Don’t dream it… Google it.

I’m an easily distracted person, as anyone who’s ever had the misfortune to talk to me at a party will agree. It’s not that I’m not interested in what someone is saying, and I do pay attention, but I have a tendency to scan the room and tune in to other conversations from time to time.

It’s even worse when I’m sitting at my computer on a Sunday evening trying to write an article, do my tax return or simply make sense of the long list of things to be done in the coming week.

Marx could work for weeks in the Reading Room of the British Library with only the tea room and perhaps an occasional fellow writer to distract him, but working on an internet-connected computer is a challenge to anyone trying to focus on the job at hand.

Continue reading “Don’t dream it… Google it.”

Why we need to stop the data retention proposals

I’ve just had this article posted on the Index on Censorship site

..we need to stand up against the plans because even if the current proposals can be justified as a proportionate measure –– and remember that only details of sender and receiver are being stored, not the content of the messages themselves –– mission creep is inevitable.
Powers granted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act which we were told were needed to investigate serious crime and catch terrorists have been used to determine whether parents are really living in the catchment area of a popular school, something that is not actually illegal under the act as passed.

Read the whole piece, and it’s worth looking at Mike Butcher’s rant too.

Changing the world

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website]

Coming up with ideas for new digital products and services is hardly difficult in this world of rapid technological development and increasing access to computers and the network.

Anyone with a vague grasp of the capabilities of internet-connected devices should be able to think of two or three innovations over an overpriced latte in their nearest ‘third space’ coffee shop.

Having ideas may be easy, but deciding which to pursue and turning them into reality is hard, difficult work, with a low likelihood of success.

Continue reading “Changing the world”

Our Connected Christmas

We had a traditional Christmas this year, though since the kids are now sixteen and seventeen their sleep patterns were not disturbed by an anxious wait to see what Santa would provide in return for their good behaviour during the year.

After a lazy morning, a protracted lunch and a game of Scrabble we settled down to watch Doctor Who and the latest Wallace and Gromit, assembled on the sofa in a perfect twenty-first century family scene.

However in a slight break with tradition our shining faces were illuminated not just by the glare of the television but also by two laptops and my iPod Touch as we used Microsoft Messenger, Facebook and Twitter to keep in contact with our friends around the world.

Continue reading “Our Connected Christmas”