When they hacked my website

So….The other day someone tried to hack one of my websites – not this one, another one – which shall remain nameless in case it is seen as some kind of challenge(!). As it happens I’m up on these things, particularly on the website in question so my installation was very secure – I had followed all the necessary security measures and the hacking attempt was unsuccessful. So what did they do?

Well actually, they raised a support ticket with a PHP injection script. What’s one of those? It’s one of these:


Caroline’s Spine – Sullivan (Acoustic)

Artist: Caroline's Spine

Song: Sullivan (Acoustic)


The Interface!!!

DigitalVinyl 2001

10 years have passed since my university days. 

10 years of mistakes, regrets, master strokes and epic fails. Well, in the words of my favourite security guard, I'll "chalk it up" to experience, and treasure the value of that experience in later life.
As far as memories go, what do I want to remember from 10 years ago? My pet project, my university final project. It drummed up the interest of investment angels and could have been the start of an amazing future with my own company, building crazy musical devices. Frankly, that would have been great!
Unfortunately I was in a rather bohemian state of mind at the time, being 21, and simply wanted to go and have a good time, so I pretty much threw it all away. Decided not to meet with the angels, and "opted out". I simply wasn't prepared to take on that level of responsibility – which is probably one of my biggest mistakes.
High Fidelity

High Fidelity – 2011 – The Digital Rebellion


High Fidelity. 


Great Movie.

But even more importantly many of us could identify directly with the characters in the movie.
I have a friend who is a hybrid between Jack Black's character ("Barry") and John Cusack's ("Rob"). He works in a very well known independent record store and has done for many years; Through my formative years he has shaped my musical tastes in many ways by religiously producing excellent mix tapes which formed the majority of my vehicular audio accompaniments at university….
Happy days…..
But Tapes are gone now…..and so is Vinyl……CD's will be next. So I have decided to solve the conundrum faced by Rob and Dick about organising your record collection. Chronological? Alphabetical?
None of the above. CD's are dead, baby – its all about lossless FLACs these days.

The O2, and beyond

It’s been a while since I’ve done any updates so I thought it would be a good idea to post what I’ve been up to for the past 3 years.

First up is this:

The O2, Dublin

The link is quoted at the bottom in case the news item disappears in the future.

The O2 in dublin; Everything in the attached write up is accurate – my role was project manager of the project, which included the majority of design works, (supported by a small but skilled engineering team).

It was enormously complicated, the most complicated lighting control job we’ve  (Andromeda Telematics) done in our 10 year history. We did manage to finish it in 5 months, and it has been a very successful project. It was also my first project as a manager, so it was a great result.

I’m currently doing a much bigger project (6 times bigger) – Dublin Airport Terminal 2, which is nearing completion after 2 years. I’ll post another one when it’s finished!

KNX solution at the O2 Dublin sets new standards
KNX UK Association member Andromeda Telematics (ATL) was shortlisted in the KNX International Awards presented at the 2010 Light+Building Exhibition in Frankfurt for the company’s O2 project in Dublin. It is a showcase of progressive design and building services providiing an integrated control solution for the renovation, delivering innovative KNX/DALI colour change functionality as well as an emergency lighting test system.
With an entertainment venue of this scale safety was also paramount, with lighting control signalling exits and providing emergency lighting.  It was also important to create a perception of the venue as energy-conscious and this was achieved using  sustainable KNX design.
Cutting edge building services were integral to the relaunch of the O2 with lighting playing a major role and lighting control being utilised in a practical sense.  Pre-show, interval and post-show lighting scenes help to create structure for shows and lighting in facilities such as the toilets, front of house and bars is key.
The KNX/DALI solution includes building-wide lighting scene control for public areas, controllable via local touch screens and a central headend.  There is also local scene set control and dimming in the private bar areas, as well as local control in all back-of-house areas for override of lighting condition.
The external lighting controls feature lux sensors which activate lighting automatically at dusk.  Vitally, an override function is available for periods where the building is unoccupied, such as holidays.  The building’s facade features colour change sequencing and pattern selection through DALI.  Similarly, the auditorium itself features colourised lightscapes, with colour change fittings and high power dimming combinations, with a portable touch screen controller.
Through this complex solution, ATL has provided a customised global control system, offering the ability to alter lighting states throughout the building.  The system delivers the capabilities to create individualised lighting scenes for each show both on the facade and in the auditorium, creating varying ambience and enhancing the customer experience as desired.
The solution also has the ‘green’ credentials and the KNX technology used for the project itself provides energy-savings through reduced cabling, and the robust and reliant nature of the protocol reduces maintenance costs.  The lighting control strategy undertaken has also proven to reduce energy consumption by up to 60%, with presence detection and lux sensors meaning that lighting is only active when required.
The time-scale in which the project needed to be completed was also particularly challenging as there was only a five month period from delivery of first panel to site to the completion of commissioning.  The project represented important steps both for ATL and the KNX community as a whole with  ATL taking DALI colour change capabilities to a new level of functionality.

To WiFi or not to WiFi, that is the question

OK, I’m torn.

 Having put up with a silly little Cat5 lead running out of my lounge into the study for 3 years I have decided to do something about it.


1) Drill a hole through two walls, and run the cable around the wall with cable conduit. (£10)

For: FASTEST and most reliable. Cheap option – about 10 quid for conduit and bits and bobs.

Against: pain in the neck and uber-ugly.

Real World Speed: Approx 75Mbit in my own tests.

2) Go WiFi (£30)

For: EASY. Little to do. Change router, plug in and go.

Against: Change IP Router to WiFi router and open up the network to hacking from outside the building. Possibly quite slow, contention issues. Possible “Brain Cookage” from radio waves. Everyone and their dog can download WEP/WPA hacking tools and punch in from outside, using my web access.

Real World Speed: 20 to 30Mbit if I’m lucky and enable the security.

3) Powerline 200Mbps (£90)

For: EASY. Plug in devices each end and go.

Against: Unsure of result – quality of electrical installation and devices attached have enormous impact on transfer speeds. Security is onyl as secure as anything else until it gets hacked.

Real World Speed: 30 to 40Mbit with security enabled.

I’m not going for number 2 beause it is insecure and also my net connection might drop out or die at inopportune moments.

Leaving 1 or 3. I better ask maria.

OK Asked Maria and she would prefer me not drilling holes everywhere, meaning I need to save up for option 3.  Have to wait until after the wedding though I guess.


Well, as you may have noticed on the front page of this site, I have been interested in a lot different things; I intended all along to put hard evidence up on this site as a sort of homage to my own efforts, a digital ego-wall if you will.

 Hopefully over the next few days I’ll post a number of items up of various things; Episode 1 is evidence of my rapping/producing.

This track was written, recorded, mixed, and produced by me back in 2002/3, just before America went and messed everything up in Iraq. Expect strong political views and a touch of harsh language.

It’s a shame really, on many counts; I gave this track out to a couple of my mates and it caused quite a stir in Eastbourne (where I was living at the time). There was a stand up comedy circuit, and the organiser expressed interest in me performing tracks at his shows as a sort of break from the comedy; And of course some of my comments in the track were ironic/sarcastic comedy as well. I never pursued this avenue – missed opportunity #1.

 My friend Tristan has been producing rock and metal and drum n bass tracks for a  long time and offered to produce the tracks for me.  I was enjoying the control I had (having recently quit my band Imessiah), and was reluctant to give it up. I politely refused; This was a big mistake. I was blinded by the control, and couldnt see that I needed a producer to break the track up from a listeners perspective, add a hook, and a chorus as well as re-record the vocal. missed opportunity #2.

I only recorded a couple more track after, and neither were up to scratch from the production side of things. I havent rapped since 2004. Missed opporutnity #3.

But here it is; Ignorance and Bliss by Switch (as I called myself then.). Please bear in mind I did two vocal takes. One got me half way through then I made a mistake, so I started over. The vocals are all done in one take, and only on the second go. Listening to it now, I showed a lot of potential.


What have I learnt? I am stubborn, and arrogant. I have been trying to address these traits of my persona over the last 5 years and have made considerable headway at least.

Tristan, if you read this, I am sorry bro. I should have taken up your most kind and generous offer. The next track will be called Regrets and Disdain! 🙂

Inspiring Performance by one of my musical heroes

Lindsey Buckenham, playing big love live, all on his own. Fleetwood Mac were one of those magical bands that stand head and shoulders above the vast majority of rubbish around these days. Real musicians with real instruments and enormous talent. If you get five minutes spare today, sit back and watch this…….

T minus……Tough Guy Countdown!!!


As you can read here, and here I am entering the Tough Guy competition.  It was an excuse to get fit and lose wieght really; with the added bonus of an enormous mental challenge to boot. And it is tomorrow!!!

My kit bag:


You can see:

  • Cross country North Face running trainers, courtesy of Mark Hastings of Sandhurst fame.

Weathered Chain

Weathered Chain

Originally uploaded by Pensive666

This little fella definitely counts as my best photo yet.

Taken with my new Canon EOS 450D, on the shores of Lake Windermere in the lake district, this shot demonstrates that there really is very little in this world that is as rugged as a rusty chain.