Cyberattack: The lack of serious intent for the NHS is not a role model

Nurse at computer

One of the lingering impressions I have of the NHS is of an organization that’s cornered the market in laser-printer labels. That’s not to criticise or belittle an incredible public service in the UK that, in my experience, offers outstanding healthcare services at zero or low cost to patients. The provision of care is peerless; it’s how the organization is administered that isn’t. I recall hospital visits and physio sessions a few years ago when I suffered a leg injury where my appointments with different services in the NHS system exposed me to the admin side of things. While a particular specialist would be able to see my patient record on her computer screen, invariably she’d be unable to share […]

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How to play your part in fighting fake news

Facebook News Feed

One of the scourges of modern connected times is the rise of so-called fake news, a phenomenon that’s invasive and pervasive and a driver of distrust about what you read, see and hear online as well as fear, uncertainty and doubt about the sources that publish it. And not only such reactions upon immediate discovery, but also the unwitting spread of fake news by those who publish, talk about or share such content without knowing it’s false. It’s not new by any means – in the pre-internet days, it was called propaganda. Today, though, with the vast connectedness with others we enjoy via the global internet, it is so easy to amplify falsehoods, wittingly or unwittingly, with a quick retweet […]

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Ad blocking is about to get serious

Google Chrome

The ongoing angst about ad blocking by online publishers and advertisers looks set to move to another level following reports that Google intends to include an ad blocking feature in the Chrome browser. The Wall Street Journal reports that the ad blocking feature would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web. The Journal notes: Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and “prestitial” ads with countdown timers are deemed to be “beneath a threshold of […]

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Mastodon, the hot new social network like Twitter, kind of

A new social network started up six months ago and began picking up speed last week as it echoes the early days of Twitter. It’s called Mastodon and was born out of frustration with changes being made on Twitter, according to an interview with founder Eugen Rochko in The Verge. Last year, after Twitter began moving away from a purely chronological feed, Rochko began building the back end for what would become Mastodon. Instead of building a unified service, Rochko envisioned something more like email, or RSS: a distributed system that lets you send public messages to anyone who follows you on the service. Anyone can create a server and host their own instance of Mastodon, and Mastodon works in […]

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Commenting: A matter of perspective

Google Perspective

One of the great benefits offered by the social web is the open way in which people can connect, not only via the obvious means of social networks but also through engaging in discourse and conversation in the commenting sections of websites, blogs, etc. Open conversation and the sharing of different points of view are foundational activities for many online publications, from mainstream media sites to individual blogs. To many, enabling readers, visitors and communities to comment on articles, reports, posts, etc, is the whole point of being online: to engage in conversation; to surface different points of view and opinion; to foster connectivity between people that helps enable greater understanding of others’ perspectives, and advance the conversation. Over the […]

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