Business Mobile

MWC trip prep

MWC trip prep

Getting my MWC trip prep in today before I set off tomorrow. I’ll probably do some reports from the show floor, fwiw, although the bars and restaurants may be more interesting.

A few other mobile posts here.

broadband Business

CLA calls for legal right to broadband

Broadband for all?

You need a bit of stamina in this broadband punditry game. It’s such a complex situation that it is difficult to follow everything that goes on. Yesterday the CLA (Countryside Landowners Association) called “on MPs today to press Government for a clear and unequivocal ‘Universal Service Obligation’ that means every home and business in rural England and Wales will get broadband coverage of at least 10 megabits per second by 2020.” Broadband for all!

It was only in November last year that Dave Cameron said:

“Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

Dave was talking 10Mbps USO by 2020. I think you have to accept the politicospeak that comes with the announcement as par for the course.

What does need drilling down into though is the detail which politicians rarely cover and is what gets these idealist statements bogged down in the mire of reality.

  1. First of all who pays for this? Why should BT (other broadband providers may be available) be legally obliged to shoulder the cost of running connectivity to a farmer 5 miles from the nearest green cabinet.
  2. Offering alternatives such as satellite based broadband doesn’t cut the mustard.
  3. By 2020 10Mbps will not cut the mustard either – it should be 1Gbps.

In relation to point 1 we also have to consider the competitive landscape for broadband in the UK. We claim to have the most competitive market going. This is fair enough (probably – I’ve not really looked elsewhere but I think broadband prices in the UK are very low) but this is only in the provision of services largely running over BT infrastructure. There is Virgin of course but Virgin don’t have a wholesale play and certainly (and understandably) ain’t interested in running DOCSIS to farmhouses five miles out of town. Competition isn’t providing services to Farmer Giles.

It seems to me that the only way to do this is for UK PLC to have a state owned infrastructure company that just runs fibre to rural areas places that need it. This entity doesn’t sell services to end users. It just supplies connectivity to service providers.

It may be that this connectivity is just backhaul in many areas which is often the seed required for communities to look after themselves. We need lots of B4RNs. Maybe we need B4RN to spread to every bit of the country. There is nothing to stop the BTs, Skys and Virgins of this world from selling Over The Top services that use someone else’s underlying connectivity.

Having a state owned infrastructure provider won’t sit very well with this government. In fact it doesn’t sit very well with me either really – I don’t trust governments to do things efficiently and well if only because they get themselves entangled in their own red tape. Could Openreach be that state owned infrastructure supplier?

I think the penny is very slowly starting to drop in the minds of the powers that be but it has a long way to go before the light comes on.

There you go. Rant over for now. Check out yesterday’s post on the lack of UK national broadband vision.

PS note new image of cow. I’ve been using one from @Cyberdoyle’s farm for ages. Thought I’d have a change:)

broadband Business

UK national lack of broadband vision

B4RL turns out to be a good source and the lack of UK broadband vision

Last year I created the B4RL Facebook page. B4RL stands for Broadband 4 Rural Lincolnshire. Seemed to me we needed one aka B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North) and B4RDS (Broadband for Rural Devon and Somerset). B4RN is by now world famous and B4RDS is becoming a place for heated discussion with people who have very clear views on the availability (or lack of) of connectivity.

I occasionally get contacted by people local to me looking for help getting connectivity to their communities. Usually the brick wall is backhaul cost. Lincolnshire folk don’t generally seem to be particularly demonstrative when it comes to broadband. It’s usually constrained to social media outcries when their broadband stops working, as the technology periodically tends to do.

B4RL however has turned out to be a good place to follow relevant news in the broadband space because a number of stalwarts post to the timeline on a regular basis.

This morning it’s all about The Culture, Media and Sport Committee visit to Russell’s Water Village, as part of its inquiry on “Establishing world-class connectivity throughout the UK”. The visit has already met with a hiccup as you can see from the tweet:

This week has also seen a link to an article in the Telegraph on the best and worst places to get broadband in the UK. Amazingly my home town Lincoln comes near the top. That’ll be my 200Mbps Virgin connection driving up the average.

best and worst broadbandThe difference between the best and the worst is really marked though. What’s more  we have to consider that to get an average a lot of people must be seeing far worse speeds. Also this probably doesn’t recognise that many households won’t be getting broadband of any sort.

There are lots more good articles on B4RL. What I really wanted to get to was the issue of what is to be done about broadband access and speeds and why we need to do anything..

There is a valid argument that nobody yet needs a 1Gbps connection aka the services of B4RN, Gigaclear et al. I doubt that I ever use my 200Mbps to the full. It may be argued that over and above a certain speed (say 10Mbps per person) what is more important is the contention/congestion on the service provider’s network. That’s as may be but the real point is that as a nation that needs to compete and be innovative in the big bad technology ruled world we need to have that cutting edge.

Commercial websites have evidence that shows how revenues increase with faster page load times. Amazon claim a 1% increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds improvement in page loading time. Yahoo increased traffic by 9% for every 400 milliseconds improvement. Google say that “Slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6%”.

This is one of the reasons why large content providers are members of Internet Exchange Points like LONAP where their traffic gets the benefit of faster connectivity.

It may be about speed in the headlines but behind all the hype it’s about money.

The same logic can be applied to broadband connectivity. I found this Forbes article from 2012 that claimed that GDP increases by 0.3% with a doubling of broadband growth. Now I’m sure that there will be lots of caveats and conditions associated with this but the general message seems to be clear.

The problem is that this isn’t a BT or a Virgin issue. Apart from the fact that B4RN and Gigaclear have shown that it is very much doable to provide 1Gbps to the home economically (£30 a month for a 1Gig connection – I’d say that’s hugely competitive).

BT’s job is to generate value for its shareholders and not to underpin the economy. This is a we the people issue. Why should the UK wait for BT to decide that there is indeed a business case in providing FTTH, which is what we are talking about. Fibre all the way to your house.

UK GDP at the end of 2015 was around £1,787 Billion. Last year Ofcom told us that the average UK broadband speed had grown to 22.8Mbps by the end of November 2014. If everyone was getting 1Gbps that would be over x 25 growth or, if for the sake of a number we use the Forbes 0.3% figure, a 1.5% growth in GDP.That would take GDP to £1,814bn or a growth of £27Bn which is funnily enough roughly what the Caio Report in 2008 said that rolling out nationally FTTH would cost. Bear in mind this figure would be based on BT type overheads and costs.

Compare this to the £15.5 to £19.5Bn annual increase in GDP by 2040 quoted for the H2S train project for an investment of around £50Bn.

I don’t have a problem with investing for the future. The government’s problem is that it can’t see how an investment in digital infrastructure would generate growth. It can’t work out the numbers. A capital project such as HS2 has an established business model that bean counters can bet their brains around. The brave new digital world is a mystery to most of them. They aren’t necessarily to blame as it’s new for everyone. What is lacking however is vision.

There is something else lacking. If you talk to the folk at B4RN they won’t touch government money with a barge pole. This is partly out of bitter experience.  When they were starting they were ignored by the establishment in favour of BT when it came to the distribution of funds. BT being seen to be a “safer” pair of hands. It is also because government money comes so wrapped in red tape that accessing it is seen as too much effort to get to.

So somehow the MPS on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee visiting Russell’s Water today need to be provided with a message they can take back to Westminster. A message that says “raise your game UK”. Let’s be seen by the world as being visionaries and not just by a few people in government trying to spin a story.

The CartoDB  website is useful if you are looking for data on your local broadband speeds.

Business datacentre hosting

Jolt web hosting established at Timico Newark datacentre

Jolt web hosting launched in the UK

My pal Matt Russell is, at the tender age of 30, a veteran of the web hosting industry. He is a successful self starter and has owned a number of businesses in the space. I got to know him when he set up some services at our Newark Datacentre when I was CTO there. In those days Matt was joint owner of WebHostingBuzz which as well as the UK and Europe (Amsterdam) had resources across the USA. Matt is now rebranding to Jolt web hosting.

He is doing this to help focus the business on UK and European markets. Most of the support resources of WHB are on this side of the pond so it made sense for him to put his efforts into his home market. Matt has been remarkably successful in building a fully automated and integrated hosting system that can easily be applied to different brands. He keeps the same back end infrastructure and support teams and just replaces the front end.

The fact that he makes use of a seriously high quality date centre resource as is the TImico facility just underlines the quality of his approach to service provision. Timico massively over provision their connectivity to the datacentre to ensure the best experience for their customers.

If you are looking for some cost effective and quality web hosting take a look at Jolt. Try them out for responsiveness.

I asked Matt for an elevator pitch for Jolt and he gave me this:

“Jolt web hosting provides 24×7 support via helpdesk and also real time live chat. best blend of latest hardware, timico’s network, low prices”

There you go. It’s nice to be able to help and support a business in your home town. Matt lives half a mile from me and the Morning Star pub is approximately half way between our two houses:)

Happy Chinese New Year

shey shey


ecommerce Engineer internet ipv6

NANOG 66 is in San Diego by the sea @LONAP

NANOG 66 – bring your shorts

One of the downsides perhaps of being in the internet plumbing industry is that your Facebook timeline constantly fills up with people  off to conferences in exotic places. Even when they aren’t off to a meeting people are still off to exotic places as they spend their air miles. This week it’s NANOG 66  in San Diego.

San Diego is one of the nicest places you can choose to go to a conference. The other popular destination is Hawaii. I’ve done San Diego but not Hawaii. In fact I tend to avoid conferences that involve long haul travel these days because it’s hard enough submitting your body to a week of conference talks, corridor meetings and the follow on eating and drinking without throwing jet lag into the mix.

Out of curiosity I took a look at the NANOG Facebook group and the NANOG website. The first thing that hit me on Facebook was a comment that told me there were 1002 people signed up for the conference. That’s a lot of people. So many people that you have to figure out how to make the most of the fact that they are all there. The value in these meetings tends not to be in the actual conference material but in the people that attend.

This brings me to my second observation. The list of Platinum Sponsors, organisations that have paid $100,000 to sponsor the three events in the year, includes a business called Addrex. Addrex are an IP address broker. That’s a serious chunk of change they have invested in marketing by becoming a NANOG sponsor. It just goes to show how much money there must be in the IPv4 address game.

internet traffic growthI am more familiar with Sandra Brown and the IPv4 Market Group who very generously sponsored the LONAP dinner last month. LONAP usually sends a couple of people to the NANOG meetings because they are very good recruiting grounds for new members. Most of our big members have come on board as a result of relationships developed at such meetings.

If you are in NANOG this week do take the opportunity to look up Will Hargrave and Richard Irving who will be there representing us.

Business engineering internet

Cisco v Arista

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement in favour of Cisco.  Quite an interesting spat going on in the big wide world of internet plumbing and routing at the moment. Cisco are suing Arista for patent infringement and have been given a judgement in their favour.

Now it seems to be the norm for big companies to go about suing each other these days: witness the long running Apple v Samsung saga, or Samsung v Apple – take your pick. This is no change to the status quo really. Many years ago when I was in the semiconductor business I once got a letter (yes letter) from AT&T or some similar long established telecoms giant saying that we were infringing a patent of theirs. We were using a CMOS process and they assumed that because of this we were using technology that they had patented.

They probably sent them out to every semiconductor manufacturer fishing for a response that they could grab hold of and drill deeper. I threw the letter in the bin and heard no more of it.

AT&T had a revenue generating department that specialised in doing this sort of thing – their patent portfolio was huge.

Nowadays the stakes are very high. Cisco are still market leaders (ref Gartner Magic Quadrant – Who’s Leading The Data Center Networking Market) but Arista are the fastest growing and together with Cisco hailed as leaders.

There are three reference points in respect of this court case:

  1. Cisco’s Mark Chandler (SVP, General Counsel and Secretary General Counsel) in a blog post on protecting innovation naturally takes the line that “copying and misappropriation are not a legitimate strategy”.
  2. Arista founder and CTO Kenneth Duda obviously has his own views here.His blog post entitled Protecting IP or Market Share?  is well worth a read.
  3. The third reference point, apart from the judgement itself is the online outcry from the internet engineering community. The feeling is that there is prior art that covers the meat of what Cisco are claiming as their own patented technology. There is also a sense that the patent authorities do not have sufficient expertise to vet a patent application and that we have to wait for expensive law suits to prove prior art.

Now there’s no way I’m going to get involved in this discussion (apart from the fact that I sort of already have here) other than to say that the only people who will do well out of this will be the lawyers – how much did that blog post cost Cisco? I doubt that it will make any difference to anything in the great scheme of things.

Note when we talk about data center market share we are talking about the core of the internet.

Engineer peering

LONAP networking dinner is great success @JoeBaguley @LONAP

Industry peers get together for LONAP networking dinner

The LONAP networking dinner held in a private dining room  at Kettner’s last Thursday night was as usual a huge success with guest speaker VMWare CTO Joe Baguley providing some stimulating thoughts for debate. Joe was speaking about Network Function Virtualisation.

LONAP as you may know is an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) of which I have the honour of being Chairman. Now the whole point of an IXP is to provide eyeball networks and content providers a meeting place for them to share their network traffic (peer) cost effectively and get the best performance out of their networks. The typically lower latencies obtained by peering at an IXP result in the best experience for their end user customers.

Joe Baguley in his talk highlighted an interesting use for NFV that was highly analogous to the way an IXP works. He discussed the scenario where a betting firm could set up a virtual network at the datacentre closest to a specific sporting event. This would in theory give the betting firm’s customers the fastest response time and best experience. ie help them to lose their money more quickly.

Once the event is over they just tear down the virtual network. A click of a virtual switch. Highly cost effective.

Virtual network functions we are told are just as good as hardware implementations these days. When you think about it unless your need requires high end state of the art ASIC silicon everything is realisable in software these days.

These LONAP networking dinners are always successful, helped on this occasion by the very generous support of the IPv4 Market Group (IPv4 address proker) and Xantaro (network integrator). I think both sponsors will have had great value from the exposure into a fast growing and high spending community of network operators. Take a look at their sites.

The attendees were a great mix of LONAP members and non-members/prospects ranging from small but agile communications providers to some of the biggest eyeball networks and content providers in the country.

These are top class networking events. If you are in this business, a LONAP member or otherwise, look out for the next dinner which will be sometime in the spring. If you want to sponsor a LONAP networking dinner by all means drop me a line. Vendors get really good exposure into a wide network engineering community.

Last week’s dinner did have a hint of that end of an era feeling. It was the last  week  of trading for Kettner’s, a legendary Soho bar that has been around for 149 years. Kettner’s has been sold to the SoHo House Group who are turning the whole block into a hotel. This is a shame because I’ve been holding private dinners for a few years now and only discovered Kettners in the last year. I’ll have to find another venue.

The sadness at the closure of Kettners was tempered by the fact that because they had been running down stocks of wine we got the most expensive plonk on the wine list for the lower price of the wine we had ordered but which had run out:)

Ciao amigos. Keep peering! A few pics of the evening below including some colourful ones taken en route. Oh and a big thank you for Joe Baguley for coming along and speaking:) Loads of peering content on this blog if you want to read it.

LONAP networking dinner

LONAP networking dinner
LONAP networking dinner guest Joe Baguley gets animated

LONAP networking dinner

LONAP networking dinner

LONAP networking dinner

Engineer engineering internet

UKNOF33 – live action from the conference room floor

UKNOF33 is happening today at Bishopsgate deep in the heart of the City of London

UKNOF33 returns once more to Bishopsgate. It feels a bit odd for what are obviously great bunch of guys and gals, famed for their altruism and generous heartedness to be holding a conference deep in the heart of the financial centre of London – a place known for its single minded pursuit of the filthy lucre purely for the sake of it and (allegedly) at the expense of all moral consciousness. That isn’t to say your average network engineer isn’t interested in the green stuff but we do like to think that we perform a good public service as part of the deal.

Nothwithstanding the location, which due to the growth of the conference is one of the few places able to hold all the people wanting to come, UKNOF continues to be one ofthe most worthwhile meetings in the networking calendar.

These UKNOF posts, in line with other conference posts, aren’t necessarily going to cover the presentations verbatim. You can download the slides if that’s what interests you. No, in these posts you get whatever catches my eye. This might be corridor gossip, interesting (editor’s judgement is final as to what constitute interesting) snippets from the talks, or just photos of things that catch my eye.

Feel free to share, comment and generally participate, if you want to. Otherwise it’s good to be back 🙂

If yer interested check out our other UKNOF posts.

Business ecommerce google

The local wide web and the Rangemaster cooker service

Rangemaster cooker service – does your cooker need one? is back in action for 2016 after a very refreshing Christmas and New Year break. Most of you who are friends on Facebook will have seen what I’ve been up to and you can follow my daily non-work-ish diary over on In the meantime I offer you a short not too onerous post on web presence and Rangemaster cooker service.

We have a Rangemaster cooker. For the uninitiated the Rangemaster has two ovens, a grill, five gas jets and a hot plate. It is extremely useful kit for a family with four kids. This is especially the case at Christmas but before the festive season kicked in we had a problem with one of the ovens not working properly. How on earth does one manage with only one oven at Christmas? I’m not sure it is doable.

So one day I got to “get cooker fixed” on my jobslist and did a search for “Rangemaster cooker service Lincoln”. Google came up with a very comprehensive looking site that said it had engineers in our area. It looked a bit too comprehensive for sleepy ole Lincoln and my suspicions were aroused.

I then did the same search replacing “Lincoln” with “Brighton” and came up with the exact same site but this time portraying itself as a local to Brighton. Now there’s nothing wrong with a business being able to do this. It’s making great use of tinterweb to generate business opportunities. However when I’m looking for a cooker repair man I want a competent local guy who can do me a good job at a fair price without involving layers of middlemen and commissions.

The website was ignored and I popped into the local Aga gaff thinking they were the same company. There didn’t do Rangemaster but the guy gave me the name of a man who can. I rang the man and he came around the next day to advise me that I needed a new regulator (sucks in teeth).

Now whilst there is a place for location independent services on the www we have to remember that there are some times when all we want is to be able to pick up a good old fashioned (VoIP) phone and call the bloke down the road for help. The local wide web.

Happy New Year y’all…

Oh btw apparetly cookers don’t get serviced. They get repaired – there’s nothing to service. Also here’s a tip for you. Don’t put cast iron bits off the gas rings in the dishwasher. They get corroded and hinder the spark lighting function.

Also the real point to this post is that local firms need to start thinking about how they market themselves online. Innit.

rangemaster cooker repair brighton

food and drink Weekend

Tref is on holiday

Back roughly the third week in Jan. Hope your Christmas is a goodun and that Santa brings you everything on the list, always assuming you’ve been good during the year.

In the Davies household we will have a full deck of kids back for the holidays so we are all looking forward to that.

Also I will be working on so keep your mince pies peeled for that early in the new year.

If I can offer any advice on how to survive the holidays it is be sure to drink to excess, eat too much and lie in excessively late every day, small children permitting.

If you are anywhere near Lincoln on Wednesday 23rd December you are very cordially invited to my annual carol singing session in the Morning Star – details on the Facebook events page here. It’s a great evening, assuming you like beer and singing Christmas Carols.

If we are lucky the evening may also evolve into a jazz session once the carol singers have exhausted their repertoire.

See ya in 2016 🙂

fun stuff Weekend

trefbash 2015 is today – SOLD OUT

trefbash 2015 est arrivee

trefbash 2015 is a sellout, as usual and I’m looking forward to meeting y’all. Hopefully the theme of Bond meets Rocky Horror will have given people food for thought. Early indications are positive.

Don’t expect much feedback tomorrow as trefbash has traditionally grown into a two day event. Doors open tonight at 6pm and revelry continues until the official 2pm ish closing time.

Tomorrow morning (9 – 9.30 ish) we will be at Silvas on Shaftesbury avenue for one of the best greasy spoon breakfasts in London. In fact it’s almost a travesty to call Silvas a greasy spoon but hey…

Past performance suggests we will then find a pub and carry on the party. I’m on the 15.08 home from town on Friday.

trefbash marks the end of activities for the year for the blog. There will be a video released at some point hopefully next week once the dust has settled. trefbash 2015 also has a Facebook photo Album. You have to be a friend to post pics there but I guess if you are coming tonight that qualifies you for friendship. Just invite me and I’ll accept.

If you are coming tonight see you there. If not too bad – sgonna be a goodun. If you’ve never been to a trefbash you can see what you’re missing in these previous years’ trefbash posts.

Bad Stuff Business scams

It’s telecoms fraud week on

Telecoms fraud – a massive cost to the industry

I periodically run themed weeks on this blog. This week it’s going to be a few posts on telecoms fraud, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Belgian anti fraud specialists Netaxis. Manuel has already contributed a post on PABX fraud during a previous fraud week.

The telecoms industry loses a huge amount of money to fraud. The total amount has been estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars (see global fraud loss survey by cvidya). It is a problem that affects most businesses of any size. The worst aspect of the problem is that it often alienates service providers with their customers. The fault is often down to inadequate network security practices amongst end user companies who in turn blame their communications provider.

It is in everyone’s interest to do something about telecoms fraud but because these scams are usually perpetrated across national boundaries with multiple networks involved in the loop making any progress is a difficult thing to do. It is only the local communications provider who has the problem – of recovering the cash from their customer.

This week’s contributors include some heavy hitters in the industry including Colin Duffy of Voipfone and Dave Dadds of Vanilla IP. Keep your eye open for their posts.

First one goes live today at 1pm. Catch ya later…

fun stuff

RIPE71 Tuesday afternoon – international cyberwarfare – the internet as a field of war


This talk promises to be very interesting – is presented by  team from Leiden University

End User phones

In which I take a look at my new Oneplus 2 one week in

Oneplus 2 review – is the upgrade worth going for?

I took delivery of my new Oneplus 2 last Wednesday. Initial thoughts:

Screen already chipped – wtf??
I like the fingerprint recognition – works really well
Took a while to figure out how to close down the camera app
V cool button for selecting priority callers only
Much better phone directory lookup than Oneplus 1
I’ve kept the sms and hangouts functions in separate apps this time because merging the two in the Oneplus 1 didn’t work very well
the rough back on the phone is great

I didn’t need a new phone but the Oneplus 1 was starting to give me some grief in a few areas. It would quite often take minutes to look up people/phone numbers. The phone would sometimes not find a person I knew I had in my address book. It was hit and miss. Wasn’t like that when I first got it. I also made the mistake of merging the sms function with the hangouts app. This caused so much hassle in figuring which account to use when sending a text message. It may also have been the source of the problem of directory look up. I don’t know.

Because the Oneplus 2 didn’t break the bank at £270 or so I bit the bullet. First issue was it uses a nano sim which the Oneplus 1 doesn’t. I could have cut the sim down but figured it wasn’t worth the effort and went into the EE shop in Lincoln and got a new one. New sim worked straight away fair play. In the meantime I used the Oneplus 2 without a SIM.

Before originally deciding to sign up with EE I had considered running without a mobile number and getting a data only sim. Decided that this approach was a little too ahead of its time.

Screen defect on Oneplus 2

Now before diving into the improvements that the Oneplus 2 has brought it is worth saying that the screen has already got a defect in it. It’s very small and I can’t see if it is a chip but boy is it irritating. The problem is I suspect that the RMA procedure takes ages with Oneplus and I think I’m going to have to live with it. It doesn’t get in the way of the overall experience. I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen as a result of being dropped or bashed in any way. The Oneplus 1 went a year without mishap.

For an update on the screen issue please see this post.

Fingerprint recognition on Oneplus 2

The fingerprint mechanism on the Oneplus 2 is great. Works every time. I have both index fingers and my right thumb stored. It’s real progress. I still have the PIN number as a backup. It took me a while to realise that this function was worthwhile but now I use it every time and even find myself shutting down the screen just so that I can reactivate it with my thumbprint!

Oneplus 2 Camera

One of the most important features of a phone for me is the camera. I take a lot of pictures. Other reviews tell me the camera is an evolutionary improvement over the Oneplus 1. I guess it is though I can’t really tell the difference that much. One thing worth noting is that if you use the “photo” mode for hte camera it takes a while to take the picture. You have to hold the camera still whilst it take the photo. If you choose “Manual” more it still seems to do things automatically but doesn’t have the same problem.

A few observations. It took me a while (a few days) to figure out how to exit the camera app. There is no obvious x button and the android softkeys that allow you to go to the home page, go back or show open apps disappears from the screen when you are using the camera. Turns out you just swipe up from the bottom and these buttons reappear. This might be something adjustable in the settings but now I know what to do I can live with it.

I also discovered a “feature” whilst writing this post. If you have the phone locked in portrait mode and then take a landscape oriented video the video turns out at right angles to the way it should when viewed. I found this out after having posted four videos to Facebook. What’s more Facebook didn’t appear to have any mechanism for rotating the vids and none of the cloud based video editing services seemed to want to work. At least with the four videos of mine. Fortunately YouTube was reliable and I was able to rotate all four for inclusion on this blog. Check em out here.

Priority notification setting button

Dunno if that’s the right description for the button but on the left side of the phone is a small slider that has three settings. The first lets all calls and notifications through, the second just priority ones and the third none at all. In other words it blocks all communications. It’s a good way for quickly putting the phone in silent mode. Took me a while to get used to this but I then figured out that I could label specific people as priority callers by highlighting a star in their directory profile.

In principle this could be quite useful. I’ve set all the family as priority callers. This is a risk as my dear wife Anne has a track record of ringing during important meetings to discuss “tonights tea”. We shall see.

Much better phone directory lookup than Oneplus 1

You’ve already read my whinge about the directory lookup speeds in the Oneplus 1. Well this seems to be fixed in the Oneplus 2. It could just be that the firmware load is fresh and hasn’t had a chance to get bogged down yet but all I can say is that so far it’s a huge improvement.

I’ve also kept the sms and hangout apps separate in the two. Actually this has shown me that I don’t really use hangouts all that much and it was a mistake to have merged the two in the first place. I use Facebook messaging far more.

It remains to be seen which messenger app will win out considering that the UK government seems hell bent on making it difficult for such apps to be used in the UK. I think a general uprising would ensue if this happened or people would move to “illegal” platforms.

Rough back on phone

I’ve seen a Oneplus 2 review where the reviewer didn’t like the rough back to the phone. It took me a while to get used to it but in balance I think this is a winner. It stops the phone from sliding off surfaces. For example I can have it on my tummy whilst leaning back on the settee writing (as I am doing now) and the phone won’t slip off. I’m sure it’s going to save a few smashed screens.


So having looked at the Oneplus 2  review I can say it’s definitely better than its predecessor. I’m still a bit peeved about the screen defect and I may yet RMA it but we shall see.

Feature pic taken from Oneplus website – I can’t take pics of the phone with itself 🙂

Engineer internet

RIPE71 social scenes

It isn’t all work you know – videos from the first night RIPE71 social

The RIPE71 social was a goodun. It’s always a bit of a risk using video recorded at such events because you never know what clarity of diction is going to be achieve, if you get my drift. On this occasion we were all very sensible and I think hte vids are ok to go:)

Engineer internet travel

RIPE71 – end to end reportingish

A RIPE71 story begins. The live blogging feature doesn’t seem to want to show embedded videos so these are pasted into the body of the blog

End User travel

Hurricane Nora strikes

I mean storm Abigail

I should say mildly agitated bit of wind Abigail.  I wouldn’t promote her to storm, at least not in Lincoln. Course things may be different in other parts of the country. In the West. Where they get all the weather.

Here in Lincoln it has got colder and I’ve stuck the central heating on. Yesterday I noticed people (ok girls) walking around Lincoln in strapless tops! It was that warm. Not today. Today it’s warm vest and scarf weather.

This afternoon I’ve been packing to go off to RIPE 71 in Bucharest. One assumes that a vest is going to be necessary in Roumania. I have visions of the snow drifting up against the castle wall, burying the cottages of the villagers down in the valley. You can just about see the tops of the roofs and the chimneys are emanating woodsmoke. Hope they have enough supplies in. It’s going to be a hard winter ahead.

Not for those of us attending the RIPE conference. That’s in a warm and comfortable hotel with a pool – gotta keep fit and healthy innit. Offset the effects of “conference life”.

I’m back in town next Thursday for the Exec Dinner with Danny Prieskel. We currently have 18 execs signed and room for just 2 more if you want to come, Tix here. Then it’s off to the Isle of Man to see me dear old Dad. Expect photos.

So you may hear from me over the next couple of weeks or you may not. In the meantime I am looking for some guest contributors interested in discussing telecom fraud issues. If you have something to say re fraud by all means drop me a line – or leave a comment here.

In the meantime have a great weekend. Catch you on Facebook sometime…

PS you may be wondering about the featured image in this post. It’s a bit of a tree blown down, presumably, by storm Abigail!

broadband Business

There’s tiles in them thar clouds

Superfast Broadband is Picture Perfect for Tiling Company cloud storage of 50,000 images

As we approach the end of Lincolnshire broadband week on this blog we have a couple more case studies for you hot off the press – onlincolnshire are sponsors of this themed week on

Superfast broadband has been a success story for tile and heating specialist Martin Pocklington whose business like many is evolving to being online and cloud based. I’m sure that the day is not far off where we will all be exclusively cloud based. We will look back fondly (really? – maybe not) at the old days where we had to remember to make backups and waited patiently whilst Microsoft updates finished downloading. Here is Martin’s story:

Having been in the industry over 20 years, Martin has owned Horncastle Tiles Ltd since 2002 and bought Boston Heating Limited in 2010.

As well as websites for both businesses, Martin also runs online retail and wholesale operations at and

Having signed up to superfast broadband in June 2015, Martin has also made the move to the cloud.

He explained: “I have up to 50,000 images of tiles stored on the cloud, which is great as before it was a nightmare to store and track them down.

“Without switching to superfast broadband it would have been a very long, slow and painstaking process.

“We turn over £1 million a year by being able to process sales quickly and delivering fast, without the broadband speeds we would get left behind by competitors. We can now trade online competitively as we have fewer overheads being based in rural Lincolnshire, but it is essential to have that speed.”

Martin added that thanks to making the switch to superfast he can also access online accounting software.

“Quickbooks means everything is centralised and I can access the information from any device, anywhere in the world so long as I have an internet connection. It’s also linked to our ecommerce site and updates automatically which means I don’t have to input information manually,” he explained.

To find out more about Martin’s business visit or

To learn more about onlincolnshire, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, visit

PS this post was begging for a caption such as night out on the superfast broadband tiles or simlar but I couldn’t think of one that worked with the content 2 free tickets to trefbash 2015 if you can think of a good one.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Last day of #Lincolnshirebroadband week

But not the end of Lincolnshire broadband! 🙂

Ok playmates today we finish off Lincolnshire broadband week with three posts.

First up at 10.30 we find out how Horncastle tiles stores 50,000 images of tiles in the cloud.

At 1pm guest contributor Tim Mackintosh discusses innovative ways of using high capacity broadband services and

Finally at 2.30pm David MacGregor talks about the problems associated with being 9.5km from his cabinet.

It’s been a highly successful Lincolnshire broadband week so far with 368 social media shares and comments. And that’s not counting all the comments left on Facebook and LinkedIn and the retweets.

Check out the other posts this week using the links below:

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Superfast speeds = superfast translation? #lincolnshirebroadband

Superfast broadband speeds have been an enabler for Lincolnshire based translation services company

Iwona at PABPAB Translation is a forward-thinking, multi-award-winning translation company with branches in England and overseas.

Nearly all of PAB’s translations are conducted by a native language speaker and more than 70% of its customers come through word of mouth based on the quality of work and the level of service the company offers.

The company’s operations team guarantees to reply to customers needing translations within one working hour from a quote request, so being responsive is part of the firm’s daily routine.

When Managing Director Iwona Lebiedowicz wanted to ensure that the company could reach the next level of service to offer its customers worldwide, she decided to invest and sign up to superfast broadband to aid the company’s growth.

She said: “Our team members come from all over the world as we are one of the largest firms of certified translators and language interpreters in the east of England. As our staff are from all over the world, we wanted to be able to use cloud-based computing and so upgrading to superfast broadband was the next logical step for us as a company.”

Signing up for such speeds has meant Iwona and her team have been able to perform the tasks they normally do, but in a fraction of the time.

Ruta Rubina, PAB Translator and IT Co-ordinator, explained: “We decided to upgrade at the end of 2014 but waited until April when we installed a new cloud-based IT system. The technical demands and the potential enhanced performance cloud computing offers made it necessary to switch to superfast broadband if we were to benefit fully from our new IT infrastructure.”

“We’ve also noticed fewer errors happening,” added Operations Manager Ana Maria Silvago, “which for translation is invaluable.” “Most of our business is done online and our freelancers are located in various locations across the world so it’s great not to be running into problems with regards to getting vital information out there. It now means we are more efficient and more productive overall.”

Sales Ledger Assistant Monika Przybyszewska agrees, saying the superfast speeds on their broadband give greater capacity to send and receive data electronically.

“With invoices especially in my case, it’s much faster. Costs are reduced because we can now rely on our invoices being received by email,” added Monika.

“We are also enjoying faster payments with reliable internet banking and we are able to handle customer issues more efficiently.”

To find out more about PAB Translation please visit This case study was first published yesterday on the wesite.

End User fun stuff

trefbash 2015 update

trefbash 2015 update – registrations over the halfway mark

Signups for trefbash 2015 are roughly on par with last year with over a 100 tickets now “sold”, most of which have gone to regulars. It’s quite interesting to see which ticket types have been selling fastest – I’ve crested a number of different tickets in line with the Bond meets Rocky Horror theme of this year’s bash.

Ticket Type Number sold so far
My name is Bond 39
Dr Frank N. Furter 7
Janet Weiss (s!^£) 1
Brad Majors (a$$h0!3) 1
Pussy Galore 5
Jaws 4
Goldfinger 5
Scaramanga 5
Dr No 7
Tiffany Case 3
Honey Ryder 2
M 17
Moneypenny 5

It’s quite telling that lots of people fancy themselves a bit of a James Bond. Also I haven’t looked but I wonder how many of the 17 people currently going as M are female in line with the Judi Dench portrayal in Skyfall.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the 7 people signed up as Frank N. Furter turn up. Also up until yesterday nobody had signed up as Janet Weiss (slut) and there was only one Brad Majors (asshole). There are now one of each.

Although we have the Christmas Market here in Lincoln the weekend before trefbash seems to be the start of the party season proper, after which nothing much gets done. I know some of you will be slogging away with month/quarter/year end impending but hey…

Traditionally some of us also have a few sherberts in town the following day before catching the train nowf so if you can plan that into your busy schedule then you are welcome to join us.

Still time to get yer name down if you plan on coming. trefbash 2015 is four weeks today. Signup page here.

End User scams

Chinese domain name scam returns – yay

We take a break from our Lincolnshire broadband posts to bring you this exciting message. The Chinese domain name scam is back:)

I used to get these scam Chinese emails quite frequently when I was at Timico. Dunno if they specifically target email addresses of businesses. I look back at them with fondness because they were obviously attempts to extract cash.

General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3008, Jiulong Building, No. 836 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697

Dear CEO,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent, Thanks)

We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China.

We received an application from Huayin Ltd on November 9, 2015. They want to register ” broadbandrating ” as their Internet Keyword and ” broadbandrating .cn “、” broadbandrating ” 、” broadbandrating “、” broadbandrating ” 、” broadbandrating .asia ” domain names etc.., they are in China and Asia domain names. But after checking it, we find ” broadbandrating ” conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

I got this one recently. Don’t recall when exactly because it was in my spam folder and I deleted the lot after copying the text. Good old Google caught this one for me. Had some words of warning: “Emails like these have been known to be attempts to take money from your bank account” or words to that effect.

I should probably take it a little more seriously but my initial reaction was “Ah bless, they’re at it again”. Presumably it must work with some people otherwise they wouldn’t bother.

PS I wonder what Huayin Ltd notionally do?

broadband Business

Today on – how people are using their new superfast broadband connection

Lincolnshire broadband week continues

Ok playmates (or meates seeing as this is Lincolnshire broadband week – if you aren’t from around here you might not understand that one me duck) today we have three guest posts talking about how people are taking advantage of their new superfast broadband connection.

At 1pm we have Philip Little of Lincoln based hosted VoIP company talking about how they have seen a huge uptake in hosted voip services since the advent of superfast broadband. Was really nice to come across Bluecube btw – someone doing my thang in my home town (thang is an Americanism – not from Lincolnshire, btw).

Then at 2.30 pm we have my good friend and internationally renowned Hungarian concert pianist Ervin Nagy discusses how he has managed to stop having to commute to Budapest and get more quality time with his family in Lincoln, all thanks to superfast broadband.

Finally at 4pm we have an case study showing how Lincoln based translation company PAB is using hteir new superfast broadband connection to access cloud the based IT services that have revolutionised their business.

It’s very noticeable that case studies are always business oriented. We overlook the fact that superfast broadband has allowed sea changes in the way we use technology at home. Multiple TV streams for the family in multiple rooms. Backups of family photos – how often do you hear of people losing all their precious family photos (“often Tref“). Keeping in touch with the kids using video Hangouts/Facetime/Skype/Facebook. etcetera, etcetera etcetera (as in the movie the King and I). I think I’m losing the plot this morning. I’d better go.

I may add more as they come in. and already have some lined up for tomorrow.

Ciao amigos meates.

Posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes


broadband End User

Broadband for all – our rights to access utilities

PM promises broadband for all

It is fitting considering it is Lincolnshire broadband week on this blog that last weekend Prime Minister David Cameron announced that broadband should be considered an utility and that everybody should be able to request it. He said:

“Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.” Good.

The digital minister Ed Vaizey gave further detail, explaining that the plan was to bring in a universal service obligation of 10Mbps for “the very hardest to reach homes and businesses.”

This is a very difficult issue to get your brain around. In the first instance whilst 10Mbps may be a huge step forward compared to what some people in rural areas might be getting today it will still be way behind what most of the rest of us can already receive.  By the time it has been implemented 10Mbps will be seen to be pretty slow. Maybe that doesn’t matter.

If it is perceived that water, electricity and gas are a right, and I’m not sure that is the case – I can’t believe every rural dwelling is plumbed in for these services – I don’t think people are offered partial services for these utilities. eg you can only have some of the electricity you need not all of it.

Why shouldn’t rural people get the same broadband services as their cousins who moved into town?

It will also be interesting to see how this is paid for. I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect BT to have to foot the bill and my experience in working with Nottinghamshire County Council on their BDUK programme suggests that the whole subject of government subsidies is hugely complex. There are massive rolls of red tape indiscriminately (my words) applied to any project that may be perceived to have subsidies involved. I may be wrong.

Our politicians are often criticised for not understanding issues, especially those pertaining to technology and the internet. We must accept that some of these issues are difficult to grasp, especially in times where we are trying to save money not spend it.

We are promised a consultation period in 2016 on how to achieve the promises made by the Prime Minister over the weekend. I say ok but at the same time we should be actively looking to see how UK plc gets the universal fibre to the premises that must be the long term goal.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes


broadband Business

Will the B4RN business model work for Lincolnshire

Will the B4RN business model work elsewhere or is it the result of an unique set of circumstances.

B4RN, or Broadband For the Rural North is a community owned provider of internet connectivity services offering 1Gbps fibre to the home technology for £30 a month. B4RN bill themselves as “the world’s fastest rural broadband”. You don’t need to rent a phone line as well which is the case with “traditional” fibre broadband technology which still  relies on the copper phone line for the last bit of connectivity to your house. So the £30 is it and the 1Gbps is also it. If people want a phone they can get a low cost VoIP line from any number of providers – B4RN recommend Vonage.

Fibre to the home is not generally available from mainstream broadband providers such as BT and Sky because these providers typically reuse the country’s existing copper line infrastructure to carry most of  their services. The cost of rolling out totally new fibre connections to everyone would not make business sense. This was estimated at £29Bn by a government funded report a few years ago. BT is spending around £2.5Bn on the current Fibre to the Cabinet rollout.

How does B4RN do it?

You can see there is an order of magnitude difference between the two costs. It doesn’t make sense for BT to spend £29Bn on a broadband service. For one with that kind of up front cost they wouldn’t be able to do it for £30 a month and I doubt their shareholders would consider it money well spent.

So how come B4RN can provide a 1Gbps FTTH service whilst BT can’t. B4RN’s cost per metre to roll out fibre is around £5 whereas I remember seeing up to £140 in the BT pricelist, at least for the most awkward stretches of fibre. That’s a big difference.

b4rn fibre entry point
B4RN fibre enters a stone walled building (pub actually)

B4RN relies on donated labour from communities served by their broadband. People accept that the price of getting broadband is their free labour. BT will have union regulated price structures for this kind of work. BT also has to provide scale. They need to be able to provide the same services across the whole country. They won’t find volunteers to help them dig trenches if those volunteers think they are helping to line BT’s pockets. B4RN is a community owned organisation. The volunteers are lining their own pockets.

B4RN volunteerMoreover one of the costs associated with digging fibre into the ground is what is known as a wayleave. This is the fee (per foot) paid annually to a landowner whose property is being traversed. Landowners will see this as a “nice little earner” from BT. In the B4RN business model scenario the landowner normally waives the wayleave either as a gesture towards the community, the desire to get broadband themselves or having been subjected to peer group pressure ie leant on by friends. There have been cases where a landowner has just not been interested in helping out and in this scenario his or her property is simply bypassed and doesn’t receive the service.

Chris Conder B4RNThis whole way of working relies on having champions within each community to round up volunteers and manage the digs in their area. This is typically done on a parish by parish basis.

The original B4RN assumed there would be 8 parishes involved with up to 1,300 premises. Once a parish had been “lit” (in other words the fibre connected and providing broadband services) interest in the scheme would naturally be generated from neighbouring parishes. People talk.

The process of connecting to adjacent parishes is fairly straightforward and largely only involves the planning of the fibre digs. In principle the B4RN network could spread across the whole country, eventually even reaching rural Lincolnshire, simply by connecting adjacent parishes. It’s a little more complicated than that but not much more.

The difficult bit is setting up the first parishes. This is because just digging local fibre connections isn’t enough. This fibre has somehow to be connected to the internet. It also requires significant technical expertise to do so. B4RN were lucky in having Professor Barry Forde living in the community. Barry was Professor of Networking Technology at nearby Lancaster University.

B4RN was also able to secure cost effective access to a fibre connection that ran to Manchester which is the main internet meeting point in the North of England. The combination of Barry’s tech, the fibre link to Manchester and a ferociously focussed team led by a farmer’s wife named Christine Conder has resulted in a network that is now booming, spreading (13 parishes as I write) and the toast of rural broadband networks across the whole world (B4RN frequently receives global media coverage). Moreover Barry Forde and Chris Conder have been warded MBEs in recognition of their work promoting rural broadband.

Would B4RN work in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

So would a B4RN model work in Lincolnshire. The answer is quite possibly but of course this relies on fulfilling the three criteria – tech knowledge, access to a fibre backhaul (to the internet) and finding a team of parishioner interested enough to make it happen. It also needs enough householders interested in taking the service. All of these factors are difficult to achieve.

There is a scenario whereby B4RN could run the project which would satisfy the tech knowledge criterion. You would still need enthusiasm and local fibre, the latter being the hardest/most expensive to find. It is going to take the B4RN network a long time to reach Lincolnshire by organic means and the building of a new “node” would provide a shortcut to making this happen.

If the government were only to chose one thing to assist rural communities access good quality broadband it would be by helping them to access the fibre backhaul. The B4RN experience in getting state assistance has not been good. In fact they have had no government assistance and moreover consider the red tape associated with such help to be more hassle than it’s worth. However this doesn’t mean that a government provided fibre connection into rural communities isn’t doable.

It’s a model that should be looked at could be the wholesale provision of dark fibre into markets that would otherwise be uneconomic and not attractive to private investment. Any Service Provider would be able to avail themselves of the facility.

There is one note of caution to this tale. One of the reasons the BDUK project was structured towards only allowing large businesses to bid for the money was because of the government, in line with all public bodies, needs to be seen to be spending our cash wisely. Part of that is making sure that the investment isn’t thrown away because the Service Provider goes tits up sometime down the line. In other words the entity being given the cash needs to be seen to be a good long term prospect.

There is some validity in this approach. After all broadband has become part of our critical national infrastructure and BT isn’t going to go bust anytime soon. Witness The Ashby Digital Village Pump project providing 100Mbps symmetrical FTTP in Lincolnshire. This was announced with great fanfare but was badly run and soon fell apart. There are others like it.

This doesn’t meant to say there aren’t well run small businesses or organisations that can do the job. B4RN obviously can and the likes of Gigaclear appear to be thriving despite being a provider of fibre to the premises.

This is going to be an ongoing discussion for some time to come.

B4RN country

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Intro to lincs broadband week on #lincsbroadband

This week is Lincolnshire broadband week on periodically holds themed weeks. These are weeks where all the posts are focussed around on single subject and tend to get a lot of engagement from the readership. This is usually manifested in a high level of social media shares, typically on Facebook and/or LinkedIn depending on the subject matter but also Twitter. Living as I do in Lincoln I decided it was time to have a Lincolnshire broadband week.

During Lincolnshire broadband week we will be publishing a mix guest posts that include service providers, wannabe service providers and a range of case studies concerning innovative uses for broadband. We will feature BT’s next generation tech, Fibre to the Premises and wireless. Also covered will be how superfast broadband is driving the use of cloud technologies, how the pace of technology development is driving the need for faster and faster broadband and innovative examples of how the availability of superfast broadband is changing the working patterns of some people.

Lincolnshire is a very rural county with in parts very low population densities. Our County Council has for years made efforts to drive availability all over the region. This week is also an opportunity for people living in Lincolnshire to have their voices heard. Are you happy with the progress of superfast broadband in your area? How has superfast broadband changed your behaviour when it comes to using the internet, or even in your everyday lives?

As well as leaving comments and sharing blog posts with your own social network we are also encouraging people to join the B4RL Facebook group. Short for Broadband 4 Rural Lincolnshire B4RL aims to emulate similar fora in other parts of the UK where there is already a lively debate on the subject of superfast broadband and its availability.

Whether you already have superfast broadband, are still eagerly awaiting its arrival or are disillusioned and deep in the trough of despair because your house isn’t even on the waiting list you should be tuning in to for Lincolnshire broadband week. Bookmark the site, follow @tref on twitter and join the B4RL group. is the personal blog of Trefor Davies. Tref was cofounder and Technical Director of Newark based business broadband ISP Timico and is Chairman of one of the world’s leading Internet Exchange Points LONAP. Lincolnshire broadband week is generously supported by onlincolnshire.

#lincsbroadband is supported by onlincolnshire.

PS couldn’t find a Lincolnshire broadband image per se so you get this one of the cathedral in the snow:) We get real winters here in Lincolnshire 🙂

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

End User fun stuff

Ten past four and it’s getting dark!

Custard is a dish best served cold

I’m a great believer in knocking off work when it gets dark. If it had been intended that we should work in the dark we would have invented torches been born with a light on our foreheads.

It’s ten past four and it’s getting dark. Time to huddle round the hearth, nice woollen blanket on our laps. Only illumination is the glow from the fire. On this occasion I’ll have to settle for switching on the central heating and stick with the glow from my laptop screen.

Way back when we lived in Waunfawr near Caernarfon we had a coal fire which my mum used to like to lie in front of. Then we moved to the Isle of Man where we only had radiators. Mum used to lie in front of the radiator! I digress though there isn’t really much point to this post. Just thought I’d take a break from doing other things.

It’s a good job I can type without having to look at the keyboard. Ish. Cos it’s dark. I mentioned that. It’s also chucking it down. Quite relaxing here in the conservatory with the sound of the rain on the roof. My office is in the conservatory. It’s all cabled up but I only use the Cat5 connection for the SIP phone. Also have a SIP DECT phone fwiw.

Screenshot_2015-11-05-07-46-33A car has just driven by on the main road outside with its siren going. Couldn’t tell whether it was a police car or ambulance (or fire engine for that matter). Wouldn’t have been able to see anyway because of the hedge. Also I’ve had to switch on a light – have just realised my touch typing ain’t all that good anymore. It’s a consequence of changing laptop sizes too many times. Each keyboard is a different size – messes up your spatial awareness ifyaknowworramean.

Now I’m multitasking, writing this post and communicating with an offspring using Facebook. Of course you can’t tell that I’m doing it but hey… It has meant that my productivity rate has slowed.

It’s really dark out now and the heating is at last taking effect. Another siren goes by. The mean streets of Lincoln. Buzzing tourist spot by day. Gangland by night. Not really. Just sounded exciting. Sometimes you have to jazz life up a bit. Like, for example, by coming along to trefbash 2015. You know it makes sense. Also still have a few tix left for my Danny Prieskel dinner where we will be discussing telecom fraud. Get signed up.

Couple more sirens go by in short order. Must be something big going down. Mean streets, like I said. More likely to be a traffic accident. When it rains, as it is still doing right now, we have road traffic accidents (RTAs) and the Lincoln roads get gridlocked. On such occasions the only sensible course of action is to park up and head for the pub. You can always come back in the morning for the car.

If you live near Lincoln one thing you might be interested in is the carol singing night at teh Morning Star pub – my local. Details on Facebook. It’s on 23rd of December this year. We have Colin Dudman accompanying the singing on the piano and when we’ve done with the singing Joe Davies joins in on trumpet and we finish off the night with some jazz.

I think that’ll do for the mo and will leave you with the following saying to muse over:

custard is a dish best served cold

End User surveillance & privacy

Like a bit of porn do you fnaa fnaa wink wink

What price privacy? Snooper’s charter 2015 – round “n”

The snooper’s charter debate shouldn’t be about what will be monitored by the government.  We should be discussing exactly what price we are prepared to pay for our security. Considering that any data stored under this edition of the “charter” will eventually be hacked and leak out are we ok with this?

The supplementary debate of how effective the monitoring will be in catching terrorists is a different matter.

Check out a ton of posts on the snooper’s charter.

Btw the featured image is simply a seasonal photo taken this morning in the car park of Yarborough Leisure Centre where I go swimming. Nothing to do with the snooper’s charter 2015 unless something is hiding under there…:)

Business peering travel

First train to London – just leaving town

Stardate 4th November Editor’s vlog early morning report

Catching the 19.06 back from King’s Cross if anyone else is around at that time. FIrst train to London – just leaving town – I’m not sure i like the term vlog but this is the beginning of me doing more of this kind of stuff. It’s quicker and easier than writing it:)

PS new pic of me – good quality capture though not sure it captures the essence – needs the right combination of niceness and rebelliousness.

End User scams voip

Hi it’s Michael here – do you have an Apple or Microsoft computer in the house?

snom dect and Michael the Microsoft pirate

I was thrilled to answer the home phone this morning to find it was Michael at the other end. I’m sure it was Michael though it did take him a couple of goes to get his own name right. He wasn’t your average Michael. He sounded very sub-continental, if you get my drift.

I had just come in from doing mellow fruitfulness stuff in the back garden and had to race to answer the (SNOM DECT SIP) phone before it rang off so I wasn’t totally on the ball meself. I did answer the phone with my right name though, I think.

Mike got straight to the point. Actually I’m not sure that he calls himself Mike but I didn’t get that far in relationship building in our short time together but that is by the by. Anyway Mike informed me that he was ringing regarding the Microsoft or Apple PC in the house. I asked him how to could tell the differenced and how he knew it was either Microsoft or Apple. He said most people had either Microsoft of Apple PCS.

Now the frustrating thing about our very short lived conversation is that Mickey didn’t hang around long enough for me to tell him I didn’t use either but was a Chromebook aficionado. Before I knew it click, he was gone. V disappointing. I was just in the right mood for a long conversation about the fact that my PC had a virus or simlar.

Never mind. Mick had a dirty target to reach and couldn’t waste time chatting with me about the pros and cons of browser based operating systems versus the old fashioned stuff.

With an element of sadness, nay mellowness in keeping with the season, I put the handset back in its cradle.

Our home phone use btw has been revolutionised by the use of SIP but I’ll keep my powder dry on that one until next week as we are having a Lincolnshire Broadband week on the blog. I currently haver around 10 posts in my sights but can still take more if you want to contribute. Can be about apps running over broadband or about broadband tech itself. Or even how broadband has changed your life for the better. Hey it happens 🙂

The featured image btw is a snom dect handset on a background of black granite. V artistic I thought although the handset itself didn’t come out in perfect focus as I kept taking pics to try and get the red led in shot – at least I got that bit. Adds a bit of colour don’t you think?