An omnibus of tech posts by s Futurologist on software development
Sunday, 22 April 2007
Lib Dems ensure Red Ken is reelected
We learned this week how Greg Dyke was forced to rule out a bid for London mayor
. Ming Campbell
put the boot into the Torys' proposal of a joint independent candidate to scupper that venture.
Ed Davey said: "the way to defeat him [Red Ken
] is not to have an 'anyone-but-Ken' candidate, it is to win the argument over issues that matter to the capital."
Sounds like Ed Davey doesn't hasn't seen the realities of election politics; because the populace have so few opportunities express their opinion, when an opportunity does arrise after a long stint with a present party, the opponents often pick up many more votes than they could otherwise -- due to protest votes. Also, interestingly people won't want to risk a protest vote when things aren't going well, so Red Ken would have actually been at risk because he'd done "not that bad a job", as Greg highlights.
The Lib Dems command such a small amount of support, so why not form alliances with other parties and succeed overall? Also, while it's not to late for another Lib Dem leader!
Labels: Politics, UK
Friday, 20 April 2007
House Price Crash Soon
I've been looking at the housing market in the UK and I can see we are in-line for a significant correction affect, bringing houses down to just below there market value.
I'm sure this correction will occur over the next four years. Below I've included analysis to support my assertion, let's see how it pans out.
House prices presently stand at six times average earnings, historical peaks like 1990 only went up to five times average earnings. In the dips like 1991-95 it went all the way back down to three times average earnings. (ERM disaster in 1992 hurried this along)
Upto 25% of the market is private landlords, another influencing factor pushing the prices up has been the fact that a typical household is now down to 1.9 from 2.4 (younger generation living alone for longer). Younger generation buying on their own as previous point, in both their own home and rented (from all those private landlords!).
[Edit: 2 Jan 2011, correction ~14% of the market was private rented. Don't remember where the 25% figure came from]
Inflation is high now (RPI, PRIX and even CPI at running at 3%).
The other thing to consider is if there has been a change in the model. The Labour government, in power since '97 has adopted polices to push families where one parent at home to put the children in nursery and after school clubs, allowing both parents to work. This has boosted the income, meaning a combined earnings of six times average salary is more common. This is a shame for the single income house-holds, as they have been squeezed out of the market.
There is significantly more to be gained now by waiting 3-4yrs than buying now and paying off 3yrs of mortgage, because over that period the house price will have gone down 40%!
A house which cost £76,000 in 1980 cost £60,000 2 years later, a 22% reduction. A house which cost £116,00 in 1990, cost £70,000 five years later, a 40% reduction. What we have at present is an unprecedented over speculation on prices, the fall may even surpass the last 40% correction and make that £190,000 home worth only £95,000 in four years time.
Labels: Housing, UK
Friday, 13 April 2007
Time to open up our data? (Ordinance Survey OS map)
Canada has just adopted a free model for map data
, great news for the citizens and business of Canada!
The UK (and EU!) really needs to follow Canada's lead, opening up access to Ordinance Survey
map data too, in addition Post Code
and address data which will empower citizens and create new businesses. So come on MPs, create the opportunity!
Labels: OpenData, Politics, UK
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Scaling P2P for the future
We all use P2P like BitTorrent
, but the user experience isn't quite there yet. The current generation of P2P doesn't scale from popular to niche downloads. Often we'll be sat waiting hours or even days for a niche track to download, and likewise my potential for uploading will be left unused as no one needs parts of the tracks I have.
The solution is for the super-nodes to hint the niche files which are struggling to be cached by other nodes, boosting the niche file's availability while the other nodes are otherwise idle; a neat balancing trick. Skype uses similar approaches, diverting firewalled traffic via idle nodes.
Labels: Future, Tech
Wednesday, 4 April 2007
Double the budget doesn't quite equal success
There's a piece on the BBC
today about a private company charging premium prices for TV and incoming/outgoing calls. Should these private companies really be given contracts which allow them to make so much money out of people in need?
Gordon brown has increased the UK budget from £320 Billion back in 1997 to £537 Billion for the coming year, well above inflation; the NHS alone now gets £104 Billion. The problem is the money hasn't been injected and spent well, leaving no real improvement in the last 10 years. Only middle management has swelled, managing targets
etc, heading for a narrower pyramid base than ever before! Someone needs to slim down management and delegate more decisions to the doctors and nurses as it worked previously. Could experienced private medical managers help improve the organisation? Only consider managers with a proven track record, and make sure they have the remit to push through reforms.
Patients may be forced to get a mobile phone now, so this company will loose out in the end; but they've missed an opportunity provide a great service for people to pay a reasonable price for. Providing patients their mobile on silent that is a much more convenient too.
Regarding this price hike, it's the same situation with car parking
, trusts are even pleased to announce record profits from their clients (the injured and the families)! The good thing is that the pendulum is swinging the other way slowly now -- next even prescriptions will be free again! NHS dentists costs are already better, their do need to be a lot more NHS dentists still though. Fun times ahead eh!?
Labels: Politics, UK
Monday, 2 April 2007
This is either a large problem, or very humorous that the parliament.uk
, website has had a broken "Find your MP" link for the last four days.
Is it any wonder parliament.uk
is out innovated by the likes of writetothem.com
? We need an clever bunch of people to provide the parliament services to subjects of the UK, and it seems they don't have that at present! So c'mon parliamentarians, get on top of things!
Labels: Politics, UK
Sunday, 1 April 2007
Cookie privacy solution
Apple UK's website asks visitors if they are happy to have a tracking cookie set, and if they don't opt-into that agreement they set a "nocookie" flag. VW's site has a similar privacy approach, they don't offer it by default though.
"If you do not wish to receive this cookie, click here. This will delete the webabacus_id cookie and instead place another cookie on your machine, called nocookie, which will prevent you being served any further personalised cookies by this site."
I'd like to see more companies take a modern approach like Apple has.
there are a few workarounds for the privacy incursion of cookies we can use in browsers like Firefox:
- Set cookies to "ask every time", fine-grained control, which gives a popup question the first (or each) time a site tries to set or read a cookie.
- Set cookies to last "until I close Firefox", so each time you start with a clean configuration.
- Cookie Exceptions allows a user to block *.doubleclick.net permanently, but they still have to enter these manually. Firefox really needs to be supplied with these as default, and have an extension check and update the list each week.
- Rather than save login details in a cookie on systems like eBay and GMail, just use Firefox's "Remember passwords" option when it pops up. That way when you next visit eBay it fills in the login form. (I use this approach combined with no.2)
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