competitions End User mega Wimbledon Tennis competition – win a fantastic prize

Win a mega prize Wimbledon Ladies Draw Competition

Hey evrybody it’s Wimbledon Fortnight and by gosh it’s hot in the office, dang it. Someone forgot to switch on the air-conditioning unit I bought from Argos last year and I haven’t got the energy to lean over and switch it on.

Instead of working we’re kicking back and watching the Tennis on the good ole internet. Now it’s a long long time since we had a competition on so I figured now was as good a time as any. We should have had one before the most recent Royal sprog was born but we missed the chance – probably busy that day. No worries the tennis is here and it’s the Wimbledon Ladies Draw Competition.

It should be noted that the reason we have chosen a Wimbledon Ladies Draw Competition is that on Friday afternoon we are having a party on the balcony here at towers. It starts at 4.30pm (you are invited but bring your own tinnies) and we thought we would announce the winner of the competition at the bash.

It is easy therefore to have a competition that involves naming the two ladies finalists – because we will know who they are by then. In theory.

So the competition is to name the two lady finalists at this year’s Wimbledon. To make it a little easier on the grey matter we have replicated the Quarter Final line up below. All you have to do is pick the correct two ladies. Some will already have been knocked out by the time you read this so if you can be bothered to find who they are you can narrow your odds of winning.

In case of the highly probable event of more than one right answer we have a tiebreaker: What’s my favourite flavour of crips What is the total number of games played in both semi-finals – winner is nearest answer.

dent_smallThe prize is a magnificent tin of Heinz Vegetable Soup. It’s been on the office windowsill for a couple of months and we are not likely to want to consume it now until next Autumn, so it goes. There is a very small health warning in that in moving the tin from the windowsill to my desk I noticed a teensy dent in the tin – barely visible but photographed in case you are worried (see inset photo right).

If this is unacceptable then a packet of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps is available as an alternative. Appropriate packaging will be applied when shipping either prize options.


Seed Player Player Seed
1 S Williams (US) v Azarenka (BLR) 23
4 Sharapova (RUS) bt Vandeweghe (US)
20 Muguruza (SPA) bt Bacsinszky (SWI) 15
21 Keys (US) v A Radwanska (POL) 13

Note this competition is not governed by any gambling commission type rules and the judges decision is final. Anyone can enter. Even my dad.

Please leave a comment with your answers. The winner will be notified by blog post and email sometime after the party on Friday.

Good luck and happy Wimbledon watching.

Prizes will only be shipped to mainland United Kingdom unless you send a stamped addressed envelope to I can bring it to present to you at a conference at some time in the future.

Wimbledon Ladies Draw Competition
alternative prize
competitions Weekend

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

Jamie Cullum Grand Piano competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

competitions Weekend

Live world cup alternative commentary coverage of the Final – the Germans v the Argentinians

Live world cup alternative commentary coverage of World Cup Final – the Germans v the Argentinians – in an attempt to counter the deadly dull BBC commentary.

As the deadly dull World Cup final gets going we try and liven things up with a world cup alternative commentary. Hansen, Ferdinand and Shearer have spent too much time talking b0110ck$ nd have run out of things to say.

This is the alternative commentary.

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World cup football – the movie

fifa_250The football world cup reminds me of the movie “Those magnificent men in their flying machines”. For those far too young to remember the movie was a comedy where pilots of many different nationalities converged on the UK to participate in a flying race to Paris. There were joke teams, dastardly skulduggery that went wrong, love interest and all the typical sterotypes of the British psyche. The good guys won. of course.

Now many nationalities from around the world have flown in to Rio for a competition. There is heroism, pathetic failure and skulduggery, excitement, high tension and disappointment – the English team is going home early. No sign of a love interest sub plot though – the WAGs were banned from convening. That was a waste of time wasn’t it? Perhaps had the wives and girlfriends been allowed to travel the team might have done better.

I happened last night to be watching Uruguay v Italy in a fairly disinterested way until the “alleged”1 biting incident made me want Italy to win. That was the skulduggery. Oh and there are match fixing allegations.

And all this under the umbrella of an organisation that is itself under suspicion for lack of transparency and dodgy dealings. One has to ask why anyone bothers when you can watch a cricket test match that lasts the full five days and goes down to the penultimate ball for a result. At least with the world cup we haven’t had news of brand police spoiling the party as was the case with the London 2012 Olympics. It must surely cost the sponsors just as much and doesn’t leave people with a bad taste regarding the organising committee.

Playing now on a TV screen near you – Football World Cup – The Movie.

Other footy related posts:

Watching the football
Summer of sports on steroids
HD video demand poses big questions for ISPs

1 aargh I’m starting to sound like the BBC – looked like a bite mark from where I was sat but there again I was thousands of miles away…

competitions Engineer food and drink fun stuff

Pissup In A Brewery free tickets competition No 3 – corny football sayings

freebeer_250Yeehaw. Another day another competition to win tickets to the Pissup In A Brewery. Today is a big world cup football day for England so I thought that we’d keep it simple. Hit me with a corny or funny football related saying or quote. Best ones will get tix. eg it was a game of two halves, really pleased for Chalky, thought Nobby did well to get his head to that one etc. Can’t reuse these ones obvs – I’m sure you can do better. Read about other unbelievable but true competitions: What is my favourite beer? Win free VIP tickets to a Pissup

No Divingfifa_250

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Win more Pissup In A Brewery tickets – competition # 2 – what is my favourite beer?

freebeer_250Okeydokey here goes competition number 2. Seeing as this is a Pissup In A Brewery we are talking about what is my favourite beer? There are clues to be found around but I’m not going to help you any more than that.

Answers by noon tomorrow as after that I have to go to a speed reduction seminar that starts at 1pm – 36 in a 30. Fair cop guv. Slap the cuffs on.

If you missed competition number one here it is but it is now closed. Note 19 LinkedIn shares fair play. LinkedIn members have their priorities set right.

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? 🙂

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School cricket match

the rain in Newark falls mainly on the train, and the cricket, and the tennis, and the barbecueI’m just off to watch a school cricket match. The weather is looking a bit dodgy but at the moment it isn’t raining so play should definitely happen.

The school cricket match is the epitome of low technology. Aside from all the expensive gear they have these days (pads, helmet, designer pants in which to fit box etc) there is absolutely no tech involved. There isn’t even a decent mobile signal at school thus rendering impotent any attempted use by spectators of imported tech (ie phones).

So all a parent can do is stand on the touchline and focus on the match. I say stand because it is too cold to sit with any degree of comfort.

A school cricket match is a nervous time for a parent. Will the kid get a chance to bat. Or bowl. Will he be out in the first over or will he settle in and provide as fluent a display of batting that ever graced the sports field thus allowing me to casually mention to the stranger stood nearby, “that’s my boy”.

Don’t worry. All will be well, as long as the rain keeps off. You’ll have to wait to hear the result, if I decide to mention it, because as you know there is no signal at school.

I wonder if they will provide cups of tea. I doubt it.




…………white noise representing no signal…………


video of rain on car>

Other cricket related posts:

PCoIP over VMware for watching cricket wherever you are.

Internet bandwidth used by the press corps at Edgebaston

Networking made easy – cricket lovely cricket

PS – much later – I’m back. The rain kept off but the icy blasts that seemingly crept over from Siberia did not. Whilst the cricket carried on large mammals were frozen into the permafrost and the very small crowd of two huddled together for warmth and comfort (the other spectator was a mum, fortunately).

We won convincingly by 9 wickets. Davies bowled well but did not bat. His new helmet stayed in the bag.

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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

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Winner of most number of names for trousers competition

You will all remember the kecks are ready mega trousers competition where entrants had to find the most names for that article of clothing. Well we have a winner. Liz Fletcher reminded me of this at #UKNOF28 last week and I duly delivered her of her prize – a large glass of sauvignon blanc. Would have been cheaper had she been a beer drinker but hey, let’s not nit pick eh?

Congrats Liz. Look out for other terrific prize competitions as they happen:)

liz fletcher collects her prize

trefor davies & liz fletcher at #uknof28

Other terrific prize comps:

Spot the IP Phone
Royal baby name competition winners
The TGIF megamug prize with pens and tshirt competition

PS Notice the hearing aid coming out of Liz’ head – she should invest in something a little more discrete

competitions End User

Royal baby name competition winners

And the winner is… Well 27 of you got one of the names right and 4 of you got two of them. If nobody got it completely right I was going to pick one “innovative” winner but this doesn’t seem fair considering the 4 “2 namers” and I’m not about to buy 4 bottles of champagne. I’m going to give everyone a fabulous Timico mug (assuming we have enough otherwise it’s first come first serve)  and the top four will also get some other stuff that I can find in the marketing cabinet. You will have to let me have an address to send these things to (tref at trefor dot net).

Alternatively if the top four would like to write a guest post on a subject of their choosing then that would be perfectly acceptable – keep it clean – the editor’s (ie me) decision is final. Let me know.

I’m on holiday for two weeks after this Friday so delivery might be slightly delayed unless I can persuade someone do do the fulfilment for me in my absence.

It’s been a great competition and a big thanks to everyone for entering. Also it’s such a relief that we won’t have to worry about the royal succession for  long time now innit? 🙂 Old Henry VIII would be v jealous if he weren’t dead.

The list of people with at least one right guess is provided below. If you think your name should be on it by all means let me know. I’m only human you know:)

Dantiumpro: Alexander Harold George Windsor
The fishing Gardener: George , Philip, Louis, William,
paul h: Louis George Philip Arthur
Mike P: David George Richard Louis Wales
maggie fawcett: George
Matt Benson: Henry George James
harry singh: George Charles Windsor
Kate b: George Arthur
Phil Veale: Philip, George and Andrew.
Alistair: James George
Jayne: Henry George Edward
Victoria: Galbraith George William
craig: George
Sam Trendall: George Richard Samuel Windsor
Lucy Knighton: James George William Windsor
Emma H: George William Richard Windsor
Erica ward: Frederick Alexander
Rob Pickering: Louis Charles
Brian Sentance: Charles Louis
Gary Hough: George, Michael, Edward Windsor
hansk: George William Charles
chris: Arthur George Henry Philip Windsor
Andrew Ellis: George
Kate B: George Charles Edward James
Beverley: James Charles Louis William
Liz Cowley: Edward James George
Ewan: George Charles Mountbatten Windsor
Annette Sames: Peter Louis William. Windsor.
Faye: George, with Charles, Richard and James
Michael Green: George Reginald
Lee: George William Charles Windsor

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Royal baby name

tom graduationWent to our first born’s graduation yesterday (pic inset). It was a proud moment for us parents though I couldn’t quite reconcile the fact that most of the people in the audience were grey and must clearly have been a lot older than me and Anne (!? 🙂 ).

“Uhuh” I hear you say. “Okaay. I thought this post was about the royal baby? It’s the only reason I’m reading it!”

Well the point of this conversation is that when Tom was born, Boxing Day, 21 1/2 years ago Anne and I went out every night for a month before the due date. Anne in particular wanted to cram as much social life into her last days of freedom because she knew it was about to vanish, for a long time.

On one of those nights out we decided to have a sweepstake, pound in, to guess the arrival date of the baby. He or she (we didn’t know the sex then) was due on the 12th December. The only date that couldn’t be chosen was the 26th because had the baby not arrived by then Anne would be going in to have the birth induced. Blow me down if he didn’t arrive on the 26th which apart from blowing out Christmas night was fortuitous because on the way home we had blown the money on a curry.

Today is the due date for the royal baby and we are going to have a name the baby competition. I don’t think the sex is known. It certainly hasn’t been made public. You can have two guesses  – boy and girl (obv). The winner will be the closest to the actual name remembering that royal babies tend to have lots of names – Reginald William Arbuthnot George etc.

Get your entries in quick because it could arrive any time. Leave a comment. I’ll find a suitable prize for the winner.

PS our Tom has started working at the BBC, initially reading the travel reports on Radio Oxford. It’s a very competitive world out there. The royal baby is entering an uncertain world and will have to work hard to make sure his or her CV looks right for the job market of the future 🙂

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Short announcement on royal baby naming competition

Crown_thumbJust so that you can start thinking about it I will be posting a name the royal baby competition at the beginning of July. It’s due on 13th July according to the Daily Mail which presumably knows its stuff when it comes to such gossip.

The name the Beckham baby competition attracted a load of entries but I expect this one to get a lot more. Will probably have a few side bets going re weight etc

That’s all for now. Ciao…

competitions End User

The TGI Friday Megamug prize with pen and teabags Awards Entry Competition

I’m ploughing through some awards entries at the moment. Urgh its like wading through treacle especially if you are entering multiple categories. The problem is that they all have similar judging criteria designed to produce submissions from multiple entrants that must look fairly similar – “We bend over backwards to provide our customers with great service” etc.

There is even one criterion within a VoIP category that asks whether we support dial up! And you get about 350 words to cover:

Price and value for money
Differentiation from competitors
Level of customer care
Value Added Services
Scope of service
Security capabilities
Network and technology strengths
Service reach and capacity
Flexibility and scalability
Reliability and levels of service
Entry level broadband package etc etc etc

It’s a challenge especially when most ISPs in the UK sell the same bland commoditised services (except for top B2B operators like Timico of course – we wrap ours up in funky business grade bundles with 24×7 support and throw in innovation, flexibility, security, scalability and all the rest of it – comes naturally, it’s in the DNA 🙂 )

So, bearing in mind this is Friday (TGI) and Friday is competition day I’m going to come up with an innovative competition that you can all enter. Also the prize this time is not just a fabulous Timico Megamug with terrific velvety smooth writing Timico pen. This time I’m going to throw in a box of teabags (brand TBC but it will be English breakfast – whatever is on offer in Tesco).

Gap while I try and think of a competition>



Ok got it.

All I need you to do is tell me why you deserve to win and what you would do with the prize. Get entering.

PS there are no judging criteria – write what you like, I’ll pick the winner I like.

PPS I like the idea of having a Awards Night. Worth giving some thought to.

competitions End User

Wales to win by 8 points – read all about it – megamug prize comp

magnificent Welsh dragon bowtie Was at a Notts & Derbys Chamber of Commerce posh dinner last night. Margaret Hodge MP did the keynote between the main course and pud. She was very good fair play but went on about ten minutes longer than she needed to. I noticed she shot straight off as soon as the speech was finished.

The star turn was Radio4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys, also very good, fair play :). Afterwards he took questions and I got in first with “how much did he think Wales would beat England by tomorrow.” I was wearing my Welsh Dragon bow tie and judging from the reaction of the audience he and I were the only Welshmen in the 300 strong audience. He reckoned we would win by 9 points.

So today’s Timico megamug prize competition is all about tomorrow’s rugby match. Guess the total number of points scored, nearest guess wins the megamug. Only one entry per score so if your number has gone chose another.

As a bonus if you’d care to say who is going to win and by how many points there is a super dooper Timico pen in it for everyone who guesses right. No limit on how many people can guess this one – you can all go for Wales to win by 8 if you like.

Because it’s my game I get to go first and I’m going for 40 points total with Wales to win by 8 points which makes the score 24 – 16 to us.

Get yer bets on now.

PS John Humphrys also shot off as soon as he was finished.  I was going to tell him about the time I appeared on the Today Programme with Evan Davies (no relation afaik) 🙂

competitions End User Weekend

cakes? you want cakes? we have cakes

Timico bakeoff entries

The cake baking season at Timico is back in full swing, this time with a record ten entries for the Timico Business team bakeoff. Anyone who thinks I have a great job would be absolutely right. Bakeoff winner Gemma JonesIt isn’t easy though. With ten entries to plough through it takes a certain calibre of individual to complete the judging.

It’s also a very high pressure job. After all the entrants have put a lot of effort into the competition and it behoves us to come up with a fair and transparent decision. On this occasion four judges including yours truly, Ops Director Calum Malcolm, Marketing Director Neil Armstrong and assistant director of reception management Shannon Walker came up with an unanimous winner which was a delicious chocolate cake baked by Telephone Sales Manager Gemma Jones.

That’s me in the pic congratulating Gemma. Portions of the cake are being sold off this afternoon with proceeds going to Comic Relief which I think is coming up soon. Congratulations to Gemma and a huge thank you to everyone else who took part. They were all great cakes and it was a shame there could only be one winner.

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Megamug Advent Prize Competition #3

Tomorrow I’m off to the Varsity match at Twickers with some lads and, I believe, a lass. Megamug Prize Competition number 3 is simple. What will the combined total of the scores of Oxford and Cambridge be at the end of the game.

In keeping with the rules laid down by my drinking buddies in the Tower in Lincoln when we watch internationals the nearest guess wins but not if the score is higher than your guess. In other words if you guess 33 points and the total is 34 then a person picking 40 points would be the winner. Also if the number has already been used you can’t have it. Entries close at kick-off. My game, my rules.

Good luck.

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Magical Megamug Advent competition #2

Timico Megamug has magical properties
It has been said that when drinking tea from a Timico Megamug you don’t need to add sugar. The drink always comes out perfectly to your taste. These mugs are ideal for having in the house in case you have builders around. Save you a fortune on Tate and Lyle. I don’t know if the same applies for coffee because I don’t drink the instant muck and I like a smaller cup with the percolated stuff.

It is also true that tea never goes cold when served in a Megamug. It’s a magical property that defies the Third Law of the Internet1 and is therefore invaluable for geeks, tweeters and general surfers who spend far too much of their time glued to one connected device or another.

Considering this, today’s competition is simple. To what magical use would you put a Timico Megamug? I refer you to comment #55 from yesterday’s competition for some other ideas. My decision is final though I am happy that people can praise others’ suggestions and so improve someone’s chances of winning.

There could be more than one prize here. If stocks run out we’ll get some more. Simples.

This competition is open to Timico staff and their families, subcontractors, occasional acquaintances, rear admirals, readers of this blog and anyone else that cares to enter including inhabitants of former British colonial territiories and Martians though I might struggle to deliver the mug if won by the latter. It would have to be “winner collects”.

Another great chance to win a Timico Megamug for Christmas. You know it makes sense…

1 The Third Law of the Internet states that a hot drink always goes cold before you have finished it when you are surfing the web

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Nativity Megamug Prize Competition – guess the name of the donkey

The nativity scene in the Timico finance dept

donkey with Diane DaviesIt’s December. The radio is playing Christmassy music. I don’t mind. I quite like Christmassy music as long as it isn’t before December. It’s ok to start thinking about Christmas now. I used to leave it until Christmas Eve until the year when my wife wanted the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” board game as a present. Pretty simple really.

Only problem is I left it until 24th December. Could I find it in the shops? Not a chance. I must have tried 10 different shops and ended up buying Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Junior with a book of questions from the grown up game plus a ton of other stuff to try and compensate.

rockin' baby JesusIt didn’t work. She was disappointed. I was totally devastated but by then there was nothing I could do other than learn the lesson which was to make sure I didn’t leave the buying of presents until the last moment. Oh boy.

Anyway I was down in the finance department in Newark only to find an amazing Nativity scene. A wonderful array of characters, crafted by the ingenious folk in accounts.

They had held a competition to see who could make the best character. The winner was Diane Davies with her donkey. There were some interesting entries, presented here for your delight, including a Joseph that looked remarkably like a white haired Freddy Mercury plus a baby Jesus who would appear to be into hard core rock. Hey, who knows?Joseph looking like white haired Freddie Mercury

So now we come to the competition of the day. I know I don’t have a competition every day – that just sounded good so I thought I’d say it. The competition is guess the name of the donkey. No Timico staff because they might have already heard it. Answers via comment.

The usual Timico mega-mug as a prize which I guarantee for delivery by Christmas. You could even give it to your nearest and dearest as a present. Or a customer you want to impress. I leave it to you. They would be thrilled.

Yuletide greetings…

Cloud competitions End User

Mugs mugs glorious mugs and colo – fantastic offer

You find me in a playful mood. This is despite the fact that my rear driver side tyre picked up a nail this morning and I had to divert via Tanvic Tyres in Newark to get the puncture fixed. Tanvic are a customer of ours and did a great job.

They made my wait easy. There was a convenient coffee machine in reception, a PC offering me free access to the internet and the whole job was done for the really good value of £17. Use them.

The only downside was that I had to sit through the Jeremy Kyle Show. You have to like that kind of thing to want to watch it & I felt sorry for the bloke manning the desk, exposed to it day in day out. He didn’t seem to mind. A happy place to work 🙂

Anyway I digress. It feels a little like the Two Ronnies show where Ronnie Corbett told a joke from his chair and continuously got sidetracked. Look it up on YouTube if you are below a certain age. They were funny stories. Classic show.  They don’t make them like they used to.

The other great show (while we are digressing) was Morecambe and Wise. They were unmissable.  My kids still like to watch them today. A couple of years ago a new friend came to our house for the first time. His name is Ervin Nagy. He is a famous Hungarian Concert pianist believe it or not and he now lives in Lincoln. We showed him the Andre Preview sketch where Eric tries to play Grieg’s Piano Concerto by Grieg. Ervin was in stitches. Their comedy transcended language and culture.

fantastic Timico mug colo giveawaySo how does any of this have anything to do with mugs and colo. It doesn’t really. It’s just the preamble to my latest and greatest mug giveaway offer. No competition this time. Just straight talking business.

I am offering a free Timico mug (the photo inset shows the mug with a branded Timico pen which I am also willing to throw in – just ask) to anyone buying colo from us between now and the end of 2012. It doesn’t matter how much colo you buy but it has to be new business. As an added extra I will chuck in a free blog post on a subject of your choice for the first five orders.

The colo will be in our spanking new data centre in Newark. If you want to come and see it let me know and I’ll organise a visit. Maybe you need some DR space or have run out of room in your existing rack or are exploring colocation for the first time. 24×7 manned Network Operation Centre? Look no further. We are the colo kids.

That landing page link includes a phone number to call or a button to press for a chat. Let me know when you have placed an order. I’ll send you the mug and pen and we can chat about the subject of the blog post. It can be on any subject, within reason and decency though you will have to trust me with the final copy. There’s also a mug for anyone referring a customer to us. Again, let me know you have done it.

Just a bit of fun. You know it makes sense 🙂

competitions End User

Hitler he only had one ball…

Hitler he only had one ball, the other was in the Albert HallIt’s been a surreal week (starting last Saturday). Monday I chaired a couple of sessions at the annual ISPA conference. Monday night I went to the Albert Hall for the first time.

Sound dampening balls at the Albert HallI am very proud of all my kids. On this occasion it was the turn of number three. I know he reads this blog and I don’t mind if I embarrass him a little by telling him that on Monday night I was massively proud of him.

I was at the Albert Hall for the Schools Prom in which he was performing in local Lincoln youth jazz big band Jazz Vehicle. They are run by an inspirational guy called John Crouch (Mr Crouch) who weaves magic with his musical baton (wand) and has turned them into a national award winning ensemble.

You really need to hear this band to appreciate the quality of their playing. They are fantastic. I sat in the Albert Hall welling up with pride. For my boy it was a life enhancing experience. I am thrilled for him. He is a good boy and deserves his success.Ticket for Schools Prom at the Albert Hall

Tuesday morning I had a meeting cancelled but tagged along with my pal Sue Black @Dr_Black to the Grauniad offices because she was recording the Tech Weekly Podcast with Aleks Krotoski. Sue has been instrumental in saving Bletchley Park and importantly the Turing Papers for the nation. Google it.

At the Guardian we bumped in to tech editor @CharlesArthur who mentioned that one 0f  the subjects they were covering was 4G and I was invited to stay and participate.

That night I went to dinner with Dario Talmesio, Principal Analyst at Informa covering the European mobile operator market. Very interesting and knowledgeable guy. We ended up at the Phoenix Artist Club where I’m holding my Xmas bash. It was open mic night and the place had been taken over by a crowd of gay dentists! You couldn’t make it up!!

Wednesday morning I was at the RAC Club with Dave Hamer to hear former British Ambassador to Washington Sir Michael Sheinwald discuss the US Presidential Elections. The RAC Club is a class act. 30m swimming pool, classy Turkish baths and only £800 a year membership. The problem is the four and a half grand joining fee. Ah well.

Lunch followed with some great company. It finished at 5pm!

Today I’ve been back in the smoke for an ISPA Council meeting. I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend…

Tomorrow is Children In Need Day.  Look out for my cookie competition post 🙂

PS if you don’t understand the Hitler reference I’m not going to explain. Sorry!


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Jordan Watson man of action

Jordan Watson - click to see full frontal photoTimico is a great place to work and although we work hard here we also like to have a bit of fun. Last night Jordan Watson was out with the boys and the conversation somehow came to dress down Fridays.

Through his beer tinted specs Jordan accepted a bet that he wouldn’t turn up to work this Friday in a romper suit, or his “onzer” as he calls it. Jordan, who works on the Timico tech support desk boldly took up the challenge and appeared this morning in a very nice (and very cozy by the looks of it) blue and white onzer.

Note the one piece fashion item, purchased for a tenner from Primark (a value for money high street department store I’m told) comes complete with penguin faces on his feet. A fun thing to wear for both work and play.

Jordan Watson, man of action.

I’ll finish off this Friday, fin de semaine, post with a couple of parting comments. One is that I recently upgraded my SG3 to Jelly Bean with no problems but without yet seeing what it can do for me. This morning I found out that I can take photos by just saying “smile” or “cheese” or “capture” or “shoot”. V cool. The header photo, which you can click to see the whole of Jordan, resplendent in his attire was taken by saying cheese. Note I found it has to be exactly “cheese”. “Say cheese” didn’t work. Impressive.

Secondly, because we haven’t had a competition for a while I’m offering a magnificent Timico mug as a prize for the best caption for the photo of Jordan. Timico staff may enter.

competitions Engineer

winner of the most home networked devices is @NeilMcrae

Neil came in clearly ahead of everyone in the competition for who has the most home networked devices. He gets the mug. There were some great entries and it was all a bit of fun so I’m going to give everyone a fabulous Timico pen for entering. What’s more if you really want a mug you can have one of those too:)

Can everyone wishing to take possession of their prize (s) please email me their address and I’ll try and sort it out on Wednesday when I am next in the office.

PS don’t forget to sign up for the xmas bash. It’s gonna be a goodun.

The competition is now closed…

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Caption competition winner is Stuart James

The caption competition got some great entries but someone has to win. I’ve run it past the editorial committee and after long deliberation (oo at least half a second on each entry) I have chosen the winner who is Stuart James. His excellent effort can be found here.

Stuart I will be in touch to give you details of your terrific prize which is a six month’s membership of the fabulous Spirit Health Club in Aylesbury.

Well done… 🙂

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grand TNMOC caption competition – win fantastic 6 month membership of luxury spa worth £300

valves, valves and more valves at TNMOC

Phil Hayes stands in front of Colossus at TMNOCThis week we have a fantastic membership of the Spirit Health Club in Aylesbury to be won. The Spirit Health Club is one of the top fitness destinations in the South East and whether you live in the area or just pass through occasionally on your way to a data centre in Docklands this is the prize for you.

All you need to do is provide a caption for the photo on the right. The picture is of  Phil Hayes (Colossus Rebuild Engineer) stood in front of the Colossus computer at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

commodore calculator on display at TNMOC The photo was taken at the IPCortex 10th birthday fundraiser for TNMOC last week which brought in a couple of grand for the museum.

The prize has been donated by the Spirit Health Club Aylesbury1. Club facilities include fitness suite, swimming pool, a wide variety of studio classes, sauna, steam room, and spa pool. Lifestyle consultants provide a personal touch by giving one to one guidance to help members achieve their fitness goals. Services available on site (but at additional charge) include beauty treatments, personal training, physiotherapy, massages and reflexology.

All sounds great doesn’t it. Good luck with the caption competition – just leave your entry as a comment. You can have until the end of this week to enter.

The second photo is of the Commodore Calculator on display at TNMOC. It was the first and only calculator I ever owned and I used it extensively around the time I was studying for my O’Levels. I still have it in the attic somewhere though it long ago stopped working 🙁

1Please note that the membership is valid for the Aylesbury branch only – Weston Turville, HP22 5QT.

Apps competitions End User

Mobile Phone #Photo #Competition Shortlist – some great pics – get voting

It’s been a tough one but boy have we got some great pics in the phone photo competition. The standard of entries was very high and the judges have had to be brutal in the shortlisting process.

For total transparency the judges were myself and Scott Wroe – Timico’s head of graphic design. Neither of us entered the competition ourselves. We had around 150 entrants and although I did suggest that we would have a separate class for “edited” photos in reality most of the entries were straight off the camera so we have bundled them all into one single mega category. If you entered but have been left out of the short list I’m sorry about that but we have tried to be as objective as we can.

I did get a few suggestions for a polling process but to keep things simple and to allow you to give your views on the photos I’ve decided that voting will take place using the “comment” method. In other words chose a single winner and leave a comment telling me which picture you think that winner should be. By all means tell us what you think or how you went about chosing that particular photo as your winner.

You have until 5pm Lincolnshire time on Friday 27th July which is when the Olympic games start and when I go on holiday. I will count up the votes at that time and tell you who the winner is.

One vote per person please. A person is defined by a discrete email address. By all means get your friends to vote for you. Please don’t abuse the process by conjuring up multiple email accounts and voting for yourself many times. This is a white hat blog and its readers are trusted.

I will award as many prizes as looks right. If there are 5 photos that get far more votes than the rest then there will be 5 prizes – Timico mugs. The standard of the competition has been so high that it merits a better first prize than the mug. I will take the winner out for a curry or simlar provided that person is within sensible easy reach. Perhaps we can meet in London or somewhere.

We have had entries from as far afield as India, Indonesia and New Zealand.  A meal out won’t be practical in these cases so if you win you will have to settle for the mug and the deep satisfaction of knowing that you have won a major international photographic competition which will be forever visible as long as this blog remains on the world wide web.

My thanks to all of you who took the trouble to enter and good luck to all those on the shortlist. Get voting…

PS I’ll sort out the prizes when I get back from holiday.

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The grand mobile phone photo competition – deadline extended to Friday 13th July

Ok guys, on the spur of the moment I have decided to hold a photography competition – open to anyone who cares to enter. There are only a few rules:

  1. You have to email me a max of 3 photos to tref at
  2. I chose a shortlist – max 10 photos (say)
  3. I’ll come up with a polling mechanism/widget that allows blog readers to vote for their favourite
  4. If we can get enough entries by Friday 1pm Entries due by close of play Friday 13th July.

I’ll see what I can come up with re prizes – say 1st, 2nd, 3rd. The photos can be of any subject matter – it’s up to you. You decide how arty etc. Even I can enter as it is going to be a crowd based judging.

By request I’ve added a second category to accommodate people who want to supply edited shots (instagram etc)

If anyone can suggest a suitable polling widget please let me know.

Good luck & happy snapping.

PS don’t forget to tell me what phone you used. I’ve had a few requests to extend the deadline – this is reasonable – it was done on the spur of the moment  – I’ve extended it a week to Friday 13th & judging will take place over the following week with the result decided at 1pm on the 20th.

PPS please tweet

Business competitions

4 years and 1 month

For reasons I won’t bore you with I decided I needed to find out when I first started this blog. I was flabbergasted (really) to find out that it was 19th May 2008 and since then I’ve written 1,323 posts!

The first post was unimaginatively called “Hello World“. I’m slightly dismayed not to have realised this last month – we could have had a nice birthday party. Cakes and all. I must make a point of remembering the 5th birthday next year.

Lot’s has changed since then, not the least of which was being told by someone that their favourite posts were about my cake baking competitions at Timico. We haven’t had one in a while!

I realise is still a lightweight compared to some of the blogs out there but hey! You do what you can you know 🙂

That’s all folks…

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The name that Samsung Galaxy S3 phone competition

Samsung Galaxy S3 seen next to a Samsung Galaxy S2The guess the name of the Samsung Galaxy S3 phone competition from Monday was somewhat buried in the review. It is one of the least entered megaprize competitions I’ve run. This is possibly because it was buried in a long review of the Galaxy S3 or maybe the chances of winning were slim becasue there are lots and lots of names it could have been.

I’m going to assume both so this is a short post just to highlight the competition. Then I’m going to narrow down the possibilities as to what the name might be by telling you that it has biblical associations.

I’m not going to limit the number of prizes here. The competition is going to run all day and anyone who gets the name right gets a prize. There is also going to be a further prize for anyone who comes up with the most unusual biblical name (I’m the judge and my decision is final1).

This competition is also open to Timico staff. If they turn their noses at the mug then I’ll think of a different internal prize but it’s a mug for everyone else. Btw the one answer I did get on the previous post was “Tref’s phone”. Although it is the name displayed on the locked screen I am after the bluetooth name which is different.

Get guessing.

PS if you have already won a mug in a previous competition I can find a different prize for you.

1 though it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that I can be bribed on this one but the bribe is almost certainly going to have to be for a lot more than the prize is worth.

competitions End User

more mobility musings on the way to the match and this weeks mega mug prize competition

The view from our seats at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday for the Wales v Italy match. We saw all the tries right there in front of us.You may have gathered from the post on Friday that I was off to Cardiff to watch the rugby over the weekend. There were four of us in the car – two adults and two “young adults” and I was in the luxurious position of not having to drive.

You have to picture the scene. My pal Huw driving with me on the laptop in the front passenger seat and the two kids on iPad and iPhone in the back. The connectivity was ok by and large. I guess that means that when we went in and out of data coverage we put up with it because after all, we were driving along in a car at 70mph.huge queues form to get in to the coffee shops of Cardiff after Wales beat Italy at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday - it's a boom time for the Capital which has on occasion been known to sell out of rich tea biscuits after a match

This must surely be something that one day in the not too distant future we will look back at in amazement – “believe it or not you used to get black spots with no coverage”. Our use of mobile technology is growing at such a rate that it demands nay shouts out for ubiquitous high speed data connectivity.

This may mean that we have to pay more for the service.  As the models change to reflect usage growth we are already seeing upward pressure on data prices in both fixed and mobile worlds. At this stage of the game for me, and I may be a consumer lone voice in the wild wild mobile web here,  it is more about coverage than cost. My kids may not agree of course but on the way down I needed connectivity for emails and other work stuff and on the way back I wanted to watch Wales beat Italy on iPlayer. I was fine for emails but not for the streaming.

There is one thing in particular that the mobile data and computing revolution will render obsolete and which relates to kids when travelling. The first person to guess what this is wins a prize. This is normally a mug but I may be able to find some other goodies and if so will offer the winner an alternative. Timico staff may enter this one.

As a footnote here in Cardiff we stayed with my sister who gets north of 30Megs out of her Timico FTTC.  Aaahh. It was also interesting to see that the last thing we did after our evening mug of cocoa was that before going to bed we all made sure our gadgets were plugged in and charging ready for the next day 🙂