Archive for November, 2006

It’s done! Google plug-in is off my browser! For how long?

Yes, at last, after 8 years I have left the world of Google. The plug-in is going from my browser and I have installed snap in its place. It has good features, is slick, returns quality results, allows you to junk results and gives you a preview of pages before visiting them. What’s more it is founded byt he guy that invented pay-per-click. Loving IT.

Let’s see how long Google does stay off my desktop and how long before snap gets polluted as Google searches have with advertising.

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A big polluter – commuting

My preferred approach to pollution is not to analyse the underlying pollution producers like cars or power stations but to look at the activities that require the use of these. Eliminating or reducing emissions from cars or power stations must be an objective but it relies on technology more than anything else.

So, focusing down on the activites that result in carbon emissions I want to look at commuting. Something that I beleive to be archaic and unnecessary in many industries.

At say 5kgs of carbon emissions per hour 25 million people are commuting per day for an average of 1 hour. This racks up to a massive 125,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per day in the UK alone. With around 6bn tonnes of carbon emissions per annum globally I make that almost 1% of global daily emissions! Have I got that right?

I would propose that the company that obliges an employee to commute (for perhaps perfectly good reason) should pay for the privilege. This may encourage a dramatic improvement in home-life, regeneration of the countryside and less housing issues as companies invest in making working in dispersed groups efficient.

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Do VCs fund software?

It is now possible and desirable to build small pieces of valuable software and distribute them widely over the Web. How the software works with other related software is crucailly important determinant of success. Traditional marketing, channel management and enterprise software development processes are irrelevant in the early-stage.

How do VCs fund this type of business. The answer is that they don’t. VCs stick to either the more traditional enterprise software businesses (for which there has been a great exit market in recent years) or only invest after the software has gained traction with users.

Advice to entrepreneurs – pare down your software such that it provides a minimum value to users then launch it to early-adopters. Work hard to interact with early-adopters, learn from their feedback and carry on developing incrementally until the user base is singing its praises. Once at this stage think about how to fund the business. Up until that point you need to fund it yourself – importantly though, doing so is no longer an expensive task unless you are trying to do too much.

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Government IT projects – how about the citizen?

Clearly the citizen is a major stakeholder in Government IT projects. As such one might expect that answers could be provided to simple question that are very relevant to the citizen such as:

– are there any sex offenders teaching at my child’s school?

– is my brother in custody somewhere and if so where?

Unfortunately the answers are not available – neither to the public nor to the Government. Why?

I don’t have THE answer although from sources close to the IT projects concerned I can tell you that noone is focused on doing small simple things and delivering them qucikly. What I call incremental development.

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Configure on the PC and consume everywhere

Users won’t configure complex applications on their mobile phones. Another reason for making sure that mobile services link to the PC experience.

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