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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There and Back again....

Not really posted much in the last week.  Not that I have had the connectivity to do so, but more that I have had the available cycles of time to get to it.

It's been a very long, tough and enjoyable week. Setting off at the crack of dawn last Sunday for Newark, then on to Boston, Massachusetts. Being five hours behind your body clock is hard your well being, does nothing for your concentration, or your sleep patterns and digestive system.  Throw into that tasty, fatty food and you've got a recipe for a tired fat bloke in no time at all.

2.30pm local time was 7.30pm in my head so by 9pm (2am real time) I was crashing fast. The problem with that though is my body clock is all to ready to wake me up at 7am (real time), 2am (local). Not where you want to be when you have an 8am (local) meeting coming up. It's not a new problem, but it's still a painful one that lasts for about 3 days. Just in time to be travelling back home again.

You'd hope on the return leg you might get some sleep on a shortend overnight flight - but that's all down to who you're sat next to.  Needless to say, that wasn't my luck and it resulted in me spending the best part of 24 hours asleep once I finally arrived back in blighty. Bye bye weekend.

In short - Jet Lag sucks....   That said, it's worth it for the broadened horizons that the travel itself brings.

If you're going to the Boston area in the not too distant future, here's a few things I'd point you at to keep things interesting.  The Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, is not your regular hotel. It's pet friendly, so you can take your dog along, but if you've arrived without "pet" you can ask for a Goldfish to accompany you on your stay.  Now I know the Badman has mentioned this, but it really is quite a sight to behold and even if they're all "with guest" when you arrive, it's worth reserving one just for the enjoyment of an indepth discussion on "Fishbowl Adventures"

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Worth a visit, is the "Top of the Hub".  This is a restaurant on the 59th floor of the Prutential Tower in downtown Boston. While the food and drink are both excellent, it's the view that really makes this spot outstanding. Highly recommended if you want to get your bearings and understand some of the layout of the place.

Also, Quincy Market & Fenuiel Hall. A great spot for breakfast before the obligatory shopping. Walking distance from downtown Boston and right by the docks.  I had half an hour here on my way out to the airport, just wish I'd had more time. Some beautifully restored buildngs and unusually for America, some actual history.  Buildings made of Brick??  Whatever next?

Finally, no visit to Boston is complete without a bottle of "Sam Adams", locally brewed beer named after local hero and founder of the revolution Mr Samuel Adams himself.

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It's a beautiful city. Very green and fit & healthy with running being the defacto sport. Not filled with the characature "fat" Americans, but a lot more students and the like. Surprising given the size and range of portions of food on offer - which is the same all over the US.

In summary a hard working and fun week both at the same time. 

So now it's back to the grindstone in good old blighty.  I'm over the lag and helping sort out such fun subjects as LEA's, Global Rate cards, and disengaging from an engagement that's got it's claws in me.  Clearly I should have taken a leaf out of Pooh's book and gone on holiday. ;-)

 

 



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lit-Fest lineup

Just while I'm away (and not on the subject of "pre-organised" riots), I saw this story on the BBC News And wanted to share....

** Lit-Fest reveals ambitious lineup **
Stars including Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley and Johnny Vegas are to appear at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, August 07, 2011

6ix times Se7en

It's becoming a strange and interesting and generally very enjoyable year. It started badly mind you.

I've been working in this job for almost 10 years. I've been working in this field since I left school, so that'll be 25 years this year (showing my age - more on that in a moment). My career is 5 years longer in the tooth than Uncle Tim's world wide web, and almost the same age as the Internet itself. In this time, I have firmly come to believe in what I refer to as "the rule of 7's". What this seems to mean is that my life is tied to a 7-year cycle. Let me explain....

I don't recall what the major events in my life at the age of 7 and at 14 were, but I have no doubt that they existed.

Perhaps if I believed in re-incarnation, 7 years might be the point that the memories from my previous lifespan are finally blanked from this one. After-all, historically there have been many examples of children reportedly having knowledge of events before their birth that they could only know if they'd experienced them first hand. I do remember at some point seeing a documentary about a young boy, possibly around 4 or 5 years old, living in India I think, who had very vivid visions (or you might say memories) of his life as a young adult and even how he had died - a road accident if I remember correctly.

Perhaps 7 years is just where we get to make our choices... To take a path.. I don't know. I'm merely surmising and I can see how it maps to my life thus far. There may be nothing in it, or it might be the meaning of life.

Douglas Adams had the meaning of life defined as "42". That is the answer. Interesting that he should choose a number directly devisable by 7, but let's not get carried away - probably just a coincidence - if you believe in that kind of thing.

Where was I? So 7 and 14 or 1976 and 1983, just to really give it away. I don't know what the "thing" was there, but at 21 (1990) I was promoted - well I was noticed - and I made the rash decision to get married. So began a new chapter. Time passed and all was relatively well in my world.

And then, 7 years later at 28 (1997), I got divorced and began my fourth chapter. Once again it involved a change of job (although not career) and I travelled the northern hemisphere until settling (mostly) for London.

At 35 it was all change again for chapter 5. An "agreement" meant that I joined the company I now work for and I had been in the same role since day one - a period of, you guessed it, 7 years. 2004 was also the year that I met the beautiful Mrs G. We got married in 2005 and I really am as happy as I could ever hope to be. I'm sure I annoy her intensely at times, but this is the way of things. I don't doubt her and she doesn't doubt me, even if I don't always remember to put the washing on the line. :D

Now, those of you that can add up will be aware that this year - 2011 - marks my 42nd year on board spaceship mother earth and so, if there's anything to my theory, the beginning of chapter 6.

Sure enough a change if job is where it's all been at so far this year. I've not travelled outside of the country with work since 35 And here I am 36,000 feet up in the air in a tin can on my way to the good ole' U S of A on a business trip. If you'd told me this was going to happen 12 months ago, I'd have said you were mad.

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At the end of last year I was really not enjoying where my career was. It was ugly work. Work that didn't inspire me or make me want to get out of bed in the morning. Not a happy place to be. I started looking around for something new. I had a couple of "irons in the fire" as the saying goes and this opportunity came up internally. A generally similar role - but a different department.

I threw caution to the wind and applied and was accepted. Just to really finish me off in the previous role, a nameless sole really stuck the boot in on my way out of the door. I'm over it, and it taught me a lesson in trust.

More importantly I've started chapter 6 and so far it is without doubt - in the parlance of our times - awesome. Who knows what will happen when I turn 49 (2018) assuming I get that far, but it's bound to be fun finding out. For the time being I have 9 years of not being on the cemetery side of semi century, which will happen in chapter 7 and there's bound to be more velocity and less verbosity, from here on in.

Just to round off this rather self indulgent and pretentious post... I'm in Boston for a week. I have much to listen to and some to do. A presentation in front of 180 folks. I'm daunted and excited at the same time. I've done it before, back in chapter 4 so I'm sure I can do it again. I've also got a shopping list from daughter, Mrs G might miss me :D, and Pooh and his clan are on a well deserved holiday - so everything must be right with the world....

Until next time. Stay safe, have fun.



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Lion Streaming and a name by any other name....

First of all, streaming TV & Movies from OSX Lion to Apple TV (or apparently a Mac Mini, and probably anything else)….

I have an iMac which hosts my iTunes library on my home WiFi LAN. This has an external HDD that contains all the media files and usually streams quite happily across the LAN to my first generation Apple TV in the living room.  This setup has worked flawlessly for the past 3 or 4 years and all well and good.  

Since I’ve upgraded to OS X Lion, this hasn’t been quite so smooth.  In fact, any video streamed to the Apple TV seems to stutter and requires re-buffering every minute or so, making watching it almost impossible. In short – it’s become a useless brick.

Now, after some digging, reading of log files and testing of suggestions it appears I’ve found the culprit, who is none other than our good old desktop search friend “Spotlight”.  It appears that the spotlight indexing process is constantly mounting and unmounting the external HDD.  This in turn means that the content is unavailable to iTunes and thus un-streamable to the Apple TV.  Apple TV attempts to re-read the data which forces a mount of the HDD and all is well again until spotlight unmounts it again – about 30 seconds later.

The solution (for now) seems to be to switch of indexing of the external HDD. This can be done via System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy and specifically excluding the drive (or drives).  Once that’s done, a quick reboot and everything is working as it should do.  I’m sure this is a short term fix until the wizards at Apple fix the problem with spotlight – but at least my ATV isn’t just a brick anymore.

I’m also considering an upgrade to a second generation Apple TV during my forthcoming US trip – but time will tell.

Now, on to my second point today….  A name…  Finally I’ve been suspended from Google+ for using my very well know nickname instead of my real name.  Seriously quite annoying.  This means the only way for me to continue using G+ is to come clean.  Very disappointing, but such is the way of things…..   What I can’t understand is why this is so important to Google?   As I’ve said before, outside of work, everyone but everyone knows me as Golfy (or Golfyball if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). 

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I’m sure that one day, when G+ is truly opened to the masses I’ll be able to go back to my more well known name – but for now – I am who I am who am I ?



This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Countryside in View.....

A most enjoyable weekend has brought me back round to Monday. Sure enough, on Saturday Mrs G, Daughter and I hopped on the bus (Gus) into Chelter's.  

Now, I'm all for a bit of enterprise, but this particular scheme is starting to niggle at me a little. What I'm referring to is something that happened back in the mid nineties. There was an art installation that travelled the world called the "Cow Parade".  The idea is that these cows would appear in your local city and local artists would then decorate them, to express themsleves in whatever way they felt like doing.  All good stuff, and I do love a clever piece of art, which this most certainly was when it was called "Land in Sicht"* and it was original.

However, since then it's spawned all sorts of copies. There has been at least Pig, Donkey and Lion Parade's. Bristol currently has a Gorilla Parade, and now Cheltenham Town council have joined the bandwagon - or should that be parade?  The thing is - I'm all for the art - that's great, but when they're auctioned off at the end - two things occur to me...  1) Who in thier right mind would want a fibreglass pig / donkey / lion / gorilla / horse etc... and 2) Who's getting the money ?   I mean I know it says "for Charity" but that's a rather generic all encompassing way of saying "for good stuff", just not what good stuff.

Anyway - there's 10 of them in Cheltenham (Horses, obviously) and they're around until October.  They actually look great, but I wonder what they'll achieve, if anything...

Cheltenham is a grand place to spend a Saturday (or any day for that matter) and it was a beautiful warm summer's day with greenery and finery in equal amounts.  We took advantage of the outdoor dining climate and bought everything we needed over the space of a couple of hours.  

We also had to nip across to Gloucester though (thanks to the 94 - beautifully equipped public transport) because the O2 shop had run out of micro-SIM cards for Mrs G's new iPhone.  I chewed my arm over the decision to buy it for a while. Obviously the iPhone 5 will land within the next two months, so I was very much on the fence about the whole thing.  In the end, it was just easier to get her upgraded for free now, rather than have to fork out (which is bound to be the situation) in a couple of months time for a phone that I'll want more than she will.... probably....  enough! I'm starting to sound like a fan-boy now... LoL.

Sunday saw us back in the saddle - and this time for seven and a half miles up and down the river to get to the "far away" Sainsbury's.  There was no need to cycle that far, other than "it's good for us" and so it is.  It was also a fun way to spend an hour, so all good.  It did mean we were dead on our feet yesterday afternoon though - and swing bridges aside - sleep beckoned.

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This week holds all sorts of fun in advance of my trip over the atlantic. 

Take care.

* "Land in Sicht" started in Switzerland and roughly translates to "Countryside in View"



This post originally appeared here: Posterous
 

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