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CyberCity News

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CyberCity News is an occasional blog on items of interest relating to the development of the Bournemouth-Christchurch- Poole-Ferndown conurbation as it develops into a 'wired' city. (For links to local public services currently available online, and contact details for local MPs, Councillors etc, click here.)
Britain's First "Fibrecity" Announced - Bournemouth
Posted 1-8-08
-So far, so good .... [read more]
Posted 13-12-07
2007 Year-End Roundup
-A year on, where are we with all the government's plans about wired-up conurbations? [read more]

Posted 21-7-07
Of Course, We're All Bohemians Now
There's a news story been doing the rounds of print, TV and online sources, about a "tramp" who for the moment is 'possibly the most famous person in all of Bournemouth' due to having his own Facebook website. Amazing what Web 2.0 fame can do - pick you up, and drop you again... [read more]
Posted 03-6-07
DIY Web Publishing - First Principles
The Introduction to the DIY Web Publishing how-to section is now online, outlining why an organisational rather than a purely technical approach is more practical. [read more]
Posted 23-11-06
Whitehall, cartoon image UK "e-Gov" Turns Ten

This month is reportedly the 10th anniversary of "the birth of e-government." Whatever that actually means, it's worth reflecting on what things were like in 1996, when Whitehall first began to grapple with this new-fangled internet thingy everyone was talking about. Back then ... [more]
Posted 8-11-06
"Fortunately, We Have Blogs"

In an earlier post, I mentioned how the normally publicity-shy 'Father of the World Wide Web' Sir Tim Berners-Lee was living locally when he was imagining up what would become the Web. He has recently been in the news announcing a 'Web Sciences' programme, to be offered by our own University of Southampton and MIT in the USA (where he is now based). Sir Tim feels the Web is a neglected area academically and has helped set up this US-UK partnership to address the problem. (The British end will be based at the U Of So'ton School Of Electronics & Computer Science.) The joint Web Science Research Initiative will 'generate a research agenda to understand the scientific, technical and social challenges underlying the growth of the web' (more info here). Of course he should have known that when it comes to the mainstream press, the coverage would go off an unexpected directions, given their snobbish attitude towards new media, and their inability to resist scare stories about it. The whole affair soon turned into a case study of the difference in approach between the mainstream media and the blogosphere - and why we do need blogs. [more]
Posted 16-10-06
Britain’s Mass-Blogging Experiment
In Britain, the last two weeks of October commemorate "History Matters Day" whereby, before the end of the month, as many people as possible contribute a blog entry about what they did on October 17th. (Echo story here.) Running two weeks, this is supposed to be the biggest mass blog event in history. [more]
Is There A Local 'Blog Jam'?
The Echo [11-8-06] has run a feature on local blogs, called "Blog Jam!", with a strapline and opening cite that one in four internet users now runs their own blog. This implies that locally there should be tens of thousands of bloggers....
This was also the week of new free software offerings making it easier for amateurs to blog. Google rolled out a limited-distribution upgrade (still officially in 'beta') to its Blogger package. (On Blogspot, you will be able to create a private blog, add RSS feeds, and customise your template by clicking buttons - rather than editing code, as at present - so that your blog doesn't resemble every other 15th blog out there - though the new setup is also adding more templates.) And Microsoft's Windows Live Writer downloadable package was also announced, via their Writer Zone site, tying in with its social-networking blog service Windows Live Spaces.
Despite all this, the Echo feature mentions only three blogs, by two bloggers (one runs 2 blogs), and the bloggers are colleagues, raising the question, Couldn't they find any other local bloggers? Are there still only two - or are there another 39,998 bloggers out there in Bournemouth? A Google search of 'Bournemouth+blog' or 'Bournemouth+blogger' turns up few relevant hits, but blogs are often neglected by search engines.
Following up links to the two bloggers in the Echo feature, one is local filmmaker Tim Clague and the other, Shaune Fradley. Tim and Shaune actually both have both own-domain and subdomain sites of their own: Tim's Projector Films site (a successor to an earlier subdomain site and Shaune's 365 Films, linking to an NTL subsite. The Echo article lists 3 blogs altogether, and from the domain used (blogspot.com), all are hosted by hosted by Google's free Blogger service. (I use it myself, for a non-local blog). As well as Tim's Projector Films blog there are two by Shaune, The Possum Pie Travelogue Blog, and the humorous Uncle's Rant. The former is one of those holiday-photo blogs, and the latter is almost brand new, with the longest item actually a rant following on the Echo interview that publicised the blog in the first place, against newspapers - or rather the way they all smell funny (a lot of bloggers seem to think that). However if we dig a little deeper than the Echo, the situation isn't quite that bad ...

Getting Wired Up -Or Just Too Old To Be 'Bov-vered'?
There's a new 'e-government' interactive website up which might help explain why not much is happening locally on the 'wired city' front. Created by a team of sociologists, It offers a profile of your neighbourhood in terms of how it fits into our new 'e-society'. Just go to the site [here], input your postcode and you will get back something like this: " Your neighbourhood is categorised in the E-Society classification as being in group A " E-unengaged" and Type A05 " Too old to be bothered." Full descriptions are below." A footer para explains: "Type A05: Too old to be bothered - This Type consists mostly of very old people who feel that they predate anything to do with electronic technologies. Members are particularly unlikely to be found purchasing or reading ‘techie’ magazines and are among the least likely to find the computer a useful medium for playing computer games – or even watching videos. Members of this Type have little interest in acquiring E-technology skills." Of course other neighbourhoods offer other possibilities: Type A01 'Low Technologists,' Type A02 'Cable Suffices,' Type A03 'Technology As Fantasy,' Type A04 'Mobile’s The Limit,' and so on, and so on.
I wonder if I have any local councillors in my neighbourhood?

Local Boy Makes Good
Sir Tim Berners-LeeThe founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has given a rare interview about his vision of where we go from here. (He usually doesn't respond to requests for interviews, even when conducted by email - as the Echo has complained in the past.) At the time he began developing programming languages, but before moving on to Europe and the USA, he was a local resident, working in Poole and living in Colehill, as he mentions here. You can read his March 2006 interview on the British Computer Society website. There's also a recent BBC online story, "How the web went world wide" [3-8-06] linking to an account of how it all began in 1991, done for the Web's 15th anniversary. If you're not familiar with the history of the internet, we have on-site a step-by-step chronology of how the original military-academic internet evolved into the World Wide Web we all know and love today, available here.

Know-It-All … Know IT At All?
“where dummkopfs come to learn to make mistakes”?BBC-TV The Apprentice star, the tycoon Sir Alan Sugar's widely-reported controversial remark [March 21] that FE colleges are “where dummkopfs come to learn to make mistakes” has prompted a public invitation from the local College for him to come down and try to run things for three months. The Telegraph reported the national controversy (with FE colleges demanding a retraction) as 'Sugar Has A Ratner Moment’ but the metaphor derives from a tycoon (junk-jewellery king Gerald Ratner) getting caught out badmouthing his own product line. The opposite is true here, and the real story is much more substantial than a tycoon-makes-ignorant-remark item … [more]

Exit Highbury ... Paragon ... Future, Enter Imagine — A Not-So-Everyday Tale Of Corporate Publishing Deals
It looks like the area has lost a major IT presence in the form of an IT-magazine publishing conglomerate. At time of writing, googling the name of the now-bankrupt Bournemouth-based magazine publishing chain ‘Highbury Entertainment’ directs you first to the Paragon website. Alas, Bournemouth-based Paragon Publishing also closed down over a year ago, and is not Highbury's successor but its predecessor. This is a clue that the back story here is a complicated one (I’m not sure the precis that follows is 100% accurate), of to-ings and fro-ings among the our leading IT-mag publishing groups - Paragon, Highbury, Future, and Imagine. For Highbury, the crisis came [more]


Get Cracking Reading Online, Gromit -- But Don't Forget Your PIN
cover of contest edition
Bournemouth Library Service this year took part in the 2006 South West Great Reading Adventure, an expansion of a scheme set up several years ago as a Bristol-based initiative (see www.swreads.com). This is one of those mass-reading exercises of the sort popularised in America by Oprah Winfrey, to get as many people as possible reading, and discussing, the same designated book at one time. (The chosen book this year was Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, the edition pictured here, with Wallace and Gromit as Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout, being a new one from Oxford University Press, printed for the contest.) In its 4th year there, it is now the largest in the UK. The theme is related to the fact it is 'Brunel 200', the bicentenary of the bridge builder, steamship etc inventor Isaac Kingdom Brunel, with events running until September 2006.
The aspect of particular interest here derives from the fact that in the accompanying quiz you couldn't answer half the questions just by reading the novel. For the other answers, the Library suggested (perhaps so users could do the quiz from home) using their online research facilities - something most libary members would not be aware of. They suggest you go first to their 'Useful Websites' resources listings and from there, to their Reference Works page, which will give you not only access to search resources, but remote access to subscription-only databases like X-Refer and Britannica. What the quiz-sheet info didn't mention is that to use some of these resources you need a username and password. The username would be your library-card number, but a call to the Library is needed to obtain your password, which is a simple 4-digit pin number (the same PIN used for accessing their onsite 'cybercafe' computers). Due to a glitch in their database setup, you may have to omit the final letter when inputting your library-card number to access the system.

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