Flickr can be a dangerous thing….

Posted by Chris Green on Monday July 31 @ 1:10 pm

Just picked up a nice little trackback from Getting Ink, a blog produced by outstanding freelance journalists Gary and Sally Flood. It seems they picked up on some of my more interesting musical tastes from my Flickr profile.

You can read the post here. Hopefully by the time you get there the right URL for IT PRO will be on it, bloody hacks 🙂

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Posted by Chris Green on Friday July 28 @ 8:45 pm

Apparently, today is System Administrator Appreciation Day.

So go out among the little people and be nice to your SysAdmin, or something:

IT PRO – It’s live!

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday July 25 @ 10:45 pm

I now know how a proud parent must feel after hatching its offspring. Thankfully, I do not have to worry about the years of nappies and god-awful family-friendly holidays that usually accompany parenthood 🙂

Big thanks to everyone involved in the project, the vast majority having invested months in the project long before I came along. So many people have invested a huge amount of time and effort to get us to launch, and all of them are continuing to work even harder to continue development of the site. I really appreciate it.
Oh, and before I forget, please do have a read of my IT PRO editorial blog:

Why BA must spend £10billion on new aircraft NOW!

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 19 @ 2:31 pm

BA 747

British Airways has made a series of announcements recently covering everything from planned changes to working terms for crews through to acknowledging India as its busiest long-haul destination after the US.

Nestled away between the announcement that long-suffering shareholders can forget about seeing a dividend this side of the 2012 Olympics (if not even longer) and an update on the price-fixing investigation BA is subject to was a very important bit of information – British Airways is actually going to buy some new planes!

This particular ‘company x to buy products from company y’ story might not seem to be Earth shattering, but if you are a frequent flyer, and in particular a frequent British Airways flyer – it is a big deal.

BA has not bought a new plane in over a decade. While its current fleet is among the safest and best maintained (from an engineering point of view) currently flying, it is also among the oldest. On the inside the signs of wear and tear are shocking, and on its elderly Boeing 747s and slightly younger 777s, no amount of black-and-white framed photography and flat bed seats can hide the fact that the planes are worn out.

If that wasn’t enough – on my last 10 BA long-haul flights, every single one had broken fixtures in the loos, which were themselves biohazards even before take-off.

BA’s ageing fleet is beyond the stage where simply tarting up the business class and first class interiors of its fleet, or buying new cardboard to stuff inside the economy class seat cushions will wow current and prospective customers. It needs new plans with 21st century features such as in-flight broadband, reasonable catering, clean toilets and legroom. It needs to be adding and improving features to differentiate it and justify its expensive tickets, not taking features away to compete with Easyjet and RyanAir, both of which would easily beat it in a cost battle.

The company needs on-going investment in new planes, whether that may be the new 747-8, the Dreamliner, or even the monster Airbus A380 human cargo mover on long-haul, not to mention some new short haul planes. BA continues to use elderly Boeing 737s and 757s on many popular short-haul routes, and the state of these planes on the inside makes them look as though they have been in service since the Nixon administration, even though they have not.

New planes bring with them other benefits over and above new interiors and toilets that don’t stink. A new fleet will be able to capitalise on improvements in engine technology, improving fuel efficiency, running costs, reliability and flight distance. With oil prices set to stay high for a long time to come, every penny that can be saved on running costs is worth saving.

Virgin Atlantic gets this, and has progressively bought new planes over the years, the most recent being a monster long-haul Airbus, a plane which they are very proud of. Virgin is also a customer for the delayed A380 super jumbo, which will, among other routes, probably go into service on its highly profitable Gatwick-Florida route.

In my personal opinion, as a frequent customer, BA is a below-average airline, with the good work of many excellent staff and its very good frequent flyer programme often overshadowed and stamped into the mud by a number of poor-quality, strike-happy staff the company can’t get rid of. If the company has any hope of surviving in an expanding and cut-throat aviation industry that has never been more competitive, it needs to radically overhaul its end-to-end service to customers. One big step in the right direction is the purchase of a significant number of new, faster, cleaner, quieter, more efficient aircraft. Until then, I can see me spending a lot more time flying with the likes of Virgin Atlantic.

UPDATED: Dell launches a blog – good for them!

Posted by Chris Green on Thursday July 13 @ 11:27 pm

PC maker Dell has become the latest high-profile IT company to launch a corporate blog.
Called One2One (I wonder if T-Mobile, owners of the now defunct one2one mobile phone network brand name will care about this, or if there is even grounds for a trademark challenge), the blog reads as if each post has been very carefully written, edited and approved by several people before seeing the light of day, and is clearly a marketing and PR exercise. It has received some criticism from other high profile IT and media bloggers, which is fair enough.

Peter Kirwan over at Fullrun has written a great piece about the roasting Dell has received from some a-list tech media bloggers for its efforts. It is well worth subscribing to his service if you are a tech media or marcomms professional.
My view of the Dell blog is [a little bit] more positive. Dell’s blog is not really my cup of tea, but good for them – I hope it works out and proves popular.

As with any media form, the reader/viewer/listener is opting-in to the experience by choosing to read/watch/listen. If you don’t like the idea of a coproate blog then don’t read it. If you want an insight into the inner thoughts of Dell executives, this might prove to be a good outlet.

Either way, this as with any blog will sink or swim based on the strength and appeal of its content.

Edinburgh Fringe podcasting and more on Ewan’s stuff clearing

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 12 @ 10:16 pm

Ewan Lego figure

First up, don’t forget that my friend Ewan Spence is still running his innovative surplus stuff clearing initiative. Send him five pounds and he’ll send you some stuff he won’t be taking to his new digs.

Find out more here.

Next up, more news from Ewan, and it is about his Bafta-nominated Edinburgh Fringe podcast.

This year he is planning daily shows every day of the week (last year he kept Sundays as rest days, but not this year). Ewan has a bit of help for the Sunday show.

To quote Ewan: “The ‘Sunday Funky Supplement’ will be hosted by Stewart Lochhead. In his words, you (and me) are to expect the unexpected as he brings his long experience of working in theatre, radio, and the music business since 1962 to bear on the Fringe.”

There will be some regular guests, lots of banter and of course the best Fringe coverage you will find anywhere.

Find out more here.

Dealing with the burglary blues

Posted by Chris Green on Wednesday July 12 @ 4:05 pm

Not a good day by a long shot – spent much of today sorting out the aftermath of a break-in. Still working out exactly what has gone missing, but so far we have identified as missing a large amount of computer, audio  and video equipment, some computer games, a Monopoly set plus a few strange things like furniture and decorative items that while not worth much financially, will be a bugger to replace.

The FON router has arrived and is up and running

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday July 11 @ 11:33 pm

FON Router Pic 1

UPS delivered my FON social router today, and it is already up and running here in leafy Ruislip.

The router in question is in fact a Linksys WRT54GL wireless router (which uses a Linux-based open source firmware), running a custom firmware that handles the registration and payment processing for anyone paying to use the hotspot. The FON firmware also handles the provision of free access to anyone you have pre-approved. It also splits the wired and wireless parts of the router into two separate environments, thus ensuring security and (hopefully) preventing anyone connecting via the wireless FON service from accessing your own home Lan.

FON Router Pic 2

Setting up the router was extremely simple. I just connected it mo my existing Lan so it could access my broadband connection, connected to it via a WiFi-enabled laptop and registered it with the FON network. It was immediately up and running, though I have since gone and done some fine-tuning. Options I have tweaked include personalising the splash screen that hotspot users will see when they access the hotspot for the first time, and changing the broadcast channel from the default channel 11 to a less congested channel 7 (doing this also distances the broadcast range of the router from my existing wireless network on channel 10).

For now it is in a temporary location in my study (on the shelf where my new Brother DCP-340CW printer will be going – once I find time to actually take it out of the box). However, I will be repositioning it later this week, once I have tidied up, to a better location in the study where I can maximise the signal range of the router.

My $5 social router has shipped

Posted by Chris Green on Monday July 10 @ 8:59 pm

I received an email from Fon today confirming that my $5 social router has now shipped, and will be with me in a couple of weeks.

A quick query of the UPS tracking number they provided has shown me that it has already left Madrid, so hopefully it will be here in a few days, rather than a couple of weeks.

I’m looking forward to getting this thing up and running, though I have been very concerned by the recent chatter on the Fon user boards, with a large number of complaints about routers arriving dead, lousy support from Fon, and all not helped by a very rude and unhelpful moderator with a poor grasp of English (here’s a radical thought – if you can’t understand the language, why the hell are you moderating an English-language message board Moderfon).

Hopefully my router will work properly, or at least work long enough for me to write my planned article about it for IT PRO.

Mad podcasting Scotsman in house-clearing raffle shocker!

Posted by Chris Green on Monday July 3 @ 3:31 pm

Ewan Spence, he of the 2005 iPod Shuffle Shuffle incident, is moving home. Trouble is, his new home is smaller than his current place, which means he needs to get rid of some of his surplus stuff such as gadgets, videos, tapes and so on.

Now when I clear out my unwanted bits and pieces, I usually list it all on eBay, buy Ewan has found a novel solution to get rid of the stuff he can’t fit into his new home.

Send Ewan five pounds via PayPal, and Ewan will send you a load of stuff.

Sinple yet effective. Have a look for yourself here.

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