Tuesday, 31 May 2011

That's Parenting: Krickets sings as Gloople confirms social shopping...

That's Parenting: Krickets sings as Gloople confirms social shopping...: "Trendy kids clothing company Krickets has the parents’ online shopping market sewn up in Canada and beyond, with a little help from the UK’s..."

That's Parenting: Facebook founder calls for lifting of age restrict...

That's Parenting: Facebook founder calls for lifting of age restrict...: "Following news Mark Zuckerberg thinks children 13 years and younger should be allowed access to social networks, SEO experts Queryclick.com ..."

Monday, 30 May 2011

Thats Health: NHS Direct uses your Google Android phone to get t...

Thats Health: NHS Direct uses your Google Android phone to get t...: "NHS Direct has launched a free mobile app so people can access its trusted and reliable health advice conveniently from wherever they are. ..."

Game Over?

Research shows that video game addiction is being cited in a growing number of divorce petitions.

The study shows that husbands are getting more pleasure from playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty than cuddling up to their wives at night.

A survey by Divorce Online examined dozens of unreasonable behaviour petitions filed by women using its service between January and April 2011. In 15% of cases the wives complained that their husbands were happier to play on their games consoles than pay them attention, and cited gaming addiction as part of their husband's alleged unreasonable behaviour.

One disgruntled wife, 24, from London, who married husband Michael in South Africa in 2008 before moving to the UK. Her husband had played online games before their UK move but in 2009 his obsession seemed to take over.

She claimed: “He was addicted to World of Warcraft but played other games now and then. When it became serious he was playing up to eight hours a day and I threatened to leave.

“He then stopped playing World of Warcraft for a while and started playing Call of Duty instead but the amount he was playing just gradually increased until I could not take it any more.

“It got so bad he even organised to play on the day of our second wedding anniversary as we had decided to go out at the weekend instead.

“I was constantly trying to get him to cut back but he didn't think he had a problem or was doing anything wrong until I told him I wanted to leave but by that time it was too late.”

Ryan G. Van Cleave, an expert on video game addiction and author of Unplugged: My Journey Into The Dark World Of Video Game Addiction, said many partners were unaware gaming can become an actual addiction.

He said: “A lot of the problem spouses encounter with video game addiction is that the
non-gamer doesn't appreciate that it's an addiction. This means it's not a choice to spend so much time in a virtual environment versus time with the spouse and family. It's a compulsion.

“Trying to explain video game addiction to a non-addict is a lot like trying to explain to a fish what it's like to drive a car. It's no surprise that ‘gamer widows’ feel so insulted and disrespected that the most common advice given in gamer widow chat sites and websites is ‘Run for your life.’

“The reality is that with the proper professional support, a video game addict, like any other type of addict, can overcome the addiction.”

Mark Keenan, the Managing Director of Divorce Online, which carried out the research on 200 unreasonable behaviour petitions filed by women, said: “The increase in the number of video game addiction cases could be a consequence of the recession, or it might be being used by men in particular as a means of escape from an already unhappy relationship.”

Divorce Online is the UK’s leading do-it-yourself uncontested divorce website and has helped over 68,000 couples file their own divorce proceedings without needing a solicitor. For more information on Divorce Online visit www.divorce-online.co.uk

If YOU think you might have a problem with addiction to online games, you can visit Dr Ryan G. Van Cleave's website at website www.ryangvancleave.com.

(EDITOR: In some relationships it could well be a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other, but if neither party can see the other's point of view, then that is a recipe for disaster, if the 'addiction' is to playing golf every free moment, collecting stamps, being on chatrooms or reading all the time and expecting everyone else in the household to be absolutely silent all the time so as not to interrupt the reader.

Oddly enough people who complain about their husband OR wife having to create a virtual life never stop to wonder why it is that their partner might feel the need to create a virtual life for themselves?)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Footballer front page sends record traffic to website

iomart Hosting reports burst in bandwidth for HeraldScotland website as story goes global

iomart Hosting (www.iomarthosting.com), the company that hosts the website for Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald, has revealed the unprecedented surge in traffic that took place after it became the first UK newspaper to publish the name of a footballer as part of its super injunction coverage on Sunday.

According to iomart Hosting, visits to the HeraldScotland website caused bandwidth to double to 220Mb per second just before midday on Sunday. Average traffic to the Newsquest Media Group combined platform which includes the HeraldScotland website, is normally 100Mb/sec.

There was an even bigger spike in bandwidth on Monday lunchtime when traffic peaked at 371Mb/sec after The Sunday Herald’s sister paper The Herald followed up the story – that was an increase of 151Mb/sec on the previous Monday’s traffic.

Paul Jeffrey, technical services director at iomart Hosting, said: “Our monitoring systems for the Newsquest sites showed huge bursts in bandwidth late on Sunday morning as traffic spiked. There’s no doubt that the front page story in the Sunday Herald was responsible. Then at about 12.30pm on Monday there was another burst as people all across the UK tried to access the website for the latest developments given the national interest the story was generating. Even on Tuesday traffic was still heavier than normal.”

The HeraldScotland website is part of a bespoke managed hosting service that iomart Hosting provides for the Newsquest Media Group.

Over the two days The HeraldScotland website received a record number of visitors. There were 358,000 visits and 1,071,756 page views on Sunday despite the newspaper only publishing the story in hard copies of the paper and not placing any coverage online. Those figures then rose to 547,000 and 1,939,147 page views on Monday as the story was followed up by The Herald.

Mark Smith, group digital director for The Herald and Times Group which is part of Newsquest Media Group, said: “ Once the BBC started running the story as their lead news item on Sunday traffic levels rocketed to literally ten times what we would expect normally so the infrastructure was put under a huge amount of pressure, even though the name wasn’t actually published online."

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Symmetry signs up to ‘Cloud Vendor Charter’ as more colleges turn to cloud-based accounting

Symmetry, a financial management systems provider, has become one of the first suppliers to sign up to BASDA’s (Business Application Software Developer’s Association) ‘Cloud Vendor Charter’ that encourages vendors to adopt a responsible approach to data management, application availability, security and customer management for cloud-based solutions.

Earlier in 2011, Symmetry launched its Financialsc cloud-based accounting solution as a result of increasing demand from the FE sector. Symmetry’s Sales & Operations Director, Julian Sayer commented, “Our decision to join the charter demonstrates our commitment to the cloud and the interests of our customers.

“Despite the fact that there is already significant interest in our Financialsc cloud-based solution as part of a wider cost-cutting and shared services strategy, there is also still plenty of confusion and apprehension surrounding this new method of delivering and using software.”

“As a member of the charter, we are governed by best practice, in all the key areas of security, availability, compliance and back-up of data. This will help provide greater peace of mind to customers and give a clearer outline of how cloud-based accounting will operate in practice.” he added.

According to BASDA, the Charter developed by members of the Cloud Computing Special Interest Group aims to enhance the commercial success of both Customer and Vendor. Adhering to the Charter should not be overly burdensome for the Vendor but should assure the Customer that the Vendor deals with their organisation in a professional fashion and follows industry best practices.

Symmetry recently hosted a webinar on the benefits of cloud-based accounting solutions. Over 50 colleges attended and 66% believed that cloud-based software would be deployed by the majority of colleges within the next two years.

Symmetry is a software company that specialises in the development and supply of business-to-business financial solutions within the UK. The company’s core product, Symmetry Financials, is a fully integrated financial and management accounting solution already in use at over 100 UK organisations, ranging in size from £3M turnover to £250M turnover and with user populations from 2 to 800+ users.

The solution Financials includes General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Commitment Accounting with purchasing and funds control, Assets, Information Manager, real-time reporting, secure e-procurement and comprehensive systems integration with Symmetry’s EasyLink.

In 2010, the company launched a cloud based version of Financials called Financialsc

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lot of data to log? You'd be nuts not to go Squirrel!

If you have a lot of data to log, you would, indeed, be nuts not to get a Squirrel. Because Grant’s new 32-channel Squirrel data logger is fully configurable via a large graphical display.

Grant Instruments (www.grant.co.uk), a world famed maker and supplier of data acquisition products, has introduced its enhanced multi-channel (up to 32 universal inputs) Squirrel SQ2040 series of high performance portable data loggers featuring an improved fully configurable graphical LCD display and updated design.

SQ2040 data loggers now includes an intuitive, easy read graphical LCD screen with clear and simple navigation system, that's fully configurable via the integrated four button keypad. The loggers can be remotely configured with no need to connect to a PC or Laptop. Logger status, setup or real time graphical data (meter mode) can be easily viewed, giving accurate (that means better than 0.1%!) and reliable results within minutes of switching the unit on.

The 2040 handheld data loggers are designed for mobile data logging applications like field research and external engineering projects such as environmental projects, service or commissioning systems or processes, in food manufacture and research and in all general engineering and manufacturing production projects.

This highly flexible, multi-purpose logger has 16 differential (or thirty-two single ended) analogue input channels to measure current, voltage, resistance and temperature, and eight event inputs. All eight event inputs can either be logged or used as triggers to automatically start or stop logging.

Onboard memory can store up to 14 million readings, plus retaining up to six separate logger configurations. Memory can be extended by using removable MMC/SD cards. The unit can fulfil many data logging requirements, including somewhat more demanding applications that require up to 100 readings per second on four channels (model SQ2040 4F16).

With multiple high specification 24-bit analogue-to-digital converters to facilitate concurrent sampling, four alarm/relay outputs the data loggers are an out-of-the-box solution for a wide range of data logging applications. The Squirrel SQ2040 boasts very good battery life for unattended logging. The new logger is powered from internal cells or an external power supply connection is available, should this be required.

The onboard RS232 communications can be connected to a GSM modem and there is a choice between wireless or Ethernet ports to facilitate system networking and remote data transmission.

SquirrelView set-up and download software for a PC is provided as part of the system to enable users to export stored data to a chosen PC based application.

The Squirrel range is (naturally!) compatible with Grant’s comprehensive range of temperature probes and with commercially available sensors for measuring a variety of physical parameters. Each data logger within the Squirrel range comes with a 3-year warranty. OEM versions of most products are available on request. Just tell Grant what your requirements are, and they'll do the rest.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cruise Amour leads way in website security

Cruise Amour has shown its commitment to customer security by being the first UK agency to adopt site-wide security measures.

Barely a week goes by without a report that another "big-name" company has had its on-line security compromised or has failed to properly protect its customer's data. Although the travel industry has by chance managed to avoid such pitfalls, Cruise Amour has taken the pro-active step of introducing additional industry leading security measures.

MD Tim Hurrell, pointed out: "Our customers are everything to us and it's important we look after them. Not just by delivering an exceptional holiday experience, but by protecting their data and ensuring that when they interact with our website and book on-line, that their data is kept safe. We take our responsibility to our customers very seriously".

Cruise Amour has protected their website with 256bit SSL encryption and an extended validation security certificate. Not only do these measures ensure that all data send between its website and a customer's computer is fully protected but, should the security of a customer's data be compromised a 3rd party financial warrantee is in place.

Customers visiting the Cruise Amour website (it now starts with https instead of http) will be presented with the "green bar of trust" as featured on the websites of most on-line banking systems and large retailers such as e-Bay and PayPal. This should help customers feel secure about entering their personal and payment details into the site.

Hurrell added: "Customers expect the retailer to take the lead when it comes to things like card payment security. In our opinion, many of our competitors don't take their responsibilities seriously enough, often failing to address the issues - especially on-line. We wanted our customer's to be confident that whatever information they share with us whilst using our website is being kept safe and that they are fully protected. Our security covers everything from e-mail newsletter sign-up to call back requests to on-line booking."

Cruise Amour is part of the Freedom Travel Group a subsidiary of Co-operative Travel. It specialises in selling cruise holidays.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Getting started with navigation is even easier with the launch of the new TomTom Start 20 series

Today, TomTom brings heightened comfort and style to the first-time satnav category with the new TomTom Start 20 series. In this series, TomTom combines an attractive design, larger screen sizes and a new operating system for even smarter navigation.

"New satnav users can benefit from enhanced safety and comfort, all wrapped up in a very stylish, easy-to-use package," says Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director Consumer at TomTom. "No other satnav provider offers such good looks and intelligent features in a range that is predominantly aimed at first-time buyers."

The TomTom Start 20 series gives drivers a bigger and better view of their route. This is thanks to a choice of larger - 4.3" or 5" - screens. They feature a new design that is also safe and practical. The orientation sensor within the devices - coupled with the fully integrated flip screen mount - lets drivers mount their device to their dashboard, automatically rotating the screen 180 degrees. All they need to add is a dashboard mounting disk.

TomTom has added two million kilometres of new roads to the maps in the Start 20 series, including roads in rural areas, enhancing graphics for built-up areas, water features and forests. The maps contain twice as many Points of Interest (POI) as before, and the POIs themselves are richer - offering details such as phone numbers and opening hours. Maps also feature IQ Routes, to give drivers reliable arrival times.

Add Speed Camera warnings* to alert drivers to upcoming fixed speed camera locations, and the "Help Me!" emergency menu to give drivers local emergency information quickly, and it's everything any new driver could need to truly get started with navigation.

The TomTom Start 20 (UK/Republic of Ireland maps) has a 4.3" screen and costs £129.99.
The TomTom Start 20 Europe has a 4.3" screen and costs £149.99.
The TomTom Start 25 Europe has a 5" screen and costs £169.99.

For more details visit www.tomtom.com/en_gb/products/car-navigation/start-20-regional/

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Secure Cloud computing for using personal IT devices at work

Cloud computing applications can provide employees with a secure and effective means to use their personal IT devices at work without compromising their organisation’s security levels. This is the claim of Advanced 365, a managed services and Cloud computing provider.

With smartphones, tablets and non-PC notebooks now everyday items in many homes, there's a growing reluctance amongst many employees to use outdated IT systems in the workplace.

Some firms and organisations have decided to allow authorised staff to use their own IT device to perform their role within the workplace or elsewhere.

Whilst this shift in attitude is being welcomed by the end users and their line managers, it has, understandably, raised concerns and questions amongst IT managers.

“Many organisations still insist employees only use recognised and secure IT devices on their company’s infrastructure. However as tech savvy office workers look to use the latest mobile IT devices in preference to using ageing company PCs and laptops, network security concerns are inevitably resurfacing,” says Neil Cross, who is the MD at Advanced 365.

Cross went on to say: “To address this challenge, it is essential organisations ensure their employees have authentication, identity verification and security applications installed on their IT devices before allowing them to access their corporate network.”

Developments in Cloud computing technology are now providing an opportunity for organisations to address these security fears without losing control of their desktop environment, even if they can’t directly control the device being used by the employee.

These Cloud services, such as Microsoft’s Office 365 (currently in beta testing), allow users to access their company network and applications like email over a secure internet connection as and when they require for a monthly fee. Or organisations can opt for a more integrated approach by utilising applications like VDI, Citrix or online portals like Microsoft SharePoint to deliver their business applications via a properly secured controlled environment.

Cross points out: “By choosing the Cloud computing platform best suited to their requirements, organisations can protect their data and ensure only secure devices are capable of accessing their network. Moving to the Cloud also allows organisations to address the challenge of meeting the rising demand from employees to access the latest devices without compromising the security of their network, which will ensure the best of both worlds.”

Cross ends by saying: “While Cloud computing technology can reduce the pressure that IT teams are under to maintain hardware, and potentially reduce costs, working with a trusted partner that has the breadth of skills to understand these new and more complex environments is now more important than ever.”


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Double gold win for Titan Internet

Titan Internet staff gain Microsoft Gold

Titan Internet gains Microsoft Gold Hosting and Server Platform Competency in the Microsoft Partner Network

Cloud hosting specialist Titan Internet has announced it has achieved two Gold Competencies for its technological expertise from global software giant Microsoft.

Titan, part of iomart Group plc, achieved Microsoft Gold Competency in the Microsoft Partner Network for two core areas of its business - Hosting and Server Platform solutions. This means that Titan has staff with the highest level of skill and achievement to implement and support Microsoft hosting solutions for its customers.

Lee Christie, Director of Titan Internet, said: “It’s now far more difficult to achieve this elite status with Microsoft because they require the very highest of standards, so I’m absolutely delighted we have achieved not one but two of their Gold competencies. This means Titan customers can be assured we have both highly qualified and experienced staff to support their business web hosting needs.

The Gold Hosting and Server Platform Competencies differentiate us from the competition and establish us as market leaders, further demonstrating our commitment to serving the needs of customers relying on Microsoft-based solutions.”

Titan Internet provides hosting solutions to over 3,000 customers across the UK, serving a mixture of organisations from large corporates and Government bodies through to local businesses and hobbyists. Clients include the number one flight search engine Skyscanner, Deloitte LLP, British American Tobacco, Ministry of Defence, and the National Parks.

The Microsoft Partner Network is designed to equip organisations that deliver products and services on the Microsoft Platform with the training, resources and support they need to provide their customers with a superior experience and outcomes. Titan Internet offers dedicated hosting on Microsoft platforms. Titan is also a hosting partner through Microsoft’s two schemes for business start-ups and SMEs, called WebsiteSpark and BizSpark. Titan has also become a Microsoft Small Business Specialist.

Jon Roskill, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft Corp, said: “The Microsoft Partner Network is designed to empower solution providers to succeed in today’s business environment. By achieving the prestigious Gold competency, participating companies are provided with a rich set of benefits, including increased customer visibility through branding and accessibility, training and support.”

Titan Internet was founded by Lee Christie over ten years ago. It has 25 staff based at its offices in Rochford, Essex. Titan was bought last year (2010) by AIM-listed iomart Group plc , one of the UK leaders in the delivery of mission-critical managed hosting and cloud computing services, because of its skilled technical expertise particularly in the areas of virtualisation and network management.
Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, said: “Titan’s achievement of Microsoft Gold Competency in two core areas of its business illustrates why it is such an important addition to the iomart Group.”
Titan Internet will carry Microsoft Gold recognition for Hosting and Server Platform solutions, encompassing a range of Microsoft technologies:
• Windows Server hosting
• Windows SQL Server hosting
• Windows Exchange hosting

In addition to the Microsoft Gold Competencies, Titan Internet already has VMware, Linux, Oracle, and Adobe Certified staff.

News release issued on behalf of Titan Internet by Jane Robertson, Head of PR for iomart Group plc. For more information please email jane.robertson@iomart.com or call 0141 931 6474.

Notes for editors:
Photo: Lee Christie, Director of Titan Internet (front row, second from left) and staff at Titan Internet. Photo is free to use.


Based in Rochford, Essex, Titan Internet Ltd was founded by Lee Christie in 2001. Titan Internet was bought by iomart Group plc (AIM:IOM) in November 2010 for £4.2 million. It currently manages over 1000 servers on behalf of clients ranging from SMEs to large corporates.

Titan Internet has grown each year since it was established. Titan has expanded to become one the UK’s most respected and technically advanced hosting companies, particularly in the areas of virtualisation and network management.

For details about Titan Internet, please visit www.titaninternet.co.uk