Pinhole Forth Bridges

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Bridges Pinhole

The camera in top was used to stop the box blowing away :)
The camera in top was used to stop the box blowing away :)

Took this photo using a pinhole camera made from a Clarks shoe box.  10 minute exposure.  Took it in January but it’s taken me months to get round to developing it.  Scanned paper negative and used Photoshop to invert and adjust levels a little.

Airport security

20140805-063227-23547220.jpgMy current job involves travel. Three days out of my week are spent in London, which means my employer, at presumably great expense to them, puts me up in a hotel and has me fly down to the kingdom’s capital. I fly the Little Red at 0635 meaning my alarm must wake me at 0400 to ensure I’m at Edinburgh airport on time. I’m tired, not just in the early mornings, all the time.

It’s 0610, I’ll be boarding soonish, I’m surrounded by what appears to be half the Jamaican Commonwealth Games team, who will be on my flight it seems. I am wearing the same shirt and trousers this corporate job has me wearing every single week. I have the same stuff with me as ever, two shirts, boxers, a tiny bag that I’m not allowed to store my preferred toiletries in because they’re larger than 100ml in volume. Hell, I’ve had to tell my doctor that if he’s prescribing me anything, I can’t have it if it’s too big to take on a flight.

On the flight now, I tried choosing a seat at the back of the plane though the diagram has proven deceptive, apparently you can’t have a seat at the back, there are in fact ten more rows of seat that were not shown, on the website, behind me. The lady next to me says she thought she was to be at the back too. We both agree that Virgin Atlantic’s checkin system had a terrible user experience so it really isn’t all that surprising.

With all the same gear as I have everyday, I wonder why it is that the security scanners choose to start bleeping for every fourth time I head through them. I can rely perfectly that I’ve removed everything out of my pockets, I’ve taken my laptops out of my bag, I’ve put my phones and Kindle in my jacket pockets and I’ve removed said jacket for scanning. What am I doing wrong then? Why must the metal detector beep randomly anyway? Why must I then go through the body scanner? Why is it that even when the body scanner shows up nothing that they feel a pat down is necessary anyway. Oh and great, apparently my bag is now suspicious. It’s packed identically to how it always is but now my laptops need to have tests done on them, because terrorists are so prone to building incendiary MacBook Airs. It’s these false positives that piss me off. Nothing’s different to last time, or any other time I come through security two times every week. Yet a quarter of times, you decide something’s wrong. If you get it wrong 25% of the time for me, is it 25% wrong for those who mean us harm too? Or maybe you just have a 25% target to meet. I don’t know, I just know it pissed me off 25% more than my ordinary base level of pissed offness.

miiJob at miiCard

Ah a post about the illusive job mentioned in the last post!

So I’m moving to Edinburgh, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.  In fact, I have actually been working in Edinburgh since Monday and thus far have spend £84 in just three days travel thanks to Britain’s extortionate train fares but let’s get into what you’re interested in, miiCard.

I woke up a couple of months ago to a rather terrifying email in my university inbox which in my student life was at the crack of dawn (so about 10AM) and certainly woke me up.  It featured some poor soul desperately trying to break free from the clutches of a zombie horde and underneath this was written, “break free from coding hell.”

Break free from coding hell

Allow me to clarify, at this time of year, we receive dozens of job adverts at the School of Computing every week, some of them of interest, none of them exciting.  I normally glazed over them hoping that perhaps one of them would do something special like whisk me off to New York (don’t ask why, it’s my dream not yours).  This one, got my attention.  If you take a look at my CV on this site, you can see that I’m not the most formal of people.  What you see is exactly what you get when I’m applying for a job, complete with that fine Andy Barratt branding down the left hand side (hell, that’s even on my business cards!).  I don’t do dull, I just can’t be arsed.

And as this was evidently not a company to always do things formally, I decided I wanted to find out who they were, after a quick scroll through their website, I sent a rather unconventional email, in the way that I do, and a copy of my CV as a PDF because what I saw on the site impressed me, miiCard is actually something exciting!

Well come on then, tell us what miiCard is!

miiCard is a personal security company… now doesn’t that sound dull?  Keep reading.  What miiCard does is create an online version of a passport.  They give you an online ID card and they check it against your online banking to prove, to money laundering standards, that you are who you say you are.  Why?  So that you can prove it faster to everyone else!

What if I told you that 70% of bank applications online fail.  Can you hazard a guess why? Well you apply for a bank account but then the final step is “please come into your branch and show us your proof of address and your proof of ID.”  Well so much for that, I’m a lazy bastard like the rest of the world and I just can’t be bothered to walk to the bank.  I’ll survive with my current bank account.

Oh but imagine this, you apply online and it says, “do you have a miiCard?  No?  Sign up for one in 5 minutes and then we’ll give you your bank account.”  Well then, thank you very much, I can spend the rest of my day watching NetFlix!

How about this one?  You’re looking for a flat to rent (can’t imagine how I got this one in my head), and you find one online, you take a virtual tour and it’s awesome, only, you have to travel far across the land to make an application and prove who you are before you can even sign the lease many days later!  How tiresome!  I may as well just commute for the first wee while.  Oh but wait!  I can apply for this flat with my miiCard and allow the letting agent to do the rest!  Awesome!

How about dating online?  How often have you heard of grotty little people preying on the vulnerable in dating sites?  They chat, they get on fine, he says he’s the same age and she loves his sense of humour, he has a Facebook with loads of photos so she knows he looks cute.  So how come now she’s standing by a pier and a creepy guy who’s 20 years older than her and he is not taking no for an answer?!  If the dating site had people register with miiCard, people would know that who they’re talking to is who they say they are!

Why has no one done this before?!  Identity theft is one of the biggest threats to our security online and being able to prove who you are is not always so easy, to be able to do it so quickly like this is brilliant.  I was hooked in and the day after my initial email, I got an email from CEO James Varga inviting me for an interview, which I of course attended the next day and was offered the job less than a week later.  Because of my dazzling looks I do not doubt…

I remember that the vacancy as advertised online described the position as “being part of something big” and thinking how much I agreed with that statement.  If miiCard takes off, I think the term miiCard will be as well known as the name PayPal.  Almost everyday I think of a new reason why a miiCard would come in handy.

And that’s how I shall leave you, with this question and the video after it, how many ideas pop into your head where proving your identity instantly online would save you time?