Tag Archives: hillary

I was not born in Belfast, but that’s what my Brazil ID card says…

I just collected my Brazilian permanent ID card. It’s taken many visits to the policia federal in Lapa to get this far. Though my permanent resident status was approved back in September 2011, it has taken about six months for them to produce a plastic card – and I had to go in person to fetch it.

The card says that I am British – quite correct. But it says that I was born in Northern Ireland – wrong. I was born in Surrey, England.

The police said that they cannot choose the UK, Great Britain, or England as a place of birth on their computer system, so they chose Northern Ireland as it is “pretty close”… I explained that it was wrong, but they said that my nationality is correct and I won’t have any problem using the card even if my place of birth is not correct.

Imagine that. The police and immigration officials can’t even put my correct country of birth on my ID card because of a computer system SNAFU.

Still, I don’t mind being from the Emerald Isle. It could have been worse, France is closer to Surrey than Northern Ireland!

Brazil ID

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Lunatics and bigots

A long time ago, when I wrote my first book, someone came up to me at a party and suggested that they could have written a better book. It may have been just a light-hearted joke, but I could see that he was serious and quite affronted that I had written a book that he felt he was better qualified to write.

I just said to him that he should do it – plenty of people believe they could have written a better book, or made a better film, or written a better piece of music, but how many of them actually go out and do it? If all the great books, symphonies, and films have already been created then why do people keep on creating new ones anyway? Nobody has a monopoly on the truth.

Because of these experiences I learned long ago to ignore those who are critical without offering alternatives or improvements, rather like an old boss of mine who always wanted his team to come to him with suggestions on how to fix a problem, rather than bleating about the problem itself.

But recently, I’ve been receiving critical comments from an individual on LinkedIn and Twitter. He has now called my magazine IT Decisions ‘bigoted’. Fortunately for him, he did not address his abuse to me personally because as most people know, making menacing threats or libel via electronic means is quite a serious offence in most jurisdictions.

I’m not personally all that bothered. Anyone who publishes an opinion of any form has to expect some ridiculous responses now and then. However, back in Jane Eyre, Mr Rochester could lock his wife away in the attic. Now the lunatics have Twitter and other social networks to publish their world view.

So what did IT Decisions publish that’s so terrible?

Here is a report, commenting on research from Nasscom lamenting how few Indian graduates are ready for employment. It’s not me making these claims directly, it’s the Indian trade association Nasscom. Got that? It’s an Indian trade association bemoaning their own education system – not me.

In my view, the Indian hi-tech industry has enough good graduates due to the sheer numbers coming through college, but if the universities were more attuned to what industry needs then things could be a lot better. And the point of the article was anyway to contrast the value of full-time and part-time education, with the view that a part-time education may be more valuable than most have given it credit for.

Then, this report on the views of the Brasscom president, Antonio Gil. That’s the Brazilian hi-tech trade asssociation – similar to Nasscom in India. Gil made some flippant remarks about Brazilian IT teams being more inquisitive than Chinese or Indians. I reported his remarks, within the context of them not being politically correct, though having more than a grain of truth because of the way IT companies work in these different locations.

IT Decisions reports on what is important to technology decision makers in Brazil, but my magazine doesn’t have a hidden agenda. It’s not there to bash India and China, or only ever blow a trumpet for Brazil. When the magazine extensively covered the recent IT worker strikes in São Paulo we were accused by some in Brazil of being too negative and not promoting the industry enough.

My response to those people in Brazil was that we are not here as flag-wavers for the local industry, we are reporting facts that are relevant for those buying IT systems.

And that’s the reality. You can’t please all the people all the time if you want to try reporting the truth. Reporting always has some favour, or slant, or agenda, but in general we are trying to provide good information and analysis, without adverts, without press releases, without vendor-sponsored content, and without spin.

For those reasons alone, IT Decisions is already a lot more honest than most newspapers who need to keep a proprietor happy, or advertisers on board, or to appeal to the prejudice of regular readers.

I have plenty of good friends in India who know exactly how much I have written positively about that country and how far their IT industry has come in the past couple of decades. I don’t need to defend myself here when I have personal notes of thanks from people in India, all the way up to Manmohan Singh himself. I wonder if Dr Singh would have taken the time to write a note of thanks to me if he considered me and my magazine to be bigoted India-bashers?

Jane Eyre

My wedding, on the BBC…

BBC Technology Editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching his new series on Radio 4 today. Titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking’ it is a three-part documentary exploring the origins of social networking, going back to the 1970s.

The programme starts with my wedding to Angelica, and there is a trailer film on the BBC website today promoting the radio show and featuring several minutes of film from our wedding day!

Click here to watch the film

I’m moving to Brazil

Some of you may be aware already, but I’m moving to São Paulo in Brazil. I’m starting a new business in 2011 called IT Decisions, which will be a CIO magazine/community/research house and I hope will shake up the model of analysis of the tech sector in Latin America – and media coverage for board-level technology.

I’m still in London now, but I am busy with packing and closing out a lot of final work-related things. However, here are few places you might be able to catch me if you want to say goodbye:

Dec 11. Clan London Christmas party

Dec 15. CW500 Club

Dec 16. Billy Bragg at the Troxy

Dec 18. Smyths at Kilburn

Dec 20. Pogues at Brixton

Dec 22. BibleCode Sundays at Waxy’s

Dec 23. Rose & Crown in Ealing from 6pm (farewell to the Ealing tweetup crowd)

After that, I’m gone. Christmas is with my family down in Hampshire then I’m flying to Brazil on the 28th…

Computer Weekly on Brazil

BBC Click is now online

At last! The BBC Click TV show where I present an entire package on Google is online and being broadcast all over the world this week on BBC World TV. It went out on BBC1 this morning in the UK and my sister was texting me, surprised to get messages from her friends telling her to switch on!

Click here to go and watch it on the BB iPlayer…

Me on BBC Click

Creative Commons

If you take a look at my Flickr page right now, there are over 10,500 photographs. I’ve also got about 1,000 ready to be uploaded – I just haven’t had enough time to get them all tagged. Almost all my photos are uploaded and tagged with a description of the content and then licensed as Creative Commons – meaning they are free for anyone to use provided I get credited as the photographer.

I just had an email from the Museum of London telling me that they are setting up an exhibition that will be there for the next ten years and they are planning to use one of my photos – this one.

That’s just the latest use of my photos.They have featured in magazines in the USA, Japan, and across Europe. My Rothko photo has been used by many artists and art academics. My Ajanta photos from India have ended up in a very detailed academic book on the subject of cave carvings.

I am forever finding my own photos on blogs and in Wikipedia. I once noticed a photo in Wikipedia that looked familiar and found – after a bit of digging to find the credit – that it was my own.

I enjoy seeing my photos being used all over the world by people for all kinds of reasons and I’ve no problem with people using them for purposes that may even be profitable for them – so long as I get credited. I once found someone selling coasters and bags on eBay featuring pictures of dogs – one of the dogs was my own pet and these products were all using my photos! When I contacted the seller asking where they got the photos, I was told to sling my hook… when I showed them my Flickr account, they removed their products and slunk away tail between legs.

I’m just a snapper. I’m only capturing images using a camera-phone, but I might upgrade soon to a decent camera. There are many photographers populating these repositories of stock photos and doing it in a more professional way than I am – what does that mean for the future of the *paid* stock photo library?
Rothko - Black on Maroon

I’m leaving Computing

I’ve been writing my Talking Outsourcing blog in Computing for four years now. It’s grown into one of the most popular blogs on the magazine and even spawned a book-of-the-blog. Some of you might remember the book launch talk I gave last October where I changed shirt about five times while still speaking. It made a change from the regular talks on outsourcing.
Talking Outsourcing - book cover

But I’ve written over 450 blogs on outsourcing for Computing now and it’s time for a new challenge, so you will soon be able to see me publishing a video (and text) blog on sourcing and globalisation in silicon.com as well as my recently launched SocialITe blog on enterprise social media in Computer Weekly. It’s sad to let the Computing blog go, but it’s time to move on to do something new and possibly a little more visual – that is, if you can cope with my mug on camera.

Take a look here for a comment on video. I will see you commenting on the new blogs soon I hope… or chatting on my Twitter.