charitable End User events phones

Galaxy S7 Edge update – charging in the car whilst using GPS

Galaxy S7 Edge battery better than Oneplus2 for in car charging

Thought it might interest you to know that my new Galaxy S7 Edge battery is much better than the Oneplus 2 for keeping its charge when on the go in the car.

I use Waze when driving along often even when the route is familiar to me. This is because Waze is very good at alerting you to problems up ahead. When I used my “old” Oneplus 2 one of the features I noticed was that the battery would never fully charge when driving along. In fact it seemed to settle at roughly the half charge mark. The phone would have been using GPS and cellular data.

I thought this was a bit odd but didn’t really pay much attention to it. However having used the Galaxy S7 Edge for a couple of long journeys now the difference is really noticeable. The S7 actually fully charges whilst doing the same job as the Oneplus 2.

The kids have also been bringing me reports on waterproof tests having been conducted on others’ S7s. I don’t propose to test mine. I’d rather not tempt fate. I will be using it when hill walking in Derbyshire next weekend so it will get a full stress test in advance of doing the Coast to Coast which is less than three weeks away now (yippee or gulp – one of those two reactions).

Remember the phone needs to run Runkeeper and be fully available for photography although I will have the GoPro as a backup. It will also be running the OS Maps application – I am now a paid up subscriber and will not only have the routes planned out in advance for all 12 days but will also be able to check with GPS for deviations from the route.

I will be taking additional external batteries with me – there is no way the phone will last otherwise with all the photos and vids I expect to take and hopefully upload whilst en route.

Readers wanting to know more about about my walk can check out the coast to coast event page, the Facebook page or the JustGiving Page.

Featured image is of the first day’s route – St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge.


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 events food and drink fun stuff

#trefbash2014 – the “accessories” have been ordered

With only 24 days to go until #trefbash2014 the excitement is building.

Well it is in the offices anyway. #trefbash2014 is the culmination of the business year, after which it is very hard to get much done. Usually the next few days are a write off.

This year we have pro teams on the photography and on video production. We also have a fantastic interactive “facility” which you can only find out about on the night. Sgonna be good though.

We are also for the first time having a fantastic one off charity auction and I hope to be in a position to post a photo of the prize this coming Friday. It’s something you will be proud to have on display in your company reception:) We will also have a special guest star there to present the prize to the winning bidder. Tune in Friday to find out more.

122 people have signed up so far which is roughly par for the course with three and a half weeks to go. Last year we had around 180 turn up. All the Surf Bum tickets have gone. This ticket seemed to strike a chord with people. Cold Beer Billy tickets are about to sell out and then it’s neck and neck between Lifeguard and Coconut Delight. Beach Bartender seems to be least popular. Don’t worry. You won’t be expected to serve drinks.

The accessories have now been ordered. Well it is a beach party. What will the best dressed beach party goer be wearing this year?

If you still want to get your brand up there on the night it is still not too late. We have commissioned a special video that will be running all night, interrupted only by our special interactive feature. Lots of exposure and recognition opportunities.

We now have a menu:

Main Course Hot Fork Buffet
Hot and Spicy Jerk Chicken
Steak and Black Pepper Burger
Vegetable Jambalaya
Creole Fish Curry

Side Dishes
Tomato Relish
Tortilla Chips, Soured Cream & Garlic
Caribbean Salad, Honey & Lime Dressing

Ian the chef at the Phoenix Artist Club is a top operator. Knows that engineers have sophisticated tastes but also like a few carbs to soak up the champagne. I’m ordering the champagne next week. Last year we went though over 80 bottles!

If you are planning on coming but haven’t yet signed up get yer names down here. More deets here on the blog.

#trefbash2014 – a production:)

Business events gadgets H/W Mobile phones wearable

A Virtual Tech Gadgets Smorgasbord!

September brings word of new gadgets — smartphones, tablets, cameras, wearables, whatever else — and it all looks so tasty!

Ah, September. Summer holidays fading into memory, work ramping back up, children getting settled into new school routines, a hint of a nip in the air (at least once the sun goes down) as autumn begins baby-stepping into place, and the usual blast of new gadgetry hyper…er, news…no, had it right the first time.

Thick and furious, it seems that this week new smartphone goodness was announced by every player in the space (save for Apple, which has its circled-on-every-calendar iPhone event set for next Tuesday). Most if not all of this activity is in conjunction with IFA Berlin 2014 — Europe’s largest consumer electronics event — though it seems that none of the interested parties could be bothered to wait for the start of the actual event (today, that would be). Among the smartphony gadgets soon to show up on shop shelves are:

  • Samsung: Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge
  • Sony: Xperia Z3, Zperia Z3 Compact
  • Microsoft/Nokia: Lumia 830, Lumia 930, and Lumia 730

And those are just the smartphone devices put up for media scrutiny fawning prior to the IFA Berlin 2014’s official opening. Over the next five days similar smartphone announcements are due from HTC, LG, Acer, Lenovo, Huawei, Asus….pretty much everyone except Big Daddy Apple.

As if all of that is not enough, a kit-n-kaboodle of tabletish shiny things are also set for intro (or have already been intro’d), along with some wearable whatnot, and all kinds of digital fun that lies outside of phones and tabs.

It doesn’t take much in the way of deductive reasoning to understand why we as consumers get tech-dumped on during September every year. The mechanisms of hype need a bit of oiling up in preparation for the holidays, interest has to spread from those who are too-in-tune to those who listen to and/or depend on those who are too-in-tune, and the marks…no, no, no…the buying customers need time to get their heads around the cost of the new delights (and time to save coin to buy them).

Only 100 shopping days until Christmas*!

*And 7-8 fewer until Chanukah…but I couldn’t find a website for tracking that.

Engineer events fun stuff voip voip hardware

England v India Trent Bridge – a tale of two Andersons & Yealink VoIP phone

England v India highlights – Root & Anderson  10th wicket world record, I am nearly knocked out by a cricket ball, Pamela Anderson gets cricketer autograph & I spot a Yealink VoIP phone.

England v India at Trent Bridge was the backdrop for  great day out with the kids yesterday. There are two ways to “do” the cricket. One is with your mates. This is a boozy day out beginning with a pint and “full English” at 10am in the pub followed by a steady day’s cricket watching and a curry to finish off. The other is with the kids.

It was with the kids yesterday that I was nearly knocked out by a cricket ball and saw Pamela Anderson getting an autograph from one of the English players fielding at the boundary.

Arriving early we took our seats and settled in to watch a bit of net practice. Sat at square leg the nets were just in front of us but after a while the kids wandered off to look around the ground. There I was minding my own business, not particularly watching anything, when suddenly I heard a cry and I was hit by a cricket ball.

The ball glanced off the side of my head, hit my shoulder and plopped down beside me. It took me a moment to realise what had happened. One of the batsmen in the net had hit it over the top of the side netting. A couple of inches to the right and it would have landed squarely on the top of my bonce with potentially lethal consequences.

Without thinking I picked up the ball and threw it back. I should have kept it as a souvenir. There is evidence of the incident however. My hat – pictured in the gallery below was somewhat damaged as you can see.

Test match cricket is a great day out. The entertainment is not just on the pitch. The crowd provides just as much fun as the players. In the gallery below you can see a steward trying to confiscate a “beer snake” which is a stack of empty plastic beer glasses. Much beer is drunk at these events. For some reason the stewards want to confiscate the stacked glasses. The snake gets handed around the stand, growing in size as more glasses get added on the journey. The steward trying to confiscate the snake provides great sport as each time he gets near the snake is passed along to someone else.

In the gallery below there is also a photo sequence where “Pamela Anderson” gets the autograph of one of the England fielders. Pam was there with a party of lifeguards sat quite close to us in the New Stand. Also look out for a couple of horses sat amongst the crowd.

As far as the actual England v India cricket match went we were treated to a world record tenth wicket stand of 198 runs between Joe Root (154 no) and Jimmy Anderson (81 and no relation to Pamela afaik). The game now looks like being a draw and the rain forecast for the last day will hopefully provide some respite for the English team, now fielding, who have another test starting in a few days time.

There is, as is often the case, a technology slant to this post. Hanging around the boundary at lunch I couldn’t help noticing a Yealink VoIP phone nestled in amongst the equipment of one of the cameras. I love spotting little things like this. The kids have got used to it. The Yealink VoIP phone is not dissimilar to the Cisco I spotted at the Harbour Lights cafe in Peel in the Isle of Man. I’m not sure what the Yealink VoIP phone model is. I’m sure someone out there will know:)

events food and drink fun stuff Weekend website launch party – 4pm Friday 4th July

You are all invited to a free beer on Friday afternoon to celebrate the launch of the new website – free beer.

Went to my mate Terry’s 60th birthday surprise bash at the West End Tap last night. It was a genuine surprise and nice to see the look of humility on the lad’s face when he saw how many people had turned out. Left at around 11.30pm – I’m somewhat of a lightweight these days although the fact that it was my fourth night out on the trot didn’t help. Looking forward to a quiet few days before being back in the Smoke on Wednesday.

When we got home there was a party still in full flow in our back garden. Kid3 celebrating his penultimate teen birthday. The noise had died down by the time we got in, fortunately for our relations with the neighbours and especially since I invested in a PA system. I don’t have what was traditionally called a stereo but I do have a PA system.

This morning the damage in the back garden wasn’t too bad. Nothing that a bit of hosing down didn’t sort out.

Life seems to be one long string of parties and bashes (is there a difference?). It’s good job I’ve started to go to the University of Lincoln gym which is only a 5 minute walk from the office. Need the counter effect of the 70 minute workout to offset the damages from the bashes (deliberate choice of words:). Free beer for all…

This coming Wednesday we have the 10th Anniversary of ITSPA party in the big Smoke. A big part of me says we are only here the once so we might as well enjoy ourselves whilst we are at it.

On Friday we are having an impromptu drinks and nibbles out on the balcony at the office in Sparkhouse in Lincoln. The weather is going to be great and we will be filling the fridge the day before to make sure that the refreshments are appropriately cooled for our guests.

Everyone is welcome but we will need to know if you plan on coming so call me, message me, send a carrier pigeon, leave a comment etc. The doors will be locked so when you arrive ring my mobile and I’ll send someone from “Security” down to bring you up to the balcony. Alternatively shout up to the balcony at Sparkhouse – we will see you.

The party must finish around 7pm for no other reason that I am then heading over to the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) to watch a Zoe Rahman gig in which Kid3 who plays the jazz trumpet, amongst other instruments, is featuring.

Party is at Room 18, Sparkhouse, Enterprise Lincoln Building, Rope Walk, Lincoln LN6 7DQ. C ya there.

Other partyifically good posts include:

Official video #trefbash2012
Pissup In A Brewery

events food and drink fun stuff

Win free VIP tickets to Pissup In A Brewery

freebeer_250Every day this week you can win a free VIP ticket worth £120 to the world famous Pissup In A Brewery. is known for its Christmas bash. Well now we have a summer bash and it is genuinely a Pissup In A Brewery.

The venue is the new Fourpure Brewery, one of the industry’s rising stars, where you can sample a wide range of real ales and lagers as brewed by one of London’s youngest and most exciting brewers, Dan Lowe.

Details of the event are here.

To win your free ticket you need to complete the following sentence “I like beer because…”. I might give out more than one prize if we get some good answers.

Deadline is sometime tomorrow morning at which point we will have a new competition.

End User events food and drink

A father’s day message

There are four ways of approaching father’s day:  as a son, a father, as oneself and with the whole thing as a load of commercial cobblers.

As a son my thoughts naturally turn to my eighty year old dad in the Isle of Man. I’ll give him a bell later this morning. We’ll have a chat about nothing. Had I been at home we might have gone out for a few holes of golf except that at the ripe old age of eighty he now only plays during the week at an appropriately leisurely pace. I speak to him most days in any case.

At eighty he soldiers on. I am his IT support and was yesterday woefully lacking as I wasn’t able to replicate his Google+ scenario for troubleshooting on my own iPad. He has an iPad 2 and mine is an original. In fact I couldn’t get the Google+ App to work on my own iPad! It’s all a load of codswallop.

When I go and visit we normally pop around to the Whitehouse pub for a couple of pints before dinner. They have a lovely little snug there with a coal fire which is often on even in the summer. It’s only a hundred yards or so from our house. Not bad I say. When we get home dinner will be ready. Perfect.

As a father I don’t really expect much from the kids. It’s all a load of commercially invented tosh anyway (see point 4). No card, barely a half remembered acknowledgement that it is father’s day. In fact the kids and I only realised that it was father’s day when we saw something on a TV ad about it last night.

So no cup of tea in bed this morning from adoring and reverential smiling faces. They are all still snoring away having stayed up late to watch England lose to Italy in their World Cup opener. I won’t see them until mid morning. Will cook my own bacon.

There may be a phone call from the two older ones who are not at home. Tom will actually call with his mobile. Hannah will expect me to be on Facebook this evening at which point we will just arrange to move to a Google Hangout. We don’t start on Google. Shows that Google+ still has a way to go to become the social network of choice for that demographic.

When I think of it I rarely engage with anyone on Google+. Just use Hangouts via the gmail interface or the Hangouts app on my droid.

At least we will have a barbecue this evening with the two kids remaining at home. Just the three of us. Anne is away seeing her own dad. On this basis we get to choose what we do foodwise anyway. I bought some chicken to make a chicken salad last night. Ended up getting a Dominos pizza delivered before the England game. BBQ chicken it is tonight then. I have a nice bottle of red and we may just stroll to the cricket club before hand for a relaxing cold beer whilst watching a bit of leather on willow.

The approach to father’s day as an individual may be considered to be the equivalent to what one does on one’s birthday. In other words do what you like, within reason. Today I will be cooking a bit of breakfast – not too heavy as I want to go to the gym later. After breakfast I have some sorting out to do. The brick workshop which is now just used as a garden store needs tidying up to make room for some shelves from the garage. The shelves from the garage are being moved to allow the new bench to move in.

The bench is waiting for the space to become available before final assembly. It was built to order by a bloke in Suffolk and arrived a couple of weeks ago so needs sorting. Before I can do that I have to clear the garage out and paint the floor. I did consider ecotiles but green garage floor paint makes more sense in our case as sometimes the drain across the front of the garage door blocks with leaves and we get water in. Need to stay on top of that. The upshot is that a painted concrete floor will be more appropriate in our case as it is less likely to be spoiled. That is probably a job for next weekend.

The one other schedule item today is a practice of the musical threesome we have assembled for some friends silver wedding anniversary in August. That’s me on geetar an vocals, Steve on slide and Joe on horn plus any other of the multiple instruments he can play. We did our first gig for the Curle Avenue Diamond Jubilee street party and called ourselves Los Trios Paranoias. Disappointingly I note that there has already been a band of that name so we will have to come up with another unless we call ourselves a tribute band. I doubt we play any of their material – in fact I don’t even know what music they played.

Finally there is of course the approach that all this is total commercial rubbish with no basis of tradition (since 1987!?). This is in fact the view to which I subscribe. Having said that I will still ring my dad, still half expect a call from the kids, still do my own thing today and still expect a cooked breakfast to be served up. Oh no wait. They are still in bed…

Happy Father’s day to all dads out there. Get in that shed!

Another terrific father’s day read:

Like father like daughter

The header photo is of breakfast at Silva’s – finest greasy spoon in London on Shaftesbury Avenue.

competitions End User events fun stuff H/W internet media Mobile mobile connectivity Net obsolescence piracy

Watching the Football

Yesterday a friend of mine in the UK asked me if I was “going to watch the football”, stating his own excitement over the soon-upon-us 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (the official label of the event, if the website is any indicator), and then asking “Have you converted a little? Soccer to you, I guess.”


I actually converted 20 years ago as a direct result of the excitement surrounding the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Of course, the football punditry out there will immediately assume that this American finally clued in that year due to the tournament being held in the U.S. for the first (and so far only) time, however that assumption would not only be disingenuous but wrong too. No, my sports imagination was finally captured by International football in 1994 not because I was swept up in host country hoopla, but because I was living/working/traveling Europe that year and found myself instead swept up in the remarkable national enthusiasm and spontaneous celebrations I encountered in England, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany as the tournament played out. Walking around Namur, Belgium, for instance, on a Tuesday night in early July, seeking out a priced-right-for-a-backpacker dinner, I was left aghast and delighted by the string of cars going by with horns a-blarin’, people hanging out the windows hooting and hollering and waving the Italian flag. The people of one country so unabashedly showing their colors, whooping it up on the streets of another country…what is this International sporting thing, anyway? And then five days later, being fortuitous enough to be in Germany to witness first-hand the crashing out of the Germany team1…I was hooked!

1994. The world turned its eyes and ears to the most commercial country in the world to watch “The Beautiful Game” on television and radio, and only on television and radio. And not a single URL in sight.

When my pal asked me whether I was going to tune into the 2014 FIFA World Cup my knee-jerk first thought was “Will it be available via the Internet?” to which my second thought instantly responded “Are you kidding? Of course.” Sure, I know the games will be broadcast on television, and I am relatively sure the one we have in the main room still works (The Boy watches it from time to time…I think), but it wasn’t until long after I answered my friend’s oh-so-rhetorical question that I even paid a thought to the idea of actually using the device to watch a match.

Football TV

Naturally, the picture the Chez Kessel television delivers is plenty sharp (as so many are these days, we are Triple Play kitted), and something prompted me long ago to wire the sound to come through our stereo speakers (think it was the 2006 FIFA World Cup that prompted that…friggin’ Marco Materazzi, sister-and-mother-insulting classless b*stard), so it isn’t a poor viewing option that had me defaulting to the Internet as my top-of-mind football entertainment resource. It’s just…well…you see…c’mon, you know…it is so much easier to simultaneously Web-out with ⌘+Tab (Alt+Tab for the Windows-fettered readers out there, and whatever-equivalent for UNIX deities and whichever others) than it is via some lap-bound or hand-bound device supplementary to the television.

Addiction. Always lurking, eminently humanizing, and available in oh-so-many forms.

1994. When to the layman “Internet” meant email and bulletin boards and nothing more. The World Wide Web was just starting to poke its head up, and “streaming” was a word relegated to tape data backups.

Without admitting to anything (and there will be no Q&A), I will cagily say here that a long time has passed since I last watched a television program at the time of broadcast (other, that is, than hypnotized channel-surfing-and-staring borne of jetlag). This is not to say that I am accomplishing the impossible, foregoing television entertainment in what is unquestionably a golden age for the medium (too many programs to list, but suffice it to say that I can speak “The Wire”, “The Sopranos”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, and this Millenium’s “Battlestar Galactica” reboot with anyone…buncha great UK-produced programs, too!). I do, though, manage to forego the starchy advertising that comes with all of the good TV meat on offer, and without littering my shelves and floorspace with DVD sets gathering dust.

Yes, packaged up nice-and-digital and stripped of its impurities, television for me has come to mean the Internet. And I find it a richer and far more satisfying experience for that, too.     ==>Twenty-three minutes into the sixth episode of Season Two of “The Americans” a reference is made to an earlier plot point that I skied past. Pause. ⌘+Tab to Google Chrome. Type “The Americans episodes ” into the Address/Search field. A quick click and read. ⌘+Tab back to VLC. Un-Pause. Good to go.<==     Of course, certain television events practically demand in-progress viewing — cannot-turn-away news events and, yes, some sporting events (though "condensed" recordings can now be acquired after the fact, such as three-plus hour American Football games boiled down to 58 minutes!) — but these have not kept that really big monitor in our flat's central room from looking more and more novel with each passing season. 1994. Televisions were definitively three-dimensional, whereas the scripted programming they delivered to the quivering and drooling masses was two-dimensional at its very best. Which inevitably brings me back to "watching the football". I imagine that as was the case the last time around, La Famille Kessel will ease slowly into 2014 FIFA World Cup action, eventually ramping up interest as the meaning of the games increases (and if France makes a move, as in '06, getting downright rabid about it all). And as that happens our somewhat dusty black Samsung-emblazoned flat-panel Living Room window into the Global Village (clichés flowing thick and furious here at the end) will no doubt once again find its purpose.   1Is there anyone who isn’t German that likes to see Germany win at anything? 🙂

Related posts:

events fun stuff travel

A day at Newmarket Races

newmarket racecourse

First time at Newmarket Races yesterday. We had tickets courtesy of Adnams Brewery and met at 9.30 am at the West End Tap for a glass of champagne before setting off. It was a glorious sunny day and prospects were good.

I had bought a copy of the Racing Post in order to study the form in the (air-conditioned) charabanc that had been hired to carry us to the meet. Two pounds forty it was! The hidden cost of  day out at the races!

In the end I didn’t bother with form. It’s all too complicated, especially once you’ve had your first glass of champagne. For some races I picked the favourite, or one of the fancied horses, and for others I went for an outsider each way.

Needless to say only one came in. Reality is you only need one decent winner to offset all your other losses and the family will be pleased to know that in all I was only down £18 on the day. Not bad value for a whole day out at the races.

This doesn’t count the cost of the Racing Post plus a few other incidentals such as the Veuve Cliquot but it matter not – these things have to be done properly, innit.

Yesterday’s meet was flat racing. My first time at the flat, not that I’m a regular racegoer – Racing Post would have to drop its prices for that to happen. It did feel a bit strange that each race was just a out and out straight sprint. The horses would start as vague dots in the distance and gradually grow until you could see them properly and begin to get excited.

The only way to really get excited at the races btw is to have a bet. Otherwise it’s just one horse running trotting along against seemingly other identical horses and not in any way that is particularly interesting. Could just as well be donkeys or camels.

Most of the time the excitement is short lived. Even when you win the effect dies off pretty soon after collecting your winnings. It should be possible to measure the rate of decay of excitement:

dEr/dt= -λr Er

where λr is the Racing Excitement exponential decay constant and Er is Racing Excitement.

Note racing excitement is different to other forms of excitements which can have different shaped decay curves and sometimes even exhibit growth.

Also λr should not be confused with Racing Certainty (RC) which whilst often sought is totally mythological.

During the conceptualisation of this post the idea of researching the existence of  λr did spring to mind. Might even be able to get a grant to do it! However the notion of spending lots of time measuring the process of decaying “happiness” or the appearance of happiness somehow didn’t seem conducive to one’s own happiness especially when considering how much champagne would have to be drunk. λr will probably remain theoretical and unproven.

In the meantime there is a shed roof to felt and it’s looking like another beautiful spring day in the shire. A finished off shed = happiness with a very slow rate of decay λshed  ∞  🙂

My thanks to Nige and Lewis @Lewi_D84 from the West End Tap @WestTap in Lincoln for the invite  and their hospitality – try their beers.

newmarket parade ringThis ‘orse didn’t win although I’m sure it tried its best.
horse in newmarket parade ringSign outside the West End Tap. It’s all in the small print:)

free beer signOther good horse related reads:

Sgt Reckless in 3.15 at Cheltenham
Psst – wanna buy a racehorse?

End User events fun stuff gadgets google H/W internet mobile connectivity UC wearable

Band Camp Coincidences

Google Glass. Telephony. Synchronicity

At my age, you would think that I would be long past adolescent self-consciousness; that I wouldn’t feel awkward with the geeky way of thinking. A girl that I had a crush on back in the 2nd Grade said to me, “You talk funny. You talk like a scientist.”, referring to my vocabulary. At that age this wasn’t a compliment, nor was it really a criticism. It did not, though, bode well for any potential romantic entanglements.

On the way to the conference I find myself sitting next to two attractive, well dressed middle-age women, three abreast in the aisle seat. We start the long first leg of the flight with a little small talk. We are flying together from Dallas to Albuquerque, where they will leave the plane prior to its flying on to Seattle (my destination).

“What’s in Seattle?” they both ask.

I feel like I’m on my way to band camp. What do I say to them? I tell the truth.

“I’m going to speak at a conference on Content Management – a technology conference.”, I say.

“Oh. Technology stuff.”, from which they return to conversing among themselves for the remainder of the flight. It’s fine. I wanted time to think, anyway, to be quiet on the plane so that I could figure out what I am going to talk about at the conference. I booked the conference before deciding to leave my last corporate job. I opted to keep my commitment, though, and now I need to put my presentation in my own voice.

The plane is landing in Albuquerque. The small talk starts again, and it turns out that the two women also live in Austin. I hear them say something about two local radio hosts known as JB and Sandy. I ask a question regarding Sandy. They fill me in. It’s friendly, partly because we’re parting way in five minutes.

Nobody sits next to me on the Seattle leg of my flight, and I have time and space to think, to figure out a theme for my talk. I’m basically speaking on the lessons learned over the last year as a software team trying to buy the next generation of the solution instead of building the next generation of solution.

“Choosing a system is like a plane trip…”

“Choosing a system is like traveling through Mexico…”


competitions events fun stuff Weekend

Saturday Snapshot (26-April-2014)

“Honey, turn the car around! You have to see that!”

My Missus, who for a few weeks has been doing most of the driving due to some new out-of-the-blue concern over insurance coverage (I drive on a valid Texas driver’s license, not the Permis de Conduire I should have by this point, some 14+ years in-country), shoots me a hard questioning look, to which I respond with “I saw an amazing falcon, perched on a fence post by the side fo the road. You have to see it. Go back.”

No argument. At the roundabout coming up My Missus takes the full turn and heads back the way we just came. Soon enough, all four of us (The Boy has a friend visiting) catch the profile of the remarkable animal, still proudly perched on the same fence post. Maybe two minutes have passed since my initial sighting. Three tops.

A hushed “Wow.” and other such murmurs run through the car, which My Missus has pulled over to the side of the road opposite the bird of prey, but mostly we are all just holding our collective breath in awe. The falcon is truly magnificent, and his regal quality…palpable. We wait, we watch, and just as I am starting to think “Hey, isn’t that a camera on that strap around my neck…?”…he takes wing. A wildlife documentary all our own. And then time starts again, and we continue making our way to Houlgate for an afternoon of watching other things taking to the sky…kites!

Kites and Kites and Kites!Brit Kite In the Running

End User events Regs

Larging it up in London – the NLC and American Bar at the Savoy

lloyd_georgeNight on the tiles last night. Dinner with Julian Huppert at the National Liberal Club followed by cocktails at London’s oldest cocktail bar – the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel.

I was thinking of using the American Bar for last year’s Xmas bash. Ended up not doing so because the capacity was only 78 persons, you couldn’t book it and a cocktail was around fifteen quid a go.

I’ve only been there once before. That was after my first year in Uni in 1981. Out on the town with my London based cousins we passed the Savoy and popped in for a swift one. It was very swift. Two halves of lager and a bourbon were £4.50. This was when a pint in my local was forty pence!

Last night seven drinks came to

Business events UC webrtc

4th UC Industry Executive Dinner

Business events

Advanced notice – blogging suspended due to #trefbash2013

Trefor DaviesThis is to let you know not to expect anything coherent (ok ok I know what some of you are going to say…) out of this site until probably Tuesday. Technological revolutions can come and go and scoops, news, reviews, snippets, gleanings and gossip will pass by unnoticed.

This is because tonight is #trefbash2013. An annual event designed for the readers of this blog to let what hair they have left, down. There is no hidden agenda at these events. They are simply there to have a good time and this for a substantial majority of the attendees means drinking lots of booze. Last year having started at 5.30 we finally finished at 3am, somewhere in SoHo – anyone who knows me will know that it is a miracle for me to stay awake beyond 10ish – praise be.

This year we are planning to drink more champagne  than in 2012 with relaxation further aided by a vodka luge in the shape of an elephant’s head. The vodka comes out of the trunk. I have been told of other shapes that these luges can be sculpted into, for hen parties for example. This is not such a party or such a design.

In 2013 we are hoping to avoid the damages roll of 2012 in which suits were ruined whilst falling off Boris Bikes, heads split open and subsequently glued to bed sheets and trips to casualty. All separate incidents. But we shall see.

Being effectively a two day event you should expect no posting on Friday and seeing as I have a Lonap board meeting all day Monday that too will be probably be devoid of any new material.

I will have photos again this year courtesy of the magnificent Buzz from Timico engineering. If I get a chance before Tuesday I will stick them up.

Sorry if you are not coming tonight. The tickets go “on sale” sometime in September and you have to be fairly quick off the mark to bag one. Numbers are limited by the capacity of the venue and in any case there comes a point where you can have too many people at a party.

To those who will be there I’m looking forward to seeing you. There is a dress code but I have no idea what it is although I have been telling people it’s “pink tutus” so come in whatever is comfortable. I have a new bow tie for the occasion.

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#trefbash2013 update

phoenixbar_headerIn my original announcement for #trefbash2013 I said that I wouldn’t be providing any food but that guests could order from the standard menu and pay for their own.

Well I’m pleased to report that due to the generosity of sponsorship this year I have been able to chuck in some nosh so make sure you don’t eat before you come. The menu is below. Just what you need to line the stomach for all that champagne.

Beef Rogan Josh
Chicken Jalfrezi
Vegetable Dhansak

Coriander infused rice

Naan Bread, Mango Chutney, Mint and Yoghurt Raita, Onion, Tomato and Coriander Raita and Lime Pickle

We are also having what is being termed as a “Tref Special”: a separate vindaloo/phal curry sauce for those who wish to try their luck. If you don’t like curry I’m very sorry – there is a kebab shop down the road.

The evening will also feature a very “cool” item – you will have to wait until you get there to see what it is.

Starts at 17.30. Not sure what time to have the food yet – was thinking 20.00 but happy to take advice. Maybe 19.30. We will have the Jeff Brown Quartet to entertain us plus Colin Dudman filling in the gaps on the piano.

Note this event is sold out.

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Champagne drinkers outselling the rest 22hours into #trefbash2013 launch #bigdata

champagne_thumbBigdata is trendy and I have a little bit of big data here for your interest (or not – might be totally boring). Out of 75 tickets “sold” in the 22 hours since the announcement of  #trefbash2013 went live 24 were “champagne drinkers”, 17 “volume beer drinkers”, 14 Hard core vodka types”, 13 “friends of Tref” and 7 “sophisticated  cocktail drinkers”.

Considering that most of these people are in the tech industry the fact that champagne drinkers are leading the way says volumes about the amount of cash sloshing about in this business. I suspect that had there not been a champagne category then most of them would have gone for the cocktail drinker tickets.

In a male dominated engineering world there are always going to be a fair number of volume beer drinkers. These guys I guess are more likely to stay the pace than any of the other ticket types except perhaps the friends of Tref. Considering this was the teetotal ticket type (poetry there) I am both surprised and touched by the fact that 13 of you have held up your hands and said we were pals. Thanks guys 🙂

Like the two year run up to the US Presidential Election this is a story that will run and run, at least until all the tickets have sold out and we have recovered from the party.

Ciao baby (puts middle finger into mouth and makes champagne cork popping sound)…

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Announcing #trefbash2013

Bar at London's Phoenix Artist ClubThe xmas bash 2013 is on Thursday 12th December. This year we are back at SoHo’s Phoenix Artist Club. When you have a winning recipe why change it. We even have the same musical line up with the Jeff Brown quartet and international jazz pianist Colin Dudman. Last year we drank 53 bottles of champagne. That record has to be beaten in 2013.

As usual we have a terrific line up of sponsors, many of who support the event year after year: Timico,NewNetGenband, IPCortex, SiphonProvuAVM, Daisy, imtechict, XConnect, Magrathea and Yealink. We couldn’t have the bash without the help of these great companies.

Jeff Brown at the Phoenix Artist ClubIt’s a 5.30 start until late. Book a hotel room for the night and take the Friday off. This is one hell of a bash. If you haven’t been to a trefbash before you can check out last year’s video here.

Only book a ticket if you plan on coming – this event will be oversubscribed. Note there is going to be an open bar until the not insubstantial kitty runs out. You will be able to order and pay for your own food which is very reasonably priced.

You can book a ticket below or via the eventbrite page. See ya there?


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Joint Lonap/ISPA bash

Lonap and ISPA are having a bit of a bash in September. If you are a member of either org or not a member and but in the internet industry and potentially a member, we want to see you there.

It’s on 24th September at the Phoenix Artist Club in London. Check out the details here.

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official video – #trefbash 2012 @phoenixartistcb

You saw the photos now watch the video. Massive thanks to Michael and the team at Fides Media for their support with this. Use their services 🙂

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photographic evidence of a great night #trefbash 2012

The annual #trefbash was the best one so far. Held last Thursday at the PhoenixArtistClub a packed house partied into the wee small hours to the tunes of the Jeff Brown Jazz All Stars and Colin Dudman on piano. Great venue, great entertainment, great party.

These bashes are attended by a wonderful mix of industry types and Timico customers and business partners and this year we were fortunate to have the service of award winning photographer and Director of Big Brother Watch Nick Pickles to capture the many moments from the evening.

I think I will just let the pictures speak for themselves. I seem to appear in a lot of them but hey, I’m clearly very photogenic:)

If you missed it you missed out. Next year’s is already  booked for Thursday 12th December. Stick it in your diary. Click on the individual pics a couple of times to enlarge. Also look out for the party video coming later this week.

Another huge thanks to the sponsors Timico, NewNet, Redwood Telecom, PowerNet, Genband, RTP Solutions, O2 Wholesale, Fluidata,  Siphon,  Provu Communications, Fides Media and IPCortex for helping to make it all happen.

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Tonight is #trefbash night. Details here. If you couldn’t make it follow the action, if there is any ( 🙂 ) on the #trefbash hashtag.


End User events

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll and a quiet cup of tea backstage? – Rolling Stones at the O2

Inside the O2 for the Rolling Stones Concert 25/11/12I’d like you to hold out an arm at full stretch rolling stones in concert at the O2with your little finger sticking out. Left or right arm – it doesn’t matter which. In the mid 80s I went to see Bruce Springsteen at Roundhay Park in Leeds. There was an enormous queue of cars coming off the M1 to get there and we eventually had to abandon ours in a side street and walk the rest of the way. When we got to the park it was packed and we were so far from the stage that Bruce was half the height of the fingernail that you see before you, assuming you followed instructions 🙂

Last night at the Rolling Stones concert at the O2 was a different story. Thanks to the O2 angel - very helpful & had our tickets and wristbands ready to collect.generosity of O2 we had great tickets – maybe two cricket pitch lengths from the front of the catwalk. Mick Jagger was two or three times the size of that fingernail.

You’ll all have read or heard the reviews already so there’s no need for me to go in to detail. I will say that Mick’s voice was incredible showing no signs of age.  Although most of the band looked pretty shrivelled the quality of the entertainment was top notch and we got to see Bill Wyman, Mick Turner and Jeff Beck join them at various stages of therolling stones gorilla - you know it makes sense evening.

The O2 as a venue has to be the best place I’ve been to see a concert. The sound quality is great and it is really easy to pop to the bar to bring drinks back to your seats. We had access to the O2 lounge which meant we could check our coats in and grab a couple of cocktails before the band came on stage. The lounge also has a lift that takes you up to just behind where your seats are. Life is made easy.

The only disappointment of the night was that they didn’t play “Satisfaction”. Apparentlycrowded tube - that's Dan Cunliffe of O2 wholesale in shot they were running late and hit the hard stop time of 23.00hrs. They were on stage for nigh on 2hours and 30 mins which is good going at the age of seventy.

After the gig we hit the O2 lounge again and just managed to catch the last westbound tube at 23.45. Would have been a bit of a problem had we missed that. There is no way we could have caught a cab with that many people there.

The short tube ride into town was a story in itself. We were crammed in like vacuum packed sardines – not the ordinary tinned variety swimming in tomato sauce. I wanted to take a photo but my phone had run out of juice so a friendly Dutchman named Robert Jan Pabon did the honours and then emailed it to me. The power of communication. Robert was there with his wife Katja. Lovely couple. We got very close, on the tube – there was no choice :). Thanks for the pic Robert. Have a safe trip back to Holland.

The guy in the photo is Dan Cunliffe from O2. Top bloke. You have to hand it to O2. They know how to do business.

It strikes me as I write that the world has changed massively since the Stones started their careers. At the time there would have been no Personal Computers – we are talking almost back to the days of Colossus at Bletchley Park. No mobile phones, no internet. Even the TV probably had only two or three channels (all you need) and was in black and white. All they really had was sex and drugs and rock and roll. Ahh the good old days…

Bellowhead at the Engine Shed in LincolnI’ll leave you with the observation that it’s been a weekend of gigs – the Rolling Stones last night preceded by Bellowhead at the Engine Shed in Lincoln on Friday. Bellowhead were fantastic and I urge you to go and see them. I bought their LP – my first vinyl purchase for perhaps 25 years. Apparently it’s coming back into fashion. Get with it you lot.

Thanks again to O2 for a terrific Sunday evening out. Quality.

PS check out the crowd video here.

PPS you can put your arm down now!

End User events

The all round good guys go first but there is room for a free thinker

Bar at London's Phoenix Artist ClubThat’s “All round good guys”, “VIP exclusives” and “Champagne drinkers” sold out with only 6 each of “Free thinkers” and “Party animals” left.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about you’re probably not planning on coming. It was interesting to see that the good guys went first closely followed by the VIPs. I think that free thinkers and party animals are a good match – I suspect they are one and the same though there is always the odd exception.

Once they’re gone they’re gone though if you have already had a person invite and not got your name down don’t worry – just remind me and I’ll stick you on the list at the door. That’s it for now.

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Announcing the 2012 xmas bash – SOLD OUT

Bar at London's Phoenix Artist Club

welcome to the Phoenix Artist club

I’m really really excited about this year’s Xmas bash. Last year’s was a raging success at the Booking Office Bar. This year we are moving to the Phoenix Artist Club. Where do I hear you say?

The  Phoenix Artist Club is a super cool members only joint (yes I am a member) slap bang in the middle of SoHo. It’s got bags of character and a piano which is going to be put to good use by international jazz pianist (and my kids’ piano teacher)piano at Phoenix Artist Club Colin Dudman.

We are talking 5.30pm until 2am on Thursday 13th December for this year’s most anticipated party. Dress code is party gear, or whatever you like really – fancy dress even, though you might be the only one…

This year’s bash has been made possible by some very generous sponsors to who I would like to extend my sincerest thanks: Timico, NewNet, Redwood Telecom, PowerNet, Genband, RTP Solutions, O2 Wholesale, Fluidata,  Siphon,  ProvuThe bar area at the Phoenix Artist Club Communications and IPCortex.

Tickets are free and can be obtained here. members lounge at Phoenix Artist Clubsmile all you like at this crocodile at the Phoenix Artist Clubbar at Phoenix Artist Club

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IPCortex 10th birthday bash TNMOC Bletchley Park

I’m off to Milton Keynes this morning. Speaking at IPCortex’s 10th anniversary birthday bash. This evening I’m also being the Auctioneer at their charity fundraiser in aid of The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

I have lots of experience with charity auctions, though usually from the perspective of someone sticking their hand in the air to buy something. My wife makes me sit on my hands these days.

The first auction I ever went to was at Thos Mawer & Sons in Lincoln. I had been sent to buy a green settee for the TV room. “Twenty quid should do it” I was told. It came to the bidding and zoom – I lost it to someone else – for twenty quid! I didn’t even get a look in it all happened  so quickly.

Feeling that I shouldn’t go home totally empty handed I bought four wooden chairs for a pound (plus 15 pence buyer’s premium). When I got them home they were clearly rubbish and not suitable for our kitchen so I threw them on the woodpile at the bottom of the garden and they got used for kindling. Turns out this is the cheapest way to buy kindling 🙂

I’ve got loads of other auction stories but you will have to come to Bletchley Park to hear them.


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save the date – xmas bash 2012

For those of you who come to my Christmas bash I’ve booked the venue for the 2012 gig. The date is Thursday 13th December. I’ll be announcing more details at the beginning of October but I can tell you it’s going to be a humdinger.

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Facebook events and doorlists

carnival time at the Davies'We had an A List party at our house on Saturday night.Hard men manning the door - street urchin hovering in background hoping to catch sight of some A-Listers The full monty – marquee in the grounds, caterers, fully manned bar and state of the art entertainment system etc etc. We even had security – nothing too in your face except at the initial checkpoint on the door. All very polite.  Although the men at the door were hard bastards they were fully trained hard bastards in dinner suits, all very discrete but you know they were there. You felt safe.

Your name, as is customary with these events, had to be on the official guest list, all pre-approved. Nobody got in who wasn’t meant to get in although the queue at one point ran down the drive and all the way round the corner.

And now we get to the point of this post which is that all of this was organised on Facebook. The attendee list was kept on an iPad by one of the doormen and everyone was checked off as they came in through the door. It must only be a matter of time until Facebook moves in on Eventbrite’s space.

Much of this party was organised online – lights, music playlist (iTunes), flooring, giant buzzer game (no idea what you call it really but the buzzer went off very loudly if the hand held thingy touched the wire). The music ran off an iPod and the DJ used a turntable / mixer app on his iPhone.

The only manual bits were the cake order from the bakers up the road, the food and booze from a large multinational retailer (could even have ordered that online for home delivery but part of the fun is going there and choosing) and the sound system which was borrowed from a mate (many thanks to Jeremy Dawkins of Next Event for this). I did also call the very excellent 18th Bailgate Scouts to ask to borrow their marquee though that too could have been done via email.

Other than handing out the cash & vetting the proposals there wasn’t much for me to do. I now have an adult daughter who will I’m sure repay me many times over by occasionally remembering her old man when she flies the coop and makes her own way in the big wide world. I will if nothing else be able to keep in touch with her on Facebook 🙂

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Thanks to everyone for making #trefbash 2011such a big success

Big thanks to everyone who came to the tweetup last night. I think the general consensus is that it was a huge success. Special thanks go to all the sponsors.  Couldn’t have made it happen without you. Also the venue was a  stunner and the staff at the hotel looked after us superbly.

I’ll stick some photos up next week when I get them back from the chemist though the dim lighting was not hugely conducive to good photography with a smartphone. In the meantime if anyone else has any decent ones please could they send me them.

Also next week I will be putting up more info re the world record attempt I announced last night. Watch this space.

That’s all for now. I’ve got the day off:)

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The glamour and glitz of the ISP world

line up of Timico staff on stage for the Newark Business AwardsThis post is up just so that you can see the lineup on stage as we collected our Newark Business Awards Business of the Year prize (holiday in Necker Island, Upper Class flights, Rolls Royce etc – the plaque is just for display in reception back at the office). It may be clearly seen that good looks are one of the qualifications for working at Timico1.

To my right are Saira Khan of “The Apprentice” fame and Joanna Parlby of the Newark Advertiser. From Timico are Scott Wroe, Suzie Hodges, Nadine Edmondson, Katie Nicholas, Sandra Hine, Andrew Fox, Dawn Spear and Jo Barker.

Just for reference Suzie is the one with the Brazilian headdress. She has a collection which is watered daily. We have very progressive advanced refined tastes in fashion at Timico.

1 no clever comments please – just appreciation 🙂