Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Search Engines, The Future….

"Search Engines, The Future…." proved to be an illuminating refresher from Helen Mitchell (of Ascendancy Internet Marketing)  on what's happening in the world as represented to us by Google. 

We've all begun to notice the gradual changes creeping into Google's organic results listings now that "univeral search" is beginning to expose the contribution of blogs, video, products and map locations. Helen took us through the fascinating challenge of keeping our websites ranked up there and in the Google-public's eye. Why all the focus on Google? Well, it does now seem to have the lion's share of the search engine market in the UK

We had a whistle-stop tour of the contribution of intelligence fed back from iGoogle and Google Gadgets; and a good opportunity for comparison of experiences with pay-per-click advertising. We've often described this group to ourselves as a sort of 'self-help' group - and the lively conversation that Helen's talk generated certainly flushed out lots of observations and experience to share and learn from.

An interesting observation: in the chit-chat over a pint beforehand (yes, this was our regular "Unplugged" session in the Corbett Arms, Upton Magna, this month)... I got into several "have you heard from [[whatsisname]]? conversations, most of which were elucidated by some gem that someone had read on Facebook. Now it seems only yesterday that this particular "F" word was perceived as belonging in the domain of our youthful progeny... and now it's gradually embedding itself into our everyday experience... 

Still, nice to know we still do have these regular meets... and do some proper 'social networking'... ;-)

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Recession ? Where there are problems there are opportunities.....

Why are the media and the chancellor predicting economic doom and despair, particularly the worst for 60 years? Surely all this negativity can only worsen the economic climate further?

This month's 'Unplugged' event (Corbett Arms, Upton Magna) was predicted to be about discussing the opportunities, (and yes, where there are problems, there are opportunities) particularly for the smaller specialists such as ourselves.  

David Phizacklea (of Joraph) provided a pithy reflection of his evolving business strategy in the light of a much-heralded recession looming over the horizon, which prompted much fruitful observation and discussion from everyone in our lively band of practitioners!

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Thursday, 19 June 2008

"UKITA Best Of Branch" Award presented to Edward Bedell, Interpulse Ltd.

Edward Bedell, of Interpulse Ltd, was awarded the "UKITA Best Of Branch" Award for Shropshire by the national UKITA chairman, Mr Fred Noble.

Edward stated that he was thrilled to receive the award as he totally believed in the work of UKITA Shropshire in supporting the local IT SME community, and bringing its members closer together for mutual benefit. However he added that really the committee or "Team" as he prefers to call it deserves the award since it all worked together to create the success of "UKITA Shropshire".

Well done team.....

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Direct Tourism Services(DTS) gets UKITA Quality Mark..

Benjamin Emanuelli from DTS received the Quality Mark Certificate from UKITA Shropshire's Chairman, Mr. Edward Bedell at the recent UKITA Shropshire AGM.

Benjamin expressed his delight at the award and was important for their business.

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PerfectArc Ltd. Gets UKITA Quality Mark

PerfectArc's Director, Andrew Corbett, received the Quality Mark Certificate from UKITA Shropshire's Chairman, Mr. Edward Bedell at the recent UKITA Shropshire AGM.

Andy Corbett stated he was delighted "since quality was the foundation of what PerfectArc was about".

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UKITA Shropshire AGM Minutes.

Nomination of Posts

Chairman: Edward Bedell, Interpulse Ltd.

Vice Chair: Steve Eyton-Jones, Novotronix Ltd.

Secretary: Edward Bedell, Interpulse Ltd.

Board Rep: Andrew Corbett,.PerfectArc Ltd.

Committee: Roger Greenhalgh, National Rural.

Committee: Colin Ruck, IIS Ltd.

Committee: David Phizacklea, Joraph Ltd.

Shropshire members can access full AGM minutes from UKITA Head Office (http://www.ukita.co.uk) or from Edward Bedell. The required quorum was achieved.

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Wednesday, 4 June 2008

UKITA Shropshire AGM and June "Unplugged" - 10th June @ 6.30pm onwards - Theme: "Software As A Service"

We are extremely fortunate to have Jake Stride from Senokian who will be presenting on “Software As A Service” (SAAS) at our next “Unplugged” event. SAAS is extremely topical with “Google” hoping to use it to take on Microsoft with their application suite. There are many other online services now becoming available which can offer business great benefit. What are the advantages? What are the issues? Well you will have to come along and find out……

It is also AGM time, and the members opportunity to feed into what we do. Our AGMwill be held at 7pm prior to the main meeting at 7.30pm.

Please see attached details.

….and finally if you book we are more able to organise food for you…

Hope to see you there.

Event Details PDFPDF Flyer

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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The right man for the job is the one that can do it right

Whatever is done to keep people up to date, it is always the case that when large numbers of users are involved it is expensive and difficult to keep infrastructure up to date. There is also the hassle factor, where it takes a large staff to maintain a large environment – or so they would have you believe!

One area where all this is more of an issue than most is in schools where finance has always been slow to keep up with technology (not that that is unique to schools though!). Some schools still have no proper network, or have PC’s that are slow and outdated and software that is so far behind on updates and functionality it might as well not be there. Lip service is paid to the extremities of the educational sectors and the “out of sight is out of mind” culture is certainly the case. In some schools, where influence is pushed on a personal basis, schools have fantastic facilities. In some outlying places this applies too, but in many areas there is a “let them eat cake” attitude as there is little impact on the next election, or on the offspring of a notary.

Our “wonderful” government makes noises and placatory gestures towards those who finance them, but even after all the catastrophes in the Public Sector they still have little idea about IT and delivery of large scale projects. It seems that few people have stood back and taken the more holistic view about bigger projects. Many of the larger commercial companies have monster environments that take a project in its entirety and drive it through. This can result in problems as the press just love to lead with disaster headlines – let’s face it, it’s rare that good news makes the banners or even the front page! My company is smaller than most departments in a large corporate but any project is vital to us and gets real focused attention. It’s not that I’m taking anything away from these companies, or those like them, but losing one small project may do a little damage to them but would finish my company off.

So, what has this to do with UKITA you ask (maybe!)? Well, it has a lot to do with our offerings as we are the IT equivalent of the “grass roots” in sport. The bigger companies have an influence at the later stages of education, the smaller companies have more influential locally. We also have a tremendous amount of experience in delivering smaller projects that can fit into bigger “jigsaws” of programmes such as the huge Public Sector projects being undertaken by the giant corporate companies. What makes the difference is that each small project run by an individual company is vital to them; it has less chance of disappearing off their radar as other more high-profile jobs take precedence. The understanding of how this process works needs to be taught early, and the effect on the commercials of a business should be part of that learning.

It is my opinion that we need more basic training earlier in life for our young people. Perhaps we should introduce PM1 in high school year 8 or 9 as a mandatory subject, and put full project management knowledge in at A-level grade to ensure that any prospective technician understands where to start? We teach basic technology to kids at primary level, they even get measured on ICT at 8 years old. My son came home with a “could do better” on his CBT report, I told him to relax and enjoy what he was doing as I thought it no big deal – his mother was not quite as impressed and it looks like I’m to help now! If we try really hard and think about taking a different way out of the maze maybe we will go back to the obvious place and start at the beginning.

Everyone in the country has at some time or another, criticized one or another of our sports teams. We can’t run, we can’t kick a ball or tackle, or jump high or long enough. The press love to slap anyone they can call a loser – if you want to represent the country now at any sport you need to be a perfect 10 who is a teetotal, clean, perfect citizen who never loses, otherwise the media will have you! Look, for example, at the way soccer and tennis are trying to build the youth culture here to support their sports. To produce champions we need to be able to identify the ability. Without providing a place for kids to show they have the ability we lose the march on this from day one.

I see the new diploma systems for schools and colleges being the way forward for our baseline technologies. If, as in the past, there is a way through industry learning the basics, then surely this path is one way of bringing a technology apprenticeship one step closer. It should be fun to learn and there needs to be a way to provide the larger companies with staff who have had good grounding in the industry. Leaving college and going straight into a huge environment where the company is changing the world is exciting – knowing what to do there from day one is infinitely more satisfying, and much more productive for that large environment.

Still, for all my ranting about putting people to the desk and forcing them to take a subject that bores the pants off me, it still needs incentive and a decent curriculum to run alongside proper practical knowledge. I left school early, just after my O-levels and took an apprenticeship with a day-release City and Guilds Technical Certificate for my paper piece. I can still just about explain how a Bowater Scott paper mill works and provides toilet paper for the world – not really an Einstein! I just think there has to be an alternative to all the financial waste we see every day on huge IT projects where large companies use the “make-do” people for small sub-projects on major programmes. It just means we have not got it right at base level and need to think again. The first thing to do is make sure the fundamentals are done properly and that the teachers and the kids have the right tools for the job.

Remember that the right man for the job is the one that can do it right, first time – to be capable of doing this, they must have learned how to do it somehow, somewhere!

Remember Phiz? MD of JoraPh Consulting Limited

Quote of the day: "I thought it was the done thing until I stopped banging my head against the wall and the pain stopped!" - Phiz after learning that man-management can be done in easier ways.

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Urban myths no more

Anyone else know about this website with tells you whether urban myths and emailed photographs are genuine? UPDATE: It's been pointed out to me that this site has been around for yonks (thanks Michael) but I still think it's worth pointing out in case there are any other dullards like me out there ! click here to See Snopes
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Saturday, 10 May 2008

Keep clients and ourselves out of jail!

Am I reading this right? Can our clients' directors go to jail over personal data loss? Let's run a public event on the subject.

Quote from Computing Magazine's website - "Recently there have been several high-profile incidents where various public and private sector organisations have failed to take the appropriate steps to comply with the seventh principle to the Act, which states that: “Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.”

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