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…

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…

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…

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…

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.

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?

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?

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…

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.

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?

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…

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?

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.

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.

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…

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.

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?

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…

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…

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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