chromebook Cloud End User

ChromeOS – quick play

I realise that this is of little interest to most of you but I’m having a play with ChromeOS. I have it running on a virtual machine on my Dell laptop. It’s a bit slow but that is going to be because of the VM rather than the OS itself and certainly not due to the lack of bandwidth. Also every now and again it crashes, notionally due to lack of memory.

Initial impressions are good though it’s not perfect. For example in order to try out the online music app it asks you for your credit card info even though the app is free. Apple does this which I hate. I have subsequently found that you can bypass the Apple credit card capture page by not filling any of the fields and clicking “next”. Google won’t let you get away with this which I don’t like.

I have to fill out this form in order for Google to tell me whether the music streaming is “available in my country”. A simple “googling” tells me it is only available in the good ole US of A so it is a bit of a waste of my time and certainly irritating that a global organisation such as Google would have a product that was restricted to that country.

Next I tried the image editor and was a little disappointed to see it had pretty limited editing tools – crop, autofix, contrast and brightness. I need to be able to resize for the web as well as crop. Still it was easy to find a photo to edit. I just stuck one in Google Drive and hey presto it was there online. I use IRFanview on the laptop which doesn’t seem to be available for ChromeOS.  There do seem to be lots of photo editing apps in the chrome Web Store though so that is probably ok.

I have a good feeling about ChromeOS. At £229 a Chromebook is not expensive to try out though I do have an issue with having too many gadgets at any one time. I want to play with ChromeOS, Windows8 and Windows8 running on a Nokia Lumia 920 over 4G. It isn’t manageable though to have so many gadgets, especially as you have to sign up for a 24 month 4G contract with EE to lay your hands on the Lumia. My friend Kory raves about the Samsung Chromebook though doesn’t recommend it as a primary system yet.

The general Google ecosystem really is heading in the right direction. I’m building up to a bit of a post about the Google versus Microsoft battle for the desktop with a specific slant on Unified Communications. It will have to wait for another day though. It needs more time.

So long…

Apps broadband End User social networking

Home broadband data usage growth

home broadband data usage trends for Trefor Davies

Broadband data usage growth driven by photo uploads

I’m installing a RaspberryPi computer at home carrying an IPCortex PBX with SIP trunks. I just needed to find a free IP address and found myself checking out available addresses so that I could provide a static one to the IPCortex.

I just happened to find myself looking at my home broadband data usage and came up with some interesting stats.

The first chart plots the growth in my overallgrowth in upload data usage for home broadband - Trefor Davies usage for the last four years. It actually shows almost an order of magnitude (20GB to 160GB) growth from the lowest point in 2008 to the highest point this year.

I realise this is not scientific but you can easily see the trend. The rise in upload usage in the May/June time frame (2nd chart) this year coincides with my taking proud possession of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the fact that all photos now get backed up to Google+. Trefor Davies photo storage requirements ytd 2012

The final chart shows the growth in photo storage needs this year and you can see a very good correlation between photo storage and the growth in bandwidth upload usage.

The numbers don’t exactly match because we use the home broadband connection for other applications and I, being both gregarious and fertile, do not live alone.

I haven’t drilled into specifics but a reasonable chunk of the photo storage space is now used for video. I do both a daily (ish) video diary for the kids and take lots of “generally interesting” videos. Check this one out from the weekend visit to the Beamish Open Air Museum in county Durham.


Engineer engineering

Notes from UKNOF23 – Cinnamon, Brick Lane & Google Campus

blackboard at Google Campus near Old StreetThe title is somewhat disingenuous because the notes are from the night before UKNOF23. Before UKNOF everyone pops out for a curry sponsored by one of the fine networking companies that support the organisation. In last night’s case it was IX Reach and we all went to Cinnamon on Brick Lane.

Fair play to Cinnamon the food was great and included dishes called Naga containing the world’s hottest chilli pepper. Not for the faint of heart and certainly not for me though Adrian kennard of AAISP seemed not to break into sweat as he tucked in to his. More of a man than I’ll ever be.

Fair play also to IX Reach who took the decision to cover all the cost of the booze as well as the food which meant I could indulge in that second half of lager. I was in bed by ten though as I have a speaking slot today, albeit after lunch.

The photos are a random selection from the Cinnamon curry house, Brick Lane, the Google Campus where the meeting is being held and of Bonhill Street where the Google Campus is located. I took the picture of the urns because it is unusual to see two urns for hot water and only one for coffee. Clearly engineers drink more tea than coffee.

Photos below.

That’s all folks…

Cloud End User google

Dropbox or Google+

I’ve noticed I keep being given free space extensions in Dropbox. I’ve just realised all my photos are being uploaded there. That means I’m uploading to both Google+ and Dropbox, using wifi only.

I don’t mind this as long as Dropbox keeps extending the space. I’m not aware they provide unlimited storage aka G+ but hey. I did find a real use for Dropbox recently when my S3 battery stopped charging. The USB port was only intermittently visible & I couldn’t move files across the the laptop.  I shifted some “important” stuff into Dropbox before the battery finally went and I now still have those files. I also used Google Drive.

It probably doesn’t make sense to use both but for the moment it’s easy enough to do and I haven’t hit any problems.

That’s all…

Business UC voip

What’s your Lync address?

Lync video call screenshot with Terry Bowers and Trefor DaviesThis good looking boy in the screenshot is Terry Bowers, Head of Professional Services at Timico Technology Group business Redwood Telecommunications. We are obviously engaged in serious conversation as neither of us is smiling.

The client itself is a feature of Microsoft’s Lync, something we decided to play with at Redwood following the UC Expo (UC = Unified Communications) trade show earlier this year. Redwood now have it installed at a number of their customers and it is regularly used in communications between these companies and also with suppliers.

We are using an all in one Lync box from Active Communications, This is a lovely appliance that removes the need to deploy the complexity of servers1 that has been Lync (note innovative & brand new collective noun). ACS have not only integrated Lync but have done it using virtualisation which means you can deploy it within your own virtual infrastructure. Also it scales very nicely.

I use a number of multimedia clients such as the one shown in the screenshot. There’s Timico’s own Genband based Outlook client, Google and Skype. All are used to talk to different communities and whilst there are some differences they typically all work well.

A few observations arise:

Business business applications

Dell Vantage Club & Google+ instant uploader

view out of the dining room window of SoHo House club on Greek Street

Another interesting photographic weekend with the Galaxy S3. I was in Liverpool for a family party, staying at the Crowne Plaza on the Waterfront. Lots of photos – 3.3GB worth – 1,134 files. The hotel had a free option on its wifi, notionally for email & light browsing. I didn’t do any speed testing but when I got home, 150 or so of the pics had already been uploaded to Google+ using the free wifi and instant uploader.

This has to be the way to do it. You find your pics automatically backed up without thinking, as long as you chose the “wifi only” setting on the phone. The rest of the pics were taken off the phone before they had a chance to upload – I’ll have to adjust my “transfer policy” to give them time to upload.

me with me dear old MamThe inset photo is of me and me dear old Mam on Friday night at a private Davies dinner in the hotel. The header photo is the view from the private room at the SoHo House club on Greek Street in London Town. I was there for a Dell Vantage Club event where the topic of conversation was BYOD. I have to say I am becoming increasingly impressed with these Dell events. Dell is restricting the Vantage Club to 350 CIO/CTO types and it is a great forum for networking with others in the industry. I even bumped into a Timico customer there – great stuff.

PS I’m going to also have to start a policy of filtering the photos I keep on the laptop and offloading the rest to an external hard drive where they will provably never again see the light of day.

dns Engineer

Did you get your gTLD application in? Lots of duplicates and some aggression

The list of new generic Top Level domains applied for has been published. 1930 of them all together including Chinese, Arabic etc. It makes for interesting reading. There are quite a few duplicate submissions including 13 applications for .APP and 11 .ARTs. I didn’t get past the “A”s before giving up on listing them.

Having said that there are even 9 applications for .BLOG. Huh! Not sure if I like the idea of though I suppose it could be I did also note that there seem to be duplicates amongst the Chinese names.

Amazon has applied for 76 gTLDs. Wow. Google seems to have applied for 101 (via Charleston Road Registry Inc. which seems to have Google written all over it)!! These include all the obvious ones such as .YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, GMAIL. HANGOUT but also .MOV which will raise an eyebrow or two. .mov is an extension used by QuickTime the media player developed by Apple Inc. As far as I can see Apple seems to have only applied  for .APPLE. Are the digital wars about to move into gTLDs?

There are some interesting names in the list Bentley, Buggatti, Ferrari, Jeep (it’s in there – I’m not saying its in the same league as the first three but it’s my car :)). The BBC is also in there as is only right and proper.

This does make me wonder whether companies are going to continue registering their business domain with all the different extensions. It’s going to get expensive and out of control.

You need to read the list yourselves to fully digest it. There is presumably a mechanism for deciding who gets the name where more than one organisation has applied for it. This is going to be an interesting one to watch.

More I’m sure in due course…

End User piracy

Alternative ways of bypassing the Virgin Media filter to access Pirate Bay – Google Translate

google translate can be used to bypass Virgin Media web filters to access Pirate BaySince publishing the original post on this subject that described how to access Pirate Bay using free proxy servers I’ve had a few people point out other ways. Some were left as comments on the post itself. Some came in by email.

The most innovative is where Google Translate service is used as a proxy server. Take a look at this link:

That page is the normal Pirate Bay running though the Google translate servers, translating any African on the page to English. Obviously there is only English on the page so it displays like normal.  Apparently, according to “umm hmm” from the who fed me the info, this is not a preferred method as it can sometimes be slow and a bit clunky if the Google servers are experiencing high traffic (fwiw).

Many sites have been also set up as proxies to provide easy filter bypass to get to Pirate Bay – some have been pointed out in the comment stream of my earlier post – others will be easily findable online if you look – it won’t be hard.

Business internet

Search engine stats – the winner and losers (although you already knew this)

Just happened to notice which search engine is being used to access this blog today. Percentage numbers are Google 94.02%, Yahoo 2.99%, Bing 2.72% and Ask .27%.

In the UK the regulator has been forcing BT to lose market share due to its significant market power.  I wonder why it doesn’t do the same thing for search.

That’s all…

4g Apps Engineer mobile connectivity

Samsung media event date announced – should we get excited – 4G & photos

I have to be careful here because whilst I am a Samsung fan I have no desire to be labelled a fanboi in the manner of Apple afficionados. Samsung has announced a media event at Earls Court on Thursday 3rd May and the speculation is that this will be the Galaxy S3 launch. This might be exciting.

I use a Galaxy S2 which is as far as I am concerned still a great phone. There has to be a lot of new functionality for me to want to upgrade – certainly more than appears to have been the case with the various flavours of iPhone churned out over the last 12 months.

What might these improvements be?

Apps End User online safety

Pipe dreams and privacy – is your private life a thing of the past? or no Google doodle for privacy muddle

Today is all about privacy. No Google doodle to go with it because Google is at the centre of the debate with its harmonisation of privacy rules across all of its services.

The European commissioner of justice, Viviane Reding says there are “doubts” over what Google has done. I’m not going to go into detail on the ins and outs – read about that in the Guardian. Commissioner Reding though in my experience is someone worth listening to so she is expressing concern there is likely to be something in it.

It is worth thinking about privacy for a moment because in our modern age it is a hugely complex subject.

If I do a search for “Trefor Davies” Google comes up with

Business piracy

Who will sue who next?

Good old BT has stepped into the litigation fray and is suing Google for patent infringement. Yay. It doesn’t seem like yesterday that BT was in court trying to extract cash from US ISP Prodigy over its use of HTTP links.

What a world this is becoming. I recognise that Intellectual Property needs protection but it does seem at times that the feeding frenzy is doing nobody any good other than a global community of lawyers .

You can almost picture the scene, the birds of prey (legal eagles),  hovering at a safe distance, kept aloft by the thermal currents rising from the technology battlefield below.  If anyone wants to draw me a cartoon depicting this I will stick it in this post 🙂

It would be interesting to see how much the average price of a smart phone is driven up by the overhead incurred in legal fees spent defending patent litigation.

Apps chromebook Cloud End User

An Everyday Story of a Family, its Clunky Old Computer, and Cloud Based Services

My wife’s PC has nearly ended it’s useful life. It was bought for our oldest son at the age of 10. He is now about to start his second year at university and is already on his second laptop.

During the intervening ten or so years the PC has been flattened and rebuilt a couple of times. For a few years it was the “family” computer and thus had every kind of game added and removed and goodness knows what other software.

Now it is clunky, takes ages to boot up and a source of frustration for the love of my life. To make things worse last weekend my daughter did something to it and now Microsoft Office does not work. The original CD was lost some time ago. Doesn’t sound good.

Last night I went all cloud based services on the dodgy old thing.

I set Mrs Davies up with a

Business Cloud online safety Regs

The Google View of the Forthcoming UK Comms Regulatory Landscape #deappg

Google’s Sarah Hunter impresses at the Communications Bill Forum.

Google’s Head of UK Public Policy, Sarah Hunter was a breath of fresh air at last week’s Communications Bill Forum.  Firstly she was one of the few speaking without just reading out a prepared speech. It can get boring listening to someone reading out their notes.

Secondly she offered a perspective based on a platform as opposed to most of the other speakers who were largely either content providers or  pipes.

  1. The government should not make policies that favour specific industries without considering the wider impact elsewhere.
  2. Open platforms should be protected – both content and pipes need them and they are expensive to build and maintain
  3. Keep a sensible approach to data protection. In other words allow targeted advertising.  The direction the EU is going is not good in this respect.
  4. Encourage and promote investment in computer science and engineering – engineers are taking over the world.
  5. Concentrate on consumer education – digital literacy and consumer empowerment. In other words keep kids safe online by education (and not mandatory web filtering – my words).
As always we have to strike a balance and how well the government does this will greatly influence how UK industry thrives online Her first point was a reference to the proportionality of the Digital Economy Act.
The data protection issue is a difficult one.  Whether they like it or not I get the feeling that the long term future of revenue generating for businesses operating online, certainly for content providers, is going to be substantially driven by advertising.
If this is the case then the advertising model needs to be one that works for all parties, including consumers and this either means we accept the degree of “intrusion” being sought by the likes of Google, Phorm et al or we very carefully define what is and isn’t permissible. Not the subject of a short blog post but perhaps one that might usefully be covered in a 2 year debate running up to the next Communications Bill.
Business piracy Regs surveillance & privacy

Priorities for the new Communications Bill #deappg BSkyB Guardian Google

I attended a Forum last week entitled “The industry priorities for the new Communications Bill”. We were given a ten minute talk by representatives from each of the BBC, C4, COBA (Commercial Broadcasters Assoc), Wall to Wall (independent media prod’n), Virgin Media, Google, BSkyB, BT, ITV, UKTV, Mobile Broadband Group, Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (ie video games) and Guardian Media Group. Quite top heavy with content production.

It is interesting to note that in the last Communications Act (2004) the word internet does not appear. This may be because the government of the day wanted to avoid regulation in a nascent market – let it grow unhindered. Whilst the talk is still of light touch and self regulation I can’t help get the feeling that this time round there is a big shadow of government looming over the proceedings.

A few themes came out of the meeting.

The market needs to provide a level playing field that allows competition and encourages investment. This may include addressing issues that allows UK plc to compete in a global market – regulation overseas is often different to that in the UK and can cause difficulties for UK companies trying to operate globally.

Some content providers were calling for increased regulation to protect Intellectual property. There were interesting contrasts here:

David Wheeldon of BSkyB believed that the government should go further than it had in the DEAct to combat IP piracy and seemed to robustly reject some aspects of the Hargreaves Report (“it should be up to Rights Holders not government to decide how to exploit their IP”).

On the other hand Andrew Miller, CEO of the Guardian Media Group recognised that content provider organisations needed to adapt to the changes in modern technology and society to survive. For example in the UK The Guardian is seen as the 3rd or 4th biggest newspaper. However the Guardian websites gets 50 million unique visitors a month and is a recognised and trusted global source of comment and opinion. The Guardian Media Group is clearly trying to move with the times.

If I were the government putting this Bill together I would be focussing on what will help UK plc to grow in the global market and to avoid making it in the words of Google’s Head of UK Public Policy, Sarah Hunter “a dumping ground for regulations as appears to have been the case with the Digital Economy Act”.

There are 2 years of deliberations before this Bill makes it to law. We need to make sure that we get this one right and not leave it to a last minute indecent rush as happened with the DEAct.

End User social networking

Hanging out with the boys on Google+ @ruskin147 @Billt @jeffjarvis

Tried a couple of impromptu hangouts on Google+ over the weekend. The first was one hosted by BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones and was prompted by one of his tweets.

This, my first hangout, was seriously easy to join. Because it was my first I had to download a Chrome plug-in but this happened in the time it took me to move from the noisy TV room to the quiet serenity of the conservatory, a place far more suited to a video conference.

The photo shows the hangout with RC-J (@ruskin147), @billt and @jeffjarvis. The only difficulty was deciding who would be the next person to talk as all 4 of use are fairly verbose individuals but this seemed to happen easily enough.

hangout screenshot courtesy of @ruskin147

I attempted another hangout with @superglaze later using my mobile phone but the google+ plug-in for Android is either understandably not as complete as the website or not yet as easy to navigate.

Google+ is easy to access from gmailGoogle+ is an attempt to steal Facebook thunder. It is late to the game and although it is still very much early days I can already see ways where it would be far more useful to me than Facebook.

Firstly it is easily accessible from gmail, which I always have open on one of my screens. Also it isn’t difficult to see Webex style collaboration being added to the functionality in future. I can already share documents in Google Docs and have side conversations using Instant Messaging.

I have also disabled email notifications for most of my social media activity to cut down on clutter but Google+ notifications appear discretely on my gmail screen which is far more acceptable.Google+ notifications arrive discretely in your main gmail screen

It’s a no brainer for personal use and certainly out competes Skype for the small business. I’m not yet sure whether it would fit with control and compliance requirements for larger businesses although Google Docs has some high profile advocates such as the Daily Telegraph Group.

Seeing as I was there I took a bit more of a look round my Google Docs account. I can now rent 20GB of cloud storage a year for $35. I have never considered doing it before but actually may change my mind. I would probably want more than 20GB but as a backup to my external hard drive for family photos sounds like a reasonable cost.

Although it is early days for this new platform I get the feeling in my waters that Google+ will become the Facebook for grown ups. I seldom use Facebook now (ok,  ok I know I’m not really a grown up) other than for keeping in touch with the kids.

Facebook has announced that it will be making a big announcement on Wednesday – apparently around offering an embedded Skype service. Microsoft owns Skype and a chunk of Facebook. It doesn’t take a big leap of the imagination to see Microsoft buying the rest of Facebook (v expensive mind) as part of its hitherto not so successful march into the cloud. It would also give Microsoft a better chance of succeeding in the mobile space as integration with a Facebook based online platform would give it more of an equivalence to Google and could potentially drive far more consumers to using Windows Phone 7 on Nokia – whenever that comes out.

This is about big business with very big bets on the table.  Exciting times and for most of us whilst we aren’t the ones placing all the bets it is easy to feel part of the game because all this technology touches us. I certainly feel as if I am catching the wave.

End User social networking

Is #Google+ going to be the answer to my social media management problems?

The Twitter stream started up this morning with a favoured few people talking about their initial reactions to Google+. This is the new Facebook competitor from Google. I am not on the Google+ trials. There is a modicum of envy in this post but not too much.

I want to play with Google+ as a new toy. Something that will allow me to drop into conversation “Oh haven’t you got it yet? I’ll see if I can get you an invite” 🙂

However there is also an element of trepidation.  “Oh no not another social networking platform”.

Clearly Google wants a competitor to Facebook that will stop any erosion of marketing money away from its own coffers. Not so far back it tried Google Wave, the new email experience. As I recall it was meant to be a step in the Facebook direction. That product was far too clunky and I dropped it very quickly. I don’t know anyone that uses it now.

The initial comments from the cognoscenti (ie those give trial accounts) seem favourable but notwithstanding this  I truly hope that it will be easy to populate a friends list.  I spent a long time tracking down old friends on Facebook and the idea of having to rebuild the list on a new platform seems daunting to the point of not wanting to do it.  Somehow though I can’t see Facebook just letting Google extract a whole data set in order to make it easier for them to compete.

My networked life is now partitioned thus:

  • Twitter is my main means of communication – to the extent that my next batch of business cards will only read “@tref”. It’s all anyone should need to find me.
  • Facebook is constrained to people I actually know and in truth I now only use it to keep in touch with my kids
  • LinkedIn – I have changed my views on LinkedIn. This site has evolved and I can see that it could be quite a useful business tool.  I don’t use it much and in fact I don’t see why a super platform that allowed me to have a single list of friends but enables me to partition them into work and play should not be possible. Might Google+ be this? Don’t know yet but it would get around the need to have too many sites to manage.

Otherwise the other communications methods available to me are Microsoft Exchange email for work and gmail for (play!?”).  My phone integrates both these platforms including contacts. It can also do the same for Facebook and LinkedIn. I already find multiple address book entries an issue though. Using a single social networking platform would get around this.

So there you go.  I want Google+ to be Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all in one giving me a single platform to manage everything including my emails.

Who thinks this is what Google+ is going to be? I guess we will find out soon enough. You can put a request to be a trialist here.


End User internet

shortcut to google account brings up interesting search results

I find the quickest way to get to my Google admin page is to type in some random letters and bring up a search results page. My account details are then on the top right hand corner of the page.

Funny thing is this invariably brings up some real Google search results.  I just did it with fdgfdsgfg which seems to actually mean something in Chinese!

Engineer internet

Google transparency report on Libya shows traffic drop off from Thursday – Gadaffi slow off the mark

The Google transparency report should be of interest to readers. It shows Google traffic levels to/from a given country. If you click on the link it shows that traffic out of Libya ground to a halt on Thursday evening.

I am somewhat surprised it has taken the Gadaffi regime this long to kill the traffic – assuming that is what has happened.

Cloud datacentre Engineer peering

Notes from London Internet Exchange (LINX), including Telecity and Datacentre Market Growth

I usually attend the quarterly meetings of the London Internet Exchange (LINX). At the risk of boring readers you do find some fascinating facts at these get togethers.

LINX has 383 members with 56 new applications in 2010. That’s huge growth. Members come from 50 countries – so despite having London in its name LINX is very much international in its orientation.

LINX has 304 10Gig ports and carries over 776Gbp/sec peak traffic – roughly the same amount of traffic as around 160,000 Standard Definition video streams or 40,000 High Def. Traffic is up 22% in the last three months!

LINX members can reach around 78% of all websites in the world through their London connections. Interestingly historically LINX traffic has been fairly smooth whereas an individual ISP will see spikes based on high profile events such as the Olympics and the Football World Cup. Now even LINX is starting to see the effect of these events. The Chilean mine rescue is one example. People watched it on TV at home and then carried on using the internet once they had arrived in the office.

At LINX71 datacentre operator Telecity have just told us that they are selling out colocation space as fast as they can build it. They currently have around 23MW in the UK with a further 21MW in build.

Mind bogglingly they say that Google has as much datacentre space in Liege in Belgium as does Telecity in the entire UK.

More interesting facts as the surface – you read them first on

Business internet mobile connectivity

Timico buys Handheld PCs

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

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

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

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.

Business net neutrality ofcom Regs

Net Neutrality

A week is a long time in politics but politicians seem happy to take most of the summer off. I have just had a 2 week break where I avoided anything to do with work and even kept away from blogging. The latter involved a huge effort because there is so much going on internet-wise.

This emotional pull was made more stressful by the fact that news is disseminated and commented on so quickly these days that to write about something that is more than a day old is to be seen to be writing about a historical event and not a current hot topic.

Fortunately last week’s Google news has spilled over into this week and I am back in action. This news concerns Google and its supposed pact with Verizon regarding Net Neutrality – both companies support the idea of an open net for fixed line services but with loopholes for mobile traffic and for some specialized content.

Engineer internet

Google redirecting to Swedish site

For some strange reason as I travel down to LINX69 in London the on train wifi is directing me to Google’s Swedish website. It would be interesting to find out whether this is down to the service provider network being used by EastCoast Trains or something happening in the Google network itself.

I guess someone at LINX69 would be able to find out.

Business hosting internet piracy Regs Suspended Following Universal Music Removal Request

Doing the rounds today is news of the removal of the site. The italicised text is from their temporary holding page. was suspended by its German hosting company after removal request from law firm representing Universal Music, although we never hosted any files or copyrighted data on our server. Our site is strictly informative.

We found a new host and moved our site, but it wasn’t powerful enough to handle the site.

We should be back tomorrow on more powerful server.

Check our forums in the meantime:”

Now I’ve never been on A quick “Google” tells me this about it:

Links. RSS | IRC | Contact · New releases | posts · · · NTi forums · Leecher’s Lair · PornLeecher · Rapidshare King …

It doesn’t look like my kind of site. I then did another quick Google on “” and it came up with about 1,950,000 results. That’s a lot of sites promoting free availability of copyrighted material (presumably).

The Government was naive in the extreme to think that filtering websites would go anyway towards solving the problem of unlawful copyring infringement. It is a complete waste of time, effort and money that also establishes a very dangerous precedent.

If this ludicrous law somehow sticks I’d like to see the Government take on Google, Bing (Microsoft) et al and  We are all accessories to unlawful activity here.

Engineer internet Regs

Google, deckchairs and Digital Economy Bill #debill

Paid a visit to Google in London on Friday morning. Fascinating offices. Refreshments available in reception whilst you checked yourself in and then breakfast from the breakfast bar afterwards.

I was there to meet Google’s regulatory bod, Luc Delany to discuss the company’s approach to the Digital Economy Bill. Google has a fairly light approach to regulation – the company claims to spend only 10% of what Microsoft spends on lobbying.

The Government, with it’s recent embarrassments, would do well to note that in the USA organisations have to disclose how much they spend on lobbying – down to individual lunches. It would be interesting to see how this mapped out in the UK in respect of the DEB stakeholders.

Of course clause 17 (or is it 18 now?) is the one that concerns Google. That’s the one that potentially gives Peter Mandelson powers to decide which websites are acceptable and which aren’t.

There is a feeling that we have all done everything that can be done on the DEB now, aside from last minute noises. We are now just waiting for judgement day. If the DEB does go ahead in its current form I will say that there is going to be one heck of a stink during and after the election.

I have to say that visiting Google is a pleasure. We played a bit of pool, I picked up an electric guitar and had a strum and spent some time in the surround vision version of Google Earth. It has a name but I can’t remember it. You stand inside a ring of large monitors and move a joystick to guide yourself around the world. Great.

Also chilled out in a deckchair for a bit (in the atrium – under the palm tree) before we both had to move on to other meetings. Life’s a beach.

One thing I didn’t realise is that much of the development of Google mobile operating system, Android, happens right there in the London offices. It made me proud to be a Brit (don’t often say that – I’m normally proud to be Welsh).

Business internet piracy Regs

UK Gov to block access to Google? Chinese to follow suit?

I note that Google has stopped censoring Chinese searches and is routing its traffic via servers in Hong Kong in order to be able to do this. One wonders whether the Chinese will take measures to block access to these servers!?

I wonder also whether the UK Government has considered blocking access to Google within these shores.  After all millions of people will be using the search engine to find out how they go about indulging in a bit of Music Piracy.  How to avoid detection.

When I do a search for anything using Google I get a list of websites that match my search criteria.  If I was a naughty boy and wanted to download free music in breach of the copyright laws, that Google search would probably contain information as to where I can get this music and probably a link to the relevant song/page. Surely this is wrong! Isn’t it?

Will the Home Secretary be using the new found powers he is awarding himself through the Digital Economy Bill to block UK access to Google and thus prevent this miscarriage of justice from happening?

This might sound a bit extreme but I think the scenario shows the absurdity of what UK gov is trying to do with the Digital Economy Bill.

Business Cloud google

Some Clouds are Better than Others

I’ve been thinking about clouds. It’s a very trendy thing to do at the moment. It’s something you notice about trade shows. A trade show will evolve its name in line with what the organisers think will bring in the punters.

For example in the UK “VoIP for Business” became “VoIP for Business incorporating Unified Communications” which then became “Unified Communications”. I fully expect Unified Communications to morph into “Unified Communications with cloudy bits”. It will probably be the same underlying list of exhibitors.

Anyway the popularity of the cloud buzzword is of course because the world is moving into the cloud. The cloud is still for most an ethereal place that is difficult to get the grey matter around. It appears on the advertising copy of so many vendors how do you decide how to take advantage of it. This is the case whether you are an end user, a business or a potential provider of cloud services.

Consumers will use a few branded services such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc. Business however needs something different, even it is just a better service level. So at the moment I think the business world is manoeuvring to understand how the bits of the fluffy jigsaw fit together.

They will end up dealing with specialist cloud integrators. This will provide the differentiation and some clouds will definitely stand out as being better than others.

As it stands you need to be able to keep your feet on the ground and head just above the clouds so that you can look around and see where these better clouds are starting to form 🙂

Business internet net neutrality Regs

Net neutrality governance debate

Interesting online debate next week concerning whether Net Neutrality can be “governed”. Although it is a North American debate I imagine it will cover lots of areas that we in the UK should be interested in. If I can fit in the time I will attend. Details here and below:

“FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has expanded from four to six the principles of freedom associated with Net Neutrality. Now however these principles are now going to be codified into regulatory rules. So the question has to be asked can the concept of “open” be governed. Join us as we look at how these principles will be incorporated into policy. What companies, services and devices will be subject to these rules. And discuss if the jurisdiction of the FCC has to be modified to enable these principles.

Participants include: Todd Daubert of Kelley Drye, Hank Hultquist of AT&T and Rick Whitt of Google.
Join us on Tuesday October 6th, 2009 at 12:30 EST to 1:30 EST as we see if Open can be Governed”

End User internet

I see that Microsoft has launched “bing” as its latest offering to compete with Google.  I checked and this isn’t April 1st so it must be true.  All I can say is it better be good at what it does because the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and it will need real customer loyalty for people to go to the site.

Ping would have been hugely better but no chance of getting that domain name.  Microsoft will have spent millions researching the name!

I wonder whether bing is the Urdu word for white elephant?  I’ll check.