Friday, March 03, 2006

Database society will slow business growth

The forthcoming ID system in the UK will literally imprison 1 million people who for various reasons cannot get one or do not want to reveal past identities or are not entitled.
Because of the compulsive measure of having to have an ID card to get a passport, passports will not be issued to large numbers of people.
It is well known that travel restrictions on large numbers of the population, particularly economically active ones, have a braking effect on economic activity. Look at the old Eastern bloc models.
These people will also be forced into the black economy which will increase in size with more intense government intrusion. Workers will lose their protection from exploitation and wages will fall.

Access to Health and Education services will be restricted to these people as well. The Bill has not taken into account the people who are living in the UK already under a shadow. I personally know a family who have been here working, paying tax for 17 years and have no formal paperwork. These people will be a true underclass with even the status of their children in the hands of a whimsical government that obviously has no respect or care for them.

A general amnesty should be given to all people here already who want to remain.

We are told that this is needed for anti-terrorist purposes but the reality is that more people are killed by falling down the stairs in the UK then by terrorism. The classic purpose of terrorism is to cause a government clampdown on the population and ride the subsequent revolt.

There will be determined opposition to the ID schemes and to government intrusion generally, and this will increase in the future. At some point a line will be drawn and beyond that line is outside the domain of government. The line will start with an assumption that your first thought in the morning is yours, safe inside your head, no business of anybodies. Then it is written on a page and put in a sealed envelope in your pocket, Is it still yours? Does the government have the right to know what it is. Then put it on a website (your private website,)
Is it still your property? Now show it to a like minded friend , and so on..
The current rush by governments to moniter everything will bring this debate to the fore.
I would predict that political movements will appear which will want to limit the power of governments in these areas. Will they be treated as terrorists or heroes?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

E-mail marketing

Informing your customers regularily about special offers and your latest pricelist is a great marketing tool and the easiest way to do it is by using an email list manager.
This program should be able to maintain your mailing lists, import your contacts and moniter the list for bounced emails and invalid addresses.

You could use one of the hosted services but it would cost you about 15-20 pounds a month for a small number of lists and low membership lists.

I am trialing a program from Dynamic Software called Dynamic mail Communicator.
You can get a free trial here.

Dynamic ALL-In-One web promotion & internet marketing software

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Alpha Five version 7

I have been using Alpha Five for about a month and find it a very useful tool for making PDF files from Access. I like the fact I can watermark the PDF.

Alpha Five version 7 is more then just a reporting tool. It is a wizard led application development environment that is extremely good value for money. It can import from almost any source and although I had some problems with certain MS Access number fields, I reported the problem to the Alpha Five forum and the patch was ready in a couple of days.

I will be trying out the Data to Web side of the program soon and I look forward to seeing the results.

If you would like to try out the program it is available here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

War on Your Desktop

Google courts our trust, in bid for market share consolidation

Google fighting the US Governments request for information (1 week of search terms and 1 million domain names) is their way of saying 'Trust us with your information, including your email, we will keep it private.' We all know the problems that Google have had with the Chinese government , a far nastier animal then the US Govt. and they did roll over for them!.
So Google do not have a philosophical problem with the request. It does however give them a serious marketing opportunity.

This is the essence of the War on Your Desktop . Google have 'inadvertently' told us in this PR effort that MSN,AOL and Yahoo have already complied with the government requests and so they are less trustworthy then the Google team. MSN have already had an own goal this week with the Chinese blogger at the The New York Times - they pulled a site on the request of the Chinese government - hosted and written in the US.

We the consumers will only have stuff on our computer that we control or feel we control and that can trust implicitly not to leak our information out all over the internet. The company that can instill and install the most trust on us and our computers will win the desktop wars.

Anybody who runs search with Adwords can see the sort of searches that are popular I don't think that consumers will really want this search history handed over to Governments.

The question is does the government have the right to know everything about you?
We need a definition of personal space over which no government would have domain nor could claim it. Whoever carves out this space online will have a good chance of winning the prize.

Opensource applications online are a very compelling and successful business model. The same sort of rigour with peer and end-user review driving up excellence, could easily be applied to the workings of government departments, who are now migrating to the online world as well.

It is not OK for the state to have secrets and not us. Internet companies are more influential for good then bureaucrats on the lives of ordinary people. They do that by being honest and committed to the original ideas that made them successful, unlike politicians. Becoming quasi government bodies like banks would be a way for Internet companies to lose the trust of consumers who already to a great extent don't trust politicians and governments.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Use Google as a spam filter

If you forward your email to your Gmail account then it will be processed by Googles spam filters. Then set up a new email account and forward your Gmail to it.
Remove your account from your e-mail client (Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc.) and replace it with
This way you get the benefit of Google's spam filters working for you. This will also give the spammers something to think about, as Google will have a great big list of spammers.

To do this you will need 2 things.
1./ An email account that you can forward
2./ A Gmail account.

Node-net are offering a simple solution whereby you can have a mail server with unlimited email addresses, including domain registration fees and hosting for £50 per year.
This service is particularily suitable for small businesses with up to 40 PC's on site. For larger companies the fees would be a little higher as traffic would be higher. We will also invite you to join Gmail. If you need help in setting up then we can also do this for you for a small fee.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Forward AOL mail to Outlook Express

I got this instuction from AOL UK today and it works for UK based AOL'ers. It will probably work for Outlook and in fact any IMAP enabled mail client program.

1. Sign on to AOL.
2. Double-click the Outlook Express icon.
3. Click on the Tools menu on the toolbar, and select Accounts…
4. Click on the Add drop-down menu and select Mail.
5. On the ‘Your Name’ window enter the name you wish to appear when you send emails, e.g. John Smith, then click Next.
6. On the ‘Internet E-mail Address’ window enter your email address in full, e.g. jsmith If you are given the below option select ‘I already have an e-mail address that I’d like to use’ and then enter your email address in full.
7. Click Next.
8. On the ‘E-mail Server Names’ window you will see ‘My incoming mail server is a POP3 server'. Change this server option to IMAP using the drop-down menu.
9 Enter the ‘Incoming mail (POP3, IMAP or HTTP) server:’ as follows:
10. Enter the ‘Outgoing mail (SMTP) server:' as follows:
11. Click Next.
12. On the ‘Internet Mail Logon’ window enter your AOL Screen Name and your AOL password.
13. Click Next.
14. To save the settings click Finish. If you are returned to the ‘Internet Accounts’ window click Close.
15. You may receive the following message if you do not have a default mail client on your computer: simply click OK.
16. If you receive the following message click Yes.
17. Please wait while these files are downloaded.
18. Click on Inbox. Then click on Go to.
19. Again, click on the Tools menu on the toolbar, and select Accounts…
20. On the ‘Internet Accounts’ window, ensure you are on the Mail tab.
21. Click on the Properties button on the right.
22. Click on the Servers tab.
23. Beneath the 'Outgoing Mail Server' section, click on 'My server requires authentication' checkbox.
24. Click Apply.
25. Click OK.
26. Click on the IMAP tab and click to untick the 'Store special folders on IMAP server' option.
27. Click Close.
28. Outlook Express is now ready to use.

I dont know if you need to run the first step.
Outlook Express will download your AOL mail and all your AOL Mail contacts and saved folders. even if you are not logged into AOL.

This is great news for people who are using AOL dialup and want to buy cheap broadband from somebody like Tiscali.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Freedom Of Information Act UK

The government of the UK wants to introduce charges for Freedom of Information requests.
They say that it is costing them too much to answer these requests. This is ridiculous considering the amount of computing power available to them and the spending they have done and are doing. 4 billion pounds on ID card database, 5 Billion on ID card usage database, 5 billion on NHS consultant booking system. ( I personally believe there is massive corruption in the purchase of these systems.)
I might set up a site to allow people to publish the answers they receive under FOI requests. Remember you can request information anonymously.

All government information should be published automatically with an easy to search index.

I notice that the government is considering changing its cannabis leglislation today on the grounds that it may cause mental illness, this is fresh coming from a government that just liberalised alcohol selling rules. Most people under the influence of alcohol ARE psychotic. Cannabis is a very mild drug in comparison.