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…

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?

I stopped at my local Marks & Spencer Food, I just fancied one of their £10 deals. Spotted a guy I used to know. He’d managed the IT department for a large utility. Noticed he was wearing an apron. He was stacking shelves. Do we value what life has taught us or simply start over?

Then I suddenly shivered. Have I seen my future. Is this my next big career move. Is this what a lifetime’s technology strategy has in store for people like me?

Where will all that knowledge go, if its not passed on, how can we move forward. Will the new me never get the chance to learn from my experience?

When talk turns to the Cloud, the hot ticket currently is the location of information. Security’s no longer the biggest concern, its where data is stored which is key.

Maybe the future lies in clouds for the cloud itself – local skyline storage clouds… could this be the future of the compliant cloud? Local Skyline Storage

Cloud players like SalesForce and IBM are looking to their own national storage, but its expensive and inefficient. So why not use a storage Cloud for it?

This question never seems to go away. When is a freedom fighter not a terrorist? Well, the answer of course depends on your perspective. Do they have a right to tell us and who has the right to stop them?

And nothing is crystallising global social opinion more than the WikiLeaks battle. But its only when we look beyond this that we see the real battle lines.

Think hard before deciding. Because what is being done is done in your name.

Have you noticed how TV media is featuring a lot of web-style graphics recently?

I guess with the closely-tied relationship between web and TV content designers, we shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the web is becoming …beautiful. Noticed how beautiful the web is getting?

No, our web designers haven’t suddenly become more artistic or talented, they’ve just found new tools. But corporate designers are way, way behind…

It doesn’t look like National Australia Bank’s woes are going away any time soon. Conflicting stories emerging from CEO Cameron Clyne’s office sure isn’t helping. Time for NAB to get their story straight... First reports suggested that an upgrade failure took down all the Bank’s systems. But as the dust settles, a rather different picture is emerging.

NAB’s prolonged outage initially attributed to a glitch may have been deliberate. If its true, then NAB’s troubles are far from over. They may only be beginning…

In fact, not a good weekend and probably this week won’t be a whole lot better. Australia’s biggest bank is still off-line after a routine upgrade went wrong.

NAB bank's technology woes continue...

While the other banks may laugh behind closed doors about NAB’s misfortunes, truth is, its a case of There but for the Grace of God goes I.

Our eyesight. Its the most developed, critical and relied on of all human senses. And probably why we make such beautiful things.

Basically, we like what we see. Or rather we tend to buy what we like the look of. How about web browsers?

experienec how the web can look, with Google's Chrome...

Given a choice, few would go for a conventional TV over a flat screen HD beauty. The quality, colour depth and sheer pleasure it is to watch is amazing.

Contrast this to web browsers, which don’t cost thousands, they’re actually free. So why don’t we go for the best there is?

I guess every executive’s PA must be starting to think about it at this time of year.What do I get my boss for his secret Santa?

The tie and cuff links won’t do. So last year. The colour-coordinated boxer shorts?Well, no. That suggests you know a bit too much about him.

So what on Earth do you get the kind of man who’s got everything – and who’s corporate-raided everything else?

for the exec who has everything - everything on a stick.

Well, everything on a stick of course. The Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go Executive. Cool. Very cool!

Available in 8 to 64Gb with a rapid 200x write-rate. But he won’t understand that.Just tell him its real stainless steel. Did I mention it was cool?

I spotted a group of excited ladies leaving a local bridal shop a few evenings ago. It had me thinking. No, not about getting married. About retail planning.

Congleton - a typical Cheshire town and the home of LANZen strategy!

My town has four bridal shops. But just how many shops does one town need?

Footfall’s too weak a metric. it doesn’t consider a shop’s purpose and utilisation. Nor does it explain why some high streets can sustain so many takeaways.

Time to think about what people do rather than simply where they walk

I guess most people today now realise how important it is to have a good web presence. That’s fine, but what if you don’t have any web design skills, don’t want to spend a couple of grand and find Twitter, well a bit limiting?

This could be for you. It’s called posterous and it’s the answer to your prayers.

when you havn't got a blog - you've got posterous!

There’s no need to write a lot more about this. Its pretty much self-explanatory. The site’s designed well and easy to use. Go for it!

Two UK boutique Internet marketing companies have announced they’re hooking up. GetUpdated, parent of Just Search, has just signed a letter of intent to acquire video content company Wooshii.

Wooshii acts as an on-line go-between for video makers to reach their target customers. Just Search provides Search Engine Optimisation services.

Internet Video is big business with Smartphones gaining better browsers, tablet devices appearing and TV companies looking to on-line to push their content. By grabbing the up and coming Wooshii and linking it up with Just Search, Getupdated have positioned themselves well to catch this expanding market.

Wooshii’s Fergus Dyer-Smith sees the move providing

…the marketing leverage needed for a broad commercialization of our unique video expertise and services.

Sometimes I despair at the appalling state of the UK’s broadband services. It’s truly horrific.

Here is an ex-state monopoly supposedly “competing” with a number of other providers, but what the public is actually getting is simply a re-badged service provided by BT.

The BT infrastructure is antiquated and decaying, virtually on its knees from years of under investment, yet being milked dry by greedy BT accountants.

UK customers in the meantime are being sold services by unscrupulous suppliers who’ve probably never been near a phone exchange, let alone have any network of their own.

But let’s just put the subject of BT’s steam-powered infrastructure to one side for a moment, I’m worried that BT may well be tilting the tables even more in their favour.

Imagine this. You own the exchange where all your competitor’s connections are housed. Who would know if you simply unplugged them for say, two minutes every now and then?

BT’s service wouldn’t have to be that good if the competition’s kept going off line, would it?

Have you ever had to take a drive through the ruins of the UK’s great shipbuilding areas? Those once proud, thriving centres of excellence where skills were developed and honed. These ships set the standards of a great trading nation.

These places saw skills pass from fathers to sons, each generation contributing their own evolutionary change to age-old methods. Places where quality created value.

Those skills are gone forever. Lost in the vortex of a lowest common denominator market. These places should teach us a lesson about off-shoring.

Once the eco-system supporting a skills base is lost, its gone for ever, never to be re-built. Something we should think about when we use words like “sustainable”.

But there are more lessons to be learnt from all this…

Sad to see Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie leave the company this month. Ozzie created Lotus Notes, then Groove, which Microsoft bought out.

Ozzie was one of the good guys. Highly talented, well respected and Cloud orientated. Uniquely capable of filling the vacuum left by Bill Gates’ departure.

I doubt there is anyone following trends today who doesn’t accept the Cloud as our future. Nor who doesn’t realise that the restrictive and expensive desktop’s days are numbered. Anyone but Microsoft, that is.

I can imagine the frustration he felt as he battled against the cash-cow culture prevailing in Microsoft and its obsession with extracting every last penny from its customer base.

Ozzie was a Cloud visionary and tried to steer the desktop-obsessed Microsoft that way. Does this mean that Microsoft’s recent “we love the Cloud” stance is discredited?

Well, here’s my two-cent’s worth…

Have you ever been caught short?

I guess we’ve all had a moment like that sometime. Whether it was finding ourselves short of cash for some unexpected expanse or just needing to find a toilet. Fast.

Two entirely different situations, yet they both share the same need to be resolved quickly. This is the whole point about services. And that’s value – the value they are to you.

Like buying a bottle of wine at your local shop, finding you’ve no cash and being charged a fee for using your card. Or the 50p charge for using a public toilet, when its free at home. That’s what I mean by value to you at the time.

Imagine a friend loaning you £50 to pay an unexpected bill. You’d pay them back – and may be give them a £12 bottle of Scotch for helping you out. That’s appreciating the value.

I wrote about Wonga when it first launched and got a lot of abuse for endorsing a product with such a high interest rate. But it seems that I wasn’t the only one who saw the value. Wonga’s just won a string of awards, like a Webby for their website and for their service.

Wonga are a great bunch of guys as well – So well done and good luck for the future!

A cryptic question for you. When’s a webpage not a webpage, or a browser not a browser? The answer of course is when its not doing its job properly.

The web’s big thing is that it began standards-driven and is constantly refined over time. Whatever you want to code, there’s a right way to do it. If you don’t stick to this, that’s OK. But don’t expect anyone to read your content or use your browser.

HTML as a markup language does its job pretty well. Everything works as it was intended, which considering how much is there and how long its been going is amazing, really.

Sometimes someone comes along and for whatever reason, decide to do their own thing. But world domination aspirations apart, Whatever you view and wherever you view it on, you’ll see what the author intended you to see.

Microsoft screwed everything up with Internet Explorer. It used unbelievably sloppy coding. But they finally fixed it and with Version 8, its not too bad. But then along comes Opera.

So how does Opera manage to get everything so wrong?

Sitting on my desk I have a wide-screen, 24-inch monitor. Good for you. I can hear you say. Stick with me on this one. there’s a point to me telling you this.

My web statistics show that 90% of visitors are using 1200×800 resolutions as a minimum. Tablets like Apple’s iPad have similar broad screen landscapes.

But that’s only half the story. Lots of my visitors use SmartPhones, like iPhone or Android. Resolutions for these is similar, but they use a sliding window.

Web design follows user hardware, that’s why most sites used an 800×600 screen canvas. This layout is now less common as we move to wider displays.

A website’s real estate has a value, which roughly follows the page layout of a newspaper. What you see first is premium, what you have to scroll around to, less so.

So to keep visitors happy, how big should a website be. Just how big is your world?

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