Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Ghost Blogging Ethical?

This post was inspired by @steveology ‘s discussion at whereby a number of people agreed to share their views on the subject. As agreed in advance I have not read the other posts though am looking forward to doing so after I’ve published.

The short answer is “No – Ghost Blogging is not ethical” though I’d like to explore the subject a little further.

“Ghost Writing” of books and newspaper/magazine articles seems to be commonplace. I wonder how many readers consider this when reflecting upon the content.

Some public figures both in commerce and the civil service rely upon “Professional Speech Writers”.

I gather that even “The Queen’s speech” is written by her government though that’s perhaps a special case given steeped in tradition that I’m not familiar with.

Is Ghost writing acceptable in these cases? The more I hear of these cases the less comfortable I feel about it.

Given the choice I’d rather listen to music written by the band than something created by a third party. That said I’m sure there are many cases where acknowledge third parties wrote the music that I thought had been written by the band – the difference is it’s easy to find out as the accrediatations are published.

In a social media context transparency is a core tenant – it’s one of the attributes that makes it so interesting. Being able to exchange ideas and points of view with individuals is very rewarding.

Imagine hearing an incredible speech and then finding that live questions afterwards yeilded uninformed answers. Clearly Q&A would not be offered for those who had relied entirely on a speech writer.

Speaking to “the messenger” is rarely as interesting as “the source of the message”.

Social Media is a great leveller for those with something interesting to contribute regardless of their social, political or fiscal standing. Ideas count. Contributing counts. Being useful counts. Hiding behind others is foolish.


Why are car showrooms open during the daytime?

Thanks to Telstar Logistics for the image above

I was recently considering leasing a new company car and hence I visited several main dealer show rooms to crawl around and test drive my short listed vehicles. I visited a couple of¬†showrooms at lunchtime and others either at the weekend or after work. I couldn’t fathom out why on Earth it was near impossible to arrange a test drive for the times I (as a potential customer) could easily fit around my work commitments.

Upon a couple of occasions I took time out of work to visit a dealership during the daytime (in the week) and found the place full of staff and almost empty of customers.

Like many of you I’d researched my vehicle options by reading both reviews and specifications on the vendors websites – all I needed from the showrooms was the opportunity to explore the physical aspects of each and to drive them – the staff in the showrooms added very little value.

From where I’m sat it seems that the way car showrooms (in the UK at least) operate is a hangover from their past and if they were invented from scratch today the entire focus of the service provided would be would be to make it as easy and appealing as possible to select vehicles based on their physical characteristics and driving experience.

Surely dealerships should cater for test drives in the evenings and during the day on both Sundays and Saturdays – currently they’re closed soon after normal working hours and only have a skeleton staff on Sundays.

I wonder how many businesses are long over due for significant re-engineering of the way they interact with prospective customers – making the most of the opportunities provided by the Internet and social media.

Estate agencies face similar challenges and opportunities to re-invent themselves.

BTW: I can’t see a Cadillac being a sensible choice for me in the UK – I just liked the picture ūüôā In the end I purchased a second hand car.

How much disk space is required to install Win7?

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit edition takes 8.3Gb following a clean install without any additional applications or data.

I recommend going for a minimum partition size of 15Gb plus whatever you think you’ll need for applications and data.

Windows 7 is very good at making it easy for you to expand or contract the partition sizes post install – there’s no need to re-install or mess about with third party utilities ūüôā

To resize a partition simply do the following:

  • type “Computer Management” at what used to be the “Start” menu
  • select “Disk management”
  • select the partition you’d like to resize
  • Click the right mouse button to reveal the menu and pick the appropriate option – “extend” or “shrink”.

Note: the image below has “extend volume” greyed out simply because the area after this partition is fully occupied by another partition.

How to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

There’s a twelve minute video on Microsoft’s TechNet site that shows how to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 – it demonstrates the User State Migration Tool (USMT).

The short form is that installing over the top of XP/Vista will result in the personal data from your “windows” directory (for each profile) will be moved to a folder named “windows.old”. P0st-install you can move the data by hand into the corresponding directory structure for the new operating system – there are two problems with this approach:

  • you’ll have to accept many file over-write messages and elevation prompts
  • you’ll have to re-associate the data with each application – going into Outlook for instance to make it¬†aware¬†of the location of your personal folder (.pst) files

The User State Migration Tool is a command line utility which can be used to automate the operations listed above – it’s really intended for managed IT enviroments as it requires some effort in the form of a script¬†– if you’re¬†doing this for a one off machine you’d probably be quicker to move everything and re-associate the data files with applications by hand.

Windows 7’s Release Candidate is available for all

You can now download Windows 7’s Release Candidate (for free) from here¬†– bear in mind that it’s not the finished product hence you need to make your own call regarding whether to use it with critical data – it is very unlikely to go wrong though it is a possibility¬†hence you should consider¬†keeping live data elsewhere or at least implementing a¬†comprehensive/frequent back up regime.

The Release Candidate¬†will be fully functional until June 2010 when the license will expire and you will have to re-install.¬†If you’re already running Windows 7 Beta then you’ll have to perform a clean install – make sure you back up your data before doing so! There’s a detailed post here explaining the rationale upon requiring a clean install together with a word around for anyone who absolutely insists that they need to install over the top.

Jeff Alexander’s blog includes a great post that gives details and shows screenshots of Windows 7’s Release Candidate in action.

How to install Windows 7’s Release Candidate without burning a coaster (DVD) first?

How is Windows 7 RC different from the Beta? What are the new features?

Microsoft’s Windows 7 development team have made a large number of tweaks to the product based on feedback from the millions of Beta testers around the World. The Windows 7 Team Blog¬†is a great source of information on the product as a whole. The question on many people’s tounges is “What’s changed from the Beta” – the team have written two detailed blog posts to drill into the improvements in the Release Candidate – you can read them by clicking here and here.

I’ve been running Windows 7 since October – I spun up the PDC (Professional Developers Conference) Alpha release as a virtual machine while at the conference and tried it on a test machine upon returning to the UK. I was so impressed by both the speed and stability of the alpha that I upgraded my main machine to Windows 7 a couple of days later.

The improvements from Alpha to Beta 1 were significant – the Beta felt like a finished product.

The Release Candidate (RC) is still a pre-release – meaning that while many people (myself included!) will run it in production it’s not quite finished hence it’s critical to make sure you have an effective backup regime.

As you can see on the Windows 7 Team Blog¬†the RC was published to both TechNet and MSDN on the 30th April and it’s due to be made available for public evaluation from the 5th of May.

To move up to the RC you will have to perform a clean install (unless you really insist on doing it the hard way) – there’s a good reason for this – the details are on the Engineering7 blog at this URL¬†– this is another blog that’s a great source of information on Windows 7.

An amusing moment at Europe’s largest Information Security Tradeshow

I enjoyed participating in InfoSec 2009 yesterday at Earls Court in London.

I was amused when a pop-up message was displayed (during the “Global Credit Crunch” session) on the keynote presentation machine as you can see below: