bookmark_borderBeing prepared

It is most definitely Monday. Let me rewind the opening part of my morning for you, to offer you proof that it is most definitely Monday.

~ wibblywobbly wibblywobbly wibblywobbly ~

I’m lying in bed and somewhere in the distance, through the murk of a lie-in I hear the radio. Voices, a rabble, some music, and then the pips. I open my eyes to hear the announcement of the time.

9 AM.

As my eyes close once more my brain reminds me, in somewhat hurried tones, that I have a meeting in Glasgow at 10.30AM and perhaps, you know, maybe, it might be an idea if I got up.

I tell my brain to shut up.

It responds by sending a large jolt of recognition through my body.

SHIT!!! I need to get the 9.50AM train. Shit shit shit!

I leap out of bed, rush through my morning ablutions, haul on my clothes, hurriedly pack a bag (headphones, book, notepad, pen) and check the time. 9.24AM.

The station is a 30 minute walk from the house. I could rush and make it, probably, or I could get a taxi. As it is I’m still half asleep so decide a taxi is the best option.

Having just ‘won’ 10 minutes I decide to boil the kettle for a quick cup of coffee. Whilst it’s boiling I double-check the details of the meeting. The name of the guy I’m meeting, his phone number, the time 10.30AM, the location (big hotel in Glasgow), and yup, it’s happening on Tuesday the 1st of December.


I hate Mondays.

bookmark_borderTHAT time of year

Casting a wary eye over my calendar for the next month or so, given that we are now only a calendar month away from that day which tends to dominate things at this time of year, I realised that, as usual, my weekends are slowly melting into a morass of shopping trips, nights out and other such social occasions. Oddly I’m not attending any gigs at all in December, although that’s largely because I didn’t realise certain gigs were happening until it was too late.

It’s always good to go out and have a few drinks, some laughs and general merriment with friends, family and hell even my colleagues aren’t all that bad. But sometimes I’d like nothing better than to curl up on the sofa and waste a day or two watching crap movies. Hell I’d even take a day of watching good movies if I had to!

I tend to veer between feeling very socialable and outgoing to a complete hermit attitude, happy in my solitude, in my own space with no expectations of ‘joining in’. I grab those moments when I can, but I’m aware they don’t come round very often in December.

Of course, the next month becomes one of constant calendar checking, particularly as the ‘end of the year’ rush descends, although that’s one thing I’ve never really understood. Yeah, the year is ending, but if it wasn’t planned to be done by now, why the rush? Why the ‘need’ to get it done to start the New Year fresh? There will always be stuff to do.

And on that note I’ll make you a promise right now. I will NOT be writing any form of 2009 review, if ya wanna read it, it’s all there in the archives. What? You think I write this drivel for your benefit??

bookmark_borderAccess is good


Yesterday we launched a new version of our developer community website. It doesn’t have many ‘community’ features as yet but that’s all to come. One thing it does now have is an HTML version of all of our product documentation, in an easily searchable format.

It’s no coincidence that it looks very much like the Author-it Knowledge Center as it too was built using Author-it (alas I can’t show you our website as it requires a login).

This new format of the product documentation is largely to move us away from PDF only documentation. At present we still have a set of PDFs but they aren’t particularly usable.

We ran a few quiet trials of the knowledge centre format and everyone who saw it liked it, particularly the fact you can search across every piece of information offered.

So I was definitely pleased when, after sending out a company-wide announcement about the new version of the website, highlighting some of the new features, one of the first pieces of feedback I received was about the knowledge centre and how good it was. For the, as the kids say, win!

The knowledge centre will be updated on a regular basis, so my next challenge is to figure out a way to embed RSS notifications for new/updated topics. But so far so good, and with Google Analytics in place in the knowledge centre, we can continue to make improvements to both the information itself and in making sure it is accessible.

It’ll be interesting to see how the knowledge centre is used, particularly if we manage to track it against the number of incoming support calls as the main reason we are adopting this format of information is because, many times, the answers are there, they just weren’t that easy to find.

bookmark_borderSkunk Anansie


A long time ago, in a blue football stadium, I saw Skunk Anansie support a certain 80s rock band (ohh ok, it was Bon Jovi, now shush). The day wasn’t a great one, the weather was crap, the PA system poor and the entire day was largely forgetable. At the time Skunk Anansie were about as popular as they got, and I can remember how disappointed I was coming away from that gig.

Last night, reformed and with a Greatest Hits package to push, they appeared in Glasgow and OH MY GOD they really delivered. It took a couple of songs to get going but it’s easily the most energetic performance I’ve seen for a while, and the crowd reacted in kind.

It’s fair to say that the lead singer Skin, is pretty out there, but she really was enjoying herself and the reaction from the crowd and soon the energy was flowing back and forth. Somehow, amongst all her bouncing around, and one epic crowd surf from the stage to the end of the main standing area and back, she continued to deliver with that stunning voice of hers.

It’s obvious that this is a band that is well versed in performing live, with very few rough edges on show, and part of me felt that they really should’ve been somewhere larger but given that usually means the horrid big red shed (S.E.C.C.) I’m certainly glad they didn’t. One thing that the O2 Academy always delivers, if the band manage to generate it, is atmosphere in spades. Accused of being the loudest audience of the tour so far, the grin that broke across the faces of the band as we raised the roof once more was a genuine sign that they too were having fun.

And that’s the one thing I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting it to be loud, vicious at times, hauntingly beautiful at others, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so much damn fun. If this band get their next album right, and some of the new songs* on their Greatest Hits package suggest they aren’t going too far wrong, then we could have another great rock band back on the scene. Welcome back, Skunk Anansie!

* note to record labels: parking new tracks on a Greatest Hits compilation album isn’t going to make us buy the album.

bookmark_borderOlivia Newton John

They make me laugh, if I’m honest. Not out loud, and not heartily, and there is a level of wonder and envy but, ultimately, I laugh at their preening and posing.

But never to their face.

As I puff and wheeze, legs failing on the bike as I crank out another kilometre, I can see them out of the corner of my eye. The clank of the dumbbells, those big weighty lumps explode into movement and then fall still. There is a fluidity, a raw power behind what they do, but the effects can be grotesque.

So I happily ignore them, leave them to their posturing. Such big proud men, so silly in their masculinity. There was a time I would’ve been threatened by them, or tried to ape them (I use the term advisedly) but that day has long passed.

Whilst us mere mortals sweat and gurn with the effort of our motions, I can’t help but think that we are the happier. We are happy to balance and trade off a nice dinner, a pizza now and then perhaps, or just that bar of Dairy Milk. We don’t need the protein shakes, and know that missing a day or two won’t kill us.

It’s an interesting place, my gym.