Category: Blog

Requirements gathering for the nation

I’m a software developer by trade. It’s a job i really enjoy doing. However, there are always bits of jobs that you like the least and for me it’s requirements gathering. But it has to be done.

Maybe someone should have told the British Government this before they spent all that money (something like £10 million) on the funeral for the late Baroness Thatcher.

When I along Whitehall this morning, I thought I’d at least have to push past some people to get to work. This is what it looked like at 8:40am:

There were actually more police officers than mourners. There were more commuters than usual, but that was only because they couldn’t get buses through central London and therefore had to walk instead.

So, my question is: should the government have done a bit of requirements gathering among the UK population to find out if a procession through London is actually required? Couldn’t they just have done it all at St Pauls? Much cheaper, and far more practical for those that quite frankly believe this to be a waste of money.

Is the policing of social media fair?

Firstly some context:

Last night I went to a meeting of Westminster Skeptics (is meeting the right word? Should it be event, or session?) that concentrated on social media and abuse thereof. The panel was made up of various people who had either blogged anonymously and had been outed, people who had outed anonymous bloggers who had nefarious agendas or had some other links to social media and the law (twitter links at the bottom).

One of the things that was mentioned quite a lot was how people (in one form or another) had received appalling threats of rape, death and so on. In response to this, Richard Horton (aka Nightjack) quite calmly stated that there just wasn’t the capacity in the police force to deal with all these complaints.

So that’s the back story, albeit a bit long winded. Anyway, this got me thinking and I was going to ask this question but unfortunately there wasn’t time (I was beaten to the last question by the awesome Juliet Jacques, so no hardship there):

How come your “average” blogger can get death threats and abuse and the police can’t or won’t do anything about it, but when Tom Daley gets abuse the perpetrator gets a visit from the police the next morning?

Is it even fair that he almost gets special priority? Some might say that because he is representing his country and because he is a celebrity blah blah, but I would consider each of the people on the panel last night to be more of a celebrity than Mr Daley.

I don’t think there is an answer to this, and whilst the companies that run the platforms that allow this abuse to take place continue to take little or no interest in moderating their communities then why should the police? And don’t even get me started on jurisdiction (although I may write on this at some point in the future).

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Panel:

Paul Chambers (@pauljchambers)
Richard Horton (@iofiv)
Tim Ireland (@bloggerheads)
Peter Ede (@PME200)
Helen Lewis (@helenlewis)
Zoe Margolis (@girlonetrack)

How can you justify buying a new iPhone?

Blah blah blah, new iPhone, completely unexpected, blah blah blah.

Ok so the new iPhone was announced today. Yes it looks pretty. Yes I want one. No I’m not going to spend £529 on one.

Fair enough if you’re lucky enough to have reached the end of your contract and can get one a bit cheaper with some kind of upgrade package with your phone network. But there are some people out there who will go out and buy a brand new phone, shelling out £529 for this new piece of kit. How can you justify it?

Ok, yes I’m currently writing this post on a 3rd generation iPad, but T-Mobile were doing a deal and it only cost me £199 up front, which I can charge to my account and then pay it off over two months (because I ordered it just after payday, which basically means it costs me £100 a month). That is (kind of) justifiable. Ish.

£529 will get you a fairly decent week’s holiday for two people. It’s just about a month’s rent in a fairly decent room in a London shared house (don’t even get me started in those!). It can even get you an ok second hand car (ok, it won’t be the newest second hand car and it might have some scratches, but it will last you probably longer than that iPhone).

Is Doctor Who still considered a children’s show?

This thought stream was started by a tweet from NHS blogger extraordinaire, Brian “Reynolds” Kellett:

Which got me thinking: is Doctor Who still considered a child’s television program?

I’ve been watching it as long as I can remember (although the was a period during the Eccleston and Tennant era that I was a bit lax) but I’ve really got back into it.

According to the Wikipedia article on the subject, it was created as a family show, and it’s generally on at about 6 or 7 on a Saturday evening which historically was when the BBC put its family shows on.

However there have always been remarks, or discussions about whether it’s a bit scary for children. I personally never found it that scary, even the Daleks (who I think are my favourite characters) but I know people who say the when they watched it as children used to have to hide behind a cushion or their parents whenever the Daleks came on.

As well as this, I always remember the show pre-Eccleston being a bit sexless, whereas nowadays you have actors playing the roles of the Doctor and his companions who are pretty, well, hot. Maybe it was because I was young and naive at the time, but I don’t remember any of Tom Baker’s companions as attractive as, say, Amy Pond. As I say, maybe it was because I was quite young at the time.

What do you think?

My first Digital Sizzle

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard of Digital Sizzle. The concept seems to be very simple. Get a load of like-minded (read: techy or somehow linked to the tech industry) people in one room, offer booze and BBQ and sit back and enjoy.

And that’s pretty much how I spent my Saturday afternoon. I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous beforehand as I didn’t really know anyone there. However, the people there were incredibly friendly and I soon got to some very varied people. Some from established startups, some just starting and even a geologist (who admitted that he was there with a friend and didn’t really have any other links or aspirations to do anything particularly techy, but then went on to come up with some pretty good ways of using technology in his chosen field).

I ended up talking to a couple of really interesting people for most of the afternoon. It did kind of prove what I thought about the whole startup community in London being a bit of a clique (in that pretty much everyone knows everyone else) but I don’t think it was in a bad way, considering everyone was very friendly and interesting and not as snobby as I thought it might have been.

So my advise to anyone who hasn’t been to one, then do try to go, and although I thought that 6 hours of sitting around talking to strangers would go really slowly, it flew past unfortunately.