Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

02-Oct-12 My 200th blog

In Blog, Personal on September 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Yes, after 9 months of blogging, today is my double century of posts. Who would have thought I would have got through 200 of these all those months ago.


200 not out!

As I started writing my blog on the train home, there was not really an absolute purpose to my blog today, albeit I felt I needed to do my milestone blog, as my social diary is busy for the next 72 hours.

This last week has been busier than normal at work. With some pressures around our roadmap of work for 2013 and the associated budgets, I have been knee deep in Excel formula’s today. This is now my my third iteration of creating these from the ground up for the function, and although it becomes easier each year, it always brings fresh challenges.

After what appears to have been a successful IDC presentation a week or two back, it was nice to attend the annual CIO summit (run by the CIO publication) last week and witness some senior peers in my industry presenting. The full day event was an interesting insight in to some of the commercial challenges presenting local government, as well as some high profile private businesses. The highlight of the day was the presentation by the soon redundant head of LOCOG, who provided an interesting insight in to the IT elements of the summer games.

At the weekend, I decided to move even more closer to the dark side and ordered our family (the kids reckon its mine) a new Google Nexus 7 tablet. Although a big fan of the iPad, I was keen to get my hands on an android tablet and see how it compares, so watch this space over the coming weeks.

There was two further highlights from the weekend.

One was the Ryder Cup. You do wonder how this one is going to matched in the future for drama, but then they said that after the one last at Celtic Manor. After yet another out of this world team display, I guess the organisers of Sports Personality of the year must be wondering how they are going to cram this years programme in to its normal slot!

The other highlight was Doctor Who. What a tear jerking end to Amelia Pond. It will never be the same without her (or did we also say that about Billy Piper). Cannot wait till the series resumes later this year (trying to avoid mentioning the seasonal word).


RIP Amelia Williams (AKA Pond)! A touching finale.


29-Sep-12 School memories!

In Blog, Personal on September 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

After a busy week in my IT world this week, with a number of various challenges, I decided to make my blog another personal update today. Especially as I came across a number of old memorable photos today.

I’m so organised. When we went away on holiday in the summer, I hid away some vouchers I won in our annual Xmas ball last year. So well, that since returning from holiday, we have been unable to find them!

Today I made the decision to root high and low from them and finally I found them! In the case of an old video cassette! But along my travels, I can across some very old photos and thought they were so good, I would share them in my blog today. Apologies for the quality, but Kodak was only a new invention then!

The photos below are of my first school trip at my secondary school, which was camping in Hindhead. Helping me to find my directions through the wood and with washing up is my good pal Bazza.


What a fine pair of bobble hats! All the rage back then.


Learning to do chores at an early age. What a lovely clean bowl of water!

This photo is of me and another of my best pals Captain (Graham) on the left. The lad on the right clearly did not like the rain!


I guess this was a summer holiday!

The next set of photos were from one of our last trips at school, which was to Boulogne. If you are wondering why Lew, one of my other best pals is holding is nose, Captain’s mum decided it was a good idea for him to bring egg sandwiches! On the right is Onde, one of the lads in our form, who I have not seen for years.


Another summer’s day!

In this shot are my four closest mates, Lew, Captain and Neil, with Bazza making an idiot of himself. Timeless!


Was Captain really the same age as us? He looks about 8!

25-Sep-12 It’s all relative

In Blog, Personal on September 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm

It’s been a few busy days without a blog, and although a lot going on at work, I wanted to give everyone an update on my ancestry work to trace my roots. For those who think a work update is long overdue, I will attempt this later on in the week when I think I can put something together with a positive spin (it really has been a tough few days)!

As most of you know from reading my blog regularly (well hopefully some of you do), one of my goals has been to track my roots and find a long lost cousin. This not only lead to a fantastic weekend in France exploring the war graves of the First World War, but has lead to me knowing a lot more about my family roots.


Unfortunately, although I thought it was looking unlikely, it is true that my roots date back to my great (x 3) grandfather, who was born in Leeds in the late 1700’s (I’m a northerner). His son (great grandfather x 2) made the journey to Bermondsey via Dover (not sure what took him there) and Canterbury, which is where my great grandfather was born (although bought up in South London).

Along this journey in discovering this, I have discovered more cousins than I thought possible, which has been brilliant, fascinating and intriguing. Especially as some of our paths have crossed (and we never thought we were related), whilst some others have narrowly passed by!

If I thought we were a small family, how wrong could I be!

I do still have some goals and that is to work with some of my newly found cousins to feel some gaps and see how much further we can go back, as well as tracking down some Lengthorn’s in Leeds, London, Kent and America who must be related.

If my goal was to find and meet a long lost relative, I think there are a few options now. Maybe a big long lost family party is long overdue (now organising that might be a real challenge)!

21-Sep-12 Talking Apple Talk!

In Blog, Personal on September 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm

So Wednesday was the launch of IOS 6 and today the launch of the iPhone 5. Lets hope the launch today of the new device was much more successful then the launch of the OS, as this was poor in terms of Apple’s standards!


Hmm. Another money spinner for Apple!

To upgrade to IOS 6, you needed at least a couple of GB free, which seemed bizarre considering the upgrade itself was just over 500mb!

This meant for me that I needed to delete all my music off my iPod, as this was the only way to easily free up this much data! Thankfully I can sync this back from my iTunes account, but this is still a pain!

After doing this, I upgraded both my iPad and iPod to find that Siri was only available for the 4gs, 3D maps was only available for the iPad, Tom Tom maps looks crude and that the only difference I can see is the addition of some settings and a major change to reminders! Hardly earth shattering!

Actually that’s not completely true, the alarm function now works when plugged in to a power source! Apple should be embarrassed by what they have delivered here, as I consider it a joke!

This week, my daughter took delivery of her new Samsung Galaxy SII. Although the older model galaxy, I can see why people are moving allegiance, as voice features are built in, the contract is cheaper and its a funky phone! Is the tide finally turning?

20-Sep-12 Speak up!

In Blog, Personal on September 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

This week, I got my first ever experience of public speaking at a security conference hosted by IDC in London. The closest I have ever got to this previously was being best man at one of my best mates (Bazza) wedding many years ago, reading a poem at my nieces wedding two years ago and a number of speaking engagements with my own IT team.

I committed to doing this about 6 months ago (probably seemed like a good idea at the time), as Good Technology were looking for various speakers at events they were attending.

My slot, which was very late in the day, was a case study of our recent implementation of Good for the Enterprise in front of around 100 people. By the time I got on, the number had decreased to about 50, but it was still challenging!

Being my first event, it was far from ideal to get one of the graveyard slots late in the day, but I tried to use the 25 minutes to my advantage to deliver something a bit more real and engaging, which is difficult enough at a security conference!


I think it went OK (did not notice anyone asleep in the audience). Certainly it was nice to have a complete stranger walk up to me after the event and say my presentation was very good. It was much appreciated after all the preparation and anxiety!

It’s bizarre how every single doubt goes through your mind in the preparation. Especially as it was a subject that I was very comfortable with talking about and generally I don’t mind talking in public if I can get everyone to listen! I will say that I used the 7/7 bombing incident as some inspiration. During lunchtime, feeling nervous, I went for a walk around Russell Square and realised that there was much more dreadful things in life and some people come through these and create role models for us all (Martine Wright). It put everything in to prospective for the afternoon ahead and gave me a real focus.

In the evening, I got the opportunity to go to Millwall. I have to say it was one of the worst performances I have seen down the Den for years (we got beat 2-0 by Cardiff)! It was made even more frustrating by the fact I could have stayed at home and seen Real Madrid beat Manchester City 3-2! Hardly the greatest way to finish the day, but I can assure you, the pint I had there, went down very well!

16-Sep-12 All of them heroes!

In Blog, Personal on September 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

What a wonderful couple of days we have had visiting the war graves of our relatives in France. The idea behind doing this was initiated about 3-4 years ago, when we learnt that my Great Uncle Joseph’s grave was located somewhere in Northern France. Although promising my Dad for the last couple of years we would do this, we finally followed this through, as this was a late father’s day present!

On Friday evening, we drove down to Ashford and spent the night in a local hotel, so we knew we could get an early start on Saturday. With the hotel being only 20 minutes away from the Eurotunnel terminal, we were across to France by around mid morning Saturday and making our way to a place called Villers-Plouich, which is about 13km south-west of Cambrai (about 150km from Calais).

Fifteen Ravine Cemetery is home to my great Uncle Joseph Lengthorn and 1,263 of his commonwealth colleagues and is so picturesque.


A quiet corner of Northern France in respect of many heroes who fought for their country!

It was a really emotional moment, as my Dad has always wondered whether his Uncle had a war grave and here was the evidence. It was very touching.


What a great memory!

We always knew it was going to be a quick visit and indeed it was, but we had another visit on our agenda and this was the location of my second cousin Thomas Lengthorn, who we knew was also commemorated in a cemetery near Loos-en-Gohelle (4km from Lens, which was on the way back).

This cemetery was not so easy to find. After almost an hour of exhaustive searching, the wonder of the Internet finally played dividends, as we noticed a small plot (that looked like a cemetery) on the main road leading from Lens to Bethune. It was indeed the location we were looking for, which was a bigger cemetery called Dud Corner (nearly 2,000 heroes remembered here).

We quickly found a plaque that commemorated my cousin, who was only 19 when he lost his life! This really brought home the reality of war considering our own son Thomas (popular name in our family) is only 18.


Another set of heroes!

We had a brief opportunity to sign the visitors book yet again and then had to make our sprint back to Calais for our early evening shuttle.

It ended a very memorial day. My lasting thought was the comment from Georgina that she now had two family people to remember when we celebrate poppy day, as well as the rest of the celebrated heroes. Two lasting legacies of the tragedy, which is war!

14-Sep-12 Is it really 20 years?

In Blog, Personal on September 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

No blog for a couple of days, as I’ve been quite a busy bee. On Wednesday, it was our 20th wedding anniversary. As I keep telling Grainne, I’d be out now for doing any other crime (she knows I’m only joking)!

Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you all with the details of our romantic dinner date evening we had in London, but I thought I would share this panoramic photo I took with Photosynth of the London skyline from a bar called Sky Lounge (Photosynth has become one of my best applications for moments like these. I just need to work out how to use it properly)! By the way, Sky Lounge, located on the 12th floor of the Hilton Doubletree hotel has got to be one of the best places for some pre dinner drinks. A tad expensive, but the atmosphere and view is brilliant.


What a view. Now where did I leave that drink (and wife)?

Last night, I had Thursday night football, and although I never had a late one (after drinking on Wednesday), I ran out of time for blogging again.

There’s been a few things going on in my technical world this week. Of course, the big news in the press is the upcoming release of the iPhone on 21st September and IOS 6 two days before.

Surprisingly the world seems a bit divided on this particular launch. Personally, I think Apple have played a safe bet and are on another winner in the build up to that festive event happening latter this year (refusing to mention it in my blog, because I have a passion for keeping it in December)!

The main issue I see is cost. I’ve literally purchased a Samsung for my daughter today on a contract because of cost. If they had been comparable, I probably would have gone for an iPhone device. I suspect though that is because I love the syncing capability between my devices. For Georgina and her generation, it is all about the applications, which unfortunately is where my Windows mobile device completely fails!

Thankfully IOS 6 will support some of the existing i products, which include my iPod Touch (4th generation) and generation 2 iPad. Phew!

This week has been another very busy week at work, with a lot of time spent on project planning in relation to our roadmap of products for 2013 and the associated budget planning.

In between, I’ve had the opportunity to explore some of the new features that our latest version of Good for the Enterprise delivered last week. Although it’s only the first version, I’ve been getting to grips with the Windows mobile version. The jury’s out on this one at the moment. Watch this space.

The other stuff (tasks and documents) in the IOS client is pretty cool. Now I need an android to test! Ideally I would buy an android, but as stated earlier, I do like syncing stuff between my Apple devices. Anyone any ideas?

11-Sep-12 Anyone for Wrestling?

In Blog, Personal on September 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Firstly I have an apology to make for yesterday, as the title of my blog ‘They think its all over, it is now!’ has actually been used by me before! Just shows the level of checking (none) that occurs before my blog goes live!

Yesterday just like 999,999 others, I took the opportunity to cheer on the victory parade in London. Although it really did signal the end of London 2012 and the end of a wonderful summer of sport, it was incredible to get one last opportunity to thank all our Olympians.

Of course, there was one Olympian missing (although I still don’t consider it a Olympic sport) and that Scotsman was truly bringing our summer to a fantastic end in Flushing Meadows winning the US Open in style against the world no 2. My plan was to stay up and watch it, but my eye lids started dropping around midnight, and thank goodness they did, as the match went close to 5 hours!


Is Andy trying trying to look like John McEnroe with his hairstyle and rant?

Although Mondays can be fairly dull, one thing that did make me giggle was the sight of four of my work colleagues playing Wrestling on the PS3 when I left for home.

Playing Fifa on the PS3 has become a popular pastime at lunchtimes and even during the evenings, but this game went walkies yesterday and WWF took over its mantle. How funny to see grown men playing this! Better than watching the kids.

Normal service was resumed today you will be pleased to know, as someone bought in their own Fifa!

10-Sep-12 They think it’s all over, it is now!

In Blog, Personal on September 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

On Saturday, we were fortunate enough to have tickets for the last days of track and field at the Paralympics and London 2012 and what an amazing day we had. One that I don’t think the four of us will ever forget. In fact, I reckon it was it better than the other once in a lifetime event I have been to, which was the cup final with Millwall!

We had always planned to make a full day of it and indeed we did. The day started with our inaugural trip on the Emirates Skyline from the North Greenwich area. For those who have yet to take this 5 minute journey, it is well worth it and provides some wonderful views of the regenerated Docklands map.


What a view. Well, apart from the lady whose reflection got in the way!

Part of the reason for getting to the Olympic Park early was to explore and we certainly did that with lots of photos of the now historic venues and even one or two beers to keep us fuelled.

But the main event was beckoning. As soon as the stadium was opened, we took our seats and even had time for one or two photo opportunities.


Go go Team GB!

Everything that has been said about the Olympic Stadium atmosphere is true, but what really made the evening for me is how they made it a family event, with great music, the opportunity to get involved by cheering and screaming, as well as great athletics.

The icing on the cake in the arena was of course seeing Oscar Pistorius win his gold in his beloved 400 metres. With the reaction from the crowd (you would have thought a Brit was running), there was absolutely no way he was going to be beaten. How iconic that he should win the last track and field gold.

As if the evening could not get any better, as we left the stadium, Thomas and Georgina were lucky enough to get a photo taken with Fanie Van Der Merwe, Oscar’s compatriot, who had earlier won gold dramatically in the T37 100 metres event (scrambling across the line to finish)!


What a memory. Being that near to gold!

You could not write a finish like this. Thank you to everyone for making London 2012 such a success.

07-Sep-12 Inspiring a generation!

In Blog, Personal on September 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

After what has been an 8 year wait for the games to hit London, we finally got the chance last night to enjoy what has become one of the most successful games on record, as we had tickets to see Paralympic swimming at the Aquatic Centre and what an evening it was!

Our seats could not have been better, as we were very fortunate to be situated in the middle of the pool only two rows from the front.


What a great view. Has anyone seen any swimmers around here?

The event could not have been better either, as we watched a marvellous display of courage, brilliance and inspiring swimming, which included 9 world records, a Team GB Gold, another silver and two bronze.

If I have had one wish in life, I would loved to have been an Olympic champion, and although I’ve never quite got near to that (best I could do was winning a Sunday morning football cup final), to see someone in the flesh win a gold for Great Britain (and create a new world record) and the resulting victory ceremony was a magical moment! Well done Josef Craig (and all the rest of team GB).


God save our gracious queen…..

As if that did not cap it all, we then got the chance to witness the S1 disability class 50 metres backstroke for men and women, which included the most disabled swimmers. I can just about swim, but to see someone with no legs and one arm swimming 50 metres and winning is truly awe inspiring.

As we left the warm Aquatic Centre (how warm is it in their) for the cool air of the late evening, we were greeted with the spine tingling roar of the crowd in the Olympic Stadium, as yet another two members of team GB struck gold. How we are looking forward to this location for our next experience of the Paralympics over the weekend!

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