Sunday, 1 July 2012

Google Glasses - Is It the Future?

You may or may not have heard of the Google Glass project.

If you have not heard about it check out the Google+ page about it https://plus.google.com/111626127367496192147#111626127367496192147/posts

But in short its a set of Augmented Reality glasses that you wear and this allows Google to provide information realvant to what you are doing, which is then shown on the eye piece, such information can be place location information, emails, or even recording what you see and stream it live. I guess it is probably like the Apple iPad and going to be shipped without instructions

Will It Work

Ok the idea is sound, having something we can use to provide real-time information to us directly without the need to get out a phone or look at a map. So in theory Yes the project has real potential, as bridging the gap between the internet information we want and where we are is great, this in essence is what Augemented Reality is all about.

The application of the Glass project and design are the key to its success. I personally see that major benefits of the project as being the real world stuff that will make a difference, I dont think that being able to read emails in a tiny window will really work, think Google the current trend is tablets, and why is that because they are bigger than a smartphone by not as heavy as a iPad, laptop, people will not read email on a set of Google Glasses.

I think my thoughts on Google Glass split into the following.

Pros
  1. Live streaming and recording, ideal for emergency services, military to keep in touch with base and improve communication between members. Now soldiers can actually see where their colleagues are, making tactics, not to mention rescue a whole lot easier. this would also be ideal for training scenarios. I love the idea of being able to record my mountain bike trips and watch them back later.
  2. On the spot information, such as information about things you see right in front of you, such as "how is this statue by" or "what is that movie about". But more to the point stuff like car sales could really benefit, as when you are viewing a car you could see what you need to look for, as well as realtime pricing or insurance information.
  3. In general any information that changes realtime will be useful via Google glass, train information, bus information, flight information, traffic news, etc.
  4. In short, think terminator, I want to be able to get information about what I can see now. This one factor is the success story of the Glass Project.
  5. Google Glasses would be a perfect replacement to my GPS device I use for walking.
You get the idea the Glass project is perfect for getting up to date information to you when you need it, or recording what you see as you see it from your point of view.

Cons

Although the idea is a good one, I think its just that a good idea and like any good idea it will win or lose in the application and design, this in my view is where Google need to think hard. Mainly due to the follow.
  1. The chosen design is wrong, no one will wear a pair of glasses that only has one lens, well being honest a select view people will but a very small minority.
  2. Coverage, and this will be the make or break of the whole project, as already people are having problems with mobile phone coverage and mobile internet, and although Google can set up a cool test in ideal conditions "big blimp giving signal", what about someone in a poor coverage area, or more to the point a solider in a war zone with signal being blocked? If the glasses dont get coverage they wont work.
  3. Without a targeted niche the whole project will fail, so rather than sell the project to everyone, Google need to target a few areas as an overal augmented reality pair of glasses just will not be popular enough or different enough from current smartphones to make people buy them.
  4. Lack of true location information using GPS and supported mapping.
  5. Screen (or lack or) size, in short the thought that anyone is going to read emails on their Google Glasses is one that should be thrown out the window, they are too small for that application.
Solutions and Some Ideas

I have a few ideas that should happen to make the Google Glass project more of a success, these include
  1. Google Glasses need to be made to either look more like a pair of normal glasses or sunglasses / shades or be able to clip in to existing glasses as a kind of add on. Almost like giving your regular glasses super powers, after all if you already wear glasses, why not have super ones, the key here is that the design need to be incorporated and not a clearly visible thing attached to your Glasses, as is the case for the initial design of Google Glass for prescription glasses wearers.
  2. Google Glasses need to be able to work even without signal. So I should be able to upload information to my Glasses for information that I want in real time, but in reality is not realtime information, such as maps, directions, movie info, car info or anything else I may want that is not really real time information.
  3. Battery Life. In short there should be none, Google Glasses should be self sufficient in terms of power or at the very least have the internal battery backed up by solar power, so I never need to worry about losing power, especially due to the applications they can be used for.
  4. Syncing with my computer and the internet, just like my Google Docs account I have a folder on my PC and everything I put in there automatically syncs to my online Google Docs account. This is how Glasses should work, I should be able to connect them to my computer and they automatically sync stored information onto my computer, such as videos I have recorded, photos I have taken or any other information, this can then be synced to my online Google Glasses account so I can share photos, videos and anything else with people online, just like I do with Google Docs
  5. I would love the idea that true location information is shown and recorded, meaning that a huge potential market of anyone who users a GPS or map will be able to use Glasses for exploration. I do a lot of walking and would love to be able to see my location live on a map. The beauty of this is that if I could upload a digital map to my Glasses I would not even need mobile coverage for this to work, as GPS work pretty much everywhere. With tracklog data being recorded and video when I want it to be, meaning when I get back I can review my trip just like I do now using my current GPS device and camera.
  6. A better form of input, such as projected keyboard would make the glasses a true go anywhere laptop, tablet replacement.
Ok so these are just a few of my ideas for Google Glass, and I hope that this project is a success as I love the idea of being able to record stuff I do and see live information about things around me. But I still think the project has a way to go to be a viable sales option.

But I wish Google every success in the Google Glass project and I look forward to wearing them in the future.

Thanks
Sean J Connolly
@SeanJC

Thursday, 28 June 2012

RIM posts first loss in 7 years, considers splitting firm

So I have been and continue to be a very avid Blackberry user, and have happily used a BlackBerry for almost 5 years now. So when I saw the latest news that RIM have posted a loss and are on the brink of splitting their company I thought, that is so not the right thing to do. That brings us to this blog post.

OK so RIM  are taking a battering from other handsets, particularly Apple and Android handsets with profits falling to the brink of staff cuts, almost 5000 at the time of writing.

What I find funny and quite annoying is that RIM hired JP Morgan to come up wth strategy to save the company, and what did they come up with, yes you guessed it staff cuts and possbly splitting the firm in two. One for the handsets and one for messaging. This advice is so far from what RIM need to do its laughable.

Remember RIM you need to spend money to make money, making your company smaller is not the way to go to increase profits.

Now here is what is wrong and what should be done, well kinda.
  1. Firstly the problem is that RIM have failed to keep up to date with the continued move into applications, and that has left the Blackberry OS too far behind the competition. So people like myself who use a blackberry are in a position where we can not get the same amount applications for our handsets. Answer open up the development of applications for the Blackberry OS, but dont go too far as to make it opensource. 
  2. On the apps front, dont just port old apps to your new operating sytem, develop new applications to keep up with the times, porting is good but you need new innovations.
  3. Now it appears to me that RIM are totally missing the spot when it comes to keeping up to date with their market, the mobile phone market has changed since they first came around and although messaging has moved on, RIM and the Blackberry handsets have not, and are still targeting older users with enterprise solutions, however alot of handset sold are to young people, and in some cases mid to late teens if not younger. This is the market that RIM is missing out on, although alot of people use BBM their overal handset use is limited to this and this alone, and as this is where the RIM story began they need to focus more on how this can be utilised.
  4. Email, simple really RIM are not fully pushing the fact that their handsets are still the best for Email as they operate true push email, no other handset offer this type of email with the service and experience that RIM does. So as the world is continuing to move towards mobile workers, I dont see how they can be making such huge losses. This market would allow RIM to kinda burn the candle at both ends, by targeting people who want to use mobile email.
Splitting the Company. Dont Do It!!

Ok word of warning to RIM, don't split your company into two, as you cannot have Blackberry Messaging and Email without the handset, so in splitting the company and lets say selling the handset side will only lead to problems, due to the loss of control of the one thing that makes RIM and Blackberry unique the "Blackberry" handset. This will also lead to increased costs in the future as who ever did buy the handset side, will either expect payment for RIM to use Blackberry services on their handset, or and this is more likely they will pay a license fee for the use of Blackberry service, this fee will be less that the current income RIM makes from handset and messagin licensing to service providers.

So in short RIM dont split up your company, as you cannot have Blackberry messaging without the handsets.

In Closing

OK so I have loads of ideas that could save RIM, and before you go saying "what do I know" I have worked with some of the largest companies on the planet, Orange, Microsoft, Google to name but a few and have always been able and continue to spot opportunities and bring saving and improvement to companies, and not by cutting staff.

In a nutshell RIM needs to give up the idea of splitting the company, and look to add a better offering of applications to its arsenal, and finally broaden the target market, push the likes of BBM and its benefits, mainly cost compared to SMS, to the younger generation and push the benefits of a true push email experience to the slightly olders users, also make people aware that in order to use Blackberry email you dont need to have enterprise architecture to support it.

So Thorsten Heins if your reading this and want to save RIM, you know where I am and only have to ask. I dont even charge anywhere near as much as JP Morgan, but always get results.

Thanks
Sean J Connolly

 FaceBook Me
Follow Me @potissimus

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

FaceBook Develops Inbuilt SPAM System aka Gives Users Personal Email Addresses

You may or may not have seen that FaceBook recently issued all users with their own FaceBook email address.

What does this mean?

What in essence it means is that you now have an email address you can use with the FaceBook messaging system, the email takes the form of {username}@facebook.com and any email sent to that email will appear in your FaceBook messages, just like direct messages sent via FaceBook.

This does means that now your FaceBook account is freely open to receive SPAM from people who are not your facebook friends, so get ready for the marketing material.

Why?

This email is an attempt by FaceBook to further get people to use the website and become more relient on FaceBook, by bringing use of the website into your main stream life. So no longer will you ust use FaceBook to keep up to date with your friends, but you will now use it for direct communications with people that may not be your FaceBook friends.

It is a direct attempt by FaceBook to increase the user numbers and use of the website, as they continue to face an uphill struggle to define exactly what FaceBook is and where it fits into peoples lives. This now takes a direct attack on GMail and other email systems, but just on a different style and a direct attempt to increase user engagement on FaceBook.

Its not so bad though as it does mean that you can use FaceBook as your messaging system and not get stuff you dont want to your main account.

What if I dont like this?

First off you have the email address no matter what, and as its free so I would just leave it at that and either use it or not, its your choice.

The only thing I would say is that your FaceBook email will now be shown on your profile as your default email, so if you dont want to use it you need to change this back to your original email address, which is straight forward, just do the following.
  1. Go to your profile page on FaceBook i.e facebook.com/you, either go to your private facebook url directly or just click your name on the right of the facebook screen.
  2. Click on the about section, the bit with your work, education, location, etc on the left handside under your name and profile pic.
  3. Scroll down to to the Contact info section, just on the right below your basic info, click on Edit.
  4. You should now see a popup with all your emails listed at the top.
  5. Next to the FaceBook email click next to the circle and change the option in the drop down to hidden from timeline, then if you want an email shown on your timeline, next to the one you want click next to the circle with a line through it and select shown on timeline.
  6. Then just scroll down and click save.
Thats it you are now showing your original email rather than your FaceBook one.

SPAM

Now here is my prediction for the FaceBook email future, in one word SPAM. by using peoples usernames means that anyone can create a huge email list of facebook users, and anyone with any development skill at all and using the FaceBook Open Graph API can now harvest a vast amount of email addresses, to which they can send spam, in fact just by spending sometime on FaceBook can turn up usernames and thus email addresses.

What this means is that unlike normal email systems with inbuilt SPAM filters the email system is an open door to crap, and the most you get is a small yellow triangle warning you of the inability to authenticate the sender. But you still get the SPAM. You dont have to be friends with people to send them FaceBook email, so lets open the FaceBook SPAM floodgates.

Thanks
Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me
Follow Me @Potissimus

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Twitter, Celebrities and Not Following

I love twitter and have been using it for years. I find it better to use than other social media sites, it my short sharp shock of update for the people I am interested in.

If you want to follow me please do http://twitter.com/SeanJC

First off I am going to talk about what I think is wrong with Twitter.

My Thoughts for Twitter Followers and Following Rules

You may or may not know that Twitter has rules about how many people you are allowed to follow based on the amount of people that follow you, the ratio is basically 200% you can follow twice as many people that follow you. For example if you have 10 followers you can follow 20 people.

Now in my view this is just wrong, I think you should be able to follow as many people as you like, after all Twitter is all about keeping up to date with people that you are interested in, just like a bit of mini news if you like, and you should be able to follow 1 million people is you wish.

I think these rules need to change and what I think should happen is that, as Twitter is about following and followers, I think that you should only be able to have people follow you if you follow people. Now I am not saying that you should be forced to follow everyone back, but I think that in order to allow new followers you should be first following a percentage of your followers.

Lets say in order to get new followers you need to be following at least 10% of the amount of people that follow you. For example if you have 100 people following you, you should not be able to get any more new followers until you follow 10 people or 10% of your followers.

I also think that in order to keep your Twitter account active you must be made to Tweet often, say every 30 days. After all Twitter is about a live interaction and social news feed and if your feed gets of out date it becomes a bit pointless, or if your feed is empty that is also a bit useless. This could be slightly modified to say you have to at least tweeted once and then maybe just log in to your account ever month.

Now after using twitter for quite a while I have noticed that there are a few things that I dont understand, these are

1. Celebrities

Now love em or hate em they are part of our life and they use twitter, well most of them do. The thing I dont like or understand for that matter is that why do some celebrities only follow fellow celebs, and all their tweets are directed at fellow celebs. Whats the point in that? I mean do they really think that their fellow celeb is going to buy their album? probably not. This excludes everyone else as Twitter is the ideal platform to get your message out, so just make sure you get it to all you followers and don't annoy most of them by excluding them in your tweets.

Another think I hate is Z listers, you know the type the TV personalities who think they are actually A list celebrities, if you ever tweet them they ignore you and again only follow other celebs, and all tweets are between them and other celebs. Twitter is not your personal little communication tool, I mean if they really knew other celebs personally they would be able to SMS them or even call them on the phone.

Seems the only time you see celebrities talking to non celebrities is when someone throws some abuse at them and they will respond, but if you send a message of well done or something similar it gets ignored. Reminds me of Rolf Harris, he was part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK, and I sent him a tweet saying well done, did I get a reply, no, but someone who throw some abuse at him got into a full conversation on Twitter with him.

So my advise to celebrities on twitter is simple, first off use Twitter yourselves, dont farm it out to your PR person and secondly respond to your followers, even if you get a million @'s a day these people are your bread and butter so don't annoy them.

I have to say a big thank you to @SuziPerry (Gadget Show Presenter) she takes the time to respond to her followers and is a lesson to other celebrities, it only takes a few seconds to say thanks.

2. Constant Promotion

Now celebrities are not the only ones guilty of this, I find on Twitter there is nothing worse than people that only tweet stuff about themselves, by this I mean such as links to their website, or shouting about their latest album coming out. Twitter is a great way for everyone no matter where you are in life to connect, so I wish people would stop using it as an advertising tool and nothing else.

Dont get me wrong, people follow you for a reason, and they will be interested in your latest blog post, website, album or whatever, but this must be mixed with other tweets, stuff in general about what you are doing and alike.

3. Not following Anyone

Now this is where the whole world of Twitter really goes bad, the people on Twitter who don't follow anyone or only follow a few people. This totally defeats the point in Twitter, the idea of Twitter is to keep up to date with other people and share your world, if you are not following anyone that only means you are only interested in yourself and self promotion.

In my experience celebrities are the biggest people to do this, off the top of my head Stephen Colbert @StephenAtHome (who presents the Colbert Report) is following no one, another one of the top of my head is JK Rowling @JK_Rowling (the Harry Potter Author) she is only following one other Twitter user, her Harry Potter account. I think you get the picture these people need to wake up and stop being so arrogant, if they are not interested in others people will stop being interested in them.

Thanks for Reading
Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me

BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

GM pulls out of FaceBook Advertising - Is this the End before the IPO?

Well if you have not heard, GM or General Motors has cut it's $10million spend on FaceBook advertising claiming poor results. and although the revenue of FaceBook is in the Billions and no doubt FaceBook execs will pay no attention to this. The fact that a global company the size of GM has pulled out is only the beginning.

After all had they gotten better results the advertising revenue would no doubt have been raised, but FaceBook results have prompted a swift depart from this, and what is the reason?

Well I know the main factors that have caused this and will continue to cause this mass departure.

1. The FaceBook founder Mark Zuckerberg continues to see FaceBook as a bit of a social project with no idea of social media and how to profit from it, there has never been a real business model behind facebook. The pure success of FaceBook has been almost due to luck and being in the right place at the right time, as Mark started FaceBook whilst still at Harvard, and although he failed to complete his studies he gained so much more, as he had a ready platform of fellow students willing to try his new toy. this lead to huge online traffic and users. Had he started FaceBook and not been at Harvard (or uni in general) the success would be no where near as big.

2. The FaceBook team continue to lack some basic understanding of business fundamentals, and unlike their Google counter parts they dont really know how marketing and business work together or even who they are targeting, and it is for this reason that the advertising model of FaceBook doesn't work. There is no real integration between FaceBook advertising and the users, and as such putting all your revenue on this will be the downfall of FaceBook unless something is done about it

3. Advertising and Socialising just dont mix. FaceBook must remember that it's main goal in the world is a social network, and although advertising can play its part in this mix, it must be done to not have adverse effect on the overal goals. For example the recent addition of adverts into peoples timelines is more invasive than useful, plus there is no real connection behind the adverts. Even if they were linked to the sorts of things I like that would be a good start, instead I have been greeted with adverts for all sorts of things I just dont care about and in a place I dont notice. Remember FaceBook people using FaceBook are in a different mindset to those who are searching on Google. Simple Social vs Purpose.

So it is in my not so humble opinion that unless FaceBook pay attention to the fact they have lost a large advertiser in GM, then I see this FaceBook bubble about to burst. I think in short the solution lies in a few simple things.
  1. FaceBook adverts need to integrate more into the social experience and be more relevant to my interests, likes, etc
  2. FaceBook needs to remain social as its core function, as unlike google people use FaceBook for socialising and this is the key to revenue and success.
  3. The business model needs to be taken seriously and although having huge sums of IPO money thrown at it doesn't make it work.
  4. I feel the adverts need to give advertisers better value for money, for example why not integrate adverts into the way people use FaceBook, such as maybe an advert between processes, such as before I view a picture, a page or similar, something like a full page advert would be a better integration without being invasive and be much better value and make use of the huge screen real estate FaceBook has. This could even be done in the form of the FaceBook Dialog boxes with adverts in them.
If these steps and others are not taken I can see the following happening
  1. Other large advertisers will pull out of FaceBook Advertising, leading to an increase in Google advertising revenue.
  2. FaceBook will need to go back to its roots to regain market share and find an identity.
  3. I expect FaceBook's IPO to get a bit of a lack luster start, and by the end of trading the share price may even be lower than at the start.
  4. It is also my prediction that the actual value of FaceBook will fall to nearer the $50 billion mark and the share price will fall and stay at under $30 in the mid $20s, actually round about the original price before the increase in the IPO offering, leaving hundreds of traders out of pocket.
Now these little thoughts are only a few things I know will happen if FaceBook does not sit up and pay attention, "although I will keep my exact thoughts private on this one, well that is unless FaceBook wish to pay me to help them", so FaceBook needs to release huge online traffic is not the key to their success.

But in all honesty as I use FaceBook and think the work Mark and his team has done in such a short period of time I take my hat off to him. But just sending this little warning, as its like the old saying goes "if you look after the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves".

Thanks Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me -

BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

classic asp / asp.net error 800a0e7a Provider cannot be found. It may not be properly installed.

OK so you have just bought yourself a new machine and this one has a 64 bit processor and the 64 bit operating system to match, such as Windows Server 2008 R2 64 or Windows 7 64. Now you cant wait to start playing with your new toy and setup all your websites on this new piece of kit so you start setting up all your website and projects and your new machine.

WHEN

you try to run one of your websites and you get a dreaded "800a0e7a Provider cannot be found. It may not be properly installed" error. So you check and double check your code, the configuration of your new hardware, all to no avail. So what could be causing this problem, maybe a registry problem, virus or someone else.

Simple

The most common cause of the 800a0e7a error is a data source such as a database and the fact that the new system cannot find the driver to use it, normally due to the fact that the object you are using to access your database is a 32 bit object not 64 bit, such as the MICROSOFT.JET.OLEDB.4.0 so if you are using a connection string something like

"PROVIDER=MICROSOFT.JET.OLEDB.4.0;DATA SOURCE="


Then this is most likely your problem, but STOP dont make any changes to your code or software READ ON The Solution to 800a8e7a is Simple

All you need to do is to make your Application Pool in IIS support 32bit applications as well as 64 bit applications, and here's how.

1. Open IIS
2. Select the website on the left you are having problems with
3. On the far right click basic settings
4. Make a note of the Application Pool the website is using

1- Select Website 2- Basic Settings 3 - App Pool


5. Click on the Application Pools Option on the left
6. Select the Application Pool you website is running on, (the one you noted down in 4 above)
7. Click on Advanced Setting on the far right.

1 - ClickApp Pool 2 - Select App Pool 3 - Click Advanced Settings

8. In the settings windows that pops up, in the General Settings change the "Enable 32-Bit Applications" option from false to TRUE and click OK

Change Enable 32-Bit Applications to TRUE

And thats it.

Simple exit out of IIS and your website will now work as it did before in your 32 bit environment.


Thanks for Reading
Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me

BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting



Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Apples $46.33 Billion Quarter Earnings

It is a nice think to here that in the current climate of doom and gloom, there is a light in the tunnel. Not at the end yet but at least its there.

You may or may not have heard but Apple has just reported a massive $46.33 billion revenue for the last quarter of 2011, thank mainly to the huge sales of the iPhone 4S not to mention the sales of the iPad.

As you can guess all of these are way beyond anyones estimations, and I have to say this is great news especially with the recent passing of Steve Jobs, I think he would be very proud of the company.

So whats wrong with this?
Now I ask you a question, if Apple has made a huge $13.06 billion profit for this period from the $46.33 billion sales, you have to ask where has all this money come from. I mean every news article you read or see is about people losing their jobs, companies going bust. So in these "so called" hard times where is this money coming from.

After all most of the people who have bought the new iPhone 4S probably already had the old iPhone, and if you look at the typical user they tend to be people who see their phone as a toy, and in some if not most cases are your typical single mum or benefit scrounger.
So I ask you, can the world not see that people have more money than they are making out, and lets use this Apple success as the true judge of the economies of the world and start getting things back on track.

For more info on Apples great news go to http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/01/24Apple-Reports-First-Quarter-Results.html

Thanks Sean J Connolly FaceBook Me - Visit AJAX Web Development Store BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

BlackoutSOPA - Web Support against SOPA

With the current support for SOPA being testing and as more and more online giants put their weight behind the opposition of SOPA, I think that its time people said where do they fit in the whole SOPA arguement.

What is SOPA

Firstly if you dont know what SOPA is its the Stop Online Piracy Act that US congress are planning to turn into legislation, and in essence it makes sharing information online a bit more difficult, as under SOPA any websites showing copyrighted content without the owners permission will be liable for the infringement. However apart from that bit of the act the rest of it makes sense.

We need more protection from online pirates, especially in todays society where the majority of people who work in IT, particulary as web developer, designers etc carry out a lot of copyright theft, taking code from sites passing it off as their own, stealing designs. Basically in the last 10 years there has been an influx of companies claiming they can do something when they cant, they get awarded work they shouldn't and simply use the internet to find the coding they need, then pass it off as their own work. THIS MUST STOP.

Where Do I Stand

I am in support of the essence of SOPA in we need better controls to protect our hard work, yet at the same time we do not want sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and others to be blamed for hosting copyrighted materials. This in my view is the key, we need to all work together and if a site hosts copyrighted material, they should take it down as soon as they are made aware of it, and be willing to pass details of the people on to authorities, after all civil protection doesn't give you the right to break the law.

So will I be bringing my websites down on Wednesday, No. But I do support this action in part at least.

If you have not heard of SOPA or want to know more about it, check out my other blog article on SOPA http://notjustajax.blogspot.com/2011/11/stop-online-piracy-act-sopa.html

Thanks
Sean J Connolly
 FaceBook Me

BuzzProperties.co.uk - Online Property Sales and Letting

Friday, 13 January 2012

Crimes Does Pay

Ok I am going to start this blog with a bit of a quiz. Look at the picture below and try to guess who you think is in the photo and where you think it is taken.

people working in an office?
Ok times up. Some of the people in the photo are infact inmates being held at HMP Wolds, which is a prison just south of York.

WTF. you may be crying and you would be right. this is exactly what I thought when I heard about this whole thing, to give you the whole story I am going to start from the beginning.

Where it all Began.

So there I was just going about my business when I got a call from a recruitment agency about some business analyst contract work in Yorkshire, so I said yeah that sounds like something I would do, so they emailed over the details.

Now normally at this point I get some job specs and information on who the job is for, and on this occasion there was nothing out of the normal I got the email containing the job specs and the name and web address of the company in question. So I did what I normally do and took a look online at the company's website.

On my arrival at the company's website I was shocked to find that the company specialises in everything from affiliate marketing to online consulting and has done this for some of our major household brands, including Argos, TopShop and 3.

So What You Might be Saying.

Well, and this will shock you. This company actually uses convicted criminals to do this work, granted only a small portion of the 100+ staff are actually convicted criminals, but the fact that any of the staff are convicts is absolutely appalling.

The name of this company is Summit Media - www.summit.co.uk

So How Does This Firm Work

The way the firm operates is that it takes convicted criminals, normally ones who have been given long sentences, which normally means they have committed serious crimes in the first place, and gets these people to work for the company as part of a so called rehabiliation program. The work they do can be anything from working directly with clients, developing internet marketing strategies to anything else you can think of that happens in a typical new media marketing firm.

There is a list as long as your arm for inmates wanting to work there, as unlike other inmates who have to do manual labour as part of their punishment, these people actually get to work for an IT firm gaining free education and in reality rather than spend say 10 years in prison are actually spending 10 years gaining experience working in an IT firm, so on release they can claim to having 10 years experience rather than simply saying they have been in prision for 10 years.

Now to me this is so messed up, as we have graduates who are leaving universities and colleges with qualifications and unable to find a job, and you would think that this firm is using people who already have some form of IT experience or qulaifications and you would be wrong, as stated by Managing Director - Hedley Aylott

 "We’re looking for people with the right attitude, for those who really put themselves out and are highly motivated. We don’t necessarily choose people for how much they know.”

So they are not only using convicted criminals, but convicted criminals who do not have any skills or experience in either IT or the internet.

More insults

Now to add insult to what is already a whole load of crap, the company actually has an office in Prague, while you may be thinking so what. Well this division was set up by Tomas Honz, who back in 1996 was convicted of heroin smuggling and convicted to 26 years in prison, and yes he did not serve 26 years. During his time in prison he worked with this firm, gained an Open University Degree and after being released early he was deported back to Prague where he setup the company's Prague office. He is now one of the senior members of the company working as its Technical Director. No wonder on the company's website he states he has been to every European country as he worked as a coach driver when he was convicted of drug smuggling.


The company is doing so well that it has moved its head office out of the prison to a farm just up the road, and again it still employs convicts at this location. So each day these convicted criminals go to work at the head office and travel back to the prison in the evening, its almost like they are just being given somewhere to live for free by the government, although the place they have been given to stay in comes with additional facilities such as gyms, pool tables, fitness equipment, games consoles, etc.

So What Would I Do

I have read loads of articles online about this company, and the main emphasis seems to be on the lines of the firm getting cheap labour and it being unfair on the prisoners, this to me is way off the mark and infact just total crap.

Firstly you should not get anything for being in prison, but you should be made to work to repay your debt to society, infact inmates get paid between £10-35 per week for working whilst in prison.

The solution is simple STOP REWARDING PEOPLE FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR  if someone commits a crime and is given a custodial sentence they should be punished, so they dont want to do crime again and end up back in prison. I do not believe in giving inmates training, skills, education as a means to stop reoffending, as due to the current easy life convicts get they are happy to reoffend, in order to get back to having a TV, Playstation etc all of which you need to earn in the outside world.

I strongly believe that if we went back to the Victorian style of prison cell, people would not be so quick to reoffend.

Courtesy of http://blog.travelpod.com/
I simply think that the solution is actually in giving shorter sentences, but with much harsher prisons, so rather than giving people free stuff for being in prison, they should be punished and dont want to go back.


In Closing

So with the economy in the toilet and the government putting up university fees, people are finding it harder and harder to get a start in life, and where as in the outside world if you want to get employed your have to find the job yourself, or pay for your own education. The convicted criminals in our prisons rather than being punished are rewarded, and not only by having shorter sentences, but when they are convicted and given a custodial sentence they get education, including being offered Open University degrees that would cost £5000 per year in the outside world, the chance to work in an IT and sleep in cells.

Sleeping in cells sounds bad until you realise that in prison you even get provided with items such as games consoles, TV's, etc again all of which if you want in the outside world you have to work for and buy yourself, especially given that in order to have a TV you need a license for it.

UK prisoner Playing on Playstation in Cell

The above image is taken from http://www.switched.com/2008/08/07/u-k-tax-payers-buying-playstations-for-prisoners/ another great article about how messed up the UK prison system is.

I just think that in order to fix this broken economy we need to start helping the people who want to help themselves, not make honest hard working people bust a gut in order to get any help at all, such as Cait Reilly who the government is forcing to do unpaid work for two weeks in order to keep her Job Seekers Allowance - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4055197/Graduate-Cait-Reilly-legal-action-against-Government-over-allegedly-being-made-to-stack-shelves-in-Poundland.html 



Thanks for reading my blog about the stupid practices of the british government, we need to fix this broken economy and we need to do it fast.

Thanks for Reading
Sean J Connolly
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