agricultural broadband Business fun stuff

The making of the bullet proof internet movie

Exclusive behind the scenes footage of how we utterly destroyed some routers in the interest of science in the making of our broadband movie

Most of you will have seen the broadbandrating shotgun movie by now. Actually to call it a movie is a bit of a stretch. In fact we would have to stretch the footage by an hour an a half or so to do so because the original is only 52 seconds long.

52 seconds of pure gold nevertheless. What people don’t see in these 52 seconds is the immense amount of work that has to go on in preparation and on the day to make such a blockbuster. Take a gander at this introductory video.

Many years ago I worked as an extra on a movie called “Experience preferred but not essential”. It was made in the Isle of Man and I was home from Uni for the summer. One thing I specifically remember was the frequent meal stops. We had breakfast and a full blown 3 course lunch and I got ten quid for the day.

No meals were provided on set during the making of this broadbandrating movie. We were all back in the office before lunchtime and got our own sandwiches from the caff downstairs.

And finally:

Four old routers were destroyed in the making of this video including a BT Homehub, two netgears and a technicolour. The Technicolour proved to be very resilient. However this was, ahem,  down to the fact that our marksman missed it three times from very close range before thoroughly despatching it with his fourth shot.

We have to thank marksman Clinton Slingsby for turning up to do pyrotechnics shooting, Farmer Bill for the loan of his location and local Lincolnshire weather forecasters for keeping the rain away until we had the last reel of film in the can, so to speak. Also in the various media in this post you will see me and Sasha, able member of the staff. Finally thanks to Tom at Eyup Media for putting the film together so professionally.

I do have some stills but seem to be having problems uploading them right now – I’ll do a separate post later.

Ciao amigos

No potatoes were destroyed during the making of this broadband movie.

broadband Business fun stuff

Social Media video marketing – bullet proof broadband

social media broadband marketing

I know we got thousands of you thinking when we put out a post last week asking what had happened to the router. Well it was all a taster for our social media broadband marketing – video style.

Last Thursday we had a corporate day out shooting. This was shooting in both senses of the word. We shot routers both with shotguns and with a camera. In fact we shot the shotgun with a camera as well.

It was all done in the name of social media publicity for Here’s the video that came out of it all:

Look out for more from the filming over the coming days.

Many thanks to our video production manager Tom Davies for his outstanding media production skills.

If you are looking for help with a corporate video then do get in touch. This is all part of our Technology Marketing capability. Look out also for an announcement this week regarding a series of events we are putting together around the theme of Technology Marketing.

Engineer fun stuff internet Net

What happened to the router?

Broken router

What happened to this router. Tune in to this blog next week to find out.

Broken router – no use to man nor dog. Well actually the dog had a good play with it.

Business voip hardware Weekend

No such thing as a SIP sausage

How now brown cow

It’s that Thursday afternoon lethargic feeling where really you want it to be 5pm on Friday so that you can legitimately be somewhere else. ie the pub.

There is probably lots going on but it’s all passing me by. The Summer test cricket has started. We got off to a terrible start but are recovering some ground. I glance at it occasionally on my screen.

Here in the office it’s getting pretty quiet. My office is at the University of Lincoln campus. The little darlings students are either all in an examination room somewhere or have already gone home to mummy and daddy. Pile of dirty washing no doubt.

This isn’t the time of year to throttle back though. Lots of business still to be done before the summer entertainment season starts followed by the holidays. I am still waiting for my invitations to Wimbledon, Lords etc etc. I’m sure they will come. Probably in the post. I also fancy a bit of sailing and maybe a golf day or two. Nothing too onerous. A stroll round a links course somewhere.

It’s already the BBQ season. I noted someone on Facebook earlier this week informing a group that they were getting their deck ready to put out the barbecue. Huh. Ours has been out for at least a month! My brother in law leaves his out all winter and cooks his roasts on it. This year I’m going to buy a spit.

The weather outside is gorgeous. Must be because it’s exam time. I’ve restarted walking to work. I used to walk to work every day but during the depths of winter I weakened and bought an annual car parking season ticket. Only £72. Barg. It was not the right thing to do as since then I’ve driven more than I’ve walked. I have a hill called Steep Hill between the office and my house. In the morning I walk down the hill but that return journey is a killer.

I mostly walk to work on a Friday anyway which allows flexibility in decision making re whether to stop off for a beer or not. Which is where we came in isn’t it?

Before I go, and to legitimise this post, I’ve just received a snom SIP DECT phone (mouthful that!).  I’ll be getting it up and running and reporting on it in due course, once I figure out how to do it. I need a PoE adapter thingy as it hasn’t got a separate power supply. My Chromebook doesn’t have an Ethernet socket and runs off a separate WiFi subnet. Don’t worry I’ll sort it out.

I used to have loads of SIP phones. Used to test them. There was a time where there were only a handful of handset makes. Then the flood gates opened. We in the industry thought SIP had finally arrived. Really took years more for real SIP services to become available and for the tech to become mainstream. It’s there now.

So kids. Thassit for now. This is more of a weekend post than a businessy one but it’s all yer getting this afternoon. I have that Thursday afternoon lethargic feeling…

PS don’t ask me where I got the post title from – totally random. snom dect phone.

Business End User Engineer fun stuff

Happy Birthday to us

Happy Birthday to tref, Happy Birthday to tref, Happy Birthday to trefor dot net, Happy Birthday to tref.

I was writing a proposal last night and in it put a vague “ has been going 7 or 8 years”. This didn’t feel particularly right. I should know how long the blog has been going.

I looked it up. The next day, ie today was the date of first posting. Nothing particularly inspirational but at least a start. I’m not even going to link to it.

When I started I very much kept quiet about it. I didn’t know how interesting that might be. It’s a subjective thing anyway, interesting. After a while my co powers that be at Timico found it and asked if I could do more of the same. They occasionally whinged about me going off message.  For example when I did guess the royal baby competition but hey, those competitions got tons of entries, mostly from people in the industry. Obviously there are lots of royalists in the internet game (or more likely people up for a laugh).

7 years isn’t a particularly important milestone. It’s where we are at though and we have had a few major things happen in that time:

Pigeon v Broadband race got blanket TV and radio coverage and resulted in public statements from both BT and the Government.

Move Over IPv4 Bring on IPv6 Party to end all parties at the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden attracted 400 people from the UK internet technology scene  and a Government Minister.

Most Comments on a blog post World Record attempt received over 5,500 comments in 24 hours and raised £6,000 for the RNLI

There will I’m sure be more to come. In the seven years we have had nearly 2,500 posts with 750k unique visitors.  We didn’t start monitoring for a couple of years so the actual number will be higher. Those visitors have left over 11,000 comments. There have been many more spam comments but Akismet has done a good job looking after us there.

The number of comments has dropped over the last year or two. This is either down to the blog redesign or a change in the type of post. On the other hand the number of social media shares has grown significantly and comments are often left on LinkedIn or Facebook instead of the blog.

One recent post by Rob Pickering during the ipcortex WebRTC week got 15 Facebook shares, 26 on LinkedIn, 90 tweets and even 8 Google+ shares which is pretty darn amazing (G+ that is – there’s never much engagement there). Socail media shares are the way ahead present. They are a far better indication of the reach of a post than comments (in my inexpert mind).

The featured theme weeks and guest editor weeks are proving to be very successful. Firstly they make for a better variation in content. Our pre-election political week attracted 10 posts from 10 different industry experts (including an MP) each offering advice to David Cameron on what he should and shouldn’t be doing with internet regulations.

Rob Pickering’s guest week is also a good example. 8 posts on WebRTC received around 300 shares. Concentrating on one specific subject for a week allows us to cover that subject reasonably well and it’s a great opportunity for someone wanting to establish web credentials to do so by becoming guest editor for the week. A guest editorship (?) also enhances the content in a way that I couldn’t do as a solo writer. is now a business and has been widening its base. Firstly we brought out This is a broadband comparison site that initially did business in the consumer broadband space. That market is heavily dependant on how much money you can spend marketing so we have evolved that site to include B2B ISPs.

These B2B ISPs don’t get the volume of traffic and level interest of a BT or Virgin spending heavily on above the line advertising. They do however represent a significant market value that is there to be tapped somehow. A referral to a consumer ISP can generate as much as £140 in commission. B2B players tend not to have the systems in place to manage these affiliate relationships but they do pay their channels significant bonuses for bringing on customers. together with some follow on sites represent an interesting prospect for the future.

The other developmental areas are in Events and Marketing Services. events include workshops, Executive Dinners and of course the now famous Xmas Bash are effectively networking opportunities for vendors to meet service providers in environments that are non-salesey. They are really industry get-togethers. Expect hte number and nature of these to grow and evolve.

Marketing Services are also a natural place for to evolve. Content generation, PR and assistance with events and general marketing are essentially what I have been doing over the last few years. We now have a great team of specialists in this space. In my experience it is difficult to find marketing resources that understand tech.

Now you need look no further – If you need help with this type of activity get in touch – hooking up with @tref on Twitter would be a start.

All in all the first seven years have been very exciting and makes me even more excited about the future. In the meantime now would be an appropriate time to sing Happy Birthday to trefor dot net  – the full words are in the sub header of this post.

C ya…

fun stuff Weekend

Moped wanted for movie short

Moped motorbike or scooter

I’m looking for a moped to star in a video that is extremely time sensitive – has to go out before the general election. It could be a motorbike or scooter. Location London.

Will explain more if you want to get in touch.



End User travel Weekend

Easter shutdown at

Easter break

Easter is a coming and the Davies’ are off to Paris for a few days. I’m not taking a laptop. Just a notebook and pencil (yup) so no blog posts. Just eating and drinking and, well that’s it really. Probably a few sights if we happen to be passing.

I’ll be taking in my two favourite spots in Paris. Harry’s New York Bar is one I came across whilst at University. I hitch-hiked to Greece, via Paris and saw it advertised in the International Herald Tribune. It’s a brilliant American sports bar. Bit out of place you might think in Paris but it just seems to fit. The cocktails are fantastic and if you can stay the pace they have some great jazz. It features in the book “MASH Goes to Paris” fwiw.

The second spot is Au Bon Coin. This is a restaurant I found during the Paris International SIP Conference days. Going back a bit now but I still have fond memories of nights out there. V cheap as well. It was a haunt of some of the early pioneers of SIP.

It’ll be a 7.20 am train First Class to Kings Cross and then Eurostar over to Gare Du Nord. We have an apartment in Montmartre for the weekend. airbnb.

If I feel like it I’ll post some pics but otherwise the whole world is stopping anyway and I will substantially be offline.

Have a great Easter break wherever you are and whatever your beliefs. See you in a new tax year.

Business events fun stuff gadgets

Friend of mine called Robert

Friend of mine called Robert signed up for a World Hosting Days London conference a couple of years ago. His motivation was that they were giving out free Samsung Galaxy tablets to anyone who would go around each exhibitor boot and get a card stamped.

When he signed up he put the words “I’m only here for the free tablet” in the field reserved for the company name. In the end he didn’t go but I hear that they ran out of tabs so it was probably a good thing.

Wind the clock forward and he now gets snail mail to the name and address supplied when he registered for the London gig. Except that instead of “I’m only here for the free tablet” some wily marketing data base cleanser has changed the text to “I am not allowed to get a free tablet”.  He he he.

I spoke at the conference last year on behalf of LONAP. Had quite a good chat with a few people who came to hear the talk.

That’s all folks.

Engineer fun stuff peering

PRIZE COMPETITION – guess who’s wearing the sandals #LINX88


Guess who’s wearing the sandals at LINX88. There may be more than one person wearing sandals, this being an internet engineering meeting. Steve Lalonde plus the wearer of the sandals may not enter.

The prize is either I’ll buy you a beer or I’ll buy breakfast at Silva’s Caff on Shaftesbury Ave at 8am tomorrow morning. Steve and I will be there from 8am. It’s one the of the best.

If you want to add a caption for effect feel free.

Apps End User fun stuff

Randomly dictated

voice recognition

Giving the kids a lift to school this morning. T I thought i’d fill in some time was waiting for the kids to get ready by randomly dictating a post.
New line
I i also did this yesterday from the cafe in the office because i didn’t have a key with me and i was there before everybody else. 3 lot of errors in that situation because i had to keep my voice down and i’m not sure of the quality of the wifi in a cafe. I’m finding that at home when i don’t have to whisper or atleast speaking subdued tones and with good wifi at i’m able to speak quite quickly and the dictation turns out quite well. In fact it looks as if ur speaking more quickly turns out a better quality of dictated post. At least with the interpretation of the words are concerned if not the quality of what is being dictated.
New line
You could actually get quite used to do this if it wasn’t for the fact that speaking out loud in the office is going to be a disruptive to the other people in the office a good way, and efficient way of writing text. Nowadays my handwriting skills are very poor because most of the time i’m using keyboard i can see in future if my typing skills might suffer because i will just be using my spoken word.
New line
In one sense this will be coming full circle time with only the spoken word existed there was nothing there in terms of the written word available or having been invented yet and in fact the language that use these days probably reflects the language used by cavemen from the stone age in it uh know what i mean. I’m sure that the cavemen would be insulted to think that i was saying that their language wisdom downs but she hasn’t arrived on the scene at that time.
New line
Which 8:35 there are signs of life signs of children getting ready getting the shoes on. I’m already ready i’ve had my coat on for 15 minutes. I had to go out and check the diesel levels in the jeep. Where ok i can get them to school so i don’t know that getting back from school. 🙂

Stardate wednesday bingley to school mr spoc


There ya go – back to typing now. It’s not bad, and I know I’ve written about it before but I thought it was worth an update. The most interesting aspect of it was the fact that it quite liked me speaking quickly.

charitable Engineer

Support Ben White – he could do with your help

Support Ben White

Ben White is a really nice bloke. He is a networking engineer and used to work for me at Timico before growing out of the job and heading for greener grass. Ben is also a really good networking engineer. In fact he is both a really nice bloke and a really good network engineer.

Ben has a problem. He is into adrenaline rushes and has for years been into freefall sky diving. Unfortunately last year he had an accident. The upshot is a broken back,  5 months of hospital and rehab, 4 major operations to fix a broken femur, 6 broken ribs, 5 broken vertebra and to stabilise a crushed spine, while coming to terms with being a T10 complete paraplegic who has no feeling or movement below his belly button.

He is lucky to have the love of Jen who writes:

“It turns out, the hardest part of this journey so far is coming home and being faced with a house that fights you at everything you try to do.

Ben sustained his injuries during a hard parachute landing at Hibaldstow drop zone in July 2014, while training for the skydiving world championships. British Silver medallist in freestyle, just 4 weeks before the competition, Ben’s life changed forever and his dream was over. Now he faces challenges he never thought he would have to, struggles that wouldn’t even occur to most people as we do things like sit down on a couch and get up again naturally without even thinking about it. It takes Ben 2 hours to get up and get ready in the morning when it otherwise takes me 30 minutes. Basic things are obstacles to overcome and I just want to help Ben, by making his house wheelchair friendly. I want him to be able to shower and to cook a meal and to leave the house to get milk without needing my help.

Unfortunately Ben does not quality for a government grant to make essential adaptations to his home, which include wheelchair access to the property, and through floor lift, washing facilities and an accessible kitchen as well as items such as a lightweight wheelchair and other recommended equipment. We are therefore asking for your support with donations, large or small to help make these adaptations so Ben can live as independently as possible.

If you’d like to donate you an do so at:

Please support Ben White. You may also want to “like” his Facebook page here. Be has occasionally appeared elsewhere in this blog in the past. Here he is modelling a new whiteboard!!

fun stuff

Facebook down – oh

I note facebook is down. I checked it on twitter. Twitter is alive with the news. Suddenly occurred to me that it doesn’t matter.

It is interesting, however, to consider that facebook must have a massively reliable platform but still has problems.  It goes to show that you can never achieve 5 nines reliability.

Twitter told me that the problems started at 5 past 6 this morning . It is now nearly 7 o’clock. 5nines is only something like 5 minutes of downtime a year. It’s a good job that facebook isn’t mission critical.

On this occasion twitter is serving as an alternative platform for communication. Its different but its does serve a purpose. Twitter and facebook are the two sites i turn to first thing in the morning. Facebook tells me an unimportant gossip about what my friends have been doing. Twitter tells me what’s going on in the world,  in this case facebook not working. Although that’s stating the bleeding obvious, it is useful to know the other people have the same problem. Nobody wants to be alone!

Dictated from the comfort of my bed whilst listening to radio 4. No mention of facebook on the news funnily enough.

Update 7. 19. It’s made the radio 4 news with rory cellan-jones. Apparently its back up now speculation is that it was a cyber attack.

Engineer food and drink fun stuff internet

#trefbash2014 – the official photos

Last Thursday night the UK internet industry got together in London for trefbash2014, the 5th Annual trefbash. This one was better than ever with Radio2’s Alex Lester putting in a personal appearance and the Adforesight photo booth being a real hit (see live picture gallery).

I’m sure there is lots more to be said but for the now I’ll just leave you with the output of the official photographer. Note the colours. Most people really entered into the spirit of the beach party theme and the only exceptions were where the shirt hadn’t been delivered in time or people had afternoon business meetings to attend

competitions Weekend

Please help my son’s youth jazz band win Jamie Cullum Grand Piano – please share

Jamie Cullum Grand Piano competition

My son Joe is in his last year in school. He is a musician and you may have heard that his band The Pylons recently played at the Schools Prom 2014 in the Royal Albert Hall. Check out their backstage interview with classic FM. Joe is the trumpeter in the video clip. He also plays keyboards and sings. So what’s this got to do with the Jamie Cullum Grand Piano?

Joe also plays trumpet for a top award winning youth big band called Jazz Vehicle. JV has been going for 30 years this season and is run by a terrific guy called John Crouch. Hundreds of kids have played with JV and it still thrives as a band.

Jazz Vehicle have been shortlisted for a Jamie Cullum Grand Piano competition. If they get more votes than the other 5 finalists they will take delivery of Jamie Cullum’s own grand piano.

It isn’t hard to understand how much this will benefit the band. Having such a great instrument will help them go to new heights. Every kid in jazz Vehicle is a talented musician and John Crouch helps them go to new heights.  Every gig puts them on a high. Every gig is a sellout. They leave the band brilliantly equipped to move on to either music careers or to just enjoy playing as an amateur. It is important that they have top quality instruments to play.

I’m sure that each finalist is a deserving cause but this is family business and obviously I want to help my kid.

Please consider voting for Jazz Vehicle. It is easy to do. Just visit and vote for Jazz Vehicle. Time is short. Voting finishes Friday. Please vote for Jazz Vehice and please share this post. Thanks for your help and have a great Christmas 🙂

fun stuff

#trefbash2014 live picture gallery

End User food and drink fun stuff

Happy birthday me

As most of you know I’m normally a quiet, softly spoken kind of guy. I don’t shout out about things like it being my birthday. I’m 53 today.

Not entirely sure what to think or say. It’s either borderline mid fifties or early fifties, or both. I quite like it being my birthday. Fifties feels respectable although you and I both know that is hardly the case, innit.

I’m spending the night of my birthday having a quiet steak and chips in with Mrs Davies and our two youngest. The other two are away. There are enough parties going on to merit not bothering with one for my actual birthday which in any case a school night.

We began the party season last Thursday in Town with the ITSPA Xmas lunch. That was followed by our by now traditional (since at least 25 years ago) Xmas Market Party on the Saturday night of the Lincoln Christmas Market. We sing carols, drink lots and have a jammin’ session afterwards. I’m lucky enough to have musical kids and together with friends we mustered trumpet, piano, sax, geetar and drums.

Sunday night was a similar party at some friends. This week it’s the big one – the #trefbash2014 which in effect lasts two days. Saturday is a 50th birthday party black tie job.

The last week of term I already have local after work party invites on Monday (OpenPlan) and Tuesday (Wright Vigar) . Thursday is my annual carol singing night at The Morning Star in Lincoln followed by Jazz. We also have the LONAP board coming over that night. On the Friday night I have the launch party of The Lincoln A2Z Project. This is something I have been involved with for the last two years, writing 52 creative pieces for radio. Google it.

On the Saturday night we have a party at the Brittains around the corner on Curle Avenue and on Sunday we leave to visit parents and do the Christmas thing. Unfortunately that involves non stop partying until 30th December at which point we return home and immediately go out to a Pylons Gig at the West End Tap.

We don’t do New Year’s Eve so that is pretty much our quiet night in of the whole holiday season. I think Anne would like to do New Year’s Eve but tbh I’m a miserable bugger. Good thing probably.

So that’s it. It’s my birthday and a quiet night in with the kids beckons. I will need to build up my energy in time for #trefbash2014. The featured image gives you a taste of what’s in store!

Early doors anyone?

food and drink fun stuff

#trefbash2014 SOLD OUT eventAll tix are now SOLD OUT for #trefbash2014. If you are a mate you may be able to still get in – just message me. If you are a Corporate Sponsor you can still buy a ticket. If you have already got a corporate ticket but not yet signed up your guests then I still have the space for them – just let me know. Otherwise thanks for everyone for their continued excellent support.

Don’t forget this year’s bash is a beach party. You are expected to make some sort of effort to fit in with the theme. I’ll leave the detail to you. Looking forward to seeing y’all on the night.

People tend not to schedule much for the Friday after the bash. If this is you join us for breakfast at Silva’s on Shaftesbury Avenue at around 9.30 on the Friday and thence a few pubs around Covent Garden for a hair of the dog.

Catch ya later.

Business fun stuff

Charity Auction for BBC Children In Need Appeal at #trefbash2014

Charity Auction for BBC Children In Need Appeal at #trefbash2014

Yo all. With #trefbash2014 coming up fast on the rails/looming on the horizon/being just around the corner I thought we’d do something a little different this year with a Charity Auction for BBC Children In Need Appeal.

First of all check out this vid, kindly produced by @TomAndThat of Eyupentertainment and starring Alex Lester of BBC Radio 2 fame.

The palm tree appeared in a video Alex Lester, The Movie – you can check it out here.

The palm tree has been sat in the Radio 2 studios for a few weeks gathering celebrity signatures. It features the likes of John Cleese, Hugh Grant, Mick Jagger and Bono not to mention all the Radio 2 presenters – Chris Evans, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine, Simon Mayo et al (whoever Al is).

Now seeing as #trefbash2014 is a beach party we thought it would be particularly appropriate to use the palm tree (we should give it a name but we haven’t) as an auction lot for charity and because Children in Need is supported by the BBC it is particularly appropriate to let that good cause have the cash.

To make it interesting I’m also going to throw in a month’s sidebar advertising on worth £1,400.

So when you come along to #trefbash2014 bring your pencil sharpener/cheque book, raise your arm and get stuck in to the auction action. You will also get some prolonged PR on as we will be producing a video of the night which of course will run and run…