Category Archives: news

We will have fibre in “12 months”!

Though to be honest I will believe it when I see it!

Those who have been following my FTTC fibre journey will know that I was one of the first people in my area to get fibre back in October 2010.  I was impressed with the 40Mb download speeds.

Really fast…

I was less impressed when I moved house in 2012 and having moved (literally) just down the street I was back on really slow ADSL. So for nearly the last five years I have had an ADSL connection that struggles to get to 1.5Mb download speed!

The story of the fibre journey of cabinet 25 connected to the Worle Exchange has been one of mis-information and downright confusion.

Back in 2015 I outlined the story so far…

Still no fibre

I have written previously about my woes with fibre before, when we first moved house and lost fibre and then my initial investigations into why I couldn’t get FTTC and back in 2012 writing about the confirmation of no plans to upgrading cabinet 25.

It would appear that BT Openreach decided initially that cabinet 25 wasn’t commercially viable, as a result passed it over to Connecting Devon and Somerset. Then at some point BT Openreach changed their mind about the commercial viability, so when Connecting Devon and Somerset came to plan to upgrade the cabinet, they found it was part of a commercial plan, and under the rules they adhere to, they weren’t able to upgrade it. Now we are in a situation where BT Openreach are saying that it is under review with no indication of when or even if it will be ever upgraded.

In May 2016 there was an article on the local paper.

Well, that’s a surprise…

According to the report in the local Weston Mercury, BT Openreach had changed their mind and would be upgrading cabinet 25 to fibre so that we can get FTTC.

In theory we were supposed to be getting fibre by March 2017… then it all fell apart and BT Openreach backtracked on the date!

So last week when I checked the BT Openreach linechcker I was surprised to see that the fibre journey which had been stuck on “We are exploring solutions” for years had moved along to “Design”.

According to the BT Openreach website this means

You’re in a fibre plan and we’re looking at the existing network in your area to see how we will design the upgrade. You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next 12 months.

So we could be connected to fibre in less than 12 months!

We’re drawing up our network plans and assessing the best way to bring fibre to your area. We currently deliver fibre to you in two ways. Sometimes we use a combination of fibre and your existing copper line to deliver our Superfast network (Fibre to the Cabinet). At other times we connect fibre directly to your property (Fibre to the Premises). We often need permission from the local authority while also considering the wishes of your community in terms of look and practicality. At the end of this design process, we’ll have a blueprint in place for delivering fibre to your community.

Possibly we might even get FTTP (fibre to the premises) but I think I am just blue sky thinking there!

The fickle nature of the web

Spider Web by Daniel Orth CC BY-ND 2.0

Spider Web by Daniel Orth CC BY-ND 2.0

The fickle nature of the web is one of those things that I find annoying. You post a link, embed a video and then a bit later you find that it has gone! This was very apparent today with the news that the BBC are, in order to save money, will close down their recipe website. For me this is a mistake, however I also understand how this can happen, not just with textual content, but also media too.

I understand that with YouTube videos you can get take down notices and the link no longer works, or you are left with the blank player if you have embedded the video into a blog post

There are times though when people have removed a video years later and looking through an old blog post you find the embedded video has disappeared as the obscure service you used has shut down, or was taken over.

A few years ago I had a Nokia N95 and used the Shozu app to upload photographs to Flickr, it also had another feature of creating a WordPress blog post and embedding an image. This was shut down a few years ago, so now I have lots of posts from conferences back in 2008 or thereabouts that consist of basically a blank post. The post title was left and is merely a filename and then you get the blank square with the red cross. It is for these reasons that I try not to embed content from third party sites if I can help it.

A  good example of this is from 2008 when I posted a video from the mLearn 2008 conference. I used VideoPress rather than a third party site so my copy is still there on the blog. However I also uploaded the video to YouTube and Blip. However the Blip site is now dead and gone….

One aspect that I do find frustrating is when links disappear. A few weeks ago I tweeted (and Google+’d) a link out about #digitalcapability and wanted to use the link again for something else, so looking over my Google+ profile I found the link, clicked it and got a 404, the missing page error. I checked with the author and he kindly pointed out that the URLs had recently changed and there was a new link. No problem, but I did wonder how long before the URLs changed again or the page disappeared!

Sometimes it isn’t as quick and it can be a few years before the site disappears and the link is no longer live.

Sometimes I think, why do people and companies do this? Then I remember I do this myself and sometimes you have little choice.

WCC Logo

Back in 2001 I was appointed Director of the Western Colleges Consortium and we had a website and the URL westerncc.ac.uk and the consortium was wound up in 2006. As a result the website was shut down.

Back in 1998 when I created my first web site I used the free hosting from the ISP. A few years later I moved hosting providers (as I was using too much bandwidth) and had a domain of my own. I did leave the old site on the ISP, but due to bandwidth usage it was eventually shut down!

Sometimes there are things you can do, so for example when I moved my elearning blog from iBlog, which I was using when I was at the Western Colleges Consortium, I initially moved to wordpress.com, so had the URL elearningstuff.wordpress.com. Due to a variety of reasons I decided to move to my own domain elearningstuff.net and imported all the content. However due to the number of incoming links to the elearningstuff.wordpress.com site I used the domain forwarding service from wordpress.com (and still do) so that any links to elearningstuff.wordpress.com are automatically forwarded to elearningstuff.net. So I do try when possible to ensure that existing content on the web is still accessible years later.

In many ways I wasn’t surprised to read on the BBC News that the BBC are to remove existing web content and in the future only have some web content around for 30 days!

Sounds like BBC iPlayer, no these are recipes from BBC food programmes. This is from the BBC News item (and I expect like other BBC News links this will be around for a long time).

BBC Food news item

The BBC Food website carrying more than 11,000 recipes is to close as part of a plan to cut £15m from the corporation’s online budget, a BBC source has said.

All existing recipes are likely to be archived, though whether some could  move to the commercial BBC Good Food website is still to be decided.

TV show recipes will be posted online but only made available for 30 days.

I can just about understand a future policy doing this, but why on earth are they going to remove the existing web archive of content? What is the point of this exercise? There are, as the report says, thousands of recipes online that can be searched, found and used. I use this a lot myself for finding recipes and inspiration.

For me this is a mistake, sometimes you can’t avoid losing or deleting web content, sometimes you make a mistake, but in this instance I think that it would be mistake to lose the web recipes from the BBC.

Your thoughts? Is this a good idea? Will it help other publishers provide content now? Or do you think it’s a mistake by the BBC to do this and they should keep the food and recipe content online?

Well, that’s a surprise…

Weston Village

So those who follow my trials and tribulations with getting better broadband, will know that following a move in 2012 I lost my FTTC connection and had to revert back to an ADSL connection, a slow ADSL connection at that generally getting between 1-1.5 Mbs. This was because my house was connected to cabinet 25, and this was the only cabinet connected to the Worle Exchange which was never upgraded to FTTC. My expectation was that within a year it would probably be upgraded, it never was…

I have written previously about my woes with fibre before, when we first moved house and lost fibre and then my initial investigations into why I couldn’t get FTTC and back in 2012 writing about the confirmation of no plans to upgrading cabinet 25.

When I first approached BT Openreach about this issue, they said it was not commercially viable and that they wouldn’t be upgrading the cabinet. The only alternative I was told, it would probably be upgraded by Connecting Devon and Somerset as part of a public private partnership.

Their first response was that it wasn’t part of their initial roll out. I wasn’t too surprised by this, as I was sure they would focus on the rural areas away from the places that already had FTTC to show real impact.

When they updated one of their maps I discovered that we were no longer part of their plans, it followed that we were now part of a commercial roll out and wasn’t

BT Openreach still wasn’t providing any sensible or details.

It was apparent that there was no solid information on when, or even if, we would be getting fibre…

In a side story, on the other side of the railway tracks, on the other side of the village, Virgin Media were laying cable. Now there was very little information on this installation, the Virgin Media site was giving even less away than BT Openreach!

Then some news…

Weston Mercury News Report

According to the report in the local Weston Mercury, BT Openreach had changed their mind and would be upgrading cabinet 25 to fibre so that we can get FTTC.

So what changed?

Personally I did wonder if the Virgin Media installations were getting them worried?

Who knows?

Well in 2017 I may finally be getting a faster internet connection, until then I will have to contend with slow ADSL and 4G for my connectivity.

Star Wars Disney Infinity 3.0

Princess Leia

Star Wars will be the main theme for Disney Infinity 3.0 which will arrive this autumn.

My children have really enjoyed Disney Infinity and I think this will be on their Christmas list, (probably along with Lego Dimensions.

Star Wars Disney Infinity

Wearing it on your sleeve

Android Watches

Google have recently a new version of Android for “wearables” specifically watches, Android Wear.

“That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.”

Wearables have been on the horizon for a while now. Rumours have abounded for a while about Apple’s iWatch and we have seen devices such as the Pebble which interact with your phone. Google have been “playing” with Google Glass in the US.

It’s interesting that Google see the next step is a watch.

Back in the 1980s the digital watch was incredibly popular, everyone I knew had or wanted a Casio watch, a watch that did so much more than just tell the time.

Today the watch hasn’t evolved, most people I know either don’t wear a watch or have retrograded to a “traditional” watch. In most respects, people see a digital watch as cheap and tacky!

If you though take a moment, though we are anticipating Android watches and Apple’s iWatch, there have been a few wearable technologies over the years already. The iPod nano was for many people a wearable, either attached to the arm when jogging or as a watch. Nike have their Fuelband and then there is the Fitbit.

The main difference with those devices compared to the anticipated smart watches, was they had limited functionality. The iPod nano was in the main, a music player, whilst the Nike Fuelband is about recording physical activity. You also have devices like the Pebble that aren’t isolated devices, but work in conjunction with your smartphone.

The newer anticipated devices, look like to be powerful multi-functional devices. You can see some of the concepts in devices such as Google Glass.

Mobile phones in the 1990s were in the main for making phone calls and sending SMS, some had a calculator, but generally they were limited single function devices. When you look at the Android phones and iPhones that we have today, these are cameras, gaming consoles, internet communication devices, video devices, as well as a device for making phone calls and sending SMS.

Generally when a device becomes more functional and flexible, the more useful it is for a wider range of uses and contexts.

So are you going to get a “wearable”?