Monday, October 30, 2006

RIP Pluck RSS Reader

It's a sad day at ClickTowers on reading the news that Pluck are withdrawing from the RSS Reader market. It seems that they've found some effective ways at earning revenues by targetting the publisher (and their budgets) which make their consumer facing products nonsensical. I've been a happy user of Pluck for a year or so. Oh well, I'm sure a star will come forward to fill the void. Perhaps it's time to try the inbuilt readers of Firefox and IE7 (another reason that Pluck have thrown in their towel on this one).

Aren't you glad you never got round to that corporate roll out?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Technorati not indexing properly

I've been restrained. I've kept my lid on. It could just be me, you see. I don't want to lower my high brow blog (ha ha) into the gutter and use it to leverage my complaint- surely?

You better believe it.

Regular readers (ok, put your hand down mum) will know that I'm a big fan of Technorati. However, they seem to have stopped indexing my site properly. I've not changed the way I ping. I've not changed the site structure. I upgraded to the Beta Blogger, but the problem didn't start immediately. Anyway, according to Technorati I've not posted anything for about 25 days. The problem seems to get worse too, in that previously indexed posts are being removed from their listing! Stranger and stranger.

Surely it's not just me. Or is it? They're out to get me. I knew it.

The problem is exacerbated by three weeks of three support emails (correctly labelled with support tickets etc) going unanswered. Please please please Technorati. Help me.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Adobe Acrobat 1: Information Governance 0

I was looking for a piece of information earlier today and stumbled across a PDF document online courtesy of Google. It turns out that the document is a 'leaked' "Commercially in Confidence" report of the National Audit Office on the NHS's National Programme for IT. The copy I was looking at was on the BBC website. There are some things in the report which would come as no surprise for most professionals, but obviously the press picked up on them and had a field day. What is really interesting though is that either the source or the BBC chose to black out some of the text which they deemed particularly sensitive. Therefore you can't read it in the PDF...

...or can you?

Of course you can. You simply select the blacked out text and cut and paste it into another application. Hey presto, you can read it as plain as day.

It makes for interesting reading, but my point is that office applications are so feature rich these days that users often lose out in the security stakes to them. "Track changes" in Microsoft Word is also a great example. The contracts I, or my colleagues, have been sent where you can recollect the internal discussions and tactics of the opposite parties, never cease to surprise me.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, October 20, 2006

Abuse of Chatham House Rules

I was pleased to meet with Richard Granger, the Director General of NHS Connecting For Health, (aka NHS IT Chief) earlier this week. I have to say he was very impressive and it was a good opportunity to hear about the GREAT progress being made in many areas of the National Programme for IT. Clearly, all things the press is not interested in printing.

However, I can't say any more because the event was Chatham House rules. That is, people can take away what was said in the meeting, but it is not to be referenced in a way which makes it attributable to any individual present. This encourages openness and enables us all to learn from mistakes as well as successes.

Richard Granger suffers much at the hands the media. You could argue that's just part of the job- and that is fair enough. My point is that comments which he made last week in a Chatham House rules governed event are now splashed across the pages of the New Statesman and have been picked up by all the usual healthcare IT publishers. We have to lose this rapcious appetite for sensational headlines if we can have reasonable discussions we can all learn from.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to Drive a 4x4 and Still Save the Planet

How to Drive a 4x4 and Still Save the PlanetA date for your diaries... I'm pleased to announce the second* of the 2006 programme of the Institution of Engineering and Technology lectures in Bournemouth will be on November 9th.

How to Drive a 4x4 and Still Save the Planet
…Will Climate Change Your Life?

A talk by Anthony Day based on his upcoming book about climate change, exploring what it’s really all about and where we should focus our efforts.

Venue: Bournemouth University (Talbot Campus), Coyne Lecture Theatre
Date and Time: Tea/Coffee from 6:30pm. Presentation from 7pm, Thursday 9th November 2006
Meeting contact: Richard Atkinson, Bournemouth Convenor,

This talk is free and open to anyone interested in the topic.

*What happened to the first, I hear you cry? Well, the IEE merged with the IIE to create the IET in the middle of this year (got that?). The previous lecture, "45 million miles from Earth" predated the merger so went under the auspices of the IEE.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to get your work into the British Library...

Thanks to Steve who pointed this out to me... on 17 October 2006 we will all have our chance to go down in the history books by taking part in the Biggest Blog EVER and go into the archives of the British Library FOREVER.

17 October has been designated as an historic date. The organisers want as many people as possible to record a ‘blog’ diary of this one day - 17 October - which will eventually be stored by the British Library as a permanent historical record of our national life at the beginning of the 21st century. This is a one off, one day diary done on a mass scale – that will itself make history.

The event asks you to write your blog diary at HistoryMatters and ..."Please include in your blog how history impacted on you that day – whether it be simply travelling past an historic landmark, discussing family history at home, watching another repeat of Only Fools and Horses, or listening to Dad’s 60’s music, again!". You don't even need to come up with something profound- they want to record real life. Diaries can be added from 17 to 31 October.

Or you could just write a book, find a publisher, have the book published with an ISBN number... I'll opt for the blog for now.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Web2.0 to hit Health Care with Super-Consumers

Hold on to your hats. Whilst the world's eyes are on the major social networking manouveres by Google, NewsCorp (MySpace), Yahoo et al, there is a breed of niche network providers squaring up to fundamentally change entire sectors. The latest is OrganizedWisdom which enables people to share their health care experience. Whilst the site might not be rewarding today... just watch as the knowledge base explodes exponentially on the back of the user base growth. The whole thing will start to feed itself and, as long as the back end and finances of this service can scale, I predict that this could become the hottest technology in the whole health care sector.

There is a fantastic interview with the co-founder, Unity Stoakes, by Shahid Shah on Healthcare Guy. I've not seen such a well formed description of the impact of Web2.0 on health care. Doctors talk about the Google effect bringing patients in with ideas about what's wrong with them. This is just the start of a new wave of super-consumerism.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Service Oriented Architecture Landmark

On Monday, probably the world's leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) through it's CRM solutions, upped the ante. Now that users are comfortable with the web based software delivery model, Salesforce are making AppExchange (ApEx), their proprietary application language, available to customers and developers. This means that Salesforce will become closer to being a data and processor utility. The utility's services will be available to users through the use of ApEx.

This is a major shift in marketing... not a shift in policy, as this infrastructure play must have been their long term play for many years (otherwise they'd have farmed it out). Salesforce are now in direct competition with SAP. Who'd have guessed that when the company was founded in 1999? That's why they're worth 3 times as much as YouTube :)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Future of 'Ologies' in the UK

On Saturday I surprised myself by attending an interview with Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, by Anthony Minghella at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. I'm glad I went. Ostensibly, it was an interview about the Chancellor's book (a collection of his speeches over the last decade), but clearly a Prime Minister-in-waiting had to be prepared for the scope of questions to broaden beyond "Who are your favourite authors?".

What it made me realise is that I need to find more opportunities to delve beneath the media politics which come and find you, and upon which we are superficially informed about policy and manifestos. I need to find platforms where politicians are able to expand on their vision. Gordon Brown is an extremely intelligent man with a deep sense of history from which his vision of Britain is born. Party politics aside, prior to Saturday I'd have voted Cameron if I was asked to choose a Prime Minister tomorrow. However, I couldn't imagine, even with an Eton education, David Cameron being able to hold a candle to the depth of Gordon Brown's knowledge of the world and humanity. The snappy style of modern politics doesn't give you a chance to see how the minds of politicians understand and unravel incredibly complex issues. Sound bites don't cut it.

However, much as I applaud Gordon Brown's vision of a Great Britain competing in the global economy with high value science, engineering and technology, I can't reconcile this against the culture of celebrity New Labour has presided over. There have been too many closures of University science departments. Despite this loss of educational capacity, demand is even lower. According to an article in The Guardian., "Engineering and technology has seen the second slowest growth in student numbers, stagnating at around a 4% rise over the 10 years from 1995 to 2005 - and well below the average growth of 56%".

No doubt the reasons are based in deep and complex cultural characteristics beyond the limitations of quick fix mechanisms from Westminster. I fear that David Cameron doesn't have the ability to get to the bottom of these issues. I think Gordon Brown does. Whether the wheels of their parties will allow either man to do anything about it is another matter.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Tan in the UK in late September!

Southampton WaterI've just had a great weekend of sailing, but you have to wonder what's happening to our climate when you can get a tan in just two days in the waters of the UK in late September.

Am I overreacting or wouldn't this have been possible 50 years ago? I'm going to be looking at this Climate Change subject more closely over the coming months so stay tuned.

Thanks to Pod, Pip and Bri for a fantastic weekend.

Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome IPExecSearch to the Blogosphere

A friend of mine recently set up a blog to help engage potential customers for his Intellectual Property business by explaining the issues at play and reporting on topical situations. Nothing like my unfocussed rantings then!

There are some really interesting articles about Apple's 'pod' and 'podcast' claims and what's happenning with the Rover brand.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bluetooth set to be usurped by Wibree?

Bluetooth has long had it's critics. It was highly commendable of Ericsson to release the fruits of their research into an open standard, but there has long been a feeling that Bluetooth compromised in many areas. This is hardly surprising given that the potential applications for personal area networks weren't clear back then.

About a decade on and Nokia has come up with something more compact, less power hungry and cheaper called Wibree. They intend to have it ratified as a standard so third parties can adopt it. However, do the third parties have the appetite for another standard when they're already so committed to Bluetooth?

What we need is a killer app for Wibree that Bluetooth couldn't tackle. Then consumers can make up their minds. Been here before? Of course we have. We were surprised when SMS became the killer app of GSM. Videocalls and internet access is being touted for 3G, but take up has been slower than expected. Bluetooth is often used for headsets, but synchronisation with laptops and PDAs is hardly setting the world alight. Personally, I struggled to make it work. Wibree could find applications in more ubiquitous products such as watches, clothing and jewellery.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,