Weeknote 16/2021: Look after yourself – and watch out for friends and family too…

Most importantly, this week:

  • I was reminded not to take family members’ health for granted. Also, that the NHS has many problems but a) is staffed by some truly wonderful people and b) I’m really, really glad it’s there when we need it.
  • I was also reminded that I have some really supportive friends and colleagues. You know who you are. Thank you.

Lower down the hierarchy of needs:

  • I finally got the (Enterprise) Architecture as a Service service that I’ve wanted to launch off the ground. After years of thinking that it might be useful for clients to have access to someone for a day or two a month, it seems that a couple of days a week is more useful – it’s actually time to do something meaningful. Anyway, it’s given Thom McKiernan (@ThomMcK) an opportunity to go back on site.
  • Related to above, I found I’m a little jealous of colleagues who get to visit clients and interact with humans again. I don’t want it every day – just one or twice a week would be nice.
  • I was frustrated to find that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is very misunderstood – and all too often given as a reason for not doing something, with no apparent knowledge of what the regulation covers.
  • A client project underlined that, even when using SaaS, you still have to plan for and take action around upcoming changes… such as the upcoming retirement of Microsoft Skype for Business Online.
  • I sold a bike. It felt odd:
  • Related to above, I found that Facebook Marketplace is a strange mixture of nice, normal people, and some very odd individuals who didn’t seem to understand why I wouldn’t accept their low offer when I had plenty of interest at the asking price.
  • My weekend activities were mostly cycling-related: riding in the sunshine; transporting my son to/from an XC MTB race; youth coaching, and marshalling at a road race (where my son was also racing).

This week in photos

Apple finally recognises European consumer laws

Back in 2012, I wrote about my poor experiences with Apple and consumer law. I wasn’t alone either – the comments on that post showed that others had similar issues, including taking Apple to the small claims court…

…for that reason, I was surprised last Friday to hear a “Genius” in my local Apple Store telling someone they had two years cover for their device under EU consumer law. That was particularly interesting as I’d just been quoted £94 for a new 1TB hard disk in my own Mac which was 367 days old at the time! (I had corrected the Genius by saying a) that my call was logged with Apple Support whilst the device was less than a year old and b) that’s about twice what a 1TB 2.5″ SATA HDD should cost at current market prices). In my case, it was a genuine mistake, but I did ask about the “2 years European Consumer Law” cover that had been quoted to the other customer.

Well, it seems that a while ago (possibly around 2013, based on copyright notice for the leaflet I was given), Apple finally recognised that their warranty cover didn’t comply with European consumer legislation.  Apple’s UK Statutory Warranty page details what’s available under the Apple On-Year Limited Warranty, under European Consumer Law, and with an AppleCare Protection Plan. Significantly:

“Under consumer laws in the UK, consumers are entitled to a free of charge repair or replacement, discount or refund by the seller, of defective goods or goods which do not conform with the contract of sale. For goods purchased in England or Wales, these rights expire six years from delivery of the goods and for goods purchased in Scotland, these rights expire five years from delivery of the goods.”

It may be late, but it’s good to see Apple finally recognises European consumer laws.

IT and the law – is misalignment an inevitable consequence of progress?

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of presenting on behalf of the Office of the CTO to the Society for Computers and Law (SCL)‘s Junior Lawyers Group. It was a slightly unsual presentation in that David [Smith] often speaks to CIOs and business leaders, or to aspiring young people who will become the next generation of IT leaders.  Meanwhile I was given the, somewhat daunting, challenge of pitching a presentation to a room full of practising lawyers – all of whom work in the field of IT law but who had signed up for the event because they wanted to know more about the technology terms that they come across in their legal work.  Because this was the SCL’s Junior Lawyers group, I considered that most of the people in the room have grown up in a world of IT and so finding a level which was neither too technical nor too basic was my biggest issue.

My approach was to spend some time talking about the way we design solutions: introducing the basic concepts of business, application and technology architectures; talking about the need for clear and stated requirements (particularly non-functionals); the role of service management; and introducing concepts such as cloud computing and virtualisation.

Part way through, I dumped the PowerPoint (Dilbert fans may be aware of the danger that is “PowerPoint poisoning”) and went back to a flip chart to sketch out a view of why we have redundancy in our servers, networks, datacentres, etc. and to talk about thin clients, virtual desktops and other such terms that may come up in IT conversations.

Then, back to the deck to talk about where we see things heading in the near future before my slot ended and the event switched to an exercise in prioritising legal terms in an IT context.

I’m not sure how it went (it will be interesting to see the consolidated feedback from the society) but there was plenty of verbal feedback to suggest the talk was well received, I received some questions (always good to get some audience participation) and from the frantic scribbling on notes at one table I must have been saying something that someone found useful!

The main reason for this blog post is to highlight some of the additional material in the deck that I didn’t present last night.  There are many places where IT and the law are not as closely aligned as we might expect. Examples include:

These items could have been a whole presentation in themselves but I’m interested to hear what the readers of this blog think – are these really as significant as I suggest they are? Or is this just an inevitable consequence of  fast-paced business and technology change rubbing up against a legal profession that’s steeped in tradition and takes time to evolve?

[This post originally appeared on the Fujitsu UK and Ireland CTO Blog.]