Just before Don's presentation, Catherine Atkins gave a quick talk about i10, an association aiming to improve links between businesses and ten (hence the name) universities across the East of England.
I won't reproduce all the information that's available at the i10 website but basically they can help arrange things like the use of university facilities (like the room at Anglia Ruskin where the CHASE meeting was held); hiring of equipment (universities often have specialised and expensive equipement which they aren't using all-the-time); or licensing of intellectual property. There's also the Ask i10 service where you can submit questions (for example "How can I market my product in X") and if any of the ten universities think they can help they'll get in touch to discuss the matter further.
Donald is obviously a very clever man, but his slides were pitched at too in-depth a level for the audience and he has a tendency to become dragged off on a tangent to answer questions in far too much detail. For example, when asked what the letters RSA stand for, he would have been better stopping after explaining that it's the initials of the people who invented it - Rivest, Shamir and Adleman - and that it's a system of encrypting data. Instead, we got the beginnings of the theory of public key cryptography.
The takeaway message from the talk was if you want to keep your PC secure, don't connect it to the Internet. Strictly true, but not particularly useful advice for the attendees who, I think, were more interested in practical tips on mitigating the risks of being online whilst still being able to take advantage of the benefits of the Internet.
Jeff Veit made a valiant effort to keep the discussion on a level where more of those present could participate - asking for explanations of some of the jargon, and prompted the following list of "Top things to do to keep your machine safe":
The other interesting bit of information I gained from the discussion afterwards is just how poor the UK banks' approach to security is - in Poland, one of their banks issues scratchcards with one-off security codes for each transaction (you scratch off a new panel to reveal a code you have to enter, which is then invalid for any later transactions), and another sends you an SMS with a code in whenever you're performing a transaction. Much better than the basic "enter the first, sixth and fourth" letters of your password that NatWest uses!
Bob Walsh seems to be fast becoming a one-man micro-ISV information and promotion shop. Not content with helping to moderate the Business of Software forum on Joel Spolsky's site and writing on his own blog, ToDoOrElse.com he has recently compiled a book of interviews and tips for anyone running or thinking of running their own small software startup.
I haven't read Micro-ISV, From Vision to Reality as it isn't shipping just yet, but it sounds like it contains plenty of information of interest to me, especially if the related (and also just launched) www.mymicroisv.com website is anything to go by.
Happy New Year!
It's pretty typical for people to start the year deciding to do a whole raft of things differently from how they've been doing things in the past. It's not something I partake in much, my mind seems to wander onto "should I be doing X differently" or "am I happy with Y" thoughts at random times throughout the year, and I try to let it run through to a "resolution" then. So my resolving is a rolling item rather than a yearly overhaul, although while choosing my Christmas present list I did decide to try to read more books this year.
Anyway, given that some of my friends have been thinking about making New Year Resolutions (and because an assortment of people have been blogging about such matters), here are a couple of links I've encountered recently that might be useful: