Month: <span>February 2010</span>

I had an appointment with the nurse this morning, to get my blood pressure checked. Currently at 147/71 which I’m quite happy with. The second number is the important one, it’s down from 86 at the previous reading, and as I started with 196/122 (eek!) then it seems the pills and exercise and trying to be more careful about salt in my diet is helping.

After the nurse had taken the reading she asked me a few questions about my drinking habits, part of a new health push she said. Do I consume more than 8 units of alcohol in one go? Weekly? Fornightly, Monthly?

To which my answer was, no.

If I’m on a night out then yes, I will consume more than 8 units of alcohol but as they are less than monthly what else could I say? She agreed it was a bit of a nonsense and is more aimed at people who regularly consume more than the recommended units.

One interesting question was whether I’d ever failed to meet my duties the day after consuming alcohol. To which I asked “What? Like not cutting the grass?”.

So yes, I’m a binge drinker. I drink to ‘excess’ on a night out. Yet I don’t see that as a problem as, like most of my friends and acquaintances will know, I rarely lose control and only twice in my life have I ever woke up and had a few moments of discombobulation (aka, where the FUCK am I??).

In fact my next night out will be in London, at the Groucho Club, no less, although having checked the price list, this Scottish drinker is already considering a tee-total night!

OK. Not really.

Ohh not done one of these for ages.

And the thing is, I really don’t want to revisit one part of the weekend as it’s still very painful. Yes, I’m talking about the rugby.

I’m sure if you are a ‘neutral’ it was a thrilling game, but I’m not neutral, I’m Scottish and given how well we played in the first half, well… I guess I should’ve known better. I vented a little on Twitter after the final whistle and even now, many hours later, I’m still a bit wound up and pissed off about the whole thing. Stupid game.

Speaking of games, the Winter Olympics are fun, aren’t they. They feature all sorts of wacky sports like ‘sliding down a huge slope on tiny bits of bendy wood’, ‘hurtling down a frozen ice track with nothing buy lycra to protect you’, and other such nonsense ideas.

I’ve never done any of the sports that are included in the Winter Olympics, and whilst snowboarding looks fun, the whole ‘ice’ thing just isn’t me. It hurts when you fall, why would I want to do that? At least snow is soft.

That said, I have great admiration for anyone who can dedicate themselves to such sports, particularly the dangerous ones.

Elsewhere this weekend I’ve been to the gym, not celebrated that ‘please pay huge amounts more than normal for a card and flowers’ day, and even managed to get some work done on my current client website.

I’ve also cooked a little (ok, maybe stretching a bit there), and caught up with some recorded TV.

Pretty much what a weekend is for, right?

Minus the rugby bit, of course… grrrrrrr

Towards the end of last year I started to see how several related, but disparate, strands of work would start to come together. The information produced by my team, the training collateral, the partner focussed material, is all focussed on the product and this coming week will see the first step towards the realisation of all that hard work coming together into a cohesive story.

The final push comes in the form of a content audit, which will allow me to see where the gaps are, and where rework is required, to complete all the ‘stories’ that run from the main product messaging, down through our information strategy pyramid.

At present we have successfully moved to a single source/content re-use system which allows us to publish content to a knowledge centre hosted on our developer community website, that content is also used by the sales/pre-sales department who receive it in a different format.

The developer community website will be used by partners to both learn and keep up to date with product developments, and reduce the burden on our Support team (something that is already happening with call numbers going down since we introduced our new knowledge centre). The website also means we can look at producing our forms of content for information delivery, videos, screencams, example tutorials and such like.

This is an area where the training team and publications team will come together and which the content audit will help drive.

On a personal note it’s nice to be on the final straight of some ideas I’ve had brewing for a couple of years now. I’ve been lucky that I work with a team of guys who I trust completely to do a good job and who’ve never let me down regardless of the challenge.

It’s going to be an exciting few months, with much to learn and many hurdles to be overcome but once complete I think we will have an excellent, information focussed culture throughout the company.

Buy-in for the information strategy will be re-enforced by the content audit as I’ll need to talk to everyone who could/should be involved, but it is noticeable that there has been a shift in understanding throughout our company with the realisation that information will play a larger and larger role in driving us forward.


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Very busy.

Can’t blog.

Know it’s ok NOT to blog.

Still feel I SHOULD blog.

Blame Twitter?

Stop blogging?

Blame work?

Blame too many irons in the fire?

Not important.

Just stuff.

Stuff can be put on hold.

Grand scheme, this is nothing.

But it’s still mine.

So it stays.

Just not as much.

Until, you know, I can.

Just another loop round the cycle is all.

Should maybe mention the Prodigy gig, another time perhaps.


Today was a busy day. It wasn’t manic, but I was on the go (still am) and got a lot of stuff done. The things that didn’t get completed were properly rescheduled and a plan put in place, and I also managed to move some things off my plate.

Which is good.

Thing is, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I’ve had such an efficient day. Just happened that way, and could quite easily have gone the other way and been another day of adding to my task list, rather than DOING stuff.

No complaints. Just, well I’d like to know why/how so I can repeat it again tomorrow!

I think I’m starting to get it. I’ve used it a couple of times but not for any other reason than to play with it, but now I have an actual need for a place to collaborate with a group of geographically displaced people, the ISTC Community website, it’s starting to make sense.

And I’m not the only person that thinks Google Wave is best suited to this kind of collaboration.

I’ve realised that what Google have done is take the best bits from a couple of different communication channels, combine them and add a couple of improvements.

Those channels are email and Wiki, with a hint of instant messaging thrown in for good measure.

The easiest comparison is to email, with threaded conversations the main thrust of a Wave, but as you can edit and ‘interrupt’ any part of an existing message, with that edit viewable to everyone else on the wave, soon you begin to realise that it’s more like a message based Wiki.

The ability to see new messages in real-time adds in a type of instant messaging but I think the value stands in the staggered, traceable, timelined edits of messages. For a collaborative, group project workspace this is wonderful.

I’m still learning Google Wave and as it’s still being developed there are a few quirks and annoyances to be overcome but despite those, so far, they are far outweighed by the benefits.

There are other use cases of Google Wave in action, and if you are interested, I do have a small number of invites left.


Things I didn’t do yesterday.

1. Check my email.
2. Check Twitter.
3. Check RSS feeds for updates.
4. Look at any websites, whatsoever.

And, you know what, nothing broke, the world is still spinning. Just a wee note to you all, sitting there reading this (yes, all 6 of you), now and again trying just turning everything off.

Glancing down at the readout I notice, with some dismay, that I’ve still got 4 minutes left. I glance around me, at the huffing man on the treadmill, the two girls gossiping whilst idly spinning the wheels on their bikes, and a middle-aged woman staring in bewilderment at the exercise sheet she is holding.

And then my gaze carries over to where the muscle boys are. Bedecked in their uniforms of vest tops and jogging bottoms they silently grimace and sweat, methodically lowering and raising dumbbells. They don’t talk, preferring to stare at themselves in the large mirrored wall, the only noise is the occsional heavy clank of metal.

Finally I finish on the bike and swap a few pleasantries with one of the staff. The middle-aged woman is pondering which machine to use next, so I politely enquire if I may use the rowing machine and we swap pleasantries about how knackered we are and how, yes it must be making a difference, mustn’t it?

I don’t go to the gym for the small talk, but it does help. I sometimes wonder if I should be more like the gym hounds, silent in concentration, focussed on the reason they are at the gym. There is a strange zen-like quality to their workouts, their notebooks scribbled inbetween sets, the precision of their movements, the repetition.

But I’m wary of such obsession, it’s not healthy. I used to work with a couple of guys who spent a lot of time in the gym, drank protein drinks and all the rest. They talked about it a lot, to the point of being boring.

Perspective is a wonderful thing, innit.