Monthly Archives: October 2014

Why do I need to have Java?


It is the time of year when accountants work in to the small hours.  More than one person over the next few weeks may ask themselves “What is Java, and why do I need it?”.

Java is a programming language that is used to develop applications for the web, Blu-Ray players, set top boxes and mobile phones. It has been in existence since 1991. For a Java application to work on a device it must have the Java Virtual Machine installed.


Java is more than just a language to develop applications it has become the foundation for virtually every type of networked application and is the global standard for developing and delivering embedded applications, games, Web content, and enterprise software. There are more than 9 million developers worldwide, working on developing Java applications.


James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton initiated the Java language project in June 1991. It was originally designed for interactive television, but it was too advanced for the digital cable television industry at the time.  The language was initially called Oak after an oaktree that stood outside Gosling’s office. Later the project went by the name Green and was finally renamed Java, which could be from Java Coffee but which was said to be consumed in large quantities by the language’s creators.


The Revenue online service(ROS) makes extensive use of Java applets.  These are used to facilitate the transfer of data from your computer to the Revenue’s computer in a secure manner. To use ROS, you must have the Java virtual machine installed and enabled on your computer.


Hackers can exploit the Java Virtual machine, which could wreak havoc on the ROs or any other system, which is why it recommended to use the latest version of Java at all times.  Oracle the owners of Java make updates available regularly some Java updates will improve the software’s performance or stability, but most are made to plug security holes.


ROS is designed so that it will not accept a login to the system unless the latest version of Java is installed. To install the latest version, remove(uninstall) any old versions on the system and install the new one.


When you have that completed you can make yourself a cup of coffee, Java of course.




What would Hamlet say about Backups

sarah bernhardt as hamlet with ipad

To Back or not to Backup

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet was a thinking man, and if he were around today.  I suspect he would have something to say about backups, as without them all the data on a computer system exists in a state of peril.

He might have said the following if  asked:




To Backup or not to Backup, that is the question –

Whether it is worthwhile to invest and connect a Backup system

and suffer the investment and extra time spent.

Or to resist,  stay away from backup altogether

and rely  on luck and good fortune,

place your trust in the machine

expecting that IT will work without fail.

That no misfortune will befall it ,

such as a misplaced cup of tea or coffee

that no wandering virus will alight from the Internet to infect,

that time and salt air will not decay or effect the faithful machine

that holds your work, your pictures, your messages,

that contrary to common sense your computer will develop

an immunity to breakdown, that will serve you into eternity.


Those who deem IT backup tedious and unnecessary

remain,  inactive and risk the loss of all of their data,

might suffer and through their suffering become noble.


Those that take the step to purchase and provide

not one but two devices apart from their working machine

as a safe haven for their sensitive data

Then they too can be considered noble and not alone noble but wise.


Joan Maguire  2014


Hamlet may not have had access to a computer but if he had he would probably be delighted to read the following absurdly simple guide to backing up your PC published by PC World.

Building a Social Network, a bit like Lego

buildingblockssocialmediaPopular social networks have only been in existence for 10 years and in that time they have  become an intrinsic part of the lives of all who use technology. The 15 most popular social networks  in the world today are, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus +, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Tagged, AskFm, MeetMe and ClassMates.

Their usage is staggering with monthly users in September 2014 ranging from 900,000,000 for Facebook, to 15,000,000 for ClassMates.

Researchers have turned their attention to working out a framework to describe what social media or social networks are.  The study looks at what are the components, or building blocks of any Internet based social network.  It  describes seven building blocks of social media.  Effectively the Lego pieces of a social media site. They are detailed here:


Block 1:. Identity: Every person has a profile on a social media site, in this profile they can choose to share a lot or a little information about themselves.  They can be accurate or they can invent.

Block 2:Conversations:  This Block describes how people communicate using social media, and what are their motivations.  Are they joining to find love, to share ideas with like minded people , to increase self esteem or to get a reaction, the list of reasons is probably as varied as the variety of people using the network.

Block 3: Sharing , Social media is described as such because it implies that people are being social and sharing something with another member of the network.

Block 4: Presence: Some social media sites such as Four square will connect people based on their physical location.

Block 5: Relationships: Using social media people establish relationships and connections . These can be made through sharing information, meeting up, or just listing each other as a follower or friend

Block 6:Reputation: A reputation can have different meanings, but at its core in a social network it’s a sense of identifying the status of others and yourself within the network.

Block 7. Groups: As people’s social media network grows they need to group people into different categories so as to manage their communications with them. e.g. Twitter’s lists and Facebook’s public and private groups.

Packs of Lego contain different shaped and coloured bricks which can be joined together to create a structure or a toy. Each social media site is slightly different and places emphasis one of the blocks more than the others. e.g. Linked in places a  strong emphasis on  identity, Facebook on relationships, Foursquare on presence and YouTube on sharing.

According to each social network site crafts a careful balance between each cell of the honeycomb to achieve their particular design. They have published a diagram that lays out the 7 building blocks with a darker color block, indicating greater a emphasis on that particular social media building block within the site.

honeycomb social networks



According to this LinkedIn places most emphasis on the persons identity, Foursquare on presence, YouTube on sharing and Facebook on relationships.



References used for this article:


How much is that Apple in the window?

A report published in August this year said that the average six year old knows more about technology than a 45 year old adult.  This knowledge is attributed to that advent of broadband connections, which provide an always on connection to the Internet. Many devices that children use are connected to the Internet all the time. These children are known as digital natives.


This can provide a dilemma for parents who wish to give their children all the advantages of the modern technology and at the same time are not confident enough to give guidance to their children on proper use of technology.  A lead can be taken from the parents who are high-tech users themselves.  According to an article in the New York Times on Sep 10th many executives in high tech companies place limitations and conditions on the use of technology for their children, as they are concerned about the potential for damage. The article points to “exposure to harmful content on the Internet”, “cyberbullying” and “addiction to devices” as the main dangers that these tech-savvy parents are screening for.  These people have seen the effect of over use of technology on people in their working lives.


The conditions and limitations imposed on their children’s use of technology include, limited time watching videos and playing games that other people have made and unlimited time, creating and developing games , video, photographs. Restricting use of gadgets to 30 minutes per day at the weekend for young children.

Without exception, they would not allow children to use computers in their bedroom, and generally prefer to have the devices and gadgets in the living room. Many parents who work in technology will not allow a child to have a smart phone until they are 14 and then only for making and receiving calls, they would allow an Internet connection on the phone at the age of 17.


A good reason for caution is that the Internet is open and not everyone who uses the Internet has good intentions. Once a young person uses the Internet they are potentially exposed to people who do not have their best intentions at heart.


Every parent will find their own way of parenting , I hope it is helpful to be aware of the direction people, that have a long time exposure to technology in their lives, steer their children.