Archive for September, 2007

A Lot of companies dont quite get the technology infrastructure of todays Internet world. Mainly the social, business and knowledge networking tools. Companies everywhere are blocking employee access to the internet, spurred on by questionable research and irresponsible pronouncements of self-serving individuals and organizations. For instance the whole BBC and Facebook FUD.
IBM Luckily seem to get the Internet more than other companies, a lot of our tools are based around the networking and knowledge management side of things. Luis is now doing this aspect full time, and some of the tools out there are just fantastic.. Had it not been for social bookmarking, networking and knowledge management tools, I would haven’t have run into half the people that help me in my day to day job (namely Luis, Andy Piper and others).

Sure these tools can be fun, and interesting, and keep the community together, but more importantly they allow stuff in my head, to go where it’s important, namely to other people.. and likewise I can learn from them.

The internet is about communication, sharing and working together. Having internet access at work is really no different from employees being allowed to bring in newspapers or books to read in their lunch breaks. Cut your employees off from the outside world, and you may as well go back to them working on pen and paper.

Both employee and employer need to take responsibility, employers need to provide, and employees need to act responsibly. Using arguments like ‘we’re protecting our employees’ or ‘we cannot trust individuals not to use these resources inappropriately’ if just nonsense..

There are wonderful posts on this over at AcidLabs, The Lost Outpost as well as

The Stop Blocking Campaign is designed to serve as a hub information resource for those who believe the benefits of providing access far outweigh the risks. It’s worth heading over there and checking it out.

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IMG_2517.JPGSo this weekend is the Spice Center Parcs Longleat invasion again, I dont actually think I’ve blogged about this before, but we regularly go to the Spice weekends away at center parcs (Longleat, Oasis and Nottingham). They are just fantastic weekends, although I’m not sure that the other people at center parcs when we are there see it quite in the same way as we do!!!

Probably the best part of the weekend is the Saturday night fancy dress party. It’s always themed, Silver for Oasis 2006, Cartoons for Longleat 2006, and this time for longleat 2007, its ‘America’ .

We always try and have a great time when we’re down there (and if you do see a bunch of loons walking through the main venue… it’s probably us… all 400 odd of us!), and we are friendly as well… at the silver weekend at Oasis I had my photo taken many times with ‘normal’ people at their request.. in fact I think the same thing happened at Longleat last year.. maybe it was the padded muscle suit I was in (that was very warm inside!!).

Another part (at least for some of us) is making sure the villas look good. This is quite as crazy as it sounds.. wandering back at 3am to your villa in the dark often needs assistance.. So we normally light up the villa with outside lights, glow in the dark stars, and inside, I make limited edition DoorStars for anyone sharing with us. We normally have six to a villa, and the doorstars are one per couple/sharers.. odd I know but hey you’re only heading for middle aged once in your life!!!

It’s been a year since the last get together, so this weekend is really going to be a big thing for us.. followed in a week or two by the Halloween party that we’ll be attending again this year in clearwell caves..

Party on..

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Just around 10am this morning (or rather just after) Apple announced the release of the iPhone in the UK, ending months of intense, practically insane speculation about who what where and how it would be provided, it was confirmed that O2 was given the exclusive UK rights.

O2 and Apple will launch the device in the UK on November 9th for £269 including VAT (this is the 8gig model). Price tariffs are already up on O2’s site (which also looks like it’s buckling under the strain of 3 million mac geeks hitting it!), but basically Unlimited data comes standard, with the voice plans at £35, £45 and £55, which include 200, 600 and 1200 minutes free talk time respectively. SMS’s are included as well at 200 SMS on the cheapest plan, but 500 messages for the other two.

It’s also worth keeping in mind is that the package includes free access to The Cloud, Europe’s leading WIFI network, apples have agreed the deal to have access to over 7,500 wifi hotspots throughout the uk. When the iPhone is out of range of hotspots, it will pick up data access on the Edge network, covering any holes the cloud doesn’t cover in the uk.

Fair usage policy seems a bit confusing; Steve Jobs this morning said 1,400 web pages a day would be the limit (but thats a fair amount, but how does that equate to googlemaps etc usage as well)

Carphone Warehouse is being pulled in to beef up retail presence for O2, with 1300 retail locations, each with an expert (which has got to be a first for carphone warehouse!!) on the iPhone, but for those of use who hate CPW, you can buy the iPhone through your local O2 retail store, online store or an apple store (again online or retail)

Having also spoken to O2 today.. existing customers hopefully should be able to just add the iPhone data plan to their existing tariffs and continue as normal, (though they do seem to be swamped this morning, asking you to hit the website on the welcome phone messages rather than the service guys), no mention of the inclusion of long weekends etc… The iPhone price plans should be available to existing customers on 1st of october (I assume meaning you can have the ability to pay for a whole month before having an iPhone!!)

For other networks, O2 have also assigned over 1000 staff to manage migrations from other providers to the O2 network.. for me migration should be fairly simple already having planned early and swapping to the O2 network at the end of last year..

sadly though the 8 gig storage is woefully small for becoming an iPod replacement.. But as a internet device is does come in strong.. Safari (web), Mail, Maps, Widgets, youtube, basically running Mac OSX means that the device is a nice mac PDA and phone application. Apple say the device is true web (i.e. real internet not PDA, WML, not mobile web content) it also seems to support WEB 2.0 type applications.. although how the inbuilt camera and Flickr will work.. time will tell…

All the ads and campaigns for the iPhone have been updated with UK voiceovers, but the general USA media has remained…

good or bad… keep in mind this is probably still going to be a first generation apple product (unless a second generation comes out from the US before november), and as a geek it would be handy to have one.. it would have been nice in Ireland last week to not have to run down to the internet cafe in ballylickey to check in for our flights etc..

I think I might be buying myself a birthday present this year…

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IMG_8491Well we got back from the trip safe and sound, although its not as nice being back as it was out in Ireland!!

We stopped in a small cottage halfway up the hill in Ballylickey, southern Ireland, between Glengarriff and Bantry. The cottage was wonderful, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, lounge, dinning room, study, and utility room, as well as a patio, and an amazing garden with stunning views. The views from just outside the lounge at sunset were also breathtaking.

We stayed in Rowan Tree Cottage, just up the hill from the Ouvane Falls Pub & Restaurant, which is right on the estuary, and has some wonderful views when you sit out in the pub garden. It was within walking distance of the cottage, so it was quite handy for the odd pint or two..

We took a whole ton of photos of the week, as we travelled round Glengarriff, Bantry, right round to the Ring of Kerry. The weather was so hot as well, as we came back with a reasonable tan and feeling like we’d been sun blessed over the last few days.

We even decided to head out to the beach on the Thursday traveling round the first part of the ring of kerry to Ballinskelligs, where we found a huge, very quiet beach. It also had some interesting stuff to photograph.

The last day we headed over (or rather up) to Blarney, and did the tour of the castle, including the almost required ‘Kissing the Blarney Stone‘ – which is basically hanging yourself off the side of the castle by your ankles whilst an old irishman says ‘go on now, you’re fine so you are, little more.. there you are so.. off yer go now..’ and other famour Irish phrases..

According to legend by kissing the Blarney Stone, one can receive the “Gift of the Gab” or if you like, eloquence. The legend has its roots in the response of the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth I to Cormac Teige McCarthy’s attempt to blandish his way out of a difficult situation, during negotiations of the takeover of the Blarney Castle by the occupying. The stone itself is rumoured to have been created by a witch during the Middle Ages, who revealed it when she was saved from drowning at the castle.

Overall it was a fantastic week away with great friends, amazing views, excellent weather, good food and great Guinness.. just a shame to be back to reality!!

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I’ll be off-line this week as I have no internet access as I head out to Ireland to BallyLickey, Bantry Bay, Ireland. We’re staying in a small cottage on the bay, and it’s going to be a nice break away for us all.. Ballylickey is situated at the very heart of magnificent Bantry Bay, midway between Bantry Town and Glengarriff on scenic route N71. Apparently it’s a charming place to visit, and an ideal base for a holiday in West Cork, boasting stunning scenery, unspoilt environment, and a genuine warm welcome.
Skipping through the information there seems to be a lot of mentions of pubs.. which sounds good to me..

Expect photos on my return…

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It was a long night and early morning last night.. with over 60 of us running around in the magicwoods forum watching the countdown for Theory11.. Locked steel boxes were landing at various world wide locations, the sender simply listed as Theory11..

Over the past five weeks, Thoery11 have released tons of clues throughout the site and beyond. So what is theory11?

Theory11 has a store, but they aren’t just a magic shop. Theory11 is a community built around an alliance. The objective and intent and goals go much farther than just selling products; to build a community, for the futherment of magic.

Theory11 started as an idea the core of which was extremely simple: an unparalleled alliance of some of the industry’s best creators and innovators, all gathered in one location, exclusively, for one reason: to advance the art of magic. Over the weeks that followed, the core team of theory11 (Wayne Houchin, Chris Kenner, BJ Bueno, Dana Hocking, and Jonathon Bayme) began laying the groundwork for what would later become this site. This entity. We wanted to challenge the ordinary; and we wanted to take every aspect of the project up to another level.

To that end, an alliance was formulated of the performers that are respected in the magic world; Lee Asher, Mathieu Bich, Dan and Dave Buck, Aaron Fisher, and several others. The alliance quickly grew to an initial, steady, deeply involved group of eleven. Therein, theory11 was born. The diversity of artists was very important from Dan and Dave to Wayne Houchin to Chris Kenner, one of the main realizations behind theory11 was that while performance styles and genres of magic change, one thing remains: the magic industry needs some fuel.

Welcome to

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