First of all, let me apologise in advance for not updating this website recently.
As I’ve stated before, I’m trying to make the most of the summer by going away on as many weekends as possible and its a very exciting time at work. That all sounds great, but it lately, it has left literally no time for anything else, and more than once, I have had to buy brand new socks, as I didn’t have any clean ones in the house and eat my evening meal off paper plates, I bought for the barbecue !.
Well, summer is over. Although I continue to aggressively pursue adventure in my spare time, and build the greatest achievement in my career during working hours, there is at least, a bit of time left.
I’m putting up this page now, and I’ll be publishing pages about my summer adventures, 1 each day, for the whole of the coming week.
Monday, I worked flat out with Dan. By the end of the day, we must have done 2 days work. I was so exhausted, I was in bed by 7pm that night. The following day, I was attending the Insight event, hence the reason to sort things out.
Insight are a computer supplier I’ve used for nearly 12 years (they sell everything, and I mean EVERYTHING). Its always said, that people don’t deal with company’s, they deal with people. I’ve worked with a guy there, called Gary Siddle for 10 years. He’s never let me down, and couldn’t recommend him more highly.
I was at their London event earlier in the year, but when I went to the Manchester (the greatest city on earth, even if people do step over you when your having a heart attack) event, I remembered my camera.
I finally got a photo of me and Gary, and by a complete stroke of luck, I ran into Peter Grice, someone I worked with a few years ago (At the time I nicknamed him Skinny Pete, but looking at this photo, anyone standing next to me, looks skinny 🙂
So, here it is. Me, Gary and Pete.
The event was hosted at the Gmex (the building you can see outside the window is the Midland hotel).
I normally find the food and drink at events like this to be a bit so so, but in this case it was superb, with an excellent mix of exotic and ordinary.
They also had some beers and wine, which was a nice touch.
But its not food and drink that you go to an event like this for.
In this room are top experts, from some of the most successful technology company’s in the world. You can literally walk up to a stand and ask any question you like.
The other thing that’s cool, is they have the very latest technology on display. In this photo, we have the Microsoft Surface table. 5 years from now, there will probably be one in every house, but right now, its cutting edge (although the touch screen movement was a bit flaky).
I got to try out windows 8 on a computer/table combination, with office 2013. I’ve looked at this before, and considered it un-feasable, but actually using it alongside an expert from Microsoft, I can see how it works (you can see what I mean by watching this.)
My main reason for attending was to research some stuff for a big project at work (which obviously I cant talk about on here).
I saw some cool stuff with interactive whiteboards and video conferencing and stuff like that, but I was most interested in convergent communications.
The idea of convergent communications, is a bit like the idea of the information superhighway. Put simply, the phrase was being bandied around, 6 years before the technology actualy existed.
Convergent comms, is real now. Put simply, it links everything from mobile texting, to hd video conferencing and everything in between under one roof in the data-centre. Even better, it uses open standards, so you don’t have an Ericson phone system, you have a back end, and then things like handsets and screens can be purchased from many different vendors.
I’m something of an expert in MS Lync now, so the one I wanted to see in action, was its rival, Cisco Jabber.
In an entertaining demo, they had a caricature artist in London, talking to people across a vid conf link. In the picture above, you can see a delegate being drawn in real time, and in the background, a couple of “Captain Picard” devices from Cisco.
After this, we had a 40 minute demo of Jabber, and I learned about a concept called full immersion.
Absolutely fab day, loads of cool tech, exactly the reason I work in this industry. Got loads of new ideas, I’d like to thank Gary from Insight for inviting me.
On Wednesday we had to visit a client site, which involved a trip down to London. I think its a real shame that Virgin are losing the franchise. Its said when they took it over 15 years ago, they had the simple idea of making a train, feel like a plane, and they’ve certainly done that.
I cant say much about the reason for my trip, but what I can say, is that its one of the best hospitals in the world, it was an honour to be asked for our help (and we succeeded).
When I visit London, I normally build in enough time to walk where I’m going (I don’t like travelling underground and I prefer to get the feel of a city (lets be honest, I’m from the North of England, London feels like visiting another country, so I treat it in the adventure context it rightfully deserves)). Because we were on the clock, we ended up getting a taxi.
Travelling in a London taxi is a unique and fascinating experience. On the face of it, your driving in a taxi, so so what.
Well, this is one of the safest cabs in the world, by both design and frequent random safety checks.
The quiet guy driving, will have studied the 6 mile radius around Charing Cross for 2-4 years, before receiving his green badge. He will know the 320 runs in the area, which encompass 25,000 individual roads, which he must know from memory. Additionally, he will be highly qualified in first aid, and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of London’s attraction and landmarks.
With our 3 hours of intensive work complete, we walk back to London Euston.
We wander along the South bank of the river Thames. We have a quick look in the British Film Institute shop. I see an authentic Escape from New York t shirt. My co workers laugh when I tell them how much I loved the film all those years ago, and if 15 year old’s could be legally tattoo’d then, I’d still have a python tatoo’d on my stomach, like Snake Plisken.
We pass by the London office of ITV and see autograph hunters waiting outside studio 3 (where Daybreak is filmed).
We visit Gabriel’s wharf, and have lunch at a restaurant called Studio 6. Its a beautiful day, so we sit outside. We can see the Oxo building nearby (apparently, it used to be illegal to put advertising onto buildings, so the designers of the Oxo building, had the letters built into the architecture to get around this.
I’m surprised to find that their “home made” burgers, really are home made, and the coffee is Italian (and someone famous from EastEnders is in the same restaurant, but I have no idea who she is, as I dont watch it).
Further along the bank of the Thames, we see London Bridge (Dan had never been to London before, so we thought we should show him a bit of the town).
In the background, is the shard, the tallest building in Europe (I read an interesting theory about tall buildings and the economy, which you can read here.)
Its funny how things meant with good intentions, can boomerang back.
As I get on the Virgin train, its a warm day, so they are giving out ice lolly’s. I decide to save mine for later, so put it in my bag.
On the way home, I’m engrossed in the report I’m writing, and forget all about it. The next day in work, I realise its melted, and completely destroyed my book on Israel.
After a mad busy, hectic week, its Friday. My assistant is on leave, and I’m running from one job to another to get them finished.
At lunchtime, I decide to get some headspace, and walk down to the driving range (its a bit out of the way, they have a bar, and I usually have the beer garden to myself). Dan Q, is busy on a team lunch, whatever the hell that is, so I wander over on my own.
As I walk past the lake, I see 2 fish. They are at least 2 foot long, and swim with grace and poise. I’m starting to unwind now. It will be weekend soon, and I can relax. Thing is, Friday night is only fun, if you feel like you earned it, and this week I have.