Thursday, April 27, 2006
The guy holding the fort was very hospitable and route maps were provided. Being early in the season they'd not had chance to learn that a pub which had been used as a reference point had become a residential property making it difficult to spot. This caused a few moments of finger pointing in Brockenhurst but it was a great day out. A bit of forest, heath and road covered our 20 or so miles which was a comfortable distance for all of us (even including an clandestine pub stop).
Thanks Country Lanes.
Tags: New Forest, Beaulieu, cycling, hire, mountain bikes, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
I've noticed that they all manage their personal space incredibly efficiently. On further probing, several of them swear by a methodology called "Getting Things Done". So, I bought the book by David Allen. I've linked to the US Amazon site- the UK version is in the ad on the left. I've not read it yet so expect further postings as to whether it helps me, but basically I don't think I'm underselling the methodology to say it boils down how you manage your in tray.
There's a decent review by the FT but, unfortunately, if you don't have a subscription then you can only read the first part, but do so anyway. I'd cut and paste the article here but I don't think my Google Ads revenue would remotely cover the legal fees if they were to chase me! Besides, I'd say that the FT sub is worth the money for most business peeps.
Tags: work, personal development, productivity, effective, professional, Getting Things Done, book, review, David Allen, Amazon
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The objective, aside from a vain attempt to improve fitness, was to test my new clothes, check the boots still fit ok after 10 years, see how much I need to carry and work out what kind of pace starts to hurt... oh, and explore a corner of the world that I can see from our living room, but have not been to in 3 years here.
First things first. The pub is lovely. By it's character and panorama, it's something of a tourist spot, but there's plenty of room for everyone in the beer garden- even the domestic chore dodgers masquerading as mountain bikers (I know your game). I chose a pint of the Studland Bay Wrecked and I was not disappointed. I'd underestimated the amount of curvature of the coast round Studland- perhaps through the flattening effect of the distance as I view it from home- but I was surprised to be looking straight out to sea at Bournemouth. Strange.
Anyway, with the heat smashing down I headed for home and, excluding the wait for the Sandbanks ferry and sitting in the pub, I managed a round trip of 14 miles in 3 hours 40 minutes. To do three times that distance in less than 12 hours (which I suspect is the target of my friends) will be pushing me to my limits...
...and there'll be no beer.
*round the back of the pub
Tags: Studland, Bankes, pub, walking, hiking, ale, Sandbanks, Dorset, Bournemouth, cycling, mountain biking
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
...which is why I suspect that these cars were deliberately parked on show. Don't get me wrong, the local neighbourhood is more than able to produce clientele with Lamborghinis and Ferraris. It's just the way they are parked such that, for example, I couldn't squeeze my Clickmobile in between them. Hey, if you got it, flaunt it.
Tags: Sandbanks, lifestyle, Poole, Dorset, supercars, restaurant, eating out, Cafe Shore
Monday, April 24, 2006
Yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the 26th Flora London Marathon. As I had some small chores to do for a few runners (well done Mark, Emily, Benoit and Colin) I bounced from Woolwich to Docklands to Wapping to Westminster. I also watched everything from the elite athletes to the club runners to the, often ambling, fancy dressers. Of the many thought provoking memories of the day (the myriad of good causes and unity of the people was uplifting) it struck me how many runners were listening to ipods (other devices are available). Outside of the elite I'd venture it was as much as 30 or 40% had their digital pals. I mused on how many might have compiled a specific soundtrack and what that accompaniment might be. I doubt anyone could manage 'Eye of the Tiger' back to back with 'Chariots of Fire' for 440 minutes, so I'd like to know what the top ten tunes were. Perhaps many opted for 'in the mix' style dance compilations or entire orchestral suites. Was anyone even usefully filling the time learning Spanish!
For some, I suppose music might be a practical technique of keeping pace. For others who have trained through the darkest evenings of the year with their digital motivators there might be an almost Pavlovian need in order for their legs to move.
Despite the electronics industry's best attempts to alienate me through the use of earpieces that won't stay in my ears on a train, let alone whilst jogging, I decided that a music player would be a must if I were to get through the training. I would build up to some carefully chosen beats which, on the big day, would subtly quicken and slow according to the pace best suited to me and the course. All I need to do is check that if I go the distance, then so do the batteries!
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Now I'm no prude, so don't take this as a complaint, but I was very surprised to be tuning my radio in West London and find a station broadcasting very adult humour. I enjoyed it. I'm not sure of the comedian but it was of that stand up genre where you'd have thought that a failure to use an expletive every few seconds was likely to result in electric shocks being administered to a loved one. Bear in mind that I'd tuned away from BBC Radio4 to find alternatives to their Sunday morning church service and you can see the contrast served up by the bombardment of 'effing' and the need to describe everyone in terms of their relations with their mother. But it was very funny. So, if you're over 18 then try tuning to Touch'94 FM. If you're not, then don't.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
Tags: creative, handbag, fashion, designer, vegan, Matt & Nat, humour
Now, I'm guilty of many an email faux pas so it's just reassuring to see that the mighty email service provider can get it so wrong too.
Tags: technology, internet, email, Yahoo
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Tags: technology, office, IT, collaboration, Microsoft, productivity, mobile, healthcare
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Well, I need wonder no more. I'm pretty sure it would be like VomFass. This franchise, which admittedly has a ropey look and feel on its corporate site (from which I pilfered the image in this article), has a UK site that seems to have been licked into something a little more sophisticated.
I stumbled across their shop in Stratford where I could buy wine, liqueurs, spirits and olive oil by the 100ml. There are tasteful racks of the stuff (using barrels and massive glass containers as appropriate etc) and you just choose your bottle and go for it.
Weigh & Save can keep it's oats by the shovel.
Tags: retail, franchise, spirits, liqueur, olive oil
QR codes and the Glass software. Well, it seems that the team at Upcomm were already well on the case. They have taken a very similar application (I'm not sure if it is an HP derivative or home grown), branded it and taken it to market. I saw one of their so called 'Upcodes' on an hardcopy advert for Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. In the corner was the code itself with a neatly branded surround and a URL for more info.
The Upcomm website doesn't carry much information beyond what the casual consumer needs to know, but it looks like this may be a company from Finland. Well, they should know about mobile phones. I suppose the trust in the technology comes from the association with the advertiser rather than the technologist, but I'm nosey.
I hope to see these logos proliferate over the coming year.
However, the only problem was that my first sighting of this application was on an advert above the seats on the tube. So, I wasn't able to try it. Possibly the only place amongst the ten million population of London where I have no phone reception. When will the London Underground sort that out? The HK tube is rammed with mobile telephony infrastructure.
Tags: technology, Internet, mobile, Upcomm, Upcode
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
I'm pleased to report that this morning's piercing alarm call was replaced by the soothing tones of digital radio. As an early birthday present to MissClick, I selflessly invested in a Tivoli DAB radio. Early results are promising- although I thought I'd better let the birthday girl do most of the playing. However, the sound is natural and warm and, after a head to head test in the shop against the top end Pure, was in a league of it's own. The sound more befits a much larger platform.
This is in no small part due to the founders of Tivoli who came together with huge hifi design credentials. Between them they've set up two of the world's most respected hifi makers- Acoustic Research and Cambridge Audio (who later came together to create Arcam).
There's one thing worth pointing out that wasn't reported on any of the websites or in the mags I read whilst researching DAB radios. There are two alarms so MissClick and I can be woken at different times. It might sound trivial, but it was an important feature, the lack of which could have seen us compromise on sound quality in order to purchase a radio with it. No such worries in the end though. Tivoli marketers can have that one on me.
Monday, April 17, 2006
So I reached the front of the queue for the self-serve machine. My first problem was, and it could have been my spelling, but I couldn't find Moreton-in-Marsh. With the clock ticking I had little choice but to select the train's ultimate destination, Hereford. It'll cost, I thought, but I have to catch THAT train.
Next up, I needed to select my ticket type. I only wanted one way, but the tickets on screen were all wrong wrong wrong. First class this, first class that. What do they call cattle class these days? 2nd class? Can't see it. Then I see First Cheap Day Return. That'll do. I don't need a return but I hear that singles aren't much cheaper. The "first" must refer to the train company, First Great Western, as it is followed by the word "cheap" and is the only ticket not to have the word first followed by "class".
So in the flash of a PIN, I'm sprinting for the train and make it just for when the doors close. Luckily, I also find a seat ahead of the stragglers before me without resorting to strong arm tactics.
An hour later as we're swooshing through Oxfordshire I'm starting to wish the train had more leg room and that the screaming baby would pipe down. The conductor passes through and on checking my ticket simply looks at me, looks at the ticket, and in her loudest voice points out that first class is at the back of the train.
That's right. I'd managed to spend the best part of £100 when less than half of that would have sufficed. Additionally, I'd not even taken advantage of the services. Still, I sat through the last 5 minutes of my journey in the plush, stretch your legs out, reclined armchair surroundings of first class. Not without funny looks from passengers who no doubt thought I was a fare dodger- having taken my seat after the inspector had passed through.
In a moment of charity, I tried to find a London bound passenger at Moreton-in-Marsh to take my return leg first class ticket, but alas there was no one to be found. Unlucky, I could have salvaged some good from the ridiculous mistake I'd made.
Up there in my all-time-wasting-money-stories with peeling the leaves off a cauliflower at Uni until, with the leaves in the bin and only a morsel of green left, I realised it was a cabbage.
Tags: humour, Moreton-in-Marsh, train, First Class, Paddington, First Great Western
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Tags: humour, Stratford
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Now the Toyota Prius seems to be selling fairly well, but the other night I was picked up by a cabbie who was two days into his ownership of a Prius. He's a little nervous as to how the decision will play out, with 100,000 miles anticipated over the next two years, but so far he's been laughing all the way to the bank from the petrol forecourt. If you are in the environs of Alcester anytime soon, check in on Merv and see how he's getting on. Nice guy to boot.
Tags: technology, Alcester, automotive, hybrid
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I was listening to an interview with a Salvation Army member last night. Far from the dour image, he was quite funny. In answering a question on how many 'converts' he would expect to make from a particular event, he replied "Over about 3 years Jesus Christ himself only managed to recruit 12 followers- and one of those was a bit ropey". Brilliant.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
However, this leaves what I'd call the competitive searches; i.e. the punter doesn't have a business name in mind. They'll search by nature of business and location. Small Town IT explains why it's not easy and I can report that those pesky aggregate listing sites I mentioned are still getting in the way- and this battle will be on their home turf. Wish me luck, I'm going in...
Tags: technology, IT, Internet, search, Google
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
David says that this event is giving him goals to stay alive for but I can't help but think that this is an unbelievably selfless act- to dedicate such precious time to the benefit of others.
Tags: cancer, prostrate, cycling, New York, Justgiving
a) why are you on the internet? It's not all bolts and volts you know?
b) YOU ARE EXACTLY WHO THEY WANT TO HEAR FROM- they need to see the whole spectrum.
The results of the 2020 Vision survey will help inform debate and discussion at an event being staged at Savoy Place on April 28.
This event will involve around 400 young people in the audience and will be available on line via IET.TV. The IET will also have film footage of young people from a number of countries giving their views, plus input from some leading engineers and technologists. Some of these people will be on film, including Azim Premji, founder of Wipro in India and a senior figure from NASA’s JPL. Taking part at Savoy Place will be Prof Kevin Warwick from Reading University, Mike Ely from Astrium and Braulio Morera from Arup.
Tags: technology, IET, engineering, teenage, survey
Recently the chain of consequences began in earnest with Accenture (with major delivery responsibilities to the NHS) announcing losses of nearly half a billion pounds on the programme. To put that into perspective, Accenture's partners will not receive a bonus this year- an unprecedented state of affairs. The share price is down around 15%. As the blame unravelled, things became even worse for their business partner on the programme, iSoft, with their share price in freefall. At one point this week, the company once worth £1bn was valued at only £300m.
All of this is unsustainable for the IT sector and this morning I woke up to the news that in an open letter to Computing Weekly Magazine, 20 computer scientists have called on MPs to carry out an independent review of the £6.2bn programme. The Department of Health remains resolute that the Healthcare IT delivery is robust and resiliant. Meanwhile, the cracks are growing on the other side of their contracts.
Watch this space.
Tags: technology, IT, healthcare, politics, NPfIT, business
Monday, April 10, 2006
That's the question in my mind as I read that England's first Barramundi farm has harvested it's first fish. With cod stocks under pressure, barramundi (native of Oz) have been hailed as a possible substitute with a buttery taste and great steamed, fried, grilled or BBQ'd. Have those sports mad Aussies tried dipping them in batter, flipping them into a deep fat fryer and then rolling them in a newspaper with similarly deep dried potatoes? I can't imagine any other country than ours being mad enough...
Friday, April 07, 2006
Tags: Brunel, First Great Western, London, Bristol, train, ticket promotion
With much fanfare and pizazz, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) has emerged as the organisation representing engineering professionals across a range of disciplines. Quite right too. After a decade or more of the Institutes of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (IEE and IMechE) unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a nearly-all encompassing engineering institution, the IEE has eventually merged with the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and created the vehicle with the potential to eventually serve all Engineers, irrespective of discipline. The IET is born. This is much needed as the historic fragmentation has struggled to find the critical mass to maintain a respect for Engineering as a profession.
HOWEVER. In focussing on the merger and with much introspection, have we all missed a trick? I think so. It struck me today that a body "engaged in engineering and technology" has failed to meaningfully recognise the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the worlds' greatest engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and leaving the celebrations to the stewardship of Bristol City Council, The Arts Council, The National Lottery and Business West- who, by the way, are doing an excellent job. What a great message of engineering inclusion it would have been for the IET to join with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers and Institute of Civil Engineers in celebrating such an amazing life. The IMechE joined in with solid support for the Portsea celebrations. Is this the difference between the message of inclusion and the actual culture of an organisation? As a result, the IET has appeared to be out of step with the rest of the engineering community. I hang my head in shame, hoping and promising to contribute to keeping our eyes open and not letting this happen again. The IET is the future of engineering in our country.
Tags: Brunel, IET, Institute of Engineering and Technology
Numbers numb, jargon jars,and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart. If you want to connect with your audience, tell them a story.Andy Goodman, who teaches storytelling.
By the way. Another great moment of inspiration from Andy. Check out that URL. It has a purple.html filename. Try changing that to green.html. I've never seen that before and it's interesting how it changes the mood of the site. My mind is whirring as to how Andy incorporates that into marketing. Clearly someone worth knowing!
Tags: presentation, public speaking, communication, story
If you can't get there, or handbags aren't your, erm, bag, then the website is worth a peak. Technos may appreciate the reminder that Flash has truly matured in the hands of people with the creative vision to do more than the obligatory early 2000s splash screen. Guilty your honour.
Tags: creative, handbag, fashion, designer, London, Ollie&Nic
You gotta have a hobby.
Tags: hobby, trainset, train, railway
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Any experts in the area should contact Shahid Shah to register.
Tags: technology, blogs, blogposium, healthcare IT, wiki
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Why don't they just say "Warning: The Laws of Physics Apply", and be done with it?
I also like the presumption that trolleys can read.
Tags: Dublin, airport, safety
A shame that they only seem to be on the seats with a table, but there wasn't exactly a rush for the 0515 out of Bournemouth this morning- later trains may be a scrabble to get the tables! Especially the 0656 London commuter.
Tags: Trains, Bournemouth, Railway, technology
Monday, April 03, 2006
Well done to Nissan and to the council for not being killjoys (I presume the council knew about it).
Tags: April fool, Bournemouth, Nissan, advertising
Worldmapper who have a load of maps of the world redrawn to represent interesting stats. This one shows countries sized according to the number of departures of aircraft registered to that country. Fascinating. Africa practically disappears and the UK swells to the size of South America.
Tags: maps, cartography, statistics, geographical information system, GIS, aviation, air travel
Many are challenging how wise a decision this was. My guess is that we'll never know. Even if Button goes on to have a decent podium position in San Marino, we will never know whether he could have done similarly with the grid penalty. One thing I do know for sure is that there was so little time in which to make the decision that I, for one, wouldn't have even realised that a decision was there to be made. The adrenalin would have had me shouting at Jensen (as the ITV commentary team were) to get out and push!
Tags: F1, Formula One, Formula1, sport, Melbourne, Australian GP, Honda
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I'll be there in a Peugeot 105 Rallye :) OK, perhaps next year.
Tags: cars, motorsport, Bournemouth, Poole, Monaco, marques, charity
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Basically, you don't need to have your own blog to participate and each player is given a fictional $500 to trade. Then market forces take over. I'll be interested in how this game pans out for me as a player. There certainly seem to be some advanced features you'd expect of a real stock market, in addition to buying and selling, such as placing orders.
ClickRich is trading at 31c at the moment with the blog valued at $1,618.75- a bargain.
Tags: internet, games, blogshares, stock market
I was able to create a closed system perpetual source of electrical energy (about 31.5MeV) with only the addition of hydrogen in the form of tap water and an inert vessel lined with some polar foil from the kitchen. A friend of mine with a PhD in nuclear physics from Cambridge belives the foil was able to breakdown the repulsive force between the two nuclei. Hitherto, scientists have attempted to overpower the forces rather than dissolve them. He is writing a paper and peers from MIT and CERN have accepted invitations to validate the results in the lab.
Exciting times! Could this be the greatest scientific moment created in the domestic situation since the Eureka moment?
Tags: technology, science, physics, nuclear, fusion, Cambridge, MIT, CERN, Fool