Toblog

1. v. The act of writing a weblog or 2. n. Toby’s weblog.

TCSOTD 2006-11-16

The end of Backing Blair
but the beginning of National Service

There is a new Petition website provided by 10 Downing Street
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Resign immediately
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to scrap the proposed introduction of ID cards
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop using the threat of terror to pass laws that are illiberal and ineffective
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Launch an independant public enquiry into the decision making process which lead to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to create a new exception to copyright law that gives individuals the right to create a private copy of copyrighted materials for their own personal use, including back-ups, archiving and shifting format.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream.

Internet only 1% porn shock

Published on 2006/11/16 at 10:23 by Toby, tags , , ,

TCSOTD 2006-11-10

Former Home Secretary brands Saddam verdict timing ‘suspect’

China bans finger printing kids in schools
… whereas we keep doing it more and more in the UK

Blair defends ID Cards, proves he still doesn’t Get It
Longrider responds
The Select Society responds
Henry Porter responds

‘Home School Legal Defense Association’ comes to the UK
… this is not a good thing.

Chip and Pin allows transactions to be ‘edited’ without pin holder being present… maybe
… scary, if true.

Lord Sainsbury resigns
the BBC’s take here

Published on 2006/11/10 at 00:38 by Toby, tags , , , , ,

NHS IT: A plan for the future

We all know what a mess the NHS IT project is in. Billions overspent; one of the major partners currently being investigated by the FSA for suspected “accounting irregularities”; another announcing a profit drop due to the project and then subsequently pulling out. Most recently the government has threatened to scrap the agency in charge of the project". So much, so known, and yet nothing seems to be being done publicly to fix the project. The press pundits complain about a waste of tax payers’ money and typical government IT project cock ups but I haven’t yet seen anyone put forward a plan to fix it.

In the past, back when the NHS IT project was but a glimmer in the eye of the various consultants that persuaded governments that monolithic IT solutions were The Way Forward I spent a time talking to doctors about their requirements. Here is what I learnt: before government woke up to the enabling aspects of technology the Doctors realised pretty quickly that they could make their surgeries far more efficient. They either looked at off the shelf packages or talked to developers for more bespoke solutions. The Doctors got systems that they and their staff liked with user interfaces that they then got used to over many years. Generally the systems worked the way that they wanted and had specified. Unfortunately the systems didn’t work well with each other and were not compatible with the systems that hospitals and other NHS resources had.

So, how to rectify this situation? I am a great believer in loosely coupled systems which offer many advantages. At this point in the NHS IT Project the large collection of different software platforms that existed should have been seen as building blocks, not a hindrance.

In 2000 Tony decided that the UK should become the best country in the world for e-commerce. This seeded some ideas in my head about how these sorts of large government projects should look. Rather than creating large, monolithic and effectively unmanageable projects, why not ask some technical experts (say, the W3C) about data transfer technologies and then set up a working committee to look at a resilient and extensible data standard for transferring data between medical systems?

Once this standard is produced all government needs to do is mandate its use across all NHS platforms. You keep a free market in software; doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, hospitals, you name it, all get to use the software that they want to use, rather than software that is forced upon them which requires vast swathes of tax payer’s cash as well as retraining. The more technical able would even be able to write their own applications. You also get the benefit of then having created a standard that medical systems can use across the world. Imagine how useful it would be, in the modern travel hungry world, if doctors in foreign countries being able to find out about your medical history if you are unable to communicate it to them for what ever reason.

There are obvious hurdles here but none of them are insurmountable, and a few of them are solved problems in other industries. Here are some of the challenges that this would face off the top of my head:

  • Data Security
  • Authentication and Access Rights
  • Data location
  • Data synchronisation
  • Data redundancy

IT these days should be about enabling people to improve how they and the processes that they interact with work. Lets work towards that in the most flexible way possible.

Published on 2006/11/08 at 15:30 by Toby, tags , , , ,

NHS IT: A plan for the future

We all know what a mess the NHS IT project is in. Billions overspent; one of the major partners currently being investigated by the FSA for suspected “accounting irregularities”; another announcing a profit drop due to the project and then subsequently pulling out. Most recently the government has threatened to scrap the agency in charge of the project". So much, so known, and yet nothing seems to be being done publicly to fix the project. The press pundits complain about a waste of tax payers’ money and typical government IT project cock ups but I haven’t yet seen anyone put forward a plan to fix it.

In the past, back when the NHS IT project was but a glimmer in the eye of the various consultants that persuaded governments that monolithic IT solutions were The Way Forward I spent a time talking to doctors about their requirements. Here is what I learnt: before government woke up to the enabling aspects of technology the Doctors realised pretty quickly that they could make their surgeries far more efficient. They either looked at off the shelf packages or talked to developers for more bespoke solutions. The Doctors got systems that they and their staff liked with user interfaces that they then got used to over many years. Generally the systems worked the way that they wanted and had specified. Unfortunately the systems didn’t work well with each other and were not compatible with the systems that hospitals and other NHS resources had.

So, how to rectify this situation? I am a great believer in loosely coupled systems which offer many advantages. At this point in the NHS IT Project the large collection of different software platforms that existed should have been seen as building blocks, not a hindrance.

In 2000 Tony decided that the UK should become the best country in the world for e-commerce. This seeded some ideas in my head about how these sorts of large government projects should look. Rather than creating large, monolithic and effectively unmanageable projects, why not ask some technical experts (say, the W3C) about data transfer technologies and then set up a working committee to look at a resilient and extensible data standard for transferring data between medical systems?

Once this standard is produced all government needs to do is mandate its use across all NHS platforms. You keep a free market in software; doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, hospitals, you name it, all get to use the software that they want to use, rather than software that is forced upon them which requires vast swathes of tax payer’s cash as well as retraining. The more technical able would even be able to write their own applications. You also get the benefit of then having created a standard that medical systems can use across the world. Imagine how useful it would be, in the modern travel hungry world, if doctors in foreign countries being able to find out about your medical history if you are unable to communicate it to them for what ever reason.

There are obvious hurdles here but none of them are insurmountable, and a few of them are solved problems in other industries. Here are some of the challenges that this would face off the top of my head:

  • Data Security
  • Authentication and Access Rights
  • Data location
  • Data synchronisation
  • Data redundancy

IT these days should be about enabling people to improve how they and the processes that they interact with work. Lets work towards that in the most flexible way possible.

Published on 2006/11/08 at 15:30 by Toby, tags , , , ,

TCSOTD 2006-11-07

Japanese researchers build 512 core maths co-processor

comp.risks 24.46

Goldsmith agrees to stay out of cash-for-honours investigation
BBC’s take on it here

Clairvoyant lead Americans to Saddam claims Geller

Sun inspired ‘careless driving’ law will lead to injustice

How to steal an election by hacking the vote

Bullet-proof text books may help save lives in school shooting

Sam and Max: Culture Shock review

Australian Institute of Criminology calles piracy losses ‘self-serving hyperbole’

Winning hearts and minds

Published on 2006/11/07 at 08:48 by Toby, tags , , , , , ,

TCSOTD 2006-11-06

Drivers cannot leave roundabout legally
… this sort of thing reminds me why I love the UK

Senior Labour MP calls for the abandonment of Guy Fawkes night
… and this reminds me why I don’t love the people who run the UK

Knowledge should be public good first, private right second
report here

ID Cards about ‘modernity’, not civil liberties
… great, so we are having this idiocy foisted on us because Blair wants us to look trendy.

Olympic games faces huge tax bill

Published on 2006/11/06 at 06:00 by Toby, tags , , , ,

TCSOTD 2006-11-03

Head of US National Association of Evangelicals resigns in gay sex row

Henry Porter: Standing up to Scrutiny

British believe Kim Jong-il less dangerous than Bush

World fastest street legal car
… and it is too old for road tax too!

A great chairman’s statement
… the fun stuff starts at ’I’d like to express some personal views’

Trademark’s last gig with their current stage show

Curry keeps brain healthy

Published on 2006/11/03 at 06:13 by Toby, tags , , , , , ,

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