How To Add Live Messenger Contacts to Lync 2010

Sunday July 15 2012 - , , , , , , - 0 comments

If you’ve recently started using Office 365 then the chances are you’ve installed the new Lync instant messenger client. You might be wondering how to add all your old contacts from Windows Live Messenger. Here’s how....

Charities: Think Before You Spend on Software

Friday June 22 2012 - , , , , , - 0 comments

It has come to my attention that some software resellers are offering Microsoft titles under academic licensing to charities. Apparently Microsoft is tightening up the rules from 1st July such that many charities will no longer qualify and they will then supposedly have to use licenses under Microsoft’s public sector agreement, at much less discount. I have not verified the above information, but I have no reason to believe it is inaccurate or improper. What does concern me is that those types of licenses are not the most cost effective way for charities to obtain software . For most UK registered...

Transit of Venus – once in a lifetime opportunity

Friday May 25 2012 - , , , , , , - 0 comments

In astronomical circles, a ‘transit’ is when one body moves across the face of another, partially obscuring it. A transit of Venus occurs when the planet Venus moves across the face of the Sun. This is a rare occurrence, Venus transits happen in pairs about 8 years apart, with each pair separated by about 120 years, give or take a couple of decades. The last transit occurred in 2004 and was the first of this century’s pair. Before that,  the last transit was in 1882 and the next is not until 2117, but you'll have to wait until 2247 to see another from Europe! In the words of the immortal Patrick...

The Hidden Message In Email

Monday May 14 2012 - , , , , , , - 0 comments

If, like me, you believe that everything you do is marketing, then you'll understand what I mean when I say that every email you send delivers two messages. First, there is the obvious message, the text you typed in that forms the body of the email. Second, there is the subliminal message that tells the recipient something about you and your organization....

The Problem With Charging for Data

Friday April 27 2012 - , , , , , - 0 comments

I’ve just been watching a TV programme, “Don’t Get Done, Get Dom” in which Dominic Littlewood takes on consumer protection cases on behalf of aggrieved consumers. This episode was something I am professionally interested in. The unfortunate victim had been on holiday to Egypt and on her return, received a bill for over £2,200 related to data roaming charges. She claims that although her phone was turned on throughout the holiday so that she could receive incoming calls, she had not used the phone for anything while abroad. As you might expect, the mobile operator, T Mobile, dug in their heels and...

A Cautionary Tale of Cloud Computing

Tuesday April 24 2012 - , , - 0 comments

As people move in their droves to cloud services such a GMail, Googe Docs, Office365, iCloud and others, I wonder how much thought they’ve given to the trust they are placing in the hands of those large corporations? I’m not convinced that our trust has been earned yet. As my colleague Wayne Small puts it: be careful that The Cloud is not a thunder storm!...

Why 8 Characters is No Longer Enough For Strong Passwords

Thursday April 12 2012 - , , , - 0 comments

It has long been accepted practice that passwords must be ‘complex’ and ‘at least 8 characters’. The reasons for these guidelines are: Complexity thwarts a ‘dictionary attack’. That is, comparing a password to a database of known words and phrases. Password length increases entropy, or the amount of randomness contained in the password, and thwarts a ‘brute force attack’. Brute force attacks step painstakingly through every possibly password combination. The guideline of 8 characters is based on the length of time it would take to ‘guess’ a password using a brute force attack. Historically, given...

Access my Basic Information. And Take My First Born.

Sunday April 01 2012 - , , , , , , - 0 comments

Why giving a Facebook app permission to “access your basic information” may not be a great idea It seems so simple. Someone sends you an invitation. You click Allow. What’s the harm? Of course, you noticed the small print at the bottom, didn’t you? Oh, you didn’t bother to read that? oops… you’ve been socially engineered.  ...

Unfair Use Policy

Sunday April 01 2012 - , , , , , , , - 1 comments

Some broadband providers in the UK are getting away with imposing some very aggressive ‘fair use’ policies. The service is always sold by the ‘headline speed’, the maximum theoretical speed that the line can operate at. The point of ADSL is that it’s always on, always connected, 24x7. So you’d think that when you purchase a 10 Mbps (megabits-per-second) you can actually use your service to download content at that speed. Some providers are happy to take your money but are not so pleased when you actually want to use the service. The location I am at now uses Virgin Media ‘Up To 10 Meg’ service...

Installation–The Poor Cousin of Development

Saturday March 31 2012 - , , , , , - 0 comments

As developers, we tend to ignore installation for as long as possible, hoping there will be a quick ‘wizard’ we can run that will abstract the problem away. Utilities such as InstallAware, InstallShield and so on tap into that inherent reluctance and are somewhat successful at it, although I have found that they actually just substitute one set of problems for another. The truth is that installation is non-trivial and should be an integral part of product design and development, and that developers need to understand the installation process better. Many people think of installation as just copying...