Q'n'A: Keeping the conversations flowing

I consider this blog not only to be a public facing view of my work and writings, but a mini-community. A symposium if you will, as I'm sure most of you guys wouldn't mind buying me a pint and sitting down to discuss many-a-topic I write.

I consider this blog not only to be a public facing view of my work and writings, but a mini-community. A symposium if you will, as I'm sure most of you guys wouldn't mind buying me a pint and sitting down to discuss many-a-topic I write.

I must also apologise for not posting in a few days - it's been a difficult week for me and a whole set of new responsibilities have been weighted upon one's shoulders, so getting to grips with a new life has taken some time.

Q. [email: Research in Motion] Could you update the story and title accordingly and we would be happy to work with you to verify any facts in order to ensure the updated story is accurate. A. Research in Motion weren't too happy with what I wrote about their company being a surveillance workplace. Let's just quickly run through a few things for clarity:

  • They say they do not record the phone calls of employees in the beta test of the surveillance software or any other employees.
  • Robin Bienfait, the CIO of Research in motion, when asked whether she records conversations, rather than written information - she answered, "Everything. I record everything."

The story sticks and will not be changed.

Q. London is the most heavily monitored city (by way of surveillance cameras) in the world, so how does Google Street View change that in any significant way? A. Good question, but it does. Surveillance cameras are open to those working within those private networks, and some are open to others such as the police and security services. Both the latter can request them through their own laws anyway (Regulation of Investigatory Powers 2000).

I've been inundated with calls from the UK Home Office, Cabinet Office and the Security Service this week in reply to an article I wanted to write, but ultimately would be my demise if I did - on the state of Google Street View and London's security. One spokesperson from the Home Office kindly told me (paraphrased):

"...from working on a Government estate, we have over 40 years of experience in the field of security, so even though these images have been published, you still can't walk into an estate without authorisation."

Well, most of the time anyway.

Q. What was that supposed to be? An article? A. No, my love - it was a podcast.

Q. Can I run Windows 7 and Windows XP simultaneously? A. Yes - easily, with two computers.

Q. If familiarity was the main concern, why did they change at all? A. The whole point of outsourcing email and collaboration to a third-party service is to ensure 100% (or as near to as possible) uptime and to reduce the resources load on the university. At the moment, say if you have 19,000 students like my university does, that's 19,000 email accounts just for students alone. If you then give them 1GB email storage, that's 18.5 terabytes. That's a huge amount of space, storage and money involved.

Q. But how much can we complain about a free service? A. Still a fair amount. Remember that advertisements on Hotmail keep the entire service going. Advertisements on the web keep most websites free, which is how Google ended up making its billions. Email, however, has become such a commodity in modern day life, companies could lose millions through lost email.

Q. Do you change it to a USB stick, a hard drive, or the 'cloud'? A.

I didn't expect to get the amount of responses that I did for writing that post, but it certainly made me think about it. The floppy disk has always meant "save", especially back in the day when floppy disks were still around.

Having a cloud icon there isn't appropriate yet, because the cloud hasn't been fully formed yet. As you'll see with my upcoming Azure post, it'd be a bit hypocritical for Microsoft to change the icon to a cloud when it hasn't even got it's own cloud platform properly formed yet.

Is it time for a change when it comes to Gmail? Do you have a question about Semblio you want clarifying? Should universities forget email and use Facebook instead? How do you feel about Microsoft Recite? If there's anything you want answering, leave it here and I'll get back to you in this post - let's get the community spirit going.

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