Category Archives: Technology

Observations on technology.

The Investigatory Powers Bill


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Yesterday, I voted for the principle of the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill. I very nearly did not: I detest state surveillance as a matter of principle. Unfortunately, the Internet is not only a force for good. It has also liberated and enabled a number of appalling evils which even an ultra-minimal government would have to counter in the public interest. I cannot object in principle to the authorities having investigatory powers appropriate and proportionate to the criminal threat we face […]

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Exploring the risks of EU mis-regulation with Sparks e-cigarettes


The EU Tobacco Products Directive looks set to seriously damage the development of the e-cigarette industry. That is likely to diminish the prospects of helping people quit smoking and lead far healthier lives. Researchers from University College London (UCL) have said that: For every million smokers who switched to an e-cigarette we could expect a reduction of more than 6000 premature deaths in the UK each year, even in the event that e-cigarette use carries a significant risk of fatal diseases, and […]

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Debate on Superfast Broadband


On Monday 12 October, I attended a debate in the Chamber regarding the variations in effectiveness of roll-out of fixed and mobile superfast broadband in different parts of the UK. I was unable to speak during the debate due to it being heavily over-subscribed, with a 4 minute time limit on those who did speak. The Government gave the following reassurances. The Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy (Mr Edward Vaizey): We said that we would deliver superfast broadband to 90% […]

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Compassion App launched to bring Wycombe communities together


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A High Wycombe resident has developed a new App to support users to capture and share inspiring moments, helping uplift others through motivating posts and interactions. The Compassion App encourages people to go beyond self-interest and give of oneself for the good of the other. The AnonCare App uses technology and age old values to create a shared responsibility for the well-being of others. Users are actively encouraged to empower and inspire others in poor health or isolation. The system […]

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Why iPhone and iPad work with Exchange but not OS X


Update: An update in the course of 2014 rendered this obsolete. Exchange email, calendars and tasks work well enough with iOS devices (iPad and iPhone) but not OS X. Google revealed the usual spread of despairing cries for help followed by suggestions of varying usefulness. A couple of top tips include the news that, when there is no field to enter your domain, you can specify your username as <domain>\<username>. This is apparently well-known to Windows system administrators (although why […]

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You too can lose weight fast with The Sherlock Diet!


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Apparently the UK faces an obesity crisis. Helpfully, as reported in the national news [1,2], I am annually weighed in public in High Wycombe. This year, I had lost weight thanks to The Sherlock Diet. Today, I have lost 10kg since Christmas, 8 of them in the last 10 weeks. I was significantly overweight with a Body Mass Index of 29, just 3 kg off obese. My wife, a GP, hinted fairly heavily that the trajectory of my health was […]

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Free, zooming presentations with Prezi – How Government created the crisis by debasing money


I have many times presented the argument that for forty years politicians’ promises in excess of what they could take in tax were paid for by debasing the currency to avoid an explosion of debt. Here’s a typical PDF generated from Keynote, Apple’s (superior) competitor to PowerPoint. Then I was introduced to Prezi. Instead of a series of animated slides, Prezi uses a zooming user interface over a canvas. Here’s my first attempt to convey the big economic story of the […]

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The Government’s plan to “decarbonise the transport fleet”


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Following a Transport Committee oral evidence session on Low Carbon Vehicles, I have received a letter from the Minister, Norman Baker MP (no relation). It’s not necessary to reproduce the lot, but I do wonder if car enthusiasts, or indeed drivers generally, realise that: … the Carbon Plan 2011 showed that we need to virtually decarbonise the car fleet by 2050 and new cars by 2040 to meet our 2050 80% GHG reduction target. To have a reasonable chance of […]

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I didn’t seek election to roll forward Labour’s surveillance state


Via Government web surveillance: ‘Expensive, impractical, totalitarian’ – Telegraph: The Government’s plan to make Internet Service Providers capture personal communications data is nothing new. It was brought up under the last Labour government as the “Intercept Modernisation Programme” and received heavy criticism from the Tory party in opposition. The article concentrates on the practicalities of recording people’s internet activity. For a more philosophical point of view about why it shouldn’t be attempted, see Sam Bowman’s Our road to serfdom. Meanwhile, […]

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Give the Games industry a (tax) break


NB: this post is by Tim Hewish, my Parliamentary Assistant, and the views expressed are his own. Jim McGovern, Labour MP for Dundee, called a Westminster Hall debate to address the growing disparity between the UK and other nations on the latter’s favourable tax credits towards the video games industry. The UK has a long history of innovative creative industries; video games are one such platform: from Rareware and Eidos to Media Molecule and Rockstar Games. Currently, what we are […]

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