please empty your brain below

I wonder why us Android users can use the app with a 5-year-old version of Android but Apple can't support anything more than a 5-month-old one.
Now you can see how much easier it would be if we were all fitted with microchips.
I am finding it hard to tell where satire ends and truth begins - Sums up the whole sorry saga of 2020 really. I really wish I had kept a daily log, so that if/when this all goes away, it could be turned into a book. The only problem I can see is whether it would be treated as fiction or non fiction, because nobody would believe a word of it.
Thank you for explaining all that so well,DG. As I don't own a smart 'phone of any age and am well over seventy, it seems I am well and truly stuffed! 😏
However, to ensure that you,DG and all your followers are safe, I have been making sure that I always wear a mask and wash my hands before reading this blog. 😉 Please stay safe all.
But if you did actually want to find out how the app works the code is available on Github:
I was sat outside a pub in the Lake District the other day. It was about 9pm. I was by myself. There were two other customers and we all sat with a huge distance between us. I ordered a pint through an open window. There was a big draining area on the inside of the window so I was at least 1.5m away from the staff that served me, who was also wearing a mask. I sanitised my hands before and after every transaction

I dutifully did my paper track and trace stuff and mused on the fact that if there was an outbreak at this pub on this day I would be told to isolate despite having had next to no contact with anyone else.

At least you can ignore the app when it tells you...
You had me worried there but the regulations don't actually say that an individual must have a smartphone; they say that if they have a smartphone, they must be given a QR code to scan. That was very scary!

Requirement to display QR Code

6.—(1) A relevant person must in an appropriate place display and make available a QR Code at relevant premises that they occupy or operate with a view to achieving the aim in paragraph (2).

(2) The aim is to enable an individual who seeks to enter the relevant premises in a case set out in regulation 9 and has a smartphone in their possession to scan the QR code with that smartphone as, or immediately after, they enter the premises.
I’m one of those cheap skates with a 5 year old iPhone that can’t download the app.

It was also disappointing that the clip I saw of a minister extolling it’s virtues kept referring to sitting next to someone on a bus or train. This demonising of the supposed risk of public transport has destroyed it without as far as I can tell there being any evidence anyone has caught Covid in this way. All the outbreaks seem to be related to groups meeting in houses, pubs, student halls etc
Do we have to scan a QR code to get into Kent now?
As one of advancing age, I have made the choice to stick with an elderly Pay as You Go SIM only phone. For anything fancy, I use my wife's phone.

Now, if one (or both of us) scan the QR code on entry to premises, how can the system trace one, or other, of us?

Suggestions welcome, but NOT the obvious one, please.

dg writes: The legislation covers that.
The NHS Contact Tracing App is just a small part of some very muddled thinking and mixed messaging -- the one thing our government does very well.

If you are instructed to self-isolate you must, or you will be fined.

If you have this app (and use it) you are more likely to be instructed to self-isolate.

So having this app makes it more likely you will be placed into a difficult position and quite possibly fined.

The government suggests you download this app. Commonsense suggests you shouldn’t.
I haven't downloaded the app yet and even if I did my bluetooth is turned off most of the time. After all if the app itself can "talk" to a nearby phone, then couldn't a technically minded person use it to find other personal information on that phone?

As Still Anon hints, the days of everyone being microchipped at birth can't be that far away.
I have an iPhone 4, and I'm not even going to attempt to install a newer operating system. When it finally dies, I will replace it with the cheapest Android I can find in Stratford Market.
The real battle is community-mindedness versus self-centredness and paranoia.
This is beyond ridiculous.first it applies to the venue, does not put any obligation on the customer, unless it is in another piece of legislation. Then neither QR code nor smartphone are legal terms.
So if I download the app and go into an area (or country) which is under quarantine, then will it tell me?
Haha - this may be a parody today, but in these unusual times what seems impossible today is apt to come true tomorrow.
My phone only has one, non-default app on it and it's full, so that won't be happening!
But thanks for the cop out - I can wave my crappy phone at the pretty box and pretend it's done what it should!!

Also, I wish people would stop referring to it as the NHS Track & Trace. As far as I'm aware the NHS has nothing to do with it - it's all privately outsourced.
Calling it thus is just a ploy to blame the NHS when it inevitably fails to deliver - ie just another subliminal message to drive home that the NHS isn't working or fit for purpose and should therefore be sold off to their chummy mates for pennies as soon as possible.
Cornish Cockney - You'd be amazed at how many NHS services are outsourced...

Ultimately it's more about who owns the service than who runs it on their behalf. What would Serco Track and Trace mean to anyone? It's nonsense. It's meaningless. It's gibberish. Why would I deal with Serco Track and Trace?

No. You deal with NHS Track and Trace. The fact it's run by Serco for the NHS should be an irrelevance.

There's lots of examples of this. Take even household bin collection. There's a very good chance that your council doesn't run it itself... But whose bin collection is it?

(the arguments of whether this stuff should be outsourced is entirely different matter.)
I suspect nobody’s clicked on the QR code at the top of the post yet.
Some excellent points raised here, in addition to the ones DG mentions in today's post.

Going by the reviews (and official developer responses) I've read from the App Store, a key flaw appears to be the lack of ability to manually enter check in data on the app, or scan non-NHS style QR codes.

I've also had the bizarre experience of being asked to share check in data in a guest book, on open display in a church in deepest Oxfordshire. I was the only person in the church at the time, but I still complied out of fear of being smited by some deity, or (more likely) by some officious church member or local.

Oh and DG - I didn't dare click on the QR code. But I did notice the changes to your usual branding. Well done sir!
I tried to scan it, but my Nokia 6310i didn't seem to recognise it. I'll try the one in the pub later.
It is very simple.

Stay Home - Protect the NHS - Save Lives
I live in Australia so I won't be checking in. We have had our own COVID app for months which has been updated about six times and has helped identifying just one case. Ours was based on a Singapore app but refined for Australia. Hands on contract tracing seems to work much better, but when numbers get out of control.
I tried to scan DG's QR code displayed on my phone by holding the phone up to a mirror. Nothing happened. Can I have my money back please?
This is a classic case of no win, damned if you do, damned if you don't. The original home-grown attempt failed partly because it collected data centrally and so failed privacy laws. This one doesn't and so doesn't. The original Apple variant used too much power on Bluetooth and Apple initially refused to redress that. Now it seems they relented, but only on IoS 13.5+, which only works on iPhone 6+, so this limitation is down to Apple, not the government, who have done a pretty good job in the circumstances.

If most people who can use it do so, then statistically R will be reduced, which is the whole point of this and all the other new measures, despite the jagged edges and pickies. In reality the more conscientious will comply if they can, and the rest will stick up a finger or two and Carry On Regardless. Hopefully R will fall below 1 and more draconian measures can be averted.
I've decided the best strategy is not to move, not to breathe and, definitely, not turn on the tv or radio.
A nice balanced assessment from Strabismus. We can only hope that the Carry on Regardless brigade are not sufficiently numerous to cause the virus to spread exponentially.
Typical must-be-seen-to-do-something political bollox:I trust a simple 4cough will suffice.
The Carry on Regardless brigade are led by Dominic Cummings, officially endorsed by Johnson, so why would I heed any safety messages or exhortations to use the app from the government in light of the example that was set?
I have a five year old iPhone 6 not because I'm a cheapskate but because I like it.
I know this is satire but I completely agree with Strabismus’ sentiments. This government is damned if it does and damned if it does not. I am slightly bemused by how quick people are to criticise everything instead of thinking, “what could I have done better?” This does seem quite particular to the U.K. My biggest shock after returning to the U.K. after 20 years in Asia is how quick people are to criticise and complain instead of recognising that the government has not done a particularly bad job given the circumstances and the behaviour of people. We are not China and as such, are not going to lock everybody into their homes for three months. Nor are we small with a centralised state controlled media like Singapore which ensures that everybody does what they are told too. So given all the issues, the U.K. specific circumstances and how our knowledge of the virus has grown over the last six months, I personally do not think the government has done such a bad job. Most other countries have done no better than the U.K. and often much worse. But listening to the media or general commentators, you would be forgiven that thinking the U.K. is the worst country in the world with the worst approach to the virus. It is clearly not and the App is not a bad response especially given all the various difficulties faced in agreeing something applicable to all.
After your prompt I gave your QR code a go and bingo it worked. I don’t expect to be scanning any more QR codes, as the only places I have been on a regular bases in the last six months are the paper shop and the chippy, plus one visit to the barbers. For everything else I go online, but then I did all but my food shop online even before this mess happened.
I have loaded the app onto my phone, but I will be very surprised if I get contacted.

dg writes: The legislation suggests you'll be seeing a QR code next time you go to the barbers.
> I wonder why us Android users can use the app with a 5-year-old version of Android but Apple can't support anything more than a 5-month-old one.

On Android, Google decoupled a bunch of things from the base rom itself, because too many manufacturers would abandon handset models after only a couple of years.

This means that they are able to deliver updates to functionality via an update in the Play Store just like any other app.

This is how they delivered the exposure notifications framework to most phones
Radio 5 Live explained that the app pings a bluetooth message every 15 MINUTES and anyone in range would log your presence, and vice-versa, keeping the data for 14 days or so. They might be the other side of a wall... Then if you were shown to be positive, your database of pings would be downloaded to identify possible infections. But many shops I enter will be for far less than 15 minutes... How long do I stand next to someone in the street?
As a signed up member of Pedants Anonymous I feel bound to point out (again) that it isn't NHS Track and Trace - it's NHS Test and Trace. Track and Trace is about parcels.
Well said Will B and others.
Family members on various points of the compass tell of similar dissatisfaction with the local and national governments.
We're lucky enough here to be able to moan freely and should occasionally raise our eyes from our navels, glance across the channel and gain a little fillip from the similar gripes going on over there in Yurp-land, for instance.
A balanced view is the way to progress and twittering on about one rule for them and another for the rest of us is just words.
Awful as the situation the human race finds itself in, wanting as the semi-remedies are at present, they're going in the right direction and inaction is backward and helps no-one doesn't it? Surely.
I have a new smartphone but not being a mobile phone addict I have never had occasion to scan a QR code and don't know to do so. Do you just wave the phone about, or do you need to open the camera, and then how do you know whether it has done anything ?
PS. Just asked Siri how to scan a QR code and it just showed me what one looks like, not what to do with it.
The post has rather messed my head! I need to do a lot more reading up before I consider the app. I'm not likely to use the QR if it's not time sensitive enough. I had a rare evening at a favourite (empty) pub with a chum during the week. I was quite happy to have our names and numbers written on a piece of paper.

Where I take issue with how things are being done here is comparing it with Australia, where they issue daily lists of places and venues where transmissions have taken place with very specific times slots when infected people were there. It makes me feel we are hopelessly poking around in the dark here.

To crown it all, England's reluctance to put the brakes on household mixing while the rate is rising so quickly will probably end up with it becoming inescapable just in time for Christmas.
If your iPhone can't install iOS 13.5 you have bigger issues to worry about around not getting cyber security updates.

dg writes: My iPhone can't install iOS 13.5 but still receives regular iOS updates.

And before someone says 'well, it's within the power of Apple to update these things' - sort of. Each additional old device you keep compatible gives an exponential chance of some bit of code wrecking it for everyone.

Smartphones aren't designed to last for half a decade.

As for the 'check in' - the bluetooth bit is the bit that tells you that you were too close to someone (it knows broadly how close you get by signal strength, so for the behind the wall commentator up there - the signal strength will be poor, ergo it'll know you aren't close - it sees you have a strong signal on bluetooth to that person twice or more (hence the 15 mins bit) and that person later tests positive, then bingo bango, you get told to isolate.

What I can't work out is if you can add a positive test, that wasn't booked on the app.

the QR codes are an on-phone log, so if you do get a positive case and its 10 days later, you know exactly where you were, and *from* what time. It won't cause you to have to isolate if someone turned up 4 hours later and infected a load of folks.

Or at least, that is my understanding from looking at the code reviews.

The bad bit about the app is the QR codes though, not the how do you use them, but more the QR codes that are being used can only be used by the app. Realistically, it should have been dual purpose and go to a web page to type in all your details if you can't use the app.
Because of family connections, i travel often between London and Scotland. I already had the Scottish NHS app on my (android) phone.
I can only use the England/Wales app if I disable the Scottish one. A minor inconvenience for me - but more of an issue around Carlisle / Berwick where lots of folk work on the other side of the border from their home address.
Covid humour takes on a new dimension when you're actually diagnosed with it, as I was four days ago.

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