Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

31-Aug-12 Amongst the stars!

In Blog, Personal on August 31, 2012 at 5:52 am

It’s been an interesting week with the start of another major world wide sporting event in London, as well as the death of someone who will forever be remembered with walking on another planet!


Another spectacular image from the Olympic stadium.

Putting all this in to prospective, my week has been fairly dull, as it has mainly focused on setting out our IT roadmap for 2012 (what technology we need to implement or upgrade), as well as plan the budgets related to them.

Some of these are still at a fairly immature stage, so there is a lot of estimating in these (bit like a builder, but hopefully with some data to back it up).

Another strand has been the project management initiation piece and working with our Project Management Office (or PMO) to develop our business cases in preparation for senior level sign off. It’s always interesting that these really make you challenge yourself about the business benefits that the technology will actually bring and how you realise them.

The Paralympics gave us yet another spectacular opening ceremony this week, and as Londoners, we have truly been spoilt this summer with the games and the Queens jubilee. What a legacy of events we can share with our future generations in years to come! Good luck to all the athletes. You are already all legends for getting here.

Speaking of legends, Neil Armstrong sadly passed away this week. As most of you know from my blog, I had the opportunity to go to NASA during July. The whole experience of the moon race makes you realise what a lasting moment in time, Neil and his fellow crew members have left us with. RIP Neil amongst the stars!


RIP Neil Armstrong, Astronaut.


30-Aug-12 One frozen mackerel please!

In Blog, Personal on August 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

It’s Thursday and a long overdue update on my personal goals for 2012, as yet another month is about to slip by and nothing completed so far!

If you recall, my personal goals were the following:

– Run a half marathon
– Finish our loft (flooring, insulation and train set)
– Visit a new island in the UK
– Cook and Eat a fish I catch
– Get my blog on the freshly pressed homepage on WordPress
– Discover and meet a new relative

Run a half marathon
If you recall from my last update on this, this is proving a tad tricky, as need to find an event to support a realistic training schedule! At the moment, a possible solution is the BHF Midnight Half Marathon in October. Watch this space.


Has anyone got my torch? I’ve lost my way!

Finish our loft (flooring, insulation and train set)
As most of you know, this was always the most likely to fail due to my reputation with doing DIY. You will be pleased to know this is still the most likely, as no progress made!

Visit a new island in the UK
This particular one is now taking shape. A long weekend in Poole is being planned with a subsequent visit to Brownsea Island. Looking like October for this one.


Now that looks nice. I bet it rains when we visit!

Cook and Eat a fish I catch
Literally today I’ve started the planning with my brother for a fishing day at Brighton marina, as I’ve heard this is a great spot for Mackerel. Would appreciate if anyone has any thoughts on this or other ideas? My daughter suggested hooking a frozen fish at Iceland and bringing it home to cook (I did laugh)!

Get my blog on the freshly pressed homepage on WordPress
Ultimately this is down to my readers and the popularity of my blog. I’m trying all I can to entice new readers and make it interesting. I’ve then just got to hope that I make the front page one day!

Discover and meet a new relative
This challenge has probably taken up more of my time than anything else,
But literally just a few days ago, I have discovered four direct connections and one indirect connection through the work I have done and the next stage is confirming we have a link. Fingers crossed, this is looking good!

29-Aug-12 Am I being paid for this?

In Blog, Personal on August 29, 2012 at 8:25 am

In last weeks blog on Wednesday, I picked out some technical highlights from the press. This week I thought I would concentrate on a couple of technical advancements that have a direct relationship to the services my team provides and provide some insight in to what will be coming soon.

A new version of the Good for Enterprise client was released today. As most of my regular blog readers know, we use this Apple and Android app for accessing emails, calendars and contacts whilst mobile.

Version 2 has a new modernised and refreshed user interface. Next week though, the real benefits will be realised when some new features become available, as well as a Windows mobile client, following an upgrade of the Good architecture within our environment.


Now which device is mine?

Although it sneaked under the radar a few weeks back, there is now a new Polycom Real Presence app for the iPad. Although basic in it’s initial standalone functionality, you can use this app to dial in to any of our existing Polycom devices globally.

Today you need the IP address of the system you wish to dial and you have to initiate the call, but over the coming months we expect to make improvements to address these limitations and also add additional features around bridging and multi-point calls.

It’s a great simple app that can be very useful if you are roaming and need to do a face-2-face call to our Polycom systems. Of course, if you are just doing a one-2-one with another Apple user, it’s probably better to use FaceTime, as the built in app gives you everything you need.

Unsure whether there is a Android version of the Polycom Real Presence app, but maybe that is a question for my Android colleagues out there?


Who are these people? I never connected with them!

According to a report I read today, BYOD (bring your own device) is making people work an extra 20 hours a week unpaid! Good or bad this is a fact. From my own prospective, I’d rather spend my 10+ hours a week travelling being productive rather than reading the latest grim news in the press. I’m sure though this is not everyone’s take!

28-Aug-12 Two eggs please!

In Blog, Personal on August 28, 2012 at 6:12 am

Sorry for the gap since my last blog, but what a busy weekend I’ve just enjoyed! Here are some of the highlights.

I know I’ve raved about it previously, but the Ancestry application for my iPod and iPad is brilliant! Although it could have been made a little easier if I paid them for their census and other services, I have been able to populate large chunks of my tree quickly and efficiently. If anyone of my family is interested, let me know, as I can send you an email invite to view it?

On Monday, we got the opportunity to eat at Bill’s Kitchen in Lewes near Brighton. For those who are not familiar with this small chain of restaurants, I would thoroughly recommend them.

It’s the first time I have eat there and I have to say that it’s probably the best dining out Breakfast experience I have ever had. For those interested, I had two fried eggs and ham served on bubble and squeak mustard mash with a hollandaise source. Lovely!


How good was this breakfast venue! Now where is Bill?

We also got the opportunity to do a 3 mile trek around Devil’s Dyke following a walk documented on the AA web site. With two pubs en-route and the most amazing view from the South Downs, I would recommend this route to anyone who has a couple of hours to kill one weekend in Brighton.

The last time I went across this terrain was on my bike en route to Brighton from London. Although on foot this time, it was a much better experience, but don’t be fooled if you think a 3 mile trek is easy. Certainly the wooden steps to climb the steepest section made our hearts beat a tad faster than normal.


What a view! Now where’s that pub?

As if Monday was not busy enough, we also went to the oldest picture house in Britain, which is called the Duke Of York’s in Brighton. For those who are not familiar with the term picture house, this is an old cinema!

We were lucky to get tickets for the afternoon showing of ‘The Imposter’, which, although was not quite what we expected, was a fascinating and rather disturbing true story.

Established in 1910, the picture house is an incredible venue and certainly was a throw back to my youth (not that I am that old). It’s recently been refurbished and visiting was an event in itself.


What a experience. Is that the Joker on the roof?

24-Aug-12 30 years on

In Blog, Personal on August 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm

So the end of the last full week in August and a bank holiday weekend to look forward to! As I head for home, it’s been an exhausting week and I’m looking forward to kicking back a little over the next 3 days and enjoying the sunshine.


The week in work has been challenging with a number of different strands testing the ability of me and my team. Unfortunately due to the nature of the things we have been working on and the sensitivity of them, I cannot reveal too much on my blog!

I know that’s frustrating for those avid readers, but that’s the annoying aspect of my role sometimes! It’s fair to say though that my time has been spent juggling short term tactical wins and long term strategic plans with a range of individuals covering HR, technology and finance!

When I started in this arena nearly 30 years ago, as a mainframe operator working shifts, nobody could have set my expectations as to the diverse nature of my role 30 years on! Don’t get me wrong, I still like it as much as those 30 years ago, but times have changed and so has my role! But that’s it for another week. Maybe next week, I can provide a bit of an insight to this week.

Here’s to a relaxing (DIY) weekend.


23-Aug-12 Examining!

In Blog, Personal on August 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

A extremely short blog today, as we are celebrating the GCSE achievements of our daughter (she is now officially the brightest member of our close family. Although to be fair, the competition is weak)!


Hmm. Cannot be my exam, as we were throwing paper planes!

Although time has been limited today, I’ve made great progress on the family tree with a number of strands coming together (how good is it to use the Internet when commuting).

The only issue I have is that these strands all get to a point in the 50’s and 60’s when, believe it or not, limited information is available, as some of this data is still being indexed for the web!

I have a plan to now revert my attention to the telephone directory. Watch this space!

Georgina, I’ve said it a number of times today, but just for the record (again) today, WELL DONE. We are so proud.

22-Aug-12 Is my Apple that valuable?

In Blog, Personal on August 22, 2012 at 5:58 am

After my twittering’s on a number of personal related matters over the last few days, I thought a technology theme within my blog was long overdue.

It’s typically a quiet time on the technology front, as all the technology businesses line up their launches for the Autumn and this year is no exception with Apple (now the most valuable company of all time on the planet; £397bn) and Microsoft (overtaken by Apple) gearing up key product launches in September.

Of course the big launch for most consumers is the new i device from Apple with the iPhone 5 due to be unveiled on 12th September with the product launch following a few weeks later.

Already it’s clear that the new IOS 6 will drop the familiar Google maps, but the YouTube application is also rumoured to be left off the standard installation due to their public fallout with Google.


Will the new device actually look that different? Now where’s my YouTube!

The rumour in the business is that Microsoft (in their partnership with Nokia) intend to steal their thunder by launching their Windows 8 mobile device the week before.

As stated in previous blogs, Windows 8 is a key market launch for Microsoft and it’s going to be interesting whether it can really grab market share from Apple and the Android devices on the market.

Microsoft are pinning a lot on this release and their subsequent desktop and server releases. Although I was initially convinced it might make in roads in to the market share of Apple and Google, I’m starting to wonder whether it will have an impact at all, but time will tell.


Is this interface going to lure Apple and Google android consumers?

As you know by now, I always have an interest in any news that involves broadband services. Apparently the UK will have the fastest broadband of any major country by 2015. The ambition from the Culture Secretary, is to bring high speed broadband, defined as greater than 24 megabits per second to more than 90% of the country. Initially much of this speed increase will apparently be achieved by delivering fibre to the cabinet (green boxes in your roads).

Great, but really looking forward to our suburban rail companies also delivering wireless connectity. Saying that I’m not looking forward to the cost that will no doubt come with it!

21-Aug-12 How is that surname spelt?

In Blog, Personal on August 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm

In the blink of an eye, I’ve made startling progress overnight on my goal to meet up with a long lost relative!

Not sure if any of you have used the Ancestry application before and the FreeBMD web site, but by using the combination of both, I have found 6 long lost Great Uncle’s and Aunt’s.

What made the link initially difficult was a birth certificate recording error by my Great Grandfather, who recorded Langthorn instead of Lengthorn.


Doh! Homer Simpson type error from my Great Grandfather.

Of course, although this is all good, I now need to understand what children each of these relations had and see if I can find a long lost Lengthorn.

What might help me is that I have discovered a number of Lengthorn’s on Twitter. As my Grandad used to say, ‘if they have the Lengthorn surname, they must be related’! Let’s hope that he is correct or some of these tweeted earlier today might now have the right hump!

As I publish my blog, I will be close to having 5000 reads for my blogs since January, which makes me extremely proud. A big thanks to Phil Lengthorn, my cousin, for getting me in to this lark!

20-Aug-12 Marathon choice and Relative paths!

In Blog, Personal on August 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

So after a long weekend, it’s now time for an update on my personal
moments; partly to keep my readers up dated, but partly to push me to make some progress!

If you recall, my personal moments (or goals) were the following:

– Run a half marathon
– Finish the loft (flooring, insulation and train set)
– Visit a new island in the UK
– Cook and Eat a fish I catch
– Get my blog on the freshly pressed homepage on WordPress
– Discover and meet a new relative

Today, I plan to only update you on the first and final one, as these are the only ones that have made any tangible progress! I’ve now realised how setting yourself targets in the summer months is almost as stupid as making them on 1st January!

In terms of the first target, I have one half marathon choice in early October in Dorking. If I do not decide to do this one, I am then looking at the new year, so tonight I need to make a final decision, as only 7 weeks to go!


Mo, I need your inspiration!

In terms of the last target to track a new relative, I have been using the Ancestry application over the weekend to force me to document my roots.


Hmm. Hardly an inspiring image (after Mo)!

The big lingering question is whether my Grandad had any additional brothers or sisters. I know he had a twin who died at an early age in the first world war, but it is unlikely he was married or a father, which would limit the new relative path I am searching for!

I’m hoping to get an answer on this one this evening from my eldest cousin, who I think has already tracked this information down!

Let’s hope my update next week has some positive news on all my personal moments, as slow progress thus far!

19-Aug-12 I’m loving Angel instead!

In Blog, Personal on August 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Our Sunday had two main objectives today.

The first was for Georgina to see her beloved JLS; they have been rehearsing in a studio in Rotherhithe for their forthcoming tour and she was determined to see them.

Our nephew James, who has been staying with us, wanted to see the bright lights of London.

So off we went to the bright lights of Rotherhithe, and while Georgina and Grainne waited patiently to see JLS at the end of their rehearsals, myself and James went to the Angel at Rotherhithe to meet my Dad, who lives local.

What a view of London can be seen from the glorious south London pub. A place I would thoroughly recommend.


What a view whilst sipping a pint! London at it’s best.

After that we were off to the South Bank of London via a quick Boris Bike ride.


Where’s the brake Dad? Same place as usual. It’s a bike!


I thought these bikes were the idea of Ken? Nice idea though!

And after a lovely meal, James got to see London.


Northern bloke happy in London!

And yes, Georgina also finally got to see her favourite band!

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