Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts

Archive for October 2009

PlanningAlerts.com closed down

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Today, I got the following email from the MySociety.Org-hosted PlanningAlerts.com, which has been closed down because it can’t afford to use the postcode system now that Royal Mail want payment of £4,000 p.a.  licence fees. I didn’t realise that the postcode system is private property… There are attempts to get a free licence for non-profit applications – see this post on the Ernest Marples’ blog for more info,

“As some of you may already have spotted in the news, Planning Alerts has been effected by legal action by the Royal Mail:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7700621.stm

We are left with the choice of paying the Royal Mail up to £4,000 a
year for access to the postcode database and either running a much less
accurate and useful service or shutting PlanningAlerts down altogether.
If are concerned about this, please consider doing the following:

— Write to your MP —

Tom Watson MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on
the Royal Mail to allow non-profit organisations to use the postcode
database for free. Please write to your MP asking them to sign this
Early Day Motion (number EDM 2000) and protest at the actions of The
Royal Mail.

You can write to your MP here: http://marples.writetothem.com/

— Sign the petition —

Nearly 1,200 people have so far signed a petition on the Prime
Minister’s website, please add your name:

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/nfppostcodes/

— Blog / write to your local paper–

Please consider writing a blog post in support of PlanningAlerts or
writing to your local paper.

Yours,

The PlanningAlerts.com team”

Written by Steve

October 13, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Velletri agreement

with 2 comments

A few weeks ago I was preparing some introductory comments for a public talk on the theme of ‘Digital Futures’ that the OU in the North West hosted. Given the theme, and this year being the 40th anniversary of the OU, I wanted to mention some other suitable anniversaries. Among them, and rather less celebrated than say, the commissioning of ArpaNet or Berners-Lee’s proposal for what became the web, was this year being the 25th anniversary of the Velletri Agreement. As of this morning, google returned 5 hits for the term ‘Velletri Agreement’, and Bing returned 2, so perhaps it’s worth a few words here.

The Velletri agreement committed a group of ‘grassroots’ NGOs from women’s, human rights, sustainable development, labour and other movements to develop the capacity to exploit the new information and communications technologies. For a fuller account of Interdoc and the Velletri Agreement, see Brian Murphy’s (2005) First Monday article: Interdoc: the first international non-governmental computer network, which includes a copy of the agreement.

I got involved in Interdoc a little later. They were exciting times, and personally I learned a great deal. I’ve just been trying to find a photograph taken at an Interdoc technical workshop in the Netherlands around 1988 showing a bank of hotel payphones in various states of disrepair as people were trying to attach modems to get online to post…. I’ll put it here if I ever do dig it out.

Written by Steve

October 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized