Business ecommerce obsolescence

Windows XP ATM failure

There’s a Post Office down the road from my mam and dad’s place with a Barclays ATM. Yesterday I strode up to said ATM with a view to extracting some cash. Totally legally of course.

Imagine my surprise when I was confronted with a screen showing what appeared to be Windows XP booting up. Wow I thought and reached for the gun in my holster phone in my pocket to capture the moment in pixels. I was too slow. I’d never have made a good cowboy.

By the time I had unlocked the phone and fired up the camera (checked the film, taken a light reading, adjusted the focus etc) all I got was a curt apology stating that the cashpoint machine was currently dysfunctional and would I mind awfully trying the one at the Isle of Man Bank down the road.

Disappointed I turned my back on the machine and walked dejectedly towards the IoM bank. I thought that might have been a scoop. “XP brings down global banking system”. Wasn’t going to be the same without the photographic evidence.

I parked the thought whilst we spent the afternoon enjoying the delights of Onchan Park on its opening day of the season. Crazy golf at its best. The pitch and put and the bowling were closed due to waterlogged greens but that didn’t spoil our fun.

This morning my thoughts returned to the global banking crisis but research suggests that nothing untoward had happened. No doom laden headlines. Shock horror probe. Must have been a local issue.

I did find a few timely articles discussing the fact that all the world’s ATMs appear to run on XP. Speculation as to whether this was a ticking time bomb together with quotes from Microsoft suggesting that a move to Windows 8.1 would be very sensible from a security perspective. No news at all really.

One does wonder what the next generation of ATM o/s will be. Microsoft doesn’t exactly feel right but there again it would probably be easiest from a backwards compatibility perspective. I’m not that interested. It’s Sunday morning and I’m typing this post with my thumb on my droid. There is bacon to be cooked.

Easy like Sunday morning…

Business google

New business bank accounts for startups and problem with Google Apps for Business domain

Went to open a business bank account yesterday. It’s not opened yet. There are hoops to jump through, despite the fact that I have been with the same bank since I was a kid.

In fact the business bank manager was able to do nothing apart from record the details of the new business. Approval has to be gained by some examining committee or other. He couldn’t even look online to see what was all about. There is no internet access at the bank. Quite a good thing really when you think about it.

It’s all about money laundering. I had the same issues in having to prove who I was at the accountant and the lawyers. In fact the lawyer, Helen, told me they had to reauthenticate my identity every three years. I guess a lot could change in three years. I might have a sex change. It isn’t without precedent in this industry.

My main concern in seeing the bank manager was the charges. As a start up it’s free for 18 months which is good. However preparing already for the future I had taken a quick skeet online to see what it would cost eighteen months hence. The numbers weren’t particularly attractive. Looking a bit closer whilst in at the bank I found that online banking was pretty much free. I don’t plan on doing much non online banking. It reaffirms that everything needs to be online and automated.

When starting Timico one of the first things we did was to take on an accountant, also coincidentally called Helen (highly efficient and top operator 😉 ). Pretty much everything is going to be outsourced at so I’m intitially doing it all myeslf. I imagine the only skills we will really need will be editorial and web development (see ad – if you know anyone we are hiring).

Anyway the banking ball is rolling. Next up VAT  number.

The other bit of “progress” yesterday was to get an advert up on the Lincoln University graduate jobs board. I like the idea of creating local jobs. A developer could in theory work from anywhere. Anywhere with a decent internet connection and as long as it was within reasonable reach of Greenwich Mean Time. I want the developer to be in the same room as me. Ideas grow when you can bounce them off people. is actually going to be a partnership. More about Matt, the other partner, later. Sometime over the Christmas break Matt and I met in a pub for lunch and to work on the spec for the forthcoming website refresh. We sat next to each other working on the same document on our own laptops. We chatted about the content we could see in front of us and each made changes to the doc in real time based on our discussion.

Now this is also doable remotely using hangouts and video conferencing but on that occasion it suited us to “do lunch”. Google Apps is looking like an invaluable set of tools for us and will be using a Google Apps for Business account.

In theory this is straightforward to set up. However in practice it hasn’t been so. This is because I already had  the domain associated with my personal gmail account. After an initial flurry of investigation following a message that told me “this domain is already in use” I figured out a plan.

Stop mail forwarding from Timico’s mail servers & access mail via webmail interface, delete all references to on my gmail account, set up domain in new Google Apps For Business Account and repoint Timico mail servers at that mailbox. Turns out Timico wasn’t forwarding the mail but Gmail was pulling it from the POP3 mailbox.

What’s more having done all this Google still wouldn’t let me set up the new account with that domain. Now I find I have to wait 24 hours. So tonight’s job will again be setting up the google Apps for Business account. In principle we could get away without a business account but I want the ability to manage multiple aliases from one gmail account.

One of the things that’s put me off email after nearly ten years at Timico is the amount of “legitimate” spam that comes through. With the new business I will be using a specific alias for all online registrations which I can then filter into a separate folder away from harms way and my line of sight.  I know that some people use different specific email aliases for different registrations so that they can see who is selling the contact database. I’d be interested in hearing any results of doing this. Naming and shaming.

Got to go. VAT number to sort out. Ciao.

Business voip hardware

Time of Day traffic and the Patterns of Life by Colin Duffy

This is a Time of Day telephony traffic graph – I’ve been looking at them for most of my working life. For a normal business day they pretty much always look like this:

This is how business people use telephones on a normal working day.

They generally get into the office and start making calls at about 9am, work steadily up to about midday, then have a spot of lunch. They come back at 2pm and start calling again, then everything starts tailing off about 4pm as people start thinking of home – or beer, or both.

Telephone exchanges have to be built to cope with the traffic at the busiest hour of the day so since the very earliest days of telecommunications telephone companies have been trying to reduce the height of those peaks and spread the load more evenly.

A call at a peaks adds a cost but a call either side of a peak adds a profit.

As you can see, the network is doing practically nothing after 6pm