Technical Website Issues and Web News

This site designed and maintained by
Prof. Glenn Fulcher

Page Navigation


Current Server Time:
My Time Zone:

Your IP address:
The browser you are using is CCBot/2.0 (

This website uses dymaic web slicing on some pages that are updated on a daily (or sometimes an hourly) basis. A page contains a web slice if you see this icon in the toolbar. This feature was introduced with IE 8, which allows users to subscribe to content and receive notification of updates on the browser tool bar. This was implemented for the employment page in January, 2010 and the Article Alert service in March 2010. The video link is an introduction to the use of web slicing. Further details about web slicing and how it works can be found here.


RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. It has become the standard method to send news and information from websites directly to the user who wishes to keep up to date.

Extensive use is made of RSS feeds on this website. The most obvious is Bulletin, which you can subscribe to by clicking on the RSS symbol . Whenever I make a major addition or change to the site it will be announced on this feed. I sometimes also use it to notify subscribers of more general language testing news.

Many pages also contain information that is generated by RSS feeds, but filtered using software that selects content using keywords and strings, before aggregating the information on the page. Examples of this are the article aggregation, and article alert services, which scan journals for language testing content and updates this page whenever new articles are published. This makes keeping up to date extremely easy, especially in the latter case where it is combined with web slicing. Developing the filters for some pages has taken over a year, such as on the employment page. However, some 'rogue' jobs still get through, particularly from the fields of computing, health care, and engineering. I continually update the filters to reduce such instances, but cannot eradicate them completely.

If you would like to know more about how aggregation works, there is a useful Wikipedia entry that you can consult.

DigitalP: 18 Nov 14: Phones Mapping Ebola; Philippines Disaster Map; Ideas fo...
Using of cell phone positioning data to map the spread of Ebola; Vishva Samani reports on crowdsourcing disaster maps in the Philippines; How to make smart cities smarter and playable; Nir Eyal describes how to get hooked by and unhooked from tech

Industry voice: Knowing when to cash-in on the cloud
24 November, 2014

When considering the move to the online world of cloud and mobile working, the banking industry holds up a fantastic example of how consumer attitudes have shifted in the context of interacting online.

The public took a huge leap of faith when they first made physical deposits in banks, placing their trust in them that they would keep their money safe. Step forward some years, high street banking is the norm and we have moved on from physical cash deposits and cheques to the world of online banking. It is now commonplace for us to manage our personal finances over the internet, increasingly through smartphones and tablets.

According to the British Bankers' Association, bank customers now make 5.7 million transactions a day through mobile apps. That is a huge volume of sensitive personal data, moving between the palms of our hands and the banks' central data centres. But we know it, and we've come to trust that it is secure.

It may have been hard to envisage making bank transactions through a mobile phone twenty years ago, yet today many of us don't think twice when banking via the internet. Today, we're nearing the tipping point where the same is becoming true for cloud computing. Millions of us use cloud for personal use ? many without even knowing it through services like Amazon, eBay, Webmail or even Office 365. With the UK cloud industry expected to be worth 6.1 billion this year, this shift in consumer mind set is being mirrored in the corporate world.

Better under lock and key?

Data security is one of the biggest concerns for businesses when considering a move to cloud, but take a look at how we treat the banks.

Questions around security in the cloud should not simply revolve around data security, it's about physical security too. Just as you wouldn't leave your bank details on your desk, you wouldn't leave a device with sensitive data on the train. Security in the cloud context should not be thought of in terms of data alone - businesses must also set firm parameters when it comes to devices. Cloud is secured ? and its job of providers to make that so.

Not if but when

The pendulum has swung and the considerations for businesses have evolved from whether cloud is a viable option to the practicalities of how to leverage it. There's a recognition that the worlds of business and technology have changed ? the cloud has opened up new ways of doing business, of communicating, collaborating, and managing data.

Businesses should treat the cloud as a way of solving a business issue, rather than the latest trend that they need to be on top of. Start by considering the pain points in your organisation and work backwards from there by finding a partner who can provide the right solution to solve those issues. The cloud can be for everyone, but there's never a one-size-fits-all answer, just like there's no one single way for consumers to manage their finances online.

The good news is it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Once you understand what you're trying to solve you can have the discussion around which sort of solution is best suited for you - on premise, hybrid or cloud.

As with banking 200 years ago, there are risks and security considerations to take into account in moving to the cloud but look at how far we have come. We have all taken a leap of faith when it comes to entrusting banks with our personal finance data, and then accessing it through the internet. You should always consider the risks, but don't allow your fears to stop you from making the right decision for your business.Rob Davis is Head of Technology and Development at Sage UK and Ireland's Small and Medium Business Division

BT in talks to buy O2 from Telefonica
24 November, 2014
Telecoms giant BT is in talks with Telefonica about buying the O2 mobile network in the UK from the Spanish firm.

Industry voice: How to build your own cloud
24 November, 2014

Cloud is nothing new, and there is a raft of terms and acronyms that we've seen appear over the last few years to describe certain elements of the concept. Going back to 'on demand', we've seen things like IaaS, PaaS and SaaS come into common use, but they're not helping to create clarity as to what we mean by cloud.

Cloud Confusion

Cloud is term used to describe applications and services that are hosted remotely and made available via an internet connection; however, the term is often mis- and overused, which is where the confusion arises. To understand what it is, and what it is doing for business, we have to look at examples of how cloud is actually helping solve business challenges, which can be broken down into three areas: agility, cost savings and flexibility.

Increasing the speed at which a company can change its IT estate ? e.g. turning on server capacity or services as and when required ? to meet the business' need is critical in many sectors, but particularly in fast-paced industries like financial services.
We have one client that has a strategy to rapidly grow market share and has identified a need to grow their infrastructure at speed. That's all well and good, but, in addition to growing its infrastructure to meet its needs, it also needs to ensure the quality and resilience of any new kit or services it installs.
In the traditional IT environment, extending IT provision requires additional equipment. This has to purchased, installed and configured, then applications loaded before it can be made available ? this generally takes between four and eight weeks. Delivering the same extra capacity using cloud services brings that time frame down to under a week.

Cost saving

In addition, it has saved our customer the capital costs associated with IT projects (Capex) and moved it to an operational expenditure (Opex), although it would be wrong to assume this benefit is unique to cloud, as financing and leasing models have been available for many years.
Where it is unique is in the flexibility and scalability it offers, moving Opex payment up and down in line with the level of consumption rather than a fixed term. In addition, it removes the challenges around around IT estate refresh and end-of-life equipment disposal. We have found that this is particularly true for our mid-size customers as it gives them peace of mind around budgetary control and planning.

By selecting the correct cloud services, the complexity of an IT estate can also be reduced to a cost and service level agreement that are matched to the business need, with the flexibility to change in line with both tactical and strategic business goals. We have a number of clients that provision their entire IT estate via the cloud embracing the theory of IT-as-a-Service. This has enabled their IT teams to shift their focus from running the IT to supporting the core business and acting as an enabler for the business, rather than purely a cost.


Cloud is a simple term, and the concept is very simple, but its been confused by different parties using it in different contexts. In a way, the term is less important now, as businesses of all sizes are moving to the cloud and cloud-based services. Those that have are seeing the agility, flexibility and financial benefits we've talked about ? whether they've gone for full or partial cloud adoption or a blended ('hybrid') model.

Tony Limby is director, Cloud & Datacentre, IT Services at BT Business

Google case over web abuse settled
24 November, 2014
The case of a businessman who wants to stop malicious web postings about him appearing in Google searches is settled at the High Court.

Microsoft adds Skype to Office Online
24 November, 2014

Microsoft has announced that people will now be able to use Skype within their Office Online setups to communicate and collaborate with co-workers in real-time.

In a post on the Microsoft Office blog, Nelson Siu, a program manager for Microsoft's Office Shared Experience team, suggested that people would be able to continue to chat with their correspondents when switching devices (assuming that you have connectivity).

That feature was available on OneDrive and is likely to be as rudimentary. The current one doesn't allow video conferencing or voice and you can't upload files either.

Default choice

This latest announcement shows that Microsoft may have chosen to make Skype its default communication tool for both consumer and business audiences.

Earlier in November, it announced that it was canning the Lync brand, renaming it as Skype for Business. Weeks before, Microsoft also revealed that it was working to get Skype integrated with Internet Explorer.

The next (logical) step would be for Microsoft to combine Skype and Office on the desktop.

For now though, why not read our review of Office 365