Friday, March 31, 2006
Let's get real for a sec. iPaqs are not designed to do what the Symbol devices do. HP need not make any apology. It is a white collar device. Symbols are made to take a battering on the front line.
1. I'm surprised at Wagamama taking so long to see the light.
2. I'm amused by Silicon apparently not wishing to offend the mighty HP (and their advertising revenue).
Tags: technology, IT, mobile, catering, iPaq, Symbol
Great for engineering. Possibly great for politics too, but I'll leave that for you to judge.
Tags: technology, engineering, polictics, Bournemouth, IEE
I don't know if anyone has tried a Traffic and Travel blog with mobile updates yet but here's my attempt:
The M25 is running ok clockwise from Junction 10 to 11. A minor two car incident at 11 is slowing things a bit before a larger fenderbender between 11 and 12 really slows things up. The volume of traffic then seems to make for slow going through to at least the junction with the M4.
The Anticlockwise M25 is running smoothly over the same stretch.
The M3 northbound exit slip at Junction 3 is backing up onto the motorway.
Now imagine if you aggregated similar blogs from other 'traffic watchers' with a useful search tool, you could build quite a useful real time travel news feed. Even better, if I had a mobile gui to save the typing and improve the data order.
If you make your fortune from this idea, I'm prepared to barter my "prior art".
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I'm doing a simple and quick search engine optimisation exercise for a legitimate traditional small business in a small UK town. When I enter the town and the nature of the business into Google, the first actual business returned isn't until page 3 of the returns. The rest are aggregators. Now, if a listing adds some value, then I don't have a problem, but they seem to solely exist to extract money from the likes of my client. Google seems to have overcome any possible ethical problem with tampering with results, so I wonder how much of an effort it would be or whether there would be legal consequences from disrupting the aggregators' business.
It leaves me wondering where Autonomy are with their Baysian search engine. They have their IDOL search product, but aren't really there in the consumer web domain. It could be really handy at times like this to have something which 'understands' context. Although I guess as soon as people know the rules, they apply them to their own ends.
Tags: technology, IT, Internet, search, Google
But basically, if the idea of standing (with nothing in particular to even lean on other than content, but intolerant, seat dwellers) for a good hour* appeals to you, then I can recommend dropping into your local travel agent and booking yourself onto the 1635 from Waterloo to Weymouth, Mon-Fri. I dare say you can do it on the interweb these days. I dread to think what the 1705, 1720 and 1735 are like.
The one redeeming fact was that I was able to watch the best part of Mr and Mrs Smith over someone's shoulder on their laptop- albeit without sound. I've seen the film before so the dialogue wasn't particularly important. As a side note, it was interesting to be able to see on how good an actor Mr Pitt can be.
*For the exact duration of my stand, find out when Angelina Jolie's character (Jane?) fires the shot gun through the wall at her husband from the stairs. You won't be reaching to dial for Norris McWhirter but to put this into perspective I booked flights to Carcassonne, France for less than today's return to London. No matter what you say about the lo cost airline in question, I figure I'm due a seat. I might land at the wrong aerodrome down the road, but I'll have a seat.
And another thing. I always considered using the train to be the green thing to do. It seems that it might not be all that simple. More later...
Tags: film, Mr and Mrs Smith, London, Bournemouth, Weymouth, train, railway, aviation, air travel, Carcassonne, environment
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
At the heart of the Radio 4 review was a "it's so bad, did they do it deliberately?" theme. I would concede that on that level they felt the audience might find it fun.
Now, I'd never have bet my mortgage on the word of a film critic, but this was a particularly stark example.
Tags: film, review, Basic Instinct 2, cinema
I know one downfall doesn't solve the water company's problems, but you wonder whether this is something to do with a changing climate- or 'twas it always thus?
As a Brit, I'm pleased to have managed several months before blogging about the weather.
Tags: York, flood, river, Yorkshire, environment, weather
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
This talk of Google, brings us to what I mean by verbalised trademarks. In an earlier blog I commented on BBC Radio 4 having a podcast and how this is a measure of technology acceptance. Well, building on this, another measure of super-acceptance is when your technology trademark becomes a verb. It is something we have striven for in my business, although that only applies in the niche we operate in- as sort of a term of endearance.
It won't be long until the verb "google" is entered into the dictionary and is joined by derivatives of the verbs "to photoshop" and "to skype". This is nothing new- unless Zip is a trademark, the earliest example which springs to mind is "to hoover". Obviously in this case a proper noun has become common aswell as a verb being created. On that note, why has Biro never become a verb when it has achieved common noun status? I doubt whether google or photoshop will become generic nouns to describe that area of functionality, but skype may yet stand a chance. Watch this space.
Tags: Technology, google, skye, photoshop, language
Their website doesn't seem to be ready yet, but watch this space.
Interestingly, despite many informative posters, blackboards and leaflets I saw no mention of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Odd that.
Tags: York, drink, beer, Yorkshire, real ale, CAMRA, nightlife
It was a great meal which everyone seemed to enjoy- even those new to the delights of benti, teriyaki and tataki- although I think I was the only one to have any raw fish. That's right. It's not all raw fish!
What was a surprise was to see flyers in a Japanese Shop in Coppergate, York advertising a Leeds Sushi restaurant called SiSushi. Not a wasabi about Buzz. I wonder how two such synergistic businesses in a modest sized city have avoided joining forces in some way.
Tags: York, Food, Japanese, Yorkshire, lifestyle
Monday, March 27, 2006
The Crescent in Ilkley staring out at this scene on Friday lunchtime, I might have been concerned. However, one word with the maitre'd and he'd have dabbed my financial brow by pointing out that it was only midday and every table in this picture is actually booked. Not only that, but once the revellers turned up, they would be knocking back the vino. Not quite the scene you expect for a provincial town but it ain't as grim up north as some people want you to believe.
I understand that the venue may be listed in The Daily Telegraph's "lunch for a fiver" promo, but this was proving a popular lunchtime spot by any measure.
For those wanting the usual incisive gluttony review (and in the words of the locals)- "it was nay t'bad 'n' proper beer n'all".
Tags: Ilkley, Food, drink, Yorkshire, lifestyle
Sunday, March 26, 2006
It's a fine line in retail between trying to engage customers in long and profitable relationship and coming on too strong. This morning, a Sunday, I saw a young mother juggling her restless kids trying to buy an antivirus package. Not a large personal retail commitment by her, and clearly all she wanted was to get on with the day. However, the keen young salesman knew his job was to sell in the options so off he went ,"how do you wish to pay?".
"Credit card" she said, wrestling a toddler down the aisle.
"Do you pay that off monthly?" he continued.
As the conversation went out of earshot I had to wonder whether it would have been more appropriate to just make her experience as easy as possible. That way, she might come back again.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
If ever there was a benchmark that a technology has gone mainstream, is when it's adopted by the listeners of Radio4. Having said that, the launch of their Newspod was met with enquiries about "what happened to the old spod?". Ah well...
My film munching Minolta SLR has been sat under the bed for about two years and even my digital camera has not seen the light of day since way before Christmas. Instead, my Nokia N70 (and 6230 before it) have been an ever present camera about my person. With the ease of transfer between devices, I haven't printed to hardcopy in months, but when I last did, I used an Internet based service that delivered to my door for a very reasonable fee.
Now, I'm building quite a sizeable music collection on my phone and any thought of needing an iPod or iRiver is long gone. Video quality doesn't quite compete with camcorders yet, but then, I never felt the need to buy a camcorder.
So it looks like world domination is in order. I wonder when my idea of Nokia doing a joint venture with Victorinox, the makers of Swiss Army Knives, will happen? Just think, all those tools in a phone form factor. You read it here first. More realistically, I think Swatch's design concepts could work well for a mobile phone maker. They should look into that.
Tags: technology, mobile, phone, photography, business
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Tags: UK, politics, budget, news
After trials by Pipex in Stratford and Telabria in Kent, Urban WiMax are launching their WiMax service across customers in Westminster with plans for other cities to follow. The service will offer businesses up to 10Mb symmetrical internet access at up to half the BT rate for SDSL.
I'm close to one of the world's largest WiMax equipment manufacturers but have never 'consumed' their product, so I'd like to know if there are any differences from S or A DSL services. Latency springs to mind. Let me know your thoughts.
Tags: technology, IT, WiMax, comms, broadband, wireless
All the big tech blogs are covering this, but what interests me is that Bill Gates made his keynote speech at MIX06 just the day before. I wonder if the news was kept under wraps until afterwards?
Tags: technology, IT, Microsoft, software, business
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
But then, I saw something amazing. A far sighted developer has seen the buildings for what they really are- prime examples of Art Deco architecture. One of the sister buildings (it used to be called Vulcan House I think) has been turned into highly desirable office accommodation. I wonder if they've kept the name? By the way, I think I got lucky with the blur of the train on the Great Western (Hail Brunel)- it adds to the pic.
If I remember rightly, this is the building where microwaves were first discovered or applied, being part of the EMI "His Master's Voice" factory complex bordering Blyth Road, Hayes which turned from producing gramaphones and music, to churning out munitions in the First World War. Activities then broadened into other areas of Defence engineering until the 1990s under the names ThornEMI and Thomson-CSF. These buildings tell quite a story, including employing royalty (perhaps a later blog), it would be a shame to see them disappear when they can be put to such good use.
The manufacturing facilities and management suite was in a building called Apollo which is currently in the same sorry state as Phoenix House. Just a glance on Google Earth (513015N002537W) and you can see the extent of the redevelopment by the cool new car park layout and the whiter-than-white lick of paint. I wonder whether all the buildings are scheduled for redevelopment?
When will Phoenix rise from the flames?
Tags: architecture, London, art deco, history, business, military
The Millennium Dome was commissioned by the Government and designed by Richard Rogers, as a showpiece for the Millennium celebrations. Marred by controversy, this amazing building -the World's largest dome- lies empty and with an uncertain future. Bidders were invited to submit proposals, but after the winning bidder, Nomura, withdrew this left merely deflated discussions with the Plan B team, Legacy, who wish to turn it into some sort of technology business park. Sadly, it seems that it has lost its ability to excite and spur the imagination. I had wondered whether the London 2012 Olympics might be a cause to bring it back to life, but it seems that politicians dare not utter its name. Let's build a new velodrome instead shall we? Don't tell me it's not big enough.
For all its grandeur on the south bank of the Thames, it's quite a sad sight... especially when framed between two mounds of scrap metal on the opposite bank!
Tags: architecture, London, millennium, technology, business, Olympics
Now, the low cost airlines are set to accelerate the phenomenon by charging extra for hold baggage and encouraging us to jam everything into the overhead lockers. Makes perfect business sense. Baggage systems and the associated costs of handling bags is not trivial. Add in the fact that laptops need to be separated at the scanners and things are starting to spiral.
Already it has got to the point where I select my queue at the security based on who is statistically likely to be carrying their worldly goods in their flight bag- tutting at whoever can't do without conditioner for just one night or scoffing at those who have not down sized from a brush to a comb. A short comb at that. I'm also used to protecting my head when my plane has landed at the destination and said bags are swung out of the overhead bins. I can't complain, I'm one of these air warriors. I admit to being able to cram my overnight goodies into a space the size of an ice cream tub (Wall's, not Ben & Jerry's- who do you think I am, Gandhi?). However, I dread the logical conclusion this is all heading towards for the air travel experience.
I wonder what the space in the holds of aircraft will be used for in the future? Will aircraft design change with the times?
Tags: airport, business, air travel, aviation
Monday, March 20, 2006
To be considered, you must be in the ball park of deciding whether the $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000 deposit is appropriate. With that small matter out of the way, all you need to do is telephone TAG when you want to fly, and they’ll get it all sorted. As this post goes to press, I'm not sure whether Thresher or Sainsbury's are affiliated to the scheme.
Tags: airport, business, air travel, aviation, luxury
On the flip side we have a mutual blog-back-slapping in the finding of another local blogger called Matt. To be fair, he found me. Once I've been scrumpin' apples I'll learn how to use a search engine :)
I'll be staying tuned to Matt's musings.
Tags: technology, IT, printer, Internet, blogging, Dorset, Poole, Bournemouth
If anyone's watching TV and that rings bells, then let me know. I'm curious to know what it was all about.
Tags: film, dorset, TV, poole
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Just watch the World Rally Championship and you start to realise how much more understandable and exciting the appropriate use of production technology can be to a sport. Formula 1 has increasingly become a sport of tyre and fuelling strategy and this often means that the competition for a position at the end of the race is between two cars who are not racing head to head for the other 50 laps. With a little imagination it would be fantastic to play out this race.
Last weekend Raikkonen came from being nowhere in the coverage before I stepped into the shower, to 3rd place on my exit from the shower. Why could his progress not be tracked as a sub plot to the big story nearer the beginning? Today in Malaysia, even the commentators were unsure as to where Button was as Alonso exited the pit to take 2nd place. In the event there was no buzz around a few critical seconds of the weekend. If the experts haven't a clue, how are punters expected to know?
Come to think of it, Murray Walker used to bring these tussles alive supplemented by a graphic to indicate the growing or decreasing gap between two cars- I've seen little of that of late. In a time of interactive TV, open standards and the web, the boffins should be a hotbed of ideas. There is no reason why an ounce of the technology effort going into the teams can't be directed into bringing these visualisations to the audience.
Well, actually I guess there are reasons. Politics. It would seem that the revs, gear, throttle, brake and speed indicator has been the full extent of their imagination to date. Come on F1. Think laterally.
Tags: F1, Formula One, Formula1, sport, technology
Tags: architecture, dorset, homes, poole
But then, on arrival at the X-Ray department I saw something promising. With a new system they are evidently very proud of called Photographic Archive and Communication System (PACS) the hospital is able to capture the image digitally so that other departments (in my case A&E) can look it up on a high resolution monitor before the patient has hobbled back to the ward. The viewing software has facilities to make use of the high image quality (zoom, pan, artificial colour etc), hence making more effective diagnoses, and making the whole end-to-end process more efficient. On talking to the Emergency Practice Nurse, it would seem that they use an Orthopaedic dept in a different trust. Nowadays, the "Orthopods" can just access the images at the press of a few buttons. Referrals like that used to take days- at least.
Anyway, back to the rest, ice, compression and elevation for me.
Tags: technology, IT, healthcare, hospital
Saturday, March 18, 2006
So, it's come as a surprise to be slurping my coffee this morning whilst watching an amusing interview with a Microsoft lawyer who's coming across as someone you could enjoy a drink with. The man is Don McGowan and you find that a 50 minute masterclass in software law comes across as entertaining.
Just over 9 minutes in the truth slips out- Don is Canadian. This picture before me starts to become more understandable.
Tags: technology, IT, Microsoft, law, patents, software
Anyway, 1812's restaurant is at the back of the bar and we were given excellent seats by the stage (which is actually in the bar area, but seperated from the foodies by only a glazed wall and the music is piped through). Aside from enjoying the fantastic company (she reads this occassionally you know), I spent an evening experimenting with engineering solutions to the water feature by our table, that was decidedly lacklustre.
It was the sort of menu you would expect. No huge surprises, but then, that's not what this place is about. I'm not a great food critic, but the Tempura prawns and Lamb went down a treat (the tenderness of the lamb is worth a mention however). MissClick's gravalax looked a bit stingy to me, but the steak was apparently done to perfection. The puddings HAVE to be mentioned- an Eton Mess in a tall knickerbocker glass and a Creme Brulee without fault.
To add to the merriment of the waterfeature's shortcomings, there was a waiter (otherwise excellent by the way) who was having one of those nights with his wine glasses and some ClickFriends through in the bar who did their best to damage the self esteem of the musicians (a keyboard and guitar combo) by walking out after their first song. I'm sure it wasn't personal and they just had somewhere to be :) Good to see you guys.
I think that the 1812 website risks being misleading. If you look at the "people galleries" you might be led to believe that 1812 is more raucous than it really is. To its disadvantage I think. This is because the websites, phones and emails of the hotel, Bar So and 1812 are very intertwined and the pictures are actually almost entirely from Bar So. Don't get me wrong, I like Bar So for a loud and lively night, but 1812 is the place to go and enjoy the company of your friends. It's by no means dowdy or quiet for all of that.
Tags: Bournemouth, Food, drink, nightlife, lifestyle
Friday, March 17, 2006
In response to questions about his ability to get on the podium he referred to needing the perfect race and then said "If you have any sort of issue these days, with how competitive the field is, you have no chance of getting on the podium, let alone winning a race."
Well, Kimi Raikkonen managed to put his McLaren in the top three after a huge, ahem, “issue” which put him to the back of the grid. So clearly, the Button rule does not apply to McLaren. You have to put the Ferraris and Renaults in that league too.
I’m sure Jensen has the ability, but it looks like he needs a weekend to go all his way and perhaps for others to run into difficulty. Still, it’s early doors and let’s see how all the teams evolve over this weekend.
Tags: F1, Formula One, Formula1, sport, Malaysia
If this wasn't reason enough, the new logo compliments the US side of the operation, Firstgiving.
I hope this breath of fresh air carries you well into the future guys!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I'd be interested to know if this is being done outside of the UK too or is it something peculiar to our culture?
Tags: coffee, travel, drink, business
I've seen the Brabus Smart. They're fairly common, but "Pimp my Smart"?
Tags: cars, automobiles, Smart, London
NOT ALL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANCIES ARE THE SAME.
This was not an issue of cost either. The superb pitch which showed insight, expertise and capability was in the bottom two by hourly rate. The most expensive two showed a singularly black and white, one dimensional view of IT.
Anyway, the old bug bear of mine reared its head. The "we will integrate all functions to create a single system" mentality. Oh please. This is enterprise computing. We thought that a decade a go. When will these people learn that it is about collaboration. Taking technology pockets of excellence and orchestrating them to do do something valuable. Interoperability is the starting point, not the weaving of it together afterwards to make sure it works.
Things to look out for in IT Strategy pitches are:
1. a list of skills like "Oracle, .Net, J2EE". *bangs head against wall*
2. any description of IT strategy which begins, and possibly ends, with "requirements gathering".
3. any patronising 'sage' advice given with a nod and a wink such as "the one thing I would urge you to do is get a prime contractor".
4. hidden agendas. Often these rear their heads in the form of alliances, product plays and an overemphasis on "proprietory vs open source".
5. boilerplate strategy. Let them pitch a methodology or framework but one size does not fit all. See how good they are at tailoring the process on the fly to your circumstances after raising some specific issues. Many will run out of steam.
6. Single faceted, unqualified, stock answers. The answer is not the same for all organisations and often there are many answers. Answering a question with a question is ok if it starts a meaningful debate that the consultant narrows down to a solution set. The "single monolithic system" sceanrio mentioned above falls into this category.
Anyway, it's not all bad. Let's remember that one out of the 5 was phenomenal.
Tags: technology, IT, strategy, consulting
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Tags: technology, Internet, Flickr, Web2.0
I'm not sure where that leaves the T5 contract notice- is it a shoe in for The Cloud? Is it scoped so as to seperate the kit from the service? Will BAA build it's own wireless infrastructure for its own apps? This'll be interesting to see play out.
It's also not clear whether BAA Aberdeen is part of the deal. The press releases talk of 6 airports, with Aberdeen being the only one of BAA's 7 airports not mentioned in the rollout plan. However, the example of a business traveller includes Aberdeen in the scenario.
Still, I'm glad that I'll be able to use my TheCloud account in most of the UK's major airports now.
Tags: technology, mobile, wireless, wifi, wi-fi, Internet, airports, aviation, Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick
Can't wait for Zooomr to be back up and running. My fave feature is the ability for photos taken in the same area at the same time to be associated around the concept of being a common event. Compare your photos with others at the same event!
Tags: technology, Internet, Web2.0
"...massive rumblings under the hood" eh Dave? Watch this space.
Tags: technology, Internet, Technorati, Web2.0
Anyway, each day the site is updated (evening in the UK) with videos that highlight people and the technology they're using. At the end of the week the clips are compiled into a 'best of' style programme. In the UK we'll probably already be in the pub so it might, at best, be decent hangover material or something to crank you into Monday.
The secret to success will be how gripping that content is, but with the success of Channel9 (moreso Stateside than in Europe) the formula is proven.
Tags: technology, IT, Internet, Microsoft
Monday, March 13, 2006
Tags: technology, IT, security
OPEN SOURCE does not mean FREE. I don't mean in some clever ambiguous total cost of ownership sense, but in the basic "I want to buy this software" sense. If you want free software, look out for "Free Software". Often, Open Source is free, but not always.
The Open Source Initiative says, with respect to free, that the software must be able to be REdistributed for free. It is about not placing restrictions downstream. The code owner could choose to charge the buyer for it, but is not permitted to restrict the use by the buyer.
As the Open Source initiative puts it in answering a developer's question about whether they can charge for their Open Source software, "You can sell your code. Red Hat does it all the time. What you can't do is stop someone else from selling your code as well".
This is an important distinction. The source code has value which the owner is permitted to generate revenues from whilst still falling within the scope of Open Source. Obviously, the model encourages you to look for other ways to add value to your code such as consultancy and support, but all those pedalling "it's free" as a benefit of Open Source should check- it's not always true and they're doing the industry a disservice.
Tags: technology, open source, computing, software
Tags: technology, Internet, Technorati, Web2.0
If Button and Barrichello had spent less time in the opening laps trading manouevers, it might be easier to tell if their cars could hold with the pace of Ferrari and Renault. Ok, so Button was closing on Raikkonen in the closing laps, but Kimi was probably nurturing a vehicle which had come from the back of the grid to overhaul all but two cars. Incredible achievement.
Whatever happens, I think the first race bodes well for the season. An apparently exciting qualifying format. Close racing between the top two teams. An undoubtedly fast McLaren. Williams putting in a fastest lap from a fresh F1 talent in the shape of Nico Rosberg, and proving that the privateers stand a chance against the might of the manufacturer backed teams. Lots of overtaking in the midfield with much to play for between Red Bull, Toyota, Midland F1 etc. Tyre changes are back (wahoo). The questionmark over whether the V8s will go the distance in Malaysia. Oh, and the occasional irreverent remark over the pit-to-car radio... nice one Giancarlo.
Tags: F1, Formula One, Formula1, sport
Andy really rates a Spanky Wilson version on the Tom Middleton mix CD "The Trip" too. Must get hold of that.
Tags: music, dance
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Tags: food, Salisbury
What are they on? As well as the well known tales, I've just been hearing about a less popular one these days. Imagine a Princess who ran away to hide under a donkeyskin from an animal which used to pass gold coins. Imagine describing that plot to a potential publisher. Quite.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
As this is exclusively a private jet airport (no chance of Ryanair flying from here in the next decade!) it was particularly interesting from the perspective of seeing how the other half live.
The owners of the holding company know a thing or two about the executive jet business AND lifestyle. TAG stands for Technique Avant-Garde and that reflects the ethos of the activities to which the Swiss brothers who own TAG elect to apply their expertise. Farnborough is just one strand of their aviation portfolio and compliments the Formula 1 and luxury goods interests. Technically, TAGHeuer is no longer owned by the brothers, but their father's legacy lives on and with far sighted investments such as the new airport infrastructure, that success can only continue well into the future. A success, I hope, that will be trailblazed by their F1 team this year.
Tags: airport, business, architecture, aviation, Farnborough, F1
In part this is because Jensen Button is the UK's home grown talent most likely to do great things. However, it also due to me thinking they could be the most exciting team in terms of progress since last season.
Note that for the record, if I were choosing a team for a fantasy F1 team, I would choose Torro Rosso because they're a well funded team using what should be ultra reliable V10s. They may start way down the grid, but should come through on the basis of attrition.
Tags: technology, formula1, F1, motorsport, sport
Friday, March 10, 2006
Then, on the advice of crazylittleworldofmine I thought I'd try Opera. It is like a breath of fresh air. Bear in mind the limitations of a small screen and these folks have really cleverly thought about how to scale down the experience whilst keeping the whole shebang slick. Hats off to you.
Tags: technology, IT, mobile, Internet, browser, Opera
Only when I picked up the Evening Standard later that evening did I put two and two together and return to the picture to confirm it was a Brazilian flag on the vehicle (which I believe belongs to the Queen). I'm glad we saved them the tube fare.
Tags: Brazil, Queen, politics, London
Three developers are set a challenge which involves a voyage of discovery into whatever new thing MS are trying to let us know about. They then have to build a solution against the clock involving what they've learnt. There is always an interesting slant- Epsiode 2 was delivered from a dev environment set up in a Seattle Shopping Mall. Episode 3 was titled "Breaking into Las Vegas" and pitted the whits of six world-class security experts against ThePlaza's online money management system.
The Code Room has laughs for everyone, but I think the world will be divided into those who laugh with and those who laugh at. Full realism- from the geek social skills right down to the last slice of pizza.
Tags: technology, IT, Microsoft, TV
The square root of minus one, i, is like religion:
They're both an extra plane which are difficult to define in the physical space but which are essential to solving many problems. You don't need to understand in tangible terms what you are dealing with, but you come to the right answer when you re-emerge into the real world.
Tags: mathematics, religion, imaginary, theology
As the train peels off the Great Western line in Hayes it plunges into a tunnel. A very deep tunnel. By the time you alight at Heathrow, it's quite a way to the surface. In fact, on my last visit the other day, it struck me that it's a real problem for claustrophobes and vertigo sufferers (not a core market for air travel, I'll grant you). You have a choice. Rise to the surface on an air-on-all-sides escalator which must climb something like 50 to 80 metres. Even I held on a little more firmly than I normally would. Or take a lift... those small boxes on a cable.
All this just goes to reiterate the engineering feat, most markedly with immense concrete walls rising from the depths. Little wonder that the return ticket price needed to pay for it all was over 3 times the same journey by tube.
I wonder how the modern experience compares to what the Victorians thought when they first saw I K Brunel's wonder at the other end of the Heathrow Express- Paddington Station?
Tags: train, airport, Heathrow, engineering, architecture, Brunel
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Tags: WWII, History, Stockton, San Francisco, San Carlos, Phoenix, Houston, aviation, airport
Compare and contrast.
It just struck me how excited civilisation gets at domes that for centuries organisations of all sizes have aspired to them. Or should that be 'adomed'?
Tags: history, architecture
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The 2006 1st prize for 'Advertising Christmas Early' (sponsored by Noel Edmond's jumper knitters) goes to Youngs Hotels of Bournemouth. According to the leaflets adorning reception at The Queens, their 5 hotels have everything sorted down to the chipolatas to ensure your Christmas party goes with a swing.
Welcome to Spring.
Techies in the audience might like to know that this was my 1st blog posted from my mobile. Apologs for n e mistoikes.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Here's the deal. One luxury cruise ship. A captive audience of handpicked and vetted IT execs adrift for 4 days beyond mobile telephone interruptions. One on one match-made meetings. A pre-prepared insight into the issues of each IT exec based on a comprehensive survey. Opening and keynote addresses by top entertainers and business leaders. Black tie, compulsory attendance dinners every night with carefully planned seating arrangements.
Want to find out more? Look at the IT Directors Forum. Hurry, there are only a few places left.
Tags: Events, IT
As someone whose career has been spent in engineering and IT, I've seen the dangers of when things swing too far the other way and all the positive discrimination nasties creep out. So, I was very intrested to see how this gender gap is actually reversed in the IT sector where, in a study by the Chartered Management Institute in 2005, the average female IT manager earned 2% more than her male equivalent. Before we hoorah the apparently progressive IT business- why is this? According to the Women In Technology (WIT) networking group, women are definitely more in demand for things such as their soft skills and having more interest in results than in the bits and bytes. However, with laws designed to maintain gender pay parity, it seems odd to me that 'demand' should make any difference.
Phew, you try writing that whilst trying to avoid being accused of rampant sexism.
Tags: Gender, IT
Monday, March 06, 2006
Tags: IEE, IMechE, technology, Naval, submarine
Niels Ferguson from the BitLocker team explained that whilst they have been talking to Government Agencies, it has been about their own data security. He then leaves it wide open again by saying "[law enforcement agencies]... foresee that they will want to read BitLocker-encrypted data, and they want to be prepared". So, despite absolute statements about there being NO back doors, Microsoft's position remains muddy.
Are we, therefore, looking at a potential cat flap? Side door perhaps? Keys under the doormat anyone?
I could be reasonably thought of as broadly a supporter of Microsoft so I'm not raising this because I believe they have malicious intent. Far from it, I just find this discussion interesting from a definitions point of view. A back door suggests something about access. Well, to allow the law enforcement agencies to do their job, they don't need to go the whole way to providing access to Microsoft's clients' PCs. But if MS were to share encryption algorithms and techniques with forensic infosecs, would that technically be a back door?
What if that information was also publically available. Or to a lesser degree of detail? Or the knowledge released to officials first? What shade of grey is this back door?
Tags: technology, IT, Microsoft, Vista
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Although the organisers could not publicise the event with this sort of preamble, 1001 Inventions at The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester looks like just the tonic. At a time when many consider Islamic countries to be technologically inferior to those in the west, it is perhaps a useful reminder that after the collapse of the Roman empire and the rise of a relatively dictatorial Chritianity, Europe was plunged into a dark age. It was cities like Bahgdad and Cairo that became the hotbeds of scientific progress, nutured by the spirit of enquiry enshrined in Muslim teachings.
The headline inventions, as published to the excellent website, are "...coffee to clocks, from a 1000 year old cook book to how the camera works.", but my favourite is cheese!
The website even has a blog and some excellent comment features which, rather than being sidelined to a forum, are right at the heart of the content. One comment sure to raise eyebrows is that in the 13th Century, Ibn Al-Shatir figured out that the earth rotated round the sun- long before Copernicus or Kepler.
Tags: science, culture, history, muslim, islam, manchester
Friday, March 03, 2006
Yes, it's amazing, but personally I'd be concerned at how the level of attention required to build their mere 18 page website is projected onto the 160 storey, 705 metre high giant. On the website, click on "Downtown Dubai" followed by "Burj Dubai" and a hyperlink appears to the same website as you're currently looking at- but pops it up in a new window. Terrible. I hope that when I step into the bathroom in my 120th floor apartment that I don't step out again into the foyer of the Boulevard Crescent next door.
I initially enjoyed the website for avoiding the cliched profile of the building's silhouette compared against the other tallest buildings of the world. It was refreshing for them to put aspiration before the stats. However, in the end I found myself wanting the numbers and loathing the marketing. Where are the numbers? How big? How tall? How many rooms? It makes you wonder what the thinking behind the site is. It's too patronising for a direct sell. It's subtler than that. I think it's fanning the egos of prospects by attempting to provide an insight into how the great unwashed will be in awe of their "vision" and "resources" affording them "the opportunity to live in the world's tallest building". Interesting, because that's not quite how I tick.
Tags: travel, culture, architecture
Many stations have started to charge and some have disappeared from the e-waves like Coppernob Radio (aka cnSohoLive)- probably something to do with that aforementioned charging and tight folk like me. Anyway, DI FM have premium services for those whose wallets aren't big enough to hold all their disposable income, and retains certain tight-wad options for the rest of us. A broad looking array of download speeds and formats are available. If I didn't hide my journalistic review talents behind a thick wall of laziness, I'd work out if there were any options they've missed, but then I'm doing this for free you know. Buy a few books through my links to Amazon and I might start to see what I can do. Lots of community and syndication stuff for the full sticky experience* too. Meanwhile, I suggest you give it ago. Even if dance music isn't in your duffle bag baby, there are listings of everything from classical to new age across DI FM's sister network, Sky.fm.
Incidentally, if your bag is less duffle and more metallic and you live in London, the hot guest list this weekend is the launch of Above and Beyond's new album, "Tri-State", on Saturday night. I wonder if the wonderful Justine Suissa will make a live appearance (Above and Beyond+Justine=Oceanlab)? A 3 hour set by the lads would be a long time to go with out some Oceanlab shaped breathers.
*something I read once
Tags: technology, Internet, Internet radio