Interview with a Broadband Champion no.8: Kate Norman

11:47 in Broadband Champions by Louis Mosley

Name: (Sarah) Kate Norman

Age: 31

Parish: Stanwix Rural

Occupation/Professional experience: .NET Developer and Project Manager in the heart of Manchester’s digital sector. Now freelance - so I get to work on a variety of projects to keep me busy and out of mischief.

You live in Cumbria because?

I fell in love with a double glazing salesman; it’s also my place of birth and where most of my family live; it is home, and as a county has such a lot to offer.

Your idea of happiness?

Going on an adventure.

Your idea of misery?

Not getting to go outside. As you can see, I am a simple creature!

When and why did you first use the Internet?

I think I was visiting a friend c1995 who went on to study computers and pure maths at Oxford. He was the first person I knew who had an internet connection. He showed me a bulletin board system and I left my first message and I remember then wondering who it would be who would reply. I got my very own email address when I was at Cumbria College of Art & Design in 1998.

What characters in history do you most dislike and why?

I have always liked the quote from Robert A Heinlein: “Never appeal to a man’s ‘better nature’ - He may not have one.” So I suppose anyone who show no restraint and pursues self-interest with complete disregard for others’ lives or freedoms.

Why did you become a broadband champion?

I know a great deal about IT but not so much about the pipes that connect us all. It is a chance for me to learn about how it all connects together and help my community to translate all the details into practical understanding. I also live in an area of shockingly bad broadband and it would be a miracle to get a level of service that I came to expect in Manchester - it would also make my life a lot easier.

If not yourself, who would you be?

Well I think it would be interesting to be a man and to see if it was any different.

What would you use a 100meg symmetrical connection for?

I go to a lot of tech conferences and some of the gismos and gadgetry that I have seen there would easily use data at that rate.

Cloud computing: Software as a Service is of great interest to me, as it would allow me to have the latest applications at a fraction of the cost. Cloud services would be a distinct reality.

3DTV: I saw an amazing holographic display at Thinking Digital a few years back and I can see that TV will more than likely be replaced by devices that display true 3D.

Touch technology: Haptics have an amazing potential for all sorts of medical and physical breakthroughs but need a stable and high capacity connection. I would have no qualms being operated on from a top surgeon who could do the operation from the other side of the world if it meant the best quality of care. I suppose I would have the opportunity to take advantage of the latest in technology - with virtual being the latest revolution, if you don’t have the access you will miss out on the opportunities.

Your heroes in real life?

Heroes in the classical sense can be inspiring, but there is nothing like practical application, which is why I like inventors. Gutenberg would have to be up there. I find writing a challenge with my dyslexia but reading has always been a joy, so authors who can put their imagination on the page are my heroes. In fact, I admire anyone who uses their skills and talents to their maximum be it through creativity or bravery.

What has been the world’s greatest invention?

The printing press followed very closely by the internet.

What’s your favourite place in Cumbria, and why?

Any bit with a nice view - and there are a few. I like the stone circle at the top of Talkin Fell Cairns overlooking Talkin Tarn - but that in part is because is just the closest inspiring view to where I live.