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Digital Del from the Front Line

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Given my interest in all things digital which stretches back to 1992, it would seem perverse of me not to do a weekly blog on the subject.
At the moment, I’m nearly no longer an MP (6th May 2010) and so I have a kind of luxury – some spare time to think, no salary and a diary which seems to fill up at an alarming rate……
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this past week or so:
1.     TED
I went to the Unicorn Theatre in Southwark on Monday to attend my first TEDdy boy experience. I’d been made aware of TED’s successes when I was on a panel with Bruno Giussani (a TEDdy boy head honcho) at the Names not Numbers forum at Portmeirion earlier in the year. I go to a lot of IT-geeky-designery love-ins in London so I was slightly surprised to find I hardly knew anyone of the 150+ audience and that by and large they were all 300 years younger than me. 
The amazing evening has been captured at:  

The array of speakers and singers (the event lasted close on a month) were:
James Geary, expert on aphorisms:  
Frank Stephenson, design director McLaren:  
Shamim Sarif, author "Despite the Falling Snow"  
Brian Cox, physicist:  
Charles Leadbeater, innovation expert -  
His latest publications can be found here: "Learning from the Extremes"
"Digging for the future"
I’m coming round to the notion that Charles doesn’t work hard enough.
Rory Sutherland, ad guru:  
Bridget Nicholls, founder Pestival:  
Marc Koska, philanthropist:

And for good measure the two stunning singers were:
Shany Moore:
Leonie Casanova:  
And since I haven’t overburden you with information, the full content of Design Mind magazine on "Work-Life" is at
Not surprisingly, my brain has subsequently had to be hosed down. What an evening! No wonder their Oxford 4 day Summer School is already sold out. I so wanted to drive home in one of the new McLaren sports cars for the masses – well those with £100k+ to burn – but had to make do with my beloved beaten up black Maserati.    
2.     Martin Bean spills them at C4 lecture &  
The 2nd Naomi Sargent Lecture was given by Martin Bean, the new-ish VC of the Open University at C4 last Tuesday. Naomi was a simply goodly person flourishing everywhere but especially at the brand new OU and then repeating it at an even brander- newer C4. Martin “Takes No Prisoners” Bean slayed his audience with wit, intelligence and Ozzie sparkle as he talked about the digital divide and as ever our part-time students who comprise 40% of the total number of students in HE and yet have been marginalised but my own Government.
For more go to:
3.     Public Zone nets NESTA
Back in July last year, I approached Jo Shaw as in to ask whether she and her team could help me design the first iPhone App for a serving politician anywhere in the world – so not much to ask then. We launched it in February and for a nano-second it was 7th in the iTunes Download charts with just over 7000!! (I kid you not). Well, the good news is that NESTA has awarded the not-for-profit company a £50k grant for them to create an App for 30 of the new MPs due back at work on 18th May 2010 and then for PZ to roll it out for all MPs after Christmas for a small fee. And, even better in the 2010 Webby Awards they have won an “Honouree” which has made us all feel 10 feet tall. By the way, my App can be found at “MyMP” but not for long…sadly as the DCMS Ministers didn’t quite understand the importance of an App, unlike my web site, now renamed:, it will not be legally deposited at the British Library ( 
4.     Science Museum makes women Fellows 
I attended the inauguration of the new Fellows of the Science Museum 2010: Sir David Attenborough (probably falling into a volcano near the North Pole as we speak), Professor Jocelyn Bell-Burnett who though failing her 11+ helped discover pulsars one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century, Professor Athene Donald, Baroness Susan Greenfield, currently on gardening leave from that absurd body the Royal Institute, the Queen should take away the Royal bit and teach them a lesson, the exceedingly great James Lovelock, now in his ninetieth year and Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai from Kenya.
Margaret Hodge, the Culture Minister, has had the name of the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees, in her Red Box for aeons but still failed to make the decision before “Purdah” set in. Extraordinary. Really.   
5.     EURIM starts to set the agenda for the new intake of MPs
The great man, Ian Taylor, now a past MP, chaired an unlikely 90 minutes of a Eurim committee which was further enlightened by the presence of Mark Todd and YT, both also of the “former” category. We hoped that Eurim would ultimately form a broad umbrella of ICT interests in the new Parliament with Pitcom and ApComms. We shall see.
6.     Digital Economy Bill needs a repeal
One of the worst bits of legislation to make it through the “wash-up” period of the last 3 days of the last Parliament was the Digital Economy Bill. It shows Parliament in its worst light and if you have time go and read the full debates of the 2nd and 3rd Readings on 6th and 7th April respectively and weep. The Bill should repealed as fast as possible. 
7.     Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
I went to see Liveryman Roger Dimmock, of RDA Recruitment, in the City about going one of his “Brown Bag” lunches in July. He has been an outstanding member of the Company and I have not (yet).
8.     Internet World 2010 next week
Take a peep and go and see Ability Net at stand E1155.
9.     Online Child Safety Conference, Bahrain &  
The good people from FOSI in Washington, DC are helping the awfully nice people from the Telecoms Authority in Bahrain with the first ever conference in the Gulf on online child safety issues.  
10.  What’s On Next Week
A talk to Canterbury Branch, BCS on Online Politics & the General Election at University of Kent (22/04); a meeting with Bill Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute in Oxford (23/04) & a couple of panel sessions at the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s conference assisted by FOSI in Bahrain (25/04-28/04) assuming no further black-sky challenging events.
PS: Derek is currently an Associate with Tribal Group: and mulling over an offer to chair a software start up.   


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