There’s mad and there is just plain insane

I picked this link up the other day and all I can say is WOW. These guys must be completely off their heads doing this but take a look for yourself and let me know what you think.

http://tinyurl.com/9cj5el

Just for the record I would LOVE to do this…..

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Some things are just wrong

I have to say that although I work in Nottingham I grew up in Derby and while I always used to get stick for it I was pretty proud of Derby, warts and everything, so to speak.  Though today after reading the following I am truly ashamed to be associated with the people of that town.  I first read about this when it first happened but hearing it again first hand is just disgusting.  If this is the evolution of people today then I think we should all hang our heads in shame: 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/7831166.stm

My thoughts go out to Shaun’s family, I can only hope that the people involved are ashamed of themselves.  I only hope that this was a sick minority and not a true reflection of “the general public”.

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Reinventing me

Intriguing title maybe but what am I talking about.  As we go through life we become who we are by the people we meet, the surroundings we live in, our role models that we adopt as well as many other things but does this make a better you?  In short maybe but then maybe not.  Personal development is all about looking at those that surround us and looking what, if any, traits can I adopt which will make me a better person.  It is also about looking at who we are now and seeing if what we have become is all that we want to be or if there are some things which you don’t like that you can change.

In my current journey I am looking at who I am now and seeing what things need to be changed to get me to the person that I want to be and in some respects the person that I was.  The last few years have taken their toll on me which, some of you may have read before, has been a very trying time with building what was basically a new business as well as our newly born son being very sick in hospital.  This time allowed certain aspects of me to develop for the worse, something which I am not proud of but I do seek to change.  These characteristics are something that I know I’m doing but are consciously allowing to continue so these are things that I am trying to tackle.  Why be so honest and open about this? Well in short because I am not perfect nor would I ever claim to be.  What I do claim is to try and do better each day, one small step at a time.  So what can you do to be better each day:

  • Look at the things that you do each day and think to yourself, “Would you be happy to be on the receiving end?”
  • Do you think that you are achieving the best out of your day.
  • Could you be a better person

Once you have answered these questions then it’s a good place to start and from here you can build an idea of what you need to change and how you’ll change it.  Do I have the answers? No just some questions that you can ask yourself and just maybe what I am figuring out can help you too.

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Friend or foe?

This week has been an important week in terms of IT, Technology and gadget lovers for this week has been CES (Consumer Electronics Association) in Las Vegas.  For those not familiar with the event this the annual show where technology vendors get an opportunity to show their wares to the international community both in terms of the general public as well as the trade press.  So of the best upcoming gadgets are seen here before anywhere else.  This years big showing from Microsoft is Windows 7, a product which has received a great deal of attention ever since it was first discussed.

Once of the reasons has been due to the dismal failure of Windows Vista, that is not to say that the product is bad because to be quite honest it isn’t, but initially it received a lot of bad press due delayed deliveries as well as, once launched, poor compatibility with hardware as well as some software.  Now what we have to understand with this is when any new product is released there will always be teething problems, this is not unique to technology this applies  to cars, motorbikes just about anything really.  This is because not matter how much you test something there is always going to be someone that will do something in a way that was never imagined or it will become visible through simple length of use.  Windows Vista itself has been a very solid stable product for a great deal of time now, I have been using it myself for over a year now and it really just works, that’s all there is to say on the matter.  But it never won the hearts of the IT community which resulted in poor uptake, this then left a poor legacy for Microsoft which is going to be hard to shake.  One of the biggest challenges it had to overcome is that Windows XP is just so good, it had been a solid operating system that is highly compatible which has left it with an almost “cult-like” following.

So what does this mean for Windows 7?  Well simply put it has a very hard path to find in life, it must first overcome that love and passion that is held by the Windows XP followers.  Then, if it overcomes XP, it must then work its way through the minefield of the Windows Vista naysayers which in itself is going to be a challenge of its own and I believe that in itself will be more difficult.

So what of Windows 7 itself, well I have not yet had chance to install it myself however I picked up a twitter from Scott Ullrich (the developer behind pfSense) overnight which said

Upgraded windows Vista -> Windows 7 and holy <beepers>, it’s fantastic! No, seriously… Not kidding!!

 

Still in the meantime take a look at these videos courtesy of BBC news and see for yourself:  BBC News

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Service with a smile

I believe that the current economic climate helps us all to appreciate that we need to nurture the client base we have much more than we have previously.  As businesses start to hunker down to weather the oncoming storm they need to know that their trusted advisors, whether this be IT or other services, are there to huddle up to them to help weather the storm.  Part of the process is to interact with our clients on a much more proactive way than previously, getting involved in there business and seeing where you can help them to save money.  Sadly some people just are not getting it.

Here is an example of how NOT to perform customer service:

We recently had to make a claim on our insurance due to a leak in our central heating system, this resulted in a number of our carpets being ruined.  While that other areas are still being sorted the carpets have been ordered and I was contacted by Carpet Right over at Derby yesterday to inform me that they were in and to sort out fitting.  The conversation went like this:

Me: Hello can I help?

Man: Hi this is Carpet Right at Derby we’ve got your carpet in, can we sort out fitting it?

Me: Yeah that’d be great, but I am just with someone now would it be possible to give me a call back this afternoon to arrange a time?

Man: What me call you?

Me: Errr yes please.

Man: Errr Ok I guess I will if I remember

Me: Oh..O K … thanks

I have done a course in customer service in that past and while I do not profess to be an idol to look up to on this subject I know what is poor customer service and clearly this man should not be in any job which requires him interacting with a paying customer.  Needless to say that when I do want carpets in the future, which I am paying for myself, I will NOT be going to see this company and as we are always taught “If someone has a good experience with your company they may tell 1-2 people, if they have a bad experience they will tell 20+”.  Guess which category I fall into!  Oh and just for the record, he never rang back so clearly he didn’t remember.

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Security via Interguard

I have just had the heads-up from a good friend of mine to let me know that he will be sending over my copy of Interguard software for home, laptop and corporate security.  All being well I should have the stuff over this evening and all things being equal will get something posted up over the next couple of days.  As products go this is shaping up to be a great product with a very comprehensive range for features for such things as monitoring web access.  DataLock which helps prevent data leakage from a business as well as laptop security so should your beloved laptop be stolen or lost then it can located, data retrieved and the notebook disabled from ever working again.

Awesome stuff so you’ll have the review as soon as I have it.

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Ironic is the only word for it!

I wrote yesterday about doing something you normally do but different.  Well yesterday, as you may recall, I decided to walk to the shop which was very liberating however today I am regretting it.  For the last couple of months the car has been a little slow starting, you know how it is when you turn the key and there’s the slow churn as the engine struggles to turn before it starts.  Today we all got in the car to head off to pantomime in Nottingham, the kids were looking forward to Cinderella, only to find when I started the car it briefly began running only to stutter and die.  Now at that point I thought things we’re going to be difficult but little did I know; it was 12:30 and it started at 14:00 with 30 minutes of travelling.  After attempting to restart the engine numerous times the battery eventually gave in and said “no more”.  During all of the this our neighbor, who messes with cars a lot, saw what was going off and offered a jump start needless to say I snapped his hand off.  Sadly, 40 minutes later we were no closer to getting the car started so we decided the best thing was going to be to call the RAC to sort it.  Some 1hr 20mins later the nice chap arrived and within 10 mins he’d got it all running again.  Said that there was two possible reasons why it had happened, either the “leak back” pipes which were cheap to replace (£1-£2 + Labour) were letting air in the fuel or the “Injector Seals” which are more expensive (approx £200 + Labour) which would also be letting air in.  He also noted that our model was the one with the known fuel pump issue which happens between 80K – 150K miles and costs about £2,000 to repair, more good news!  But for now the car is running again, charging to be precise, and we’ll be going to see Jule’s friend in a little while before she goes off to Australia tomorrow for about 8 months.

As for the Pantomime that was well and truly missed, £70 down the drain but we’ll see if they can sort something at the box office (doubtful but you can hope).  As for me; Would I still have walked to the shop? Too right, in hindsight I just would have took the car out for a run as well yesterday to “keep it going”, ah well C’est la vie.

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Stop the world, I want to get off

Like most people I spend almost every working day racing around seeing people, speaking with them on the phone, rushing home at night to see the wife and kids.  This I have done for many years so much so that it has become the normal speed of things and I am always in a rush.  More recently though I have started to look at things a little more deeply and found that I don’t like all the rushing but what can you do to stop this?  The single thing that made me realise that I needed to stop rushing was when I was taking my little boy to bed, as I do most nights, and he was doing what most 5 year olds do and that was mess about.  Now Tom has not had a really normal bedtime routine since he was two before his little brother was born.  This is because little Danny was born with problems which meant we have spent the last 2 1/2 years in hospital see www.potter-tate.co.uk for more info.  Anyway, it was around 8pm and he was messing and rushing as usual I said to him “come on Tom, I’ve got work to do if you don’t stop messing then no story”.  It wasn’t till I got downstairs and sat down at my computer that in dawned on me that in actual fact what I was rushing down to do was neither that important or in fact a “real” job that needed doing.

So I am resolved that while I cannot slow down the work pace while doing on-demand work what I can do is slow down outside of work. I am also resolved to doing things different to the way I have before.  So earlier today I decided to walk to our local shop, something which I have NEVER done in the whole time that we have lived at this house which is almost 7 years.  The local shop is only about 3/4 mile away and while I going running three times a week and pass it then I have never walked to the shop.  You should try it sometime, it’s a surefire way to completely spin out your partner/wife.  I said to Julie “I think I’ll walk to the shop”, you should have seen the look on her face.  It couldn’t have been more stunned if I had said that I was catching a flight to the other side of the world!  So leaving behind a rather confused Julie I walked to the shops, the thing was I ended up looking round with almost schoolboy fascination at houses that I had seen before but never really looked at.

So if you are looking for a New Years Resolution try this, “Do something once a week different to the way you have always done it”.

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New year, new start

For those who have followed this blog in the past you will know and see that I have been very quite since summer.  The reasons for this are many but most of them are due to personal circumstances which have knocked my life completely off kilter and have no only taken a lot of physical time but it has also significantly hurt my drive on a day to day basis.  This in itself is a self perpetuating downward spiral in which you don’t do certain takes or maintain aspects of your life because you haven’t got the “get up and go” to do it but then you end up resenting, even hating yourself for no doing it.  Then as time goes by you end up putting things off repeatedly until finally they are way overdue and almost impossible to recover from.  Why am I laying this on the line and telling you?  Quite simply I have been there and have now vowed to turn things around, it is a hard thing to admit that things have gotten out of control but it is much harder, in my opinion, to recover from.

With that in mind I want to commit, publicly, to maintaining at least two posts a week here whether it tech news, geek stuff or just how things are going.  2009 is a new year and while this is not a new year resolution, it is a life resolution, I just thought that it was a damn good time to start…leave behind the old and move forward.

So let me start by saying happy new year to you, all the success for the future and remember if you want to contact me please use the form above.

Regards

 

 

Rob.

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Rough rides

As I said yesterday we recently came back from France and the crossing there was a little rough.  The first taste of this was when we arrived only to be told that the ferry had been delayed by 2 hours due to bad weather.  Now on-land the weather was ok, a little overcast but on the whole not too bad at all.  The story was somewhat different once at sea though.

The sea was choppy and this was the scene up on deck.  The wind was blowing that hard on the main deck that Kyle was able to stand like this throughout a whole blast of wind which was no short thing.  Not to be outdone though I had to have a try at it myself and the feeling was more than just a little odd to say the least.

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