Skip to main content
With an invitation to No10 this morning, I’m on my best behavior today. No jokes about transport and stress that my name has an “S” on the end, Moores, no relation to the other one. I'm tempted to ask whether Intel's new processor, Prescott, is named after the great man but even I'm struggling with the connection.

Yesterday I chaired the afternoon of the LondonOne Conference at the TUC Congress centre. LondonOne represented the first real coming together of agencies and minds to focus in on the interactive Digital Television (dTV) revolution and it was considerably cheered by the previous day’s cost-cutting news from British Telecom, which at last made broadband a viable proposition for the cash-strapped content providers and champions of public service digital TV.

Baroness Dean, chairman of the Housing Corporation, who you may remember as Brenda Dean of the print union, SOGAT, took the rather clinical sounding Broadband Britain slogan and changed it into the much more cuddly “Brenda Agenda”; encouraging everyone involved to find new and user friendly ways of delivering content and information to the people in society who need it most. Of course we have three different digital divides to worry over these days:

Those who don’t have Internet access at all
Those who have dial-up access
And
Those who have or can afford broadband

These Statistics of disadvantage were illustrated by my good friend, Bill Edwards, Director of Communication at The Office of the e-Envoy who closed the conference. While 43% of the population may be on-line in one form or another, another 47% aren’t, some 23 million people who live mostly in places like Scotland or Yorkshire, outside the warm embrace of the M25 where the Internet doesn’t seem quite so important to their lives.

Eight million digital Television boxes are now out in the country and the Government’s own awareness campaign, through UK-Online, generated the single largest response to an advertisement that Sky had ever seen, which must give a whole new slant to that well worn expression, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

Digital Television (Public) services, driven by local and central government are now seen as one of the best mechanisms for delivering information and education to people who might normally fall through the net. In Sheffield, an NHS pilot project demonstrated that the people using Digital TV services through the NHS were markedly different from those who might use the Internet. Young mothers with children or older men from low income neighborhoods. So while many would criticize government’s efforts in using new technologies as little more than attractive political sound bites, the evidence suggests that the UK-Online vision, through 6,000 kiosks and now, digital television may actually start to produce the results that government had in mind for the programme.

However, I can't resist letting my cynical side escape. Prime Minister Clement Atlee once said that “If you open Pandora’s box, a Trojan horse jumps out”. I suspect that we can’t even imagine where all this enthusiasm for Open Government will take us and what services people will expect from the public sector in future. God forbid, it may even lead to freedom of information!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…