Blog posts written during May 2012

A very nice day in Henley and some pictures

Thursday Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Ian Pettman

It was so nice today: a lovely 26 degrees. There are some pictures from a lunchtime walk from the shops. The pictures are published on our Facebook page:

How to create an 8 processor Tablet with 16GB ram for £220

Friday Friday, May 18, 2012 by Ian Pettman

We have just published a series of articles on "How to create an 8 processor tablet PC with 16GB ram for £220". Yes there is a catch: two days ago ago we did not have such a beast and now we have and we only spent £200. Here's how.

Now you see recession, now you don’t

Friday Friday, May 11, 2012 by Ian Pettman

Just before the local elections the BBC News carried an article from a relatively obscure economic body saying that there was unlikely to be an economic recovery in the UK for the next 5 years. The response of the Conservative party was that forecast was out of step with virtually all other economic forecasting bodies. The BBC is well known for over egging "impartially" on some subjects. In many respects, the political persuasion of the BBC news room being left of centre balances the overall right of centre press. So we have a dichotomy.

The question arises, if we are trying to get a clear picture, how do we get a clear view? With various bodies spinning the figures this way and that, what is the actual forecast for economic growth taking current indicators into account?
The CBI have a vested interest in an accurate picture, it's much easier to make a profit if you are going with the grain, just before an economy goes into expansion is the optimum time to invest.

CBI Economic forcast pdf document

The current public view of banks is that they are good at skimming profits when times are good, but not prudent with other people's money. Never the less, if we want to know where we might be going, a good idea of where we have been helps. With that in mind then the following freely available reports may shed some light:

lloyds bank business barometer quarterly report

lloyds bank economic research latest-reports

Actually dear old Aunty comes up with the most graphically impactful digests:
BBC news economy tracker pages
If you just want to an idea of the current level of padding vs real news then:
BBC general buisness stories

Where are we going?

Well the temporary employment sector is a good barometer. Either we have done a much better job of search engine optimisation (SEO) recently or people are at least giving full consideration using our technology to do better in the future temp staffing market.


Update on free backups

Thursday Thursday, May 10, 2012 by Ian Pettman

Short and sweet, we have updated our web page on free storage and backup to link to a new article we found recently which also covers Google Drive. We have also updated the links to the Microsoft live backup service, now called SkyDrive.

More cloud drive space for free, but there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Wednesday Wednesday, May 2, 2012 by Ian Pettman

Google has, somewhat belatedly, entered the "free" cloud storage market.

Their offering of 5GB (as opposed to the 2GB available elsewhere) is designed to be attractive when you cross the 2GB barrier and otherwise have to use a paid service. Some may argue this is unfair competition: that is not the issue to be discussed here, more are you giving away the family jewels?

We have trialled and abandoned a number of these services. Our main issue is their ability, every now and again to start duplicating files, overwriting later versions, or simply hanging on to a file rendering it unusable until the machine is rebooted. Maybe it's because we evaluated them earlier in their development cycle, maybe it's an inherent flaw.  Maybe we are dubious about the security of our data.

So when master of taking large "free" data and making a profit from it comes along and offers a "free" service it's perhaps worth looking more closely at what you will be signing up for.

The Google T's and C's give then them the following rights:

"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones" [services].

Now these are pretty large doors that are opening on what was previously your closely guarded intellectual property. Moreover storage of your intellectual property (aka IP) will be bound by the Data Protection Act in the UK. You may well be breaking the act if you use Google's services with these wordings.

These words and attempts at copyright acquisition are not necessary. Compare Google's "do no wrong" wording with big bad Microsoft's:

"Except for material that we licence to you, we don't claim ownership of the content you provide on the service. Your content remains your content. We also don't control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the service. You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service."

It seems to me that MS with their army of lawyers are taking a far fairer, tighter and more responsible approach to their terms of service than Google with their army of lawyers.

In either respect, when you use a cloud service, the servers may be outside the EU in which case the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidance and rulings will apply.

Information Commissioners Office guidance and ruling

Put simply, you may be hazarding your licence as a data bureau by using a cloud service (especially Google's with their current T's & C's) for data storage and therefore putting your company at risk.

Ava use both Microsoft's and Google's services, although not necessarily the ones referred to in this article.

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