Is I.T. a utility?

Is I.T. a utility?

The power companies are starting to enable homes to act as power sources as well as consumers. People can sell back any surplus. In the UK, about ⅓ of the power generated is lost during the distribution. The UK consumed[1] 647 Terawatts (1012) in 2013. This implies that 219 Terawatts are generated and lost p.a. with a market value[2] of £20bn. The loss is dependent on the distance travelled and so one policy response would be to build community micro- or meso-generators. On the whole older power stations are  …


There was a story earlier in the week about the IT industry organising to influence the quality of IT teaching in the UK, or is it England now. According to the BBC, they argue that teaching in schools focuses too much towards using office software, by which we all mean Microsoft Office. My experience as an observer, and parent of students is that the syllabus for our brightest and most committed IT students is exclusively about using Microsoft Office products. Frankly this bores the brighter students. This boredom was compounded at the turn of the century by the decision taken by many schools to teach the GNVQ syllabus, and not the GCSE National Curriculum. This decision was taken because good GNVQs scored more highly than the GCSE in the school league tables and it could be taught with the same time commitment.

Let me assure you that the GNVQ IT syllabus was boring, requiring a very narrow rote based skill set demonstrating the ability to write a letter, create a single table spreadsheet, create a powerpoint slide show and use a forms package. There is no HTML, no SQL, no scripting, no programming and very little hardware, I am not aware that they even opened up a computer to examine the parts or to learn about what are now called user installations. They didn’t even teach anything useful like how to configure an internet gateway.

Today I go to seminars where senior software development managers are crying out with frustration that Universities aren’t turning out skilled programmers. Europe and the UK’s system software business is tiny, there’s only one European CPU and no European computer manufactures. All Europe’s Computer Scientists work for US companies.

So at last, even some of the campaigners for the current curriculum recognise that its 20 years too old. It needs to change to encourage our best to work in IT and Computer Science.


The UK’s early specialisation makes this an issue of crucial importance. People that fail or give up at GCSE will be most unlikely to study such a subject at either “A” level or University.

This was written in 2014 as far as I can tell, got lost and then found, I posted it in May 2017 and backdated it to this post date. …

The end of economic growth

Earlier this month, the Guardian in its Economics’ Blog, published an article called “Are the UK growth pessimists right?” The article itself is unclear, partly because it wants to make the point that Social Democrats need growth to painlessly share the wealth more equitably and fund their social investment programs. The article argues that UK economic indicators are beginning to look up, that doomsayers have always been wrong before and that technological innovations have always revitalised capitalism. …

Laptop Diaries

Just building up a new laptop for the family, but this one’s MS Vista. I bought a copy of Norton, of course, but had a couple of problems installing MS Office and transferring data. Most of these seeem to be firewall problems, but it does seem that Vista/XP networking might not be as easy as it should. It would seem that Norton (and Microsoft) now have a new version of ‘Secure by Default’, which borrows from the good old security guru’s axiom, ‘if no-one can use it, no one can abuse it.’

On a more serious note, when adopting W95, Microsoft left the 3.11 program explorer interface in place, with XP you have ‘classic’ look and feel themes, I can’t find the retro interface on Vista and I found trying to get it to ‘see’ the exported devices on my home network exceptionally frustrating, and I still don’t know how we got it to work.

For more, see New Laptop, Studio 15 on my wiki. …

More Futurology, Gartner’s “Emerging Trends”

I am in Barcelona, attending Gartner’s European Symposium and Expo. They have two of these each year and the spring event is positioned as broader and more forward looking. It was opened by a tour de force from Peter Cole, (CEO) and six of their top researchers. Later discussions brought home to me that one needs to be very careful when listening to clever people, as sometimes one (i.e. I ) can assume that they mean the same things as yourself, this isn’t always so. …

What management values

This is a pointer to an article on my sun/oracle blog, originally called Geeks & Suits. A you can see, I have changed the title. I made a video with the Sun’s EMEA head of pre-sales together with a Chris Gerhard. I used my and Chris’s dress code as an excuse to segue onto the dichotomy of style, knowledge and power in modern business. The original article is not well written. I was able to quote a recent poll in Management Today and reviews of Nick Carr’s “IT doesn’t matter”, both suggesting that the tradition that management values …. itself has and will continue. This means that in a modern knowledge based business they will under value the geeks, those with the knowledge. …