On supporting the ageism legislation
In response to Shaun D'arcy, who welcomed the government's age consultation document aimed at reducing ageism in the workplace
I support this law 100%. When we turn 45 we all expect to be able to find work to support ourselves. The opportunity to look for employment is an essential human right and one that gives dignity to people of all ages.
Older people have a lot more experience than their younger counterparts and this can be put to good use in the workplace.
On whether there are too many sports statistics
In response to Colin Beveridge, who wondered what use the Wimbledon statistics were to the tennis players
Sportsmen and women do not know the statistics when they are playing a match, but I think they would love to know if they had won every point in the match by going to a particular area of the court. This information could be relayed to them via a personal digital assistant in real time.
The statistics are used after the event to understand exactly where the match went well or badly and to analyse opponents before and after matches.
If you do not know where you have come from, you do not know where you can go or how to get there. This visual information can be particularly powerful.
Information overload is a clich' these days and organisations are spending a lot of money on key performance indicators and presenting this information graphically to the right people at the right level.
Although we could improve by focusing on the correct information, this has been happening for a number of years and is hardly news.
Remember that although the tennis stars are focused on the game rather than the statistics, this is only while they are on court.
They use the historical statistics as much as any business would when preparing for the match. They can evaluate their opportunities and threats and determine the best course of winning.
On what will happen to small NHS IT systems
In response to Maldwyn Palmer, who decried the sidelining of small IT suppliers in building the new NHS system
As a small IT supplier to the NHS, I am in total agreement with Maldwyn Palmer's comments.
We have been developing small, complex systems for a low number of users for hospital departments and research groups across the UK for the last 10 years. We have gained a substantial working knowledge of the issues and how to resolve them.
It is unclear at the moment what new business we may get in the future from the NHS or what will happen to our current systems.
I do not believe the big boys are going to be interested in developing the kind of systems we do, as they cannot make enough money out of it, even though there will still be a need for this type of system in the new NHS.
Some of the data in our systems needs to tie into the electronic patient record but it can be very specific about particular medical problems.
I do not believe a default data structure will accommodate all the data items required relating to, for example, male erectile dysfunction. I would be interested to learn how the new system will cater for extending the EPR, in terms of what data is stored and where.
I agree that XML or some specific extension is correct, but I worry it will not happen.
There could be some exciting times ahead for small suppliers, but right now it is just plain frustrating.
Tony Bennett, Sheffield Science Park