Tag Archives: technology

Bikinis not Burqas

I’m at the Brasscom Global IT Forum 2010 in Rio de Janeiro.

I was talking a couple of days ago to a very senior figure in the Brazilian technology industry and he listed all the benefits of working with Brazil, including the deep domain knowledge, heritage of the IT industry, and the flexibility of the people. But then he said that often the reality is that an executive will end up with two or three possible locations where they can work and so it’s soft benefits that will help influence the decision. On that note, he waved his arm at the winter sunshine and pretty girls around us in a cafe and said, would you rather be visiting Brazil or Bangladesh?

It’s a serious point. I have heard rumours in the past of one company that invested in a back office in Sri Lanka just because the wife of the CEO wanted the ability to regularly visit the beaches there.

And in terms of lifestyle, Brazil has to be one of the most favourable locations in the world – particularly here in Rio de Janeiro. As I write this blog I am in a major hotel conference centre, yet I am also about 10 metres from the golden sand of Ipanema beach, with waves crashing onto the shore as the only noise disturbing the conference speaker.

It’s winter in Brazil at present, yet it’s still 20c. In northern Europe, that’s quite a nice warm day. To many Brazilians it’s chilly, though the joggers on the beach are in shorts and T-shirts. The whole city screams work-life balance because offices can be just metres from the beach – like my hotel.

I was enjoying a drink on the rooftop bar of the hotel last night and I mentioned the ‘Brazil or Bangladesh’ comment to another leading Brazilian tech player. He immediately said: “It’s all about our business plan B – are you interested in bikinis or burqas?”

It’s not culturally sensitive or politically correct, but both commentators are telling a real truth in a humourous way. If you are an executive and you are choosing a place to invest, once basic competencies and price are all compared and a short list is created, the soft factors are going to play a major role in helping you choose where you want to work.

And it’s very hard to beat Brazil as a nice place to do business.

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Brazil and technology

I’m blogging next week from the Gartner Sourcing Summit in São Paulo, Brazil. And following that, I’ll be in Rio de Janeiro for a government led event focused on the tech industry in Brazil.

Take a look at the speakers at the Gartner summit by following the link above. If you want me to ask any questions about the tech industry in Brazil to any of these good people, or the government people, then just send me a message…

Hedkandi Brazil

BBC film was not just a rant

I had a few comments about my appearance on BBC Click suggesting it was just a rant. There were a few unsympathetic voices by email even. It’s pretty easy to find me online, so I had to expect that.

Well, I’m not hanging my head asking for forgiveness, or ranting about how unfair it is that the big boy Google is a bully. The film on Click was a measured look at how the strict application of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is essentially not going to work as we head further into the future.

Think about this for a moment. Where do you store your photo collection? I know that I have over 10,000 photos on Flickr, along with a box of old photos, but I am not taking any new photos that are going in the box – they are now all going online.

What happens if people start complaining about my photos and the host decides to delete my account? I don’t keep a local backup of all that content. And even if I did keep everything locally, what happens if the hard disk fails or goes up in flames?

The point about my YouTube account was that there were two complaints from over two years ago, then the Jimmy Carr complaint caused the account to be wiped without any notification. I just had no account anymore. Nobody told me a thing. I had to chase YouTube for several days just to find out why my account had vanished.

Google does not make the ‘three strikes’ policy clear anywhere, even in the small print. Saying repeat offenders will have their account removed is not the same as explicitly saying three-strikes-and-you’re-out.

And I never contested those earlier copyright claims – I never felt that I could. Imagine if Jean-Michel Jarre invited his fans to upload video, but his music publisher complained to YouTube. How would I think that I have any right to fight the music publisher? Because that’s the exact situation that occurred.

Naturally, when I lost my account, I did push back on these complaints – even the ones from 2008 – and as I said in the film, they were all removed as mistakes. But they were mistakes that for a period of time had cost me my entire video collection.

The whole point of this is that I agree that the law has to be followed, I agree piracy needs to be managed, but the fact is that the way the law is applied by Google at present means that many innocents will get caught up and will lose their content, even though you could not argue that they are deliberately trying to pirate material.

Maggie Philbin: Ada Lovelace day 2010

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. The first Ada Lovelace Day was held on 24th March 2009 and was a huge success. It attracted nearly 2000 signatories to the pledge and 2000 more people who signed up on Facebook. In case you are not aware of who Ada Lovelace was, in short she is regarded as the world’s first ever computer programmer.

And what are the pledges for? It’s a pledge to write on your blog about an admirable woman in technology or science and to then submit the blog to the Finding Ada website, so there is a large collection of stories about women in technology.

I’d like to name Maggie Philbin from the BBC as one of my female technology heroes. Why Maggie? Well I know a lot of the Finding Ada blogs will be about academic heroes, or Nobel laureates, but I thought I would mention someone who really convinced me to get into technology myself in the first place because of her TV work on technology.

When I became old enough to understand technology programmes on TV, the flagship science and technology show on the BBC was called Tomorrow’s World – a show Maggie presented for 8 years. You can take a look at the BBC archive of Tomorrow’s World shows here – I particularly like the Christmas 1982 edition as it has the theme music I always preferred.

Maggie was always the least geeky, most normal and down to earth, of the Tomorrow’s World presenters, something reassuring when I was a young kid who could write software on every microcomputer on the market – before I even owned one. I would hang around in department stores studying them, exploring the chip-set, and often breaking them in the process as I loitered around the shop bashing Z80 assembler into a 6502 chip. But I never saw my own interest as something geeky – it was a means to an end, and meant I could get the computer to do things that were fun, such as writing my own games.

Maggie Philbin always made technology in the 1980s really interesting – and fun. Just look at this video of satellite TV from 1989 – before satellite TV had actually launched in the UK! I’m sure there was a plan and a script, but it looks more like ad lib, because of course they used to broadcast live back then – so there were occasional technology disasters when the supposed new technology just did not work on TV.

So if I was going to explore how I ended up taking the career path I did, first into software development and eventually writing and teaching about technology (and the effects of technology), then the BBC bears much of the responsibility. First for broadcasting a prime time show like Tomorrow’s World with such memorable antics as spreading jam on a CD to see if the laser would still work. Then second, for memorable presenters like Maggie making the subject matter interesting and connecting it to real life, rather than just being the stuff of the laboratory.

So Maggie, please join the others on the Finding Ada list of honour!

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!

Want to stand in the BCS ELITE committee election?

I got this email today from the ELITE chair at the British Computer Society. ELITE is the IT director-level group of the BCS. They have a number of vacancies on their board. If you fancy putting your name forward for a place then just follow the instructions listed below… If you need a proposer and seconder then take a look at the ELITE website to check on the board members.
—-
Dear Elite Member,
We have a number of vacancies on the Elite committee. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the work of Elite, and I urge anyone who
wants to become involved to put themselves forward for election.  Any member of the Elite Group who is also a member of BCS can be nominated to stand for the position of Committee member.
A Proposer and a Seconder (who are also Elite members) will be required for the nomination to be entered into the election process.
A Committee member shall be elected to serve a maximum term of three years at which point they must stand down. They can offer themselves for re-election but may only serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.
If you would like to stand, then please e-mail a profile and photograph of yourself, no longer than 25 lines plus the names of your
proposer and seconder to Judith Taylor at  elite@hq.bcs.org.uk by Friday 5th February 2010.
Please note that HQ cannot provide you with any Elite membership details due to the DP Act.
We encourage members to attend meetings to meet with other Elite members so they could nominate a member wishing to stand for election.
If you would like to find out more about what is involved then I would be happy to have a talk.
Yours sincerely
David Tidey
Acting-Chair ELITE
David.Tidey@bcs.org