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08 November 2009

End My Credit Crunch explained

People have been writing to me about End My Credit Crunch ( and how it works, so here's a quick explanation.

There a twitter account @uncrunch, with a supporting website at the URL above hosting banner adverts and more info.

The adverts are sold at 5c per follower per month. With 220 followers, this means that an advert for a month in the twitter account and on the website would cost $11, i.e. $11 to reach 220 followers plus be seen on the site. Compare this to which values twitter accounts and at the time of posting, it values the uncrunch account at $125 per tweet. We're less than a 10th of the cost, and you get two tweets and a substantial standard size banner advert too, surely excellent value - and you're helping others too.

We're assuming worst case scenario that overheads including corporation tax, VAT, hosting etc will be 50%, so that leaves 50% profit. Out of the profit I'm hoping to take 1/3 to help my family through the credit crunch (debts due to loss of job; 2 family members with terminal cancer; two children at sick kids as well, one due an operation next month; having to sell house) and give away 2/3 to help others. The others will be in 3 forms - 1: a proportion as a winnings pot for anyone following the twitter account - win for free and an incentive to follow. 2: A proportion for people who refer advertisers and 3:a proportion for charities.

If we get 1000 followers and sell 150 adverts then this would mean we'd be giving away around about 1000 * 0.05 * 150 * 50% * 2/3 or about $2,500 per month - as the number of followers goes up so does the amount we can give away. The cost for advertisers to reach people stays the same at 5c per follower.

This could easily scale up to much bigger numbers once the momentum builds, there's twitter accounts with millions of followers out there. Feedback from the press has been really positive we just need more people to get the word out and to reach more people via blogs, newspapers etc. Even Max Clifford's PR company thought it was a good story but unfortunately couldn't take it on just now. The account is being followed by lots of media companies, including The Irish Times, The Times (London) and the Los Angeles Times amongst others.

I'd like to give away $250,000 which would represent 10 months work if we get 10,000 followers and sell the advertising space. It would be disappointing all round if it was a lot less than this and a dream come true if it was more.



05 November 2009

Lunnainn nan Gàidheal - Gaelic London, November 2009

Once more another excellent edition of the guide to Gaelic events in London.

A rithist, seo agaibh leth bhreac air leth math mu dheidhinn ruidegin Gaidhlig ann an Lunnainn


Seo agaibh (mar fhàidheil .pdf) an àireamh a’s ùire de’n chuairt-litir LUNNAINN NAN GÀIDHEAL – 11/2009.

Attached (as a .pdf file) is the latest edition of the newsletter GAELIC LONDON – 11/2009.

Le beannachd mar a’s àbhaist



02 November 2009

Password and PIN problems

An article on the relative security and insecurity of websites and banks

Why is it that websites deem a 6 character all lower case password to be "very weak" when there's 306million+ possibilities. Yet a 4 digit PIN (9999 possibilities) is secure enough for banks?

The website one is almost 31,000 times more secure yet is deemed "weak". Surely a rule for websites that if the incorrect password is used a certain number of times the account is locked would be sufficient to make the weak password 31,000 times stronger than the bank's security.

We have to be practical about this. In reality, any rules around requiring a password to have upper and lower case letter and special characters such as $,% etc simply make it much more likely people will write the passwords down. Just because this makes it the person's problem rather than the website's is no excuse - the overall security of the account is the issue, including the likelyhood that the account will be broken into because the password was so complicated it, together with the dozons of other passwords from other sites, all had to be written down somewhere because it was too much to remember.

Can we please have simpler password rules for websites and some way of having one strong security mechanism which ties them all together?


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