Qedward writes: Three NHS foundations in the UK have become custodians of open source code to guide the development of an electronic patient record system, which NHS England hopes will ignite the open source digital health and care services markets to better serve clinicians and patients.
The three hospitals formed an organisation to act as custodians for source code of the openMAXIMS EPR suite, which was released as open source in June 2014.
Andy Williams, part of NHS England's Open Source Programme team which is looking for groups of NHS Trusts to act as custodians of open source healthcare software, said: "The announcement marks the start of establishing a self-sustaining eco-system of communities which can develop, deliver and support open source digital services.
"This is the first milestone of many for the open source programme which continues to attract interest from the wider health and social care community."
Qedward writes: The UK government's Department for Work and Pensions is on the hunt for a new £135,000-a-year CTO, with part of their annual budget of £1 billion and responsibility for DWP's "digital transformation" to oversee the migration of the department's legacy systems which are still run on Fujitsu mainframes using the VME operating system installed in 1974.
Job spec emphasises a "track record of transitioning a large enterprise from ageing mainframe technologies to next generation web, social, mobile cloud, Big Data and deep learning technologies".
Qedward writes: Open source software and the Internet of Things are two of the disruptive approaches which can save the public sector during the UK government's austerity measures and lay the ground to deliver next generation digital services, Camden Council CIO John Jackson believes.
Local government organisations are approaching a critical tipping point which could save the public sector and the taxpayer billions, Jackson said.
Camden has to save £150 million between 2012 and 2018 from its bottom line while at the same time delivering fundamental transformation to tackle inequality, foster economic growth and deliver citizen centric services, Jackson explained as he outlined the council's challenges.
"But there's lots of cynicism around open source and the art of the possible, particularly in the CIO community who want to buy things off the shelf and are too worried about security, Jackson said."
"We need to harness the potential of open source. Don't outsource IT, crowdsource it."
Qedward writes: The average IT pro in the UK is a man in their 40s or 50s who lives London, enjoys motorsports and a chicken vindaloo, shops at Waitrose and drives an Audi.
At least that is the conjecture of the YouGov Profiler, a tool created by the polling organisation to reveal information about certain demographics, from fans of Taylor Swift to KitKat eaters and Bargain Hunt watchers.
You wear Hugo Boss, bank with online only service First Direct, read the Financial Times, have your shopping delivered by Ocado if not already stocked up from Waitrose.
Naturally male and well into their working life, women are massively underrepresented in their entertainment pursuits, not featuring at all in their top 10 musical interests headed by New Order and Aphex Twin.
Your favourite celebrity is Jeremy Clarkson, your favourite film Stanley Kubrick's 1982 classic Blade Runner and your politics is slightly left of centre.
Qedward writes: More than a third of UK jobs — around 10 million people — will be replaced by robots and computers in the next 20 years causing a major shift in the labour market, a Deloitte report has claimed.
Advances in digital technologies, robotics and automation will continue to disrupt a variety of industries, affecting 35% of existing roles from a UK workforce of 30.76 million. The percentage affected in London is slightly lower at 30%.
The research, carried out by Deloitte with Carl Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin School, and Michael A Osborne, of the Department of Engineering Science, at the University of Oxford, shows that lower paid workers are the most at risk.
For example, jobs paying less than £30,000 a year are nearly five times more likely to be replaced by automation than those paying over £100,000.
Qedward writes: The new mayor and deputy mayor of Munich don't like its custom-built Linux distribution, citing user complaints. However, the old mayor reported in 2012 monthly complaints dropped from 70 to a maximum of 46 as the LiMux OS was rolled out from 1,500 to 10,000 people — so should we believe the new officials (who may or may not be card-carrying Microsoft supporters)?
One LiMux user posted their views on the Suddeutsche Zeituing, saying the "much of the criticism of the system is simply irrelevant".
They said: "System faults under Windows were quite common before 2004. From my perspective, you have achieved success here — why chuck that in the bin?"
Qedward writes: The number of people claiming benefits in the UK via the £12.8 billion Universal Credit welfare programme has fallen to the slowest rate for almost a year, according to the latest statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
Just 540 people started claiming the benefit in May, the lowest monthly take-up figure since July last year, when 400 new claimants started receiving Universal Credit.
There are approximately 5.4 million people currently claiming working age benefits in the UK.
According to shadow work and pensions minister Rachel Reeves, at the current rate of progress it will take 1,222 years for Universal Credit to be rolled out across the country, meaning the deployment will finish in 3236.
Qedward writes: Why did Gartner speak to 2,339 CIOs to find out men and women feel pretty much the same about cloud computing, mobility, analytics and overhauling ERP systems? The only thing Gartner reveals in its recent report, which you can buy for $495, is its own ingrained sexism. Researching whether a person's inherent womanliness means they're more likely to want to overhaul an ERP system is not a worthy line of study, in the same way that I would not bother to investigate whether black CIOs prioritise cloud computing to underpin their mobile strategy, or if gay CIOs like to focus on desktop virtualisation.
The CIO research focuses on the differences in budgets, priorities and agendas of male and female CIOs, breaking the shocking news that "our survey data is encouraging in that it shows many positive similarities between women and men in the CIO role".
That's because there's no such thing as a male or female CIO — there are just CIOs, some of whom have two X chromosomes, and some of whom just the one. Of course their priorities are the same, and if you think otherwise you're part of the problem.
Qedward writes: Exchanging or mining Bitcoins is exempt from value-added tax (VAT) in the UK, but accepting the virtual currency for goods and services is subject to it, HMRC said yesterday.
The guidance should give those handling bitcoins a bit more confidence about tax questions, as authorities around the world mull how the five-year-old virtual currency should be regulated.
HM Revenue & Customs described in a brief how it views Bitcoin in light of four taxes: VAT, corporation tax, income tax and capital gains tax.
While Bitcoin miners and those exchanging it for British pounds or foreign currency are exempt from VAT, people selling goods in exchange for virtual currencies are required to collect it. VAT is charged for most goods and services in at a rate of 20%.
When goods are sold for bitcoins, the amount of VAT to be paid will be calculated based on "the sterling value of the cryptocurrency at the point when the transaction takes place."
The guidance is murky on whether other activities involving Bitcoin are subject to corporation tax, income tax or capital gains tax. Like any other activity, the agency said, it "depends on the activities and the parties involved," and each case will be considered on its own.
Qedward writes: WhatsApp users should switch to a more secure messaging service now that it is being bought by Facebook, a German data protection commissioner urged.
Facebook announced yesterday that it plans to acquire WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service with about 450 million monthly users, for $12 billion in shares, $4 billion in cash as well as $3 billion in stock options.
The deal could raise important data protection issues because the personal data of its users will likely be merged with Facebook data, said Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
When communication metadata and content of both services is merged, it can be used for profiling and commercially exploited for advertising purposes, Weichert said.
Qedward writes: Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sending texts to obese people in the area to help motivate them to lose weight.
Examples of the texts sent include 'aim to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day', 'aim to eat regular meals and keep a check on snacks and drinks' and 'maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often'.
Over 100,000 people in the region are overweight or obese, the council said, and the texts are for those who are aged at least 18, have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over and who have proactively signed up to receive the motivational messages.
They will be sent daily texts, a weekly questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire. A sample of 500 recipients will also have a telephone interview. All this, plus the licence for the tele-health text service is equal to £10,000. The costs of obesity for the local NHS in terms of increased levels of disability and disease are £50 million a year.
Qedward writes: The European Court of Human Rights has fast-tracked a complaint alleging that the UK government illegally used internet and telecommunications networks to systematically spy on its citizens, privacy campaigners said.
In October, UK groups Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group and English PEN together with the German internet campaigner Constanze Kurz filed a complaint with the human rights court to challenge the legality of internet surveillance programmes operated by UK intelligence agency GCHQ and recently revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The complaint cited the Prism program, developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and GCHQ's Tempora programme.
The groups claim that by collecting data on millions of people not under any suspicion, GCHQ has infringed on the privacy rights of not only British but also European citizens.
The court has completed its preliminary investigation and has decided to give priority to the application, it informed the campaigners in a letter dated January 9 and released by the campaigners.
Qedward writes: Japan is planning to tax sales of foreign online content such as e-books, apps and downloaded music by late 2015.
Japanese who purchase electronic content from foreign firms like Amazon.com through overseas servers don't have to pay consumption tax, currently at 5% but slated to rise to 8% in April. That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically.
Physical products purchased from abroad are hit with consumption tax when they clear customs in Japan, but no such levy exists for online goods.
The government plans to close the loophole and make foreign vendors selling consumer goods register with tax authorities and pay the tax. Japanese corporations that buy foreign electronic content such as business software, however, will have to pay the tax directly to the Japanese tax authorities, Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning.
Qedward writes: EU politicians said that they doubt data collection by the US National Security Agency has been purely for the fight against terrorism.
In a draft report from the European Parliament's civil liberties committee, published yesterday, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) say that it is "very doubtful that data collection of such magnitude is only guided by the fight against terrorism," and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage.
The document urges EU countries to take legal action against the breach of their sovereignty perpetrated through such mass surveillance programmes.
Qedward writes: Munich's switch to open source software has been successfully completed, with the vast majority of the public administration's users now running its own version of Linux, city officials said today.
In one of the premier open source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution. LiMux incorporates a fully open source desktop infrastructure. The city also decided to use the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard, instead of proprietary options.
Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said.