8bits Blog

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Open Data Cities Conference 2012

Will Brighton and Hove become an Open Data City?

Comments on the Open Data Cities Conference, Brighton 2012.

“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.”
Tim Berners-Lee

Imagine a future where you, the citizen, had easy access to the information your government had about your community. But delivered in a way you can actually understand and even enjoy consuming. And, if you are so inclined, freely repurpose in new and novel ways.

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Mobile Web Technology

Recently I gave a short talk on mobile web technologies at a Spotlight Supper for the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce. Below is a slightly extended version of it with links to the sources and statistics I quoted.

I was given three questions to answer. the questions were:

  1. Why should people invest in a mobile specific design for their website? (as opposed to just thinking that a site that renders on a mobile, is enough)
  2. What benefits does a mobile website bring to a business?
  3. What are the risks for business that choose to ignore the proliferation of mobile technologies?
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Bad Mailing Lists

I recently received an email from someone trying to sell me a mailing list. The first thing that struck me was that they had just sent me an unsolicited email. I don’t know about you, but I tend to avoid buying anything from people that send me unsolicited email. In this instance they were trying to sell me an email list. I think there may be a clue there as to how they got that list.

The other thing about the email was the absence of a way for me to unsubscribe from their list. I had to reply to the sender directly and ask that they take me off this list and any others they have me on. Not surprisingly, I didn’t receive a reply. It’s illegal to send out mass emails without some way for people to unsubscribe. (See The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.)

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The Rise of Cloud Computing

The term Cloud Computing may not instill the same sort of fear and dread that Skynet did in the Terminator films, but for some it might be getting close. The very words ‘Cloud Computing’ make it sound like some sort of extra terrestrial techno magic that’s floating around with the Noctilucent.

What ‘the cloud’ really is are lots of boring data centre’s all very much anchored to terra firma. It’s a good thing they are boring, because they need to be reliable (and we all know boring equals reliable. Ask any Volvo owner). After all, the promise of cloud computing is that it will eventually take over from our desk and laptop computers. All we’ll need to use it is a very basic device that can hook into ‘the cloud’ over a reliable and ever present Internet connection. If the stuff that your connection is connecting you to is a bit too exciting, it may be unreliable, and that just won’t do.

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New ASA rules for website content

In a crackdown on misleading websites the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) introduced regulations that apply to website content on March 1st 2011. There are already strict rules in place relating to radio, TV and print media. But there were no such rules applied to website content (except for paid online advertising). Until now.

It is important that website providers understand the new regulations in order to create and foster compliant web content in the future.

How the rules apply

The new rules apply to adverts and any statement on a website intended to sell products or services. If a company makes claims about a product or service that it can’t substantiate, then it may lead to complaints.