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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Getting rid of IE6 - civil servants please ignore this.

This notice from PayPal caught my eye today in relation to safe web browsers. Getting on my hobby horse again (see previous post on this topic), I wonder when the UK public sector are going to wake up to the fact that the vast majority of government staff (central and local) have no other choice but to use Internet Explorer 6. IE6 is no longer supported by Microsoft, does not benefit from the latest security software patches, is not supported by a growing number of social media websites (e.g. YouTube, Flickr), does not comply with W3C standards, and is the antithesis of a web productivity tool. I had hoped that Socitm might take up the campaign to get IE6 replaced - or to at least to support the concept of staff having an alternative to IE6 in the workplace - but they remain strangely silent on this issue, despite the fact that this could be one of the most significant staff productivity improvements available to the sector -to say nothing of the improved security.

So, sorry civil servants, you can ignore the remainder of this post since it is clearly of no relevance to you. Best just to think of 'phishing' as something that people do with a rod and line!

If you are not using the latest versions of internet browser, you’re putting yourself at risk. PayPal and the next-generation of web browsers, support anti-phishing technologies. These safer web browsers make it easier to spot web forgery (commonly called “phishing”) and alert or block you from entering personal information that may lead to identify theft.

Download Firefox 3, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 8

Firefox, Google Chrome and the latest versions of Internet Explorer have built-in features that alert you when you're on a fraudulent site. This means if you accidently click on a fraudulent email, you'll be alerted and warned before the page opens.

Check that you're using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer by clicking the browser's 'Help' button and selecting 'About'. If you're ready for an upgrade, click on the links below to download and install.

Download Chrome
Download Firefox

Download Internet Explorer

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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Online Information Conference Call For Papers - Deadline 3rd May.

ONLINE INFORMATION CONFERENCE

CALL FOR PAPERS

Last week for submissions - Deadline 3rd May

Don't miss your chance to be involved with the highly regarded Online Information Conference this year. There is just one week left before the call for papers closes and here are some of the reasons why you should submit a proposal and join a host of professionals from across the industry.

  • Show case your work with 700 delegates from over 40 countries and be seen as a pioneer and leader in what you do
    If you have been part of a successful (or unsuccessful) project with innovative best practices, lessons learned, hints and tips, then we want to hear from you

  • Benefit from the extensive marketing campaign and promotional exposure/recognition you will receive from being part of one of the largest conferences serving the information industry.
    You and your organisation will be listed in the printed brochure (sent to 22,000) and on the website (emails to 24,000)

  • Join a roster of industry authorities and use this opportunity to raise your profile. Previous keynote speakers to the programme include:

Charlene Li, Co-Author 'Groundswell' and thought leader on social technologies
Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton
Nigel Shadbolt, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Head Research,
University of Southampton
Blaise Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Society for Information
Science and Technology
Clay Shirky, Author of 'Here Comes Everybody'
Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
Dr David Weinberger, Co-author of 'The Cluetrain Manifesto'
Dr Jakob Nielsen, described as 'The king of usability'
Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, The British Library

  • Selected speakers receive a FREE place to the 3 day conference and co-located exhibition, worth over £900

For information on conference themes, making your submission, review criteria please click on the links below.

I look forward to receiving your proposal

Stephen Dale
Chairman
Online Information Conference 2010

Please click for more information on

Conference themes

Conference Committee

Delegate Profile

Making your submission 

Review criteria

SUBMIT YOUR PAPER HERE

Please note: Deadline for submissions is Monday 3 May

Posted via web from stephendale's posterous

Access to Gov data - where the US leads, the UK will follow?

Americans are turning in large numbers to government websites to access information and services. Fully 82% of internet users (representing 61% of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the twelve months preceding this survey. Some of the specific government website activities in which Americans take part include: 48% of internet users have looked for information about a public policy or issue online with their local, state or federal government. So will we be seeing the same sort of appetite for (Gov/Local Gov) data consumption in the UK? I believe so, and - better late than never - the 'Make Public Data Public' initiative and access to public data afforded by data.gov.uk will I'm sure drive similar interest and citizen take-up. The momentum is starting to build, and we're seeing the birth of 21st century government, which is going to be a lot more transparent than it's discredited 20th century version. http://amplify.com/u/5g3u

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Monday, 26 April 2010

Knowledge Hub Hotseat (transcript)

The following is a transcript of the Knowledge Hub ‘Hot Seat’ on-line question and answer session that took place on 26th February 2010 on the IDeA CoP Platform. 

 Further information about the Knowledge Hub is available at: http://www.local.gov.uk/knowledgehub

Edited Transcript from the video:

Just a brief introduction to the knowledge hub.

Have you ever had problems finding information amongst all over conversations going on out in the virtual world? Yes you can do a Google search and you might be lucky and find the information relevant to you, but the fact is these days there are more and more conversations and they are increasingly disaggregated. Anybody can set up a new network; anybody can post a blog and twitter about things. What the Knowledge Hub will do is connect all of these conversations, whether they are tweets, blogs, community conversations or feeds from individual websites, into one place.

The clever bit is to be able to aggregate and theme all of  this content so that users can make some sense of it. The Hub will link information (data) to conversations and conversations to personal profiles, so that users can identify the knowledge that is most relevant to them and their needs.

The Knowledge Hub will also support ‘mash-ups’ and data visualisation apps for comparing performance (e.g. efficiency metrics) against benchmark data and other statistics. We will be encouraging people who use the knowledge hub to create their own applications and make them available through things like an application store, so that anybody in the sector can use these ‘widgets’ and plug-ins with iGoogle or their iPhones or other PDA devices.

I’m happy to give you further information as part of this hotseat session and will try and answer any questions that you have. See also the Knowledge Hub Community of Practice

 




 

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Friday, 23 April 2010

Knowledge Hub Hotseat (transcript)


The following is a transcript of the Knowledge Hub ‘Hot Seat’ on-line question and answer session that took place on 26th February 2010 on the IDeA CoP Platform.
 Further information about the Knowledge Hub is available at: http://www.local.gov.uk/knowledgehub


Transcript from the video:

Just a brief introduction to the knowledge hub, about what it is. I think the best way of explaining this is to think in terms of you, have you ever had problems finding information amongst all over conversations going on out there? Yes you can do a Google search and you might be lucky and find the information relevant to you, but the fact is these days there are more and more conversations and they are increasingly disaggregated. Anybody can set up a new network, anybody can actually blog and twitter about things. What the Knowledge Hub will do is bring all these conversations, whether they are tweets, blogs, community conversations or feeds from individual websites, all of that information can be pulled together in one place.
The clever bit that the Knowledge Hub does is be able to aggregate all this content in one place and make some sense of it. We can then link information (data) to conversations, so that we can identify where the conversations, say, around planning or efficiency are happening. So using the knowledge hub, you as a person looking for that information or wanting to participate in those conversations or discussions, or looking to get knowledge will actually know where to go because the knowledge hub will signpost where these key conversations are happening.
The add value to this is, because we are bringing data in as well, data on things like efficiency and performance, people using the knowledge hub can start creating their own value added applications. They can start looking at things like ‘mash-ups’ and comparing performance against benchmark data and other statistics. So we’re encouraging people who use the knowledge hub to create their own applications and make them available through things like an application store, so that anybody in can use these as ‘widgets’ that work with iGoogle or their iPhones or other PDA.
So I’m happy to give you anymore information as part of this hotseat session and will try and answer any questions that you have.








Sunday, 18 April 2010

Digital Economy Act fundamentally flawed (LibDems)

NEWS (full article)
The Digital Economy Act is fundamentally flawed and should be repealed, according to the Liberal Democrats. Technical measures proposed in the law, such as blocking websites for suspected copyright infringement, "simply aren't good enough", party leader Nick Clegg told ZDNet UK on Thursday. "The only way to improve bad law is to take it off the statute book and replace it with something better," said Clegg. "We managed to get measures like account suspension delayed for a year, so there is still time to repeal technical measures that won't work and put in place laws to tackle these issues in a fair and appropriate way." Clegg said while the Lib Dems agreed with most of the act, not enough time had been devoted to the law before it was passed during wash-up. Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the law when the Digital Economy Bill passed through the House of Commons, particularly due to concerns over account suspension. On Thursday, Clegg also told students on social-networking site The Student Room that the Digital Economy Act "badly needs to be repealed, and the issues revisited". I did lobby my MP to vote against this Act. Would like to hear the views of the other party leaders on this issue - they seem remarkably quiet on the topic at present. http://amplify.com/u/4qz4

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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Thomson Reuters gears up for 21st century business

Interesting news story in the FT about one of my old employers - Reuters (now Thomson Reuters).  I particularly liked the quote from Devon Wenig about catering for the 23 year old who has grown up with Google.  Abstract from the story below:

Thomson Reuters will on Wednesday unveil the biggest overhaul of its markets division since the merger that formed the financial and professional information group was completed two years ago this week.

A series of product launches starting next week and culminating in the autumn will bring together products from the former Reuters and Thomson Financial for the first time into two simplified platforms, one aimed at enterprises such as large banks, the other aimed at individual users such as small hedge funds.

The web-based platforms, which replace traditional terminal commands with online search, were part of a drive to cater to “the 23-year-old at Goldman Sachs who grew up with Google”, said Devin Wenig, chief executive of Thomson Reuters Markets.

They are also aimed at distinguishing Thomson Reuters from Bloomberg, its arch-rival, which invested heavily through the financial crisis but has remained committed to its one-size-fits-all terminals.


If only more organisations would realise that their 20th century IT tools are stifling a new generation of employees that have grown up with Web 2.0 tools and being connected 24/7. Good for Thomson Reuters, clearly one of the more enlightened companies!

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Online Information Conference 2010 - Call for Papers

ONLINE INFORMATION CONFERENCE - CALL FOR PAPERS

Have you submitted a proposal yet? The deadline of May 3rd is approaching fast.

Here's why you should submit a proposal:

  • Show case your work with 700 delegates from over 40 countries and be seen as a pioneer and leader in what you do
    If you have been part of a successful (or unsuccessful) project with innovative best practices, lessons learned, hints and tips, then we want to hear from you

  • Benefit from the extensive marketing campaign and promotional exposure/recognition you will receive from being part of one of the largest conferences serving the information industry.
    You and your organisation will be listed in the printed brochure (sent to 22,000) and on the website (emails to 24,000).

  • Join a roster of industry authorities and use this opportunity to raise your profile. Previous keynote speakers to the programme include:

    * Charlene Li, Co-Author of 'Groundswell'
    * Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton
    * Nigel Shadbolt, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Head Research, University of   Southampton
    * Blaise Cronin, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
    * Clay Shirky, Author of 'Here Comes Everybody'
    * Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
    * Dr David Weinberger, Co-author of 'The Cluetrain Manifesto'
    * Dr Jakob Nielsen, described as 'The king of usability'
    * Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, The British Library

  • Selected speakers receive a FREE place to the 3 day conference and co-located exhibition, worth over £900

For information on conference themes, making your submission and review criteria please click on the links  below

I look forward to receiving your proposal

Stephen Dale
Chairman
Online Information Conference 2010

 

1. Review Criteria and Submission Requirements 
2. Example Abstracts 
3. Conference Themes 
4. Delegate Profile 
5. Conference Committee 
6. Guidelines for Exhibitors 
7. NOW Click here to submit your paper online

Please note: Deadline for submissions is Monday 3 May

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Monday, 12 April 2010

Creating a feed for websites that do not support RSS

I’m not sure if anyone else has shared my frustration at having come across a really useful or interesting website and then discovered there is no RSS facility to subscribe to subsequent updates. Clearly the author/owner of the website believes that their readers will bookmark the site and keep popping back to see if there are any changes.  Not very realistic when there are several billion websites out there.

There’s also the perennial issue of the (mainly public sector) websites that fail to support RSS, with an antiquated content management system (CMS) often cited as the problem.  Mash the state (http://www.mashthestate.org.uk/) clearly had some good intentions in embarrassing local councils into providing an RSS feed on their website, but with only 32% of councils with this facility at the last count – well short of their target of getting all council websites to support RSS – they may well have given up on this crusade (indeed the website hasn’t been updated since 2009)

Anyway, there is a solution (sort of) which I had completely forgotten about until recently when I was reconfiguring some feeds in my Google Reader. This lets you create a web feed for websites that do not have an RSS facility. It’s a bit coarse in that you can only monitor changes to a whole webpage (rather than – say – just monitoring news updates), but better than nothing.

To make a custom Google Reader feed, all you need to do is cut and paste the URL (the web address) of the page you want to monitor into the box you get when you click on the ‘Add a subscription’ button at the top left of the Google Reader page.

I’ve shown below the screen shots for the feed I’ve juts created for my local council Uttlesford  - not, I might add because I think they’ve got anything interesting to say, but you never know, they might read this and respond by providing a real RSS feed on their website. I can live in hope!


 

Posted via web from stephendale's posterous

Monday, 5 April 2010

Are Civil Servants made for Social Media?

Picked up from Robert Hicks' post on FutureGov.

"Most senior civil servants are Generation Xers, born at a time without the internet. But does this mean that web communities are too ‘young’ for top officials to operate in effectively? In interviews with FutureGov, government officials from Australia, Malaysia and the UK argue that although civil servants may not feel comfortable using social media to reach young citizens, the rewards are worth the risks".

I'd partly agree with that, but thinking of the UK demographic of public sector employees, I think that majority of the decision makers fall into the Baby Boomer category (born 1940's to early '60's) than Generation X (born 1960s- 1970's), and it's these decision makers that are primarily responsible for blocking access to social media in their departments. They see no impact or consequence of blocking social media because they don't use it, either for work or personal use. Regrettably, they are limiting the opportunities for their departments to engage with the increasing number of citizens of all ages who are using social media, and risk creating departmental 'ghetos', isolated from the conversations that may have some direct relevance to them.

Glyn Evans the Director of Business Change at Birmingham City Council in the UK make a good point ..."external communication has traditionally been mediated through communications professionals whereas social media engagement is direct and potentially puts the civil servant personally ‘in the firing line’." True, but with suitable training, and having a clearly defined and communicated social media policy, most civil servants should be able to deal with this.

The post concludes with reference to how British civil servants are being encouraged to get more involved online. The greater use of digital technologies was a key part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent speech, and the Conservative opposition has been making similar noises. With a General Election looming, use of social media by civil servants is “likely to increase significantly". Amen to that!


Posted via email from Fragments

Are Civil Servants made for Social Media?

Picked up from Robert Hicks' post on FutureGov.

"Most senior civil servants are Generation Xers, born at a time without the internet. But does this mean that web communities are too ‘young’ for top officials to operate in effectively? In interviews with FutureGov, government officials from Australia, Malaysia and the UK argue that although civil servants may not feel comfortable using social media to reach young citizens, the rewards are worth the risks".

I'd partly agree with that, but thinking of the UK demographic of public sector employees, I think that majority of the decision makers fall into the Baby Boomer category (born 1940's to early '60's) than Generation X (born 1960s- 1970's), and it's these decision makers that are primarily responsible for blocking access to social media in their departments. They see no impact or consequence of blocking social media because they don't use it, either for work or personal use. Regrettably, they are limiting the opportunities for their departments to engage with the increasing number of citizens of all ages who are using social media, and risk creating departmental 'ghetos', isolated from the conversations that may have some direct relevance to them.

Glyn Evans the Director of Business Change at Birmingham City Council in the UK make a good point ..."external communication has traditionally been mediated through communications professionals whereas social media engagement is direct and potentially puts the civil servant personally ‘in the firing line’." True, but with suitable training, and having a clearly defined and communicated social media policy, most civil servants should be able to deal with this.

The post concludes with reference to how British civil servants are being encouraged to get more involved online. The greater use of digital technologies was a key part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s recent speech, and the Conservative opposition has been making similar noises. With a General Election looming, use of social media by civil servants is “likely to increase significantly". Amen to that!


Posted via email from stephendale's posterous

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Ordnance Survey datasets and products available for free use and re-use from 1 April 2010.

On 23 December 2009, the Government published a consultation paper on policy options for geographic information from Ordnance Survey. The purpose of this consultation was to seek views about how to best implement proposals made by the Prime Minister on 17 November 2009, to make certain Ordnance Survey datasets available for free with no restrictions on re-use. This was part of the PM's vision for the role of
public data and information in the delivery of Smarter Government that would empower citizens with better public services and a thriving private sector market based on the data that government produces.

A response to the Governemnt consultation on making Ordance Survey (mapping) datasets available for use and re-use is available on the CLG website.

Key points from the consultation are:

A package of datasets will be made freely available to the public and will be released under the product name OS OpenData™.

The datasets that are released as part of OS OpenData will continue to be maintained by Ordnance Survey to a high and consistent standard. To ensure the product set remains relevant and continues to fulfil its objectives, it is envisaged that this product set will be reviewed periodically by an expert panel appointed by government and reporting to CLG Ministers.

The OS OpenData will include

• OS Street View®
• 1:50 000 Gazetteer
• 1:250 000 Scale Colour Raster
• OS LocatorTM
• Boundary-LineTM
• Code-Point® Open
• Meridian™ 2
• Strategi®
• MiniScale®
• OS VectorMap™ District (available 1 May 2010)
• Land-Form PANORAMA®

The OS VectorMap™ District dataset is a new product and is available in both raster and vector formats. It is designed to be a flexible and customisable product specifically designed for use on the web. It will enable developers to select, customise and modify maps to their specific requirements.

OS OpenData products will be available from 1 April 2010 in hard media and as an on-line service at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendata

In addition OS OpenData will include an on-line viewing service of a selection of the OS OpenData topographic products.

This initiative continues the trend in making public data public (over 30000 datasets now available through the http://www.data.gov.uk portal) and will no doubt spawn the develpment of a whole new raft of innovative mashups, widgets and apps by social innovators. Exciting times!

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1528263.pdf

 

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