Ignore Sat Nav and engage brain

Engage Brain

Despite being what many people would consider to be technology-inclined, I don’t have a Sat Nav in my car.

I’m fortunate to have a good sense of direction, my childhood was spent touring the UK (we didn’t have foreign holidays but we did have lots of days out) and I spent the first part of my career visiting customer sites, placing me in the “18,000 mile club” (those of a certain age will remember the company car tax break that encouraged high mileage).

Generally, I get by with a £4.99 AA Map Book supplemented by my own knowledge of the UK road network.

But last weekend I was visiting friends in Winchester and, although I knew how to reach their house from the north/midlands, I was heading up from the south coast and thought there might be a better route. No worries, thought I, I’ll use Nokia Maps on my Windows Phone.

I entered their street name (let’s say it was Acacia Avenue, Winchester – of course, it wasn’t, but bear with me) and was somewhat surprised to see a map of Manchester. I thought it was an autocorrect issue, so I tried again. “Never mind”, I thought, “I’ll look up the postcode”, so I put the same search string into the phone’s search engine (Bing of course) and got some Manchester results…

I was frustrated by now. So frustrated I considered using my Wife’s iPhone and Apple Maps…

In the end, the Royal Mail website gave me the postcode, which Nokia Maps was happy to accept and use to take me to “Acacia Avenue” but there’s a much bigger issue here.

It’s not about Bing, or Nokia, or Tom Tom or Apple Maps but about trust. When I want to get somewhere, I want to get to the right place. I know, for example, that Apple Maps has some terrible information for the town where I live (e.g. many businesses in the wrong locations and some there that no longer exist). If I can’t trust a mapping service for a locality that I know well, why should I trust it for one that I don’t?  Similarly, if Nokia Maps is going to send me to Manchester instead of Winchester, I don’t much fancy the fuel bills and travel times if I rely on it to get me somewhere in a hurry…

The map data will improve – and I’ve suggestfully proposed changes to Google Maps too (a typo in the name of the local Rugby Club is probably not too big a deal though). Open Street Map is another alternative – although someone there reversed some of my edits (so that’s only as good as the community that moderates it…).

The real point is that, as we become increasingly dependent on digital services, we also need to take stock. There’s an old saying in computing – garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). Maybe technology is not always the answer and we need to rely on a little common sense too?

 

Photo Credit: touring_fishman via Compfight (licenced under Creative Commons).

Major change to my role at Fujitsu

Over the last few weeks, I’ve dropped a few hints online about a change in my job at Fujitsu. Some, eagle-eyed LinkedIn connections saw me update my profile a couple of weeks ago to add a new position – as Fujitsu’s Head of Practice and Lead Architect for Messaging in the UK and Ireland – and today is my first day (although I’ve been picking up parts of the role for a few weeks now).

After almost three years in a strategy role, supporting two Chief Technology Officers with very different areas of focus, it’s time for a new challenge. My new role is a mixture of line management and practicing consultant so I’m actually returning to my technical roots whilst gaining additional experience of directly leading a team and being responsible for growing part of our business (including some challenging financial targets). Added to that, as messaging moves into our Business and Application Services service line, this is an opportunity for me to work in an applications business whilst building on many years of infrastructure experience.  There’s also some pretty exciting stuff going on with Microsoft (I’m not sure that’s announced publicly, so I won’t say anything more here) – but it’s a great time for me to be making this move.

Messaging is not entirely new for me – from the mid-1990s through to the mid-2000s, I worked on a number of NT and Microsoft Mail/Exchange migrations/implementations and I was one of the consultants working on ICL’s partner stand at the Microsoft  Exchange 4.0 UK launch roadshow.  In addition, one of my technical career highlights was the work I did at Polo Ralph Lauren, to design and project-manage a migration from Novell Netware to Microsoft Windows Server, from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange Server and to roll out a standard desktop build across Europe, in multiple languages, with just two Windows XP images (one uniprocessor and one ACPI). The success of that project was down to the professionalism and capabilities of the team around me – and it will be just the same in this new role.

As for this blog, well, I’ve been pretty busy for the last few weeks, as I’ve juggled two jobs – and I expect I’ll be just as busy over the coming weeks and months – but I’m still tweeting and I’ll still knock out the odd blog post too.  There might be some more Microsoft Exchange and Lync content but I expect that the usual mix of photography, social media and observations on the state of tech will persist.  This blog has been here for 9 years now, the content just shifts slightly as I do different things in my life and it seems that some people still find it interesting enough to read (or at least to subscribe)!