Saturday, December 31, 2011

Apple iPhones Outsell Android Smartphones

The Apple Inc. iPhone reportedly outsold Android devices at AT&T corporate retail stores by a whopping 7.8-to-1 ratio between Dec. 1 and Dec. 27.

According to The Mac Observer, those AT&T stores sold about 981,000 iPhones during the period, accounting for a heavy 66 percent of the turnover.

By comparison, the same stores sold about 126,000 Android devices over the period, accounting for a light 8.5 percent of the turnover.

The report noted that even basic flip and slider phones did better than the Android devices, as the same stores sold about 128,000 of those dinosaurs.

Research In Motion Ltd. -- makers of the BlackBerry line of smartphones -- finished third in sales, as AT&T moved only about 74,000 of them. Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phones reportedly did even worse.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dalai Lama Discusses Women's role in Global Peace - Video

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is asked to sum up his feelings, at the end of the morning session at the Peace Summit in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The moderator is Sir Ken Robinson.

The influencing machine: Brooke Gladstone - Video

An animated short from the book "The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media" written by Brooke Gladstone and illustrated by Josh Neufeld. For more information, go to:

Also read more on Books and Graphic novels here Brain Pickings

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Facebook: Subscribe Button for Web sites

Facebook has added a 'Subscribe' button for third party websites.

The Subscribe button was already available to pages since September and now this feature is already available for user profiles and websites. In a blog post written by Facebook developer Stoyan Stefanov, the Subscribe button is a "social plugin any site can add to give visitors the option to subscribe to contributors in one click."

Stevanov also described how this feature works stating that "the Subscribe button for websites works just like the button on Facebook; once clicked the user will begin seeing the public posts of the person they have subscribed to in his or her News Feed. The subscribe action is also shared -- allowing others to subscribe directly via the News Feed stories, and further increasing viral distribution."

Facebook Has Subscribe Button for Web sites - International Business Times

Google+ Photos to Have 'Find My Face' Recognition

Google announced that their social networking site, Google+, would incorporate a new feature that would make facial recognition technology available for pictures that will be uploaded in Google+.

This new feature is dubbed as "Find My Face" and it is described as a feature wherein "Google+ can prompt people you know to tag your face when it appears in photos."

Users can still have control over which tags that they would accept or reject as well as opting to turn off this feature in their Google+ settings. Matt Steiner, an Engineering Lead for Google wrote in his blog post regarding this new additional feature for Google+.

Steiner also added that this feature would be "rolling out in a few days" and feedback regarding this feature would be appreciated.

Read More here: Google+ Photos

Social Media and Data Analytics: Where the Demand is in 2012

Smartphones and tablet computers may continue to dominate the tech world next year but the big money may be harvested from one lesser known segment of the industry - data analytics.

Analytics for one, according to Agence France Presse (AFP), gives companies clear picture on how to utilise their advertising funds, which run to billions of dollars as the current year.

"Analytics is really the core of what will be happening in everything from medical research to advertising," freelance tech analyst Rob Enderle was reported by AFP as saying on a report Friday last week.

The services' energy is very much focused on understanding emerging trends and patterns that influence customers' behaviours in determining their choice of products, Enderle said.

"Big analytics toward the end of the year became the big term and into next year it will be the big term," Enderle told AFP.

Enderle believes that data analytics will play crucial roles in various fields where the power of computer-aided analysis would be most welcome and useful - from advertising, medical breakthroughs and political exercises.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daniel Goldstein: The battle between your present and future self - Video

Every day, we make decisions that have good or bad consequences for our future selves. (Can I skip flossing just this one time?) Daniel Goldstein makes tools that help us imagine ourselves over time, so that we make smart choices for Future Us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jerusalem and Google Street View - No Hiding Place

A Google Street View tricycle captures scenes of Jerusalem's Old City
Picture: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA / Rex Features

Donkervoort GTO - Dutch supercar

The new Donkervoort GTO uses the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo from the Audi TT RS and, despite being the firm's largest-ever car, still weighs just 700kg - half the weight of a VW Golf.

The Caterham-style car a hefty 150mm wider and 350mm longer, says the firm, to accommodate Audi's longitudinally-mounted five-cylinder engine.

This motor has also been lightened by 30kg, again to aid weight distribution and handling.

Lewis Mumford on the city - YouTube

Before the end of 1961 the New York publishing company Harcourt, Brace and Co. had the first edition of Lewis Mumford's highly successful book The City In History ready for publication. Two years later, in 1963, the National Film Board of Canada funded the production of six documentaries, each lasting 27 minutes, for a series entitled Mumford On The City. The closing titles confirm that the material for the films, based on The City In History, was prepared by Mumford himself.

Read more here

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Rising Cost of Weapons and Ammunition

Is Ammo The New Gold? Full Infographic

Lego’s latest design research: What girls want

Legos are perennially hot toys. It’s evident in their sales figures, with revenues skyrocketing 105 percent since 2006 (stated in the privately held company’s 2010 annual report).

In 2010, Lego achieved more than $1 billion in U.S. sales for the first time.

Lego has also been praised as an innovative company, one that has re-designed its toys and strategy over the years to obvious financial success. So what’s next?
In the December 19 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Brad Wieners goes behind the scenes at Lego’s Danish headquarters to uncover the design tactics behind Lego’s newest goal: to appeal to girls.

As Wieners reports, a new line of 23 products called Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 years old and above, will hit American stores on January 1, after European debuts in France on December 15 and in the U.K. on December 26.

The idea to hold off after the holidays in the U.S. was to offer more display space than the toy line might receive during the Christmas shopping season.

Here’s how Lego determined how to come up with what it hopes is a set of products that will be as appealing to girls as earlier Lego blocks and figurines have been to boys, according to Wieners’ insightful and detailed report:
  • The company relied more on “cultural anthropology” than traditional focus groups, reflecting the successful process Lego used in 2005-2006 to design new Legos to appeal to contemporary boys
  • Lego searched for leading internal product designers and sales and marketing staff within the company, then assigned these top performers to work with outside design consultants
  • The design and strategy teams then worked in small groups to observe and interview girls and their families over a timeframe of numerous months, conducting research in the United States, the U.K., Germany, and Korea
Lego found that
  • Girls like “harmony,” or “a pleasing, everything-in-its-right-place sense of order”; warm, welcoming colors; and precise detailing on toys
  • Yes, little girls enjoy role-playing as their favored style of play
  • Girls like to construct, but in a style that differs from that of boys. Boys like to build to build what they might find on a photo on a toy box, kit-style. But girls like to tell stories and re-design their constructions as they create them.
  • Boys play with figurines in the third-person, while girls project their identities on their toys
The result of Lego’s latest research is a set of curvy, versus angular female figurines, along with new blocks in pretty, pastel shades.

They’ll be packaged so that girls don’t feel pressure to create a scene as if they’re playing with a boy’s model kit.

The 29 new characters, which represent nine nationalities, come with Lego-written biographies.

The mini-dolls are imagined to live within a community called Heartlake City to help encourage–and appeal to–the storytelling process.

While other toy manufacturers are likely to keep in mind Lego’s new, gender-based research for their own future designs, it’s likely that they will also be watching how the public reacts to the new line.

Wieners points out that although there have been critics of Lego’s perceived inattention to girls’ tastes in the past, there are already skeptics who question the design strategies of creating obviously “feminine,” and arguably stereotypical, feminine toys–even if the research backs up that girls around the world very well may want them.

Why Does Asian Food Taste So Different?

This graphic shows the backbone of the flavor network: "each node denotes an ingredient, the node color indicates food category, and node size reflects the ingredient prevalence in recipes.

Two ingredients are connected if they share a significant number of flavour compounds, link thickness representing the number of shared compounds between the two ingredients.

Read more: Asian Food

Friday, December 16, 2011

BCI updates business continuity dictionary

The Business Continuity Institute has published an update (Version 2) of its Dictionary of Business Continuity Management Terms. Edited by Lyndon Bird, the dictionary provides a comprehensive glossary of business continuity terms.

Definitions given in the glossary include terms from the BCI’s GPG2010 and the BS 25999 standard, with some additional comments in some cases ‘to improve clarity and understanding’.

Other definitions are consolidated definitions from various source documents.

View the Dictionary of Business Continuity Management Terms Version as a PDF.

Banking: Social Media Challenges

Financial institutions (FIs) should integrate social media approaches into their marketing and customer service processes.

Most FIs are fairly clear that engaging customers, building brand awareness, and building brand affinity are why they’re involved with social media.

Engagement may be the objective, but “engagement” isn’t accomplished through persuasion.

10 rules: Ethics for IT consultants

Applying a set of ethical rules to business matters can protect you, your employer and your clients. In times of trouble or doubt, they will help you determine right from wrong.

However, you could just apply the big rule of rules: 'Treat your clients as you want to be treated', but in business, you often need specific guidance. We hope the following rules will serve you well.

1: Be honest

You could lie about your strengths, your background, your expertise, and even the hours you spend on a project. It might be the largest temptation you face because there are so few auditing features in place. The client has to take a leap of faith when hiring you. Don’t violate that trust for any reason, especially not to keep the job.

2: Say no when necessary
Clients hire you for your opinions, your experience, and your knowledge. Giving them anything less violates their trust and will eventually bite you back, hard. The client might not act on your advice. A disagreement might even lead to a parting of the ways, so it’s difficult to speak up when you disagree, but you must.

3: Wait when necessary
On the other side of No 2 is Timing, or knowing when to wait. It’s unethical to push your point of view beyond discovery. It’s your job to present what you’ve learned and make your best recommendation. It’s not your job to force your recommendation.

4: Concentrate on the client at hand
When charging a client, you belong to that client. Take their perspective. Don’t troubleshoot another client’s problem; don’t even think about another client’s project. If you must take a call from one client while at another client’s facility, be discreet. Never say, “I’ve got to take this call” and turn your back on a client in their own facility! If possible, turn your cellphone off during these conversations. “Give me a minute to turn off my cellphone so we’re not disturbed,” goes a long way.

5: Lock the backdoor on your way out
Developers like to code a backdoor that no one else knows about. It’s a failsafe method for gaining access when all normal routes fail. When you leave a project, provide documentation for locking or even destroying your backdoor. You have no ethical reason for maintaining it.

6: Maintain confidentiality
Due to specialisation, some consultants have multiple clients in the same field. There’s nothing inherently unethical about it. There are lots of IT projects that aren’t competitive, so providing those skills to competitors won’t put them at risk. Two firms fighting to be the first to market a specialised phone app won’t both hire you as a developer but both might hire you to update their disaster preparedness plan.

To protect yourself and your clients, provide full disclosure when working for competitors. In addition, be extremely careful when contracting proprietary details, there’s a fine line between tying your hands and protecting each client’s interests.

7: Respect management’s confidence
Just as you shouldn’t violate confidentiality between clients, you shouldn’t spread confidential information through layers of the same company. When the client shares confidential information with you as part of the discovery process, don’t share that information with others in the company. For instance, if you learn from the CEO that the company is preparing to outsource its customer service department, you can’t warn your best friend, who works in customer service.

8: Don’t stir the pot
Every company has its own drama. Stay out of it. The only views your client is paying you for are those that support your IT position. Keep to your consulting views and leave all the personnel drama to the folks in Human Resources.

9: Report unethical behavior
If, during the discovery process, you learn that the manager in charge of your project is doing something unethical or illegal (related to the company), you have an obligation to report your findings (not your suspicions) to someone in a position to intercede. However, it may be just as unethical to exclude the manager in question from the process. Call a meeting to present your evidence but invite the manager, too. Take the high road and then find another job, because you can’t survive this one.

10: Don’t create a dependency
Don’t covertly create a dependency just to maintain a relationship or cashflow with a client. A project might yield a new maintenance or support contract, but it must grow from need and mutual agreement, not pretense or trickery.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Windows Phone SMS attack - YouTube

Attackers can send a maliciously-crafted SMS to a Windows Phone, causing it to reboot and disable messaging functionality. "The flaw appears to affect other aspects of the Windows Phone operating system too," reported WinRumors.

"If a user has pinned a friend as a live tile on their device and the friend posts a particular message on Facebook then the live tile will update and causes the device to lock up." WinRumors and Khaled Salameh, the researcher who discovered the vulnerability, are in the process of disclosing the flaw to Microsoft.

"At this stage there doesn't appear to be a workaround to fix the messaging hub apart from hard resetting and wiping the device."

Social Media and Influence Measurement

Google: Behind the numbers [infographic]

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making the Invisible Visible - YouTube

Find out more and take action at:

Making the Invisible Visible is an Amnesty International street art project highlighting the plight of six individuals who have suffered human rights abuses.

The project is a unique collaboration between German street art collective Mentalgassi and creative team Lisa Jelliffe and Kirsten Rutherford from Wieden + Kennedy London.

The installations use special lenticular fence posters. Launched in London last year to highlight the case of Troy Davis, this year the campaign can be seen in 26 locations across 6 European cities.

Each installation depicts a close up of an individual's face. The image is invisible from front on, only becoming visible to those approaching the fence. A plaque on each site alerts passers-by to an Amnesty International website where they can take action in support of each of the individuals featured.

Thanks to Ghosting Season for their track 'Dead Man's Switch' available here:

UK Rich & City Elite Fund Cynical Tory Party

Never in the history of political party funding have so few bought so much political influence for so little says GMB

Total donations to the Tory Party in the third quarter of 2011 were £2,891,436 according to the recent figures published by the Electoral Commission. The donations from companies and individuals linked to finance, hedge funds, private equity, property and other city activities were £1,684,708 according to a new GMB analysis of the data. This is 58.3% of the total.

Rich & City Elite Fund Tory Party

Brain Technology can improve their visual performance

Scientists discovered that brain technology can help people learn new things and it doesn’t require much concentration at all.

In theory, if a person were to use the new method, he could look into a computer screen and learn a new language.

ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory and Boston University researchers used brain technology to help people improve their visual performance in areas such as memory, motor, and rehabilitation.

For example, if a person wants to be a good athlete, then his brain pattern should align to those seen in a professional through real-time feedback. Or if a person needs to be treated after an accident, his brain patterns could be changed to match the baseline. That’s all in theory for now, but the study shows promising results.

To do this, a person could look at computer screen to obtain a specific activation pattern in their brain. Furthermore, this study found that the subjects improved their performance without actually being aware of what they were learning.

Wait? Really? The experiment used decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to improve the subjects’ ability. The subjects also participated in neuro-feedback training so they could match their brain activity to the desired visual performance.

The study was published in the journal Science.

“So we have to test if the method works in other types of learning in the future,” ATR’s professor Mitsuo Kawato said in a statement. “At the same time, we have to be careful so that this method is not used in an unethical way.”

Things to do while waiting for SAP ROI - Make a Snowflake from paper - YouTube

Recommended paper size: Hexagon with a side length of 10cm (approx. 4in)
Resulting model: Hexagon with a side length of 5cm (approx. 2in)

This video describes how to fold the origami snowflake designed by Dennis Walker. Dennis's video is also accessible to you.

Dennis' website:
More origami:

Things to do while waiting for SAP ROI - Make a Christmas Tree from paper - YouTube

Save money and have fun making your very own attractive, chic and unique Christmas decorations. There are lots of attractive recycled papers and materials available from arts, crafts and stationery shops or you can use any nice patterned papers, catalogues or magazines you come across too.

The good news is when they start to look a little tired, or you decide you want new colours / patterns, the old ones can simply be recycled and you can quickly and easily make replacements. Enjoy!

Twitter's redesign open for comment

This week, Twitter announced a "major" redesign of its popular micro-blogging service, in a move aimed at attracting new users and big brands with a simpler, more intuitive interface and more opportunities for companies to show off their stuff. The new look will be rolled out in the coming weeks across, Twitter apps, and TweetDeck. (Watch a video demonstration here.) Here, four things you should know:

1. Is it easier for new tweeters?
Twitter's message to "newbies" here is "try it, you'll like it," says Stephen Shankland at CNET. Twitter execs say the big empty text box on the old site was alienating for first-time users, so now the emphasis is on helping newcomers find content that interests them. The new interface has several friendly tabs, and potentially confusing concepts like hashtags have been re-branded for new users with less threatening action verbs, like "discover." "The new version of Twitter is a faster, simpler way to stay close to everything you care about."

2. Is it friendlier to brands and advertisers?
Companies will be able to launch customised, branded pages and show embedded multimedia. Twitter says it's aiming to be "an even more compelling destination" for companies. Experts caution that Twitter must be careful that it doesn't "compromise users' experience" by getting too cozy with businesses. "It may make Twitter's members feel that its commercial interests are being put ahead of their own," says one digital consultant.

3. Is Twitter approaching the Facebook look?
The branded pages "look like a blatant borrowing" from Facebook, says Paul Sloan at CNET. And that's not the only part of the redesign reminiscent of Mark Zuckerberg and Co. While photos used to be a pain to tweet, they now handily appear as part of a tweet — sound familiar? "A big part of Facebook's appeal — and something that keeps users coming back and sticking around — is that it's an easy place to share and store your photos." Now Twitter is, too. New profile pages are also very Facebook-like. This "redesign sends a clear message to the social networking universe: Facebook, we're coming for you,"

4. Are Conversations easier to follow?
"One of the more annoying things about the old Twitter design was the inability for users to follow conversations easily." No longer. Under the redesign, conversations and comments pile up beneath the original post, another Facebook look-alike move.

Do-it-yourself iPhone Projector - YouTube

The first person to invent a DiY projector by someone named Dylan who tags himself as a Household Hacker. The video shows how to make your own version of iPhone projector.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance: See five years of Kiva lending

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva on Vimeo.

Kiva, a micro-finance site, lets people around the world lend small sums of money to help small businesses get off the ground, particularly in the developing world.

Since starting in 2005 more than 685,000 people have received loans through Kiva. The majority of those loans appear in this video.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Samsung: Amazing Screen Technology - Flexible AMOLED - YouTube

Samsung has released a video purportedly showing a prototype of its flexible screen tablet computer in action. We found it on YouTube and embedded it below. Have a look, as a faceless pair of hands goes globetrotting, unfolding a tidy screen to take happy pictures, translate languages, conjure up menus (or something like that – it’s hard to tell!) and pull other rabbits out of a chirpy hat, all to enthusiastic Korean narration.

The busy production is hardly convincing – the product has a mock-up sense about it - but nevertheless it gives a good idea of what one of these things might look like. Presumably the screen will use OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology. OLEDs are natural light sources, available today in rigid form. But they should soon emerge in flexible varieties, auguring radical changes in architecture, construction, and IT as designers build light sources into the fabric of houses, furniture, skyscrapers, you name it. As we reported last month, Samsung hopes to deliver flexible screen phones in early 2012, followed by bendy tablet PCs.

Internet Access versus Population

With this map you can visualize the global digital divide.

It shows more than 80,000 populated places in blue and about 350,000 locations of IP addresses in red.

White dots indicate places where many people live and many IP addresses are available.

The IP address locations are taken from the GeoLiteCity database by MaxMind.

The database of populated places is taken from The visual style is largely inspired by Eric Fischer's wonderful Flickr-vs-Twitter maps.

Also, here you can find a high resolution version and the separate layers for population and internet addresses.

Virologist Develops Highly Contagious and Lethal Strain of H5N1 Bird Flu Virus

A molecular virologist at Erasmus University in the Netherlands has engineered a new H5N1 bird flu virus so lethal that it would kill 59 percent of those infected.

Dr. Ron Fouchier and his team, who used ferrets as test subjects, found five genetic mutations to the virus. Based on these mutations, they were able to develop a new H5N1 strain that became airborne and infected ferrets in different cages.

The increased rate of infection indicates the new strain can potentially become as contagious as a normal cold. The H5N1 virus, which originally only affected birds, crossed over to humans in 1997 and first struck in Asia.

It eventually spread all over the world until it killed more than 300 people. Considering the 59 percent mortality rate of the new H5N1 strain, many fear that it would result in a pandemic on a global scale.

Read more Virologist Develops Highly Contagious and Lethal Strain of H5N1 Bird Flu Virus

Monday, December 5, 2011

There's no such thing as Root Cause? Discuss!

Continuous improvement enables better decisions with better data, which drives better business performance — as long as you never stop looping the Decision-Data Feedback Loop, and start accepting that there is no such thing as a root cause.

Read the full article here: No Such Thing as a Root Cause?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Social Media: Listening and Online Reputation Monitoring 2011 report

Today marks the publication of Econsultancy's 2012 Online Reputation and Buzz Monitoring Buyer's Guide, containing profiles of 15 leading vendors and advice for companies trying to choose a tool and to get the most from the technology. 

The report follows separate research we published in November which shows that an increasing number of companies are paying for reputation monitoring software.

According to the State of Social Report, published in association with LBi and bigmouthmedia, the proportion of companies using paid-for technology for reputation monitoring increased from 16% in 2010 to 25% in 2011, including 17% who also use free tools for social listening.

Social Media: How will it change your company's raison d’être

Social Media and close coupled customer contact is increasing the delta between what our customers THINK can be done, and what can REALLY be done.

As a company, this delta is an important factor to take into consideration. The fact is, companies have been profiting from operating in their own space-time dimension for decades – it’s the arbitrage of an inefficient market.

We have accepted things like “please allow 48+ hours for a response” because we could not penetrate the system or affect the process; we lacked the power to find out.

Now, however, the differential response times between companies are exposed for all to see, and some companies are willing to share their own benchmarks for response times. Unfortunately, in most cases these are unattainable, especially for companies that are not structured around real-time response.

You cannot have a real-time response strategy if your staff responders are not empowered in real-time and your employees cannot be empowered in real time unless the entire company moves around that pivotal point.

However, the difficult question your company must ask, is not how your company can make this change towards being pivotal; rather, it needs to ask whether it should make this change.

Business is all about constraints, and economics the study of scarcity. Resources applied to customer services do not magically appear because we wish them to; Lavoisier’s principle of mass conservation is as true for corporate resources as it is for chemistry (though, Lavoisier was beheaded)

In short, using a quote from the US Marines; your business has to pick the hill it wants to die on.

You can read more of this article at BrandSavant

World's First Mobile Phone (1922) - YouTube

A couple of years ago, British Pathé uncovered some striking footage from 1922 showing two women experimenting with the first mobile phone. A spokesman for the archive said: ”It’s amazing that nearly 90 years ago mobile phone technology and music … was not only being thought of but being trialled.”

“The phone even has a lid which makes it the first flip-phone we are aware of, although it is probably not going to win any design awards.” He added, ”We would be delighted to hear from anyone who can tell us anything about the film, from where it is shot to who the women might be or even about the phone itself.”

For another gem from the British Pathé archive, don’t miss The King’s Speech (1938), which gives you a glimpse of King George VI making a speech to open an exhibition in Scotland — the same king that became the subject of the 2010 Academy Award-winning film.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011 - Final Version Published

After a consultation period which ran from 22 March to 17 June 2011, the Department of Health has now launched the final version of the UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011.

The plan aims to create more flexibility and clearer communication between all parties involved in the Government response to a pandemic.

The UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011 sets out the main phases of a pandemic and the likely scenarios under the following conditions:

  • Low impact
  • Moderate impact
  • High impact.

In each scenario there a four clear sections:

  • Nature and scale of the illness – what defines the need for the pandemic to have reached this level i.e. widespread disease;
  • Key healthcare delivery – specific actions and guidance for healthcare providers;
  • Impact on the wider society – considerations on how this may be affecting the local community; and
  • Public messages – reassurance and specific information for the general public.

The plan builds on the guidance from 2007 and lessons learnt from the H1N1 (2009) influenza pandemic, and the latest scientific evidence.

The document is broken down as follows:

1. Introduction
2. The challenge of pandemic influenza
3. The strategic approach to pandemic preparedness
4. Key elements of pandemic response
5. Communication and public engagement
6. The health and social care response
7. Whole of society response
8. Further information.

Section 7 (Whole of society response) contains general business continuity information and provides details about the assumptions that organizations should make when developing pandemic preparedness strategies.

Organizations are told to consider the impacts of staff absence and the impacts of interdependencies. If organizations are planning to increase the proportions of staff that work from home as a business continuity measure they are advised to ‘discuss this with their telecommunications providers well in advance to allow them to put the necessary hardware and software in place’.

Assumptions include:

  • The UK Government does not plan to close borders, stop mass gatherings or impose controls on public transport during any pandemic.
  • Organizations should work on the assumption that most of their staff will not have access to vaccines.

Read the document as a PDF.

Human error is the biggest cause of IT disasters

A survey to analyse the key factors that cause major SME IT incidents and service failures. The findings show that human error accounted for 47 percent of incidents, followed by server failures at 29 percent and power and communications provider failure at 15 percent. Fire, flood or ‘Acts of God’ accounted for 9 percent of outages.

Human error can include anything from placing a server under an air conditioner - that then leaks, to classic finger trouble - where operators irretrievably break a server and don't have a backup. Other impacting factors identified included a second disk failure - after its mirror has previously failed and not been fixed, or issues, such as deployment failures or bugs in custom code.

Survey results show that human error causes the highest occurrence of service failures, whilst incidents like fire and flood are understandably less common, but do still occur. It was also found that quite a lot of incidents, which initially appear to be related to pure hardware or software failure, actually have an element of human error involved with them.

Power and communications failures proved to be reasonably common but are often quite short lived, and because most companies don’t have a recovery service that can get them working again very quickly, they tend to just tough them out.

A key problem for companies is predicting how long the service is likely to be out of action and then deciding when it’s worth trying to initiate a recovery process.

The key message from the survey results is, perhaps that prolonged outages do happen and are more often caused by the every-day rather than the rarer fire, flood or acts of God.

Many smaller and medium sized companies who have limited IT support, have less ability to respond quickly and effectively to an IT outage. It is therefore advised that they consider the risks of a prolonged IT outage carefully, and look to develop and implement a fully managed disaster recovery (DR) service from a specialist provider who can guarantee to restore their systems within an acceptable period of time.

Carrier IQ RootKit on SmartPhones - YouTube

So, it seems that there is a rootkit hidden in millions of Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, webOS and even iOS handset that logs everything we do.

The rootkit belongs to a company called Carrier IQ and it seems that it has low-level access to the system that allows it to spy on pretty much everything that you do with your handset.

On the face of it this seems like an extremely serious breach of security, privacy and trust was discovered by 25-year-old Trevor Eckhart.

Here’s a video showing how everything, including text messages and encrypted web searches, are being logged. It’s truly horrifying.

More information about Carrier IQ. If youd like to talk about it, post below, tweet with #CIQ or if you have a board discussion about it post the URL here. I will be doing NO moderation.

While your out there thank the @EFF for letting me continue :)

Why are you looking at CarrierIQ for information and not HTC? Look at how many devices have Carrier IQ hidden. HTC is just including 3rd party software. They have privacy policies everywhere for their programs, this is not just an HTC/Android issue.

Visit for more info.