Funny. I’ve always had a kind of uneasy feeling about Adobe’s Flash. Maybe because I saw it as some strange black art practised by weird geeks in back rooms. Flash never felt right, somehow.

Seems my unease about it was justified. Adobe’s just said it’s pulling the plug on part of its giant Flash product portfolio.

Only their Flash Mobile product, that is. Now you might say, so what? But this move suggests a more seismic event to follow.

With Adobe now working on the technology to replace Flash Mobile, desktop Flash will soon find itself the next in line product for the axe. But why’s that such a big deal. After all, technology changes regularly. Why worry about Flash?

Flash has long been king of Animation City. But Flash is a proprietary product you had to buy to use. Its not the agonising death of another corporate cash-cow that is bothering me. It is what will take its place. And that’s HTML5/CSS3. Which few really know much about.

We could see a real slow-down in site development as people try to get up to speed. That’s not occurred before and it comes now, when the Internet is seeing its fastest growth.

But this isn’t all doom and gloom. HTML5/CSS3 has great potential, such as search engine-friendly sites which can actually be updated – once we decide on the final video format, that is…

Don’t go for Flash – but don’t expect cheap HTML5/CSS animation. Because no one’s found the HTML5/CSS3 can opener yet!

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How dare I question. What right do I have. If I know so much, I should start a bank! What had I done – collapsed the economy, started a bank run or something?

No. This stream of vitriol was for suggesting, “maybe people like bank branches.”

Earlier that day, MovenBank’s Brett King gave me his view about bank branches, having read my piece about the psychology of financial services buying.

We hadn’t agreed, but valuing his view, I printed it. People should have both sides. But by arguing, I’d upset someone. And the smelly stuff hit the proverbial…

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Autumn 2011 has been a really interesting time for banking. I mean new banking, not that tired old high street of ours.

MovenBank’s appeared, Zopa’s broken more records, Wonga’s won more awards and a new social P2P player’s launching, CivilisedMoney.

It generated quite a lot of Twitter traffic with people on digital banking’s front-line, like banking innovators, Darren G and Aden Davies. And raised one key question.

Online or on high street – can a click ever replace a footstep?

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You know, no matter how much you explain, some people never manage to get it. Take Wonga and the thorny question of APR, for example. Wonga - the acceptable face of credit. Now I’m not going into compound interest’s mysteries and related technobabble. Let’s just look at the reality of how life is and take it from there.

Before the crash, we trusted banks and most of us funded our lifestyles with credit. Nowadays, most people are recovering from first-degree finger burns and avoid credit like gasoline on bonfire night.

But life still bites. You still get unexpected bills that threaten the next meal’s arrival. And if that happens – and you’re smart – you’ll appreciate Wonga…

Here’s a question for you. Imagine all four banks merging. What would we lose? OK – so they wouldn’t share one trough – and no one makes one that big. four brands - yet nothing to choose between any of them. Are we being served?

If our high street merged, what would you take from each to form one super bank? I’ll leave you for a minute to have a think about that one.

For all banking’s “talent” and money, why so little to choose between each one? Why can’t we find a killer product or even one differentiator?

How can this be – in other sectors key differences exist. Why not in banking?

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I worry about web design. We’ve always catered for the lowest available platform. Designing for people who don’t know, or just don’t care about the Web. beautiful themes like Shelf from YooTheme push the boundaries of what's possible. Should all sites be this good?

I mean, there are some great web browsers – and they’re all free, for Pete’s sake. Gaming calls for the latest technology. People happily buy that, don’t they?

But for some reason, we have to placate the stupid and design sites like its 1999. Web designers are told that they must maintain full compatibility with everything. Not just for browsers maybe a version behind, but stuff from another age.

Well, I think it’s time we ask the question. Should we push or just follow?

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Ever stopped for a moment to consider exactly what is banking really all about? Could a lawn mower be the key to change?Could  a mower teach our failing banks a valuable lesson? Not any old lawn mower. But Bosch lawn mowers – and how they came about. Because this is about re-invention at a very dark time. A time not unlike now.

About how a company faced with a collapsing market found the vision to change. Emerging stronger and able to cope with an even greater challenge to follow.

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How Standard & Poor really decided US financial policy

Once upon a time, we thought US financial policy was decided democratically. That concept was blown away like a dollar bill in Hurricane Katrina.

The US government in reality is no more than some crude Punch & Judy show, the strings being pulled by a financial Mafia run by Wall Street and its lobbyists. Everything neatly stage-managed by a company called Standard & Poor.

Standard & Poor was perceived as the US financial world’s steadying influence. The trusted hand deciding the efficacy of decisions taken on Wall Street.

The banking crash revealed a startling fallibility – but was that the real story?

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They must have made us buy millions of wallets. I’m talking about plastic cards. They became an obsession – even something we collected. What's in your wallet - a lot less plastic, these days... Colourful, pictorial, themed, silver, gold, platinum, even black. We had them all. Pushed by banks and card companies desperate to part us from whatever cash the Government hadn’t taxed us on, we let them cause our own credit crunch.

But finally, the tide is turning. Its not just consumers who are abandoning them. The banks can’t wait to get rid of their dried up cash-cow too.

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The inner groans from social psychologists must have been deafening recently. Politicians calling for a messaging platform ban during unrest – really? The politicians don't like people talking when it can't be controlled, do they? A typical reaction, of course. Look for something to blame. A technical scapegoat. But wait, there’s another network that gets people together. Public Transport. Maybe we should we ban that too?

No, of course not. transport is a central part of our social infrastructure, neutral. But no question. Social media was at the heart of the riots. So, is it really evil?

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This is one of those flights of wonder moments. An idea that came out of the blue. What I’d like you to think about is – what places us apart from other animals? Why doing something for no reason defines us as real people... Sounds easy at first. Is it our use of tools, how smart we are – even our reasoning. But those aren’t definitions, they’re just more shades of the same colours.

Every animal will have those qualities to some extent, some smarter than others. Just what is it we have that animals really don’t – and what should we value?

Just think about it – It might just make you look at people differently…

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How come most companies think having PowerPoint more important than CRM? CRM comes last, after email, office productivity and accounting. Salesforce is great, but here's something that will get you similar beneifits right away, too... Everybody knows, we’re told often enough, that looking after customers is vital. But as a process, many companies don’t see it as that important.

In fact, most companies don’t think about managing the relationship with their customers until something goes wrong and they find they can’t.

Ironic, really. When you consider that CRM will start to deliver benefits instantly, the moment you roll it out to your users. Let’s take a look…

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Just a few months ago, I had high hopes for what Tesco bank might achieve. Even with Fred Goodwin fan-boy Benny Higgins in charge. How a new bank deals with customers will make or break it. Tesco seems badly broken. But the recent prolonged outage for so many customers has been handled badly. And Benny Higgins has shown his old-school banking colours.

Given the opportunity to show strength and courage, he chose to make excuses. Instead of holding his hands up, he chose mitigation.

Every new venture has a wobble. He could have shone, but he blew his chance. Not only does Tesco have the wrong boss, it has the wrong staff. Here’s why…

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If you wanted to take on the big boys, you maybe wouldn’t choose 2011 to do it. Fortunately GiffGaff thinks differently. They think differently about a lot of things.

GiffGaff doesn’t sell phones – or take your soul for two years for the privilege. GiffGaff doesn’t sell you network access and penalise you when you use it.

GiffGaff’s all about a mobile SIM – and a great package. But there’s a lot more…

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OK, regular readers will know I’m not buying the hype around SmartPhone NFC. This is for a number of reasons and none of which are about it being new. for NFC mobile payments to work, it must reach all it market... and it won't. I’ve talked about security, why quick isn’t a good reason, but that’s not everything. The real show-stopper to me is market reach. NFC just won’t fit the market.

Every other payment system before NFC reached its market cheaply and quickly. Now I’m going to show just how far NFC will fall short. Time to wake up…

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Can anyone tell me what message RBS is using for its current media campaign? Sure, NatWest’s you may know, but what about RBS? RBS - will the Royal Bank of Scotland brand disappear - and would will replace it?

Although owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest isn’t as hated as its parent. Strange, because really NatWest’s no better – some may even say its worse.

I’d like to talk a little about NatWest, but lets concentrate first on RBS as a brand. What can be done with a brand so damaged it’s lost the trust of its market?

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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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Everyone knows how good the iPad is to use. Its made reading stuff cool again. But what about when you have something to write about? Got something to say? iBuildApp is a new self-publishing platform for the iPad.. There’s now a great way to use your iPad to promote yourself or your company. Let me tell you about a publishing platform called iBuildApp.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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As a bank marketing slogan, the co-operative’s good with money is pretty good. Just a pity then that the rest of the bank’s processes don’t match. good with money - bad with everything else Because behind the ethical façade this member-owned group strives to portray, lies a dark, Dickensian approach to those it does business with.

Here are three disturbing examples – from the inefficient to downright destructive – that soil the fluffy image it would prefer us to associate with it…

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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…

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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