Monday, 5 September 2011

Segways, competition law and reviews

I've posted in the past about Segways, and how much I like the look of them, and this weekend fulfilled my ambition of having a go on one. It was fantastic!  Now I want one even more. Very easy, and very intuitive. The steering is so sensitive I swear I only had to think about which way I wanted to go and it went, with virtually no movement from me. Very sensitive gyroscopes inside. Stopping was the hardest - move your weight from your toes to your heels, and if you lean back too far it goes backwards. But I soon got the hang of it. Would love to see the ban on their use on anything other than private property over here relaxed, as it has been in many other places.

After that excitement, it was off to London for a RUGIT meeting (Russell Group IT Directors). Good meeting, lots of discussion. Started with a look at how we're all approaching the "do more with less" situation we're finding ourselves in. General agreement that we need to stop doing things we don't need to do, and focus on supporting teaching and research. Then we had a real debate - given the introduction of differential fees and the new market economy in Universities, how much does competition law stop us discussing the things we've always shared in the past.  UUK have published guidance, which is very helpful, which we will of course be following, as well as applying a good dose of common sense.

As well as our internal discussions we have a number of invited guests - a representative from the Russell Group attends to bring us up to date with the latest issues our VCs are discussing. The CEO from JANET was there and we spent some time discussing their response to the JISC review. In particular, if the funding for the JANET network is moved from central (as most of it is at the moment), to devolved, then there is a danger that the network could be broken up.  This is something none of us want to see, and in fact most of us would say that we value JANET as a most essential service. This led nicely into a discussion with the CEO of the JISC about the future of the JISC, the current transitional arrangements, and consultations which are taking place including those on governance and the future of services such as JANET.

Finally, an observation. There were 18 Russell Group IT Directors round the table, with 5 iPads, 3 Macbooks, 2 windows laptops, and 8 notebooks/bundles of paper. Interesting?


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,
Check out our friends' site,
They use (highly customised) Segways in their act ( They're appearing Sheffield on Sunday 30 October.
See you there?
Bryan (Ledgard)

Chris Sexton said...

wow they look fantastic! I'm assuming they'll be at Fright Night, so will try and get down