Hands up all of you who’re thinking about buying a tablet in the coming months? Must admit, an iPad or new Honeycomb tablet are tempting. But… Chromebook-  the 8 second booting notebook. an alternative to an iPad?

How about Chrome OS – Much talked about 12 months ago but a bit quiet of late. With Apple and Ubuntu releasing key products, Google’s OS needs to be good.

Won’t have long to wait, its out next month – but just what is Google delivering?

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I’ve just read a Management Today supplement about West Yorks Fire Service. Remember how Public Service budgets are meant to be getting cut back?

The Public Sector should think about value - not building empires! Well, it sure doesn’t seem like that’s the case, if this is a typical Public IT project. Based on what they’ve chosen, I reckon half a million’s gone up in smoke.

It should have cost a tenth of that – and it’ll only reach 60% of their users…

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Now this is going to sound like some obscure, “out-there” philosophical question. But think about it. Is progress slowing down? Has our spread into the world and the regulation of modern life stopping us now moving forward? Imagine the Wright Brothers today, taking that flying contraption to an airfield. Where would they have made it – and would they have been allowed to fly it?

Or imagine James Watt building his steam engine in a lock-up round the corner. Then imagine the local council or police’s reaction to the noise it made!

Have we lost our reckless invention culture – do we just do Internet apps now?

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A couple of people recently have asked me if I’m ready yet to give up Windows. With virtual players being offered, it was time to try virtualisation. If you really want Windows on Ubuntu - VMWare lets you have it! I’ve just upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 and with VMWare’s Virtual Player available, now was the time to see what the world of desktop virtualisation was really like. Would virtualisation be the answer to a techy’s dreams?

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The banks are making money again. They’ve all got innovation teams in place. Change is desperately needed, so why aren’t we seeing it? why the banks don't want to innovate...

Its too easy to point to our banks and say that they don’t understand innovation. But you’d be wrong, very wrong. They understand it all too well.

They know what change will mean. That’s why they won’t let it happen…

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Easter of 2011 will probably be remembered as the time the Cloud went down. Bad as it was for Amazon’s EC2, the sky didn’t actually fall on anybody. Bad for some - but not that many. how Amazon's EC2 Easter failure actually makes the Cloud safer...

Maybe the great bank holiday weather took many writers away for the weekend. But the number of “its all over for Cloud” rants were mercifully few.

So, what should be taken away from Amazon’s failure. What have we learnt? Well, its shown intelligent system design is as vital for Cloud as anywhere else. Along with how many “experts” can still talk through their back-ends…

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I’m writing this just seven days before the production Ubuntu 11.04 is released. Now, if you’re on Windows 7, there’s never been a better time to change. Windows 7 provides a great reason to move over to Ubuntu 11.04! So why am I suggesting you change now – what’s so different about this version? Surprisingly, its not so much Ubuntu as Windows…

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When everyone’s talking about bank regulation, you know something’s wrong. And when everyone’s condemning it, you know we need to act. FSA is no authority for bank regulation - its a waste of resources...

Anger centres around the Financial Services Authority. A Cabinet Office quango. But two spectacular failures by the FSA have destroyed public confidence…

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Corporate security people and most security resellers wind me up. Always have. They constantly ignore the lessons life teaches us.

We meet strangers every day. So how come they can’t deal with new devices? We deal with strangers in real life. Why can't security people deal with new devices?

Life is constantly teaching us lessons. We deal with most things it throws at us. Security guys have a seizure when anything new appears.

Take Smartphones and the iPad for example. These guys are paid to know stuff. But they’re crap at doing their job because they can’t cope with the new.

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The financial media all seem to be agreed. The High Street banks are screwed. Restrictive, greedy, self-serving. Banks have been found guilty on all counts.

banking needs a new dawn - but why is it so dark still? Commercial incompetence kills companies in other markets. But not banking. What’s so special about these guys?

What the banks do isn’t all that difficult. Their technology’s an eighties throw back. Could it be that there are other forces in play here?

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The fall-out has still to settle from one of the greatest tragedies of recent times. While the furore and finger-pointing surrounding it will take a lot longer.

Technology is rarely the problem, it's the management of it... I’ve no desire to trivialise this terrible event, but let’s look at what it has shown us.

Given the prevailing circumstances, the technology behaved entirely predictively. The technology didn’t fail, we failed to manage it. Could we fail with NFC?

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I enjoyed one of those Twitter engagements this weekend. Well, I say enjoyed, maybe more like the engagement one has with the front of a speeding train.

It got me thinking about Socrates. I’d bet he’d love Twitter. Lots of sophists online. Socrates loved a good debate. Trouble was, the sophists didn't.

I’ll tell you a bit about Socrates. He questioned everything and accepted nothing. For him, truth was its own reward. His philosophy put him up against the sophists.

Sophists earned a living selling their own “truth”. You weren’t meant to disagree.

So what can Ancient Greece teach us about Twitter? Glad you asked me…

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It was hailed as the new dawn. Microsoft was squaring up to Google for search. Google looked to have a fight on their hands with Bing. But look at this… why can't Bing find stuff on Microsoft's own site - yet Google can?

This is the bing result for Vista Service Pack 2 on Microsoft’s own download site. Bing can’t find it. No results. Zilch. Nothing. What about a Google search?

Well. Let’s take a look. The result may surprise you…

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Quite a reaction last week when the news broke about the RSA SecureID breach. Someone may now know how to compromise two-factor tokens. Technology isn't everything. RSA should tell us that! Whilst every villain knows how to work around two-factor authentication anyway, the exposure of the underlying algorithm should have been viewed as inevitable. Before I’m castigated for saying this, let me explain…

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My apologies for this deviation from my usual style. But we need some help. A lot. Not for some worthy charity, but for a nation. Can Martha Lane Fox show the kind of drive needed to create a true digital Britain? Britain is being dragged deep under water by BT, after we survived the shipwreck caused by the SS Banking’s collision with a financial reality iceberg.

We must divorce BT from the cosy relationship it enjoys with central government. Its smug monopoly on the mechanism for change, its incompetence.

We need a publicly revered figurehead to drive this forward. A digital Joan d’Arc. Martha, we need you.

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So, petulant HSBC picked up their ball and set their sights on Hong Kong. Again. And then to no one’s surprise, they decided to stay in London. Again.

Maybe being handed the tickets and having the door held open wasn’t expected. Looks like we’re stuck with them. What if they had decided to go? HSBC threatens to go. Would we get by without them?

What if they had gone. What if all the banks decided to go. What would happen?

Would the economy fall apart, or would we actually be better off?

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Society. We hear that word daily. But basically its all about you, me, everybody. Society is the framework that binds us, defines us. How banks should be - great, working together.

We work best together. Get things done. Our lives are richer, we all achieve more. What happens when we build places that divide us?

That’s right. We destroy trust. And no trust means no sale.

Like banks. It’s just not us, its just us and them. And its gone wrong. Unsociable. Maybe we need something better. A social, community bank…

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Paying for the things you want in the blink of an eye. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? You don’t sign, or PIN, or even touch. But who’s to say its you buying? How NFC back-end fraud detection must get smart!

You see, this speed carries one big penalty. Security. Not for the device, for you. The transaction is now so fast, it can’t be fraud-checked conventionally.

“Contactless” means just that. No contact from either side – counter or customer. There’ll be no alerts, no chance to stop a fraudster. Or is there?

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No, it’s not the latest story about National Australia Bank’s recent system woes. This is something just as radical, but far more positive.

NAB has split from the other main street banks to embrace the social web in style. They’ve suddenly discovered Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and viral marketing. It had to come, but who'd have thought NAB?

Maybe it was a realisation that NAB’s professional reputation was in tatters, maybe just a change of marketing agency. Either way, NAB’s changed course. And its a course that could change the face of Australian banking.

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I was an NCR IT field engineer. Every day, my boss would hand out repair tickets. These told us what IT system problems we had to sort out that day.

too busy to help you - stop worrying me. One guy had this trick. He’d keep all his old tickets. When the boss came to him, he’d draw in breath and shuffle the tickets, looking like he had a lot on.

The boss never gave the guy the urgent jobs. He’d just take the tickets he liked. He must have taught a lot of people that trick. I see them everywhere.

Keepers of the process, the emperors of the end office. The checkpoint Charlies.

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You know, for me, the most frustrating thing in the world has got to be hindsight. And coming up with that great question or comment too late.

People will talk - its what makes us - well, us.

I’ve just attended the Manchester 2011 Information Security Leaders seminar. Inevitably, discussion turned to Facebook use in the office.

Part of the event was an open-mike panel featuring some of the great and the good of the security industry and a couple of leading industry security figures. And Facebook made them nervous.

Afterwards, the question I wished I’d had the forethought to ask came to me…

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I can’t believe how fast this technology is developing. Everyone seems to be at it. Mobile is big and NFC seems to be flavour of 2011.

NFC- fastest way to empty your wallet so far. NFC uses your mobile phone to part you from your hard-earned money instantly. You don’t have to touch, key in or sign anything. Just wave your phone about.

Well, I say you – but what I really mean is it doesn’t necessarily have to be you, just anyone who happens to have your phone.

And I’m really, really not happy about that.

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The Internet and freedom. Two words we always believed couldn’t be separated. Recent events have shown otherwise. How The Internet has replaced the pen as tyranny's great adversary

Now this isn’t a commentary about the rights and wrongs of the Egyptian unrest. This is about freedom and our right to unhindered expression.

Egypt’s demonstrated that regimes can just turn off dissent at the flick of a switch. Could we suffer the same fate in our increasingly Orwellian society?

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Oh, how we would all love a new bank. A bank that did everything right. Perfect. Sorry, you’re dreaming. That’s not going to happen. we may not see a new bank, but we can string them along... The current banks operate a virtual cartel, effectively shutting out any new player. Now while the boutique banks may focus on specific products and find a niche, Chances of a new NatWest or Barclays appearing are small.

But there is a way to get a better deal. We just need to leverage the old deal…

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What a pity violent student riots took the spotlight away from real people power. Maybe we will yet see the Government shamed into action. vodafone too big to pay taxes?

While many at the lower end of the earnings spectrum are genuinely suffering, banks and big corporates seem to have been granted some financial immunity.

In fact it beggars belief…

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I feel I may soon know how the guy felt when he suggested the world wasn’t flat. I’m no where near as visionary – but I may get vilified all the same… When technology doesn't mirror life - why Internet security is wrong. Imagine this scene… You walk into a retailer – any retailer – with a stolen wallet. You pick a range of expensive goods. As long as you have the PIN or the cash, you can take away whatever you want, unchallenged.

No checks, no ID, no second glance. Now, let’s go online…

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Funny how a thought can randomly pop into your head for no apparent reason. Office networks. Why should I be worrying about that? Could the Cloud slow us down? The thing that was nagging me was this. As we begin to take up Cloud services, could we be slowing down others working locally?

I mean by that local network users – anyone using printers, collaborating together or sharing networked data.

OK – if you aren’t into network optimization, stop reading now. But if you are…

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Asus puzzled me. Great tech, but somehow it misread current consumer trends. Finally here’s something that may hit the mark.

Wait – put that credit card away. Don’t get too excited just yet. Both the Asus ePad Transformer and Slider are still at the mock-up stage.

But as Android devices, they’ve had the courage to break ranks with the rest of Microsoft’s serfdom and could have a hit on their hands.

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Its funny how we can sometimes be carried along by the current without realising. Following the innovation bandwagon, for instance. change is a constant, not a deliberate action! Every businessman knows they must constantly innovate to compete and survive. We shouldn’t get hung up on that word. People can either innovate or they can’t. Innovation isn’t a measurable action, its a mindset.

Every day, I read the endless diatribes about why we can’t innovate here or there. Listen to these coffee-shop philosophers and you’ll want to give up and go home. Hold on though. I think they’ve got it all wrong. Fundamentally wrong…

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Another snowy morning. Another day’s news of travel woes and broken services. Wasn’t this supposed to be the age of technology?

technology seems forgotten as snow falls...

Looking around my neighbourhood, middle-management cars struggle past on route to some distant office to connect to some services located somewhere else. They’ll sit at their desk to phone customers who again, will be somewhere else. Noticed the common thread here?

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