Business events

Advanced notice Christmas tweetup 17th December 2010 London

This is advanced notice of the Christmas tweetup for tech writers, bloggers, friends of and all round good guys.

This networking event begins at 1pm in the back bar of the Betjeman Arms on Friday 17th December 2010 and is a not to be missed opportunity to meet people who write about and influence happenings in the UK technology space today.

December is a busy time of year and I’m giving plenty of warning so that people can get it into their diaries.

Tickets are free of charge and available from This event is expected to be a sell out so get your name down early.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event – leave a comment (it will not be published) or email me at [email protected].

Business piracy Regs

Irish Judge denies Rights Holders 3 strikes injunction against ISP UPC

[2009 No. 5472 P]
JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Charleton delivered on the 11th day of October, 2010

I’ve never read a High Court Judgement in detail before, be it British or Irish. This one is about an injunction sought by the above referenced rights holders requiring Irish ISP UPC to implement a three strikes policy against alleged file sharers.

The judge goes into 78 pages of detailed analysis of the problem, technical measures that may be available and the law in respect of this issue.

This is a guy firmly in the camp of the Rights Holder industry. I’m not going to comment on the individual arguments he makes and whether they are in my judgement right or wrong. He has probably spent weeks researching it all and summing up. In fact as I’ve mentioned before to some extent I sympathise with the RHs plight.

The problem again comes down to the old innocent until proven guilty human right that we have all been brought up to respect. I could find no discussion in the document regarding the issue of proof of guilt of the broadband subscriber.  He just assumes that the probability is that a family home PC has been used for the infringement.

Instead the judge concentrates on the proof that the ISPs network was being used. Moreover on page 38 he dismisses a UPC response that the individuals alleged to be file sharing “may or may not be our customers” as “not an honest answer”. Saying this he clearly does not understand the proof issue.

Fortunately Mr. Justice Charleton was unable to offer injunctive relief to the plaintiffs on this occasion because the law did not allow for it. The only thing he could offer under the law was to order a take down of any copyrighted material hosted by the ISP. This of course is not how the file sharing system works.

The judgement is worth a read if you have the time. My copy was provided via EuroISPA. I couldn’t find a link to it online so here it is. I will take it down if required.

broadband Business

Rural Broadband Replacement – Broadband in a Bottle #trefandrory

I hope that someone gets my…I hope that someone gets my…I hope that someone gets my broadband in a bottle.

You heard about the tref and rory pigeons versus rural broadband race. Well not everyone has access to a pigeon. However everyone can get hold of a USB memory stick and put it in a bottle with a cork in it. The idea is you load your content onto the memory, put it in the bottle, cork it and throw it into the stream running along the side of the cowfield.

In due course the bottle will make its way downstream and no doubt be picked up by someone who will open it and take out the memory stick.

Business internet piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

Website blocking is not a good idea – petition

As part of the Digital Economy Act the goverment is potentially going to ask the ISP industry to block access to websites that perpetrate or encourage Copyright infringement.

There are two points to make here:

The first, which is one that has been repeatedly made, relates to the inefficacy of the methods used to block access to websites. It is very easy for people to get around a blocking system.

Engineer internet peering

LINX new members > London grows in internet importance

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) this morning announced three new members: Hutchinson 3G, Kenya Data Networks and from the USA. The only surprise as far as Hutchinson goes is that they were not already a member.

The addition of two new international members does however serve to underline the importance of London as a peering point for the global internet community.

Engineer ipv6

IPv4 address range for sale – Nigerian Army Surplus stock

Dear Sir

I am the widow of Major General Ndabeninge Ndabeninge of the Nigerian Army Internet Warfare Division. Before he mysteriously died of a particularly potent computer virus my honourable and most beloved husband was very active in AfriNIC, the African Internet Registry and was able to secure a /8 block of IPv4 addresses for the exclusive use of the Nigerian Armed Services.

Now that he is no longer with us the Nigerian military high command has decided to close down this branch of the service as part of cost cutting measures.  The war against cybercrime here in Nigeria has cost the country dearly – people are no longer falling for the scams. Because of this the block of IPv4 addresses is now surplus to requirements.

Business internet mobile connectivity

Timico buys Handheld PCs

Once upon a time there were fixed line communications and mobile communications. Then the internet raised its hand and believers said Internet Protocol communications will rule, OK. This we all know and in the early days at least the fixed providers were shaking.

Nowadays IP is everywhere. We are bombarded every day with new websites, services and products promising to revolutionise our lives. So much so that I have actually pulled back a yard from experimenting with the latest and greatest. This is because if I let it happen I would spend all my time looking at new services, most of which will never see the light of a second round of funding. These days I let other people’s ideas take proper root before getting interested.

Notwithstanding all this there are some clear trends. Smart Phones and tablets are taking over our lives. I’m particularly surprised at the latter,

Business online safety

EUROISPA paper on Online Child Exploitation

EUROISPA has published a position paper on online child exploitation. The paper contains three key arguments:
1. Full support for professionally operated hotline:

  • Governments should concentrate on developing a clear legal and judicial framework.
  • The public must play an essential role in the reporting to the police or local hotlines of suspected child sexual abuse material as ISPs cannot in any way monitor the Internet.
  • Hotlines’ network should be further developed within the European Union and promoted abroad.
Business security

EC proposals to improve cybersecurity

The European Commission today unveiled two new measures as part of its fight against cybercrime.  The first measure proposes new criminal offences relating to

  • the use of malicious software (botnets etc) for committing offences,
  • illegal interception of informations systems

and strengthens penalites for such crimes. The EU also proposes an improvement of European criminal justice/police cooperation by strengthening the existing structure of 24/7 contact points, including an obligation to answer within 8 hours to urgent request and the obligation to collect basic statistical data on cybercrimes.

The world is in dire need of general improvement in respect of international cooperation. The UK has it’s own Police Central eCrime Unit but the

Business competitions

Lemon Drizzle Cake competition results – read all about it

Faye Hemingway is congratulated by Trefor Davies for winning the Timico Lemon Drizzle Cake Competition
Faye Hemingway is congratulated by Trefor Davies for winning the Timico Lemon Drizzle Cake Competition

As I write this post the rain is lashing against my office window trying to break the glass and play at the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament has been suspended due to the weather. Inside Timico Towers though the drizzle has been of a different sort.  This month’s eagerly anticipated cake competition was, yes you guessed it, Lemon Drizzle Cake.

It always worries me that in arranging these competitions I might find myself in the embarrassing position of not getting any entries. The team has not yet let me down and the standard of entries has been getting higher and higher with each new competition.

broadband Business

Superfast Broadband Coming to Cornwall and Scilly Isles

BT announced today that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are set to become one of the best connected locations in the world under an ambitious £132 million BT and Cornwall Council project, supported by European funding. It will bring superfast broadband to the vast majority of businesses in this area by 2014. The project will benefit tens of thousands of local businesses, create 4,000 new local jobs and protect a further 2,000.

It is expected that other ISPs will be able to offer services using the infrastructure in the same way that they buy off BT Wholesale today. Operational details of this have yet to be announced. Rollout will be announced on a rolling basis, agreed by the project partners in consultation with internet service providers.

broadband Business internet

FTTP Broadband Installation – First Photos of Trials

Photos of BT FTTP broadband installation. Really!

As a participant in the BT Fibre To The Premises  trials I am pleased to bring you pictures of real life fibre installations in action. There is more to a FTTP broadband installation than a traditional ADSL line which utilises existing copper cabling.

There are three splices to be made.  One at the cabinet and two at your premises (inside and out). A splice is traditionally a fairly complex and expensive operation – because of the kit and skill-set required.  However you can see from the photo that today’s equipment is far more portable and thus suited to a mass market rollout when the time is right.  Note you still need a bloke to hold the umbrella 🙂 Presumably there is someone off camera heating up the urn as well :).  Thanks to BT Wholesale for the photos.

broadband Business internet

FTTP Broadband jfdi Country Style

Photo is of villagers in Ashby De La Launde digging their own trenches in preparation for fibre installation.  This is one way of circumventing the enormous civil engineering cost of lighting the UK with fibre.

Villagers in Ashby De La Launde Lincolnshire digging their own trenches in preparation for FTTP

broadband Business

Phase 6 Exchanges for FTTC Announced by BT

Hot off the press this afternoon is the much awaited schedule for the BT FTTC Phase 6 rollout with exchanges being delivered up to December 2011.  I know this is a hot one for many readers so hopefully your exchange is on the list.

Mine isn’t. I’m thinking of putting a POP into my garage in Lincoln because I don’t like being left out myself 🙂

Anyone interested in hopping on the back of this should register their interest in a comment 🙂

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. 

Business piracy

£636758.22 £191,027.47 £500,000.00

£636,758.22 is apparently the amount of money ACS Law claim to have made out of hounding broadband subscribers for payment for “alleged” Copyright Infringement.

Based on a commission of 30% £191,027.47 is what the firm would have made out of these unsavoury antics.

£500,000.00 is the fine that ACS Law could be hit with for revealing their victims’ details on their website.

It is easy to see why ACS Law wanted to keep going after its victims. Shed no tears. Feel compassion for the many people whose lives have been affected by ACS Law. I wonder whether the firm will survive.  Their website is down as I write…

Others have written intelligently about ACS Law so there is no point in my regurgitating it.  Broadbandgenie has been close to this one all along – see their commentary here.

Business piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

BT TalkTalk judicial review results expected this week #DEAct

Andrew Heaney of TalkTalk tells me that they are in theory expecting to hear the result of the Judicial Review into the Digital Economy Act  this Thursday.  He didn’t seem hugely optimistic that this date would actually be met.  I guess considering the obscene haste with which the DEBill/DEAct was rushed through we should reasonably expect the judge to take his time on this one and make sure he gets it right.

broadband Business ofcom

How to Get BT to Deliver Superfast FTTC Broadband to Your local area – jfdi city style.

The answer to the question of how to get BT to deliver FTTC broadband is cash, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own cash.

As a grown up business BT only rolls out fibre to commercially viable areas. This is clear. There is no case for investment in areas where farmhouses are miles apart and it takes weeks to dig trenches to lay ducts to provide superfast broadband so that rural folks can provide details online of stock movements and check when the next market day is in town.

This is not a gripe. In fact I like to think that readers of this blog go away enriched, fortified and looking forward to the next time they need a reason to come back – perhaps the next cake baking competition results. They don’t want to read whinging prose. They need edification. Satisfaction.

Also BT business cases don’t just apply to rural areas. Only 500 or so exchanges are currently planned to be Superfast FTTC broadband enabled in the UK. My hometown of Lincoln isn’t one of them. It’s all about economics.

Business internet ofcom piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

Education, education education??? #DEAct

A recurring theme of today’s DEAct conference is the fact that this whole exercise is seen by government and Rights Holders as a process of education. They are trying to influence behaviour (target is 70% reduction in file sharing) and not specifically going after individuals.

The issuing of Copyright Infringement Reports and notices to ISP customers suspected of unlawful activity is intended to be a shot across the bows.  A message to say “this is not a good thing that is going on”.

The problem that RHs have historically had is that the cost of taking suspected infringers to court has not only been prohibitive but also fraught with risk in that the chances of them losing the case are quite high. Proving certainty of

Business ofcom Regs surveillance & privacy

Ofcom to get another 3 months to finish #DEAct Code of Practice

At the DEAct conference in London today Rachel Clark, Deputy Director, Communications and Content Industries Dept for Business Innovation and Skills, told us that the deadline for Ofcom to complete its work on the Code of Practice has been put back 3 months to the end of March 2011.

She considered that this was still a difficult deadline to meet but at least it is an admission of the fact that Ofcom has been struggling with the enormity of the task in hand.

Interestingly the meeting comprised around 70 – 80% Rights Holders representatives. I thought this seemed disproportinate but actually only 6 ISPs are seriously being affected in the initial phase. More concerningly is the fact

Business mobile connectivity spam

08452860706 keyword has attracted 346 visits to in September

The search keyword  08452860706 has attracted 346 visits to this month.  This was a surprise because the most popular keywords by far relate to FTTC.

08452860706 takes people to a blog post concerning mobile spam from a company called DXI Easycall. It would appear that this problem is fairly prevalent and presumably unpopular.

These visitors, none of whom have visited the site before,  don’t stay long though – 21 seconds compared with the site average this month of 1 minute 44 seconds.  Just long enough I guess to find out the culprit and move on.

broadband Business online safety

ONS’s “Social Trends Spotlight On: e-Society” (Internet Access)

A few statistics jump out of the page of the Office Of National Statistics (ONS) report entitled Social Trends Spotlight On: e-Society.

In 2010 73% of UK households have internet access. If we take the 2009 statistic that only 90% of these had “broadband” then we can assume that around two thirds of the country has broadband. Coincidentally 64% of children aged 5 to 15 had used the internet for schoolwork or homework at least once a week. One might interpret this as saying that the 1/3 of children without broadband were unable to access the internet for schoolwork. I realise that is a bit too simplistic but is certainly does highlight a problem.

87% of French people are “very worried” that their child might become the victim of online grooming.  This is in marked contrast with the UK where the number is only 32% (Slovakia is 10%!).  There are a few ways of reading this:

Business piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

Digital Economy Act – problems lie ahead #DEAct

With all the current debate going on regarding cost sharing and the Digital Economy Act it is interesting to look into the future to try and see the mess there is going to be when people start getting warning notices and then wanting to appeal against them.

Ths clip below is from The Herts Advertiser24 a local paper in St Albans. It concerns a teenager taken to court for downloading indecent images of children and animals. The teenager had been using Limewire to download porn but had not realised that his PC was being seeded with other images and did not in fact know they were there.

broadband Engineer internet

FTTC Broadband at 700Mbps? The Man from Huawei He Say Yes!

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting old but the pace of life seems so frenetic these days. Today I read about a 700Mbps DSL prototype showcased in Hong Kong by Chinese networking vendor Huawei.

Huawei’s SuperMIMO technology uses four twisted pairs to achieve a downstream rate of 700Mbps at a distance of 400 metres. This means it would likely fit into a Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC broadband) scenario. In the UK of course we are just rolling out “up to 40Mbps” FTTC and trialing 100Mbps Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).

broadband Business

FTTC Broadband Exchange Rollout Update

Just posted the most recent schedule for FTTC broadband exchanges. It’s a few weeks overdue and the next one seems likely to come out next month but it does add 46 exchanges to the previous list.  Otherwise it is mostly schedule updates.

End User fun stuff

I like a good dip

hot chilli salsa dip competition
hot chilli salsa dip competition entries

Next in the food for thought category is a short post about chilli salsa dips.  A number of us have been growing chillies and tomatoes this summer so we thought we would have a best dip competition.

I didn’t win though my 5 chilli version was commended.  Dawn Spear won with an uber tangy fresh tomato salsa with coriander. Lurvley.

dippers dipping in to the hot chilli salsa dips
dippers dipping in to the hot chilli salsa dips
End User fun stuff

I like a good book

The high levels of intelligence and stamina required to survive the rigours of life in the engineering department of an Internet Service Provider attracts a certain breed of individual. They are all well rounded, interested in writing code, computer games, sky diving, the occasional glass of beer and like to look after their mental and bodily health.

The standard diet consists of the appropriate mix of fluids (Red Bull, Monster) and health foods (KFC, MCDonalds, Dominos, Taj Mahal takeaway etc) together with an extensive reading list required to help them keep abreast of current affairs, advancement in technology and general mental health.

The photos below show what the lads browse through during their quiet moments (Sunday mornings before, during and after church).

light reading for the Timico Network Operations Teammore light reading for the Timico Network Operations Team

Personally I’m reading Bobby Fischer Goes to War by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. I recommend it. In fact I think I will buy some more chess books.

broadband Business

Pigeon Versus Broadband Publicity Statistics #trefandrory

The pigeon versus broadband race last week generated a phenomenal level of interest. It must be said this is an illustration of the power of the BBC – although of course the fun nature of the event itself must have helped.

The race, which involved near constant media exposure throughout the day, was covered on BBC Radio 2,3,4,5, BBC1 News at 6.30 and 10pm, BBC Scotland, Humberside, World Service and Lincolnshire (they are the only ones I know of). The first radio interview was a 6.15 am and the last, Radio 5 Live, was at around 6.50pm

It was the 5th most popular item on the BBC website on Thursday – by 6.18pm it had had 92,357 story views, competing mainly with the Pope’s

Business Regs surveillance & privacy

Julian Huppert MP is a good lad

I’ve just read this transcription of an interview given to by LibDem MP Julian Huppert.  It is a sensible commentary on the process that led to the Digital Economy Act and worth a read.

I have not met Julian Huppert yet but hopefully he will be around for the Parliament and Internet Conference next month. JH was responsible for an early day motion on the DEAct.

We need more MPs like Julian who “get” technology issues.

Business datacentre

2,200 properties in the Newark area lose elecric power – communications services OK

2,200 properties in the Newark area have lost elecric power due to a substation failure.  I’m told it will take a couple of hours before “normal service is restored”.

That’s cool.  I can hear the reassuring sounds of the backup generator humming away. Comms are still up but the microwave oven in the kitchen, which is not a key service and therefore not supported on the jenny, has a half cooked meal in it. Customer services are still functioning.