Skip to content

Time travel

This is a recreation of a newsletter I used to run at It showcases a selection of the articles I wrote for the newsletter.


Journey shrinker

In June IFS covered Volo TV’s contract to fit out First Great Western Trains with entertainment technology. Earlier this week, we caught up with Paul Soor, managing director at Volo to find out more.

Currently Volo is more than half way through fitting out the First Great Western fleet with seat back entertainment systems. One carriage on each train is being fitted. It takes a day and a half to fit out each carriage. Read more…


Are you happy to use spreadsheets but feel less comfortable about the idea of creating your own website? If so, Gordon Guthrie would like to talk to you.

Guthrie runs Hypernumbers, an online spreadsheet system that lets users build websites and share data online. Over 1000 websites have already been created with Hypernumbers during its development period and since March 2010 there are also a small number of paying customers. The product is still going through an iterative development cycle, which is why Guthrie is currently looking for further interviewees to help Hypernumbers get to the point where it is ready to go to market.

The idea of the system is to allow end users to build online applications from their own desktop that are too small to merit the cost of involving technical specialists. “We’ve asked people how many spreadsheets they’ve built over their career and we get hundreds of thousands. Then we ask how many of those they’d have paid a developer to build and the answer over the past two years is five,” says Guthrie. “So spreadsheets allow people to get on and solve tasks on their desktop without going to a techie.”

That goes for both employees and small business owners too. Guthrie previously worked for both the BT/City Of Edinburgh Council Partnership and Scottish Enterprise and in both organisations, the number of applications built using spreadsheets and databases vastly exceeded systems that had been built with the involvement of the IT departments. The idea of Hypernumbers is to extend that ease of use to online development. Read more…

The death of F5

In all the excitement of instantly available information on the Internet, it’s easy to forget that what you see stops being up to date the moment you access it. Sometimes that doesn’t matter but for some forms of data, like sports scores, it does. That’s where Kwwika comes in.

Kwwika is a cloud-based hosted service that uses ‘streaming push’ to deliver instant updates over the Web. Set up by Phil Leggetter from Broughty Ferry, it builds on comet server technology developed for the financial sector for delivering real time information for trading. Before setting up Kwwika, Phil worked for Caplin Systems, which develops trading applications for banks. Read more…

Float in alpha

Float, the cashflow forecasting system created by IfLooksCouldKill is now in alpha. The software-as-a-service system, which allows users to pull data out of online accounting system FreeAgent was created to reduce user duplication of effort and to help small businesses plan for the future.

“It was based on the idea that everything we’ve seen from an accounting point of view is focused on the past,” says ILCK’s managing director and Float founder Colin Hewitt, “but for people running small businesses it’s essential to see where things are going in the future.” Typically businesses might do this using a spreadsheet (or several) but that means re-entering information already entered into accounting packages and leaves room for human error. The inspiration came when Hewitt started using FreeAgent in his business. “It was fantastic,” he said. “It saved so much time but it didn’t give any forecasting.” Read more…

Looking for activity, funding

Inquisitive Systems, an Edinburgh based systems company whose product GuardInQ is a real time fraud detection system, is looking for matched funding that will allow them to access a SMART Grant from Scottish Enterprise. Inquisitive Systems is a spinout from Edinburgh Napier University and is run by two research fellows, a professor and a research associate at the university.

GuardInQ is currently in the final few months of its proof of concept pilot with a major financial services company in Edinburgh. The SMART Grant will take Inquisitive Systems through to September 2011, giving them the chance to make any technical changes needed arising from the pilot and to work on scalability of the system. Read more…

In the cloud

With Google’s recent announcement that laptops running its Chrome operating system will soon be available, cloud computing is becoming an increasingly viable alternative to running office type applications offline. But in the battle between Google and Microsoft, it’s easy for the layman to forget that cloud computing is about a lot more than big names like Google and Microsoft competing to stop you from choking up your hard disk with word processing software.

Just as importantly, cloud computing can mean significant cost and efficiency gains for large corporate enterprises. One of the most significant companies involved in promoting that message is Edinburgh’s Cloudsoft Corporation. Read more…