Tag: US


I’ve had insomnia on and off for years but in the last year or so it’s started to occur more frequently.

I’m starting to figure it out though and it’s definitely work related. It seems that, during periods of high stress, my insomnia kicks in.

Beyond that I’m a bit hazy about why I wake at 4 or 5 in the morning, wide awake, regardless of when I went to sleep. I’m trying to track how fatigued or tired I feel at the moment to see if there is a pattern there but all that’s really doing is highlighting the things I stress and worry about and, obviously, that then allows my brain to focus on them and worry and stress some more!

There is possibly an element of decision fatigue at play as well, my new role demands much more in that respect, and as I’m still learning it, each decision is harder to make (takes more energy). Whilst the team size is no larger than in my previous role, at least there the decisions were easier as I had 15-odd years experience in that role.

Part of it is definitely down to the additional timezones I now have to work with, particularly as the overlap with California is so small. It makes each day that little bit longer, and each communication point and decision that little bit trickier to negotiate.

What to do?

Well I’m exercising more, trying to stagger my start times (later) to accommodate conference calls with the US, and largely doing what I can to be more organised as I know part of my stress is worrying that I’ve forgotten something!

I’m also hoping a holiday will help, roll on Glastonbury!

Ho Ho Holy Shit… December

I am having fun.

This must be true because time is flying, it seems like only yesterday we were wandering round Edinburgh Zoo! Since then, we’ve had gigs, trips to London and Manchester and, all of a sudden, it’s December and Christmas looms large.

Most years I’d take this week and next week to slowly get up to speed, get the cards written and posted, get the Christmas tree up, buy and wrap pressies and all that nonsense but unfortunately I’m already running out of time.

This week, I have this evening and Thursday evening free. Friday afternoon/evening is our team Xmas lunch which means Saturday will likely find me a little hungover and on Sunday, at around 6.30am, I’ll be at the airport ready to fly off for a week in the US of A. California for a couple of days, Massachusetts for a couple of days and then back home at 8am on the following Saturday… just in time for the Company Christmas Party that night!

It’s been a funny old year. Life has thrown some curveballs and in keeping with the well-known saying we made curveade… no, that’s not right… whatever, it’s been more ups and downs and as ever I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s all part of the journey.

As I’ve said to many others this past year, I’m happy. And that is all that really matters. I have a wonderful woman in my life who loves me, I have a good job, I have the best friends and a supportive family. It’s true, I’m a lucky son of a bitch!

Of course, that doesn’t mean things couldn’t be better. I’m still struggling to lose weight, I plateau’d around June but I’m taking some solace that it’s not gone back on, and I still can’t play the guitar.

Regardless, I feel like I know myself better. My sense of identity is stronger, and I feel like I’m finding my place in this weird world we live in.

I’ll admit it. It’s good to be me.

On not blogging

A product release is imminent.

A trip to visit two customers in the US of A.

Ongoing complications with the new ISTC website (soon, soon!).

Planning for 2012, including a major restructure of our content.

Actual writing some documentation (a rare occurrence!).

Plus all the usual things that life is wont to throw at us.

Maybe look for me on Twitter instead?

Getting around

Boston in the fall. Lovely, even though I only had a few hours to wander the streets and take the duck tour. Gorgeous place, friendly people, definitely one to revisit.  I was a little bit spoiled by the fact it was around 21C in glorious sunshine but, nevertheless, Boston has a charm that is almost European (understandably so). Winding streets, glorious parklands, and an air of history. Yes, I liked Boston very much indeed.

Chicago in the fall. Grey, cold and regimental. Whilst it was nice to have the opportunity to visit (I was visiting some of our customers in the US of A last week) I was less than impressed with Chicago. Again, the weather played a part but the city itself seemed very anonymous. Again, I only had a few hours to wander so without doubt I didn’t get the best of what it could offer but I won’t be hurrying back.

It’s been a hectic month. Between struggling to build a website (I’m a month behind schedule, which I hate), things at work being even more mental than normal (which is a good thing, we are TOO busy), and the last week of travel (London, Boston, Chicago in the same week), suffice to say I’m reeling a bit.

Hopefully the next couple of weeks will ease me into December nicely, and then onto 2012.

apple uk tv shows

Fire up your iTunes Store, Apple have started selling episodes of TV shows. All your favourite stuff from US TV that you’ve… umm.. already downloaded and watched because why SHOULD we wait until it airs on UK TV?! Idiots. This does not stop piracy. When WILL they learn.

Hit me, baby, one more time

Another tragic day in the US, another gun related crime (amongst many).

The same arguments will be wheeled out, debated, and forgotten as we move on with our daily lives, the blessing of the unaffected.

Spare a moment, a thought, for those who won’t be able to move on, who will suffer, who are in pain.

And then pause and wonder when it will change. If it will change. Will it change? Will it? How long must it take? How many dead bodies need to be piled up?

Live TV

Lyle links to an article that states:

Most TV viewing in households with personal video recorders such as Sky+ is still live and “traditional scheduled TV will be around for a long time yet”, according to new research.

We’ve had Sky+ for over a year now, and having finally switched my viewing habits to incorporate it’s features I wouldn’t go back if you paid me. The ability to pause a programme is worth it’s weight in gold, and with the recent addition of a “remind me” function for some programmes it’s a matter of two button pushes to record a future programme (the “remind me” function appears during trailers, hit red then “record” and Sky+ will take care of it for you). The series link is also invaluable as it figures out when the next episode of a series is on, and automatically sets it to record (even if it shift times).

So what you end up with, fairly quickly, is a set of pre-recorded programmes that YOU chose from the available channels. Your own little TV station.

That’s not to say we don’t watch ‘live’ TV anymore, but I think that depends on your viewing habits in general. I hardly watch any ‘live’ TV other than sports and news whereas my better half will watch TV of an evening and channel surf to find something to watch. The only stuff we record, typically, is stuff we’d both watch. So I don’t think watching ‘live’ TV is going to go away but I would expect to see a long-term shift. Whether or not the TV companies are looking that far ahead is disputable, especially as they still seem concerned about whether adverts will still be viable in the future.

After all, would you CHOOSE to watch adverts?

Our usage of Sky+ is governed, for the meantime, by the capacity of our current box. If it was larger I’d be much more prone to recording things “just in case” and wouldn’t mind them lying around on the machine until I had time to watch them. With that in mind, it would mean recording, say, Frasier every night, and skipping the adverts every time. The bigger the capacity, the less the chance I’d watch ‘live’ TV (including sports), and the fewer adverts I’d see.

What the TV companies need to do is come up with a viable alternative that suits ME. Add in the complication of downloads (particularly of US shows) and the whole picture becomes much more usage focussed. Power to the people (consumer)?

Ho ho … meh

This week has flown in (…what an odd phrase that is. From where, pray tell, has the week arrived and couldn’t it have walked or cycled or something?), I can barely believe that it’s Thursday today and tomorrow heralds the auspicious event that is our company night out.

The US-based staff have been flown in, rumour has it that we’ll even be getting a couple of free drinks bought for us and, whilst it would be churlish of me to say it I’m going to say it anyway, it’s just as well we’re getting a couple of freebies as this year the hotel we are using has us entering the upper tier of exortion. Seriously, would you CHOOSE to pay £4 for a drink? Add in the train fare to get there, which includes a trip on the clockwork orange and the £20 taxi home … is it any wonder I’ll be consulting with my friends “hip” and “flask for” most of the night?

Of course this all pales into significance behind one of the most dreaded decisions of the year, what to wear!

I HAD planned on wearing a deep wine coloured shirt I have, and possibly not bothering with a tie… only to stumble across some photos from last year’s party and, that’s right, I wore the shirt last year. Can’t possibly wear it again. Faux pas, n’est ce pas?! (oooh multilingual!)

Thankfully I have tomorrow afternoon off so it’ll be a quick trip to my favourite men’s clothing store to pick up a new shirt. Unless George don’t have anything I like the look of in which case I’ll head to Primark… hey, did you hear they are opening a Primark on Oxford Street? Wonder if they’ll put the prices up?

Aside: How many people do you know who pronounce “Primark” as “Pree-mark”, what’s that all about? Same vein as “Nikee” as opposed to “Nike”?

As usual, I’m sure it’ll be a great night. Every year I go through the same, “can’t be arsed” routine beforehand and every year I’m disappointed at how quickly the evening passes and find myself wishing it had lasted longer. So I guess that only leaves one more decision to be made.

Which pair of festive boxer shorts should I wear, the flashing santas or the comedy snowmen?

Out with the old

Apparently, this site is one of 14.4 million other similar sites. Presumably, and I’m certain someone far smart than me will be able to formulate this better, of those 14.4 million, only a portion of them can be directly compared to this site. Of that portion, there will be other factors that will set my site aside as well, geography, topic coverage, age of the author, average of the readership etc etc.

I understand why it’s good to know how many blogs there are, and I think technorati is doing a good job collating and publishing these kinds of figures, but how do those figures affect me? Do I care that 80,000 new blogs are created each day, especially as only 36,000 or so of them will make it beyond the first few months? What I believe is lacking is the next level of detail, the key one being geography. However as the large majority of new blogs are created using a free tracking service – blogspot, livejournal, msn spaces – which offer no way to track where the author is located then we have a problem, don’t we.

Then again, if it’s one thing the interwebnet is good at it’s finding solutions, so why has this one perpetuated for so long? Is it because those in the US have their “rest of world” goggles on? Is it only non-US blogs that care about these facts? (I use the term care advisedly, I don’t CARE but I am interested) Should we be leading the way… when I say we… I mean the people that actually DO things, not people like me who merely pontificate from below and hope that someone somewhere is listening.

Of course this swings back around to the thoughts of community and niche. how they form whether we like the idea or not, and how categorising blogs and their influence is a hugely vast and completed job because there are no rules or guidelines to follow, no structure to how things are done, with everything both global and local at the same time.

The big numbers are important but it’s the more focussed info that bloggers need if they are to get an idea of what their “competition” is, what the trends are in their neighbourhood. I want to know how many new blogs there have been in the UK, in Europe. How many are personal sites, how many are “for profit” ventures?

No, I’m not overly bothered by these thoughts, nor will I expend much energy pursuing them, but I am curious. I guess that’s common after spending over five years on a hobby.


Art, fashion, design. They are all subjective. But where do we get our sense of style, our own personal tastes? Are they developed over time, moulded by society and our exposure to culture, or is it a genetic inheritance? A bit of both?

Is my love of minimalist – think Scandinavian (no NOT IKEA) and Japanese simplicity – design driven from my slight loathing of mess? Or is it because I grew up with two lovely Geishas looking down on me from the living room wall, tapestries by my Mother which my sister and I have already started fighting over (sorry Mum, I know it’ll be a while yet!).

Everyone knows what they like, and knows what they don’t like. I don’t really need to look twice at something to tell you whether I like the way it looks or not, so can artists please stop telling US what is art. That’s for me to decide and don’t moan if I don’t think that turning up and tipping out a bag of used teabags onto the floor is “art”. By your own definitions, art is experienced differently by different people, so that has to include some people think that you aren’t much of an artist and should stop dumping your crap all over the floor.

Or is it just me? What is “art” to you?