New e-mail law ‘is an attack on civil liberties’

February 4, 2009

by Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter, and Richard Ford, Home Correspondent – Times Online

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“Upcoming rules that force internet companies to hold details of every e-mail sent in Britain are a waste of money and an attack on privacy, according to a prominent security expert.

From March, all internet service providers (ISPs) will have to keep data about e-mails sent and received in the UK for a year. The content of individual e-mails will not be kept by the authorities, but the timing and number of each communication will be stored.

At the moment, a similar database of telephone records – fixed and mobile – is held by telephone companies. The implementation of an EU directive, agreed after the alleged plot in August 2006 to set off bombs aboard transatlantic airlines, will extend the information available to the Government to include e-mail and internet traffic.

The Government will reportedly have to pay the ISPs more than £25 million to ensure the law is obeyed. ”

Full story: Times Online

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HTC S710 – a smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard

August 12, 2008

I recently read a review of the HTC S710 smartphone and was so impressed with the features that I have just ordered it via BT.  If you, like me, already have BT Total Broadband (with an old white Hub) you can upgrade to the newer (black) version and have BT Total Broadband Anywhere for just an extra £5 per month.

I decided to pay a one-off payment of £29.99 to upgrade the handset to the HTC S710.

As anyone reading this blog will know, I have been looking for a smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard for ages and ages and ages … for an extra £5 per month, I decided to bite the bullet and buy this one … I’m sure it won’t be perfect … but I think it will do the job I want.

 

Key features:-

– spring-loaded QWERTY keyboard

– Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard

– WiFi

– Internet Explorer Mobile

– Windows Live Messenger

– Outlook Contacts easily transferrable to the handset

– View / Edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files

 

I’ll post my own review once I’ve had chance to make full use of the HTC S710 and would love to hear from anyone who already owns one.

 

Read the full review here


Online Event Management software

November 4, 2007

If you want to organise an Event but don’t have a huge team to co-ordinate everything, it will be vital to make the very best use of online event management software currently available.

I have recently discovered rsvpBook and would love to hear from anyone who has practical experience of using this software OR any other online event management software … rsvpBOOK

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Some of the features which appeal to me are:

E-mail messaging:
Send e-mail invites, reminders and custom messages to your list
Resend invites to addresses not yet registered
E-mail confirmations and receipts are sent automatically to guests
Receive e-mail (or not) each time someone registers for your event
Receive notification when you approach your maximum # of registrants

Online Payment Processing with Reporting:
Accept online payments through your own PayPal account
Or, connect directly to your own merchant account
Include item thumbnail pictures and popup enlargements
View and download sales by item, group and customer
View transaction data for any date range
Set up Promo Codes to track your advertising
Offer early-bird discounts, manage inventory and use start/stop-selling dates
 

Sessions and Tracks with Reporting:
Set up an unlimited number of sessions; require attendance, or not
Specify title, speaker, description, room, dates, times, audience
View and download attendee lists; send reminders-to-attend to session attendees
Set maximum number of attendees per session, automatic wait-lists
Move wait-listed attendees to the in-list
Move attendees from one session to another with auto e-mail confirmation
Print out session itineraries, one page per person – hand out at the door

Post-Event Services:
Post images and documents for downloads after your event
Send a guest survey after your event
Sell items after your event has occurred – tapes and CDs of speakers

There are various packages, at different price points, including a free trial so that you can try it before committing yourself.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has used this software to arrange any event from a small workshop to a huge multi-sessional conference.


The Internet, Anywhere … Is PocketSurfer2 the answer?

October 11, 2007

Do you need Internet access and a QWERTY keyboard and a decent sized screen?

I have been looking for a PDA or Smartphone for what seems like ages but nothing really ticked all the boxes for me.  I currently make do with a powerful laptop and a nifty, small, Smartphone but I am still in the market for something which will enable me to access the internet which is small enough to easily carry around AND which is big enough to easily type emails.

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Have I found the answer in the PocketSurfer2?

In the UK it is currently available via Amazon and will be available from John Lewis from the end of October 2007.  I contacted Datawind for further information who replied:

PocketSurfer2 is a dedicated Internet browser that enables the web surfing experience is seen just as it is at home or work, in its original format, with the original layout and full graphics in seconds.  There is no mobile phone functionality.  The device uses the Orange network. PocketSurfer2’s larger screen delivers an experience similar to that of the desktop through a full VGA-width, 640-pixel, color screen, compared to 320 pixels on most PDA’s and 120 pixels on most wireless phones. A full backlit “QWERTY” thumb keyboard allows for fast data entry, while lithium rechargeable battery keeps the device powered through active usage for up to 5 hours (5 days standby). You can enjoy the internet for surfing any website (BBC, Yahoo, Google, MSN), GPS (location based service) , News, Stocks, Online banking/ Trading, Remote PC access, Maps, IM (Chatting) and do much more which conventional hand held Web Access devices like Blackberry and Treo’s have failed to deliver.

PocketSurfer2 is priced at £179.99 in UK. This incredibly low price includes 20 hours per month usage extended over 1year. Should you need more hours on this unit there is a unlimited usage per month and that would cost £5.99per month. At this price and the access to Mobile Internet anywhere anytime, you are looking at applications which one can never get on any PDA at this price even in near future. Once outside the UK roaming charges do apply. This can be done by calling Customer Services who will be happy to activate you device for roaming. Currently the charge for roaming is £14.99/hours chargeable in one minute increments.”

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There is a review in PC Advisor (November 2007 edition) but they were only able to review a pre-release version.  Has anyone used one yet?  If so, I would love to hear from you … 


Misuse of Information Technology

September 4, 2007

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[article from The Telegraph Business Club]…

10 years of an average working life spent on email with over three years wasted.An EU-wide survey commissioned by Plantronics, Inc. from the Henley Management College’s Future Work Forum with Prof. David Birchall leading the investigation, provides new insight into how managers actually use information and communications technology (ICT) within their organisations and what impact the technology is having on the enterprise in general.

The survey makes uncomfortable reading for anyone who believed new technology would automatically break down the barriers to communication, transforming organisations for the better.

[full article at:  http://www.telegraphbusinessclub.co.uk/default.asp?p_id=search&showresults=1&showarticle=2228 including a link to a downloadable Report]


Inbox/Outbox 2007

August 28, 2007

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CHAINED TO THE INBOX – IS EMAIL RUNNING YOUR LIFE?

Over 50% of UK business users are self-inflicted ‘emailaholics’ according to new research by Mesmo Consultancy, announced at Inbox/Outbox 2007

London, UK – Over 50% of UK business users are unable to walk away from their emails, even when on leave or off sick, according to the results of Mesmo Consultancy’s latest research on email behaviour as revealed at Inbox/Outbox 2007.

More than half of the 415 respondents check emails when out of the office and 12% check over 5 times a day. When questioned on the main reason for keeping in touch with the office, 67% admitted that it is purely self-inflicted whilst only 20% log in because their office expects them to do so.  Couple these figures with the fact that 1 in 4 Britons works longer than 48 hours each week, as reported last month by the International Labour Organisation, and the picture painted of work / life balance is pretty bleak.

In a technology-enabled “always-on” society, where people are connected to their workplace 24/7, email addiction is rapidly becoming a widespread affliction, highlighted by the mushrooming number of internet sites and blogs suggesting rehab tips and techniques. As the Mesmo survey reported, only 17% of respondents give colleagues permission to deal with their emails in their absence and over 80% read every single email in their inbox.

“The role that email plays in office politics (CC and BCC being the most lethal weapons), the fear of missing something and being blamed for it, together with the amount of personal emails received at work addresses are surely accountable for the lack of delegation and obsessive inbox scanning behaviour, contributing directly to the addiction,” commented Dr. Monica Seeley, founder of Mesmo Consultancy. “Moreover, as the survey showed, the majority of users are expecting to receive a reply to a business email in less than 24 hours. And if a reply is sent immediately, that sets the expectation for the next round of communications, fostering a very reactive and rather unproductive way of working.” 

Issues around work efficiency and productivity were even highlighted by the way in which the survey’s responses were collected. The research, conducted by email amongst 4000 UK business users with 66% of respondents at managerial/director level, attracted approximately half of the responses within the first hour of sending out the survey. This indicates that the majority of business users are willing to be distracted from the task in hand by emails landing in their inbox, breaking concentration with obvious loss of productivity as a consequence.

Mesmo Consultancy is planning to run another survey in association with the organisers of Inbox/Outbox within the next few months, to delve deeper into business users’ email behaviour and addiction. The results will be announced at the next Inbox/Outbox event (www.inbox-outbox.com), due to take place on the 27th and 28th of November at the New Connaught Rooms in Central London.