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Top 5 Movies: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010 0

Every year it seems, my good friend Dave asks me to name my Top 5 Films of the year and every year I struggle to name them as I try to recall what I’ve seen throughout the year.  Often times I seem to remember films from the year before rather than the year in which I should be selecting from.

 

This year, I’ve done my homework and I’ve selected carefully my choices for 2010 and I’ve decided for the first year running to name them here on my blog (well, it is the time of the year for top 5 lists).

 

I don’t want to write too much about them, and I certainly don’t want to spoil them for anyone who hasn’t seen them, so what is included here is a very quick analysis without spoilers (hopefully).

 

There were many great films this year that could have easily made my list, but for one reason or another never quite made it to the ‘Top 5’.  Films such as “Toy Story 3”, which I missed at the cinema, “Iron Man 2”, “Kick Ass”, “Due Date”, and a few more.  There are also a number of films that left me deeply disappointed in what I was watching up there on the silver screen; “Salt” and “Skyline” instantly coming to mind. 

 

But this isn’t about bad films, this is about my “Top 5”, so without further ado, here’s my list….

 

Number 5: The Blind Side

 

My expectations were completely lowered before I walked into the cinema to see this film, I’d only heard that Sandra Bullock had put in a stunning performance and was being touted for awards but I wasn’t really buying into that – after all, just how good could another ‘sports movie’, especially one based around American Football, be?

 

What was delivered was an emotional rollercoaster of a film.  A collection of highs and lows, funny moments and touching storyline.  Bullock played it brilliantly and an amazing movie was delivered.

 

Number 4: Love And Other Drugs

 

A late addition to my list, as I only saw it yesterday.  I knew nothing about this movie but I was assured by Mr G that it was one to watch – and I was happy to go along for the ride.

 

What an amazing film!  Anne Hathaway gets her kit off more times than I could count, but that’s not what this movie is about at all – there is so much more in there, with many, many messages and moral questions. 

 

This movie could easily have been much closer to my number 1 movie of the year but for the release date – it certainly was a late contender, but this should certainly not go against this film.

 

Number 3: Get Him To The Greek

 

“The Hangover” of 2010 – and Russell Brand’s first lead movie role.  I blogged about this film it shortly after seeing it (Link).  Brand played himself perfectly – much as we expected from such an already colourful character as Rusty Rockets, but I did wonder where his next role would come from?

 

That’s a different question to be answered on a different day though – “Get Him To The Greek” provided a comic relief from start to finish.  I for one enjoyed it.

 

Number 2: The Social Network

 

We all knew that the rise of the geeks was coming; and that rise has finally transferred to film.  It may not have been 100% correct throughout and as Sarah Lacy so classically pointed out, ‘not all girls in Silicon Valley lounge around in their red Sanford panties all day’ – but look beyond that and the movie as a whole told an interesting story of battle of control of what could be the Internet’s hottest property right now.

 

It was great to see some – albeit fictional – life breathed into the characters and people I read about daily on the TechCrunch blog and the players within the industry.  I hope to see more movies based around the rise of the geeks; I’m sure Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others have remarkable stories to tell that would transfer just as brilliantly to film given a talented writer such as Sorkin.

 

Number 1: Inception

 

The hype around this film at the time of release was like nothing I’d ever seen before – especially on Twitter.  With hype however usually comes disappointment closely behind – that and the added rumour of complexity within the film, I entered the cinema ready to focus and to be ultimately disappointed.

 

Gladly, neither of these things happened; the complexity wasn’t nearly as great as was made out (perhaps because “The Matrix” had already done so much work before this film to prepare the viewer for dealing with alternative realities within realities), and the expectation of disappointment resulted in me enjoying this film far more than I probably would have otherwise.

 

I absolutely adored the ending and selection of such a solid, unbreakable, analogue, simple spinning top used as the ‘constant’, symbolising so much within this film. 

 

When I left the cinema after seeing this movie, I returned to my car and sat there for around 10 to 15 minutes thinking more about it as the world passed by my windscreen.  I don’t know what grabbed me so much in this movie, but I just had to make it my number 1 of 2010.

 

 

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Discussing my list with Mr G, there was one movie that I was hoping to include in my ‘Top 5’, but was told I wasn’t allowed to because it wasn’t actually a true 2010 film. 

 

Yet, this film is a childhood favourite, a cult classic and in my opinion deserving to be in ‘Top Movie’ lists everywhere; but alas not in a 2010 top 5 – that film; “Back To The Future”.

 

Re-released to mark the 25th Anniversary of its release, it was an absolute treat to watch it on the big screen as it was intended to be.  I knew every line, I knew every twist of the story, yet somehow up on the big screen it seemed to be still as fresh and exciting and watchable as ever. 

 

I’m hoping for more cinematic delights in 2011 and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

My Top 5 In Tech: 2010

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Last year I wrote my top 5 in tech on this very blog, for those who have forgotten the contents, here they are again:

  1. HP Pavillion Tablet
  2. Twitter
  3. Palm Pre
  4. Panasonic Lumix G1
  5. Microsoft Windows 7

I still stand very much behind that list, especially Windows 7, which if you’ve been reading any of my more recent entries just seems to get better and better the more I discover new, slightly hidden features that I long should have known about. Only my HP Pavillion hasn’t made it onto my list this year, unfortunately as predicted the device failed and I replaced it with a fine Sony Vaio laptop which has taken its place rather well – it did mean that my dip into the world of tablets was short lived and I’ve not seeked out a replacement device despite the flood of tablet computers in the latter half of this year.

Anyway, enough of the past of 2009, this blog is all about the past of 2010 – this year in reverse chronological order, onwards…


NUMBER 5: XBox 360

I’m very late to this party, the XBox 360 has been out for quite some time, but despite being tempted a few times, I never quite made the decision to purchase one. However, when I needed a Microsoft Media Centre Extender device and the added lure of “Halo: Reach” (a game title I fell in love with when the original XBox came out), the timing was just right.

Its a delightful device and something that does everything which is expected of it for a very reasonable price tag (especially when compared to the costs of said Media Centre Extender device, which obviously doesn’t include a games console). The games are as with every console hit or miss depending on your tastes – but the work Microsoft have put into the device itself is outstanding.

The XBox Live Membership system is an absolute stroke of genius, which brings a vast array of content directly onto the device as well as allowing games to network – it reminds me so much of “The Future Is Now” speech within the oft under rated “Cable Guy” movie:


The Kinect has obviously breathed further life into the XBox 360 this Christmas and whilst I don’t intend to purchase one (at least not just yet), Bill Gates desire to move technology from controller and touchy feely to one that reacts to the users very movements and desires has been realised and is a technology that will only grow from here on in – and I have no doubt that Microsoft have all of the patients safely locked up to ensures its future.


NUMBER 4: Streaming Content

On the horizon for 2011 one thing is set to dominate and vie for customers attentions in the living rooms across the land – and its not 3D TV; it is instead Internet Powered Television.

Apple TV has been around for years, but they’ve recently relaunched the product. Not to be outdone, Google have also been developing Google TV. Both products are designed to replace your cable/Sky/Freeview box as your source of television content and mix in a healthy dollop of Internet services (i.e. read “social networking”).

However, looking beyond the devices that sit on your television stands below your flat screen TV and its clear that the Internet is already changing to ready themselves for this burst of Internet content like never before. YouTube has been at it for years of course, but the rise of Netflix in the US for streaming movies, has bankrupt old movie renting media company “Blockbuster”.

I’ve recently discovered and been playing with the streaming abilities of Microsoft Media Centre to watch my content from my Media Centre PC from my laptop when I’m not home.

Even further beyond that, you need to look at the role of the ‘television companies’. Microsoft added an on-demand section to Media Player using its Silverlight technology. The BBC completely re-launched their iPlayer on-demand services and other smaller companies dipped their toe into the water. Arise “TechCrunch TV” – a sister site to the popular TechCrunch blog.

Admittedly its specialist content that is shown on TechCrunch TV (anything related to Web companies and technologies, IPOs and raising money from angel investors, etc), but that’s entirely the point of on-demand Internet TV; the ability to stream the content you as the customer/user wants to watch, when you want to watch it.

I’ve enjoyed many times this year, two of my favourite writers (Paul Carr and Sarah Lacy), present their shows on TechCrunch TV and I’ve admired and been amazed by the quality of this streamed content. There is more of it to come in 2011 and beyond, especially with the push from Apple and Google to bring this tech front and centre into the living room, but I’ve no doubt that others will be creating their own TV streaming companies soon.


NUMBER 3: Angry Birds

Undeniably the craze of 2010 in the world of Tech and beyond (in toy stores and movie production companies back offices), “Angry Birds” has really taken the world by storm this year and that is why it is absolutely impossible not to include it within my Top 5 – that and I’m completely addicted to it.

Keeping it absolutely as simple as possible has been the success of Angry Birds, very much like “Lemmings” (which I often compare it to) or “Worms” before it . Simply fling your birds at those cheeky, annoying well protected green pigs and hope for the best.

What fascinates me more than anything else though is the origins of this annoyingly simple game – the smartphone. The last mobile phone game that this many people played can only have been “Snake”, another annoying simple game bundled into just about every Nokia device that everyone carried in those early mobile phone years.

Can Rovio continue to thrill and excite an already frustrated audience with further iterations of the game in 2011? I think by the latter half of next year the star maybe starting to fade, but that won’t mean you won’t see the game on other platforms and devices or in other guises. Like “Lemmings”, this game is set to be a cult classic for a few more years yet.


NUMBER 2: Squeezebox Radio

What can I say? If I was impressed with the XBox 360’s integration features, the Squeezebox Radio continues that trend and does it just as well, especially as it already plays so nicely with my existing Squeezebox Duet device which I've adored for such a long time now and continues to by my primary music playing device.

But the Squeezebox Radio simply works and is perfect as an accompanying device that sits nicely on my bedside table – but with its simple styling and deliciously easy to use buttons, it could quite easily live in the kitchen, living room or even be moved outside during the summer months (providing its within wireless signal of course).


NUMBER 1: Microsoft Live Mesh

My number one for 2010 may first appear like a strange choice. Its not something that you can touch or feel or in fact really ‘see’, but it does something vastly important and I believe lays the groundwork for the future. If Windows 7 rounded out my list last year, undoubtedly Live Mesh should do so this year.

Live Mesh is a small, yet simple piece of software that Microsoft bundle into its “Live” platform, which includes the Live Messenger, Live Photo Gallery (which is absolutely genius too by the way), Live Writer and a bunch of other goodies. What Mesh does is allows you to pick a folder on your PC or laptop and sync the contents onto a cloud based storage location, accessible anywhere in the world on many devices.

So enchanted I am with what the ‘the Cloud’ has to offer going forward, I wrote a lengthy blog post on the subject here and the more I read about the ‘Microsoft Azure’ platforms and the work and effort that is being poured into making it work, the more I become a believer of the future direction the computer industry is progressing towards.

Live Mesh is the first step towards that. Its already a great product as it stands – the backup, synchronisation and ability to access my content anywhere at any times – a wave, or a small taste if you like, of the future and that’s why its my number 1 of 2010.

Now bring on the future of 2011….

Keep It Simple Microsoft

Sunday, December 5, 2010 0

Microsoft always seem to amaze me when I least expect it.

I purchased Windows 7 as soon as it was released and I’ve been using it ever since, what I didn’t realise at the time though was, despite reading about it many times, that it has features built into it that allows streaming of media across the Internet.

For those not in the know, I’ve recently purchased my first house and its quite some distance to my folk’s house (over 30 miles to be exact). So, when I’m visiting or staying over at the folk’s house, I found that not having access to my music, TV recordings and movies was quite a pain. Finding the options to allow me to stream this media, securely across the Internet was exactly what I wanted to find.

When I found the options I wanted, I was able to set the whole thing up in around 10 minutes. Amazingly simple, but something which then had my thinking, if its so easy to set up and its such a great feature, then why aren’t Microsoft pushing this information down users throats and boasting about what a great benefit this is to those users on the move. It’s a major feature, yet no one really knows about it.

Sure Microsoft have been running some TV advertising on Windows 7 which highlights this feature, but in my opinion it still doesn’t really demonstrate how simple and effective streaming media can be achieved. If I were Microsoft I’d be looking for ways to show off just how powerful Windows 7 really is, especially for non-technical users.

Which brings me onto my next subject nicely; cloud based services.

There is little doubt in my mind that computing is moving to “The Cloud” and Microsoft’s push to create a full cloud based infrastructure is in my opinion a very smart move, especially as they will need to gear up against Google and other computing giants in this next era of computing.

Microsoft already have a number of ‘online properties’, including Hotmail, their Live brands, Bing, etc., but for me the four things that grab my attention the most are, in no particular order; Bing, SkyDrive, Mesh and Azure.

I’ve used SkyDrive for quite sometime; it’s brilliantly simple and allows drag and drop of files from the desktop directly into a storage space accessed anywhere in the world via a browser. It’s secure too, locked up behind your Windows Live ID. People have talked for a long time about the possibility of Google releasing a fantasy product called “GDrive”, to do exactly what SkyDrive does, it’s never happened. Yet not many people are aware of the possibilities SkyDrive actually offers, they are too busy with Facebook and not backing up their files it seems. Microsoft give you 25GB worth of space within your own private SkyDrive and any files or folders stored there can be shared with who ever you want them to be shared with – no FTP required.

Mesh is a direct relation to SkyDrive, only with some intelligence built in. It allows you to select a folder on your desktop and sync any files within that folder directly with an online storage space of 5GB, and then it allows you to sync that 5GB somewhere else (a second PC for example, or your mobile phone or both). Update a file in any of these locations and it updates the file everywhere. After installing the application and logging in with your Windows Live ID, its incredibly easy to set up and operate – simplicity is the key again to this Microsoft service, yet, again, it’s a product that is known very little outside of people who are Microsoft-application aware. I’m totally in love with this product right now, especially as I jump around from multiple PCs and laptops. Knowing my important documents are also securely backed up is an absolute bonus!

Azure is all about the future of Windows; it’s your PC and applications all from within the cloud. Right now the whole thing is geared towards being sold into Enterprise business, but my betting is that as soon as it becomes financially viable and when users mindsets have shifted fully towards the cloud and Windows as the full-fat version we currently know it is finally takes its last few breaths, Azure is there ready to take over. My Microsoft Hero – Mark Russinovich has recently joined the Azure team and that demonstrates to me that Microsoft is deadly serious about making it work. Understanding the full details is a little tricky for the non-techie right now and Azure is still really in its early stages – but its certainly one technology to watch for the future.

As the world has changed from fixed positioned PCs, to laptops, to smart phones and to tablets and other mobile devices; online services are poised to be the most important properties in software. Google realised this a long time ago with ‘Search’ as a product and the aims of its search engine is to find you exactly what you need to know and ship the user off to those websites that have the answer. Bing almost takes the opposite approach; brings ‘Search’ as a product to the user, but also aims to provide the answer from within the site itself using the online services of others. To me a genius approach as its goes a long way towards being a single online application verse a plethora of ‘mobile apps’ that users are currently downloading and installing onto their smart phones. Being a single app in a multi-application world is a stroke of genius, especially when working from a smart phone. Simplicity is key.

All of these items are very real and are available right now; the problem is that only a small percentage of users know about them and its possible that an even smaller percentage of those are actively using these services. It’s my belief that if they did know about this software, Facebook popularity would decrease over night in favour of Windows Live services; Messenger does chat better than Facebook, SkyDrive does photos better than Facebook and does online document storage and collaboration – something that Facebook doesn’t even do, Bing beats Google and a multitude of ‘mobile apps’, Windows Media Centre and streaming is already available and positioned to beat Google and Apple TV, Windows 7 is already an awesome desktop platform to bring all of these items together and its only a matter of time before Windows Phone 7 is also mixed in with these services.

What’s stopping all of this happening then? Two things; people have started to forget about Microsoft; Apple have completely taken centre stage with mobile and media with iTunes. Secondly, and to resolve the first problem, Microsoft need to find a way to get some of that spotlight back and show off its wares in the right way; parading simplicity as “thee” way to modern computing and that their services already do what others are desperately trying to build and achieve right now.

Microsoft always seem to amaze me when I least expect it, lets see if they can amaze me one more time by getting this done.

What’s Next?

Saturday, November 27, 2010 0

So, I’m snowed in today and I’ve been up since early and all I’ve done is watched DVD’s of “The West Wing”.  Whilst I have absolutely no shame in that what so ever (I’ll proudly proclaim that I love “The West Wing” to all), I am feeling slightly restricted today.

 

The reason why?  I want to go out in the snow, armed with my camera and walk around the area I’ve lived in for around two months now – and of which I haven’t looked around and explored yet.

 

But alas I don’t think I can go outside today, for the very simple reason that my waterproof, warm, winter boots are over 30 miles away, leaving me with a pair of summer trainers, my work shoes and a pair of slippers; none of which are suited for the deep snow outside my front door.

 

“The West Wing” it is then.  I’ve just started season two and my pangs for wanting to work in a place where everyone is smart and everyone has a plan and a staff.

 

What’s on my mind then?  I’m sat here thinking about how I can improve process at work and how much change I can influence and how I achieve these things – and every time I think I have a strategy, I realise that I don’t work at the “West Wing” and can implement change as quickly as those characters depicted on my TV.

 

The only thing I think I can get away with right now is updating our company desktop wallpaper – but I’m not sure how I could possibly even justify such a project right now with everything else that’s sat on my desk.

 

What’s the point of this post?  Guess its just to highlight how inefficient my time is being spent and just how far my mind will wander and pine for better things when I watch “The West Wing”. 

 

What’s next?

Ex-Factor

Sunday, October 31, 2010 0

At this time every year, whether I watch or not, my Twitter stream seems to erupt with reality TV comments; the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

The only problem is, its the same tune every year:

  • Who is this joker?
  • Who is voting for them?
  • I can’t believe xx has made it through again!
  • etc, etc…. You’re Fired!

Tonight, my stream is full of X Factor comments and about one particular person; a guy called Wagner.  It seems everyone wants him out, yet he continues to make it through every week.

 

Which really reminds me of the Irish phenomenon that was “Jedward”.  Everyone wanted them out, yet they continued to make it through week after week.  Someone must be voting for these people, which makes the social networking commentary all the more amusing.

 

Me?  I’ve already picked my winner for this year….

 

 

If she doesn’t win this competition, I really hope she hits the big time in another way.  I’d hate to see her cameo on “Celebrity Juice” with Keith Lemon.

 

Five Years Ago.....

Friday, October 29, 2010 0

Five years ago, Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie (the man who replaced Bill Gates at Microsoft), wrote a company wide memo entitled “The Internet Services Disruption” where he laid out the future vision of where he planned to take the direction of the company. This future was a world of cloud computing platform where services and applications could be built and housed.

Fast forward and Ray has finally issued a follow up to his world famous memo, this time entitled “Dawn of a New Day” and this new memo sets the next strategic direction for the company and for the industry as a whole to take the next step towards Ozzie’s vision of the future. The memo makes for interesting reading and really starts to make you think about the computer industry in its current state, how far it’s progressed and where next it will be going – for me it’s inspirational and makes me feel good about what is on the horizon for the future.

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Complexity Kills

As someone who uses technology every day and someone who embraces the Internet, the devices we use to connect to these services and the people behind these things, its easy for me to forget that those who don’t necessarily follow the industry as closely or don’t use this technology every day can sometimes feel like they have been left behind or have no interest in the latest gadget. Its also quite easy to miss what has happened within the industry over the past few years; smart phones have become intuitive and easy to use expanding the market beyond the geekiest of geek and into the pocket of the many, tablet computers have finally made the transition between niche and into mainstream and new online services and applications have become intuitive and instantly useable to the average person.

Yet look beyond this simplicity of the UI and you start to uncover the complexities of just what is going on; a smart, intelligent device filled with a myriad of gadgets and toys (accelerometers, touch screens, sensors, etc), connecting seamlessly to an online and continuous service via a software application such as an app or a highly complex browser using a number of complex algorithms, protocols and add-ons. It really is a mixture and fusion of hardware + software + services.

All of this is much more apparent within the mobile phone market than the PC market right now, but there is no doubt that at least part of the PC market will head in this direction over the next few years. For me this will be the home computing market, the enterprise market in my mind is still a very different beast that needs to be controlled far more carefully due to the requirements for more compliance, increased security, data protection/sensitivity, network environmental factors, etc.

This is not to say the enterprise can’t or won’t follow a similar model, it just has to be adapted especially for this environment and a further level of complexity will be added – this will be no more complexity than most IT teams already have to deal with and most businesses should be able to transition accordingly, but assurances, guarantees and trust all need to be worked out; whether that is a trust between business to business or between the employer and each employee or even both.

Despite the challenges in this area, there will always undoubtedly be a cross-over of technologies and user demand will no doubt drive resolution for these challenges to be overcome. As users begin to use continuous cloud based services in their personal lives, eventually they will come to expect these same services or cross-connectivity with their professional lives – especially if their personal computing requirements are simplified down to intuitive and easy to use software and applications.

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Simplicity Rules

The reason modern devices seem to have simplicity about them is due to the way we interact with them; simply compare the traditional keyboard and mouse with the new touch screens and voice commands. Non-technical users are more likely able to respond to something they can physically reach out and touch and manipulate in a logical way (flicks and pinches), than learn the skills to move around a track pad or a difficult to tame mouse.

The blurring of the boundaries between application and browser is also significant here. Users are no longer afraid of installing applications that simply work out of the box without prompting any difficult questions – but removing the complexity for them, most users don’t realise that the application they are using is simply a cut-down ‘built for purpose’ mini-browser, connecting to a back-end service.

Is it therefore feasible to expect that the modern day browser will continue on a path of dilution for specific needs and requirements rather than an all encompassing entity for every eventuality? Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 may have already anticipated this market by being able to create application specific tabs from within the IE browser that each has their own custom tools or buttons to help navigate through the ‘online application’. In my opinion a single dynamic browser is far more appealing than specific mini-browsers or apps.

For the typical user the browser has become indistinguishable from the continuous service apps they currently use. Some work needs to be done here, but there will certainly be a tipping point at some point in the future as to which way the industry will aim for.

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Post-PC Device

Just as there may be a dilution of the modern day browser or a paradigm shift towards more dynamic web services presented through an all encompassing web browser(s). The discussion then needs to turn towards understanding what a post-PC device might be and how it will function.

The term ‘post-PC device’ first needs answer the question; are we really ready to shift away from a traditional PC onto other devices? In the home, unquestionably the PC has already begin to shift away from the traditional PC with the rise of cheap netbooks, simple to use smart phones, tablet computers and media centres, however in the workplace the PC and laptop still rules.

This mirrors the adoption of cloud based services in people’s home lives and the clinging of traditional server/desktop model and traditional applications within the workplace. Looking into the future, I find it hard to believe that this IT model will significantly change all that much over the next five years, however this will deeply depend on the company and any shift in business.

The cultural effect of the financial downturn has left large companies downsizing and more people possibly ready to take that risk towards setting up their own small businesses; and its these types of small businesses that are likely to jump and adopt these cloud bases services and more dynamic ways of working in a bid to reduce the costs of servers, networks and so on. Larger companies who already enjoy the benefits of having these assets in place are more likely to stick with them – or close variations of these devices. It will all come down to trust, security and reliance/assurances on ‘up time’ and availability verse large companies hosting their own cloud services rather than relying on others to create these services.

In the home environment, the devices used in the home are already more specialised – your Xbox provides entertainment, Kindle delivers written content, tablets used for casual browsing and interaction, smart phones for connectivity outside of the home and so on. Looking into the future I can only predict that these devices will be diluted down even further, especially as hardware becomes cheaper and users can increase the number of devices they are able to purchase.

It’s likely that the ‘three screens’ will remain predominant; a large display in the living room, a ‘main’ computer system and a primary mobile device. However other devices will make their way into the home; a kitchen device, a CPU for the home controlling lights, heating, security, water flow, displays in every room, wearable devices such as next generation smart watches, head-up displays, tablets, ebook readers, in-car entertainment systems, bicycle computers and beyond – all driven and interconnected by this cloud platform.

These devices won’t be versatile; they will be ‘appliance-like’ and perform unique tasks in a simplified and easily understandable format so they can be used by the masses instead of the geeky few. Their on-chip OS will be minimal and only capable of performing a unique set of tasks, the rest of work performed within the cloud, making them instantly-usable, interchangeable and replaceable – simply purchase your new device and log in and have your profile and data flood into the device and continue from exactly where you left off; no set up time, no lengthy installs, no data loss – simple, yet effective.

Again this will be a full circled fusion of hardware + software + services working together.

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Revolutionary

This paradigm shift towards the cloud, paired with these intelligent devices and elements of what we already know as social networking will revolutionise our lives and transform industries, start new ventures whilst simultaneously destroying others. All will face the same backdrop of issues that already exist today; privacy, trust, security, integrity of data, etc, but as the already 500 million Facebook users will testify, sharing of data is becoming more and more an every day occurrence.

Imagine devices that are able to proactively scan your location, healthy, track your life style and share these details with the online community – not necessarily other people, but with other services, resulting in a chain reaction of computing services designed to assist you throughout your day.

Your current location dictates everything that you do; recommendations for food, nearby events, movies, friends, or just about anything else you can think of - directing you to where you should be and ensuring that you get there on time without delay.

Clothing actively monitors your health, allowing real time monitoring of your vital statistics, a medical service creates telemetry of your body, looking for any obscure patterns and instantly putting you in direct contact with medical authorities if the system detects early symptoms or a further check up is required.

Breaking news, that is personalised to your interests and concerns are delivered to your mobile device. Messages in the forms of email, voice, video, speech are delivered and traded with your nearest and dearest in either real-time or on-demand at your leisure – with a trusted an online service actively scanning these messages and prioritising and alerting you depending upon the contents.

These devices will also be self preserving based upon intelligent design, shutting down or sleeping to preserve energy – and as the processing is done within the cloud, battery life will increase and last longer. However, these devices will also have new ways of replenishing, solar power, body heat and movement (kinetic), will all draw in power and keep the devices operating for days or weeks without requiring charge.

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“The first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly; to dream”

In our industry, if you can imagine something, you can build it

Ray Ozzie has set the challenge for Microsoft to be bold, be inventive, dream and think big. They have laid the foundations for this vision of the future, now comes the building of the blocks for what sits upon this new foundation.

Some have commented that this vision of the future is a direct mirror of the same things Google and Apple are trying to achieve with their platforms; however I don’t believe this to be true – Ozzie is aiming beyond this current generation and planning ahead for the next. The problem for Microsoft is that they need to continue to work and support their existing generation and plan for the next with their Windows, Office and Enterprise software platforms, but their commitment to this future appears to be totally focused and they are ready to invent the future.

The next five years are going to be pretty interesting. The Future is coming....

Zuckerberg: Genius or One "Billion-Dollar" Hit Wonder?

Sunday, October 17, 2010 0

Today I went to see “The Social Network” – the film based on the rise and rise of Web 2.0 darling website “Facebook”.

From everything I’ve read about Mark Zuckerberg, the film is highly inaccurate, but since when does that stop Hollywood from spinning actual events into a Blockbuster. But regardless of the spin, I absolutely adored the film and it started me thinking – is Zuckerberg really the genius everyone makes him out to be?

Now, there is no doubt that Facebook is a billion dollar company – and it takes both talent and luck to achieve that – but compare Zuckerberg to the “genius” of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or even to the boys over at Google and its suddenly clear that Zuckerberg has only ever done one thing – The Facebook.

Gates built Microsoft from scratch, at a time when computers weren’t popular or widespread with the mission statement “A PC on every desk and in every home”….Basic, DOS, Windows, Office, Enterprise software, and now Bing/search, mobile, XBox, Entertainment, Labs, the list is endless.

Over at Apple, Jobs has a similar resume – Apple computers, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad tablet and also Pixar and Disney, entertainment in the form of Apple TV and iTunes. Virtually disrupting the way people buy and engage in entertainment directly from beneath the companies that created entertainment companies.

Finally, Google made it big by turning search into a billion dollar business off the back of advertising, but unlike Zuckerberg they have branched out in a Microsoft-esque way and gone into mobile phones, browsers, their own Operating Systems and beyond with other online entities such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Earth, etc.

Which brings us back to Zuckerberg. What is next or comes next after Facebook? Is there another idea bubbling away within the young CEO’s head? (Was Facebook ever in Zuckerberg’s head or as the movie suggests, was it stolen? That’s far from me to judge and I don’t want to, he’s been credited with it already).

Does there even need to be another idea after Facebook? I don’t know the answer to that question, but looking at the state of other social networks such as MySpace and the privacy, boredom, social change elements that may eventually hit Facebook at some point, to me it would seem foolish to not diversify or ride the wave of another business on the back of Facebook.

One element that did impress me and even inspire me was the ‘nothing will stop me’, relentless streak – arguing over the meaning of words and holding multiple conversations by asking multiple questions all at the same time that reminded me a lot of Bill Gates trials over the Microsoft monopoly throughout the browser wars with Netscape. It impressed me.

I also liked that throughout the film, in just about every scene, there was a whiteboard. I know in my job in IT, the whiteboard is my absolute best friend and its one of the most powerful tools I have at my disposal for planning ideas, keeping a to do list, etc. I have a notice board on my wall at home, I’m considering trading it in for a whiteboard – think I just might!

Back to my point though, is Zuckerberg a genius? I’m waiting for the next chapter before I make my decision, so far, the boys doing rather well for himself.

My Wradio: This Time Its Promotional (But I’m Campaigning For More!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010 0

Way back in June, I wrote a blog post pleading for someone – anyone – to get Russell Brand back where he belonged on the radio – and with the released of his new book; “My Booky Wook 2: This Time Its Personal”, TalkSport radio has snapped him up to do 20 shows as he tours the country.

Fantastic!

But even more fantastic, unlike the previous occasion when Brand was asked to host a one-off show with Noel Gallagher, this time the old gang has been reunited back together and Matt Morgan and Mr Gee have been dragged back into the radio spotlight. What could be better?

I’ll tell you, producing the show is former Radio 2 legend (who brought Chris Evans, Jonathan Ross, Brand himself and the talent on BBC 6 Music onto the airwaves over the years), and the woman who fell on her sword over the ‘Sachsgate’ scandal, Lesley Douglas.

Its a happy reunion and one that I hope is extended beyond the 20 week book signing stint. Brand belongs on radio and his fans want that show back on the airwaves, rumours of the Brand being snapped up by US Radio Stations isn’t what his British public and fans want, its the gang back together on UK airwaves, long term is what we want.

Its early days, I’m loving what we’ve been given, but hopeful that someone steps up and makes him and Matt and Mr Gee an offer that they can’t refuse – you never know, maybe even Mr Gallagher will be persuaded to re-emerge onto the airwaves with the rest of the gang.

FFS

Friday, October 1, 2010 0

Everyone loves a Friday right? Well, I’m starting to move away from this theory – why I hear you ask? Friday is the day of the popular ‘#FF’ or ‘#FollowFriday’ hashtag on Twitter.

In the early days of Twitter – and I’ve been a user for quite some time now, before the service really hit its popularity stride – the “Follow Friday” meme used to really mean something, it was an opportunity to really endorse one of your followers to all of your other followers as someone who may be of interest to them as presumably your followers share at least one of the same interests as yourself.


It was a good way of connecting with people, especially if you were able to tweet a reasonable account of why such a person deserved to be followed. I think they call this “building communities”.


But now I dread Friday’s on Twitter, it’s the day my stream is filled by those that still insist on writing endless lists of usernames for people to follow, without any reason or indication why. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not clicked on someone’s username contained in one of these lists for a long, long time, never mind start to follow one of these users.


The “Friday Follow” is an outdated mechanism these days and there are other, better ways to locate those users that would be most interesting to you. Perhaps I’m just being grumpy (wouldn’t be the first time), but this is something that is really starting to get on my nerves, especially as it’s almost a childish game that belongs somewhere else other than Twitter. I remember when Twitter was cool and the only people on it where the techies who ‘got it’, inevitably as more and more ‘mainstream public’ users signed up, the service started to move away from that demographic – for the better I might add, but the “Friday Follow” is now out dated and I think its time to move on.


If I had a more public platform with a large amount of influential readers, I’d be ready to start a campaign, right there on Twitter to start to shun this antiquated practice – unfortunately I don’t have such a platform yet and thus here is where my campaign will end.


In the meantime, I’m now considering taking a leaf from Paul Carr’s recent trend (of quitting the social networking sites in favour of blogging), but only on a Friday. Avoid Twitter on a Friday once the #FF’s are out of the way for the day. #FFS

Great Scot!! This is heavy....

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No, you haven’t been travelling through time back to 1985, but it certainly may feel like it as this week sees the re-release and return of the popular time travelling film “Back To The Future” back to the silver screen. I can’t be more excited to get the opportunity to visit the cinema to re-live this epic film in all its glory on the big screen.

The purpose of the re-release is that the film has reached its 25th Anniversary, but the films re-release is much more important than that in my mind; it’s a return to the silver screen for the great Michael J. Fox.

I’ve wrote before how much I admire Fox for this work and campaigning on behalf of his Foundation; having read both of his books, I developed a huge respect for the work and struggles that he went through as he transitioned from Hollywood Superstar to campaigner, to setting up and running his own Foundation.

I can only imagine how proud and thrilled he will be to have one of his movies returning to the cinema. Don’t get me wrong, the film is immensely popular already and is one of the highest purchased DVD box sets to date – I must have watched the trilogy about a million times.

I can only hope that they re-release the next two films to the cinema, but for now the first film is more than sufficient to rekindle my interest in the film and experience a classic at the cinema.

-- For more BTTF see here --

MicroPress: Resolve DNS and I'm Yours!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 0

A few days ago I wrote about how the Microsoft Tablet should embrace the other Microsoft platforms and seamlessly integrate all of these different services together – and I absolutely stand by that statement, the importance of integrated platforms is huge and one day perhaps I’ll sit down and write about why I think it’s so important. Previously I’ve also written about whether or not you could give up using Google products – see here for my conclusions.

Today, I want to write about a step forwards Microsoft have made that achieves both of these things; moves the reliance away from Google and also sees a deeper integration into the Microsoft Platform. I’m talking about the partnership Microsoft announced with blogging company WordPress to move their Windows Live Spaces platform to them.


This is important news for two reasons; the first is that Windows Live Spaces in my opinion sucked, the whole thing had too much of a ‘Facebook wannabe’ in that it was trying too hard to bring together social elements from Live Messenger, SkyDrive, etc without any real blogging platform where posts could be….posted or any customisation could be….customised. The second reason is that Microsoft finally has a platform that competes directly with Google’s Blogger service, which is important for getting user generated content onto their network/platform.


It’s important to remember that this is only a partnership deal, but some might say it does pave the way to a Microsoft acquisition later down the line. Buts lets not forget that WordPress is a big playing the blogging market and they host numerous clients, some of which are big players.


I sat down last night and actually signed up for a WordPress account and I have to admit I was extremely impressed with the amount of tools and options that were included within the default free package. I was so impressed that I seriously started to consider whether it was worthwhile moving this very blog over to the WordPress service.


I was all ready to commit to the move until I realised that WordPress want to charge me $12 a year for the pleasure of me re-pointing my domain name at their DNS servers. $12 a year?! Yes, this isn’t a lot of money considering that they are actually hosting the actual content for free, but I’m already paying for my domain name, why do I have to pay again?


This is where Google has the upper hand; I can point my domain at the Blogger platform for absolutely nothing at all. WordPress does have plenty of other features that they charge for and some of which I’d certainly consider purchasing, but playing for nothing other than a DNS entry is a bit much – especially as a reoccurring cost per year (I’d be more willing to pay a one off cost than a per year fee, no matter how small, knowing that I wouldn’t have to renew interest every year).


If Microsoft were able to change this and to allow customers to point their own domains at these blog pages, I think that it would open up WordPress to potentially a slightly bigger customer base, who don’t necessarily understand how DNS works – without doing the research into this, I can guarantee that most non-technical users who blog would want do so under their own domain name if they were willing to pay for it, but I also think that most won’t understand these re-occurring charges to keep that domain name pointed at the site, especially when Google can do this for free.


It’s a high hope, Microsoft haven’t been all that friendly in allowing you to run your own domain name on their platforms thus far (or I really have been missing some configuration pages in their online apps), but with their commitment to cloud based services and a bit of pressure on WordPress, they could change this on the blogging platform. It’s something I’ll be watching out for, for sure. In the meantime, this blog will remain on Google’s Blogger until at least I can be persuaded of any true benefits of switching over to WordPress.


Give me a reason if you want my custom.

A Food Revolution

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Jamie Oliver is a bit of a strange one – it seems people either like him or they seem to hate him with a passion. Personally, I like him; he’s the cheeky, chappie with a clear mission to change the way people think about food and hopefully make a conscious decision to eat healthy – which lets face it, is the goal of every TV personality chef.

Jamie though seems to do it in a more public way (compared to say Gordon Ramsay who is generally off transforming failing restaurants into cash making machines), such as the past two campaigns he’s done in the UK; the school dinner’s project and his food revolution for healthy eating.


The latest series showing on Channel Four has been “Jamie’s American Food Revolution” and I have to admit I’ve been enjoying the show immensely, three episodes in I’m hooked in and supporting the mission, whilst at the same time being totally bewildered at the lack of common sense that is being applied to healthy eating in the States.


Jamie has been hitting the schools hard as the first step in educating at the root levels, however despite getting the inevitable backlash from the cooks who refuse to make meals from scratch (read; lazy), his main challenge has been fighting the system that seems to be made up of incomprehensible rules. The example last night was a secondary school (or ‘High School’), lunch time – Jamie made a stir-fry chicken which included 7 different fresh vegetables, however the other meals on offer didn’t satisfy the requirement for a minimum number of vegetables that should be on offer, which does sound reasonable – if you don’t want stir fry, an alternative should be provided – however when Jamie asked if French fries would be classified as a vegetable the reply came back in the affirmative, that French fries, despite their high calorific content, were a potato staple.


In another episode Jamie asked a bunch of kids (6 to 7 year olds), to identify different fruits and vegetables put in front of them – the results were outstanding – not one kid knew any of them, yet as soon as he held up the chicken nuggets and French fries, they instantly identified both items without any hesitation.


This totally shocked me – America, the world’s greatest superpower – doesn’t teach their kids anything about staple ingredients and healthy food types. Now, I’ve watched “The West Wing”, I know that education and healthcare is always up as a topic of conversations for the American Government, how could they have missed this obvious concern in the health of their people?


Admittedly, the UK have faced similar problems in healthy eating campaigns and school dinner campaigns, but in a country as advanced as America, you’d instantly assume that someone would have looked at these issues and fixed the problem at root cause before a cheeky, London based TV chef arrived in their country to point out the obvious.

Carpets & Ovens

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Yesterday I picked the keys to my new house – an exciting, yet also daunting, time for anyone going through the process of purchase and getting onto the property ladder for the first time. An experience made all the more daunting after entering the property for the very first time seeing the rooms naked and empty and seeing exactly how much work there is to be done.

What shocked me most wasn’t the little bits and pieces that need to be picked up and where money/time needs to be spent, but what stood out the most for me was just how dirty the place was and how people every live in these conditions.

Haven’t they ever heard of pushing a hoover around the place? I’m both looking forward and know I’m going to be absolutely aghast when I take to the flooring with my Dyson cleaner. Dyson, with their ‘no-loss of suction’ promise, makes even the cleanest of carpets appear dirty; God only knows what it will do to an actual dirty carpet and how much is lifted.

Putting the carpets aside, what amazed me even more was discovering the oven, which they’d left, wasn’t even working. How do these people live without the basics in their own kitchen? Don’t get me wrong, I’m no chef but I can’t understand how anyone could live without a working oven in their kitchen. But perhaps this is more an indication of how people actual live in this modern era of fast food and deliveries being made after a short phone call.

Both the carpets and the oven have added two extra expenses onto my list of things I need, as well as the sheer amount of cleaning kit I’m going to need to get the place into a live-able condition.

My Blog Promise

Saturday, September 25, 2010 0

One day I’ll learn how to not write about technology in my blog posts and start to expand my writings beyond the latest thought in my head about technology.

 

…….Promise!

Platform Integration in Microsoft Tablet

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About a month ago I wrote about what I wanted from a Microsoft tablet – and my conclusion was that I wanted a device that would easily replace my laptop and would be well suited in both my personal IT life and my professional IT career.

 

I’d like to add a little bit more to that and its after reading an article by Microsoft aficionado; Mary-Jo Foley, who co-incidentally owns an Apple iPad.  Mary-Jo’s take on a Microsoft based tablet would be to have a device that seamlessly integrates between the existing Microsoft platforms such as Zune.

 

Personally, I’d want that too – a device that works with my pre-existing platforms; Microsoft Media Centre, my music library (Zune isn’t quite available in the UK yet), Microsoft Office,  my mobile phone, etc.  And there’s no reason why Microsoft couldn’t do this – how do I know this?  Its because Microsoft already do it – look no further than the Xbox 360.

 

For anyone who doesn’t know, I’ve recently bought an Xbox 360 after much deliberation on whether I wanted to get back into playing games again.  The deciding factor in my choice to purchase though was that the Xbox could already tap into my existing Windows Media Centre content meaning I don’t need to purchase another device to plug into my TV I have in my bedroom. 

 

But of course, there is more – the Xbox plays games, it connects to Windows Live Messenger, online market places that allows users to buy content related to their favourite games, Zune and video content, and probably a lot more as I continue to explorer around the Xbox Live menus.

 

If rumours are true, the new Windows Phone 7 will integrate with Xbox too, expanding the experience beyond the console device and offering new and unique ways to expand the entertainment and gaming experience.

 

Microsoft need their tablet to do exactly the same in my opinion.  Allow integration with their existing platforms but with the flexibility for users to tweak settings and platforms to their hearts content.  Don’t use Hotmail for email?  Simply choose Gmail instead, etc.  Don’t like Zune, iTunes is just an install away.

 

Obviously, Microsoft are going to push their content and platforms over others and any Microsoft based tablet would benefit from users selecting Microsoft platforms, as these would provide deeper integration into the Operating System. 

 

Will they do it?  I think they have to.

Hot & Cold On This….

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The soon to be “Current Mrs Brand” recently appeared on Sesame Street with everyone’s favourite red monster Elmo.  However when parents saw the video, complains soon followed.

 

I’d like to add to those complains too…..that song was terrible, the acting wasn’t all that great and the punch line wasn’t great.  Katy, you can do better!

 

Then again, it is kids TV and you do look good.  I’m a little hot and cold on this one…..

 

Think Apple Own the Mobile Space? Think Again

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As I write this, both Apple and Google are the two main protagonists in the mobile phone market space and both are vying for majority share.  Microsoft, HP, Nokia and others have all been left in their wake, but is the mobile marketplace all sewn up?

 

Judging by the new concept mobile phone designs Mozilla have leaked onto the web, the answer is quite clearly not by a long shot!

 

The concept shows a full screen phone, which has a slightly bulky tear drop rear (which actually makes sense when you see what this concept does).  It has two mini projectors built into the phone, a bluetooth headset which also doubles up as a pointing and navigation device (possibly proving that the mouse is far from dead when it comes to touch screen), and wireless charging.

 

But its the two mini projectors that really make this phone stand out from the crowd – simply spin the phone 180 degrees and the phone suddenly becomes so much more than a phone, it almost becomes a direct replacement for your desktop PC!  And that’s where this device could really shine.  Imagine being able to combine your laptop, desktop PC, Television, phone and possibly even your work PC/laptop device into a single handheld unit.  Forget a ‘3 Screens Strategy’, a ‘1 screen/1 device’ strategy has clearly been born here in concept form and it breaks all of the rules we know to be true about phone design today.

 

Clearly the existence of any such device ever making reality is still a long way off yet and there are no doubt a series of problems that need to be overcome before this phone ever makes it into the hands of a customer.  Power being the major one that comes to my mind – undoubtedly, being able to produce a battery that would be able to sustain two projectors and all of the existing phone/OS processing for a period of time comparable to phones today is going to require a real break through, but there are already so many technologies out there in development that could really change this over the next few years. 

 

 

Are the mobile wars over?  Not yet in my opinion.  Your iPhone starting to look a bit dated yet with the glimpse of the future?  I’d say so!

When Blogs Attack...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 0



This morning I read an article on TechCrunch by one of my favourite writers – the lovely Ms Sarah Lacy – on how the recession in the US was declared over in June 2009 and that she hadn’t seen much of an effect inside Silicon Valley in that friends of hers didn’t lose their apartments “just” because of the financial crash.

Ms Lacy then compared today’s situation with that of 1999-2000 when the dotcom bubble burst and many Internet based companies simply lost their value over night and were forced to close, putting people out of jobs and lots of companies closing entirely.

I’ve never been to the Valley and nor am I best placed to comment on how bad one situation is against the other, but Ms Lacy – a tech journalist who has lived through both events – is far better placed to comment and compare and if she says the Valley got off lightly in comparison then so be it – and a well researched look at the numbers seemed to back up her theories. I read the article and I enjoyed.

I then did something that I very rarely do; I had a quick read through some of the comments on the site and was appalled by some of the ones that I read. Many of the comments asked if the article was serious and questioned Sarah’s judgement and ability to write and some even called for her to be put out of a job. I refuse to rehash any of those comments here.

A lot of the commenter absolutely missed the whole point of the article – which this was specifically about the Internet industry and purely based around the Valley. The article was not about the state of the economy in other industries or in other parts of the world.

Both Ms Lacy and my other favourite writer – Mr Paul Carr – have long blogged about the issue of those who leave comments doing so behind aliases and not their real names and generally the comments attacking the writer rather than leaving any comment constructive to the discussion that the writer has tried to have with the audience. I’ve always thought it was a bit of a non-issue and couldn’t see what these writers were getting at – today I’ve witnessed it and sympathise.

A while ago I read a post on Sarah’s personal blog which basically said that she now refuses to engage the audience via the comments section due to the amount of hate that is directed at her for expressing her views or her interpretation of the facts as she sees them. During this particular article, she questions whether continuing a career in writing was really worth it when she could easily go off and do something that doesn’t set her up for this level of abuse.

I’ll say it again, I love Sarah’s writing style, I enjoy her articles and most of the time I agree with everything she says. If I strongly agreed or disagreed with her I would probably leave a comment, but I certainly wouldn’t attack her for what she had written. If I was that strongly against something she’d written, I’d either move on or avoid reading her future articles.

I was compelled enough to leave a comment on today’s article defending her against the barrage of abuse. The latter part of the comment read:

I'm amazed by the level of uproar and backlash against Ms Lacy, I believe she is a fantastic writer and whilst this subject is controversial, you've all failed to read the article in the spirit it was intended. I love that Sarah writes and presents on TC and would hate to lose her to the haters and negative comments that have been made on this or any other article she posts here. You all need to learn to grow up and stop attacking if you don't like something.

I purposely switched off comments this site sometime ago, not because I’m afraid to engage with my audience (I’m not even sure anyone actually ever reads anything I ever write anyway), and nor am I afraid of similar abuse being posted towards me for my views. The reason is that blogging on this site is something I do for myself – it’s a creative output that I enjoy writing, to express my own views or be a record of my thoughts and feelings at that time about a specific subject.

If anyone does wish to engage with me on anything I write, then I’m more than pleased to discuss further via Twitter or email – but comments are not something I’m planning on switching on any time soon. I just hope Ms Lacy doesn’t read the comments that were left on her article and take them to heart, some of us do like her work and appreciate the effort that goes into them – and I for one hope that she continues to write on TechCrunch.

UPDATE: Sarah just replied brilliantly to all of the comments directly on Twitter with this:
comments on my recession post = iq test to see if you can read a whole article. indefensible this recession worse than 2000 on tech. obvious
Classy Ms Lacy, classy!

The Broadband Blues

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In around 2 weeks I will no longer be wearing the ‘first time buyer’ badge any more but instead will be proudly exchanging said badge for one which reads ‘home owner’. The whole process of buying my first home has been long and in places complex (especially as no one ever really explains the process to you and there are so many requirements and legal terms along the way), but I’ve done it.

For the past month I’ve been very carefully selecting furniture and all of the things I’m going to need for my new place – I’ll admit that I’ve over spent on a few select items that I really wanted, but everything has been within my budget.

The one thing that has really surprised me though has been the decisions that have been presented in selecting a broadband supplier and as a knock on affect the selection in a wireless router. At the moment, living at home, we have a Virgin Media cable service which has never once let me down, is priced perfectly and I’ve been able to purchase and select the 802.11n router I wanted – the set up couldn’t be more perfect.

My house however is outside of the Virgin Media Cable area and as a result I’ve been forced to go down the ADSL route, which of course means that I will need to an ADSL compatible router – which is fine, I don’t mind spending the money. Now, I was on the verge of signing up with BT Broadband, who would have sent me a free 802.11n “Home Hub” router, however they can’t get the router hardware to me before they are able to connect up the phone line and activate the service. This means that my wireless Squeezebox Radio and Duet won’t play music from my server, which in turn won’t be able to pick up any tracks from my NAS!

I can already hear you shouting ‘why is that such a problem?’ – well, because my Squeezebox is also my alarm clock to wake me up in the morning. Now I can use my mobile phone in the meantime, but it’s a compromise solution in what should be an easy request for BT to fulfil.

So looking beyond the services offered by BT Broadband; every solution seems to ship with a 802.11g router (rather than 802.11n), which means I’d still have to pay for a new ADSL router – providing that the broadband supplier I choose allows me to use my own router instead of ‘their’ supplied router. All of which is rather annoying, but here’s my real issue:

Every month I pay a mobile phone contract that gives me a certain number of minutes – which I never get close to reaching. In order to have ADSL broadband of any description I have to have a phone line coming into my house – which I’d, have to pay line rental for - yet cable customers can have pure (and in most cases unlimited) broadband without the added expense of a phone line, which I don’t want or need thanks to the free minutes I get from my mobile contract.

In my opinion one of two things needs to happen here; either the cable companies need to expand their network (unlikely due to the costs involved), or they need to make their ADSL options more attractively priced and available with or without a line rental cost. Hell, even a cheaper line rental for customers who don’t want to actually plug in a phone to their line would be far more beneficial than what is currently on offer.

Yes I’m one of those annoying customers that knows exactly what they want, yes I want the cheapest yet most reliable broadband connection available and yes I’m going to have to compromise and pay a lot of money for something I don’t actually want because no one can offer me exactly what I want. It’s a no-win situation for the customers, yet a huge win for the phone companies.

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