Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google Ten Things

A colleague highlighted Google's Ten Things to me. Fantastic ethos.

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There's always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn't good enough.

Have a look at the source for more information.

We were already applying some of these in our business, but we will learn from the others.

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How Tech Savvy are You? Vista Wizard or Vista Wotnot?

When impressing upon people how tech savvy you are, don't sum up your cutting edge knowledge in terms of what you read about the launch of Vista this morning in "Metro" (the free London paper). We want to hear about how it compares with the Mac OS roadmap, whether the pricing model is too complicated and how it reflects the Windows Presentation Foundation- not that it "is apparently better than XP". $200 billion says it is better than XP!

Sometimes, you meet people like that and wonder why they are in IT.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Skype Users Fall Foul of Law with Lie Detector Tech

Recently Skype integrated lie detector technology from KishKish into its VoIP client as a paid-for service. Law firms such as Pinsent Masons point out that this is illegal to use on several counts in the UK.

Whilst undoubtedly an intriguing service, you wonder who'd make use of it- fast food delivery companies suspecting tricksters? Suspicious partners? I wonder how many false positives these technologies flag up?

Anyway it's naughty so don't do it... but let me know if you have and it works.

With the proliferation of plug-ins as organisations like Skype open their source code and APIs, this sort of technology will become easy to download from 3rd parties for install by consumers. This will be incredibly hard to detect and prosecute. Especially if, as this report on the National High Tech Crime Unit records, the police are ill equipped to cover the basics.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Brand Sincerity

Some Leadership consultants spoke in our Monday morning prayers today. They talked about how great companies that sustain phenomenal growth over long periods of time often have 'brand sincerity'. A great test of this sincerity is that they communicate the same message (brand values, principles, strategy, purpose etc) to the public, as they do to their employees.

Some businesses even buy their public domain advertising in a way which targets their own employees.

I know of many companies which would fail this brand sincerity test. How would yours fare?

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

How Will the Apple iPhone get to market in the UK?

Today at MacWorld Expo, Steve Jobs made the much anticipated announcement that the iPhone will be launched this year. The story is being covered thoroughly across the blogosphere with particularly good coverage at Engadget. In short, a very exciting looking product.

The phone will be launched in the US mid year, then Europe before the end of 2007 and Asia in 2008. The prices being announced in the US are based on a Cingular exclusive 2 year contract from $499 for the entry level phone.

My question is- how will this play out in the UK? The networks are very powerful and their model of subsidising at the point of sale is particularly aggressive. Phones that would otherwise retail at around £500 can actually cost the user only a hundred pounds up front if they are on a sufficiently high usage contract. I've never paid for any of my phones because of my business usage, despite opting for the high end business phones each year [Note that it is not unknown for a monthly bill to exceed £1,000 so I don't feel especially priviledged about the situation].

Watch out for announcements.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?

Essential viewing starting tonight in the UK for all healthcare industry professionals is "Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?" on BBC2 at 9pm. This British Business Guru spent 6 months in Rotherham General Hospital and the sneaky preview at The Telegraph suggests that he found it a very frustrating (but rewarding) experience. He cites the considerable challenges in the public sector and the difficulty in motivating consultant doctors to work more hours/more productively in coming to the conclusion that all is not lost. What is needed to manage these "brilliant, extraordinary people" are really excellent managers.

I agree. I think there are other ways to motivate the consultants too but I'll be interested to see if the programme covers these.

I'll be interested in seeing what the local press reaction to the programme is. So far the Yorkshire Post has been quite non-committal.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wandering the US with WanderingDave

Ah, this is what Saturday mornings are for- sitting back with a large pot of coffee, in your dressing gown, just following hyperlinks round the web and seeing what takes your fancy (I think we used to call it surfing). Absolutely no objective in mind. Just browsing for the curiosity of it. Actually, I'm meant to be working through a list of chores where item 1 is "Complete tax return" but, not having read about the power of starting, I'm in task-avoidance mode.

And I'm glad that I am, because I've found one of those gems to add to my feeds- WanderingDave's blog. Dave Burke has a whole website supporting all manner of media, from podcasts and newpaper columns to audio that he hopes will be syndicated by radio stations as he does what many of us would want to- and takes a year 'out' to travel round the US.

Stay tuned. It should be fascinating and fun. Where will he go? What will he make of those places? Thanks to Technorati for helping with my aimless browsing.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

YouTube Not Being Criticised for Once

It's interesting that in the Saddam video inquiry everyone is being mentioned as being set to get a wrap across the knuckles... except for YouTube. The taunter, the videoer, those responsible for security and the TV stations have all been put under suspicion of something-or-other by either the Iraqi authorities, foreign politicians or the media. No one has, as yet, accused YouTube of anything- who originally hosted the video online.

I'm not saying that they should be accused of anything, but it is the new fangled players who often are first to be attacked- not last.


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Keep it Simple with Healthcare IT

In healthcare IT you hear alot about interoperability and integration of systems. Whilst this is extremely valid, I and my peers often lose our colleagues in technical jargon and presume that the sector is more mature than it really is. Some problems are more immediate than that.

If you watch how a retail assistant, waiter/waitress or bar tender interacts with their terminal, it is very quick and rapid fire. Tokens often allow near instantaneous log on. Then they punch some buttons and walk away. Do they put time aside at the end of their shift to reckon up? No. How long do you think it took to train new joiners? Not long- they probably picked it up on the job.

Now look at how clinicians access healthcare IT. Ouch.

Add that to the list.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Tesla- the Best Kept Electric Car Secret

Don't worry. Although I do think that climate change is a very important issue of our time, this isn't some sort of New Year's resolution to change my blog's subject. However, here's a well kept secret about electric cars that's worth knowing.

Most people turn their noses up at the idea of an electric car. When you ask people what it would take for them to drive one, they start to quote petrol sportscar-like numbers. You know the ones:

0-60mph in 4 secs
250 mile range
Over 130mph


Well, what if I were to tell you that those numbers were taken from the specification of a car due to hit the US market in Feb 2008? Only about a year away. It looks great too.

Find out more and put your name on the waiting list at the website of Tesla Motors. Let's hope the project goes well.

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"Save the Planet" Ecademy Club Founder on YouTube

The climate change author, Anthony Day (of Will Climate Change Your Life? fame), interviewed Michelle Clarke- a 5 minute summary is shown here. Another Al Gore convert.

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