Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Recent posts in our other blog

Here are a selection of links to posts on our (much more technology focused) blog over at IT Pro.

Enjoy - and don't forget to comment over there!

Cisco 3.0
One of the themes at last week’s CScape event was the re-invention of Cisco as a collaborative service oriented organisation.

This is one of the issues I’ve been thinking about for some time. How do we build businesses that focus on process, on collaboration and on dealing with a global organisation? The service orientated enterprise is on its way, and we need to consider how we structure businesses to operate in a world where IT is no longer hierarchical, where users can define their own applications, and Web 2.0-style tools bring social networking to the desktop.
Mobile with your Mobile
My shiny laptop is so shiny and new it doesn’t have a PC Card slot. That’s a bit of a problem, when the only 3G mobile data cards we have in the office are PC Cards. It’s even more of a problem when you’re in the car park at Costco and need to get a file from your home PC…

Express Card slots are great - if you’ve got an express card.

Built in antennae for WAN modules are even better - if you’ve got a module fittted.

It took me a while to get around the problem, but the solution turned out to be easier than I expected. All I needed was a Windows Mobile 6 device and its built in Internet connection sharing tool (the same feature is in Windows Mobile 5, but it’s hidden away in the file system).
Prepare for a bandwidth explosion
I spent much of last week at Cisco’s CScape analyst event in San Jose. It was a fascinating few days, as it meant I got a very different look at a company that affects our online lives. I’ll write about the development of Cisco 3.0 as a collaborative company in another entry, but one thing caught my attention.

It was a simple slide in CEO John Chambers’ keynote presentation, one that showed that the amount of bandwidth that was going to be needed to deliver the next generation of internet services was going to quadruple by 2011, with the amount of data traveling over the global network measured in the tens of exabytes. That’s an awful lot of data - as one exabyte can be thought of as the total sum of human knowledge at the start of 2007.
Maybe Ask should give Facebook an award for privacy education
I’m not a big Facebook fan. Part of it is that I’ve seen a lot of online communities, from Usenet and the uniquely British CIX to AOL and Web forums and IRC and LiveJournal andLinked in - and the evolution of online behaviour that occurs in all of them is the same. Food fights and virtual flowers replace SIG files and ASCII art but a me-too meme is the same whether it’s plain text or fancy CSS (and don’t get me started on second life because that’s a whole ‘nother rant).

But I’m not an online Luddite. I live in email and IRC. Simon and I met online (in a virtual bar, when it took a really long time to explain to people what a virtual bar is. Online interactions can be efficient, lightweight and productive or rich and deep. Being able to find and connect to people you know is both fun and useful. Sharing what you do online is all fun and games until someone finds out what you’re buying them for Christmas (or in a Love, Actually manner, what you bought for someone who isn’t them).
Touch me - but touch me the right way
I narrowly avoided having an argument with a friend about touch screens the other night. We were talking about the new OQO model e2, an adorably small and functional ultra-mobile PC. It’s available with the ordinary version of XP, the tablet version or with Vista Ultimate (which the CEO Dennis Moore tells me he prefers because he’s getting more battery life). All versions have the active digitizer touch screen, but only the ones with tablet software come with the active pen you need to use it.

If you’re not writing on screen, the mini joystick on the slide-out keyboard and the finger-sensitive strips beside and blow the screen let you scroll and move the mouse pointer as normal. My colleague hadn’t realized there was a touch screen at all until I lent him the pen from my HP 2710p tablet to try with it and then he started telling me he’d rather have it work with the standard stylus from his Palm PDA. Yes, but…

For a start, Windows - XP or Vista - isn’t geared up for finger touch.
Churn Faster!
There’s number portability, and there’s number portability.

Last time I changed phone providers, it took over a week for my number to follow me to my new phone. We’re living in a world of personalised communications, where our mobile numbers are as much a part of our identity as out primary email addresses, and a week of number limbo is a long time.

Things look set to change, and OFCOM is on the case.

From September 2009 number portability should take only two hours. Switching operators should be a simple process, where you buy a new phone, turn it on, and your personal number follows you to your new device. It’s a process that should mean more people start following the coolest devices from network to network - as other OFCOM rulings mean that competition between networks will lead to devices being the only differentiating factor.
Distributing the Anti iPhone
At the FiRE conference in San Diego, back in May, the science fiction wtiter and TV presenter David Brin set a group of CTOs a challenge. The men behind the technology decisions at EMC, Adobe and IBM were challenged to rethink the phone - completely.

The results were surprising - with the CTOs coming up with a phone that wasn’t one device, or one software platform, but a tool for brining together the many different portable devices we carry, and the many software services we use. All the information, all the ethnographic studies, all the ergonomic research they had told them one thing: “one size fits all” wasn’t enough, and it never would be. The trend to converged devices like Apple’s iPhone may suit the manufacturers, but it won’t suit the users.

Discrete devices got the same thumbs down. A Windows Mobile phone and a Zune sat in a bag are another technological dead end. They may be perfectly capable tools, with plenty of communications options - but they can’t work together. That’s another pitfall, as best of breed and jack of all trades struggle to support increasingly demanding users. We want it all - and we want it now.
The thing about those lost CDs…
It’s not so much that the CDs went missing with vast amount of data. It’s not that it makes any difference to how likely you are to have your identity stolen. It’s not that the database stores key personal information like National Identity numbers (sorry, it’s still ‘National Insurance’, right?). It’s not even that the system allows anyone - junior or not - to download an entire database and work with it offline when best practices say work with live data or a limited local set. It’s not even that the interoffice mail system doesn’t automatically include tracking.

It’s that the interoffice mail system is run by TNT.
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