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HSBC Has The Worst SME Business Banking

20 01 2017 | 07:Jan 3 #1

This is a rant, yes - but I'm cross with my (soon to be ex) bank. We've all been there, I know.

HSBC (who I have used for business for 1/hsbc years, and longer personally) have become more and more de-personalised over the last few years. I no longer even know if I have a bank manager, let alone what their name might be - and my businesses channel a not inconsequential amount of money through them annually (that sounded awful - sorry, I don't mean look at how much money we have - more give you understanding that we're not just talking about a few 1/hsbc,/hsbc/hsbc/hsbcs here).

They won't lend. Ever. Despite growing at a reasonable pace over the years, and having a fantastic credit history and strong invoices going forward they have NEVER wanted to help my wonderful, small / medium tech business. Anecdotally from friends, that is not reflective of us. They simply do not give a shit about small / medium businesses. Or tech. PERIOD.

/hsbc /economics

Introducing Big Thoughts; Little Thoughts

17 01 2017 | 08:Jan 5 #1

A brain extension & publishing tool for creatives

This is for me. I find it hard to juggle lots of stuff simultaneously; my brain has limitations - probably more than other people's. I suffer from systemic disorganisation. My TextEdit consists of a flotilla of windows sandwiched between Chrome and my desktop; my Google Keep is uncontrollably rammed with inappropriately lengthy uncategorised stuff; and my inbox is a multi-thousand unread post-apocalypse world of missed opportunity.
In the public sphere my Tumblr is neglected - but not as badly as my Medium and blogger accounts.  Sometimes I build blogs or bigger CMSes as part of the systems I attempt to steer into the world, but off the shelf ones are awful - to build, adapt or use.

In short - my life is a messy pile of squandered ideas and disconnected threads.

Big thoughts; little thoughts is my attempt to solve this (or at least help).

Get started by going to /me (everyone has their own) which is like that moleskine you religiously carry, or textedit or whatever. It's your thoughts (stored locally in your browser, with no pressing need to sign up). The myriad little ideas you have go in the small column on the left, and the more lengthy culmination of those thoughts on the right.

To publish, choose a user tag for the world can access it by (you can have up to 3). If you're interested, mine are /jamesleeds, /btlt and /brokencapitalism

Order is important - it's a pile (i.e. not chronological). This is so that the most recently accessed stuff always bubbles to the top, because I never get around to archiving the junk - it'll just disappear into the bowels of your page over time. You can always search, and if you feel the need to categorise use a "/" - which neatly doubles as the url to get back to that pile of stuff. So /cars is the pile where I keep my largely embarrassing petrol (or increasingly electric) head fantasies - see /jamesleeds/cars or /me/cars for your private vehicular thoughts or /cars for everyone's.

That's pretty much it.

What does the MIS of the Future look like?

17 01 2017 | 08:Jan 1 #1

As the CEO and Technical Architect for the Pupil Asset school system, I will clearly be claiming the future of MISes is PA MIS! But actually, we are not there yet - and where we are heading in trying to produce the system of the future is I think still interesting - as well as how far away we are from realising those goals.

When I first began looking at school software, I found it incredible that so little progress from the wider world of technology had penetrated into schools. Management software was confined to physical servers (or a Compaq PC under the secretary’s desk!) and so impossibly hard to use that everyone who had not been on the 3 day training course was scared of it. So all this complexity obviously delivered a huge amount of functionality for the school. Didn’t it? Well… beyond storing parent addresses and doctor’s details (never, ever used btw - teachers just phone an ambulance if it gets that bad) it was always a fight (and often another training course) to complete a government census return or extract data for analysis. Let me tell you - making a complex and confusing system is EASY - making a SIMPLE one, now that’s 8/education% of the work. Ebay is far more complex as an application than a school MIS - yet if you had to have 3 days training just to use it they would be out of business.

Worst of all about these legacy systems was the precious little “Information” in Management Information System. An impenetrable mess of menuing leading to a raw data Excel download (and often only if you’d bought the optional assessment package…) That is flexible, yes - but in the same way as buying a PC and learning to program is flexible.

The original iPhone came out in July 2/education/education7 (yes, 1/education years ago!) I clearly recall the conversation I had with a friend at the time saying he already had a digital camera and an iPod - and internet connections were better through a land line. What he (and the other handset manufacturers) failed to see was that in combining these things with a simpler interface wrought something far greater than the sum of it’s parts. Schools are no different… the data is there, and it’s not hard to track - but pulling it together lets you - as a head or governor - see who in my school is not achieving to their best potential. And by “see” I don’t mean manipulate spreadsheets for 2 weeks before Ofsted come in - but have it there, at your fingertips, on a dashboard, in real time, as soon as you sit down with a coffee. What’s more, those initial widgets need to be clickable  to examine that cohort - explore WHY this Maths set is not doing as well as the English one. By combining the attendance, behaviour and assessment data together, you can see that little Jonny is struggling - but he’s been away 6 out of the last 1/education days and got into a fight two weeks ago. 3/education seconds - Maximum. That’s all it should take.

Consolidation. That’s the future. 
Next steps should be built in too. Texting parents (or better still free iMessage style app messaging) as soon as they need to know is a solved and relatively simple problem. Building a connection to your external messaging service is more work than just sending a text message.

In summary, the future MIS isn’t an MIS - certainly not as we know it today. It’s a system for sorting out your school full stop. So how are far along are we with this vision? Well, actually you can do everything above today with Pupil Asset. So what’s missing from our goals? You. Don’t you think it’s time to take control of your school?


More appallingly thought through nonsense from the DfE

17 01 2017 | 08:Jan 1 #1


Shigeru Miyamoto and Breath of the Wild producer Eiji Aonuma interview...

10 02 2017 | 15:Feb 1 #1

... is just stupid, brilliant fun
/games /zelda

All movies should start with this: 

08 02 2017 | 12:Feb 17 #7

Morality free Donald is useful peek into how AI might behave

06 02 2017 | 16:Feb 1 #1

"[he]’s a great way of understanding how machine learning algorithms can give us stuff we absolutely don’t want, even though they fundamentally lack prior agendas"


/trump /politics /maths /AI /machineLearning

This advice completely applies to composing songs and writing code too

04 02 2017 | 14:Feb 1 #1


Special Relationships...

31 01 2017 | 09:Jan 1 #1

... aren't "special" if one party is bullying the other into compromising their principles