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Bill Bennett


Tag: online

Why you should have your own website

A persuasive look at the many reasons why you should have your own website, and some of the benefits it will bring you.

Source: Why I Have a Website and You Should Too · Jamie Tanna | Software (Quality) Engineer

Jamie Tanna’s post lists many good reasons to have a website. Tanna writes from a software engineer’s point of view. Many of the reasons he offers translate directly to other trades and professions.

Your own place online

A powerful reason is to own your own little patch of the online world, what people used to call cyberspace. As Tanna says it can be many things, a hub where people contact you, an outlet for your writing and other creative work, or a sophisticated curriculum vitae.

Now you may be thinking you can do all these things on Facebook, Twitter, Medium or Linkedin. That’s true up to a point.

Yet you don’t own those spaces. You are part of someone else’s business model. You don’t have control over how they look, you can’t even be sure they will be there in the long term.

After all, there were people who thought the same about  Geocities, Google+ or MySpace in the past.

Do it yourself

Creating your own site takes time, effort and maybe a little money. It doesn’t have to take a lot of any of these things.

You’ll need to pay for a domain name… that’s roughly $20 a year. If you are hard-pressed financially there are free options with companies like WordPress. You can get a basic WordPress site up in an hour or so.

You don’t need to be a writer to own your own website. If you post things to Facebook or Twitter, use your site instead (or as well as). It could be a place for photography.

One thing you will find is that a website gives you more of a voice than you’ll get on other people’s sites.

Huawei cyber security ABC talk part of bigger picture

At Reseller News Rob O’Neill covers a speech by Huawei rotating chair Ken Hu. Hu says the world lacks a global, common understanding of cyber security.

… In Brussels yesterday, Hu said what the industry needed was a mutual understanding of security to build a trustworthy environment. Huawei was now operating on an “ABC” model for cyber security, he said.

The A stands for “assume nothing”, the B for “believe nobody” and the C for “check everything”.

“Both trust and distrust should be based on facts,” he said. “Facts must be verifiable and verification must be based on standards.”

Government and standards bodies needed to work with all stakeholders on developing such standards, he added. The implications was that a standards-based environment, would help defuse current tensions by creating a vendor-neutral environment.

Hu’s ABC is a beautiful, simple way of getting to the heart of a sensible security strategy at any level. 1

The speech was at the opening of Huawei’s “cyber security transparency centre” in Brussels. With the company under pressure to show that it is not a threat and not a puppet of the Chinese government, Huawei has gone on the front foot.

As the company’s top communications executive Joe Kelly told New Zealand journalists a week earlier at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it’s hard to prove you’re not doing something.

Cyber security as part of a bigger picture

Which explains why Huawei is stepping up its rhetoric to argue against accusations while at the same time maintaining a charm offensive and investing in projects like the Brussels centre.

It was clear at Barcelona that there’s enough high quality business selling communications network to the rest of the world outside of the US and allies like New Zealand who express fears about security issues.

Yet Huawei knows, in the long-term, respectability and trust will get it further. Pushing a cyber security agenda is a good way to get attention. Building centres like the one in Brussels will help build trust.

  1. It is also a great summary of the basic tenants of good journalism. Reporting also needs to be fact based. ↩︎

Sky TV highlights its monopoly by silencing competitor

Sky TV handed Slingshot a huge publicity win when it banned the ISP from advertising on the pay television service.

The message here is clear: We’re frightened of Slingshot, we’re frightened of competition and we know our monopoly rent-seeking is threatened.

Slingshot GM Taryn Hamilton says the move smacks of protectionism and censorship.

“It’s a sad day when our TV stations start to ban ads because they feel threatened by one of their advertisers and the products they are offering. In this case Sky is using its position to obstruct Slingshot because they feel intimidated by Global Mode.

“And the thing is, Global Mode only exists because Kiwis want access to quality streaming video at a good price. When and if local companies manage to finally crack that, then there will be no need for the service. But, until that time, people will use services like Global Mode so that they can see decent TV without having to get a second mortgage.”

To Sky’s credit, it admitted to Tom Pullar-Strecker of Stuff the reasons for its ban: Sky TV bans Slingshot advertisements.

Westpac builds online banking for any device


Westpac New Zealand is halfway through spending $15 million to refresh online banking in a format that works with just about any device.

The bank is moving away from what Simon Pomeroy, who heads the bank’s digital banking and customer experience division describes as a proliferation of apps which he says quickly becomes counterproductive:  “Like carrying too many cards in your wallet”.

He says instead of choosing to build a series of apps for each phone, tablet and PC, the bank settled on a responsive web design that instantly adapts to whatever device a customer chooses to use. In his words, the new online system is ‘device agnostic’.

He says this approach means customers get the same online banking experience however they reach Westpac. At the same time, what the bank now calls its ‘central platform’ can be quickly updated to accommodate new products or features. In fact, Pomeroy says Westpac plans a series of rolling upgrades over the next 12 months which will see new features added every four to six weeks.

Born mobile

Although the new online service works with large size PC screens, Westpac designed it knowing that banking has shifted from branch, to desktop computers and from there to mobile devices. Pomeroy says the idea that online banking is mainly about desktops is antiquated.

He says we use different devices throughout the day and that until now mobile banking apps or websites have typically offered only a small set of features compared to the desktop versions. He says: “Banking functionality tends to drop with mobile and tablets – we think that’s wrong”.

Which explains why Westpac’s new system gives tablet and phone users full access to all the features found in more traditional online banking services.

Let a thousand flowers bloom

Westpac New Zealand claims leadership in this area. The bank says it was the first to commit to iPad banking – a move which Pomeroy says paid huge dividends. It says the new online system will be an industry first, enabling all online banking functions across all devices.

That’s a fair boast. In truth all the major banks have ambitious customer-focused technology drives. In 2013, banks are competing on their digital products. It means we are seeing a flowering of innovation and creativity and some great ideas.

During the demonstration, Westpac showed the way tasks now operate more naturally.

For example, instead of moving to a separate set of screens to move money from one account to another account, you simply select the to and from accounts while in the main banking screen. You then enter the amount of money to move.

It takes about three clicks to perform a task that previous took eight or nine. In the scheme of things that may not be a huge productivity gain. Yet it makes for a more frictionless online banking experience. It means you’re less likely to come away from the screen in a frazzled state.