Tag Archives: computing

Stop press: Seetickets website can’t cope with Glasto traffic

I – like millions of others – tried to get Glastonbury 2011 tickets yesterday.

I was there online in the morning waiting feverishly. I had registered ages ago, so I had all my details ready. I tried the website – crashed. I tried the booking phone number – no answer.

I repeated the above. I gave up. I tried again later, constantly hitting refresh on my browser and redial on my phone. But nothing worked.

Then, later in the day, I saw that all the tickets had sold out in a few hours – as expected.

What annoys me is that Seetickets, the agency that sells the tickets on behalf of the Glastonbury festival organisers, don’t make any provision for their phone lines or website to actually work on the day when the tickets are released… why don’t they strike a deal with a major IT supplier like IBM for example and ask them to make sure the website can take millions of hits per hour?

At least if the website worked then all of us who were sitting there and waiting to login could actually do so. It’s not hard to buy a bit of extra computing power when it is needed for just one day of the year – it’s called utility computing, or even the cloud if you prefer that term…

So now, I’m waiting for returns. Though I know the website will collapse again when the returns are announced. It’s worth a try, Maybe next time I might get lucky and find a connection…

CSS at the Shepherd's Bush Empire

Take note, I’m writing for silicon.com now!

It’s true, my Computing blog is still there on the website. But take a closer look. I have not updated it since March 22 this year. All my writing on sourcing, globalisation, and the ‘who moved my job?’ theme is now going into a weekly silicon.com column. So that’s where all my tech services work will be printed.

My social media writing is going into my Computer Weekly SocialITe blog here…

Angelica Mari’s leaving party in Soho

Many of you in the world of tech journalism will know Angelica Mari, the Chief Reporter at Computing. She is leaving and heading over to the competition… to Computer Weekly

Her official leaving party is at The Endurance on Berwick St on Wed March 31st. A place I remember as a really old rough pub called the King of Corsica. Thank goodness they ripped that place apart and renovated it, adding features like the pub bear…
Bryan Glick and Angelica Mari
Angelica is a serious tech journalist, last year leading the Tomorrow’s IT Leaders campaign for Computing and featuring prominently in the introduction for the Computing / BCS IT Awards 2009. She was also the MC for my Talking Outsourcing book launch last October. But clearly, like all good journalists, she likes to let her hair down now and then…

If you are interested in the tech sector because of your business, because you are another tech writer, or you are in PR and want to buy her a drink then I’m sure she would welcome you at the leaving party. I’ll be there too, so if any free drinks are going you know who to say hello to!

Click here for information on how to find The Endurance… It starts at the end of the business day, which is probably around 6pm for most of us…

See you there!

Fun and Games at the IT Blog Awards 2009

I was at the Computer Weekly IT Blogs awards on Wednesday night at Shoreditch house. It’s a nice club just outside the City and was overrun by bloggers, geeks, and Twitter users all night. There was even a large screen on the wall displaying TweetDeck and filtered on the hashtag #ITBlogs so anyone talking about the event on Twitter could see their messages appear live on the wall – whether they were actually at the event or not…

It was nice to chat with the new chief editor of Computer Weekly, Bryan Glick. Of course I worked with Bryan when he was editor of Computing, and he only just left so in the past couple of weeks I have seen him at a big awards function for Computing, then Computer Weekly.

I was shortlisted for the best analyst or consultant blog. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but then again I had no real expectations of winning because I never ran a big online campaign asking people to vote for me. I just didn’t have the time as I only found out I was shortlisted quite close to the closing date for voting – I found out because I went to vote and saw my own name on the shortlist!

Still, it’s great to get shortlisted for a national blogging award. It’s certainly a recognition that the approach I take on the Talking Outsourcing blog works for a lot of people. Let’s face it; there are a lot of very dry and boring newsletters and blogs on sourcing. Either they are dominated by contract wins or sales speak. I think my more personal approach to a business blog strikes a chord with a lot of people.

It was fun to meet some people I only know from Twitter – and to recognise them in person from a memory of their profile photo – like Dr Black from Westminster University, and some of the Computer Weekly team. I also got to chat with the marketing team from CapGemini, who I usually only ever talk to on Twitter.

There was a funny moment during the awards presentation. The award for best blog on the environment went to Greenbang. I sent a text immediately after the announcement to Greenbang founder, Dan Ilett asking why he was not at the function. He called me within seconds to explain that he had to attend a family funeral. I was standing next to Bryan Glick so I passed him the phone… the awards were still being handed out and Dan was listening to the editor congratulating him from the event just seconds after he had won. And Dan really couldn’t believe he had won so it was really nice to get him on the phone like that.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me anyway, and especially to whoever nominated me to be featured in the awards in the first place. I didn’t self-nominate so someone out there thinks the blog is worthy at least!

IT Blog Awards 2009

I’m shortlisted in the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards 2009. The party and presentations take place tonight at Shoreditch house. I’m in the shortlist for my Talking Outsourcing blog in the best analyst or consultant category.

If you are going to be there then please do say hello. If you are not going to be there then say hello on Twitter… if you include the hashtag #ITBlogs in your Twitter messages then they will visible for all to see at the awards party tonight… they have Twitterwalls at the event showing all the online chat about the awards!

Vote for me in the Computer Weekly awards!

I’m shortlisted for an award in the annual Computer Weekly blogging awards. It’s for the best analyst or consultant blog, for the Talking Outsourcing blog I write in Computing magazine. It’s nice to see it shortlisted as Computing is the arch-rival of Computer Weekly – and quite appropriately, the editor of Computing leaves the magazine tomorrow to become the new boss at Computer Weekly. Can he get the staff over there to vote for me perhaps?

I hope you might take a moment to consider voting for me at their site here…

Thanks in advance 🙂

Talking Outsourcing book launch – the video

Video footage from the launch of my new book ‘Talking Outsourcing’ is now online. Thank you to the National Outsourcing Association for promoting this book launch event, and Steria for supporting the event and making it possible:

Follow these links to view the films:

Angelica Mari Introduction & Hilary Robertson 1/2
Hilary Robertson 2/2

Philippe Legrain 1/2
Philippe Legrain 2/2

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary 1/3
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary 2/3
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary 3/3

Panel Discussion 1/3
Panel Discussion 2/3
Panel Discussion 3/3

For more information on the book, please go and visit the website here.

Talking Outsourcing Book Launch – thanks!

I could write a long note of thanks to everyone who helped, but why bother when I recorded a short video to say it instead? Do go and take a look here…

Talking Outsourcing

Launching a new book is always a nerve-wracking experience. My new one is based on the blog I’ve been writing in Computing since 2006, so it was a bit easier to put it together than starting from a blank page, but it’s still a lot of work getting from the conversations around “I’m going to do a book of the blog” to actually seeing a book out there and available for people to buy.

Well, I have just about got there. It should be ready for printing next week and as soon as I’ve checked the results, it should begin distribution and start becoming available for sale. I believe it will be at the end of the month, so I’m hoping to arrange a launch party in July.

In the meantime, take a look at the cover here and let me know what you think.

Ada Lovelace Day 2009

When I was a student, focused on computer science and software engineering, I can remember that there was only one woman in my class. And she was a bit odd. A biker with a collection of leather jackets and a haircut that looked like Edward Scissorhands had done his worst – drunk.
In fact, my entire class was an assembled collection of oddballs, me included, with my Morrissey-inspired vegetarianism and flowers-in-the-pocket-fashion. What would you expect of a computer science class in the 1980s? We were the children of the micro revolution. I cut my teeth on the Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore PET, and Dragon 32… teaching myself BASIC in a number of guises, and assembly code for chips like the 6502, 6510, and Z80.
When I was studying computer science, one of the things I had to learn was how to write software in the programming language Ada. It’s quite hard compared to languages like BASIC or C, which I was using at the time. It’s a lot more rigorous and doesn’t allow for the fast and loose coding I liked – especially when creating my latest game.
One of the things I discovered at that time, and read more about as I left college and found that some of the things they were trying to teach me were actually quite interesting, was that Ada Lovelace inspired Ada. The language was originally designed by the US defence department and named in her honour – because she is the first recorded computer programmer, ever. She wrote extensively on Babbage’s work, such as the Analytical Engine, and her commentary on the early days of computing and programming stand up today as the best record of those pioneering achievements.
And so that brings me to today. It’s Ada Lovelace day today, a day where bloggers around the world are joining together to promote women who are important or influential in technology today. It’s an important initiative because the technology world needs to involve more women, yet I suspect the computer science higher education classes of today are probably similar to my memories of the 1980s.
Angelica Mari is the woman I want to draw attention to as a great role model for young women thinking about a career in technology. She is a senior reporter at Computing magazine, the most important business technology journal in the UK.
Of course, I would say this as I write a blog for Computing myself and Angelica is my girlfriend, but I admired her work before I was ever lucky enough to date her. And it’s a fact that Computing is the best tech magazine in Britain, because the editor focuses on business and how technology interacts with business – not just the technology itself.
Take a look at Computing magazine, and week after week Angelica is breaking new and important stories about technology and how real managers in business are using it or are affected by it. Her energy and enthusiasm for getting to the bottom of a story is really infectious. She has improved my own writing through her enthusiasm and style.
But she also has a real passion for the environment and how clean technologies can make a difference, not just to the technology industry, but to every industry.
And I’m now working on a book with her that also focuses on the use of technology by business. Her ideas changed my entire view on how the book might work and so the focus shifted – making it a far better project. She has a great insight into what ‘normal’ people think about technology and how it influences the work of non-techies, and I really have a great deal of respect for her insight – as well as her writing. I will blog more about this book when we are closer to publication – for now it’s still under wraps.
Technology itself is changing the world of journalism, but there will always be a market for writers who can see the effect of technology on the real world – whether that comment appears in blogs or broadsheets. If any young women currently at school or university are considering a career that spans both technology and journalism then I’d advise them to Google Angelica for an example of someone who is going to be one of the leading technology commentators of the next decade.