February 2010 Archives

Envisioning the future versus Digital Myopia

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An exchange at the beginning on the first session of the BIS Select Committee Broadband Enquiry encapsulates what is a stake in the current broadband debate. The Chairman asked what was driving demand for super high speed other than inter-active gaming. One witness said "Video". Another said that broadband today is "pretty good" and that 2 mbs would deliver things like BBC iplayer at 600 - 700K bps to a "decent sized TV screen".    

More bottlenecks than a brewery: the UK Broadband Network

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I was digging in Grimpen Mire this morning when a ray of sunlight pierced the fog. The BIS Select Committee Broadband Report make excellent reading. Its recommendations should form part of the election manifestos of both Government and Opposition. But the UK communications infrastructure has stagnated since local loop unbundling ended BT's gallop to bring fibre to most of the country. 

The Fog over Grimpen Mire: Cloud Computing revisited

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Last night, at a BCS meeting on the legal issues around Cloud Computiing, Miranda Mowbray of HP Labs opened a most informative discussion by presenting the material in a paper (see also the slides she used) which built on the analogy used by Bill Thompson in "Storm Warning for Cloud Computing" . Many of those present were either looking at Cloud services for their organisations or grappling with implementation.   

Drowning in Data Leaks v. Death by Data Protection

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What is good practice in information governance? I have blogged before on the Information Society Alliance competition for 3 minute multi-media clips to explain the principles to the ulitmate in rich, time poor audiences. The deadline for entries is March 1st. The judges include wickedly IT literate candidates from the main parties as well as representatives from some of the main employers of multi-media talent - not just the usual paranoid privacy wonks.

Does Cloud Computing need Superfast Broadband?

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At the recent PITCOM meeting on Cloud Computing one of the speakers was asked whether the availability of bandwidth would limit take up, including by small firms and teleworkers. The questioner was told this was not a serious issue. I have since been trying to find material on the bandwidth that would be needed by those seeking to cut their IT costs by transitioning to "The Cloud". 

Industry calls for user choice over pay per click advertising

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I was immensely heartened to read the Outlaw.Com note "Europe should adopt US behavioural advertising icon - and quick" . I do not always agree with what I receive from Outlaw.com but it is an immensely valuable service and this proposal seems far more sensible that most of the alternatives under discussion.   

Yes to the cut-price passport - alias young persons ID card

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A light has switched on in the Home Office. The IPS press release for the availablity of the Young Persons ID Card in London points out that it can be used as a passport across Europe. At £30 instead of £77.50 for an adult passport, of £49 for a child that is a saving worth having for those who do not wish to travel further afield    

Information Security Breaches Survey - who tells the truth?

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I have just completed the Information Security Breaches Survey 2010  . I was particularly annoyed with Question 36 which did not allow me to enter "none". I had to claim that security was included in the ISP contract of the organisation for which I was responding or drop out of the survey. I have no more read that heap of gobbledeygook than any of your managers or staff have read that of your organisation.  

Cloud computing is a nebulous concept

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The definition of Cloud computing depends on who you talk to. Most definitions cover services which were being supplied over the Internet by players like EDS and IBM to the US Department of Defence over a decade ago. Today these services underpin much of defence and financial services infrastructure of the West and are routinely used by customers who say they would never consider transitioning to something as untested as Cloud computing.

Is poor service forcing consumers off-line?

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Virgin, Tesco and Metro are all planning to open branch-based banking operations and the Post Office is planning, once again, to re-open its banking services. Why? The Financial Services Club Blog carries an interesting analysis but misses the point. There is serious money to be made by using new technology to slash the cost of "traditional" over-the-counter services - provided you have access to an existing branch network - especially one that is self-funding.  

Miss Marple monitoring the St Mary Mead CCTV

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What are the applications that would get the silver surfers on-line? Last week I attended the All Party Group on Rural Services broadband breakfast and have just taken a look at my doodles. I compared these with the points made in an e-mail asking me to comment on a submission to the BIS consultation on uses for the new Broadband fund. I was struck by the paucity of imagination of those discussing the bandwidth their customers might want.  

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