Business voip hardware

Time of Day traffic and the Patterns of Life by Colin Duffy

This is a Time of Day telephony traffic graph – I’ve been looking at them for most of my working life. For a normal business day they pretty much always look like this:

This is how business people use telephones on a normal working day.

They generally get into the office and start making calls at about 9am, work steadily up to about midday, then have a spot of lunch. They come back at 2pm and start calling again, then everything starts tailing off about 4pm as people start thinking of home – or beer, or both.

Telephone exchanges have to be built to cope with the traffic at the busiest hour of the day so since the very earliest days of telecommunications telephone companies have been trying to reduce the height of those peaks and spread the load more evenly.

A call at a peaks adds a cost but a call either side of a peak adds a profit.

As you can see, the network is doing practically nothing after 6pm

agricultural End User

The Christmas tree season is upon us

As my express speeds trundles at a modest pace in a Southerly direction, laden with the additional passengers of two earlier broken down trains (or simlar) I note a conversation on Twitter turning to Christmas trees and decorations.

At this juncture it would be remiss of me not to draw your attention to a post from one year ago in which the science of growing Christmas trees was explored along with techniques of wrapping kids using a tree bagging machine.

We Davies’ do not consider putting up Christmas decs until around mid December but I do realise that there are some enthusiasts out there who like to get in the swing early. Presumably they don’t use a real tree if they put it up in November as all the needles will have fallen off by the big day.

It is at Christmas that cultural differences do come to the surface in our house. Anne likes outside lights, I don’t. Unfortunately (it’s all about perspective) I think ours are broken. Ah well. We also have the annual hunt for the sets of Christmas tree lights that work. In the old days it was a matter of hunting down and replacing the bulb that was broken – otherwise the whole lot wouldn’t work. And you could only get one type. These days lights are almost disposable – if they don’t work just buy another set. Unfortunately I haven’t quite got that in my mindset yet so we still have to separate the good from the bad, once they have all been untangled, which is another story.

This Christmas will also represent a (quite sad) milestone where all four kids “know”. It makes it easier in some respects as we don’t have to wield threats of instant torture for revealing the truth but it  represents the passing of an era, a great era in the life of any family.

Now that I’m momentarily (we have to remember it is still only November 27th) in a nostalgic Christmassy mood I have to reconfirm that I am a huge fan. Two of our kids are now away from home and it is we the parents who now are the ones that get excited about the holiday.

Also I’m not a Christian but I like the tradition, the constancy of the time of year. We do the same things year after year. This tradition is expanding to include events like the #trefbash which is in it’s fourth year and also the Carol Singing night in the Morning Star pub in Lincoln. We get together around the piano and bash out a couple of hours of carols accompanied by a few pints and some mince pies. This is open to all – if you want to come the details are on Facebook here.

Happy November.

Business voip

Tickets available for ITSPA Christmas Dinner

The build up for Christmas has begun. Well it starts to build up in our house in January as Anne buys up cheap Christmas cards and wrapping paper in the sales. Nevertheless it really is building up now.

With that in mind ITSPA is for the first time having a Christmas lunch sponsored by Magrathea.

5th December 2013
The Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe, London
12.30pm for 1pm start

Tickets cost £65+VAT per person for ITSPA members and £90+VAT per person for non-members
To register please RSVP to [email protected]

We have a very interesting and highly entertaining guest speaker in Simon Burckhardt, MD of Vonage UK.

Get on down…

Business ecommerce

Christmas shopping was never fun

Santa seen on Timico premisesOur daughter, who is away at university, has very thoughtfully taken the pain away from our Christmas shopping by sending us (or her mum at least) a number of links to items she wants for Christmas. Easy peasy – we just have to forward the emails to Santa with endorsements – yes pair of jeans/no new car for him to take care of the logistics.

When you think about it why on earth would anyone in their right mind want to traipse around the shops buying Christmas presents. It has always been a nightmare. Online shopping was born for this very purpose.

A number of years ago my wife requested a very simple Christmas present. She wanted the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” board game. Anne comes from a long tradition of playing games on Christmas afternoon which despite the clash with the established Davies practice of falling asleep on the settee in front of the fire she wished to continue.

No probs think I. On Christmas eve afternoon I traipsed down town to buy the game. No way Jose. I tried 8 shops. All any of them had available was the junior version. Beads of perspiration began to form on my brow. As a last resort I went to Tesco. Same there. I ended up buying the junior version which of course had easy ish questions together with a book of harder adult questions, but not the actual game she wanted.

I piled some more presents on for good measure but knew it would not be good enough. Anne is not a material girl. All she wanted was simply “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, the board game.

Came Christmas morning and amid the frenzy of wrapping paper flying across the living room Anne eventually looked around for her present. Unwrapping her present the disappointment was palpable.  My feeling of guilt, total. I had let my girl down. The girl who sacrifices everything for the sake of her family.

There was nothing I could do but drown my guilt in copious quantities of champagne whilst Anne selflessly returned to the isolation of the kitchen and her own thoughts.

From that year onwards I have never left the Christmas shopping to the last minute. Hooray for the world wide web. Hooray for online shopping. And whilst I think of it hooray for Christmas parties. Come to mine 🙂

PS sometime before Christmas remind me to tell you the story of when I left Hannah’s main present in the store room of the office and had to retrieve it on boxing day!

agricultural Business

The technical business of Christmas trees & the art of netting a boy

a field of 4 year old Christmas treesTrefor Davies and Xmas tree farmer William RoseChristmas trees. You plant ‘em, they grow for a few years, you chop ‘em down and shove em in your living room for a few short weeks.  By the time the needles start to fall off their job is done and they are consigned to the pile of rubbish at the bottom of the garden. Right?

Well no not really. There is science in growing Christmas trees. Technology even! As you may know I live in a very agricultural county where we are experts on growing things and in the small rural hamlet of Fillingham they grow them in their tens of thousands.

Fillingham Trees grow a hundred acres of them divided between Nordman, Norway, Blue Spruce and Lodgepole pines.  In the dim and distant past I played a few games of rugby with owner William Rose (pictured right) and I met him at his farm in Fillingham to chat about the growing business of growing Christmas trees.

Xmas tree from FillinghamDid you know it takes 8 – 10 years to grow a 6 foot Nordman Fir? The Nordman represents 80% of the market because it doesn’t drop its needles. Also these trees don’t “just grow”. They are shaped, manually over the course of their growing life. Growth inhibitors are applied twice a year and once a year the middle bud from each new branch is nipped out so that the tree spreads into a nice shape. That happens to each tree individually and with around 7,000 trees to the hectare that’s roughly 280,000 trees hand pruned, every year!

Norway’s are cheaper because they grow more quickly. It’s easy to work out that with all the manual care in the case of Christmas trees, time in the ground actually does represent a cost.

The seeds for these trees come from mountainsides in northern Russia. At Fillingham they plant their trees as 15cm high transplants bought in from a nursery as opposed to growing them from seed. They plant thousands in a day using specialist tree planting kit.

Growing Christmas trees is a very competitive business. We buy 7 million of them a year in the UK and a lot of farmers will want a piece of the action. At Fillingham they employ innovative marketing techniques that include a Facebook page. The season opened this year on 24th November and for two weeks punters have been able to ride around the farm on a tractor trailer to choose their own tree. The tree of choice is then labelled ready for cutting down and collection at a time that suits the customer. Innovative.

Christmas tree barn at Fillingham TreesTheir ultimate success though is based on producing a quality product year after year and this is reflected in their wholesale sales of between 20,000 and 25,000 trees shipped to places as far as the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. Wow!

In one sense the Christmas tree is the ultimate genetically modified product. Many seeds come from the same “mother” tree so in theory they should all look the same. Nature doesn’t work like that though and many trees grow malformed, perhaps because of the weather or animal damage. Nordmans are also affected by needle necrosis which can turn the needles brown overnight and render the tree unsaleable.

Just like we like our fruit and veg in perfect condition we have the same attitude towards our Christmas trees. Imperfect trees are left in the ground and at the end of the season mulched and ploughed back into the soil. Brutal! 🙂

Anyway that’s about it on Christmas trees other than to introduce the following two videos. The first is how to “net” a tree for transportation using a mechanised tree netter. The second is how to net a boy for a laugh using a manual netter. You know it makes sense.

Good luck to Fillingham trees and thanks to William for the guided tour. I hope their season goes well and they enjoy a well-earned Christmas break.

Business voip

Plug for ITSPA Christmas Dinner (hope it isn’t turkey)

The ITSPA Xmas dinner - you know it makes senseI’m going to the ITSPA Christmas Dinner on 5th December (2012). Are you? This year it is at Roux at Parliament Square c/o Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Parliament Square in London.

It’s a great opportunity to network with people in the VoIP/Internet Telephony space and we have Peter Dawe, founder of Pipex1 coming along to do a bit of a talk – amusing anecdotes, incisive views etc.

My one concern with Christmas dinners is that I find turkey to be such a boring meat that it should be reserved for Christmas Day itself, assuming we have to have turkey, and not produced on any other occasion just because Christmas is “just around the corner”. I don’t mind Christmas pud though. I quite like Christmas pud with a bit of brandy butter.

That is all. If you want to come along email [email protected] or call 020 3397 3312.

1 many of you won’t be old enough to remember Pipex 🙂

Cloud End User fun stuff

2 days til Santa comes yay

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Concert Band play for the good folks in Waitrose in Lincoln

big wheel outside the Liverpool Echo Arena before last night of Paul McCartney tourThis is undoubtedly one of my favourite times of the year. When you are a believer like me the run up to Christmas Eve is very exciting. I start going to bed early and being a good boy so that there can be no question in Santa’s mind that he should be making that important stop in Lincoln.

Paul McCartney at the Liverpool Echo Arena for the last night of his tour - stunning concert as usualThe mince pie, carrot and brandy get put out before I go to bed and it always amazes me how Santa can get down what must still be a red hot chimney after that fire has been going all evening. The next day he and the reindeer have always scoffed the lot. Every year, without fail.

Timico management team at black tie dinner in private room at Stapleford Park hotelThe run up to the big days is always busy and this year has been no exception. This week has been a particularly good one with a trip to see Paul McCartney at the last night of his tour in the Liverpool Echo Arena.
Eleanor Turner - internationally renowned harpist entertains at the Timico management dinner

Stapleford Park in Leicestershire - qualityWe also had the annual Timico management bash, this time at Stapleford Park.

Stapleford, if you have never been, is a stunningly luxurious country house hotel in Leicestershire – former seat of some duke or other and surrounded by Capability Brown landscapes.I chat with Eleanor Turner who is listening politely to my drivel

You know what it’s like, champagne, cocktails, port, brandy, that kind of stuff. We’d do it more often if it was up to me.

We were lucky enough to be entertained by top international harpist Eleanor Turner who lives locally. Brilliant stuff though the team needs to stick to managing a business because carol singing accompanied by a harp is not their strong point.

The pic on the right is of me wowing Eleanor with my witty and erudite after dinner conversation.

It’s been another great year in business and on the blog. In fact it’s been a great year all round. To all friends out there have a wonderful Christmas break and I look forward to engaging with you anew in a slightly toned down January – life can’t keep going at the same pace when you get to my age you know!

I will be working between Christmas and New year – data centres to launch, world records to smash etc – so keep your eye open for news. Your help is required. 🙂

broadband End User

Holiday (Broadband Browsing) Traffic – Internet Style

Holiday broadband browsing traffic, nice and fluid.

Thought you might be interested to see the traffic patterns for holiday broadband browsing habits.  Bear in mind that Timico is a primarily B2B ISP so when offices are closed or almost empty it is reasonable to think that internet usage will drop off.  This is quite possibly the converse of the situation for a consumer ISP.  All those workers sat at home with nothing better to do than gorge on chocolates, drink beer and watch iPlayer.


xmastraffic1You can see quite clearly how the Bank Holiday broadband browsing traffic resembles that of a weekend. Christmas Eve also show a dramatic ramp-down. Not surprising really. It is a dream driving into the office on these days with no cars on the road.  Someone has to keep the internet going 🙂 .

Business fun stuff

Santa pays a visit

Santa made it to Timico early this year – some vids below include him meeting some of the staff – they have all been good boys and girls in 2009.

Santa visits the sales floor

Santa visits the Network Operations team

Business fun stuff

Have A Good Christmas

I’m shutting down now until Monday 29th. Happy Christmas to all my friends and readers.  Here’s hoping that Santa recognises that I’ve been a good boy all year!

End User fun stuff

Duck Suicide Rate Rises In Run Up To Christmas

Apparently suicide amongst ducks is on the rise in the run up to Christmas. This latest victim was clearly unable to cope with the pressures that come at this time of year.

Speculation is rife amongst the Timico Network Operations Team as to what made this particular individual “go over the edge”. On the surface what to the outside world looked like a cheery duck clearly had an inner angst.

The team offered the following possible explanations:

  • The duck’s pension fund was tied up in the stock market, and Woolworths in particular
  • He couldn’t face having the family over to stay during the festive period
  • There are other more sinister reasons involving a knife and fork and an orange…

Whatever the explanation our thoughts are with the family. It is not known whether the trend is also being seen amongst other members of the poultry community.

If anyone can shed any more light on this tragedy please leave a comment. Remember a duck is not just for Christmas. It tastes great at any time of year 🙂