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…

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.

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?

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…

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?

Its funny how tech just sneaks up on you. You saw all those people wandering around like a mobile version of the John Lewis electronics section and thought to yourself “Not me”.

Yeah, right!

Then one day you get a PC. And a phone. Next, you upgrade the PC and that iPhone or the latest Android’s looking good. And netbooks are pretty cool. Suddenly, you’re a techy.

Welcome, my friend. To the machine.

Everything goes well until you begin to create data on this stuff. A document on your PC, email attachment on your smartphone or that spreadsheet from accounts on your laptop. Now you’re in trouble.

Well, I’ve found just the thing for you…

Companies are cutting IT expertise and looking to savagely trim-back infrastructure costs. And virtualisation, with its promise of lower hardware costs is usually the weapon of choice. However, could all this paring back taking us closer to a serious security breach?

Well, IBM certainly thinks so. And I agree. Given that “you can’t attack what you can’t see”, PC-based servers flash like a tart on a drinking binge.

They all use Intel’s ubiquitous x86 processor or the AMD variant, but this cheap, one size fits all solution is weak and wide open to attack, unlike its bigger cousins.

IBM warns against virtualisation for any system holding critical regulatory compliant data. Especially virtualised Intel x86-based systems used in PCI DSS environments…

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