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Technical Website Issues and Web News

This site designed and maintained by
Prof. Glenn Fulcher

@languagetesting.info

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Your IP address: 54.224.53.192
The browser you are using is CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
 
     
 
     
 

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 LT.info 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: 25 Nov 14: Amnesty: Detekt; Thinkable; Slush; Tony Sale Computer Co...
Software to protect targeted human rights activists from online surveillance; Ben McNeil describes the new model for science research via crowdfunding; Mark Bosworth reports on Helsinki?s biggest ever tech event; A report on the winners of the latest Tony Sale computer conservation award


Industry voice: How to get more value from the cloud
27 November, 2014

Many businesses are currently thinking about moving business critical functionality to the Cloud. But when is the right time to migrate? And how can businesses drive this migration successfully?

For smaller and medium sized businesses there is still a lot of confusion about when they should consider moving to cloud-based back office functionality. Why? It is partly driven by a reluctance from some IT suppliers to lose the opportunity to sell and maintain hardware. But legitimate concerns over issues like security and availability also muddy the waters.

Increased variety

Cloud adoption is being driven by the increased variety of services available, reductions in the cost of upfront capital investment and improvements in internet security. The Cloud is no longer only seen as a data storage option with many Software as a Service business applications. These used to be limited to email and general office processes but as the platform matures, these are embracing every office process ? from HR to finance.

A typical example would be that of the Accounts Payable function. Historically this was a labour intensive and largely manual process that relied on invoices being received by post, being matched to purchase orders, being processed for approval and ultimately being paid. The opportunities for lost invoices amongst huge piles of paperwork was significant, leading to bill chasing from suppliers. If anything, matters got worse at the dawn of the digital age.

Invoices

Now invoices were arriving by fax, email and paper. The email invoices might be formatted as PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or within the body of the email, with no consistency of format or approach. Managing this experience to the satisfaction of all parties required a lot of manual labour.

Larger organisations could invest in document management and automation systems to automate much of this process but smaller businesses did not have this option. This issue was particularly intense for businesses that receive huge numbers of small invoices. The processing cost per invoice can be anything from 2 to 20.

The evolution of the Cloud has transformed this kind of process and democratised access to the tools traditionally accessed only by larger businesses. Invoices can be scanned and uploaded to a remote server for storage ? in itself a significant advantage over traditional paper storage.

Real Magic

The real magic takes place when invoices are automatically matched to purchase orders ? removing the need for significant manual intervention and eradicating the manual intervention. Typically more than 90 percent of all invoices can be matched in this way, leaving accounts staff to deal with the exceptional.

So at what point does it become viable for a business to move to a cloud-based service? At Readsoft we typically find that it is less about the size of business and more about volume of invoices. Any business that receives more than 1000 invoices per year can benefit from this back office automation. Businesses that receive 5000 or more invoices can see significant improvements in cash flow visibility, benefit from early payment discounts and see a significant return on investment.

Not just about email and storage

Furthermore once a business is signed up, all it requires is a networked scanner in order to get up and running. Usability is a key consideration, with the best cloud-based systems being simple to use and requiring little training.

The Cloud is not only about email and storage. For businesses that wish to reduce capital costs and function more efficiently, numerous back office functions can be taken into the Cloud to drive business efficiency and drive down cost.

Simon Shorthose is Managing Director of Readsoft UK. Readsoft is a leading provider of business automation services for back office processes









List of blocked piracy sites doubles
27 November, 2014
The High Court bans a further 53 piracy sites, more than doubling the number that the UK's leading net providers must block.

Industry voice: Managing your online reputation
27 November, 2014

The marketing industry has quickly responded to social media by using specialist online reputation management agencies to banish critical articles or customer comments to the back pages of the Google search results. However, technology businesses should take proactive, preventative steps themselves to achieve two key goals ? protecting their reputation and reducing their exposure to risk.

Engaging with customers through social media often means that user-generated content ("UGC") will appear on a business' website or social media page and could take any number of forms including text, still or moving images or sound clips.

User terms and conditions

The main concern for businesses arises when this content infringes rights or when it harms or threatens to harm the business or another organisation. To counter this, businesses should ensure that their user terms and conditions:

? Expressly prohibit illegal content

? Disclaim liability for any offensive or defamatory UGC

? Obtain appropriate licences or assignments for intellectual property (IP) rights

? Obtain consent to use any private personal information

? Obtain the appropriate warranties and indemnities from the users themselves

Defamation

Perhaps even more important is how a business reacts when such infringements do arise. Clearly set out "notice and take down" procedures can help to ensure that if third parties notify the business of objectionable content, it can be swiftly taken down.

Although businesses that inadvertently find themselves hosting defamatory material have some statutory protection (for example under the new Defamation (Operators of Websites) Regulations 2013), this may fall away if they do not take the appropriate steps once they receive a complaint.

The problem is of course inverted when a business itself becomes the object of defamatory material hosted on third party sites. Alongside any pursuit of the individual who posted the material (where possible), one of the first steps taken should be to identify the social media or website operator hosting the content and attempt to use the site's own notice and takedown mechanism.

If this approach fails, legal proceedings can be pursued, though businesses can take comfort in the fact that operators are increasingly keen to avoid implication through their own inaction.

Watch your employees

Employee interaction with social media, both in a personal capacity and on behalf of the business, is another area where management should exercise vigilance. Whilst this platform can help create a positive image for the business and act as a productive knowledge sharing hub and networking tool, employee conduct is not necessarily private, and individuals are often less reserved when voicing their opinions online.

Issues such as discrimination, loss of reputation, breach of confidence, invasion of privacy and infringement of third party rights are real concerns and can both directly and indirectly damage a business's reputation. As such, it is advisable for employers to remind employees of these dangers and set in place a pragmatic and enforceable online and social media policy, which:

? Sets out clear and realistic guidelines for social media use, both in and outside office hours

? Puts in place appropriate restrictions on the use of the company's IT resources, IP and confidential information

? Requires prompt response by employees to issues raised

? Makes clear the consequences of breaching the policy

Data Protection Act

Businesses should also be mindful of their obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 when publishing content on their website and social media pages. In particular, are they complying with the privacy policy of the social media platform operator, and does this fit with the business' own privacy policy?

Online reputation management is something that all businesses, especially those in the technology sector, need to be proactive about. Educating employees and putting in place internal and external-facing policies will install greater legal and practical awareness, minimise risk and reduce exposure to complaints and potential legal proceedings.

Policies are only effective when properly implemented, so management should continually monitor the content of social media pages and the business' website to ensure compliance.

Elaine O'Hare is an Associate at Stevens & Bolton and advises clients on all aspects of intellectual property, including copyright, trade marks and database rights. She also advises on defamation and internet and domain name issues as well as non-contentious matters, such as IP licensing.Henry Milas is a trainee solicitor in intellectual property practice at Stevens & Bolton. He has experience in various contentious and non-contentious matters, as well as some defamation work.








Industry voice: Fighting against the end-of-life
27 November, 2014

Small and medium businesses (SMB's) are the backbone of the British economy. According to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills they make up 48.1 percent of all private sector turnover, at 1,600 billion. But the majority of these businesses are facing a major technology challenge as a number of the systems and servers they rely on for day-to-day business operations are rapidly approaching the end of their supported life.

Windows Server 2003 dependence

It is currently estimated that there are between 2.6 million and 11 million installations of Windows Server 2003 in the market globally, a product which will reach it's end of support date in July 2015. According to a report from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), 61 percent of firms in the UK are dependent on this platform. That translates to between a quarter and a half of a million SMB's which still use Windows Server 2003 for core elements of their day-to-day IT operations.

July 2015 may seem a long way off, but organisations need to start thinking about an infrastructure refresh now and decide how to use this opportunity to dramatically move their spend on IT away from 'keeping the lights on' to driving long term agility and efficiency in their business.

FUD clear to see

The fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding inaction on this is clear for anyone to see. SMB's who fail to, or choose not to migrate from Windows Server 2003 will be putting themselves, their customers and their partners at materially increased risk.

Security and supportability are crucial aspects of IT operations in any business and, if they don't migrate, these 'laggards' will be increasing their vulnerability as security patches cease from next July.

For many SMB's turning to the next iteration of a solution seems like a logical step, shifting from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 for example, might seem to makes sense. However, this misses the point that it's not just about an operating system (as good as WS 2012 is). What SMB's really need is IT that not only works, but is kept current, patched, backed up and above all is affordable and that adapts with their business needs over time.

Who wants to spend?

Who wants big capital expenditure on servers in this day and age? Certainly not cash strapped SMB's. Equally why perpetuate a model of delivering IT that arguably requires over 60 percent of the effort and budget devoted to just keeping the lights on.

Unsurprisingly cloud computing has become one of the top choices for SMB's grappling with this dilemma. By the end of 2013, CIF reported that 69% of SMB's had adopted at least one cloud based service. The popularity of cloud based solutions has grown at an incredible rate and there's no hiding from the huge impact it's had on the way that businesses of all sizes buy, operate and manage their IT systems, to the extent that KMPG called it the 'most disruptive force in business in the past 20 years'.

Alongside the onset of cloud as a viable IT deployment model there has continued to be a realisation that the market for the foreseeable future is hybrid (part on-premise/part in-cloud).

Hybrid challenges

Of course hybrid has its own management challenges. Larger enterprises have invested in hybrid architectures and management systems to help them harness the benefits from the opportunity. Running applications where best suited and storing data where required, with the support to navigate the complexity.

For the SMB such solutions have been more elusive and as such the traditional like-for-like 'refresh' risks becomes a never ending three-six year cycle of wasted costs and opportunity. SMB's are demanding a solution that remains current, enables cloud adoption where desired and can adapt over time.

On premise is not dead

On-premise technology is not dead in the age of cloud computing, but it has to be re-imagined to be the intelligent edge of the cloud, or the gateway or cloud hub if you prefer, governing access to cloud services whilst providing the local assurance desired for the storage of sensitive data. The custodian of user credentials from which single sign on can be initiated to any number of external solutions

Many industry analysts are already talking about hybrid cloud as the future of IT and much of the market is already starting to reflect this. For SMB's it should also be argued that a hybrid environment creates an opportunity for IT as a whole to be delivered as a service, where a managed service provider uses cloud managed server appliances on premise alongside cloud hosted applications to deliver an efficient and effective solution that can evolve and scale to meet the customers' needs.

It is easy to be cynical about the end-of-life of technology, but the fact that Windows Server 2003 has lasted the time that it has is clear testament to its popularity and capability. As such when facing the choice of what to do next businesses need to look beyond just the operating system, right down to the deployment model and how they best embrace the cloud opportunity with the hybrid model.

Nick East is co-founder and CEO of UK start-up Zynstra









Syrian hack attack forces pop-ups
27 November, 2014
A number of websites have been compromised to display a message from a group identifying itself as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA).