Skip to main content
Defence of the Realm

I had just finished duct-taping a plastic bag around my Yorkshire terrier’s head, following the instructions on ‘How to deal with the threat of gas attack’ found on the Home Office’s new anti-terrorism Web site, when I stumbled across the story on Broadband ‘revisionism’.

Now Broadband isn’t a topic that you might immediately associates with the House of Lords but it appears that on 11th March, the Earl of Northesk asked the Government if it had "arrived at a conclusive definition of broadband in respect of data transfer speeds for (a) the commercial market; and (b) the residential market".

Into the breach jumped Labour’s IT ‘spokes-peerson’, Lord Sainsbury, who replied:

“The Government views broadband as a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds."

Does anyone know what this means as it strikes me as equivalent to saying, “The definition of Broadband is Broadband”; a clever tautology that the forensically incisive Robin Cook might be proud of.

You may remember how three years ago, the criteria for an ‘Online’ business moved a little to include the telephone and this of course helped the DTI improve its figures for the UK as a leading information economy. Today, Broadband penetration is accelerating but obviously not fast enough and so two tin cans and a piece of strings may now qualify as a technology “operating at various data transfer speeds”, depending on how tight the string is pulled.

Next time you read about our remarkable Broadband figures, remember that the information revisionists have been ‘fiddling’ with the definition, as they have with just about everything else; crime, hospitals, taxes, refugees and so on, so why should Broadband Britain be any different?

Meanwhile, the dog is having problems breathing and the plastic bag has steamed-up. The Home Office site tells me that the best defence against terrorism is a torch, a bottle of water, tinned-food and a blanket but doesn’t say which colour. Does anybody know?


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…