Friday, 20 July 2012

BBC covers the startup scene at Google Campus

The 'tech startup' scene is starting to feel like the birth of a new movement. OK, so it's not new. But it's being noticed. And that in itself is progress.

Compared to the industry that Adam and I came from, the new scene is fledgling. It's very clear that it's early days. And it's exciting too.

We're very glad we've joined a bunch of like-minded people at Google Campus, anyhow. Congratulations to everyone featured in this video and to those who have made it past the first hurdles early. And good luck to the rest of us!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Cookies WTF?

The EU Cookie Law, which came into force in May 2012 is patently absurd. It's amazing it was ever passed into law.

Cookies are a necessary functional part of the majority of functional websites - especially those that have a persistent or customised state, or an account that you log in to, or an e-commerce element. So that's almost every site you want to visit, right?

The EU's insistence that every single one of those websites needs to uniquely flag up the fact that they use cookies is insanely inefficient. How many websites are there that need to comply? Millions. How many hours does it take to plan, organise and develop a unique version of the message "We have cookies, and we're obliged to own up about that"? Several. So let's work that out for a moment. That's several million hours spent dealing with this law.

It's like issuing a warning on every single document saying "We are obliged to warn you that this paper has edges." Or perhaps on every tree patiently explaining that air may be found in the vicinity. As Douglas Adams once said, we don't need a special word for people with one head. Anyone who needs to learn such a basic fact needs to learn it at the outset, not during every single encounter that they make.

A major EU report on the Digital Agenda For Europe found that Europe is surprisingly weak in Internet revenues compared to other comparably developed nations (i.e. America). Lack of understanding, infrastructure and shared standards are cited as the most likely causes. Hmm... and now they roll out a law like this one. I can only imagine that these are old old men who have never visited an Internet in their lives. With that kind of leadership, what hope have we got?

Hopefully, we'll all forget about it soon. I'd like to see someone taken to court over not issuing an adequate warning about their usage of a very standard technology. It'd be mayhem.