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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two famous places

I was honoured to be a guest of UK ITSPA (Internet Telephony Service Provider Association - the VoIP trade body) this evening for their awards ceremony, for which I was one of the judges. Some interesting entries and hopefully, next year ITSPA will have a dedicated Wireless VoIP category in the awards, as well.

Hats of to the organisers for the choice of venue - The Members' Dining Room at the House of Commons. I'm ashamed to say that despite being a native Londoner, it was the first time I'd ever been inside Parliament, and I definitely need to go back for a proper tour. 

There were speeches by Ian Taylor MP, who is a common fixture on most UK parliamentary committees on technology, a representative of Ofcom, and most fascinatingly, the Director of Bletchley Park.

(As an aside, he was a representative of the awesomely-named sponsor, Magrathea Telecom. Those readers who are Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fans will know that Magrathea was the planet with the voicemail message "It is most gratifying that your enthusiasm for our products continues and we wish to assure you that the two fully armed nuclear tipped missiles currently converging on your ship are part of the special service we extend to all of our most enthusiastic clients...." )

I knew vaguely about Bletchley, which was the home of British code-breakers during WW2 and was, arguably, the single most pivotal advantage in winning the war apart from the Spitfire. But I hadn't made the link between that and the birth of computer-based coding & encryption - and its eventual impact on all digital communications including VoIP. Really interesting speech, and congratulations to Magrathea for eschewing doing a corporate pitch and putting this in its place.

So now, in addition to the houses of Parliament, I certainly intend to visit Bletchley Park as well. If you can't visit, I certainly agree that its preservation is a worthy cause - and exhort you to make a donation instead.

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