I don’t normally do this….but

Someone reminded me it’s Christmas in just  10 weeks….again. And the retailers have started their stocking of the shelves and offers are starting to appear. Also today my Facebook page reminded me that last year a local A Capella group released a video for Christmas. I watched it again and it was still as good as last year, and I wanted to see how many of you would watch it on YouTube. See what you think click here.

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I like the video clip…..

Every day we are all bombarded with marketing clips and then one comes along that catches your attention….in this case for me it’s an SAP one. My view is that this is slick and good marketing……doesn’t tell you that much but works exceptionally well as a teaser, and does what it says on the tin. It gets you thinking.

Click here.

A Celebrity and technology…..

There’s a great article by Gryff Ryhs Jones around taking care of your passport in the Telegraph. His concluding remarks suggest that like Pets we humans should also get “chips” because it would do away with passports, streamlining entry to countries. Perhaps a throwaway remark…..but it got me thinking.

Actually a chip could mean nothing at all, it could be replaced and it could of course be used to track you in many ways. But the solution of course would be to have the chip linked to something physical, and actually why not 3 factor authentication?

A physical object – the chip.

A secret known to the governments only built into the chip – probably an encryption key.

A biometric link of some sort stored on the chip.

It all seems entirely practical to me, but I can hear the civil liberties people chanting from the sidelines, but like Gryff if it was entirely voluntary then why not? If it saved me hours in airline queues, meant that I could get faster access at numerous events and activities that neede to identify you then so be it. Yes, the governments could “snoop” on me, but with nothing to hide what’s the concern?

Retiring is sort of stressful……

The story goes…..it will be so relaxing when you retire.

It’s very early in my attempts to retire so maybe it’s just me, but so far I’ve not noticed this. More it’s a transformation. A move from paid for work to unpaid for work. One of my ex -work colleagues who is about to retire is using the phrase “Taking back control”  to describe this transformation. Unlike the politicians, I think he has hit the nail on the head.

There still has to be a plan, there still has to be financial records and controls, and execution is still key. And there still has to be work….it’s just different and more of what you want to do, rather than the dictatorial direction of the people at the top. But it’s still there….just work you want to do.

Never having been a business owner, I guess it’s a bit like that…….but my customer base is somewhat limited in comparison, just family and friends.

My journey has started, it will I guess never be complete until it is. I’ll still do a bit of SAP related things whilst people want me to, and it doesn’t impact my retirement because that is now the number 1 gig in town.

 

 

Along comes iOS 11 and digital obsolescence……

There is a story on the BBC technology website today that indicates that the new iOS 11 imminent on your Apple devices will “kill” any old and unsupported apps. All of which got me thinking of digital obsolescence, a common and faster occurring phenomenon. All of us can recount items that have either disappeared or reduced to rare. Film vs digital, vinyl records vs cassette tape vs CD vs memory chip vs streaming, and so it goes on. But applications based on the Apple definition are those that were built and sold just 2 years ago.

Now the technical aware  will say – it’s not Apple its the hardware that is driving this change by adopting 64 bit based solutions vs 32 bit solutions. But actually 64 Bit is generating the environment for Apps to do more, faster and most importantly more potential for “big” memory. So who is driving what? Apps or hardware? Answer neither. It’s the consumer demanding more and more capability, and for things that were never possible before.

We talk “big data”, but for me “big memory” is more of the key that unlocks the doors of possibility.

Regardless of all this – losing some of my familiar and well loved Apps is still going to be a pain, but likely short lived.

STOP PRESS: Beware iOS 11 if you use Office 365 ……..there is serious bug with it. It’s being worked at the moment but companies advising staff to not update to 11 until it is fixed.

 

So exactly what is safe these days?

There’s a story in the Register that talks about a risk in SAP’s point of sale software. Even the biggest software suppliers are falling victims to flaws and exploits – so what can you do to lessen the risks in this dangerous digital world? The first thing to say is that things are as safe as the way you behave. Think of this as a war. You need to construct your defence, so think like a castle. You should have a layered defence, moats, walls, gates that you open and control who comes in, and you keep the crown jewels safe in the keep at the centre.

So think firewalls, think patches of each of your layers, and for your PII data think only expose what needs to be available on a need to know basis. And this is a never ending activity….because as fast as you build up your fortifications, someone somewhere will be digging that tunnel or designing that battering ram.

So keep up to date, stay vigilant and never, never become complacent.

There are a 100 days until the General election in the UK……..

As the political parties start their campaigns in earnest what is probably the most unpredictable Election campaign in the history of the UK is just 100 days away. In the last election, 5 years ago, Social Media had just started and the first iPhones and iPads were in use.

So how will technology be used in this election? Well without doubt it will be a mainstay of the political parties attempts to bombard each and every one of us with “facts” designed to steer us one way or another, but it seems to me that in this era of “Apps” we are missing one that allows us to filter the huge amounts of data out there. There are multiple organisations offering us ways of compare providers of insurance, energy etc. So why can’t we have a an independent provider to give us “comparethepoliticalparty.com” or “politicians4u”?

All the data exists – such as the number of times they have attended parliament, how often they have voted, what they have voted for, what expenses they have claimed, what real-life experience other than politics they have. For parties we could have economic performance, tax rates, education performance, health service stats, crime stats and so on.

And with bio-metrics in passports and driving licences, and smartphones with contactless payment, as well as debit cards, why do we use bits of paper to vote still?

It all seems rather strange that this area is still behaving like this but perhaps this is a reflection of the politicians themselves, still living in a time long past and within an environment that is rapidly being bypassed by the social media. Politicians are losing their power through the power of mass independent campaigns initiated simply and easily by like-minded individuals.

So perhaps technology is actually bringing the power back to the people and traditional politicians are under threat like never before. Let’s hope that we can actually filter the facts and hence truth from the mass of “data”.

We shall see in 100 days time.