Think Quarterly – think Google UK

thinkingpic3It isn’t new any more, but if you haven’t checked out Think Quarterly from Google UK you should do so.

As a small business with constant pressure on time to service our client base, if we had unlimited resources then Think Quarterly would be the style and content for a pretty near perfect online newsletter/magazine style publication to engage with our user base.

Produced by the Google UK team Think Quarterly offers readers intellectual insights into the latest technological developments, as well as think pieces about change in both infrastructure and the philosophy of the web – beautifully filtered through a mesh of ideas around business and communication.

Our favourite article in the current issue is on Open Data. An article from Nigel Shadbolt highlights the opportunities available to make the word a clearer, better understood place using public data sources.

Not directly focused on technology, but on what analysis can be achieved with it.

He gives a mention to Schooloscope, which enables parents and carers to see how their school is doing by making performance data clear.

Similarly, oh that every local authority should have published its spending data on spotightonspend.

You can flip Think Quarterly pages online, download a copy as a pdf, subscribe by RSS feed, follow the team on Twitter or on your mobile.

Clean, clear thinking and concise. Think Quarterly.

The Internet of Things

We looked recently on this blog at where Microsoft thought the direction the technological world was going.

Below, this short film The Internet of Things is a vision of the same future from IBM.

Sensors will be linked to hardware and information generated will be filtered, analysed and used to make wise choices about our lives and activities.

IBM see the internet as the nerve backbone of the globe, which will generate a new concept of the Earth. A giant information generation system.

Welcome to the e-world. Whichever vision you cleave to, we are in for an interesting ride in the next twenty years.

English by mobile – in Bangla

janalaLogoPicAt Third Sector Web we have always delivered our web sites for clients with translation embedded into the pages. Helping to spread news and information across communities in languages other than English.

The BBC World Service recently updated their news on a service that enables Bangla speakers to get English lessons via their mobile phones.

In Bangladesh, the project lead, Sara Chamberlain, was also able to persuade service providers in the country to make the English lessons available at half the pre-existing mobile rates.

The BBC has also created a website, Janala, which means window, so that younger learners can get to grips with English directly from the web.

‘Bangla is one of the world’s great languages. Tagore, the giant of Bengali literature, was the first person from Asia to become a Nobel laureate back in 1913. So it’s not surprising that following independence from Pakistan in 1971, Bangla was adopted as the language of instruction in Bangladesh’s schools and colleges.

The unintended consequence has been that English has waned over the last few decades…the vast majority of young people have gone through the education system without picking up the ability to speak or understand spoken English’.

The Janala service has hundreds of short, three minute English lessons available for free, from any web enabled computer. A great use of technology in a learning environment.

You can read Sara Chamberlain’s original post here.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Internet explorer updates…continued

Following on from our recent post about vulnerabilities in IE Microsoft have now published details of an out of sequence update for the range of IE browsers.

Having published details of recent attempts to use IE6 as a vehicle for attacks, Microsoft is now issuing security updates for all extant versions of its browser.

You can read the Microsoft advance warning here.

Visit the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Is your web browser up to date?

securityPicIf national governments are warning their citizens to stop using a particular browser, then the potential risk to your data and stored information must be pretty high?

Both the German and French governments have recently issued advisory warnings about using one particular browser.

If you travel and use public networks, if you work a lot online, like us – update your browser often. We have reported in the past on this blog about our use and favour of Opera, Firefox and now Chrome.

Free, quick and easy to download and install. Update or refresh your browser of choice…

…you can see an article from The Guardian about a world-wide hack, originating in China here. The concern seems to be with IE6. Why do so many government organisations, for example, allegedly use outdated software for mission critical applications and services?

You can download IE8 here. It’s improved immensely of late.

Visit the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Creative Commons Image: Brad & Sabrina at Flickr

Google Docs – 250Mb file size support

vaultDoorPicLosing your files and data can be disastrous. We recommend always having multiple back-ups or file stores active to make sure your precious data is not lost.

Cleaving to the old axiom that data does not exist until it is stored in two places (at least) is a great way to avoid disaster.

Google Docs now supports files of up to 250 megabyte in size. You can store your documents remotely on Google servers, and if you are a subscriber to Google Apps Premier Edition, you can upload multiple files and sync them to your desktop too.

You can read the roll out blog message from Google here.

You can of course use the Mozy home service, featured on our blog before, to back up your files – offering 2 gigabyte of data storage at no cost. Business users can access the Mozy Pro business service for multiple users.

We also like as a solution for the individual user, who needs access to remote backup while traveling for example. You can share, manage and access your information from any web enabled computer.

Store it, before you lose it – a few moments of effort you’ll never regret when you hard drive fails or your network connections go down.

You can visit the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Microsoft release public beta of Office 2010

pencilPowerpic Microsoft have finally released a public beta version of Office 2010 for access by users interested in trying out the new suite of applications.

We installed the beta version of 2010, requiring a high speed web connection, on a colleagues home laptop, with perfect ease and with no apparent conflicts on the machine with an existing licensed version of Office 2007 – the two running in parallel.

As this ‘web connected’ version of Office 2010 is a beta, with a final fully polished version yet to come, this was a useful test.

The interfaces for the user, the new ‘ribbon’ and the additional effects and utility in Excel and  PowerPoint were easy to use and added real impact to the test documents and analysis we produced.

You can save documents online and access them from any machine. Microsoft say that a final version for the home user will be available through Windows Live, which will be free but supported by advertising.

The Beta trial offers a great way to experiment with ‘cloud computing‘, with the promise that a full suite will be available eventually for free through your Windows Live account.

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta – real productive power, online. Read more here.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Unite with Opera

operaPic22The Norwegian technologists at Opera have delivered the latest version of the Opera browser – 10.10

This latest revamp does not look dramatically different from the last version, but there has been some tweaking under the hood.

We like Opera. Fast, secure and with the ability to handle email, newsfeeds and to see our current web sites in the Speed Dial display. Opera Turbo also allows you to boost browsing speed on slower connections by delivering page compression.

You can also access the Unite service. This facility turns your desk top machine into a server – you can stream media, share files or access your media library remotely.

Some of the newer functions do not yet have password control, which for the very security conscious might be an issue when allowing even trusted colleagues to access your hard drive.

However, for speed, display times, clarity of presentation and innovative thinking – you should check out Opera version 10.10.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Ten things that every charity needs to know about information technology

Get connected

Deborah Elizabeth Finn has something very useful to tell on her blog about how charities or small community organisations can use technoiogy to the full.

Her experience is of America, but the principles of embracing new technology, allowing everyone in the organisation to access and influence tech utility and recognising that technology issues are organisational issues will strike a note with every voluntary sector reader of this blog.

Deborah’s list of ten things to think about, ostensibly directed at senior management, will chime with everyone around our partnership philosophy of utilising new technology to support social aims to the full. Read what Deborah has to say by using the view original article link below…

”…very little technical knowledge is required in order for nonprofit CEOs to participate actively in strategic IT planning. As long as you thoroughly understand your organization’s overall mission, strategy, and tactics and (are willing to learn a little bit about the technology), you can keep your information technology infrastructure on target…”

View Original Article

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