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The issue of online security is never far in the background these days: high-profile TV presenters in court for downloading child pornography [link]; Julian Assange holed-up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London; or attacks by Anonymous on Melbourne IT (AAPT) records that allegedly made some of the ISP's users' private information public. 

While we can all applaud the apprehension of criminals through police monitoring; and we might be swayed by Assange's assertions that corporate and government secrets are forms of conspiracy and that such conspiracy is a bad thing; we may not be so pleased by our browsing history; or worse, our medical history; or our employer's HR records being made available to a cyber bully or blackmailer.  

 

 

Thanks to computer and communications technology we live in exciting times. The bounds of technological possibilities seem limitless. The changes decade by decade have already been unprecedented. Where is all this going?

Or see a youthful one from the past [31st October 1986]  here...

 

 

 

The first version of this article was written back in 2005 as a contribution to a strategic planning exercise.  I was arguing for putting those things like marketing and so on, that we ultimately wanted to be seen, in the Cloud as this would save money.   But I stressed that the Cloud is not secure so it was imperative that we retained our 'physical corporate information infrastructure'.

I predicted that in future:  'Corporations will need to look to ways in which they can split their computing requirements between the internal systems and the Cloud';  and 'We can expect the development of new software systems to facilitate (e-mail attached) document passing between secure corporate environments and the Cloud';  implicitly, because e-mail is not secure.

The article was slightly updated in 2010, when I opened this website. I added some now outdated and since removed comments on that experience. 

I've left the main content here, essentially unchanged since 2005, because it's still relevant; and it's always good to see one's predictions fulfilled. 

 


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Travel

Cambodia and Vietnam

 

 

 In April 2010 we travelled to the previous French territories of Cambodia and Vietnam: ‘French Indochina’, as they had been called when I started school; until 1954. Since then many things have changed.  But of course, this has been a region of change for tens of thousands of years. Our trip ‘filled in’ areas of the map between our previous trips to India and China and did not disappoint.  There is certainly a sense in which Indochina is a blend of China and India; with differences tangential to both. Both have recovered from recent conflicts of which there is still evidence everywhere, like the smell of gunpowder after fireworks.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

The Meaning of Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

'I was recently restored to life after being dead for several hours' 

The truth of this statement depends on the changing and surprisingly imprecise meaning of the word: 'dead'. 

Until the middle of last century a medical person may well have declared me dead.  I was definitely dead by the rules of the day.  I lacked most of the essential 'vital signs' of a living person and the technology that sustained me in their absence was not yet perfected. 

I was no longer breathing; I had no heartbeat; I was limp and unconscious; and I failed to respond to stimuli, like being cut open (as in a post mortem examination) and having my heart sliced into.  Until the middle of the 20th century the next course would have been to call an undertaker; say some comforting words then dispose of my corpse: perhaps at sea if I was travelling (that might be nice); or it in a box in the ground; or by feeding my low-ash coffin into a furnace then collect the dust to deposit or scatter somewhere.

But today we set little store by a pulse or breathing as arbiters of life.  No more listening for a heartbeat or holding a feather to the nose. Now we need to know about the state of the brain and central nervous system.  According to the BMA: '{death} is generally taken to mean the irreversible loss of capacity for consciousness combined with the irreversible loss of capacity to breathe'.  In other words, returning from death depends on the potential of our brain and central nervous system to recover from whatever trauma or disease assails us.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Six degrees of separation, conspiracy and wealth

 

 

Sometimes things that seem quite different are, when looked at more closely, related. 

 

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