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


broadband Business Cloud voip

The move to cloud based services gathers momentum as superfast broadband penetration grows

Philip Little of Lincoln cloud based telephony service provider Bluecube discusses the growth of cloud services in Lincolnshire

The trend in businesses moving to cloud services in Lincolnshire has been gathering momentum for quite some time now. However, at Bluecube, we have seen an exponential growth in this over the last 18 months in particular, so why is that?

The swing could be attributed to increased awareness of hosted voice services through better marketing and advertising efforts from providers and networks. The technology gets better, slicker and the argument to move to cloud services more compelling than ever, but we think the main reason so many businesses are moving to the cloud is because of the availability of superfast broadband services.

The majority of businesses, regardless of their size or industry now have superfast broadband available to them, yes even in Lincolnshire! What this article centres on is whether these businesses are taking full advantage of the speeds they now have at their disposal.

If you upgrade to superfast broadband and carry on working the way you always have done, you’re not going to see huge changes. Yes you will be able to open large email attachments much faster and streaming video should be a much smoother experience (goodbye buffering!), but that’s about it. Once you have the speed available you’ll need to adopt a cloud strategy to take full advantage of your investment.

That might sound complicated, expensive, and scary or even a little over the top if you’re only a small business, but bear with me on this – a cloud strategy can be as simple as deciding your one man business is going to move all documents from an external hard drive to something like, Google Drive and start using Skype for calls. If you’re a larger company it might mean that you start to work on a migration plan to get rid of your legacy on site equipment (phone system, servers, storage) and start moving services, data and processes into the cloud. Whatever the size of your of business or the business you are in, you’ll need to start thinking differently to take advantage of this opportunity.

What opportunity I hear you ask? A recent report from Deloitte has shown that SMB’s that use cloud technology grow 26% faster and deliver 21% higher gross profits.  85% of those surveyed believe cloud enabled their businesses to scale and grow faster. This means that the advantage of being a city based company is slowly disappearing. Small businesses now are also able to compete on a more level playing field with larger businesses, as cloud services are generally charged on a per user/per license basis. Small companies can now have the same specification phone system as a large corporate because they don’t have to invest in expensive equipment, as it’s all hosted in the cloud. Starting to get the full picture now?

To realise the full potential of superfast broadband and the real savings you can make through replacing on site equipment and resources with cloud based services, you’ll need some expert advice. There are plenty of companies out there that can help guide you through the process, Bluecube are just one of them.

One thing is for certain, the cloud revolution will continue and it will grow until either it cannot be ignored or your hand is forced. For example, BT have announced that digital ISDN services will have been completely phased out within 10 years and replaced by the 21st century network (i.e. internet based) completely.

Philip Little is Senior Business Development Manager of Lincoln based Internet Telephony Service Provider Bluecube Telecom.

Footnote by Trefor Davies

The concept of Internet Telephony is growing in popularity. Although it has been around for over a decade in the early stages of the market growth was stymied by the lack of good broadband upload speeds.

With the advent of superfast broadband this has changed and the reliability and quality of experience of cloud services has dramatically improved. If you have fast broadband then the move to cloud services is a no brainer and most of’s business is conducted through this medium.

Read our other posts in Lincolnshire Broadband week

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

Business Cloud voip webrtc

The role of the reseller in a software world


Telecoms resellers becoming obsolete?

chris barleyIn the second of our WebRTC articles this week, Chris Barley asks ‘what might the comms reseller look like in a software world’? Chris has spent too many years in telecoms, starting out in business development in the early days at NTL, where he was responsible for satellite services and data network roll out, followed by a product manager role at LCR service provider ACC Telecom, where he was responsible for Intelligent Network and broadband services. More recently Chris worked at iHub, heading up product and network roll out for hosted voice services.

With the role of software becoming more dominant as a disrupter in many industries, it is interesting to look at what the potential affects of software development could be on the communications world.

A recent poll revealed that 80% of Fortune 500 Company CEOs were concerned that their businesses would face a serious threat from the tech sector in the next 10 years. This is due to many large corporates trying to keep competitive by applying sticky plaster to their legacy business models, only to see new software companies solving the same problem at a fraction of the time and cost.

So what does this mean for communications? Curiously for a tech segment, it could be argued that the comms industry has not been very adventurous when it comes to product innovation. A business requiring voice comms is sometimes offered a hosted service, but it is equally likely that a bit of hardware will be installed with traditional black phones placed on the desk, a solution that has stood reasonably still over the last 20 or so years.

In the case of the traditional PBX and phone installation, the infrastructure, telco lines, central office switches, proprietary software etc, dictated what the solution looked like – which was pretty much the same for every customer, be the user a banker or a builder. Just as importantly, installers and maintainers were required to look after all the equipment, adding significantly to the solution’s cost and complexity. The result? Expensive network equipment that provided a fixed solution, supplied through layers of resellers and providers at a high cost necessary to support all the elements in the chain.

The situation has improved with the move to hosted services, with providers offering cloud PBX services to business customers. Whilst the model has been reasonably successful, most observers would however say that it has not reached the rate of penetration that some expected. Unfortunately there are still too many layers of cost in equipment infrastructure and support services that make the hosting model too expensive for rapid penetration in the business market.

But now two things are happening that are changing the future shape of the market – costs are coming down and customers are getting more demanding.

In the comms world as we know, there is no need for expensive telecoms infrastructure to make and receive a phone call. Services are being transferred from circuit switched to IP networks, and as bandwidth speeds and codec efficiencies increase, many voice services will move completely to the internet, where the majority of customers will accept a few quality problems for a free service. Indeed the demand from the younger generation workforce for voice comms has and will continue to decrease, with messaging and video chat rising in importance as their use moves from social to business networks.

At the same time software in most industries is driving business change at a much faster rate, and this is a big challenge for companies that want to remain competitive. Now businesses are moving from large, inflexible, fixed work environments, to more mobile groups of cross functional teams, consisting of knowledge workers that now need to respond more rapidly to market changes.

With the advent of webRTC, it is now likely that web based applications that have changed so many other industry segments will now have a similar effect on the comms world. Now that everyone is speaking the same language, there are substantial opportunities for new operators to take on the existing business model.  With a pure software model there is minimal equipment required to provide services. Rather than developing their own full stack, service providers (SPs) such as Veyring can easily just use the APIs from traditional vendors and opensource providers to build services with a wide range of features at a fraction of the cost. In addition the requirement for network and telephony engineers is reduced.

And as these are all services distributed via the web, there will be no requirement for a traditional reseller to install and maintain the service, indeed the end user will be able to buy these solutions directly from the SP, who has packaged the service using APIs from the software vendors themselves.  So whereas previously there may have been 5 layers in distributing a service to the end user (vendor – carrier – wholesaler – reseller – end user) increasing there will now only be 3 (vendor – service provider – end user).

This more streamlined and efficient model will result in a dramatically reduced cost base and less inertia in the sign up and onboarding stages. This has the advantage of enabling the freemium business model, where the lower cost base allows the introduction of free services (for a basic product package) that incentivises use and initiates the viral spread of the service. As sign up is a much more frictionless process than installation of traditional services, rapid scale can be achieved. This is important as this engine of growth can be much more cost effective and rapid than off line marketing methods used for the traditional comms solution.

The freemium model works when a certain percentage of users upgrade to the paid service and create a healthy revenue stream for the business. This upsell will be the acid test of a successful service provider, since common freemium take up rates are commonly less than 5%. However applications such as the messaging service Slack, with a paid service take up of in excess of 30%, illustrate what can be achieved with a well designed service that meets the needs of the customer.

A paid service needs to demonstrate real value add for the business user. The key to this value add is likely to be the move to cloud based business applications for many functions and processes, and the expectation that comms will be an integrated element allowing users to complete tasks seamlessly within the same app. Previously this would have required an expensive CTi solution, but now most web based business apps publish APIs that make integration with a comms solution considerably easier and less expensive.

Therefore the SP of the future will not need to focus on providing lines, network, and hardware, but will instead need to differentiate by adding value through developing features that will be relevant to the specific company or industry. This will involve developing new skills around understanding a customer’s business challenges and building product to solve these problems.

These new SPs may originate from web developers and internet companies that understand their customers and see the opportunity to comms enable core business applications and private intranets. Alternatively, it will be interesting to see from the comms sector which resellers embrace this change and are successful in a software dominated market.

Try out WebRTC for yourself… GENBAND KANDY is a real-time communications Platform-as-a-Service that provides access to voice, video, rich-messaging and collaboration services using WebRTC as an enabling technology.  Developers can sign up to KANDY and start using their free accounts to run Quick-Start tutorials before integrating into their own applications.  ITSPA UK members can enter their KANDY applications and ideas into the GENBAND UK Summer of Apps competition.

Loads of posts on WebRTC in general on this site here.

Read the previous post in this Genband sponsored WebRTC week:

The disruptive potential of WebRTC to communications networks by Greg Zweig

Business hosting

Amusing superfast broadband in Leicestershire snippet

Superfast broadband in Leicestershire reaches rural parts, as far as we know.

Sasha of wrote a little news post about the roll out of superfast broadband in Leicestershire reaching rural areas this morning. She’s a good girl and an asset to the business.

pleskleicestershireI read the post and clicked on the project link: .

Nothing happened, or at least the white screen of the featured image hung around for a while. I checked my connection, which I normally do by accessing the BBC website – usually guaranteed to load like lightening.

rain stop play at headingleyThe BBC loaded like lightening and informed me that the start of the England v New Zealand Headingley Test was delayed due to rain. Not surprised. The cats and dogs have been knocking frantically at the office window here in Lincoln.


plesk superfast broadband in leicestershireHaving waited maybe a minute or two for the website not to load the following image screenshot appeared. Ooo. Interesting I thought. Plesk. Ironic chipped in Sasha. Ya gotta laugh really. No gloating though, Happens to us all from time to time.

Hopefully neither the website and the cricket will have too much delay. Leicestershire will have all these folk seeing the publicity clamouring to visit their site.

Yorkshire, together with the rest of the country, will have millions of cricket fans eager to see play begin. At least those at the ground can take shelter in the bar.

Yorkshire weather forecastJust as a final bit of community service I’ve looked up the weather forecast for Leeds for the next five days, ie the length of the test match. Today not looking too great but Saturday and Sunday looking ok. Unfortunately Monday and Tuesday back to looking distinctly dodgy.

We have a cricketer in the Davies family and he has games coming up on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. In Lincoln but I imagine the weather will be simlar. Maybe get two out of three in. Two out of three aint bad, as Meatloaf would have it.

Business hosting social networking

Website seems to be down – how am I supposed to book a train ticket @VirginTrains_EC

Virgin East Coast website must be affected by the wind

You see before you the words of a disappointed man. I have some trips coming up and thought I’d just pop on the Virgin East Coast website to check out the schedules and pricing.

To my annoyance I was unable to access it. Darn I thought to myself. Then I tried from my mobile and also a few other sites – this one for example. No problemo so not after all (sorry Rob Evans).

There’s been a lot of wind today. My pal Rob was delayed because wind had blown some plastic sheeting onto the overhead electric cables somewhere near St Neots. The hazards of modern train travel eh? I thought maybe the website was similarly affected. Or maybe lots of people were trying to access the website to check if their train was running. Wouldn’t surprise me.

I knew what to do. I looked up the Virgin East Coast titter account. It goes by the handle @VirginTrains_EC. Amazingly the last tweet from this account was on February 28th:

virgin east coast twitterI insert a screenshot for your general information. Looks like they must have had a flurry of followers when they set up the account but they will all now be disappointed.

Seems a remarkable oversight on the part of @VirginTrains_EC. The old @eastcoastuk account seems to have had all it’s content removed.

I have nothing else to say really. I was motivated to write this post because I didn’t think it was a particularly well thought out social media plan on the part of Virgin East Coast.

Now that I’ve written all this the website is back up. Winds must have dropped. It’s too late though. Having gone to the effort I’m leaving the post as is. I await with interest to see what improvements Virgin have to offer. So far all they seem to have done is delay when breakfast is served on the 07.20. Instead of dishing it out as soon as we leave Lincoln I now have to wait until Newak. Also it was overcooked the last time I had it. Ah well.

I wonder if they will notice this post? It gets tweeted.

Hasta la vista baby.

Footnote. Hey…

virgin east coast website

Business Cloud Legal Regs

Cloud Uncertainties

Andrew Cormack Andrew Cormack of Jisc asks the next government for cloud policy guidance over safe and lawful use of cloud offerings

Cloud computing, used appropriately, could benefit many organisations. Cloud services could let businesses deploy robust websites for their customers, provide best-of-breed collaboration tools for their staff or store information in highly secure data centres. Scarce and valuable IT experts might no longer need to spend their time operating commodity systems, but could concentrate on developing and building innovative new services. New ideas could be brought into production without major capital investment. But at the moment many responsible organisations are not taking up those opportunities because of uncertainties over compliance and risk.

The problem has become particularly apparent during Jisc’s discussions with universities, colleges and cloud providers. In trying to identify appropriate services and agreements for the education sector we’ve heard many different, often conflicting, opinions on what legal and organisational arrangements are required. Even when looking at application-level services, which should be a simple translation of existing sub-contracting arrangements, it’s not clear which configurations count as international nor which of at least three possible legal provisions applies to those that do. For lower-level platform and infrastructure services, some of the implications of privacy law seem bizarre – will the law really compel an infrastructure provider to examine its customers’ information, rather than treating it as just bytes, in order to ensure it is taking appropriate measures to protect it? Organisations that want to be sure they protect information according to the law and best practice might well give up on clouds, even if their own systems cannot provide the same security against physical, technical or social attack.

We had hoped that Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation would provide some clarity; it was, after all, announced as being “cloud-friendly”. However the various draft texts only deal with cloud services provided direct to European consumers or those used within a business group. For organisations that want to use third-party clouds to deliver their own services there is no obvious assistance. Indeed some proposals would actually increase the number and complexity of overlapping legal options that need to be taken into account.

This silence could, however, provide an opportunity for the UK to take a lead. It seems unlikely that more law is needed – the current problem is too much of that rather than too little. Much better would be clear cloud policy guidance, and possibly exemplars, for when and how third-party cloud services should be used. These should cover all levels of cloud provision, from infrastructure to application, and involve real-world situations, such as a SaaS cloud being built on an IaaS infrastructure. Clear statements of policy and regulation would help cloud providers develop appropriate platforms and contracts, while reassuring potential tenants that they can safely and lawfully use cloud offerings as a basis for their operations and services.

Without such cloud policy guidance and reassurance there is a risk that new applications will only be developed and deployed in the cloud by those unconcerned with compliance or user safety. Organisations that want to do the right thing will be hindered and delayed by the difficulty of working out what that is.

Andrew Cormack joined Janet, the UK’s National Research and Education Network, as Head of CERT in 1999. He is now the network’s Chief Regulatory Adviser, concerned with the legal, policy and security issues involved in providing the network and networked services to universities, colleges and research organisations. Previously he worked for Cardiff University’s IT Services operating, among other things, the first web cache in Wales. He can be found on Twitter as @Janet_LegReg and blogs at

Other political week posts on

James Firth on why government should stop looking to big corporates for tech innovation

Gus Hosein on Data Protection Reform and Surveillance

The Julian Huppert crowd funding campaign here

Paul Bernal suggests government should hire advisers who know what they are doing

See all our regulatory posts here.

Business Cloud Engineer

Cloud Provider Survey – what do you look for most in a provider of cloud services

Cloud provider survey

I’m currently putting together a website aimed at the cloud services market. People will be able to choose the best provider for them based on what parameters are most important to them. With that in mind I’m doing a cloud provider survey and as a little exercise I’m asking readers to tell me what are the most important aspects of a cloud service that they look for when choosing a provider.

I could make this a highly complex questionnaire but I’m not going to. If you could either just leave a comment or email me with a brief list of your priorities that would help me greatly.

The things to consider include price, performance, SLA, security and support etc. How do you go about choosing a provider?

The site is initially going to focus on storage and web computing services but I anticipate expanding the range of services covered to include applications. Even hosted VoIP could eventually make the list.

All comments (or emails if you want to keep it private) gratefully acknowledged. I’ll be taking all the inputs on board and playing them into the design of the new site.

Thanks in advance.


Apps Business Cloud End User storage backup & dr

office 365 unlimited storage

Microsoft announce office 365 unlimited storage

I’m not a big fan of Microsoft but in fairness to the company they are working hard on making their cloud products competitive. The latest  is their announcement of  free office 365 unlimited storage. Course it isn’t free. It costs. £5.99 a month for a single user or £7.99 a month for a household of up to 5 persons. This sounds like a very good deal to me considering a single copy of Microsoft Office can cost over a hundred quid (or it was when I last bought one).

Apart from being an aggressive move in a market that they absolutely have to succeed at, and which indications suggest they are not doing badly, the great thing for me is what this is likely to do for the competition. A Google account is free for personal users and it gives you most of the functionality of Microsoft Office, although I accept that the equivalent Google features may not be as mature and functional.

With Google though you only get 15GB free storage. I worked out earlier this year that the free Google account with a Terabyte of storage is around £70 a year. Whilst a Terabyte isn’t unlimited it’s not far off at the moment, to all intents and purposes.

Maybe £70 is the base market price for this kind of cloud service. Most people won’t need a Terabyte, or an unlimited amount of storage, at the moment. I use around 400MB on my NAS box and that is mostly photos. If I had unlimited storage I might start to push the boundaries on what I choose to store.

I’ve no idea what that is at the moment. It might, for example, mean I get a CCTV app that keeps all the video footage 1 ever recorded by the camera/s. A bit of a waste but why not. It’s free.  Add to that the fact that unlimited usage broadband packages have become the norm and hey presto, all barriers removed.

In one sense Microsoft might be making a rod for their own backs here but I think it is great. It can only be of benefit to us all.  Where does this all go? What happens when everyone’s product looks the same and costs the same? I suspect that we will start to see differentiated cloud services, speed of access, mining tools maybe. But that is all in the future. For the moment it’s well done Microsoft. Competition is good.

They still have a lot of work to do on their mobile strategy though…

1 use of the word footage seems somewhat anachronistic

Cloud Engineer

WHD local London invite to LONAP members and prospects

LONAP members and prospective members are invited to a LONAP lunch at WHD local London in the Strand on Friday 10th October.

This is a rescheduling of one I wrote earlier. Following on from LONAP director Will Hargrave’s  talk at last year’s WHD local London I am heading there myself (fwiw) on Friday October 10th to do a talk entitled “Under the hood of the internet – how peering helps with your end user experience”. I’m on at 11.35.

Tickets for the show are free and there is what could be quite an interesting line up (see below – some are salesey but there is enough interest there I think).

This is a bit of free publicity for LONAP but if we can get some members there I’m proposing to have a LONAP lunch (after all I’ll have finished my talk !:) and invite one or two of the speakers talking about cloud services to join us for a round table discussion. If you don’t want to come for the whole day one option is to just come for the morning and leave after the lunch. It is on a Friday after all.

I think this could be a worthwhile use of time. If anyone fancies coming along use this sign up link (code is MLOLMKLX).

Also let me know if you are coming as I will make arrangements to book a table for lunch – it’s at the Melia Hotel on the Strand (Conde Nast Traveller Hotlist) so there should be something appropriately nice on offer.

WGH local Londonschedule
Admittance and Registration
9:30 am
Welcoming speech
9:40 am

“Digital disruption: 5 steps to accelerating customer adoption of your cloud services”
David Ednie, President and CEO, SalesChannel Europe
10:25 am

“Don’t lose customers to public cloud providers”
Markus Galler, VP of Sales, RushFiles
10:40 am

“Do you want a Mobile with that?”
Ivo Meekel, Business Development Director, dotMobi
10:50 am
11:20 am

“Email Security 2.0. Integration and Automation ”
Sam Renkema, CEO, SpamExperts
11:35 am

“Under the hood of the internet – how peering helps with your end user experience”
Trefor Davies, Director Lonap &, LONAP
12:10 pm
“Putting the cloud to work for real businesses. Proven models for success in a true multi-service world.”
John Burke, Account Manager Mid-Market, CEE, Parallels
12:40 pm
1:40 pm

“Global Trends in SSL Protection and Future Challenges”
Arkadiusz Szczurowski, CEO, SSLGuru
1:55 pm

“Any Data, Any Where? Localizing the Cloud”
Christian Diderich, VP Cloud Service Providers, Acronis
2:10 pm

“The new chapter of EU e-Commerce Qualified Trusted Services in the Cloud”
Marcin Szulga, Head of Research and Development, Unizeto
2:25 pm

“Simplifying server memory and SSD storage ”
Miriam Brown, Business Development Manager, Kingston
2:40 pm

“Black Lotus Communications DDoS Protection Services”
Frank Ip, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Black Lotus
2:50 pm
3:20 pm
“Securing uptime while maintaining network neutrality”
Johan Schuijt, CTO TransIP, TransIP; NSFOCUS
3:35 pm

“Hosting companies are dying. Is yours next?”
Nikolay Nedev, Senior Account Manager, reseller.plusserver
3:50 pm

“DDoS mitigation – Effective strategy for Hosters”
Duncan Hume, Senior Vice President, RioRey
4:05 pm

“Panel Discussion: The DOVECOT Story – how a one man open-source IMAP Server project is now powering most ISPs of the world and serving Emails to over 2 billion people.”
Mikko Linnamäki, Co-Founder, Dovecot OY
Soeren von Varchmin, General Manager, WorldHostingDays

datacentre Engineer engineering internet ipv6

Live blogging from #UKNOF29 and Internet Society ION Conference in belfast next week

Look out for live blogging from UKNOF29 and the Internet Society ION conference in Belfast next week.

UKNOF, or the UK Network Operators Forum have really interesting conferences three times a year. I’ve often thought one could fill the blog for  week or two with posts based on the content. The problem is that it takes a long time to write a post based on an individual talk at a conference and at the same time you need to be listening to the talks. it is therefore impossible to write enough posts in a timely manner to do justice to the job. Getting the speakers themselves to turn their talk into a post is also like getting blood out of a stone. Next week at UKNOF29 I’m taking a different approach.

One of the things I’ve noticed about conference talks over the years is that you can probably choose one or two decent slides from each talk and get the gist of what it is all about. The rest is mainly filler. If you had a digest of all that was good at the conference it would save a lot of time and effort. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t go to conferences because a big chunk of their value is in the networking opportunities the bring. However there must be a way to summarise the conference, an exec or engineering summary maybe.

The answer I think is the live blog, The live blog is what they use to provide updates for sporting events.

GOOOAL  1 -1.

Davies strikes the back of the net after a great cross by Evans from the corner post.

Penalty missed – still 1 – 1

You get my drift. Next week therefore at UKNOF29 in Belfast I’m going to try out  new plugin that provides this functionality. I’ve had it since the design of was changed, around the time of the Pissup in a Brewery, but not used it yet.

When people go to these engineering events a lot of the action is on the IRC back channel. I don’t user IRC because it gets too busy although it can provide some interesting insights. I can only cope with so many means of communication. Also I’ve not identified a suitable plug in for the the chromebook yet. The other channel, which is pretty constrained due to its character limitation is Twitter but hashtags don’t seem to have that much effect at these technical conferences. I think it is more the domain of the marketing luvvie.

So I think the live blog could well work for this sort of event, if properly done. The beauty is that It almost only needs a line or two about each talk. Maybe cut and paste of info from twitter, an occasional pic of a slide etc.

It must be said there’s some great looking stuff being talked about next week:

“What went wrong with IPv6” by Dave Wilson of HEAnet (Ireland’s Janet)

“IPv6 only data centres” by Tom Hill of Bytemark

“Broadcast editing and delivering over IP” by by our old friend (he’s knocking on a bit:) ) Brandon Butterworth of the BBC.

Just a snapshot really of what is on offer. UKNOF29 is colocated with The Internet Society ION conference. There is more IPv6 stuff in their agenda which you can check out here.

At the time of writing there are 142 people registered to attend UKNOF29 . This is pretty good going considering you have to get to Belfast to be there.

More UKNOF blog posts here. Check em out. See you at UKNOF29? Come up and say hello.

Business hosting

Bandwidth limit exceeded

Bandwidth limit exceeded message on Peel Swimming pool website.

Regular readers will know I’m on holiday – this week its Peel in the Isle of Man. When one is on holiday one goes for bracing walks along the Coastal Path and relaxing strolls around the harbour and castle. One also has multiple cups of tea in favourite caffs and quite possibly a dip in the sea. This week it’s too cold to swim in the sea so I thought I’d check out the local pool. Unfortunately their website is down and shows only the following message “bandwidth limit exceeded”.

This is rare but not totally unusual. The slight eyebrow raiser here is that one imagine that Peel Swimming Pool is publicly owned and therefore unlikely to have a website hosted by a commercial entity. I can’t check because the website is unavailable – bandwidth limit exceeded! Maybe it’s a not for profit job.

Anyway I did a quick “who is” and it would seem that the domain name is owned and managed by  Techcentre Limited  of Technology House  Woodbourne Lane, Douglas. IM1 3LJ. They, Techcentre, are a Microsoft Gold partner and fwiw I note use the same image library as Timico’s website (for years).

Wasn’t totally sure where this post was going but here it is. Techcentre are somewhat disingenuous in registering the domain name as their own. It means that the Western Swimming Pool in Peel are stuck with them for hosting unless they are happy to change domain names. In turn the swimming pool itself is naive in allowing this to happen.

I can’t believe that techcentre would let the website get to situation where the “bandwidth limit exceeded” message comes up. There’s something else going on. The message has moved on to

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator at [email protected] to inform them of the time this error occurred, and the actions you performed just before this error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.


At this rate I’m going to have to nip up to the pool to find out if it is open to the public this afternoon. No harm I suppose. I’m on holiday. There is no rush.

Another  internet bandwidth related post here

Apps chromebook Cloud ecommerce End User gaming google H/W internet Mobile mobile apps mobile connectivity Net phones social networking

The Hump Day Five (16-July-2014)

The Hump Day Five is on Red Alert this week, getting all Google-y powerful on music in the cloud, Leftovers, and Ping Pong Mania.


Started watching a new TV show a couple of weeks back called “The Leftovers”. If you haven’t haven’t seen or heard of it, the premise is quite simple. On 14-October at a precise moment in time approximately 2% of the world’s population randomly disappears without a trace. Drivers from moving vehicles, criminals from prison cells, babies from car seats, one moment there the next moment gone. It doesn’t take much imagination to see compelling story elements in such a framework, and in fact it is easy to see how the utter chaos of such a situation could become too much of a good thing (entertainment-wise, that is). The creators, though, very smartly opt to confine the drama to a single small town somewhere in America and how “The Departure”, as it is called, has affected and continues to affect the populace three years down the line. Succulent details are offered via ancillary media — overheard radio, television news programs being watched by this-or-that character, etc., not a small amount of Internet-y stuff — and go so far as to include a list of celebrities who number among the 2%. Dark stuff riddled rich with despair, sure, and as television goes it isn’t for everyone, but if you like your diversion disturbing and in-your-face I highly recommend checking it out.


Since late June a new application for both iPhone and Android has been making its way through the zeitgeist in direct response to the once-again-heightening tensions between Israel and Palestine: Kobi Snir’s Red Alert Israel. The idea behind this new app is to alert users of incoming rockets so they can stop whatever it is they are doing and take shelter*. The alerts received (tied directly to Israel Defense Forces and Homefront Command) can be configured quite tightly — there are a great many individual areas, considering the country’s small land mass — and each alert offers allows for comments, which can include prayers and encouragement, as well as — not surprising, but enraging nonetheless — inflammatory notes full of disparagement and outright hatred. Red Alert Israel also includes streaming Israeli radio (in Hebrew) to supplement its alerts with more detailed information (I assume). All in all, it is a noble idea that falls definitively on the side of the angels (and I say this even knowing that there is no Red Alert Palestine equivalent).

So I am sensitive to the dead-serious nature of Red Alert Israel and applaud and support its above-reproach mission, but I would be fibbing BIG-time if I said the image of people running for cover from flying ordinance with their hands flailing high above their heads clutching their phones didn’t loosen a small smile. Got too many episodes of The Simpsons under my belt, I suppose. Please excuse (or feel free to flame me up but good in the Comments).

The Red Alert Israel app is free, as you would expect, though it does run shifting banner advertising, because in these times absolutely nothing should go unsponsored. I mean, think about it…is there an advertiser out there who wouldn’t want their product or service to be associated with the saving of lives? And thus a new business model is born!

*The users in Israel, that is, as it is quite evident that Red Alert Israel is being downloaded and put into use by people living elsewhere..for purposes of showing solidarity, inspiring prayer and greater empathy, to stoke flames of outrage, to feed whatever vicarious needs, perhaps to serve as the basis for gambling or drinking games, etc.


For someone who spends as much time driving keyboards and mice as I do, I really can be late to the party at times. Take cloud-hosted music (aka online music lockers, aka online music storage services). Available in various flavors for a few years now (the majors all bowed in 2011 — Apple, Amazon, Google — whereas an early achiever called AudioBox left the starting block in 2009), it was only this past weekend that I started to consider the idea of throwing some of my music up into the ether for ready access across my computers and smartphone. Naturally, I was aware of the cloud-hosted music concept, but that awareness was mostly relegated to Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud/iTunes Match service, and as I trust Apple’s software and service offerings about as much as…well, not at all, actually, I put up a willful “blind spot” to the whole idea. Of course, it also helped that my music collection far exceeded the 25,000 song limit put on the $25-per-year service by Apple, and that at the start – as is unfortunately so often the case — the service was available to U.S.-based users only.

A couple of years passed, and then along came KoryChrome. And with KoryChrome came promotions for Google services. And with the promotion in particular of Google Play Music — which I learned is now available in France and which includes the ability to load/match 20,000 songs absolutely free — came my revisiting the subject of cloud-hosted music this past weekend. 20,000 songs for uploaded/matched for free? Songs I can access from any Internet-connected computer capable of running a browser (Google Chrome need not be that browser, either), or from any Internet-connected smartphone? All without commercials or listening limitations?

Yeah, I know this party started ages ago, but as far as I am concerned there is still beer in the fridge and it’s still ice-cold.


On the subject of KoryChrome, La Famille Kessel returned to our Pays d’Auge family hovel in Blangy-le-Château this past weekend, and my keen and cool new Chromebook was thus reunited with its power source. And this time that power source made it into my computer bag for the trip back to Paris at weekend’s end. No doubt, a great many of you will now breathe easier and will stop wanting for sleep.


Got struck hard by a serious wave of irony a few hours ago when My Missus and I put The Boy on a train to summer camp. The camp he is attending is called “Ping Pong Mania” (translate from French), and it promises to be exactly that, with 90+ minutes of table tennis play and training each morning and another such session each afternoon. I blush with a certain amount of pride in saying that my kid is really quite masterful at the game, in no small measure because other than ping pong his free time these days is overwhelmingly consumed by Minecraft, Clash of Clans, SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition, youtube videos galore rooted in gameplay and game parody and what-have-you, and a bevy of other sofa-bound veg-and-play games and experiences.

My hope is the next 10 days will find The Boy matched up with other kids his age who are at or near his level. Otherwise, his hesitance to get off the couch and get out in the world (read: separate from his MacBook and iPad and Nintendo DS3) will have been justified…or so he will say and think, anyway. And this is where the irony lies as 32 years ago I remember feeling similar hesitation at heading off to summer camp, too…summer computer camp!

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Eurostars Upon Thars

Being a somewhat regular visitor to London over the past 15 years, and having spent more than a year commuting weekly from Paris to a start-up gig there way back in ‘00-’01, I have Eurostar stories to burn. Nothing I could recount, though, compares to the head-shaking cock-up I was a party to this past Friday.

I arrived at the Eurostar departure area at St. Pancras at 15h00 on the nose, ready to flash my ticket’s QR code at the gate. A gentleman in front of me had a problem getting the gate to take his QR, and he waved me ahead. At that moment the gate opened, and with it all happening so fast I rushed right through. A no-no, to be sure, and I knew it (gotta flash your code, otherwise the databases aren’t fat and happy), so I immediately turned around to hand my ticket to the guy who waved me ahead so all could be reconciled. And if that had been all that happened, it all would’ve worked out fine. No harm, no foul.

Alas, as I was handing my ticket to the guy whose entry I had assumed, a Eurostar person jumped in the middle of it all. This woman took my ticket into her hand already full of tickets, working diligently to get not only the guy I mentioned through but others with him as well. That accomplished, she handed me back what should’ve been my ticket, but which I was soon to learn was not in fact my ticket but the ticket of one of the others in the group. Soon to learn, but not quite soon enough as it turned out. Keep reading.

Sneetch Star

Security, Passport Control, a Cadbury Flake purchased, 15h31 train to Paris boarding, up the escalator, down the platform, onto Car 18 and (almost) into Seat 72…which was inhabited by another person with a valid ticket for the seat. My ticket? Valid for the same seat on the train leaving at 16h02. Oh, and the name on the ticket was not anything remotely akin to my own.

Realizing quickly what had happened, I sought out someone in Eurostar-logo-emblazoned clothing to explain my situation to, thinking there would be high-techy solution to it all. Instead I got “Well, all the trains are overbooked today, so we’ll put you on the 16h02 and just hope things work out. Maybe the person with your ticket got on the 15h31. If not, we’ll handle it then.” Thus, Eurostar’s idea of fixing the situation boiled down to this: Perhaps the person traveling with those other people realized he had been handed back your ticket for the 15h31 and instead of staying with his group on the 16h02 he instead bid them a quick “Ta ta! See you in Paris!” and ran to take the 15h31. Oh, and he opted for a different seat than the one on my ticket — although there weren’t any free seats on the train — because he was not the guy I encountered when I tried to take the seat on the 15h31. So just take the seat on the 16h02 with the ticket you are holding and hope.


So I boarded the 16h02, took Seat 72 in Car 18, and waited. Not long. Soon enough, the guy who I originally encountered at the entry gate boarded the train with his group. He saw me, immediately knew why I was there, and together we set off in search of a logo-ed person who could offer much-needed resolution. And this is where things get anti-climatic, because we quickly found a train manager who found me an empty seat in Car 17 using a handy-dandy tablet with some proprietary app connected to some up-to-date database in some datacenter somewhere nearby, and that was that. I would make it home for the weekend, I wouldn’t have to stand between cars or sit on someone’s lap to do so, and I could spend the two hours pondering why some Eurostar trains are 2014-tech-ready while others seemingly are not.

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Office365 – How Low Can You Go ?

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.

Andrew Beardsmore is a new contributor to and this is his first post. He’s been obsessed by tech for two decades and has spent most of that time fixing everything from networks to netbooks. Now he’s sharing the knowledge, and the obsession.

I recently had a bit of a tweetup with @EvanKirstel regarding Microsoft’s amazing deal with Office365 (check it out at:

It seems to me that a tipping point has arrived for businesses large and small, many of which after having drastically cut back on their IT spend over the last few years now find themselves coasting into 2014 on the fumes and vapours of Windows XP and Office 2003/7.


Home users who extravagantly trotted off to Currys/PCWorld during their “hey, we’re going bust” sales and splurged on full versions of more recent MS Office software (though intending to only blow a few hundred quid on a chunky Windows 8 laptop) probably won’t have heard yet of Office365. They also may not have noticed those early ChromeBooks, or if they did they weren’t entirely convinced by the PCWorld sales folk when faced with what looked like Ubuntu. That is, Ubuntu without a hard drive…or apps.* Their new high capacity laptop hard drives, overflowing with growing photo libraries from flashy megamegapixel point-&-shoots, are already laughing at their puny free two gigabyte Dropbox accounts, and buying yet another discounted external USB hard drive ‘My Brick’ to backup and fill with all their pics and videos of school plays and homework projects, as well as every family member’s iPad/iPod/iPhone backup…well, it just seems so ‘2011’, doesn’t it?

Now these home users are included in this mini-cloud revolution also. (Not every household bought a NAS — though perhaps they should have — as they ARE expensive. Expensive, anyway, when compared to the wares peddled by Microsoft.)

In my opinion, the principles are broadly similar whether you are purchasing enterprise licensing or you are a home user “with a lot of stuff”.

  • Both need humongous space and/or backup and want a whizzy new version of Office.
  • Both want to be able to access it all whilst mobile (even if your mobile data provider hasn’t heard of your holiday home’s postcode, and thus offline editing is also needed).
  • Both want to share and collaborate.

With monthly offers that include an Office365 subscription (spanning multiple devices and user accounts) AND one terabyte of online storage now available for less than the cost of three lattes, just how cheap does it all need to be? And would you trust it if it got any cheaper ?

How does $7 a month sound? (In dollars because — Yup — stateside rollout first.) For this amount you can put Office365 on your PC and get a terabyte of storage thrown in. Make it $10 and you can install on five PCs and have as many as five user accounts (each with its own terabyte of online storage). A terabyte? That’s one thousand gigabytes for those of us with suntans and more interest in Wimbledon than “The IT Crowd” reruns.

Interestingly, Microsoft commissioned a recent survey and decided that about three quarters of us only have about thirteen gigabytes of ‘stuff’, so one thousand gigabytes should pretty much cover it. To be honest, though, this number sounds like it’s been picked more to justify their updated freemium offering of a fifteen gigabyte deal.

Many will forget about their Dropbox accounts, mothball their GoogleDrive accounts, lose the power supply plugs and mini USB cables for their ‘My Bricks’ (and never again dream of owning a NAS). They’ll take the plunge into subscriptions-based software purchasing** just for the great one terabyte ‘giveaway’ alone. Got a smartphone that you take pics on? How about letting it backup all those precious shots automatically to OneDrive (smile!).

Think about it. Never again will you need to go through a ‘fork-lift’ upgrade process between versions of Office — remember the advent of the blasted ribbon in Office 2007? — as your device will instead accept the more frequent but gradual improvements and changes in the same way your smartphone updates its apps whilst you sleep. It will backup and sync continuously, silently, all the time. If you’re a small to medium business, what this means is that the guy who takes the backup tapes home every night and puts a new one in every morning won’t have to continue to lie each time he forgets. Or you can rethink your price plan with MozyPro, or whoever. The AD-like control you get over the data it handles will sufficiently please both your sysadmin and your CIO/CISO.

Many will consider Microsoft’s new 1TB + Office365 $7 per month subscription a no-brainer. And, if you’re bulk buying for business, the deal gets even better, as according to the third link I offer below it is just $2.50 (yearly commitment). Such a huge saving is certain to ensure your continuing position with the company, that is if you can persuade your CFO. And if against all odds it turns out to be a rubbish idea and they fire you, well, they can just cancel your user subscription!

N.B. I wonder how many smaller partnerships and LLPs will be tempted to take the home licensing route on their mixed-usage mobile devices…pay the $10 five-user rate, out of guilt, and call it BYOD when it’s in the office?!

*Company-wide Chromebook deployment: Great way to to upgrade to a modern OS, get a new office productivity suite, AND equip your workforce with mobile devices for less than the price of a desktop refresh. I want to know more about the experiences of companies who have ‘gone Google’ in this manner. I like what I have seen so far with Google Appcare. However, having recently dropped their cloud offering’s pricing, I wonder how they feel about Microsoft’s new deal? To quote mine host, it’s “certainly warming up in the cloud wars”).

**Just quietly say ouch and forget it’s happening.

Chase the following links for specific details and price plans for Office365 and OneDrive:

Thanks for reading. You can find more on the subject of Office365 and similar tech at

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The Hump Day Five (25-June-2014)

On Wednesday’s Editor-in-Chief serves up The Hump Day Five, a weekly collection of short (and not so short) glimpses of the life in progress.


Bolting to meet My Missus for a Pay-For-Weekend-Well-Spent swim (the value of which we will immediately negate with a hearty follow-up Mexican lunch), and just realized that my mobile phone charge is at 9%. And being that this is my still-hanging-on iPhone 4 that ‘9’ might as we’ll be a ‘2’ as over the three-something years iPhoneKory has occupied my key right-pocket space I have seen it go from 7% to black so many times…

Is seven the new zero?


Despite promising myself I wouldn’t do so, I hung until 02h00 on Sunday/Monday watching the USA-Portugal World Cup match on ESPN via SlingBox, all the way to its bittersweet 95th minute. And in spite of a poor connection and a wildly unbalanced announcer team (Ian Darke = terrific, Taylor Twellman = dead awful), and although France has been my one-and-only International association football team since I moved to Paris in 1999*, I could not help but get caught up in it all. This was helped along in no small measure by social media, as both my Facebook and Twitter feeds were crackling with excitement and the wonderful over-the-top enthusiasm borne of sports spectatorship. Every breakaway, clearance, crossover, save (Tim Howards’s remarkable double-save!), and goal, by the USA or Portugal, had my feeds flying fast. But with that insane last play, with less than 25 ticks left in Injury Time…silence.

Yes, silence. The stunned heartbreak of that gorgeous equalizer — its sheer beauty cannot be denied — led to what may very well be the loudest imaginable Internet silence I’ve ever (not) heard. I have no doubt that goal was replaying on constant loop through the minds of a great many Americans on Monday, I am just as certain it was doing so in a soundproof vacuum.

*No true lover of the “Beautiful Game” will ever forget France’s unbelievablyf*ckingamazing come-from-behind last-gasp victory against Italy in the Euro2000 final, a game…no, an experience that galvanized this transplanted American’s association football fandom.


Readers going back three months — my long-term dyed-in-the-wool fans — will remember my enthusiasm for the latest Marvel Studios film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and perhaps even the near-pathological (pathetic) need I had to see the film after having to wait 10 days following its release to find my way to the cinema. (And no matter if you aren’t one of those readers, because my preface sentence sets the table for where I am heading, regardless.)

With all of the build-up, all of the hype, the fact that I so thoroughly enjoyed “Captain America: First Avenger” (I expected to hate that first film as the character is an all-time favorite of mine — since I started reading super hero comic books at the age of eight — and just figured there was no way Hollywood could get it right), the scads of terrific reviews I was so careful to scan-without-spoiling, you would think that disappointment was inevitable. Not only was this not the case, though, but the film so deeply captured my imagination that I soon after found myself pondering a newed look in on the comic book itself, figuring the source material for such a great flick might be worth my time.

In days of yore (and up until actually not all that long ago), it was a lot more difficult to find and read back issues of comic books than it is today. In fact, without admitting to anything here or anywhere, I will say that despite my predilection for riding near the cusp of the Internet for lo on 20+ years now, I still find myself utterly floored by the ready digital availability of comic books new and old (and extremely old). A minimal amount of surfing revealed that “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was based on Ed Brubaker’s run on the “Captain America” title from 2004-2012, and a single google-bing turned up the following torrent:

Brubaker Cap Torrent



In less than a year I will turn 50, a number on the age scale that I know is supposed to mean…something. A greater sense of dignity? Less prone to silly excitements? Better perspective on what was and is and will be? Conversations turning ever more towards health issues? Yadda yadda yadda. To all of that, I have to call “Bunk!”, because (1) in my mind’s eye I am not balding, overly thick in the middle, saddled with mild hearing loss, or in need of glasses to read, (2) I feel no less a thirst for life than I did 10 years ago…or 20, and (3) I still get all kinds of giddy in the lead up to putting my mitts on new techy toys…such as the new KoryChrome (Samsung Chromebook 2), which I look forward to running my fingers over for the first time at some point tomorrow!


Today is the first day of summer vacation for The Boy, and he is marking it in style, sitting on the couch in front of the TV while simultaneously playing both “Minecraft” and “SimCity 4” with friends on his MacBook, and also looking in on “Clash of Clans” via the family iPad. Now if only he could get his toes engaged in some kind of input manipulation My Missus and I would have one reasonably efficient and well-entertained child! The drums, perhaps?

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Facebook is down – something went wrong

Facebook something went wrong

Something went wrong with Facebook. Facebook is down. I just got that message. Looking at Twitter it seems widespread.

Is this news? In one sense it doesn’t matter in the least. Facebook is not mission critical to anyone. If you are a business you surely don’t rely on Facebook, do you? Ok so a few photos may not get posted, a pal might need to wait a bit to see your message etc etc etc. Who cares?

In another sense it matters a lot. We have other parts of our lives that are becoming increasingly dependent on the cloud. Facebook is in the cloud. If the cloud stops working we have a problem, Houston. exists only in the cloud (parties and networking events aside – you can’t drink the cloud). It’s normally a great existence. All our important files are there, our finances are run on a cloud service, our comms, everything. So if the cloud has a problem it can be everyone’s problem.

Now this is a fairly simplistic way of putting it. Facebook is already back on line. It was only unavailable for a few minutes. We don’t know why it was down. Connectivity to a datacentre? Virtualisation problems? Looking at it everything seem to be there. Phew.

As long as the data is not lost it doesn’t matter. We can live with cloud problems as long as they don’t lose everything. That’s when you begin to have real problems.

I started this post thinking I’d come up with some profound statements regarding the need for reliability with apocalyptic visions for when things go wrong. Apocalypse is not now. My wifi still works. I have time left on my Chromebook battery. I think I’ll move on:)

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RER B to CDG Terminal 2

For some time I have been thinking of writing a post while on the move, to see what that might bring to the page. Hardly original, the idea is somewhat out of my wheelhouse, if for no other reason than the fact that I truly loathe typing anything longer than a text message on a virtual keyboard. Not that I have some kind of a hoity-toity “They aren’t true keyboards” attitude (though I do, and they aren’t), but as a touch typist who has been clocked at 120 wpm (words-per-minute, for the acronym challenged) I find it wickedly frustrating to have to look at the keys to form the words that are in my head…not to mention slow down said head to capture the whatnot those words form. Still, being a staunch proponent of digital progress (mostly), for you, friend reader, I will endure. And perhaps even have a little fun, too.

I first thought to try my hand at mobile writing with the no-longer-so-recent (February) announcement that Microsoft was offering an iOS7 version of their Office 365 applications for free. As the Guv’nor of two iOS7-cursed devices (the iPhone 4 I whinge here about replacing on a somewhat regular basis, and an iPad Mini pass-me-down), this news pricked my eyes, and I quickly grabbed up the apps for both Word and Excel. I didn’t fire ’em up for use right away — AppleKory and my keyboard hadn’t left the building, so why bother? — but I was content knowing I had the apps, for…well, whenever.

One day shortly thereafter, it was whenever. I was at Cafè Lomi, just sitting there watching the wheels go ’round and ’round (I really love to watch them roll), when I thought I’d go all mobile-writer-guy on the good visitors of I pulled iPadKory from my bag, coded it, and punched the icon for Word. Nice looking app. Opens straight to a New Document page, serving up all kinds of document templates, such as Brochure, Invoice, ProposalSchool Newsletter. Colorful. Friendly. Microsofty.

I punch New Blank Document. I get a Word-looking page with a orange bar near the top that reads Read-Only. To create and edit, activate with an eligible Office 365 subscription.

2014-05-14 00.41.58

Hmm. That doesn’t sound very free. Or friendly. I do happen to have an account, though, so maybe it wants that (though I was already thinking how lost the casual first-time user without such an account would react on seeing the top-screen note). I punch Activate, which leads immediately to a Subscription dialogue. All of a sudden I am no longer having fun. In for a penny, though, right? I follow the path of dialogue windows, employing my credentials as needed, until I am finally staring at Buy a Subscription. I only need to shell out $99.99 a year to use my sweet new free Office 365 iOS7 application!


Disillusioned, discouraged, and feeling just plain ‘dissed, I slapped iPadKory shut, threw it in my bag, and left for home. “I didn’t really want to write a post on a tablet using a virtual keyboard anyway. Phooey.” And the Word app? Deleted, with prejudice (except, that is, for my reinstalling it today to check my memory for this post and to grab screenshots).

And that is where it all would have stayed — at “Phooey.” — had Google not made their own announcement of a free Google Docs app a couple of weeks back. Of course, I immediately DL’ed the app, and this time I launched it forthwith to make sure it could actually be put to some use.

Voila, enablement. And as for writing on the run and virtual keyboards? Well, I made it this far…

2014-05-14 01.39.06

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Hosted VoIP/UCaaS is Going Upmarket! welcomes VoIP Week contributor Huw Rees, Senior Vice President of Business Development at 8×8

The hosted VoIP/UCaaS (aka cloud communications) market is growing strongly in the US and it seems that the UK market is not far behind. According to Frost and Sullivan, Gartner, and others, US CAGR is somewhere around the 25%+ mark, and certainly the results from the few pure play publicly traded companies in this space seem to be consistent with these figures. So what is really driving this growth? What is really going on under the bonnet (or hood, for those of you in the US)?

What appears to be happening is that cloud communications is being adopted by much larger businesses than it was even two or three years ago. The early adopters for hosted PBX services were the very small businesses, typically less than 20 employees. In terms of IT, these businesses were generally unsophisticated and the owner could make the decision rapidly without asking a lot of detailed questions, especially when the provider would clearly save him/her money and often offered some kind of money-back guarantee. Thus, with nothing to lose, these small businesses signed up in significant numbers. Larger business were not so quick to jump on this bandwagon, however, as they needed clear answers to such questions as availability, reliability, feature set, scalability and — of course — compliance and security. Their questions in these areas were not easy to answer in the early roll out of these services, and unfortunately some of these items (especially compliance and security) are still not being properly addressed by many providers.
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As some of the vendors started to address these mid-market and even enterprise-level concerns, CIOs started to pay more attention. They began to see the clear benefits of a sophisticated, scalable service that they could subscribe to, effectively getting out of the telephone management business and concentrating their IT resources on projects that were critical to their business and part of the differentiation their business had in their markets (i.e., stop managing boxes in closets and start bringing real value to the business). Gradually at first, businesses of a few hundred employees signed up, followed by 500+, and now businesses significantly greater than 1000 employees subscribe to these services.

For the service provider, larger customers provide major benefits. For instance, they have more sophisticated IT teams, and so the ratio of support calls to deployed phones is reduced. Also, the acquisition cost is potentially less on a per-phone-deployed basis. And perhaps most importantly, the churn rate from larger customers is dramatically less, as larger businesses are generally more stable and therefore tend not to cease business with anywhere near the frequency of the very small businesses. This reduction in churn rate clearly benefits the service provider’s top line, as to grow revenue you must, of course, stem any revenue loss from defecting customers.

As we look forward to 2015, the trend of larger businesses moving to cloud-based communications will continue, to the point where the enterprise market will also start to adopt these services. Soon enough, it will not be uncommon for businesses with many thousands of employees — perhaps even tens of thousands of employees — to start subscribing, which will result in a booming business for the service providers that are truly ready to tackle such a scale.

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Turn, Turn, Turn, A Time to Every Purpose

19.11 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Roughly 8 minutes ago I fired up my brand-spanking-new 3.5” hard drive enclosure (complete with newly-installed and formatted 4TB 3.5” hard drive), navigated via Finder to my bursting-at-the-seams 500GB 3.5” hard drive (also happily enclosed, and for over 5 years now), nimbly hit Ctrl+A to highlight everything, and dragged the highlighted contents over to begin the process of copying the data therein to its new home.

31.41 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Speaking only for myself (though I suspect my words will ring true for a great many, if not the majority), I am not at all surprised to find the act of upgrading my external storage to be akin to cleaning out a household “junk drawer”. Generally speaking, I know what I have collected on Compote – the original 500GB drive – over the years, and yet many surprises abound.

55.10 GB of 471.48 GB – About 6 hours

Before I go any further, I should come (somewhat) clean by saying that not all of the flotsam-and-whatnot that resides in my digital universe has come into my possession in a pure and unassailable manner. Without admitting anything that could be used against me in a court of law (somewhat mad I am for “Law & Order” in its various flavors, and it is especially good when viewed in pristine .mkv on such-and-such device at my leisure), I will just say that I am, have been, and always will be a music/film/TV junkie and leave it at that.

Windfall Status

So I am seeing that all kinds of curious things are moving over to the new neighborhood (Windfall be its name, and in case you aren’t paying close enough attention, yes, I do use a certain fruit as the basis for the network drive naming convention at Chez Kessel). To offer just a hint of flavor, these were the last three items I saw go by:

  1. BBC.Pink.Floyd.1of3.The.Story.of.Wish.You.Were.Here.x264.AAC.mkv
  2. Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble – Texas Flood (1983) [FLAC] (2-CD) {2013 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition}
  3. Marvel chronology disk 11 v2.0

A part of a television documentary, lossless Stevie Ray Vaughan music files, part 11 of a Galactus-sized collection of Marvel comics in .cbr format…any moment now I expect to see a box of old staples, a airline-issued personal sewing kit, and a too-well-thumbed and dog-eared deck of cards!

125.45 GB of 471.48 GB – About 5 hours

Just to fill in some of the backstory here, Compote is actually only one of three long-maintained “junk drives” whose contents will be making their way over to the oh-so-shiny-and-sparkly Windfall today (and from the looks of it, into tomorrow). Decorum restrains me from naming the other two, but suffice it to say they don’t fall very far from the tree, and each one is chock full of the same kind of gotta-have-it-and-someday-I-will-get-around-to-doing-something-with-it digital entertainment media detritus.

161.02 GB of 471.48 GB – About 4 hours

To be clear, I am not what used to be called a “packrat” or what today is more readily referred to by the darker and far less cute-sounding “hoarder”. No, I actually have real purpose in maintaining the nearly 2 TB of this-that-and-the-other that is currently undergoing consolidation onto the honker of a hard drive that is Windfall! You see, the center of my aforementioned digital universe, AppleKory (feel free to take a short break here to point fingers, cover your mouth, and enjoy a giggle at my expense), is sacrosanct, and new content must be scrubbed and polished before being allowed to cross the barrier into the vast media libraries I am forever building there. Thus the external drives? Holding pens of a spinning platter order.

206.26 GB of 471.48 GB – About 3 hours

Insight and useful lessons are no doubt popping off of these pixels, different depending on the individual reader (none of whom, I hope and pray, has the legal standing needed to commit me for observation or my own safety). I do want to share one last piece of information, though, to anyone out there who is finding inspiration in my personal data migration exercise and is now considering moving down their own amalgamation road: make sure the enclosure you have or will buy is capable of handling the new hard drive. SATA is SATA is SATA, right? Well, no. The SATA enclosures I bought years ago for my soon-to-be-pensioned 500GB drives were only able to handle the new 4TB drive up to a maximum of 1.8TB, a key fact I learned only after the shoes and socks were off, the screwdrivers were pulled out, the hard drive was relieved of its antistatic bag and installed into the enclosure, and the whole schmear was connected up and awaiting formatting.

258.14 GB of 471.48 GB – About 3 hours


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End User gadgets phones storage backup & dr

Ooo my what a big SD card you’ve got sir – is that 128GB bulging out of your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

list of micro sd card sizesJust been to PC World to buy a new 32Gig SD card. As you know my old one was jiggered by my camera/phone/SGS4/intergalactic-slow-software-communicator (if not catch up with the story here and here)

Permit me to be flabbergasted but these things now come with up to 128GB of storage! FGHJOweroijhlkjhlklnnnggg1. Now I don’t think I need 128GB. I’ve only got about 50GB on my Drive athough that doesn’t include music and photos.

This is the point when someone usually chips in and says “that’s more storage than ever existed on the whole planet before 1983” or “that’s more storage than they had on board all the space shuttles and all the Apollo missions ever including Apollo 13!”

I think at this stage that storage tech would appear to be outpacing the media tech destined for storage and also the battery technology destined to power the mobile media players (ie c/p/S/i above). Mind you it is a fair bet, knowing the people I know that someone will come back and tell me that he has to carry several 128GB SD cards around in case some of his main storage runs out (Tom Bird? 🙂 ).

I bought a 32GB job for about £19. It’ll do me for now.

PS when will they be quoting how many UHD videos a card will store. I spoke to a guy in PC World who told me they weren’t selling many 4K TVs.

PPS I know some smart person will also tell me I could have bought the 32GB card for 25 pence online but I didn’t want to wait ok? 🙂

1 Sound of me being flabbergasted
2 Applicants for membership of the extreme abbreviators club should leave a comment. We meet evry mnth in gd pb cld rhdtfpt in htbrftp.

broken gear End User mobile apps storage backup & dr

Credit where credit is due – Windows 7 networking

Trefor Davies photo storage requirements ytd 2012Yesterday my SD  card blew up on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Not literally of course otherwise the nature of this post would be different. It would probably be ringed with a thick black border mourning the passing of one of the brightest prospects ever to have graced the Morning Star. Either that or it would be quite short as I might well have been typing one handed having been removed from the operating theatre via intensive care to a big ward where I would have felt quite out of place being young and full of life.

Last night I spent some time on the Netgear ReadyNAS retrieving files. Except

broadband datacentre Engineer engineering internet peering

IXManchester – It’s Quiet Up North #peeringweek

IXManchesterSo IXManchester has been up and running for nearly two years (must make sure someone organises  another birthday party for June) and things continue to grow at a slightly slower pace than the first hectic few months.

January saw a IX Manchester meeting take over part of GMEX Manchester Convention Centre the afternoon before UKNOF 27 and the steering committee were hoping that there would be an announcement on the completion of the fibre ring that would add M247 Icecolo in Trafford and Telecity Joule House is Salford Quays to the core – alas the supplier seems to have run into “issues” and we’re still waiting.

The good news was that the original Brocade’s (re-tasked from the LINX Brocade LAN in London and in service for a number of years before its upgrade to Juniper in 2012) were replace with shiny new  Extreme X670’s. Once the software upgrades have occurred then these will allow ConneXions services providing networks access to the IXManchester LAN from remote locations.

There are now (as of writing this) 44 connected broadband networks with 46 ports in use, 7 of these are 10G so there’s just over 100G of capacity in operation with the new sites and partner connections we’re hoping to crash through 200G this year. Thats a long way behind LINX London with its 500+ members and nearly 8Tb of capacity but its pretty good for a second city in an European country as you can see from the EuroIX list.

In remembrance of the EIX WG I shall now leave you with a traffic graph…


Other peering week posts you might like to read include:

UK internet history – The Early Days of LONAP by Raza Rizvi
INEX’s IXP Manager – Tools to help manage an Internet Exchange by Barry O’Donovan
Regional Peering in the UK by James Blessing
Co-operation makes internet exchanges future proof by Pauline Hartsuiker
Experience of launching an IXP in North America by Ben Hedges
The evolution of an IXP network engineer by Rob Lister
Why does Scotland need an Internet Exchange? by Charlie Boisseau

Business business applications mobile apps xaas

Using FreeAgent for personal expenses & discount referral code

trefor_150Following on from my post on FreeAgent yesterday I got home to find the details of the online banking for Time to get the accounts sorted out.

All of the set up costs for the business have come out of my personal account. This includes a chunky legal bill as well as ad hoc events such as champagne celebrations in the Savoy a few pints of half and half in the British Legion. Now that the bank account is accessible and money is starting to come in it is time to square things up.

At lunchtime today I fired up  FreeAgent.

Business xaas

Using Freeagent as the accounting software for startup

Things are fairly hectic here on the startup front. We are trying to set the business up so that everything is automated. This hasn’t been a total walk in the park due to the time it seems to have taken to do some basic things such as set up a business bank account, get online banking, VAT number registration etc etc etc.

Customer accounts have now been set up on FreeAgent, invoices sent out and the first cash is in the bank – yay. We chose FreeAgent partly because it is being used by people in other offices near ours and party because in theory it has all the APIs we need to automate processes.

Also when you search online it is very difficult to see the wood from the trees when it comes to accounting packages. The big ones get the SEO rankings but products such as Sage come with the baggage of being early runners in the game.

FreeAgent really has been a piece of cake to set up. Importing contacts is easy, generating invoices a dream. We haven’t yet got to the reconciling bank balances bit yet as we are still waiting for internet banking to be set up but it won’t be long now.

Stay tuned…

Use this 10% off discount referral code for FreeAgent 43ls3wr5 – check it out via this link . We can both save cash

broadband datacentre Engineer engineering internet Net peering

Why Does Scotland Need a Broadband Internet Exchange? #peeringweek

Almost a year ago exactly, an ambition I’ve had for a very long time came true.  It’s not a personal ambition (not exactly on my bucket list), but it’s an ambition I wanted the local Scottish Internet and broadband community to achieve.

After years of failed attempts, talking amongst ourselves in the community and generally making very little progress, on the 27th of March 2013, LINX held a meeting in Edinburgh to discuss the possibility of having an Internet Exchange in Scotland.  It was at that meeting that the community agreed to ask LINX to build what would become IXScotland.

One might wonder why Scotland needs an Internet Exchange of its own? 

Business Cloud hosting

Chelsea Pensioners take cloud mainstream at Cloud Expo Europe

This morning I went to meet @natmorris at Cloud Expo at ExCel. More of what he is up to anon but a few things struck me about the exhibition.

First of all “cloud” has become seriously mainstream. It must have if three Chelsea Pensioners thought it worth a trip. Unless they thought they were going to something else? “Might as well take a look now that were ‘ere Albert”.

chelsea_pensionersSecondly I was amazed by

datacentre Engineer internet olympics peering

Regional Peering in the UK

When I was asked to write a piece about regional peering I thought it would be a quick update on the current state of affairs in the UK. Alas with all these things I realised that I need to add a little back story. Feel free to skip over the content to the end if you know all the bits…

The Internet (and what its not)

Most people know the Internet is not a single entity but rather a collective of networks that use common standards to create a single network made up of independently run and managed networks that allow their customers and end users exchange traffic and therefore create the Internet and its public face – the World Wide Web.


At the edge of each network there are a bunch of routers that communicate with other adjacent routers belonging to other networks using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). At a basic level each network tells the other network what it knows about its network and (depending on commercial concerns) other networks it knows about using the BGP protocol. This information is shared in the form of “routes” which define a certain block of address space and how to get to it.

This leads naturally to a quick

datacentre dns Engineer internet servers

Diagnosing very slow website loading problem

downtime_graph_smallBeen having intermittent problems with since moving the site to a new virtual platform at Christmas. It’s all sorted now. Thanks to the lads at the Timico Datacentre.

I asked Ian Christian to describe the issue and how it was resolved:

Well… explaining it is a little hard…. The key to figuring it out was this:

At the bottom of every page it shows when the page was generated, and how long it took. I suspect in wordpress somewhere it might have told you this too – but I’m not sure.

What we were seeing was

Engineer storage backup & dr

Got any holiday snaps, wink wink #ReadyNAS

trefor_250Shortly after I’d arrived back from Lisbon and hooked up to WiFi not only had a hundred and seventy photos and vids already been uploaded to Google+ but also to my own ReadyNAS box at home. V reassuring.

Everyone should have one. My sisters, with who (m?) I went away for the weekend, don’t. One has been carrying photos around on her camera since last summer, meaning to “download” them. She has a huge SD Card which can store seemingly an infinite number of pics but that is bye the bye.

The other sister has no strategy whatsoever. The pics remain on her iPhone and she occasionally sticks one on Facebook. There must be millions of people out there in this situation. The second sister has a Virgin email address and her own domain wot I got her. The notion of using a third account, eg Gmail/Google+ that would provide her with at least the basic backup she needs just hurt her brain, and she is a highly intelligent (natch) individual.

I suspect her kids have it sorted. Half the problem is that she, as a busy mother/taxi/etc doesn’t have the time to look at the issue.

Anyway, as I said, my pics are now backed up. Good oh.

Read more – photo backups to NAS box sorted

Galaxy S4 to NAS Backup.

Apps broken gear Cloud End User

Breaking news – Kodak Hero 7.1 printer is broken again – error code 3527

My Kodak Hero 7.1 All in one printer is broken again! Printers have always been a bit tempermental haven’t they?

I bought this one on 21st January 2012. At the time Kodak were going into administration. The printer looked a good deal so I also bought the 3 year “Instant Replacement” warrantee as a bit of a guarantee against things going tits up with the printer manufacturing.

On 5th January 2013 I took it back to PC World. The print head carriage was jammed and there was nothing I could do to fix it.

Today I’m taking the replacement back to PC World. Identical problem. Kodak’s support pages unhelpfully suggest I remove anything that might be jamming the print head otherwise to get in touch with their support (presumably not free).

It’s OK. I can take this second Kodak Hero 7.1 back to PC world and swap it for another. I quite like it’s functionality. Cloud printing etc. Bit of a nuisance having to go through the whole registration process again but hey.

I paid £129 for the original printer and £32 for the extended WHATEVER HAPPENS warranty. £129 a year for a new printer is not good. £161 for a new printer every year for three years isn’t so bad  I guess.

PS before anyone says anything is a paperless business but my family isn’t – homework etc.