January 2010 Archives

G-Cloud or G-String : turning aspiration into reality

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Do read the Government IT Strategy. Much has changed from previous drafts. The big issue ia, however, to turn aspiration into reality. The claimed savings look like those in the Gershon report: impossible to achieve without a change of culture but pedestrian compared to those achievable  once that change has been achieved. 

How many active silver surfers are there?

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 The on-line petition on the Number 10 Website to save the London Freedom Pass for those over 60 has under 14,000 signatures - yet the over 60s are more likely to vote. Interestingly I had not heard of this petition until I received an e-mail ten minutes ago. Is this symptomatic of a disconnect between the concerns of the blogogracy and those of real people? Or does it mean that Londoners are ready for savage public spending cuts - even if they directly affect them and their parents?

BBC asks Ofcom for permission to lead the way into 1984

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In George Orwell's 1984 the TV screen in the corner also watches you. The PC or mobile that is the "extension to your mind" and your "window into world" is also the world's window into your mind, available for rent to any those will pay or who the government deems should have uncharged access. Surveys indicate that about a third of population is deeply suspicious - but not yet in a state of open revolt. The rest think "so what's new"?  

 

Drowning in Data Slurry as the "pipes" clog and burst

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The HMG actions to put more of its information on-line at data.gov.uk are surprisingly modest compared to today's hype. They are right to be so. THere are major issues to do with the accuracy of much of the data on their files, The Audit Commission and the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) are organising a round table on February 22nd on the quality of public sector information and the actions needed to ensure that much more of it is "fit for purpose".    

What is the difference between Cloud Computing and Time-sharing?

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Most of the enthusiasts today's have never heard of Time-sharing . They appear unaware that the on-line world already depends on a couple of dozen data processing and storage complexes adjacent to an equally small number of communications hubs: the result of thirty years of evolution and experience rather than a decade of innovation.

 

The Objectives of the US Cybersecurity Czar

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Howard Schmidt has been e-mailing his many contacts lining up feedback routines and drawing attention to the White House Blog entry on his objectives. His UK equivalent is the Office of Cybersecurity. Just after the e-mail from Howard I received a "security alert", from a bank with whom I have no dealings, inviting me to click on their (oh so slightly different) Get Safe Online logo - as well as on the link to "fix" my account.       

Will the consultation on MPs expenses be the break-through?

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Few consultations attract more than 500 submission. Almost none attract more than 5,000. The Conservative idea of a Cabinet Office prize for a system which facilitates mass-participation is certainly imaginative. But will the consultation on MPs expenses provide a  breakthrough to mass participation akin to the million who signed the petition against road charging. I doubt it will be possible to ignore the voice of the people this time. But will they speak?  

How safe are you off-line anyway?

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We tend to forget that the e-mails telling us we have won the Microsoft Lottery and phone calls telling us we have won a Caribbean cruise are merely the latest variations on scams which date back hundreds of years. Just before Christmas the National Fraud Authority published an extensive research report on the experiences of fraud victims. It makes chilling reading, to complement the weather outside if you are snowed in today. You will find the "story" in more succinct (equally bleak) form on www.thinkjessica.com (supported by SOCA and the NFA).

Would you trust a medical researcher with your data?

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The report on the consultation on "Additional Users of Patient Records" reveals some clear and unsurprising differences of opinion between the "general public", "patients" and "medical researchers". It also reveals the weakness of consultation processes that are based on anything other than structured sampling to ensure the responses are representative of the views of the target audience.     

Hangover cure: The Micro Men repeat - OTT but fun

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I thoroughly enjoyed the repeat of Micro Men on BBC4 and have just read some of the reviews and comments made when it first came out. I was annoyed by the OTT portrayal of Clive Sinclair, albeit the vignette of the Mensa groupies does not do justice to some of the drop-dead gorgeous redheads who clustered round him at the party he hosted that night. Perhaps the biggest "slander" is, however, the portrayal of their long-suffering bank manager

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