bitcoin Business

Bitcoin currency crash due to problems at Mt.Gox exchange

The Bitcoin currency suffered a huge overnight crash in value at the Mt. Gox exchange. An announcement on the exchange forum says “One account with a lot of coins was compromised and whoever stole it (using a HK based IP to login) first sold all the coins in there, to buy those again just after, and then tried to withdraw the coins. The $1000/day withdraw limit was active for this account and the hacker could only get out with $1000 worth of coins.

Apart from this no account was compromised, and nothing was lost. Due to the large impact this had on the Bitcoin market, we will rollback every trade which happened since the big sale, and ensure this account is secure before opening access again.

So everything should get back to normal then… For the moment my money stays in the shoe box under the bed!

I covered Bitcoin last week in my post about Silk Road. The folks at Mt.Gox are rolling back to a pre crash position so people should not lose any money.

See below to see the “crash”. Clicking on the photo will take you to the server showing previous trading history of Bitcoin.

bitcoin trading valuation chart at Mt.Gox

Apps End User phones

migration from one smartphone to another #HTCDesireHD #SamsungGalaxyS2

Jfyi I am moving operations from the HTC Desire HD to a Samsung Galaxy S2 (I’m just so with it!). This is going to generate a blog post over the next few days because in my mind this should be a straightforward migration but I’m finding this is not totally the case.  I am also coming across User Interface differences that in themselves are not major but are interesting in that they show that there is definitely some differentiation in this market other than just processor speed, pixel count and battery life.

I’m sure that the Apple fanbois out there will snort in contempt at such issues but all I can say is their blissful state of “Jobs dependence” comes at a price that many are not prepared to pay. More anon 🙂

Apps End User mobile connectivity

PC games and how to stop playing them #SpaceInvaders #Galaxions#Solitaire #AngryBirds #XBox #Marconi #Nokia

I was totally astonished a few years ago when I found out how big the market had become for what was then PC games.  I couldn’t understand it – mainly because I very rarely indulge in playing them myself. It was only when I realised how much the kids (ie me) spend on XBox games that it sank in.

This lunchtime I saw someone playing “Angry Birds” on his mobile handset & said the only game I ever really played (Space Invaders and Galaxions aside) was Solitaire and that except for the occasional trip down memory lane I even gave that up many years ago.

It  was only then that I understood why.  15 – 20 years ago I worked for Marconi. Such was the morale in that place that people used to spend whole afternoons playing Solitaire. We got very very good at Solitaire. My record was below 100 seconds. This was a skill built up over long hours of practice.

Then one day someone did it in less than 90 seconds. He had the perfect hand.  All the cards fell right and every click was a winner! This had the effect of stopping everyone in the office from playing – it was the hand of a lifetime that we were never going to beat. It cured me and I have only played Solitaire a half a dozen times since.

All I need now is to figure out how to stop the kids from playing!

On a similar but different note I was talking with a mobile application vendor this morning. He said that of his  12 Tier 1 carrier customers only 2 were asking for support for Nokia and Windows Phone 7 and one of them was in an Eastern European market that had little smartphone penetration! Uhoh. Lots of people are already cured of Nokia it seems though we are still waiting for the big “final push” (enter melodrama stage left).

PS In my book Space Invaders remains the best ever electronic game. Screenshots are courtesy  Wikipedia

Apps Business mobile connectivity security

Big endorsement from RIM re consumerisation of the workplace “problem” #iOS #Android

RIM has announced plans to extend its BlackBerry Enterprise Solution to the support of non RIM devices. This means that Android and Apple phones and tablets will be able to be incorporated in the RIM device management and security environment.

This is a timely announcement and follows a piece1 that I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the problem of consumerisation of the workplace.  RIM also says that it is responding to requests from its enterprise customers and that its target market is enterprises and government organisations.

There is a huge market outside these sectors. RIM has highlighted the problem but by focusing on big business is leaving the door open for others to play in the small and medium sized enterprise space.

It is interesting that RIM does not mention Microsoft in its press release. Presumably it sees Windows as a totally separate/mutually exclusive  environment.  I wouldn’t bet on that.

1 I’m not of course saying that the RIM announcement is in response to my article – we are clearly just thinking along the same lines:)

PS the RIM PR seems to have disappeared from their website for some reason. I happen to still have the copy which I have, for your delight and delectation, replicated below:

Apps Business Cloud mobile connectivity

Security and Personal Mobile Devices: Consumerisation of the Workplace

How does a business cope with the proliferation of personal mobile devices in the office? Not just mobiles, but laptops and tablet computers too? The problem is not new, but it is growing.

Not so long ago consumers would peer in through the smoked glass panoramic windows of business to admire and envy the tools that were available to those inside. Access to the internet was for most people above a certain age first experienced at work. Their first PC, first mobile phone, first email, first mobile email! The list is a long one.

Today’s workplace is totally different. Staff bring in the toys they use at home and often frown or laugh at their employer’s old fashioned proffering. IT departments now gaze back out through the self-same floor to ceiling windows with reverse envy and spend their time worrying about the security of their network.

A study of a small business

I recently did some work with a UK company on their communications and cloud strategy. The company provided 67 of their 115 employees with a mobile phone; 50 BlackBerrys and 17 mid-range Nokias.

30 staff also carried with them their own personal mobiles. Of the 30, eight people also received a company phone and actually used their own phones for business purposes in preference to those supplied by the employer. A further seven staff who were not given company mobiles used their own phones to pick up company email making a total of 15 out of 30 personal mobiles that were used for work purposes.

Apps Business internet mobile connectivity

Job Vacancy – Domestic CIO, Davies household

Tower of London

At the Cisco Manged Services Seminar yesterday at the Tower of London Chris Lewis, GVP International Telecoms and Networking, IDC introduced the concept of the domestic CIO. This was new to me (ok I’m probably behind the times) but it certainly struck a chord.

There are so many aspects of life in the office that are now present at home. In the Davies household we have 8 active SIMs supporting 5 smartphones, an iPad, a dongle and a battered old Nokia that my wife uses (her decision). Some of these SIMS are pay as you go and some are contract. We have a mix of Vodafone, O2 and Orange.  This isn’t necessarily an efficient way of working. If this was a business scenario we would harmonize onto a single network and group bundle. We would also have managed backups of the directories.

7 out of the 8 mobile devices also support wifi as do the 2 laptops, 4 desktop PCs and the XBox. In an ideal world we would have a home password management system, changing the password on a regular basis.

When it comes to passwords we use them for online banking, shopping with M&S, eBay, Tesco online, EastCoast trains,  Superbreak,, iTunes, Travelodge. We also have passwords for Twitter, Facebook, gmail, telegraph online, and I’m sure many other portals I’ve forgotten about and some I’ve never heard of.  How do we keep track of them all?

I operate a calendar that synchronizes on my phone, iPad and laptop. My wife uses a paper calendar on the kitchen wall that doesn’t synch with mine other than via an ad hoc manual process known in the Davies household as “diarising”.  This does sometime lead to clashes – “OMG who’s going to pick so and so up from the friend’s party” or “we can’t already be going out because we have just been invited somewhere else for dinner”. Plenty of room for improvement here.

Then there’s the IT support, “the internet isn’t working”, “yes it is I’m on it”, “why isn’t my document printing”, “we have run out of ink”, “can I have your credit card number please dad” !!!

Chris Lewis was right. I need a Domestic CIO. I don’t want to do it. Interested parties should apply in line through the usual channels. Hours 24x7x365 (no you can’t have Christmas Day off – that is one of the busiest days of the year for a Domestic CIO). Salary on application.

PS the Tower of London is a great day out for the family. Have your PA coordinate a trip there or mention it to your Domestic CIO.


Business Cloud gaming online safety Regs

Today is Safer Internet Day #MMORPG #UKCCIS

Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day. This year’s topic is ”It’s more than a game, it’s your life” and the aim of the initiative is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children. The website reports some interesting statistics:

  • Gamers spend on average 8 hours weekly playing online.
  • Young people sleep 2 to 3 hours less per night than 10 years ago.
  • In January 2010, 18 million accounts were registered on Second Life.
  • Facebook reports more than 500 million active users.
  • Users spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month.
  • 13 million players of World of Warcraft (WoW), the world’s largest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).
  • MMORPGs generated $1.5 billion in subscription revenues worldwide in 2008, forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2012.
  • Up to 250,000 players are simultaneously online on WoW.
  • Transactions and sales of virtual goods in virtual worlds were estimated at $18 billion in 2009.

Its is amazing but I can identify with many of these bullet points. My kids spend far more than 8 hours online playing MMORPGs (it is a truly great acronym). All my kids are on Facebook even though two of them are below the recommended age limit. I vet their friends lists and have the logon details of the youngest who is not allowed to post photos. All his spare cash goes on online games – and we are talking £40 a pop here which is truly irritating as a parent (thats about fifteen pints of beer in real money! 🙂 ).

Parents need to jointly develop a survival strategy here. It only takes one to let the side down and let their kids have free rein to spoil it for the lot of us.

Note in connection with Safer Internet Day, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the results of two complementary surveys that indicate that only 21% of UK individuals who live in a household with dependent children use parental control filtering software. This is higher than the EU average of 14% but considerable lower than the results of the EU Kids Online survey that was published a couple of weeks ago and reported that 54% of UK parents (28% across the EU) use parental controls or other means of blocking or filtering some types of websites.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has published a “Good practice guidance for the moderation of interactive services for children” which you might want to take a look at.

Publicising Safer Internet Use is very important and I suggest more needs to be done to educate parents on what they might be able to do to help themselves. This is particularly important in the light of the fact that politicians are constantly trying to take control of the internet “for our own good“.

PS one fact that coaught my attention in the EU report was that in the EU2 in 2010, almost one third of individuals (31%) who used the internet in the 12 months prior to the survey reported that they caught a virus or other computer infection resulting in loss of information or time during this period.

PPS thanks to ISPA for drawing my attention to these data.

And finally – I have to say were are entering a truly great era for acronyms – MMORPG!!!!!

Apps End User Regs security surveillance & privacy

how to get round your school’s web filter #deappg #DEAct

Somewhat a contentious title for a post? Provocative? It is topical though with all the discussion in the media regarding the government’s review on whether web blocking really works or is cost effective (re Digital Economy Act), and also MP Claire Perry calling on ISPs to implement filtering to stop kids reaching online porn.

I just did a Goole search on “bypassing school proxy”. It came up with 847,000 results including a link to “”. I followed one of the links and found a ton of advice on how to get around a school’s filter system. These ad-funded sites are very youth orientated. One of the posts had 198 discussion comments!

My(oft repeated)  point is that blocking ain’t going to work and anyone that naively thinks that most kids will not know how to go about circumventing a block on websites, whatever their flavour, needs to spend some time in a playground.

PS the discussion had been deleted but most of these sites do not have the integrity or the corporate image to uphold. All most of the 847,000 sites (pages) are interested in is your money.


Apps End User obsolescence

lost vehicle registration certificate #digitalbritain

I lost my vehicle registration certificate! I know I know it is my fault. I should look after these things a bit more. Fortunately it is quite easy to replace, as long as you can remember you vehicle registration number (obviously) and you haven’t changed your name or address.

A quick look online told me all I needed to know about how to replace it and I called the DVLA.  This isn’t a complaining post really because I now have a new certificate winging its way to my home address. However the number of levlels I had to go through in the DVLA autoattendant made me wonder if it was a world record.

Having called the number I pushed numbers 1, 4, 5, 1, 1, 1. It took me 2 minutes 33 seconds to get to that last number 1 at which point I got music on hold. At 3 minutes 26 seconds (OK I realise it might have been anal to write all this stuff down but I do have a blog and it does need constant feeding 😉 ) a person came on and by 4 minutes 55 seconds I had a new registration certificate on its way and I was £25 lighter.

I wasn’t unhappy with the experience and the chap at the other end of the line couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful.  I do however wonder when they are going to push all of this onto a self help web portal and let him find something more interesting to do with his life other than replacing car registration documents.

PS I am happy to open up the competition to find the longest auto-attendant tree in the world. It should be in the Guinness Book Of Records.

Apps Cloud Engineer storage backup & dr

@tref on Twitter…Tweetnest Archive, For Future Archaeologists

Picturing the scene in centuries to come, when Internet archaeologists are able to sift through the zillions of trivial minutiae — including @tref on Twitter — to try and piece together evidence of the early life on the internet.

"Victorious" was made by William Foster & Co of Lincoln

For the very few of you interested – the uberest of geeks – you can now view my twitter archive, created using tweetnest and stored on the growing more useful every day resource

I am somewhat gutted that the first 2k or so tweets are not listed – presumably a “feature” of twitter.  That’s a part of my online life lost forever (I can hear a few uhuh!s already).

I can picture the scene in centuries to come. There will be internet archaeologists expert in sifting through the zillions of trivial minutiae to try and piece together evidence of the early life on the internet. Where are the lost tweets? they will say.

Someone will no doubt come across some DVDs (or floppy disks) and have to take them to the science museum to have them read. Who was @tref? Presumably the guy that started the pangalactic blogging revolution that is Bearded professors will hold conference sessions discussing the subject and one day one of them will rush into the room crying “I have just found out who discovered the Third Law“.

I dream. It is dark on a Thursday afternoon and nearly time to go home 🙂

PS the header photo is just something I dug out that seemed to be remotely technologically archaeological. It is a steam traction engine that I saw at the British Ploughing Championships held in Lincoln last month. The “Victorious” was made by William Foster & Co of Lincoln sometime after ww1. Quality.

Apps Business net neutrality piracy Regs

ISPA Conference coming up on Wednesday 1st December

It’s one of the busiest times of year for people in the internet game. Customers you put on now have the greatest effect on next year’s bottom line because they will be with you for the full 12 months.

It has also never been a busier time to be in this industry. What with the world of technology moving into the clouds and blind political wizards waving dangerous wands from ivory towers high above those same clouds.

2011 promises to be a watershed for ISPs. We should find out whether we really will be saddled with the Digital Economy Act and other leaden weights such as the Intercept Modernisation Program (Big Brother is watching you). New business models will have to come to the fore – potentially the only way to get “superfast “ broadband to the “Final Third”. Net neutrality will become a hot topic for discussion as carriers try and find ways of keeping afloat amid the wave of content flooding homes and businesses around the land.

This almost feels like an end of year speech but it isn’t. It is an advert for the Annual ISPA Conference. If you are in a line of business associated with the internet this is one worth taking the time out to attend. It is a meeting point for everyone in the business and very definately worth coming.

Check out the details here.

Apps End User phones

iPad total immersion course

I now have an iPad. I got it on Friday. I thought it made sense not to let the tablet world pass me by and in any case it should be handy for my frequent jaunts up and down to London. The laptop is heavy to lug around.

Now I have an iPad I thought I would share my journey with it with you. At least the early part of the journey which coincidentally has had to be speeded up since a trojan fried my laptop.

The iPad was really easy to set up. There were no instructions other than a card pointing out a small number of salient features – screen etc.

End User gaming

Football Manager 2011 now available to purchase online – yay

Exciting isn’t it? Football Manager 2011 has just been released online. 2 out of 4 of my kids have had it on pre-order and I note from Facebook that one of them got it last night and started the process of downloading the game.

Uhuh I hear you say?! 🙂

The significance of this major event in the lives of my offspring is the size of the download. Football Manager 2011 requires 2GB of hard drive. The student only has 1.3GB a week download allowance at his hall of residence. It will be interesting to see how he gets on. At the time he reported this exciting milestone in his student career he was 1% through the download process.

Apps End User social networking

Facebook use at work on the increase

Our tech support teams tell me that there is increasingly a trend for business customers to call in and ask for Facebook to be blocked in their offices.

I wondered whether there were any stats showing how much Facebook use there is in the workplace but there don’t seem to be any – not that I can find anyway.

It does pose the question as to what level of freedom is acceptable in respect of the use of social networking tools at work. There are arguments both for and against which have been well debated elsewhere.

Business Cloud google

Parsing Google Internet Economy Report

web front end for plumbersYesterday’s Google sponsored report on the internet economy naturally received huge media coverage. In 2009 the UK Internet economy was worth £100Bn (7.2% GDP), was growing at 10% a year and directly employed 250,000 people.

All good stuff for us that work in this economy especially the fact that the UK is now the largest per capita e-commerce market. You can read the report itself for more detail. The biggest message for me is that unless businesses have embraced this economy they will not remain competitive.

For example the engineers in the Timico office, workaholics as they are, regularly order take away meals online. If there are two pizza businesses in town it is the one with the ecommerce website that will get most of this business (unless of course they have spent all their money on the website and none on product development).

Apps broadband End User

Social Revolution Country Style @cyberdoyle

star of the Cyberdoyle Sheffield Fest/Doc video competition entryRevolutions are traditionally associated with inner cities and shipyards. The countryside revolutionaries died out with the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Rebbecca Riots. They all moved to work in the city. It is true, however, that these self same revolutionaries have occasionally had to resort to the mountains to hide from authority. I have visions of troops driving through the narrow walled lanes and high passes whilst being watched from behind sheep pens further up the hillside.

Apps End User mobile apps

1001 things to do with an iPad – #266 – The Shield

1001 things to do with an iPad - the self defence shield

Ever been attacked by a passer by when walking along minding your own business? It’s a growing problem.

Well our friends at Apple have this nuisance licked and those unwanted attackers will soon be a thing of the past.

Just take your iPad with you and use it as you are strolling in town.  If you are accosted the iPad swiftly turns into a shield and can be used to fend off blows.

This new application works in tandem with any of the millions of existing Apple Store apps – 100% Guaranteed iPad certified1.

Now available free of charge with the purchase of any new iPad.

1Due to the litigious nature of the United States unless the user has completed Apple approved iPad defence training this warranty does not apply in areas of the world that come under USA legal juristriction  (including but not exclusive to certain parts of Iraq and Afghanistan).

To see previous iPad post click here.

Apps End User mobile apps

1001 things to do with an iPad – #573 – the beermat

the versatility of modern technology explored - the iPad

The simpler the invention the bigger the impact. Think about the wheel and it’s revolutionary effect on our society. Well the iPad is no different – it has found a million uses in our technologically driven  world.

Use  #573 – the beermat or beer tray. Surf to your favourite websites whilst finding a safe and stable home for your beer.

The iPad: simplicity itself.

Vital statistics:
Pub: The Victoria, Union Road, Lincoln
Beer: Timothy Taylors Landlord

Apps End User mobile apps

Useful applications for Kindle eBooks Number 203 – lunch

This latest in the series of useful applications for portable devices is engineering lunch ordering widget for the Kindle eBook reader.

Take time out from reading the latest Cisco router manual to order lunch online and follow it’s progress.  In this case a Dominos Pizza. Select from cheese and pineapple, mega meat with 3 x additional chillies or the simple ” ………..” (too hot to get any words out).

Follow the progress of your order in real time by simply flicking back to the browser page whilst you carry on studying your favourite IOS. 

Apps End User google spam

Gmail Priority Inbox – why wouldn’t you use it?

My email experience is a divided one. I use Microsoft Outlook for work stuff and I use gmail for play. Actually that isn’t entirely true as uses gmail but that is a kind of hybrid work/play site.

New in at Google is the Gmail Priority Inbox which prioritises your mails for you. Google’s anti spam service is probably the best in the business and I never get spam on (in all fairness the service used by Timico is also pretty good but I never get spam using gmail).

This is because Google has such a fantastic antispam engine and because it carries so many mails on a daily basis that it learns very quickly what is and isn’t a spam mail.

This same learning process is applied to the new Priority mailbox service. When I signed up for the service Google ran a test on existing emails in my inbox and to my amazement it was spot on. It deprioritised mails from Facebook, for example, and marked blog comments awaiting moderation as important.

As I use it I know it will also get better.

Google ad over.

Apps Business internet

TfL & twitter highlight need for reliability in cloud

Two weeks ago I got excited that you can now plot the progress of trains on the London Underground. Unfortunatley so popular was this service that the Transport for London server providing  the data has ground to a halt.  I’d like to think it was because of the publicity it they received from but I doubt that was the case.

This morning twitter is slow as a tortoise, at least from platforms such as tweetdeck that rely on using the twitter API.  This is just as organisations are learning how to use the service to their advantage. For example I retweeted a National Rail tweet this morning in the hope of winning £90 worth of Oyster Card top up.

Apps Business internet

TfL & twitter highlight need for reliability in cloud

Two weeks ago I got excited that you can now plot the progress of trains on the London Underground. Unfortunatley so popular was this service that the Transport for London server providing  the data has ground to a halt.  I’d like to think it was because of the publicity it they received from but I doubt that was the case.

This morning twitter is slow as a tortoise, at least from platforms such as tweetdeck that rely on using the twitter API.  This is just as organisations are learning how to use the service to their advantage. For example I retweeted a National Rail tweet this morning in the hope of winning £90 worth of Oyster Card top up.

Apps Engineer internet media

Sport streaming on the internet this afternoon #worldcup #wimbledon

At work I have a 100Mbps of uncontended bandwidth to play with.  It does me. I thought I’d watch some sport this afternoon, in between stuff. This was partly because I drew Chile in the office sweepstake – they are playing Switzerland as I write – and partly because I’m taking one of my lads to Wimbledon on Thursday – centre court – keep an eye out for me in the crowd.

Both sports are being covered on BBC  iPlayer this afternoon. I can of course watch both at the same time – and that’s despite being a bloke (or is it because of it?) –

Apps End User internet

Real time tube map of London Underground

There are lots of bad things about the wild wild web but the good things can seriously outweigh them.

This morning I picked this up off twitter. It is, as near as matters, a live map of the London Underground system showing the real time positions of trains. It is in the same vein as the live air traffic control map that I posted about during the volcanic ashcloud crisis. If nothing else it is a bit of fun but it does show the power of technology.

You might want to bookmark this post so that you can compare what it looks like during one of the periodic tube

Apps Engineer voip

Strictly Come X Factor needs British Talent – bring on the Media Resource Broker

It’s a fair bet that most punters enthusiastically ringing in to cast their votes on popular game shows don’t think about the network capacity problems they are creating! Typical Joe Public eh?

When someone dials in to one of these shows they make use of Media Servers in the telecommunications network. Typically Media Servers are boxes especially designed for a single purpose. There are a number of such types of server used by Telcos (and I count Timico amongst them) for specialist applications such as the aforementioned IVR based voting system and business services such as conference bridges.

The problem is that the kit used for voting is different to the kit used for conference calls and meetings. This means that expensive bits of kit lie idle in a network for much of the time. Conference bridges are used during working hours and TV Game Shows are on in the evenings (apparently 🙂 ). The surges in network demand prompted by game shows also results in sometimes between 10 and 100 times overprovisioning of capacity compared to the average state of affairs which exacerbates the costliness!

This is all about to change – watch out for the virtual network!

On Friday I met with Chris Boulton of NS Technologies at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. Chris used to work in the Office of the CTO at Ubiquity Software, a Terry Matthews SIP company that was bought by Avaya couple of years or so ago and has a blue chip heritage in designing advanced IP communications networks infrastructure.

Chis is currently working on the Media Resource Broker. We are all used to the idea of running different applications on a PC or handheld device, or even games on a gaming box. Telecoms networks though have always been built using dedicated kit. The MRB changes this by allowing telcos to build networks that use standard platforms targetable at different applications according to demand at any given time.

So a box that is used as a conference bridge in the day can be used for voting out contestants in the evening. This will not only save huge amounts of money but also result in a flexible and scalable network architecture that can then quickly be applied to other functions, many of which will not even have been thought of yet.

We talk about doing things in the cloud but it is interesting to see that even infrastructure is moving in this direction.

The whole world is moving towards becoming virtualised. I can even see the day when the typical household will have a box under the stairs next to the gas and electricity meter that will be its network processing resource. This will bring with it huge opportunities in business.

It will also of course heighten our reliance on such resources and the Domesday scenario of when it all goes wrong becomes even more of an issue. But there again even that represents an opportunity…

Apps End User internet social networking

Google wave first thoughts – Grassroots Digitalbritain and the digitally excluded

Had a day or two to play with the wave.  Some of my Facebook friends have already commented that it is no good without others to communicate with.  At this time I have two friends in my wave contacts list :Luc from Google who invited me and Cyberdoyle.

This fits into the category of sad git with no friends.  However Cyberdoyle, who is the most advanced farmer’s wife (for I believe such is she) in the world when it comes to the internet, is showing me the way.  Cyberdoyle is hugely knowledgeable when it comes to Rural Broadband (or lack of) and the Digital Divide.  Martha Lane Fox should recruit her.

Cyberdoyle, ok Chris, started a wave and showed me the way.  Pic below:

Grassroots Digitalbritain wave
Grassroots Digitalbritain wave

There are currently 14 people catching the wave, none of who I know other than Chris. The resolution of the jpeg doesn’t do it justice. However what you are seeing is a multimedia collaboration work in action. This could be a cross departmental business tool, a group of friends planning a party or something online usable by any community anywhere (except where you can’t get broadband!)

This is impressive and I’ll keep you posted on progress with the Grassroots Digitalbritain wave which you might or might not have gleaned is all about a community of people trying to get the internet into their lives.  I get this image of an inner city council estate where the residents are trying to make life better by raising money for a community centre. There is no difference between them and rural communities wanting to access the internet.

Anyway Google Wave – so far so good. Thanks Luc for inviting me and who needs lots of friends when you have Cyberdoyle.

Business Cloud google

Some Clouds are Better than Others

I’ve been thinking about clouds. It’s a very trendy thing to do at the moment. It’s something you notice about trade shows. A trade show will evolve its name in line with what the organisers think will bring in the punters.

For example in the UK “VoIP for Business” became “VoIP for Business incorporating Unified Communications” which then became “Unified Communications”. I fully expect Unified Communications to morph into “Unified Communications with cloudy bits”. It will probably be the same underlying list of exhibitors.

Anyway the popularity of the cloud buzzword is of course because the world is moving into the cloud. The cloud is still for most an ethereal place that is difficult to get the grey matter around. It appears on the advertising copy of so many vendors how do you decide how to take advantage of it. This is the case whether you are an end user, a business or a potential provider of cloud services.

Consumers will use a few branded services such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc. Business however needs something different, even it is just a better service level. So at the moment I think the business world is manoeuvring to understand how the bits of the fluffy jigsaw fit together.

They will end up dealing with specialist cloud integrators. This will provide the differentiation and some clouds will definitely stand out as being better than others.

As it stands you need to be able to keep your feet on the ground and head just above the clouds so that you can look around and see where these better clouds are starting to form 🙂

Apps Business storage backup & dr

Bandwidth Bandit – Offsite Backup Case Study

One of the big drivers for bandwidth usage is offsite back up and storage.

The amount of backup and storage capacity required by a business is to a large extent dependant on the nature of that business. An organisation which regularly processes a large amount of financial transaction or billing data is going to need a lot more than somewhere whose main concern is the safekeeping of CRM data and perhaps the security of information on individual PCs. Moreover as a rule of thumb the larger the amount of data that needs backing up on a daily basis the more critical that data is likely to be for a business.

One of Timico’s customers performs a 50GB daily backup to tape. The tape is removed from the premises every night to an offsite storage location. This is far from ideal. The company until recently operated over a bonded ADSL connection which gave them approximately 2Mbps uplink.

Backing up 50GB over the 2Mb connection was going to take 555 hours. This was not a practical proposition. The company has just put in a 100Mb leased line. The time taken to perform the backup would now be 11 hours which makes an overnight run a real proposition.

Not everyone has a 50GB requirement but as faster broadband technologies come along at cost effective prices more and more people will use an offsite on-net backup facility which will in turn drive bandwidth usage.


The chart is self explanatory. I’ve made some assumptions regarding packet overhead on the pipes


Apps Business internet media

Bandwidth bandit CCTV

One of the applications rolled out as standard when people are trying to promote the use of faster broadband is Closed Circuit TV. I’ve always treated this with some contempt as a poor contribution by some unimaginative marketeer somewhere desperate to think of reasons why someone should upgrade their connection.

In the interests of pursuing the theme of bandwidth bandits I was however prompted to look into CCTV as a subject. I am amazed the progress in this space. 

Timico uses a product called X-Protect.  Cameras plug directly into the LAN and are powered by Power over Ethernet.  The product supports a number of codecs including H264 and MPEG-4 and you can select the quality of your stream based on how much bandwidth you have.

As an ISP with a high bandwidth Gigabit fibre based WAN Timico has plenty of bandwidth and our cameras stream at an aggregated 10Mbps to the recording server.  Timico IT staff can view these streams from anywhere in the network, including from home and including on the move with their PDAs.  The bandwidth used for viewing from outside the network does not of course have to be the same as on the LAN/WAN.

What this does show though is an application that is promoting high bandwidth usage.  Manufacturer Milestone Systems states a recording capacity of 960GB per day per server.  A quick back of a beer mat calculation suggests this would need a total of around 90Mbps streaming to support this capacity.

The only way is up for bandwidth usage.

Apps Business mobile apps

Oracle to buy Sun

It sounds a bit sci fi really doesn’t it?  “Oracle to buy Sun”.  This is today’s big news in the IT industry.  Big in that it involves $7.4 Billion in cash.  Also big in that it brings together two heavy hitting names  in a marriage that I believe will create a single company where the sum will indeed be greater than the parts. 

As someone who has been part of three successful company acquisitions in recent years, although not quite on the same scale as Oracle, I can identify with their CEO Larry Ellison 🙂

If you are in the IT industry you will understand the dynamics that the combination of the components of Oracle and Sun will bring to the party. Oracle will now own a complete stack, right up from physical hardware through operating systems, programming languages and applications. Its products will become more competitive as these components become optimised to work with each other.

Looking at it on a personal level Timico uses a range of products from both vendors. Oracle databases power our VoIP platform together with Sun hardware. Our storage product, KeVault, uses Sun’s Java language. Sun’s mysql database powers half the ISP industry (the other half uses postgresql).

Hopefully the acquisition will not constrain the feature development of products such as mysql. Certainly Oracle will see Java as a prize and I can’t imagine Larry Ellison would sideline “Open Office” considering his long standing “rivalry” with Bill Gates.  We do live in interesting times.