Just because I think this cute.
Interesting stats on UK TV platforms. It seems the UK still prefer free to air services over subscription ones by quite a large margin.
Personal prediction: this balance won’t change much over time for broadcast platforms but expect on demand, low cost internet platforms like NetFlix and LoveFilm to eat away at the subscription base and perhaps drive a price war.
Happy Birthday Leonhard Euler.
Windows XP. One Year until the end of support.
There can’t be many people by now who do not know Windows XP is reaching the end of its support life. It was in many ways the most successful and popular Operating System Microsoft ever released. It brought together the old Windows 95/98/ME family with the more robust Windows NT family into one experience - in fact that is what XP meant “eXPerience”. Originally it might have been criticised for being less than perfectly secure - rightly in many ways, but then it came from the era of non-connected PCs where any programme expected to be able to do anything to any part of the hardware. It got a major new leaf of life though when Microsoft released Service Pack 2 (SP2) which pretty much fixed the security concerns as part of their Secure Computing initiative.
So if it was so popular, successful and (latterly) secure why does it have to end? In short because it was architected over 10 years ago and the kernel of the system was not designed for security but had it bolted on. The technology in later versions of Windows is much better designed for security and for adding new technologies. Vista may not have been popular as the changes meant it did not perform well on old machines but by the time Windows 7 came along pretty much all of the issues were fixed and it has become popular and widely used. Windows 8 builds on that, improves again for performance and security and introduces a new (if somewhat controversial) “touch first” user interface.
What should I do if I still have XP systems?
In my last role at Microsoft I led a team responsible for helping people move off old technologies to new ones so I probably ought to confess to some bias here. My team had the distinction of having the best deployment figures for new Windows and Office versions of any group in the UK for the 4 years I ran the team so I think I can claim a little experience in the area and can share some tips.
Firstly: Plan. Let’s be honest if you are running a business that still relies heavily on Windows XP I would be surprised if this is news to you and you probably already have a plan as what to do when support ends next year. For most companies I expect this mostly will mean moving to a newer version of Windows - almost certainly Windows 7 perhaps with some Windows 8 for your more advanced users. It also is a good time to think about how you support non Windows devices like phones and tablets.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, don’t make this a one off move. Doing big upgrades of any major software platform is expensive and there is another way. We used to call it “Business as Usual Deployment” - it may be a set of buzz words but it represents sound practice. In the time since Windows XP was released the tools and processes to manage systems have come a long way. Changes no longer need be big bangs where everything changes at once. One size no longer needs fit all. Use this as a chance to do things differently in the future and you will not regret it. There are lots of people out there who can help: talk to your Microsoft contacts or your partners: they have done this before.
Finally treat this as an opportunity. The world of IT has changed and will continue to change. We hear phrases like “Consumerisation of IT” and “Bring your own devices”. People talk of the “Post PC” world. Whatever the phrases there is no doubt most enterprises are or soon will be operating in an environment where one type of one brand of one build of PC and operating system no longer meets all their IT needs. Seize these changes and your users will thank you in the long run.
A year may be a long time in politics but it isn’t in an IT project. If you have not acted already, do it today.
There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.
I loath open plan offices with a passion. So often they are introduced to save money under some guise of “increasing collaboration” coupled with some spurious ecological message as well. In reality what they do is restrict privacy, create noisy distractions and if you are in a mobile sort of job like sales conversely they can be a depressingly empty space when people are on the road. They get doubly depressing when they are “hot desks” with no defined space.
People like their own spaces they can identify and customise. They like the ability to control who enters those spaces. In effect they want somewhere that feels like home.
This article is an excellent summary of the issues pitfalls and advantages of open plan offices but in reality it’s pretty simple: ask people what they want and give options.
People vary and how they work best varies and it is the same with their working environments. Of course like many things to make these ideas work you need good management and governance that lets them manage and not just chase imposed one size fits all processes but that is a whole other article.