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February 2009
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July 2009

Updating Old-Fashioned Technology

Just occasionally I find myself needing to revert to old technology. Like writing letters. Or sending faxes.

Which is difficult if you are averse to paper.

Step forward two cool services that make my life a little easier.

1. L-Mail. This lets me write letters by e-mail (or via a web interface) which are then printed, stuck in an envelope and posted by hand. Neat. I can even choose from which country they are posted. Which is fun. I can pretend to be in India and send birthday cards to my children.

2. PopFax. This lets me send (and receive) faxes from my computer. Either scanned files (photos, handwritten notes, etc) or standard desktop files (.pdf, .doc, etc).

Both services are web-based, cheap and efficient.

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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
Follow me on Twitter: @IanYorston