Archived Business

Sunday Times Techtrack 100 features Timico for 4th year running

The 2010 Sunday Times Techtrack 100 came out yesterday featuring Timico for the fourth year running. The Techtrack is really the domain of young small companies that can easily demonstrate high compound annual growth. Six years into the game Timico is really no longer a startup and each year it is going to become harder to maintain the rates of growth.

Having said that it is always nice to be recognised and this is our fourth year in the Table so we must be doing something right. (Good 🙂 )

broadband Business

Rory and Tref Pigeon Versus Broadband Race – The Highlights

Short amateur video of the Rory and Tref pigeon versus broadband stunt from last week.

broadband Business

Pigeon Versus Broadband – Rare Video Footage

This rare video footage was uncovered from the archives this lunchtime when I was looking for some photos to send to the Skegness Standard who want to cover yesterday’s Rory and Tref pigeon versus broadband race.

You will note the firm but fair grip that must be excercised on the racing pigeon prior to launch.

Catch that pigeon! #trefandrory #roryandtref

broadband End User

Haircut Video – Complete and Unexpurgated (Pigeon Versus Broadband)

This is the video that failed to upload from Furrows Farm to YouTube in yesterday’s Rory and Tref pigeon versus broadband race. It is complete and unedited so you might not want to sit through it all. On the other hand you might (we are all different – witness daytime TV).

For reference it was a “number 2 back and sides” at Antonio’s on Wragby Road in Lincoln. Also for reference I went to the Isle of Man for my holidays this year – information that didn’t come out during the haircut.

broadband Business internet

Pigeon Versus Broadband Update Rory and Tref

The great Pigeon Versus Broadband race began when the birds were set off at 11.05, and they clocked in at the loft 1hr 15 minutes later. At that time the broadband upload to YouTube was only 24% complete, and then only after having to reset it as the connection was dropped.

The distance according to Google maps was 75 miles and according to Unikon pigeon specialist Ray Knight the straight line flight path was 65 miles I believe (I am assuming they flew in a straight line).

broadband Business

Pigeon vs broadband trailer on the BBC

Audio of a trailer intereview I did with the BBC last night talking about the rerun of the South African broadband versus pigeon race but in the UK this Thursday.

Update 17.20 15th Sept

There is a fair bit of media interest in this event with live radio interviews for BC Humberside and BBC Lincolnshire for tomorrow’s breakfast shows, mid morning and drivetime on BBC Lincolnshire as well as extensive  TV coverage on Look North. The BBC main news website is also covering the event.

Look out for the  rory&tref  hashtag on twitter during the day.  Rory and Tref are the two pigeons that will be carrying the microSD cards (Rory Stewart is the MP for Penrith).  Check out the Cumbrian Rural Broadband event he is organising here.

On a side note we will know the exact time of arrival of the pigeons back in the loft because they will be RF ID tagged. I am expecting a convincing  avian victory.

Business Regs surveillance & privacy

BIS announces 75:25 cost sharing proposals for DEAct

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has today finally published its response to the Digital Economy Act  (DEAct) cost sharing consultation. As expected, the Government has gone for a 75:25 rights holder to ISP split for costs of both notification and the appeals process. The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) and others argued long and hard for a beneficiary pays principle, which suggests that in fact the BIS postition should read 100% Rights Holder pays. That was always going to be a difficult one to win considering the whole dubious history of the DEAct.

Engineer internet surveillance & privacy

classy chassis

I mentioned in my post re lobbying and the Digital Economy Act (DEAct) that he internet was a boring nuts and bolts game without the sexiness of the music industry.

Well coincidentally I have just taken delivery of some new kit – we are continually updating our network. The picture below tells it all.  The box, known as a 7606 chassis, is what we plug in the routers and line cards that run our connections to the internet.

It might look boring but engineers can get really excited about these things – at least at what is going into the box. The 7606 chassis itself is just

Business Regs surveillance & privacy

UK Music piling on lobbying – DEAct consultations delayed

The consultation on the Initial Obligations Code required as part of the Digital Economy Act has been delayed. Originally due out at the end of July it missed this date and because it has to be issued whilst parliament is sitting was not therefore published during the summer break.

This is currently slipping week by week presumably whilst the government tries to make its mind up regarding the content.  I am also told that potentially the Cost Sharing part of the DEAct might need to be referred to the European Commission which would mean a three month delay. It looks likely that the launch of the Code of Practice which has to be done in January 2011 will be a softly softly low key affair. I can’t imagine that the CoP will be in a usable state at that time.

Business internet net neutrality Regs

ISPA Council beefed up with some heavy hitting members

I went to the bi-monthly Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) board meeting today. ISPA has four new council members representing BT, Eclipse Internet, Everything Everywhere and O2.

That these large organisations are keen to participate in the running of the ISP industry Trade Association is a reflection of the amount of legislative activity going on surrounding the internet in the UK.

I’d go so far to say that government attempts to regulate the internet are currently at an unprecedented level – I guess as our daily lives move into the cloud this is not a surprise but should not be seen as inevitable.

broadband End User

Breakfast, Broadband Speeds and Bandwidth

I got home last night, reopened my laptop, had food (enchiladas) and started working again. 4 hours later at 11.30 after significant online usage I went to bed.

This morning I had a very refreshing cup of tea in bed, opened my laptop again and kept on going. At breakfast I had all bran and a banana which I ate whilst tweeting and then I cracked on again with some work.

A little later, having sussed the problem I had been working on, I downloaded some Open Source software (phplist if anyone is interested) and began to upload it to a test site.

Business voip

HD Voice Peering Federation launches in UK

Next Gen interconnect carrier XConnect has in the UK today launched The HD Voice Peering Federation, a High Definition Voice initiative. This is something that was discussed at the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association (ITSPA) HD Voice workshop I chaired back in June. Whilst it is still early days should provide a good breeding ground for high quality voice interconnects amongst VoIP service providers.

Without such an initiative HD voice services would forever be high (quality) walled gardens with no contact with the outside world.

The initiative is supported initially by vendors Polycom, Broadsoft and Dialogic and has signed up Simwood,

End User social networking

best use for Ping is on the golf course

When I was a lad I used to sit around listening to music, chewing the fat with my pals. Nowadays I hardly listen to any music other than on the rare occasional night in on my own with a steak and a bottle of red wine.

It may be a generational thing but I don’t actually have time for it. I don’t often watch TV so in the evenings I am on my laptop doing whatever I am doing. Most of the time music would break my concentration so I don’t have it on.

I use twitter a lot in the evenings. That’s instead of Facebook which I now only dip into every now and again. Sometimes I note that people I follow on twitter are listening to music. @jobsworth for example commutes into London and often tells us what he is listening to.

So when Apple announced a new TV service and Ping, a new social network based around music I found it difficult to get excited.

End User gadgets

Kindle3 – low end competition for Apple and Samsung?

I’m not a gadget freak but I am surrounded by around 30 engineers who are and are always bringing something new in to show.

I’m particularly interested in the way that hand held devices are moving in respect of their use for business. Today Sian Steen reviews her new Kindle 3. As a book reader it isn’t obviously a business tool but it falls into a category of handheld devices that will almost certainly encourage business uses.

Trefor Davies with the Kindle3 reviewed today
Trefor Davies with the Kindle3

My own observations are that it is exceptionally good as an eBook – the clarity of the text was great – but it doesn’t yet replace tablets such as the iPad and Samsung Galaxy. However the price point is so much lower than the tabs that I’m sure it won’t take much evolution to make it compete in that space. The tradeoffs will be battery life in exchange for colour and touch screen.

Sian writes:
I’ve been waiting for a Kindle for a very long time. I’m not referring to the 3 week gap between pre ordering and the device arriving. The original Kindle was released (US only) in 2007. It sold out in 5 hours. I wanted one. Kindle 2 was made available to UK residents, but it was a cut down version.

After reading up about the original Kindle with all its fantastic features, I made up my mind that until I could have all of these things I would wait. Kindle 3 has everything the original Kindle had and more and all of it works on the UK version. It’s been almost 3 years, and the wait is finally over. For me, the Kindle 3 is the definitive eBook reader.

Engineer internet ipv6

Top IPv6 websites – none of the big guys in it

Work done by Mike Leber of Timico peering partner Hurricane Electric suggests that of the Alexa top 1 million domains only 2136 of them are IPv6 ready – that is to say they are running native IPv6.

With less than a year to go ot IPv4 exhaustion this suggests there is still much to be done.

It is brought home when you compare the top 50 sites with the top 50 IPv6 enabled sites – none of the domains in the former is listed in the latter. Now this doesn’t come as much of a surprise – big sites need to tread carefully as they

Apps End User google spam

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google ad over.

End User mobile connectivity ofcom Regs spam

mobile spam

I was spammed on my mobile yesterday.  That is to say I had a cold call from a computer trying to sell legal services for those involved in motoring accidents.

This was extremely irritating – I can’t imagine anyone likes being suckered like this. I have checked and there doesn’t seem to be a telephone preference type service for mobile numbers.

The originating number was 08452860706 which is operated by DXI Easycall, a hosted contact centre business. You

Archived Business

developer wanted Linux Perl Bash Ruby Python PHP5 SVN symfony Doctrine OOP

developer wanted Linux Perl Bash Ruby Python PHP5 SVN symfony Doctrine OOP.

Junior position with great career potential in fast growing market leader. Suit someone with a couple of years experience or a grad with nouse. Must be a geek.

More on website here, give me a call, send email or leave comment on this post – it will not get published.

Engineer internet

The size of the internet & the curse of deaggregation

There has recently been quite a bit of interest in the IPv4 exhaustion date. Understandable. It is coming up fast and sounds game changing. What perhaps isn’t obvious to the casual watcher of the Gadget Show or reader of newspaper technology sections  is the underlying complexity that surrounds the approach to the end of this IPv4 world.

In reading this blog your ISP will have directed your http request across the internet from its own network to the Timico network and to the server hosting the website.

This server has a public facing IP address, part of a contiguous block  that is advertised to the whole internet. The

Business internet mobile connectivity voip

Orange HD voice – when will the whole world go HD?

Mobile operator Orange has hit the headlines today with the launch of its HD voice service. Trials for this service, which uses the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband codec (AMR-WB – otherwise known as  G722.2), began in June this year in the south of England.

The service is initially only for Orange HD handset to Orange HD handset.  This is quite easy to do as “on-net” HD calls using the same codec don’t require transcoding and also do not therefore enter into the black art world of interoperability. 

HD voice has been the subject of discussion amongst the VoIP community in the UK this year.  A fair few vendors

Business competitions

cheezy grins all round at the Timico cheesecake competition

My cake making competitions have become very popular.  The strange thing is that I get people I’ve never met before coming up to me saying that the posts I write about these competitions are amongst their favourites. Well one person did last week at the LINX meeting anyway. 

I’m not sure what that says about my other posts but in answer to this huge demand I am happy to report the winner  of the August competition – this time for the best cheesecake – is Paula Davies (no relation afaik).

Apps Business internet

TfL & twitter highlight need for reliability in cloud

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

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

broadband Business internet

Broadband ISP Life: #Microsoft Update meets #WorldCup

The broadband ISP industry woke up yesterday morning to a spike on their collective networks. I had people down to my office asking whether the World Cup had started a new trend in online TV watching. It undoubtedly reinforces the trend but this time the bandwidth rush was due to a Microsoft Update and not the football.

The football is starting to have an effect though – viewing figures during the opening ceremony were up around 30% over normal video watching. This didn’t have any ill effects on the quality of the experience at least at my end.

30 minutes into the opening game between the Hosts South Africa the score remains nil nil and the video traffic has grown by about 60% above the norm.  This is not as many people as were watching the shennanigans the day after the general election (although it almost is).  But this is not England playing here…

Just to remind readers the concern is that online viewing is going to flood the internet and affect regular users. Warnings have been issued by many ISPs and content providers. Looks like our pipes are ok at the moment although as predicted we have hit a record high in terms of bandwidth usage. If you are making a VoIP call or sending email etc you should still be fine.

You do wonder at Microsoft’s timing though, releasing an update just before the biggest demand event the internet will have seen to date. I guess there are geeks everywhere.  Football? What’s football?

Archived Business

Timico's #WorldCup Wallpaper

I walked in this morning to find that the wallpaper in the office had changed overnight. Being Welsh and with no real interest in the football World Cup other than the fact that I have drawn Chile in the office sweepstake it took me a bit by surprise. Having said that everyone is excited and the whole tournament (at this early stage before anyone has been knocked out) has lifted everyone’s spirits.

The video below is a quick scan around the office to show off the decor. The bit at the beginning is where the Network Operations team sits. Note no flags here.  They are all uber-geeks who care only about tech stuff and are only vaguely aware that there is a sport called football. They will still celebrate a win with everybody though.  Work hard and play hard.

broadband Engineer internet

I'm sorry there is a fault – the Davies household grinds to a halt

I woke up this morning to a fault on my broadband line. OK this kind of thing happens. There is a BT engineer coming tomorrow morning to fix it. Fine.

It does however bring home how reliant we are on the internet. I found out in bed at 6.30 am that that the “internet wasn’t working” (after I had been down to make the tea!). My wife’s instant reaction was “OMG what if I get any emails from potential eBay buyers asking questions about my sales items”. 

“Don’t worry” I said, “in an emergency you can use my phone”.

Business ofcom Regs surveillance & privacy

Ofcom #DEAct Code of Practice limited to ISPs with 400,000 subs & excludes mobile broadband

ISPA Secretariat met with Campbell Cowie and Chris Rowsell from Ofcom this afternoon to discuss the ongoing work surrounding the DE Act.

Ofcom explained that the Code will look at four areas: process – how a Copyright Infringement Report (CIR) is generated and sent and the notification process; appeals for consumers; dispute resolution between ISPs and RHs; and costs, which BIS will be focusing on.

The Code is due to be published within the next ‘couple of weeks’, though no date has been set. As Ofcom did not anticipate industry to come together and produce an effective code as per the DE Bill/Act, it had been planning what a Code may look like for some time and had not relied on one side of the debate to influence the content.

Due to the short timescales Ofcom has been working to, the Code will be instructional rather than setting out line-by-line what is required. For example, instead of dictating a standard approach for a CIR, those affected will have to tell Ofcom how they will go about it and Ofcom will then approve it or recommend changes.

The Code will initially be limited to ISPs with around 400,000 subscribers – currently 7 ISPs – and not including mobile broadband, but the long-term ambition is to target those ISPs with copyright infringing consumers. So downloaders who migrate to an ISP not included in the soft launch of the Code will eventually be covered as Ofcom follows the traffic. Ofcom has also been tasked with analysing the level of copyright infringement and barriers to innovative and emerging business models and report back to the Secretary of State, and would be actively seeking views on this.

My thanks to the ISPA Secretariat for this feedback.

Business Regs surveillance & privacy

It's a good life – the 4 week working holiday for the civil service #ge2010

You might wonder what happens to the Civil Service now that an election has been called. Well Civil Servants enter a period called Purdah where they are not really allowed to do anything in case it is seen to favour one party or another, or turns out to be contrary to what the Government to be decides is sensible policy.

They actually have a 51 page instruction manual on how to conduct themselves during Purdah.

Instructions include:

Business internet Regs

Gordon Brown speech on Building Britain's Digital Future #bbdf

The election campaign is in full swing with Prime Minster Gordon Brown this morning giving a speech, entitled “Building Britain’s Digital Future” and broadcast live at about 8am on

I’m not going to provide a detailed analysis of this.  You can catch that from all the tweets at #bbdf. The PM covered a wide range of subjects that fall under the banner of Digital Britain. Much of the content I am concerned with was just a regurgitation of what has been said for the last year – 50p tax on phone lines, high speed access for all etc. etc. I don’t really see the evidence that this is going to happen yet, or at least not much progress.

What was important in my mind was the recognition or reinforcement of the point that has to embrace web technology.  There is a long way to go here as well. I note that the speech was broadcast on the number 10 website. I found out about it on twitter via @hadleybeeman. When I “tuned in” there were 87 watchers.  By the time I had to leave to go to work there were 157. That’s only 157.

There is clearly a disconnect between the PMs speech being made available on line and people knowing it was there or feeling inclined to watch it. There is a long way to go before Government is properly online.

It was probably to some extent down to the timing – during the morning rush hour.  Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favour of much of what the Government is saying about Building Britain’s Digital Future. Regular readers will know that this doesn’t extend to how they are going about it though. 

The appointment of Sir Tim Berners-Lee as joing head of a new Institute of Web Science might sound good but web technology, once it got off the ground has proliferated because private industry recognised that there was money to be made. That same private industry is even prepared to take big punts where it isn’t quite  clear where the money will come from (eg twitter).

So in my mind the main area of focus should be creating the environment for ideas to flourish. An Institute of Web Science can no doubt contribute to this – just by being there.  More important is to make sure that all the contradictions we keep hearing about – digital inclusion versus blocking of websites and cutting off internet access; the improvement of the rates  set up for fibre; reforms to the online copyright licensing regime etc etc.

If anyone wants to add to the list by making a comment on this post that would be great. After Easter the Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) is going to be working on its own manifesto stating what the ISP industry thinks Government should be doing. All inputs considered.

broadband Business

FTTC – that's about the size of it

Three photos – first one showing a “normal” street cabinet next to a FTTC cabinet. The latter is much larger to be able to take the DSLAM kit. Exciting stuff eh? Thanks to BT for the pics.

BT Openreach FTTC cabinet next to a normal street cabinet
FTTC cabinet next to a normal street cabinet

Second photo shows inside of a cabinet – no DSLAM in it yet.

Inside a BT Openreach FTTC cabinet
Inside a BT Openreach FTTC cabinet
Third  photo shows a cabinet with DSLAM kit in it. I will check the first two are right because they do look different.  FTTC cabs are definately bigger than normal ones.
BT Openreach FTTC cabinet with DSLAM kit inside
BT Openreach FTTC cabinet with DSLAM kit inside
End User voip

Bang Bang you're alive VoIP shootout

In case anyone is interested we are doing a VoIP shootout at Comms Business’ Convergence Summit North in Manchester tomorrow. This is a high speed high pressure job where you turn up, plug your kit in and expect it to work first time making phone calls.

It’s actually quite good fun, if somewhat pressure filled – the last time they did it two out of six contestants didn’t manage to get a call up and running. 

Anyone interested in watching should turn up at 14.45.  You will need to be quick on the draw to get a good seat.  Details can be found here.

Note it’s quite unusual to get a VoIP installation that doesn’t go fairly smoothly these days. Service Providers have got their act together, especially when it comes to understanding which bits of kit (routers, firewalls etc) can cause problems.  There is always the exception to the rule of course but as long as the installer knows what he is doing it is rarely anything that can’t be sorted.