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SA Mathieson

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SA Mathieson is an analyst and journalist, specialising in healthcare IT and management, particularly in the NHS.
Cambridge bikes photo MK Jones via Shutterstock

Turing, Hauser, Sinclair – haunt computing's Cambridge A-team stamping ground

Geek's Guide to Britain King’s Parade in Cambridge looks like the last street on earth to have anything to do with computing. On one side is an absurdly ornate college gatehouse in yellow stone and King’s College Chapel, which combines the barn-like shape of a tiny chapel with the scale and detail of a cathedral. The other side is lined by tall …
SA Mathieson, 26 Sep 2016
Theresa May photo by Frederic Legrand COMEO via Shutterstock

Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

Comment After a summer of vagueness, prime minister Theresa May is starting to define Brexit, with controlling immigration at the top of her list. That is likely to mean ending the freedom of European nationals* to work in Britain on the same basis as the locals – which will have a major impact on the many British IT employers who draw …
SA Mathieson, 05 Sep 2016
Robot on road photo via Shutterstock

Ireland's govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble. As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the …
SA Mathieson, 23 Aug 2016
Plan b, image via Shutterstock

What's Brexit? How Tech UK tore up its plans after June 23

Leaders of many British tech firms were less than thrilled to hear that the UK had voted to leave the European Union. “I was shocked and horrified,” says Kate Craig-Wood, managing director of hosting firm Memset, who we spoke before the June 23 vote. Her comments were echoed by others. Mike Laven, chief executive of fintech …
SA Mathieson, 25 Jul 2016
Girl and computer, photo via Shutterstock

UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Immigration is an issue swaying electorates around the world, including Britons, who will next week decide whether to leave the European Union and Americans, who will soon decide whether to vote for Donald Trump as president in November. While this is generally assumed to affect low-pay, low-skilled jobs, it can affect those in …
SA Mathieson, 17 Jun 2016
Electric Mountain under construction, photo by First Hydro Company

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

From the outside, Elidir Mountain looks like an old industrial site that has returned to nature. The slopes facing the Llyn Peris reservoir have been hacked into terraces by slate quarrying – this was once the second-biggest quarry in the world, with 3,000 workers – but they are now peaceful. Only a few buildings at ground …
SA Mathieson, 16 May 2016
Trump poster, image via Shutterstock

US work visas for international tech talent? 'If Donald Trump is elected all bets are off'

Apart from marrying an American, the best known route for foreign techies wanting to (legally) share their expertise for a fee in the US is a work visa. But this route is overcrowded, increasingly expensive and, should Donald Trump become America’s 45th president, it'll likely slam shut for many hoping to work in Silicon …
SA Mathieson, 13 May 2016
Bike jumper, image Christian Bertrand courtesy Shutterstock

Ireland's tech sector fears fallout of Brexit 'Yes' vote

The Republic of Ireland’s IT industry would be damaged if its second-biggest trading partner Britain left the European Union. Firms are concerned about the impact on exports - particularly if the British economy and sterling hit the skids. Some think Ireland could benefit from international firms wanting an English-speaking …
SA Mathieson, 29 Apr 2016
Empty office space, image vIa Shutterstock

Tech biz bosses tell El Reg a Brexit will lead to a UK Techxit

Analysis Immigration is one of the main concerns for advocates of Brexit. Some IT firms from Britain and abroad who we spoke to share this concern – but in the other direction. One UK tech firm has told The Register it could be forced to leave the country if Britain votes to leave the European Union on June 23 – a Techxit, if you will …
SA Mathieson, 11 Mar 2016
Snooping image via Shutterstock

Investigatory Powers Bill: Spooks willingly entering the light?

IPB The redrafted Investigatory Powers bill is about to return to Parliament, accompanied by complaints that the government is trying to rush it through, threats of Conservative backbench rebellions and a withdrawal of Labour support. It could almost be the European Union referendum. Arguments over process and party splits are not …
SA Mathieson, 01 Mar 2016

Higher US Fed interest rates will hit startups over the head

The US Federal Reserve’s decision in December to increase the target range for the interest rate it pays banks by one-quarter of one per cent, to 0.25-0.5 per cent, didn't seem like an Earth-shaking event at the time. But it was the first time the world’s most powerful central bank had changed its rate target since 2008, and …
SA Mathieson, 15 Feb 2016
Ada Lovelace, credit 2D Goggles

Lovelace at 200: Celebrating the High Priestess to Babbage's machines

A few of computing’s most vivid characters have become cultural icons. Most are from the last few decades, such as Steve Jobs and Alan Turing, but last month the University of Oxford held an academic symposium to mark the 200th birthday of one of the first: Ada, Countess of Lovelace, born on 10 December, 1815. Her …
SA Mathieson, 08 Jan 2016
Banksy protester image 1000 words via Shutterstock

Brits learning from the Continent? Authority, digi gov wheezes and the Autumn Statement

Analysis Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne included several uses of technology in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review. As part of a major expansion, the Government Digital Service will develop a common payment system on, so that by 2020 citizens will have the option of paying online for every central …
SA Mathieson, 26 Nov 2015
man and scottish flag photo via Shutterstock

Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth

As debate kicks off at Westminster over the surveillance powers of spies and the police, the 55 Scottish National Party lawmakers look likely to be a restraining influence. The party’s general election manifesto pledged to oppose the Snooper’s Charter. A decade ago, SNP MPs were among the first to oppose New Labour’s identity …
SA Mathieson, 12 Nov 2015
Weston Library, photo by John Cairns

Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Geek's Guide to Britain The Botanic Gardens, Sheldonian Theatre, Museum of Natural History – there’s plenty to see in Oxford. Off limits, however, was the New Bodleian Library, arguably the city’s greatest treasure and jewel in the nation's academic crown. The Bodleian is home one of the world’s oldest and greatest collections of books, maps and …
SA Mathieson, 18 Sep 2015
CAT_wind tunnel for testing turbine shapes photo SA Mathieson

Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Geek's Guide to Britain There are plenty of tourist attractions scattered around the coast of Cardigan Bay in Wales. But for the last four decades, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has provided something appropriately... alternative. There is an early sign of this in the car park – a huge wind turbine blade, placed as if to diminish the …
SA Mathieson, 21 Aug 2015
Walther PPK pistol. Pic: Art Bromage

How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden

Feature David Anderson QC’s review of Britain’s anti-terrorism laws, published earlier this month, has mostly been examined for its potential impact on the government’s plans for a new act of Parliament on surveillance, known as the Snooper’s Charter to opponents. He made extensive recommendations as to what should be in the …
SA Mathieson, 23 Jul 2015
George Osborne, photo: HM Treasury

Are you a Tory-voting IT contractor? Congrats! Osborne is hiking your taxes

Benefits recipients, “non-doms” (those living in Britain treated as foreigners for tax purposes), banks, and landlords weren't the only losers in George Osborne's recent budget. Although they weren’t explicitly mentioned, the chancellor put many contractors, including those working in IT, on his hit list by changing the …
SA Mathieson, 21 Jul 2015
Spaceguard Center in snow, photo: The Spaceguard Center

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Geek's Guide to Britain As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …
SA Mathieson, 06 Jul 2015
Marching bagpipes, image via Shutterstock

Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

The Scottish National Party had an astonishing election night. It previously had six Westminster seats; it now has 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs, some elected on swings in excess of 30 per cent, with most of its seats gained from Labour. It already runs the Scottish Parliament as well as 11 of Scotland’s 32 councils, although some in …
SA Mathieson, 12 May 2015
10 Downing Street. Pic: Sgt Tom Robinson RLC/Crown copyright

Surveillance, broadband, zero hours: Tech policy in a UK hung Parliament

Election 2015 Five years after its first coalition government for decades, Britain again looks likely to refuse to elect a single party to government. The Liberal Democrats, which joined the 2010 government as the Conservative’s junior partners, look set to lose a significant number of seats, meaning the party may not have the numbers to form …
SA Mathieson, 24 Apr 2015
Marconi and transmission equipment

Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Geek's Guide to Britain This is the story of a 22-year-old technology genius, who, stung by the lack of interest in his work in his homeland, moved to a new country to develop his ideas. In a single year, this individual extended the performance of a key technology of his time by a factor of more than 20. It sounds like an outlandish tale even by …
SA Mathieson, 23 Feb 2015
Guinevere gets a clean

Suffering satellites! Goonhilly's ARTHUR REBORN for SPAAAACE

Geek's Guide to Britain Big data? Pah. Arthur is big hardware. He weighs in at 1,118 tonnes, has a diameter of 25.9 metres and is 52 years old. From his home, a high plateau on Cornwall’s remote Lizard peninsula – as far south as you can go on the island of Great Britain without falling off – he has played his part in Space Age history, appropriate …
SA Mathieson, 25 Nov 2014

Open source and the NHS: Two huge disorganised entities without central control

To outsiders, Britain’s National Health Service must look like a monolith, with more than a million staff marching under one three letter acronym to provide healthcare free at the point of delivery, paid for by the taxes. But the NHS is actually an assortment of several hundred organisations. Each UK nation runs its own health …
SA Mathieson, 19 Sep 2014
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond debate Scottish independence

Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Scots may vote to leave the United Kingdom, ending a union lasting 307 years, on 18 September. Until a few weeks ago, the referendum on independence looked like an easy win for those wanting to stay in the union - or to use the parlance of the campaign, "no" voters. But a surge in support has put those planning to vote "yes" …
SA Mathieson, 11 Sep 2014