Finding People Who Are Not Listed in the Telephone Directory

Our telephone numbers data is updated each night (6 nights per week). In that data, about 75% of the people have exercised their right to not be listed in the telephone directory.

Until recently, the strict regulation of this data (the UK has an over-regulation fetish) meant that we were prevented from giving any information about those people,  to our users of ukphonebook.com. In other words, we were not even allowed to say (in effect)

I’m sorry, that number is ex-directory

…which is the usual response from one of the 118 services (such as 118365) when queried about an unlisted person.

We were only permitted to say

No records found

…which in the case of an unlisted person was incorrect, unhelpful, misleading,and utterly ridiculous.

However we are now permitted to report if a person is unlisted (or ex-directory). We give extra information in the summary shown when your search results are displayed.

A typical report is:-

We found 1 result, which is ex-directory and cannot be displayed

If you visit ukphonebook.com you may search the telephone directory for free, and if the person you seek is not listed you will now be informed.

The right to privacy of that person is respected; we do not give any information about that person, other than the fact that she or he is unlisted. It should at this point be stressed that we do not of course reveal their telephone number (and we don’t know the unlisted telephone numbers anyway).

If the person is not listed at all in the telephone data, you may search the electoral roll data. Purchase one of our competitively priced credit packages to be able to search for people on the latest UK electoral roll data, and use our many other services.

Robin Williams: 10 Best Moments

We have a few major film fans in the office so we were very sad to hear about the death of Robin Williams. As a child of the ‘90s, I grew up watching many of his movies over and over again. Here are a few of my favourite Robin Williams moments:

1. Mrs. Doubtfire

2. Aladdin

3. Good Will Hunting

4. Hook

5. Good Morning, Vietnam

6. Jumanji

7. Dead Poets Society

8. The Birdcage

9. Friends

10. Mork & Mindy

Top 10 Android Apps of 2014

We’ll be launching our ukphonebook Android app in the next few weeks, so in preparation we’ve narrowed down our top 10 Android apps of 2014.

1. ukphonebook – Free

This is essentially a pocket version of the ukphonebook.com website. You can search the UK telephone directory for business and residential information, search the Electoral Roll, look up postcodes and dialling codes and even TPS check phone numbers. And you still get your free search credits every day. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to hear when we launch in the Google Play Shop.

2. Nova Launcher Prime - £2.40

Customize your homescreen interface with Nova Launcher Prime. This app allows you to play with various settings such as gestures and drawer groups, whilst maintaining a super-fast and smooth experience. You can also customise themes and access icon sets available on Google Play.

3. Google Keep – Free

This is a syncing notepad that supports photo notes, voice notes, and checklists and saves them to Google Drive where they can be accessed on any other web-connected device. It is ideal for quick note-taking on the go with a colourful and easy-to-use interface.

4. Spotify – Free

This app is free to download but we highly recommend taking out a premium subscription once you have downloaded it. Spotify can essentially replace your music collection as it provides you with access to a huge inventory of music on-demand. You can even download your favourite music for offline listening.

5. Snapseed – Free

Image editing and filters have recently improved on Instagram, however, you will still want to run your photos through this app before Instagramming them. You get more control when correcting/tuning/adjusting your images and there is a wide range of filters to choose from.

6. Duolingo – Free

Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. This app makes a game out of learning a new language with bite-sized lessons. You can easily track your progress and also have the option to set daily goals for yourself.

7. Untappd – Discover BeerFree

Untappd is a social discovery network for anyone that enjoys beer. You can record each new brew you try, rate it and even add tasting notes to share with fellow beer lovers. Discover new beers and bars through the vibrant Untappd community.

8. Google Maps – Free

Just a few taps and this app will tell you exactly where to go. Get directions to your chosen destination and decide whether you want to travel by foot, bike, car or public transport. You can even see what’s around you by using the street view option.

9. Allthecooks RecipesFree

If you’re stuck for what to cook for dinner, get inspiration from this cooking community app. There are hundreds of thousands of recipes to be found with people sharing their experiences of making them by posting photos of their attempts. You can add favourite recipes, manage shopping lists and set up meal calendars.

10. The Room/The Room Two£0.69/£1.99

This is the only game on our list and it is well worth a look. “A physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world” as the developer Fireproof Games puts it. The sequel is just as good, if not better than the original and will have you puzzling for hours as you become completely immersed in the clever puzzles, spine-tingling music and beautiful graphics.

TOR – Fears and Facts

Introduction

TOR (The Onion Router) is a free, easy-to-use system which allows users to access the Internet anonymously.

It consists of a network of computers (relay servers and exit nodes) which work together to provide anonymity to users.

You can find more details, and download the software at The Tor Project

How it Works

The software manifests itself as a proxy server through which a preconfigured browser (the “Tor Browser”) communicates with the Internet. A typical event may be:-

  1. The user clicks a link to access a web page.
  2. The message requesting the web page goes from that user’s computer into the TOR network.
  3. It is passed through several TOR relay servers, and each time the IP address from which it originated is encrypted.
  4. Finally, the request leaves the TOR network via a TOR exit node and goes to the website. That website can only “see” only the IP address of the TOR exit node, not the user’s real IP address; that’s the point of using TOR.
  5. The website responds with a web page and associated images etc, all sent back through the TOR network.
  6. The TOR network sends the page through several TOR relays and eventually back to the user’s computer. The website never knows to where it has really gone. That’s the point of using TOR.

Controversy and Benefits

TOR has had a “bad press” due to its association with the Dark Net and Deep Network in order to obtain illegal pornography, weapons or narcotics.

However TOR is also a simple means for anyone living under an oppressive regime to anonymously access the Internet without fear of intimidation, persecution or prosecution.

Fears and Questions

Am I really anonymous?

Yes, but there is a lot of work being undertaken to “crack” TOR, or at least to provide the real IP addresses of some users of TOR, you should be aware.

So, should I use it?

Always ensure that your TOR software is up to date. TOR will fix any identified vulnerabilities.

If I’m using it, will other TOR users (perhaps doing highly illegal things) be able to access the Internet using my IP address?

No. You would have to create a TOR exit node. Your IP address will only send and receive your web use, and the websites won’t know who you are.

Who’s trying to crack TOR?

The FBI were reported to have staged an attack in 2013 using a vulnerability in an older version of the Firefox browser used by TOR. The Russian Government has recently offered a large fee for the breaking of TOR, and the U.S. Government are reported to be spending large sums in this effort.

Well, if I’m not doing anything illegal, I’ve nothing to worry about.

That’s one view, perhaps relevant to a liberal Western democracy but not to a web user in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, for example. You may have your own reasons for wishing to be anonymous.

Can I use TOR to download movies or music?

In theory yes, but in practice this is highly discouraged by TOR relay providers, largely due to the huge bandwidth needs of such traffic.

How else can I be anonymous?

You could use an anonymous VPN. This does contravene one of the popular principles of the Internet, you have to pay money to do so, but it can be as low as a few dollars per month.

I want to help TOR. Can I create a relay or exit node?

A TOR exit node provider needs to be prepared to deal with possible legal actions, or action from their ISP.

You could host a TOR relay on your own bandwidth; the encryption that happens as the traffic passes through your relay should ensure that your IP address is not revealed. If you have spare bandwidth and a love of TOR, consider doing so.

Websites Blocking or Limiting TOR Users

It is very easy for a website to “know” that the person using it is doing so via TOR.That site may then choose to totally block use, or to restrict activity.

I would stress once again at this point that in the situation above, the website does not know that person’s real IP address; that’s the point of using TOR.

Perhaps the most famous example of a website that restricts TOR users is Wikipedia, which prevents edits when using the Onion Router.

TOR Exit Node List

The TOR network publishes a list of IP addresses of its exit nodes; this list is updated regularly. All TOR traffic appears to originate from the exit nodes; the real IP addresses are of course, hidden; that’s the point of using TOR.

To use obtain the list of exit nodes, this example URL shows that exit nodes that are able to communicate with the IP address 1.1.1.1 on port 80. Substitute your website’s address and relevant port.

https://check.torproject.org/cgi-bin/TorBulkExitList.py?ip=1.1.1.1&port=80

If the IP address making the request is in the above list, the request has been routed through TOR.

High Quality Mapping

Later this year, our Corporate ukphonebook service will be augnmented to include very high resolution mapping data from Ordnance Survey.

When viewing Ordnance Survey maps currently, the maximum zoom is illustrated below by the area around Exeter St. David’s Station:-

The forthcoming facility will include the higher resolution and higher quality mapping data as again illustrated by the area around one of Exeter’s railway stations.

Finally, we will offer the highest quality mapping, shown by this “zoomed in” view of the area to the north of the station, shown in the views above.

Keep watching for updates.

Quadcopter Videos

I considered buying a remote controlled helipcopter with a video camera, or more accurately, a quadcopter, which as its name suggests, has 4 rotors.

For less than £1000 it is possible to buy a quadcopter fitted with a full HD video camera. It is also possible to configure a copter with a realtime first-person view (FPV) transmitted to the pilot’s controller or even to goggles worn by the ground based pilot.

A typical machine is shown below.

Quadcopter with HD video camera

For the moment, however, I’m content to watch the shared experiences of other pilots.

The increasing popularity of these devices has resulted in a large number of videos being uploaded to video sharing websites. Whilst many clips are uninspiring in terms of content and/or quality, there are some excellent uploads, demonstrating considerable piloting skills and confidence, and some excellent camera work.

Here are a few of the best I’ve found.
Most of these videos were created at 1080p (i.e. full high definition), and I recommend viewing at that size if possible.

Incidentally, many of these videos do not have useful search keywords in their title or description, making the task of finding these videos quite tricky.

The phrase “DJI Pantom” (a popular model) worked well for my searches, when “quadcopter” or “uav” failed.

New York, New York, United States of America

Some superb video around Central Park, Lower Manhatten and other areas of the Big Apple.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Cycle Race and Some Over-Water Filming, Wales, United Kingdom

This is a compilation of some great footage. I love the cycle race start at about 1.12.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Agulha do Diablo (Devil’s Needle), Brazil

Some stunning mountainside footage. There’s more to Brazil than beaches and soccer.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Bixby Creek Bridge, California, United States of America

Flying around a bridge in a dramatic landscape in sunny California.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Powerboat Race, Florida, United States of America

This appears to be a commercial production, with some very slick editing, but it shows the view from quadcopters chasing and racing powerboats; what more can you say?

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Battersea Power Station, London, United Kingdom

It sounds un-glamorous, but look at the great video that the copter is able to capture.

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Weymouth Harbour, Dorset, United Kingdom

The pilot flies around the fort at the entrance, enters Dorset’s prettiest harbour, and files under the harbour bridge at about 2.45 (video time).

You can view the video below, or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Puerto de Alcudia Beach, Mallorca

Fans of the hot beaches and blue seas of the Balearic Islands may appreciate this flight around the beaches of Puerto de Alcudia.

Click on the image to view the video in YouTube.


Grimsby and Cleethorpes, United Kingdom

This video does not feature 1080p, but do enjoy the 720p footage of a flight which includes Cleethorpes pier, the fort in the Humber, and the famous tower at Grimsby docks.

You can view the video below, or or use this link if you prefer to watch in YouTube

Behind The Scenes: World Cup fever at the Simunix office (for some of us at least)

The 2014 world cup will soon be upon us and while some people are very excited by the prospect, others will not be bothered at all. For those not bothered about football you can look forward to some good movies coming out like 22 Jump Street and Transformers: Age of Extinction. If you are a gamer – we have quite a few in our office – you may be keen on trying the new games coming out like EA Sports UFC which features Bruce Lee!
However, for those of you who are interested in football, here are my ramblings on the countries taking part in the world cup.

Algeria
Interesting fact: The Sahara desert covers 80 percent of Algeria.
Player(s) to watch: Nabil Bentaleb of Tottenham Hotspur FC
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Argentina

Interesting fact: The tango originated from Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century.
Player(s) to watch: Pretty much the whole team! (Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherono to name a few)
Predicted finish: Winners!

Australia
Interesting fact(s): The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system. Australia has a lot of venomous creatures like the fierce snake and funnel web spider, though as a South African I’m more afraid of a Black mamba or a Boomslang!
Player(s) to watch: Does Harry Kewell still play for them? Just kidding, Tim Cahill is pretty decent even if he does play for Everton! (Guess who’s a Liverpool fan)
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Belgium
Interesting fact(s): There are over 800 kinds of beer made in Belgium and 3 kinds of waffles: Liege, Brussels and Galettes. (Beer and waffles! I’m moving to Belgium)
Player(s) to watch: Vincent Kompany arguably one of the world’s best defenders and Eden Hazard an exciting attacking player.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter finals.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Interesting fact(s): Has one of the world’s highest unemployment rates.
Player(s) to watch: Asmir Begovic one of the premier league’s best keepers and Edin Dzeko a super sub striker for Manchester City.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Brazil
Interesting fact(s): Brazil is one of the most bio diverse places on the earth.
Player(s) to watch: Again practically the whole team, but my personal favourites are Neymar, Ramires and Oscar.
Predicted finish: Runners up.

Cameroon
Interesting fact(s): Cameroon is the first African country to reach a quarter final in a world cup.
Player(s) to watch: Alexandre Song of Barcelona and Samuel Eto’o possibly one of the best strikers on Pro Evolution soccer ever.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Chile
Interesting fact(s): One of the longest north-south trending countries in the world at over 4,600km and, only 150km wide from west to east.
Player(s) to watch: Arturo Vidal a tough midfielder from Juventus.
Predicted finish: Out in second round.

Colombia
Interesting fact(s): Colombia is a land of extremes, with snow-covered volcanoes, rain forest and deserts.
Player(s) to watch: Although Falcao is injured Jackson Martinez is decent.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Costa Rica
Interesting fact(s): One of the highest life expectancies in the world (77 years)
Player(s) to watch: Keylor Navas is one of the top keepers in the Spanish league, which is good because he will be busy!
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Côte d’Ivoire
Interesting fact(s): One of the largest producers of coffee, cocoa and palm oil.
Player(s) to watch: Yaya Toure who’s been on fire in the premiership this season and his brother Kolo Toure who has also provided some entertainment of another sort (quite a few own goals).
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Croatia
Interesting fact(s): Dalmation dogs got their name after a South Coastal region in Croatia called Dalmatia.
Player(s) to watch: Luka Modric of Real Madrid.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Ecuador
Interesting fact(s): Guinea pig is considered a delicacy.
Player(s) to watch: Antonio Valencia of Manchester Utd FC.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

England
Interesting fact(s): English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
Player(s) to watch: Wayne Rooney apparently, but I’m hoping to see some exciting stuff from the younger players: Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

France
Interesting fact(s): France is the most visited country in the world.
Player(s) to watch: Quite a few good players but Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema stand out.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter finals.

Germany
Interesting fact(s):Michael Ballack does not like beer!
Player(s) to watch: Practically the whole team, but Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger stand out.
Predicted finish: Out at semi finals.

Ghana
Interesting fact(s): The name Ghana means warrior king.
Player(s) to watch: Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan.
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Greece
Interesting fact(s): Greece is home to over a dozen world heritage sites.
Player(s) to watch: Orestis Karnezis a sound goal keeper and Kostas Mitroglou a powerful forward.
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Honduras
Interesting fact(s): Platano forest was nominated as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Player(s) to watch: Carlo Costly a tall striker who uses his strength and aerial prowess to good effect.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Iran
Interesting fact(s): Couples that want a marriage license are required to attend an hour long lecture on contraception.
Player(s) to watch: Ashkan Dejagah of Fulham FC.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Italy
Interesting fact(s): Vatican City and San Marino are very small independent states located inside Italy.
Player(s) to watch: Adrea Pirlo the maestro and Gianluigi Buffon one of the best keepers in the world.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter final.

Japan
Interesting fact(s): Japan is made up of over 6,500 islands.
Player(s) to watch: Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Korea Republic
Interesting fact(s): The taxis are colour coded, white or grey are more basic than black cabs.
Player(s) to watch: Ki Sung-Yeung one of the best passers in the premier league
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Mexico
Interesting fact(s): They have a special Christmas festival to celebrate the radish. (In Oaxaca)
Player(s) to watch: Carlos Pena
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Netherlands
Interesting fact(s): 70% of the worlds bacon comes from the Netherlands
Player(s) to watch: Robben Van Persie who hopefully gets his form back.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Nigeria
Interesting fact(s): One of the oldest locations of human existence.
Player(s) to watch: Sunday Mba who came up with some stunning goals during qualifying
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Portugal
Interesting fact(s): The Portuguese eat more fish and shell fish per head than any other country.
Player(s) to watch: Christiano Ronaldo obviously.
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Russia
Interesting fact(s): In terms of land area Russia is the largest country in the world
Player(s) to watch: Igor Akinfeev
Predicted finish: Out at second round.

Spain
Interesting fact(s): Besides good footballers, Spain produces a large amount of renewable energy including wind power and solar power. Well done Spain!
Player(s) to watch: Just about the whole team, but my favourite is Andres Iniesta mostly because of the resemblance with my brother.
Predicted finish: Third

Switzerland
Interesting fact(s): Swiss women are among the oldest in europe when they have their first child.
Player(s) to watch: Xherdan Shaqiri
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Uruguay
Interesting fact(s): It is often known as the heart shaped country.
Player(s) to watch: Luis Suarez a Liverpool FC legend! Also known for attempting to eat the opposition.
Predicted finish: Out at quarter final.

USA
Interesting fact(s): The US has world’s largest economy
Player(s) to watch: Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey
Predicted finish: Out at group stage.

Tips for using Pinterest when your business is not visual

A clothing or homewares retailer posts a beautifully photographed outfit or expertly styled living space to Pinterest and it will make its way around the virtual pinboards of the 70+ million users, consequently driving traffic to their website.

But how can this social platform be of benefit to those non-visual brands like garages, energy companies or in our case, an online directory enquiries service?

1) Get creative

If posting photos of your products is not going to work in the way it would if you were a restaurant or an elegant hotel, you could start thinking about ways in which your products can be used. For example, an energy company may post images of anything from attractive light fittings to cool kitchens. On our Simunix Pinterest page, you’ll find vintage telephones, gadgets and impressive office spaces.

2) Infographics

People love looking at facts and figures. Create an infographic with some statistics you’ve collected about your customers or some fun facts about your industry. We created a comparison infographic that tracked the cost of our services compared with those of our competitors. Infographics are much more likely to be shared throughout social networks than something that is text-based.

3) Get your customers to do it for you

Pinterest allows you to create collaborative boards where you can either invite other people to pin to them or leave them open for anyone to contribute to. Alternatively, you could start a “Pin to Win” competition encouraging your customers to create pinboards full of images they think are relevant to your business or industry. Get them to name their boards after your business or include a hashtag relevant to your brand in order to drive interest to your products and services.

4) Become a collaborator yourself

Search for other pinboards relevant to your industry or see what your competitors are up to. Not only can you pick up some ideas, you may also find some collaborative boards that you can contribute to.

Why You Need To Get On The Electoral Roll

Are you able to vote in next year’s General Election? While most people are aware that you must be on the electoral roll in order to vote, here are some other reasons why it is important for you to register:

Credit rating

Failure to be listed on the electoral roll may affect your credit rating. Lenders use information from the electoral roll to confirm your name, address and residential history. Not being registered could cause delays when applying for credit while the lenders search for the information elsewhere and can even cause some applications to be refused.

Mortgage applications

If you are looking to take out a mortgage or any kind of loan, ensuring your electoral roll information is up to date is vital as banks and building societies need to know the information about you is current before they will agree to an offer.

It’s the law

You can be fined up to £1,000 for not registering to vote!

Ordnance Survey Map Changes

We use Google and Ordnance Survey maps, both to illustrate the locations of data results, and in a map viewer at www.ukphonebook.com/maps. The map viewer defaults to Google, but you may select Ordnance Survey. A “full screen” option is provided, to maximise the window.

We also use O.S. maps in zonesearch.com.

The Ordnance Survey 1:10000 scale maps offer the highest detail (the maximum zoom). When we uploaded the most recent version of this scale, we wrote a process to analyze the changes from an older version; one of the changes it found is shown below.

The left hand view shows the current map; the right hand is the former map. Note the changes to the west of King’s Cross station in London.

To view King’s Cross in our map viewer, follow this link. You can also switch to Google maps, and view the satellite and “street view” options too, of course.