Monthly Archives: April 2005

With No Access

Now this should turn into a rant about British Telecom as we have been without internet access at work all day. Given most of what I do is done by email this has been a most frustrating day. In the meantime, if you know any cool tools that manipulate tasks inside of Microsoft’s Outlook 2000 then I would love to hear from you.

On this day…

2004: Same-Sex Couples Aren’t So Lucky
2004: Mirror Mirror in Florida

links for 2005-04-23

On this day…

2004: Join Me In The Bath?
2003: Oslo, Norway

Deception Point

Like many readers I came to Dan Brown’s Deception Point via ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’. Sadly, it doesn’t carry the same intrigue as those books yet that shouldn’t put a reader off. Perhaps it’s the mysteries of religious orders – or Dan Brown’s fascinating details – that made his other novels so intriguing whereas such intricate detail is lacking in this novel. Instead, Deception Point tackles the science of alien fossils in the Arctic and the search for the truth about life in outer space. When such adventures are mixed with the skulduggery of an American election campaign, American intelligence services and a twist towards the end, Dan Brown has weaved a thriller full of interest, suspense and a little bit of humour. It’s not as great as the aforementioned books but it is an easy-read enjoyable thriller. If that’s what you’re looking for on a long flight this book will keep you reading all night and they’ll be carrying you off as it’s got that obvious, yet gripping, plot line of a captivating thriller. In the end, I couldn’t put it down.

On this day…

2005: Same Again?
2003: Airport Cafe
2003: Cough Cough

Somewhere, Someday, Somebody, Somehow

By the wonders of modern man I am writing these words on board a plane – BA794 to Helsinki for all you plane spotters – using a pen and a page in my work diary (the pen is PaperMate and the page is for the 4th April and, yes, I know it’s not 4th). I will, I imagine, be transcribing it later this evening in a hotel in Helsinki.

Amusingly, here at 37,00 feet on an Airbus A320, I have an array of digital equipment sat under the seat in front of me. A laptop: too big to open and anyway the battery is nearly dead as I used it with a wifi hotspot in the terminal. My ‘phone/PDA: it really doesn’t look good opening a ‘phone on a plane as there’s a tendency for other passengers to think you’re switching it on. Besides, the built-in keyboard is useless for this kind of lengthy writing. I also have my MP3 player and a camera but neither of them are much use for writing on. So I sit, with a trusty old pen, scribbling something I will later type. I assume, if you’re reading this, that I have actually typed it up.

I also have a small jungle of cables with me. Chargers and connectors to allow all the various devices to communicate. In fact, I think they are taking a disproportionate amount of luggage space. Everything has to be charged: the ‘phone, the mp3 and the camera. Nothing seems to work on a trusty pair of AAs anymore. I am not sure why this is but it’s as frustrating as hell.

So, I have to ask myself why I bother with all this gadgetry? Is any of it going to make my life any easier? Sadly, I don’t think it will and – to be honest – it’s not much fun anymore. I just want items that make travelling easier and I don’t have the money for a private jet. Has anybody solved this conundrum?

I do have a love of this kind of technology: I know that I am one of the people who believe it has the power to liberate but, frankly, right now all the competing vendors are not getting it correct and I am not sure why. Somewhere, someday, somebody will get it right. I only hope that I have a hand in it – somehow.

On this day…

2006: Spy Versus Spy
2003: The Boys of Summer
2003: Good Friday

Podcasting For Things I Want To Listen To

Fantastic news at last. The BBC is giving podcasts a wider trial. This could be cool – although I am sad that they’re not doing The Archers. At last, I will be able to listen to some decent radio in the gym. Oh, and if you have the mp3 of the first of this year’s Reith Lectures, I would be very grateful.

On this day…

2006: Congestion

Jack: Straight From The Gut

Jack Welch was Chairman and CEO of General Electric for twenty years and this is a book about his time from joining to leaving the company that became his life. Apparently Jack was seen as the ‘toughest boss in America’ and I suspect the book is trying to soften the historical edges a little. What comes across clearly is a commitment to a company and a desire to grow it. Many businesses could do better with a firmer management and a realistic look at the way things are done. Jack Welch doesn’t seem to be the kind of CEO to run scared of the change no matter how painful that be. Throughout the book he stresses the importance that good people be allowed to excel and that poor performers are probably better elsewhere. It seems a ruthless approach but it appears to have worked for GE and, I think Jack would argue, it worked better for the people involved. Don’t expect a management handbook as ‘Straight From The Gut’ is too human (and full of golf stories) to be seen as a Director’s guide but it is an extremely readable insight into big business. If you don’t like his approach I believe there are interesting lessons about the capabilities of people and what they can bring to business for anybody regardless of the size of company or position you hold within it.

On this day…

2006: New Doctor New Earth
2003: What We Shouldn’t Be Talking About

Vacillation’s What We Need

If you hadn’t worked out that I like my pda gadgets by now where have you been? I suggest you take a crash course: Phones & PDAs, Another PDA, Personal Information Management and Why Do We Love Our Mobile Phones?

Palm Tungsten E2So I decided that my Treo 600 was a pain. I mentioned before that it’s OK at many things but it isn’t great at any of them. As a regular Palm it’s good but as a ‘phone it’s just OK (by which I mean poor). As a camera it is very poor. So I started to become obsessed by finding a solution to my problem/desire to get it all in one. Then, because I vacillate so much, I decided that my Treo 600 on Orange is actually pretty good and I want to keep it. A few hours later a whole Nokia fetish kicked in before I decided that, yet again, Treo wins. I don’t like the idea of not having my contact and diary synchronised properly. I thought, for a moment, that WAP could be a solution but it’s not the same. Then I saw the new Palm Tungsten E2 and thought well …

Now, please tell me why I become so engrossed in this subject. Why can’t I, just like a normal person, have a ‘phone that is a ‘phone?

On this day…

2004: It’s A Takeover
2004: Google Mail Controversy

That Wedding

If, Time Lord style, you have been in 1869 this weekend you may have missed a small wedding in Windsor. It appears that most of the British public was not too worried about it either until it came upon us and then we went all misty-eyed; commented on hats and frocks and decided that it was, after all, a jolly good show. Hopefully, the Duchess of Cornwall and The Prince of Wales will make each other happy and I don’t see how anybody can be against happiness (unless you’re talking about the Ken Dodd song which I am very much against). Anyway, rather than me prattling on about it I think Anna of fame did a superb job at the weekend in The Guardian: although she did miss the shaving foam ‘Just Married’ as they departed for a Scotland honeymoon (which is neither in Cornwall nor Wales but never mind). [more pictures of the wedding]

On this day…

2004: Easter Sunday