broadband travel Weekend

Cygnets seen during today’s walk to work

Cygnets at Lincoln’s Brayford Pool

My walk to work always bring new sights. You see a lot more at my gentle strolling pace than when you are stuck in a car waiting at traffic lights, queuing at junctions and generally polluting the atmosphere.

This morning I came across this swan and her three cygnets. I can’t imagine the cygnets are more than a couple of weeks old although I’m no expert on this subject. The photograph was taken from behind railings only a few feet away. The swan remained calm but I’d like to bet that if I’d tried to get closer  to the cygnets she would have let me know it didn’t make a lot of sense. I assume it was a she but I’m not sure how you tell the difference.

At lunchtime on my way to the gym I spotted some blokes with a white van laying some fibre. I wanted to take a photo but felt this would have been a little conspicuous. Odd even (hey 🙂 ). Apparently we have a new building on campus that is being lit.

Around 5ish I set off for home. Didn’t notice if the cygnets were still there.  I have a very steep hill to walk up, called Steep Hill funnily enough. We are simple folk in Lincoln. Like to tell it like it is. Walking up Steep Hill is a challenge at the best of times but when you’ve been to the gym it is especially hard going. Must be doing me good, I’d imagine.

This is broadband week on So far this week we have had 12 posts, including this one which is nothing to do with broadband unless you count the fibre laying. It’s been noticeable that whilst on a typical day we get 15% return visits this week it’s been more like 20% per day. That’s more of our “regulars” coming back for the broadband themed week. As time goes by (You must remember this…) we will be having more themed weeks, now that we have the new site theme and hopefully will build up the visitor numbers.

There is still a fair bit to do before the site is finished. We are currently working on improving the sharing buttons – the plug in being used is a bit hit and miss with the shares. The comments system is also not as seamless as I would like. The previous design used the built in comment facility. This has been moved to Disqus on the basis that it is one of the leading systems in the game. However I’m not too impressed with it. Disqus adds more steps to the commenting process and whilst some of this week’s posts have attracted a reasonable level of comment I’d like to bet that some of you have abandoned the process due to the number of clicks you have had to make.

Anyway, more anon. Got a football match to watch. Ciao bebe.

eleanor cross End User

Eleanor Cross for Lincoln – the carving starts

lincoln eleanor cross face

The carving of the new Eleanor Cross for Lincoln starts.

Amazing that something of beauty can emerge from within a solid piece of rock – the mantra of the in awe armchair philosopher down the ages when describing a sculpture.

This series of photos shows the start of the carving process. The videos are a short interview with Alan Ward describing the task in hand and one of him doing some carving. On this occasion I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Eleanor cross stone

lincoln eleanor cross taking shape

alanward carves eleanor cross

Other Lincoln Eleanor Cross posts

Eleanor Cross for Lincoln – a project of national significance
Eleanor Cross – choosing the stone

End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – Race Day Preparation

In my house I’m known as Last Minute Paulie, as ‘Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?’ is a motto one could easily associate with me. Rather than get the lawn mower out this week, for instance, I’ve been happily watching the grass grow, employing the ready excuse of it being too damp while bestowing the virtues of a natural meadow look to the chap a couple of doors down who obviously doesn’t approve.

In spite of my proclivity to procrastinate, though, to ensure a good race day experience I am planning to be prepared way in advance. By that I mean sitting on my backside, browsing running websites for tips and not acting on them. As you would expect, of course, the advice to be had is entirely practical.  Pace yourself…eat the right amounts of the right foods…make sure to use the facilities before the gun goes off…etcetera and so forth. I know, though, from my limited racing experience that these mostly-helpful websites will fail to mention the following:wpid-imag0265_1.jpg

Enjoy running on the road.  In the first road race I ever took part in I was almost overwhelmed at the realization that the road was closed especially for me and my fellow racers, and with every race since I have enjoyed the same feeling. In fact, this is almost worth the entry fee alone, especially as the local residents have no doubt been moaning about it on social media for a few weeks prior.

End User fun stuff Weekend

Lincoln 10K – Legacy

As I’ve written previously, I only ended up entering the Lincoln 10K as the route goes through one of the grids from The Lincoln A to Z map, which is due to the overly convoluted radio program I present. Each episode is constructed from what we find in a randomly selected grid square. The route of the Lincoln 10K goes through this grid three times, so I’ll be running through the grid describing the scenes and my feelings and Jonny, the programs producer, has elected that he will describe events from the spectators point of view.

So far we have completed 30 of the 52 grids, which the esteemed Trefor Davies also contributes his glorious verbal dexterity to. The program has given me a different way of viewing the city. As I ride on the cycle path, past the ‘only just out of town’ retail park, I remember the miserable, drizzly morning we spent trying not to moan too much  about our consumer driven concrete surroundings.

Lincoln being the place I have spent most of my life has personal memories scattered all over its landscape. One grid stands out though, the grid where, with my family, we watched the Olympic flame being passed from one of the torch bearers to another. I’ll never forget the look on that mans face as he received the flame, its was a ‘lottery win plus your team beating your nearest rivals 5 – 0 multiplied by the birth of your children’ kind of look, one that illustrated joy, excitement and emotion. I’m please I wasn’t one of the many experiencing this moment by looking through a smartphone, its burnt onto my memory banks and from that moment on, the Olympics transformed from being the usual British pavement looking attitude to seeing just how high we could soar.

When we revisited that grid for the program, Jonny and I asked the question “Has the legacy of that incredible few weeks lived on?”

If the Olympics was like a euphoric time when you and your friends went on a bender and beat the night, the word ‘legacy’ had just about sounded out of the closing ceremony when the inevitable hangover over of the sports funding cuts hit. The highfalutin sports – sailing and equestrian faded back out of the grasps of the underclass  and you could almost hear the water being drained out of swimming pools when British swimmers didn’t reap success at the following world championships. Just lately, The Royal Mail had a PR disaster when they didn’t reward our successful Winter Olympians and Paralympians with a gold post box. The legacy it seems isn’t worth the price of a pot of gold paint.

The good news is that 2 days before the Lincoln 10K we get to see the inspirational Winter Paralympic athlete Jade Etherington take part in an open top bus parade. The tour will also take in schools the day before the pupils take part in road races too. Huge congratulations to Jade and lets hope we can relive a little of that magic time and inspire the Lincoln 10k runners.


Paul Tyler presents Lincoln A to Z on Siren FM


End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – The Bad Run

Thursday Morning

The radio program I present, Lincoln A to Z, is formulated by 52 randomly selected grids from the Lincoln A to Z map. We have a basic structure, but the tone and timbre of each program is guided by the contents of the grid. Out of the 30 programs we’ve made so far, its fair to say that a couple have left my producer and I scratching our heads and wondering what went wrong. By no means are these programs terrible, they just didn’t flow or turn out how we planned.

OK, one was particularly terrible, but once the program was over we retired to the office (pub) to discuss how to improve and avoid making the same mistakes again.

During a period of training, at least one run will be atrocious. It can be the simplest thing that knocks you, a stitch, traffic lights or tripping over a dog. Its frustrating at the time, feelings of failure kick in, heightened by the fact that you are out of breath. But I know that like the occasional below par radio programs (you try making an hour and a half radio program about a bungalow heavy street in suburbia), I know that its not the end of the world and that rather than it be a failure, it is in fact these hiccups that make you better in the long run.

The internet, bless it, is full of annoyingly positive statements like this:

End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – Habits

I once had an idea for a radio program based on Top 10 Lists. I shared this idea with a very talented and occasionally furious radio producer, who informed me that “Lists are what people produce when they run out of ideas”.


So with that in mind here’s a list of my bad running habits.

eleanor cross End User

Eleanor Cross statue project – choosing the stone with artist Alan Ward #lincolneleanor

quarry_landscapeChoosing the stone for the new Eleanor Cross for Lincoln project at the CDS quarry in Metheringham Heath.

measuring rock for Eleanor CrossLast week we covered the launch event for the new Eleanor Cross project for Lincoln. It’s been quite a wait to get the right piece of rock to start carving the statue. The quarry is only digging out new rock on a few days a month and often the pieces that come out are not of a suitable size or shape.

Moreover whilst the giant digging equipment that is occasionally brought can handle them the larger “lumps” are difficult to move using the quarry’s onsite kit and have to be carefully drilled to facilitate cutting into manageable sizes.

This first candidate on the right had already been moved into the main quarry working area. It might

End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – Finish Line

During this or any previous bout of running, I have always had a physical finish line during training, previously it was a bridge, currently its a sign post. I decided on this after my first ever training run as you know when to stop and helps you beat ‘the wall’.

This means that I plot my route backwards, previously I used a paper map, a piece of string ,a ruler and few choice words. A truly frustrating experience, with one too many calculations for me to be comfortable with. I’ve now discovered This simple, user friendly website even lets you plot ‘off piste’. A really useful tool as I’m sure most runners like parks. The phrase ‘off piste’ , wasn’t just thrown in there as you can select cross-country skiing as the sport your taking part in too.


The finish line is just one of the ways I have tried to overcome the mind over matter of distance running. A few years ago I read the best book about running there is – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. This is a memoir about running and writing that instils the reader with the mantra that “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. This phrase is the most useful six words anyone has written or will ever write about running.

You will be in pain, but its up to you how you react to it, your body is capable of far more than your mind thinks it is.

As well as that incredible quote, the book also digs deep into how the running is of a huge help to Murakami’s writing. I’m finding that since ditching the MP3 player that my time spent running is valuable creative time, this helps me not only with my radio and writing work but keeps my mind from acknowledging that my knees are killing me and my face has invented a new shade of red. My imaginary finish line is helping this too, one less running question my brain has to think about, helping the creative process get to work.

I only intended to be temporary jogger – up to and including the 10k I told myself. But with the positive effects on my work, as well as seeing off the last of the Christmas weight I like to add at winter time, I might just carry on past this ‘mind-created’ finish line.

Paul Tyler is the presenter of Lincoln A to Z on Siren FM – Mondays 9pm


End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – A Question Of Time

Its almost impossible to talk about running without talking about time. For most, simply finding time to run is not easy. Its possible to see the early morning jogger, though they are very rare as its difficult to resist the extra time snuggled up in the duvet playing the snooze game with the alarm. Then follows getting yourself ready for the day ahead, or persuading some little people with other ideas to go to school.

Some have the option of cycling to work of course, where you don’t get too puffed out and sweaty, but running seems to be a step too far. Work gets in the way of a daytime jaunt and there’s no such thing as a dinner hour any more, apart from those on flexitime and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t save up their flexitime to add to their annual leave.

Once home, its helping with homework, cooking tea, preparing packed lunches for the next day and persuading the same little people that they should  tidy up and go to bed. Once these tasks are complete, at this time of year at least, its cold and dark outside and the return to that comfy duvet is far more inviting than a cold, icy run in the dark. Weekends have more time available, but if your training for a distance run, you’ll require more frequency than this.

Time is also the main subject of conversation with regards to training and races. I have come to the assumption that once a runner says that they are doing the 10K you can put your house on the first question being “What time you aiming for?”

Time seems important for self improvement, the digits on the dial congratulate you if you get a better time, but kick you up the backside if you get a higher number. Endless GPS tracking Apps are available and information for that self improvement has never been easier or indeed, cheaper to come by. However, I’m finding myself in this bout of training wanting to shed all barriers and complications, this includes taking a watch or smart phone out whilst pounding the streets.


My only goal throughout these weeks building up to the 10K is to plot a course and complete it with out stopping, my mind is focused on the distance rather than the time. So far, so good, and its quite good to be able to shrug off the pressures of beating any previous times.

I’ve even contemplated cutting off the official timing chip from my race number, but maybe, just maybe, if I can find the time, I’ll log on to the website as soon as I get home to check the numbers.

Paul Tyler is the presenter of Lincoln A to Z on Siren FM, Mondays 9PM


Engineer media

Snowflakes, snowdrops and YouTube streaming formats – signs of spring in deepest winter

Worked from home yesterday. Weather was pants. Didn’t really matter. I lit a nice coal fire and sat in the front room doing stuff.

Here’s a vid of the snow falling in my back garden. It didn’t stick. The noise is water falling off the tree above the conservatory roof.

This morning I went for a swim and then walked down to the office. I vary my route and today’s took me past the old graveyard in Park Street. It was bitterly cold though that didn’t matter moving along at a briskish pace.

The graveyard was covered in snowdrops. Most of the gravestones have lain flat for years and are covered in moss or lichen. The prominent exception is the one in the  photo which is more of a tomb-like structure.

snowdrops in graveyard

Very poignant I thought. A symbol of death in the depths of winter surrounded by new growth and optimism.

That is all.

PS Good word, briskish.

PPS YouTube was playing up a bit this morning – had to load the video twice. Also the video was taken using an Android phone (SGS4) but YouTube told me processing would be quicker if the file format used (mp4) was compatible with their recommended streaming codecs (mp4!).

I know someone is going to come along now and tell me it was a specific flavour of mp4 with green spots and chilli spice topping.

YouTube message re streaming format

End User fun stuff

Lincoln 10K – Getting Started

I’ve accidentally entered this years Lincoln 10K run. After completing this a couple of years ago I vowed never to do it again – It hurt unnecessarily, and running is no longer my exercise of choice, I much prefer to cycle these days – less strain on the knees and you get a lot further for your effort.

I present a Community Radio program on Siren FM called Lincoln A to Z, where my producer and I travel to 52 randomly selected grids on the A to Z map of Lincoln and make a radio show and podcast about each one. It was noted in many a production meeting that the course of the Lincoln 10K goes through at least two of our selected grids. I managed to steer us through the Ermine West program without even a mention of the race. Then, late last year a surprising comment came from the exercise avoiding producer – “we should both do the 10K next year, could make for some good radio’. I put my foot down, “No” came the reply and I stood fast.

I was happy in my decision, until

End User fun stuff

All in all it’s just another brick in a wall

There’s something very artistic about a brick wall. The one was photographed in the corridor just outside the office. There isn’t much else to say about it really. I guess there is a scenario that it used to form part of some historic industrial building. The University of Lincoln is built on an old industrial site. One of the buildings, a bar and concert venue, is called the Engine Shed which gives you a bit of a hint to the past.

Sparkhouse is an interesting place to start a business. Interesting tech startups. The guys in the room next to us are into Bitcoin. In Lincoln! It’s something you really imagine happens in darkest Silicon Valley not quaint old Roman/medieval city of Lincoln. The Lincolnite office is just downstairs.

Not done much water cooler networking as yet which is what’s supposed to happen in these innovation centres.  It’ll come no doubt:)  There isn’t a water cooler anyway. You just run the cold tap for a bit. This isn’t Silicon Valley you know.

Anyway here’s the photo. The one after it is of a stone wall I pass on my walk home. Part of historic Lincoln. There are lots of them about. Nice. If anyone has any other good photos of walls then please send them in so that I can share them with the readers 🙂


stonewallGotta go. Watching the snooker. Anne is a fan.

Business ecommerce

Job Vacancy – WordPress Developer for based in Lincoln is a technology blog that is widely read by techies in the internet networking and hosting industries. For the last 5 years the site has operated as a non-commercial vehicle and has built up a base of regular readers and commenters. attracts over 40k page views a month is linked to from some serious web properties such as the BBC, the guardian and the telegraph.

As of January 2014 is changing to be a revenue generating start-up with big plans. Part of these plans include stepping up the rate of content generation but equally important is the underlying WordPress technology platform of the blog.

We want to invest a serious amount of time and effort into the technical capabilities of This isn’t going to be “just another WordPress blog”. is going to be a leader.  A leader in technical content and a leader in the adoption/showcasing of internet marketing social media and communications capabilities. The business is going to be totally web based. No paper, maybe not even a phone number – why not just use Google Hangouts and Skype for example. We will need to integrate CRM, billing, advertising engines, a finance package, social media platforms – the list is almost certainly a lot longer.

To do this the first employee of is going to be a developer. You need to be a geek with ambition. The rewards will be considerable in line with the success of the business and with your own effectiveness.

LAMP experience and specifically WordPress is pretty much a given but the successful candidate will likely be able to turn their hand to lots of different areas of technology. This is going to be a job where you will grow your own capabilities. There is an initial task list but this is all about innovative development and thinking. There is going to be plenty of scope for you to suggest new projects for the site.

The job is going to be based at the offices in the Sparkhouse business incubator unit at the University of Lincoln Brayford Campus. We are looking for someone to start as soon as possible in 2014.

You can get in touch using the following media:

Twitter @tref

email [email protected]

Google Hangout +trefor


Required skills:

  • WordPress, themes, plugins

  • PHP / MySQL (3+ years preferred)

  • Solid understanding of LAMP stack

  • OO & Framework experience (Zend, Symfony, CI etc)

  • HTML (inc HTML 5 and CSS 2.0, 3.0)
4g Business mobile connectivity

O2 4G rollout schedule & EE 4G in Lincoln

4GI’ve been getting updates re the O2 4G rollout schedule.

29th August – London, Leeds, Bradford
27th September – Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Coventry
17th October –  Liverpool
24th October- Glasgow
31st October – Manchester
19th November – Newcastle, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and Wetherby

I’m not sure how the logic works for this rollout. I can understand how networks go for the big metropolitan areas first to get the biggest bang for their early buck. How did Huddersfield and Wetherby slipped into this list? Either there is a little dice rolling going on or someone accidentally pushed the wrong button. Maybe some Telefonica director has a holiday home in Huddersfield? Plausible. Don’t diss the thought 🙂

I look forward to seeing my home town Lincoln on the list. It is very close to being announced by EE – there is a 4G signal in the city. I happen to know that one cell site is already up and running with two more in the pipeline. Watch this space.

Check out the O2 and Vodafone 4G test trip in London here.

Cloud End User fun stuff Weekend

Fireworks in Lincoln for Bonfire Night #GuyFawkes

This is a simple post with a short video showing the fireworks that were on display at the Lindum Sports Club in Lincoln on Sunday night.

Simple as that really:)

PS I’ve categorised this post under cloud though as I recall it was a fairly cloudless night 🙂 Also I know that Sunday night wasn’t actually bonfire night – tonight is. However it is sensible to have it at the weekend and not a school night. Oooooh, aaaaahh.

broadband Business Cloud ofcom

How the cloud is changing old business practices

an original picture of a cloud

Broadband cloud services make their mark at Olnincolnshire conference

Gave a talk this time last week at the The Onlincolnshire Digital Conference (#godigital2013) chatting about what sort of online or broadband cloud services our customers start to use after they have FTTC installed. I was not the only one. Rob Wilmot of BCS Agency (some of you will remember him as founder of Freeserve) and Stephen Parry of LloydParry told us about the cloud services they used in running their businesses.

Something that Stephen said really stuck in my mind. He uses a SAAS product called FreshBooks for his accounting, invoicing and expense management. What’s more he uses it on the move and recounted a story of a visit to a client in Frankfurt. After having lunch with the client Stephen photographed the receipt and loaded it into his expenses folder using the FreshBooks iPhone app.

After finishing his day’s consultancy and heading back to the airport he invoiced the customer from his iPhone, including the cost of the lunch (no such thing as a free one). One assumes that the customer pays electronically by bank transfer. Wham bang job done.

This is the future.

Business charitable social networking

Award winning Burton Road chippy in Lincoln @burtonrdchippy – eat their chips

Burton Road Chippy in Lincoln

charity begins at a chip shopI don’t follow many chip shops on twitter. In fact I think I only follow the one, @burtonrdchippy.

I like the @burtonrdchippy tweets. I like to know that they have offers on although seeing as I am trying to lose a few pounds I don’t typically frequent fish and chip shops.

When I see something good I retweet it and so hopefully in a modest way @burtonrdchippy gets more exposure and more custom. Many of the people I follow and who follow me are local to me so there is a chance they will go and eat there.

@burtonrdchippy has a personality I can engage with. Imagine my delight therefore when driving to drop off a trumpeter at a band practice I heard on BBC Radio Lincolnshire that @burtonrdchippy is now an award winning emporium – one of the best in the East of England in fact.

It wasn’t far to go so I popped round to congratulate them. Tweetmeister (for want of a better word) Lesley wasn’t there though and when I went back later this evening they were busy so I let them be.

So I’m just going to write this short blog post as a small token of my appreciation of the fact that this chippy has embraced the new world, mixed it with the old and is making a success of it.

Eat their chips, sit in their fine restaurant section and enjoy a bottle of wine with your fish. The fish will be freshly prepared and have come from a sustainable source. Check out their website here and follow them on twitter. I sense a tweetup at a chip shop in the offing.

Well done  @burtonrdchippy. Frying tonight:)

broadband Business

FTTC Update – Light at the End of the Fibre (Almost)

GPO cabinet 10 in LincolnBT FTTC cabinet 10 in LincolnFibre broadband install

Looks like my FTTC cab is in situ at last – progress. I think I have found out why there is a delay to the fibre broadband install though. The old cabinet (number 10 in Lincoln) is full. There is no space to feed in any fibre tails so it is going to need a new and bigger pressed Aluminium cab fitting.

I got this from the Openreach engineer who has just been to sort something out for me. He checked the cab and indeed it was chocker.

The work involved in fitting the new one is just a couple ofGPO cabinet 10 in Lincoln - right next to a pedestrian crossing days but I guess that Openreach will have had to reapply for planning permission. To complicate matters the old cab is on the pavement right next to a school pedestrian crossing. There will be some umming and aahing in the planning department over this one.

In the first photo on the right you can see where they dug in the new duct work leading to the existing chamber on the corner – there is no way this cab would have fitted next to the existing one by the pedestrian crossing. Note of course the cab wasthe old GPO cabinet 10 in Lincoln probably there before the crossing – they used horses in them days.

The last photo is a close up of the “full” old cab. One does wonder why they didn’t apply for planning permission for the new shell at the same time as the new FTTC cab.

The planning permission bit is guess work but I’m probably not far off the money.

End User mobile connectivity Net olympics

Olympic torch relay, Samsung social media and getting down with the kids

I don’t know about you but I for one am reallytref with Olympic torch in Lincoln looking forward to the Olympics. I have tickets for three sports – footballing in Cardiff, Kayaking in Lee Valley North London and High Diving at the Aquatics centre in the Olympic Park. I could have bought more in the last release, including the much joked about beach volleyball but at £95 just for the ticket I decided I had to draw the line somewhere.

My own Olympic story started on July 6th 2005, the day the winning bid was announced. I was in London, doing some presentations in the City. That afternoon we celebrated alongside everyone else in town, a victory tinged only withOlympic torch in Lincoln a slight hangover as the next day London was under attack with the July 7 bombings.

Some time later I went on a sewer tour to look at the huge amount of latent communications capacity there is in the fibres running underground in the capital. I was told that the sewer runs right through the Olympic Park. I don’t fancy being a guards having to check down there during the games. Then for the last year or so the ISP industry has been starting to think about its requirements to keep the network running during the games. It’s mostly about bandwidth.

The 2012 Olympic games is going to be all about information handling. Of course it is also about winning medals, taking part and all the good sporting stuff but this will be embedded in a communications wrap the like of which has never been seen before.

In the UK the communications build up has been massive and not without its glitches – the ticketing website and process has attracted a lot of criticism. Now that tickets are being dispatched hopefully that memory will fade.

The serious communications infrastructure preparations have been going on for much longer.  BT kicked off its network planning in July 2009 and most UK ISPs will now have
their plans in place on how to cope with the growth in internet usage during the games – basically by buying more bandwidth from BT.

The media build up has also kicked in big time as the torch makes its way around the country. A quick glance at the Facebook page of “Olympics” shows it has 2.8 million “likes”. The London 2012 page has fewer at 379k likes – clearly a newer page and a slightly lesser brand though far more specific to this summer’s needs.

There is a Facebook App “London 2012“ which with only 900 monthly users looks decidedly unofficial although there are lots of links to genuine Olympic resources. Then there is “ London Olympics 2012 “ which is clearly unofficial with only 3,435 likes. I’m not really here to comment on whether something is official or not, the fact is there must be a huge number of social media pages dedicated to the event.

Last night I went to the Olympic Torch event in Lincoln. I was a proud dad as my daughter was dancing as part of the entertainment. Everyone there had a fantastic time. There is clearly a huge amount of support for these games in the UK.

Most of the entertainment was provided by three of the Olympic sponsors:  Samsung, Lloyds TSB and Coca Cola.

The Samsung act was particularly impressive because of its use of social media. It included “Twist” and “Pulse”, apparently a popular dance duo. It was at this point that I realised how out of touch I was. I had pushed myself to the front of the crowd of 10,000 people as I wanted a good view of my daughter dancing. I found myself there with “the kids” – mostly 12 – 16 year olds I’d guess. They knew all the acts and all the words to all the songs.

Anyway at the end of the act Twist (or Pulse – you tell me  🙂 ) went on about how these were the “connected games”. All the dancers took out a Samsung phone and started to take photos of the crowd. Twist was elevated onto a platform and took a photo of the entire crowd. That’s 9,999 people (should have been 10,000 but my youngest son was playing cricket – beat Scunthorpe U12s by 10 wickets!).

Samsung entertainers Twist and Pulse with dancers taking pictures of the crowdHe then told us that the photo had just gone live at People were then encouraged to visit the page to tag themselves using their Facebook ID. I did this – you can see me here (somewhere).

Think about this. The torch is visiting 70 locations. If there are 10,000 people on average at each location then that is 700,000 people being encouraged to engage with Samsung online.  Everone who tags themselves  are effectively providing Samsung with valuable social media marketing data. These people are also all going to tell their friends to take a look at them in the crowd and at the same time they are all uploading their own photos.

There are two types of person going to the Olympics this summer – us and them. The “us” are represented by all the punters, with or without tickets at the venue or milling around just taking in the atmosphere of London.

The “them” camp is divided into competitors, media and the rest of the Olympic family – the hard working folk of Olympic committees around the world over for a junket to oversee the smooth functioning of the games.

These games are likely to be the most technologically rich Olympics we have seen so far. BT has installed a 60Gbps core network in preparation. Despite encouragement from Samsung the heaviest users are going to be the media. 60Gb amounts to 2.7Mbps for each of the 22,000 accredited media personnel at the games. That’s around 30  x  maximum usage per connection seen at a typical business ISP and sensibly has a significant amount of headroom built into the capacity requirements.

As we approach the Olympic fortnight I’m going to be taking a more detailed look at the technology that has gone in to making it all (hopefully) a success – both from the point of view of the “Olympic Family” and us normal folk. Stay tuned.

Also check out this video of the Red Arrows flying over the Olympic torch relay event – they are  regular visitors to the skies over Lincoln. On this occasion their leader spoke to the crowd over his intercom – uber cool.

End User phones

Father’s Day special – like father like daughter

Because it is father’s day I have special permissionfathers day - give us a kiss to publish some previously unseen photos of me and my daughter Hannah. They were taken earlier this month at the Sir Joseph Banks conservatory at the Lawn in Lincoln.

As you can see she is the spitting image of me.

I have entitled the first photo “Give us a kiss”. The second is “Where’s my teef?” and the third is “The Cheesy Grin”.

The quality of the composition is clearly of the highest order though the naysayers out there  will say it is easy when you have great material towhere's my teef work with:)

The photos were taken with the Samsung Galaxy S2 – they predate the delivery of the S3.

Hannah is a real sport and although she has almost certainly inherited some wonderful traits her one great misfortune is that she also has my sense of humour.

I say if that is all she has to worry about she will be ok:)

The Cheesy Grin

broadband End User

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells FTTC Broadband Availability Data Reliability

Actually that post title was a bit misleading. It should have read “frustrated of Lincoln”. The FTTC broadband availability checker has been saying 31st March for FTTC at my house for a good six months now.

For a long time I considered this to be a reasonable target date – 2 out of 4 Lincoln exchanges have already been upgraded. Moreover I’ve seen teams out laying fibre up Lindum Hill (down the road from me in Lincoln)  and when asked they confirmed this was for FTTC broadband.

As we got nearer the deadline I noted that they still hadn’t upgraded my cabinet – it is easy to find out which is your cab – you just follow the  telephone wire back from your house. Last weekend I noticed that the availability date for my line had totally disappeared from the checker.

I get so many enquiries re cabinet availability that it isn’t feasible to ask Openreach for information on every one but on this occasion I pulled rank on myself and decided to use my contacts to find out what is going on. All I can find out is that my exchange is not due to be upgraded until the end of June. This potentially means that my own FTTC broadband connection could be months after that date. The checker data base is knackered because this info is not in it.

BT of course say that the dates they give are “only indicative”. TBH I wouldn’t plan anything around availability of FTTC. It will come when it comes. Openreach does have a difficult job to do but the company doesn’t do itself any favours with what can only be described as terrible expectation management. Also it can’t be so difficult to provide their engineers and planners with some mechanism for properly reporting progress with network roll outs.


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 Business

FTTC Broadband: 2 Out of 4 Exchanges in Lincoln Now Have It

FTTC creeps ever closer to the Davies household in LincolnIt’s getting exciting. Last time I looked at this map only one of the exchanges in Lincoln had FTTC broadband enabled. Now there are two. Mine is the one in the centre of town saying “coming soon”.

It probably won’t be in by Christmas which is a shame. Also sorry if I’m going on a bit here but us kids get excited about these things. Plus I’m going to put myself on the 80Meg trial. Double bubble.

I’m not trying to rub things in – especially knowing how many times an exchange has been enabled only to find your cab is not.

Click on the header photo for a bigger picture.

That’s all folks

PS AO means Accepting Orders, CS means Coming Soon

Archived Business

If you know anyone that might fit the bill please put them in touch #telesales #jobs in Newark please retweet

If you live within striking distance of Newark – Lincoln, Nottingham, Mansfield Grantham etc and are looking for a job in telesales then I have the job for you!

We are hiring. This is a new team.  In fact this is the first of many teams in a growing area of the business and so could represent a great career opportunity for ambitious individuals. There will be money making opportunities.

There will also be promotion opportunities. This is a classical way in to a future in account management, business development, marketing, operations, in fact you could be a future Managing Director. Everyone has to start somewhere.

If you know anyone that might fit the bill please put them in touch – details on the website here.

End User social networking

Lincoln – jewel in a sea of tweets #BBCLincolnshire @thelincolnite

sundial on Lincoln Cathedral's South Face represents the "old order"

Lincoln, for those billions1 of you that have never been, is a beautiful romano-medieval backwater towards the right hand middle bit of England, on the way to Skegness.

During the middle ages it was an important financial centre but the bridge across the river Trent at Newark put paid to that as all the traffic shifted eighteen miles to the West. It’s the same old story – people head West to where the money is.

In recent times the good citizens of Lincoln have tried to rectify that centuries old mistake and have built a high speed dual carriageway connecting them with Newark. Also we now have a fine new University that is attracting both money and talent into the heart of the city.

It can truly be said that today Lincoln is a gem set in the rich agricultural heartland that is the county of Lincolnshire. This gem, however is not one content to sit still, to bask in the glare of the flash of the tourist cameras. Lincoln wants to shine out beyond its natural boundaries of river, sea and Great North Road (A1).

Lincoln is now on the digital map and even has a list of top ten local Twitter users (for 2011). This list, which was assembled by the LINCOLNITE, represents a collection of the finest thought leaders2 the city has to offer and despite the author’s claims to the contrary, must surely be an authoritative and conclusive voice on this subject.

Please take some time to ponder on this list and to absorb its undoubted wisdom3

1 I realise the billions bit might give the wrong impression regarding visitor numbers to this blog.  Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and French versions of the site due soon – I’m just waiting for that multi-million pound sponsorship deal.

2 In this case for thought “leaders” read “people who waste considerable amounts of their lives online – the idle Twitterati”

3 I come in at a modest fifth place which of course I am delighted with – just high enough to be noticed but not so high as to give the impression that I spend all my time on Twitter 🙂