meal.
Shall we start a campaign!
Ken nb Cleddau

Carol said...

I agree with you Tom. If we’re out for a meal that has any kind of sauce/gravy with it I always ask for it to be brought to the table separately and I have even sent the meal back to the kitchen if they don’t!

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Ade
In the end we opted for membership to VPNArea.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Ken & Carol,
I think I'll follow your strategy and in future ask for the gravy to be brought to the table in a separate container.