Saturday, January 07, 2006

Tea with Mussolini

My dog has become a local internet celebrity. Walking her on the beach this morning, a gentleman approached me and asked if this was the “Dog on the Internet?”

Bang to rights I guess with her red doggie coat on and a chance for a quick chat about the website which was described as “Excellent”, so thank you sir.

One suggestion I have for our local beach café owners for next season is to install a wireless hotspot. This isn’t terribly expensive, it’s easy to achieve and would provide an internet café service to visitors. Charging people a nominal fee of say a £1.00 an hour to use it might recoup the costs very quickly. BT hate this kind of thing I know but it’s perfectly legal, sharing the connection and for me at least, would provide a great excuse in the summer to wander down to the beach at lunchtime, open my laptop and order a late English Breakfast and a coffee while still carrying-on with my email. Now if the cafes added a cheap web cam, pointing out of the window, then I could link to these through Thanet Life and everyone would be able to see how crowded the beach was, where the tide was and if any tables were free!

This will happen one day, I’m sure; it’s only a question of when. After all, if I can do this kind of thing from a hotel café in Jordan there’s no reason why it can’t be done in Thanet too.

One of our comment threads yesterday talked of Mussolini making the trains run on time and there’s something to be said for dictatorships, as long as they remain short, although the fine line between Parliamentary dictatorship and democracy has become increasingly muddy since 1997. As I’m involved with some next generation technology and policy development work for a couple of very big companies, given a little money and a free hand, I’m sure I could do some very interesting things for us here.

Last month I have to confess I failed miserably in an attempt to raise £100,000 - £250,000 from one of my clients to do just this. At a meeting in London, I was told the reason was very simple and that’s because the North of England is seen as having a greater need than the “Wealthy South.” Even though it was conceded that Thanet can’t be judged this way I was told that if I offered the same proposal for a local council area around, let’s say Tyne & Wear, raising the money wouldn’t be a huge problem but sadly, Thanet didn’t dovetail nicely with both the Deputy PM’s priorities and the PR potential that would accompany such a grant from a company as well-known as the one I was speaking to.

I haven’t given up yet!

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