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Just thought I’d tell you about Computer Aid’s main
competitor in the
Compare the stats in Computer Aid’s annual report with the stats from the Digital Links annual report, both of which are accessible from the Charity Commission web site.
Computer Aid had a total income of £1.7m and shipped 22,365 computers in the year ending March 2007. This works out as costing £76 to ship each computer. Each member of the 20 staff contributed to sending 1,100 computers to the developing world.
Digital Links shipped 20,400 computers in the year ending September 2006. In this year it had an income of £646,457. This works out as costing £31 to ship each computer. Each member of the four staff contributed to shipping 5,100 computers.
Anyway, think about these facts next time you’re deciding what to do with your computers. There are lots of charities crying out for computer donations, so why not research them before making your decision.
HP’s Mini strikes right note for travel
I’m going to purchase the HP Mini-Note (Ultra-small laptops go head to head, 2 June).
I do a lot of travelling so the Mini-Note will be useful,
Not much changes
To be honest, after 25 years, I despair of the whole industry at times (Why Redmond prevails, 26 May). Re-packaging and re-inventing the same old tired arguments at 10-year intervals.
As I write, my Windows XP machine is threatening to finally succumb to “cumulative patch fatigue” – a Microsoft expression – and give up the ghost, and I wonder whether the constant promises for new technology are as good as the statement: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Perhaps I should simply grow my hair long, sprout a beard and buy a Mac?
BBC puts BT in a win-win situation
BT could fibre the UK at a cost of somewhere between £10bn and £15bn, depending on whether it goes to the street cabinet or into the home, but it is in a difficult position as it is bound by significant market power conditions (Row over iPlayer highlights need for fibre, 5 May).
Broadband is currently available from BT as a wholesale service and most customers are using its IPStream service. This utilises capacity-based charging where an ISP installs, for example, a 255Mbit/s connection from BT and BT then determines the number of sessions across that connection.
The cost of a 255Mbit/s pipe is around £300,000 a year, which is economic when usage isn’t constant as it is split between the end-user costs. However, the BBC’s iPlayer service encourages constant usage, and so the only option an ISP has is to increase the size of the pipe and suddenly the pipe costs are significant per user.
Operators that took advantage of local loop unbundling could be thought to be immune to this as they provision their own equipment in the BT exchanges, but they then have to connect the equipment back to their own networks. Unfortunately, most operators don’t have their own networks so they have to buy backhaul services from BT, and BT doesn’t sell those services cheaply.
Therefore the main winner out of this is actually BT, as it sells more wholesale services one way or another.
Steve Kennedy, NetTek
Users are doing IT for themselves
Firms need to wake up to the fact that sales departments are happy to use technology without the involvement of IT (Time to get with the Web 2.0 programme? 21 April). You only need to look at the success of Salesforce.com and LinkedIn as proof of that. And you can bet there is more of this business-led uptake of technology on the way, as Web 2.0 presents even more innovative ways of interacting with existing and prospective customers.
Second Life is a cut-throat world
I’ve been in Second Life since summer 2006 and a lot has changed since then (Real dangers lurk in virtual worlds, 7 April). It was a far more innocent time back then.
Now the problems are intellectual property theft, much like software piracy. But in this case imagine you work hard to create a furniture set and sell it for £600. Tomorrow you run across a shop on the other side of town selling a set identical to yours for half the money – and out-spending you in advertising. This is only one example of what’s happening in there now.
Conserve bandwidth with smarter apps
While moving to super-fast fibre connections is one way of solving increasing network capacity problems, it is rather short-sighted (What will satisfy the need for speed? 17 March). It is just not feasible, or possible, or affordable, to eternally add bandwidth.
The increasingly interactive nature of new web applications takes its toll on the client, the network and servers alike. The IT infrastructure is becoming far too complex, and instead of making major investments in a network upgrade, it makes much more sense to make better use of existing assets by optimising application performance.
Owen Cole, F5
Most managers are clueless about IT
Kelvyn Taylor’s recent article mentioned company staff wasting time on Facebook and other social networking sites, and it reminded me of a recent event I experienced (Think ahead to avoid IT blindspots, 17 March).
A problem occurred where our office internet bandwidth was being throttled. After some investigation, my IT team discovered that someone using BitTorrent software was the cause of it all. We blocked the port on our proxy server, and all was well again.
The company managers were aware that web pages were coming up quickly again, but had absolutely no idea why the system had slowed down, and then sped up again. They have no clue what BitTorrent is, and are probably only vaguely aware of social networking sites. The word Linux will pass through one ear and out the other. Just as our proxy server filters out unwanted internet requests, the managers have an inbuilt filter to any computer-related terminology.
The top and bottom of it is, that they don’t want to know the technical details of these problems, and leave such things entirely in the hands of the young IT boffins who are performing black magic in the basement. Secretly they wish to return to the good old days of slide rules and writing with quills. They just don’t like all this digital carry-on. One manager I spoke to is still convinced that computers are just a fad that will go away in a few years from now. He’s been saying that for the past 15 years.
Dell strives to cut power consumption
In response to the recent reader letter on Dell power consumption, without knowing the specific test instrument that was used to measure energy consumption, we cannot comment on the data that was generated (PC firms are power crazy, 25 February). We can only assume that the device used was unable to detect and measure the newer generation of power supplies that are certified to be 80 per cent efficient.
Dell strives to exceed industry standards in energy efficiency, with the latest OptiPlex systems achieving stringent benchmarks such as Energy Star 4.0.
James Nolan, Dell
How to get the best out of mainframes
Once again we see that rumours of the death of the mainframe have been exaggerated (Mainframes back in business, 3 March). This announcement from IBM highlights the value and demand for continued innovation in mainframe technology; as a platform, the mainframe is responsible for processing more data than any other and continues to serve the needs of large organisations well.
Companies must also realise, however, that the business benefit of such platforms is only as good as the applications running on them, and that true business innovation comes from understanding where the value lies within these core systems. Only by having the insight to remove the deadwood, will IT be able to innovate where innovation really counts.
Julian Dobbins, Micro Focus