Fibre Vs Copper

What is FTTC, how does it work, and why is it the future?

What is it?
Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) is where fibre optic cable is used to transmit signals between the telephone exchange and the street side telephone cabinet.  This can offer much higher speeds – 100 Mbit/s downstream over 24 Mbit/s (the current maximum broadband speed in the UK over copper wire) and much more bandwidth – a single twisted copper pair wire can deal with 6 phone calls, whereas a single fibre pair can deal with 2.5 million phone calls.

Continue reading

Posted in Broadband, Telephony | Leave a comment

Things I Learned Last Week (That I Probably Should Have Known Before)

Always test your web application in the browser that your users will use.
This is particularly relevant if your users use IE, which we all know still behaves unexpectedly at times!
We spent a long time trying to replicate a bug until someone finally thought to try testing in IE, and it turned out to only occur in this browser because of some interesting GWT event binding behaviour. A lot of time was wasted.
Continue reading

Posted in Development, Test | Leave a comment

May I Present To You

Every 6 months I have to give a presentation on what I have been doing. Ten other people have to do the same thing. We each have 15 minutes. Often we have been doing similar things to each other, or similar to things to what someone else in the room has done before. Sometimes similar is in fact “the same”. Unsurprisingly, this can be a very tedious day.

To try to avoid this next time I have been looking into what makes an effective presentation. Here’s a brief write up of what I’ve learnt.

Continue reading

Posted in Presentation | Tagged | Leave a comment


Thanks to @newgeekorder we have recently started to use a new tool which is helping transform the way we work.

Plant UML is a free tool which generates UML-type diagrams from text. I am not sure how accurate and correct the UML is as I don’t know anything about UML standards, but at work we are finding it very useful to generate diagrams to show sequences of flow. This makes complicated scenarios visible in a nice easy way, which is easily editable by anyone.
Continue reading

Posted in Operations | Tagged | Leave a comment

Connected TVs – Part III

Now that we have a better understanding on what it is that we’re looking at, let’s have a look at some of the difficulties and opportunities that could be address when building these services:


If we start exploring some of the potential difficulties regarding these new emerging services we can see a few problems that will have to be overcome. One of the problems is that the TV is optimised for passive viewing of content. If users experience with searching the TV with a keyboard is not made very easy and a friendly experience it will require a large change in user behaviour and could dampen its mass-market appeal. There have been numerous famous studies on behavioural change that have shown the complexity and difficulty behind changing someone’s imbedded behaviour. To combat this, companies could take a leaf out of Apple’s products and make the user interfaces easy to use and the browsing for content enjoyable.

Continue reading

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment

Connected TVs – Part II

Having explored what IPTV, Internet TV and OTT TV actually means in the last post, let’s go on and see what some of the major players across USA, UK and Europe have to offer:

googleTV drawing

Google TV (USA)

Built on Android and featuring the Chrome browser with a full version of Flash Player 10.1, Google TV is supposed to bring “the web to your TV and your TV to the web,” in Google’s words. The platform seems important for Google as it’s an opportunity for even more ad revenue and a possible monetisation path for YouTube.
Continue reading

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment

Connected TVs – part I

coloured wires

As major new TV services are being announced and rolled out all over the world, I thought it would be a good time to explore this topic. This idea was born from both the increased publicity Internet enabled TVs are getting (due mostly to Google) and my own ignorance into the topic. There have been a lot of terms thrown around, like IPTV, Internet TV, Over-The-Top TV and I had no idea how all these ideas related to one another. My aim is to write a series of posts that will explain what these terms actually mean and explore this exciting emerging industry in more detail. I’ll have a look at the major players contributing to the emergence of the service in the UK, mainland Europe and America and I’ll highlight some of the problems and opportunities with these services. I’ll also later look at some of the other services that are not so centrally involved in shaping the industry but are no-less significant.

Continue reading

Posted in TV | Tagged | Leave a comment