How much ? NHS spends money like water on ICT

According to the Guardian "BT Group will next month become the third major contractor in as many years to take a multimillion pound writedown on its work with the government's crisis-stricken GDP12.7bn overhaul of the NHS computer system."

This is the most astonishing amount of money.

The NHS is pretty much the biggest employer in Europe. There are something like 1,330,000 employed by the wider NHS - of whom some 133,000 are Doctors.

Yet despite that vast workforce we could (takes deep breath) give every-single-one of those employees TWO top-of-the range laptops (one for work and one for home) AND an iPhone each - and still have some change left over from GDP2.7bn.

Leaving some GDP10bn to spend on connecting them all up...

Let's look at that one more time. Two laptops and iPhone for every single NHS employee, and still have GDP10 Billion left over.

For pity's sake, who runs these contracts?

Because we sure know who's paying for it all.

Update - June 2011 - "NHS Chief Information Officer - Christine Connelly - in dramatic resignation. Terminal crisis for £11.4bn National Programme for IT?" ComputerWorldUK
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Even more Unreasonable

Are you reading this website on its "home" page at or are you getting some sort of a feed into your own information channel?

Did you get here by chance or did you try typing the word "unreasonable" into Google?

Are you reading the comments on the right hand side of the page (" ideas") or just the main entries down the middle of the page?

If you're reading this in some sort of feed reader then do you have the latest feed: or are you reading something quite different (and perhaps older)?


I'm trying to push everything through the one channel...

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The Future of ICT

It's becoming ever more obvious that the future of ICT lies with Web Based Applications. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Flickr, Twitter, etc If you want to keep an eye on the future then you could do a lot worse than to have a look at this list of the best web-based apps of 2008. It is worth noting that Google appears in just about every category (bear in mind that Picassa, Blogger and YouTube are all Google products - and iLike is essentially a Google product). Also note that Amazon do a lot more than just sell books, music and DVDs; they're rapidly becoming a major force in the ICT world.

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Hey. You talking to Me?

Microcontent Musings follow up the "10 things to Watch" from Marc Canter.

Personally I suspect that the real play is in 1. Identity ("Who are you") and 2. Attention ("Hey there, Ian"). Pretty much everything else seems to fall out from those two. Particularly once you accept that objects/things will need a validated Identity just as surely as you and me.

Now that the last part of this article ("Breaking the Web Wide Open") by Marc Canter is up, I decided to comment it here.

I like the intro and his comments on walled gardens. It is about time that things open up a bit more and thus the article has a great title. Marc Canter sees 10 developments that are important in the future. One might even add the connotation Web 2.0, but that is starting to get lame.

Identity: This is a very complex subject and ranges from single sign on, to profiles and attention. The problem is the combination of all these things. Profiles imply structure (and thus MicroContent). Profiles can be become extremely complex. There is a relation with access to this profiles: who may see what and for how long? And then there is the single sign on part. It is time we had some progress here. Since W3C worked on it (forgot the name of that project), I did not see much happening. I like to see the owner of the profile in the centre. The owner should be the one who decided who gets to see what.

Attention: This stays an interesting thing. I think however that first the Identity-part should be solved. It will take a while before businesses can really use attention on an individual basis. They are still not able to use all my blogs and there is much information in it on me.

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Google and the Semantic Web

Wa-ay back in 2002, Paul Ford wrote an article gazing into the future. He speculated that Google would beat Amazon and Ebay to the Semantic Web.

He suggested that:

in late 2004, with little fanfare, Google introduced three services, Google Marketplace Search, Google Personal Agent, and Google Verification Manager, and a software product, Google Marketplace Manager.

Well, it turns out that Google are pretty much following that model, and in pretty much the timescale suggested give or take a bit. There latest offering at [warning: this seems to be slipping in and out of alpha at the moment - so it may not be there...] seems to go someway in this direction.

Note that the Google Verification Manager would go some way to addressing the issue of Identity, which was the first item of Marc Canter's list of future trends to watch...

Paul Ford then went on to talk about a few other things including web-savvy spreadsheets.

spreadsheets are important to the future of the Internet. Not the gunky ones we have now, but super-futuristic ultra-spreadsheets. Say I wanted to sell my books, and put an ISBN number into a spreadsheet, and then applied a Semantic Web-based function. So I have ISBN 2884838483, and I enter as the function. This goes out talks to the Library of Congress, which spits back a nice MARC record, and an XSLT script converts that an RDF descriptions according to the Open Products Hierarchy, and fills in title, author, publisher, number of pages, just like that in the spreadsheet. And each of those items can be related to other information, because there's a standard way to define data interchange (XML) and the actual structure of the data (RDF).

Web-as-spreadsheet is fun to think about, I swear.

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Breaking the Web Wide Open!

Marc Canter points us towards the future of the Web...

For decades, "walled gardens" of proprietary standards and content have been the strategy of dominant players in mainframe computer software, wireless telecommunications services, and the World Wide Web; it was their successful lock-in strategy of keeping their customers theirs.

But like it or not, those walls are tumbling down. Open web standards are being adopted so widely, with such value and impact, that the web giants like Amazon, AOL, eBay, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, are facing the difficult decision of opening up to what they don't control.

The online world is evolving into a new open web (sometimes called the Web 2.0), which is all about being personalized and customized for each user. Not only open source software, but open standards are becoming an essential component.


Open standards are more than just technology. Open standards mean sharing, empowering, and community support. Someone floats a new idea (or meme) and the community runs with it – with each person making their own contributions to the standard – evolving it without a moment's hesitation about "giving away their intellectual property."


The combination of Open APIs, standardized schemas for handling meta-data, and an industry which agrees on these standards are breaking the web wide open right now. So what new open standards should the web incumbents, and you, be watching?

Keep an eye on the following "Top Ten" developments:

  1. Identity
  2. Attention
  3. Open Media
  4. Microcontent Publishing
  5. Open Social Networks
  6. Tags
  7. Pinging
  8. Routing
  9. Open Communications
  10. Device Management and Control

Link: AlwaysOn Network.

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.Reboot7: Doc Searls.

.Reboot7: Doc Searls.

Language frames our lives.

Adverbs and Adjectives are important - they influence our interpretation of nouns and verbs.


It is nouns and verbs that really matter.

The real Matrix is the set of metaphors we use to make sense of the world. eg Time is Money. Life is Travel. War metaphors are everywhere...


Why are writers, photographers, directors etc now "content providers". We now have "providers" who "deliver" "content"...

And the question every Company and Venture Capitalists seems to ask is "what's the business models".

Maybe it is possible to make money because of what happens through the Net, rather than simply by selling "content"...

[Posted with hblogger 2.0]

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Tags, Folksonomies and the future of the Web...

This excellent article from Many-to-Many is actually about Tags and Folksonomies - but in many ways is tells us more about the future of the web...

To put this metaphorically, we are not driving a car, with gas, brakes, reverse and a lot of choice as to route. We are steering a kayak, pushed rapidily and monotonically down a route determined by the enviroment. We have a (very small) degree of control over our course in this particular stretch of river, and that control does not extend to being able to reverse, stop, or even significantly alter the direction we’re moving in.

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Bottom-up semantic web

Great article about Tags by Kevin Werbach

The latest and greatest example of the bottom-up semantic Web in action is tags. Tags are user-created labels for objects on the Web, such as pages and photos. Using a tool such as (for bookmark links) or Flikr for photos, anyone can assign tags. Once objects are tagged, users can search on those tags and retrieve human-categorized results. Technorati recently introduced tag search across blog posts, bookmarks, and Flikr photos, with the ability to tag other types of objects as well.

What's cool about this is that, in true Web spirit, it simply ignores the biggest problems with a decentralized system. I might think something belongs under a "politics" tag that you categorize differently. Or, different users will tag the same item in inconsistent ways. Not to mention that, to take a trivial example, "blogs," "weblogs," and "Web logs" might all refer to the same thing, but be treated as distinct tags. So what. Tags work well enough to be useful, despite not being perfect. Just like the Web vs. SGML, just like Ethernet vs. token ring networking, the lightweight, decentralized solution wins.

And it gets better.

The exciting part of tags is that they fit together with mechanisms to build open programmatic interfaces to Web resources. A tag category, for example, can easily become an RSS syndication feed. And more. Lots of smart people, and many startups, are coming up with intruiging applications of these new capabilities.

The semantic Web is dead. Long live the semantic web.

Link: Werblog: Bottom-up semantic web.

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