Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Relief

The Gorse Fox does not have a great deal to say today. That probably comes as a great relief to many of you.

He has spent the day working at home and making use of various collaborative tools to share information across the ether. The tooling he uses now includes a file store, discussion forums, a bookmark manager, and a wiki. It seems to work really well and its benefit is that it provides good traceability of decision making.

GF has to head up to London to visit Starfleet in the morning.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recant

The Gorse Fox is both amazed and impressed by the news from South Africa today. According to the BBC:

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has apologised to the Football Association over Frank Lampard's disallowed goal in England's World Cup defeat by Germany.

Well that was amazing. But even more so the GF is impressed that he went on to say:

"It is obvious that after the experiences so far at this World Cup it would be a nonsense not to reopen the file on goal-line technology," stated Blatter.

The man was not as entrenched as expected and was big enough to admit he may have been wrong. The Gorse Fox salutes him, at this point, and trusts he will do the right thing.

Party like it’s 1955

The Gorse Fox would like to take a moment to wish his ageing sister a very, very Happy Birthday. Obviously she has had plenty of experience with such occasions, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t enjoy them still.

Happy Birthday, sis. I said HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sis!

( For the rest of you, I didn’t mean to shout, but you can’t be too careful).

Targeted Ads

RUIN

There is a growing trend for targeted advertising.

Since passing 50, the Gorse Fox has noticed that SAGA have suddenly become interested in him and in his travel and insurance plans.

Now, he knows he may not be in the peak of physical fitness and may not have been chosen in the England World Cup Squad and he acknowledges that the Silver Vixen may not compete at Wimbledon this year, but it’s a pretty rum affair when “English Heritage” target you with a periodical entitled “The Romance of Ruins”.

Just saying.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Re-writing History

Apparently, according to the web, the FIFA highlights of the Germany-England game omit the Lampard goal. FIFA desperately trying to save face and re-write history. How pathetic.

So let’s just have a moment here:

  • Irish knocked out of World Cup qualifiers by Referee error easily and instantly spotted by Video replay.
  • USA goal disallowed against Slovakia – refereeing error.
  • Lampard’s goal against Germany disallowed by Referee but seen by everyone else in the stadium and instantly confirmed by replay.
  • Tevez’s goal against Mexico allowed even though offside – and replay showed to the crowd and match officials and decision stood.
  • And don’t even get the Gorse Fox started on the cheat called Maradonna and his “Hand of God” goal – which even all those years ago was clearly visible on the replay within seconds.

Sepp Blatter and FIFA are an embarrassment and should resign, or stand against a vote of No Confidence.

Grow up. Admit you are wrong. Call for technology support… NOT extra refs (there are not enough referees at the moment – where are extra refs coming from – but let’s not confuse matter with facts).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DIY

The advantage of living by the coast is that DIY projects that require access to large bodies of water become possible. Tonight, the BBC start a series “How to Build a Nuclear Submarine”.

The Gorse Fox has decided to record it as something to consider when he retires.

We’re coming home, We’re coming home, England’s coming home.

It is with a degree of relief that the Gorse Fox reports – because you may have missed it – that England were unceremoniously dumped out of the World Cup by Germany this afternoon.

Relief? you might ask.

Well yes. The Gorse Fox can now enjoy the remaining games without the continual threat of disappointment, without the continual hype from the media, without the tension of the build up, and without the despair at end of a game.

You may say this is not very patriotic.

The Gorse Fox would beg to differ. To watch your country – like a loved one - being humiliated by one poor performance after another is an embarrassment and to see an end to it is much kinder than watching it suffer to the end.

The Gorse Fox fears that the resulting media furore will see the end of Don Capello and his replacement with Harry Hotspur. This would be a sad day for Spurs. He also fears that the furore, the opprobrium, and the forthcoming ridicule from the media will put off a lot of up and coming players from this ultimate honour. Indeed I think that the hype from the media is a very significant contributory factor for the disappointing display. The team had been told they would win the tournament and believed it. The stress that put on them when things were not going well was too great.

The disallowed goal was a travesty and should be a severe embarrassment to Sepp Blatter. It would not have changed the end result – but it shows that FIFA are not really interested in fair play – only the ongoing collection of money from around the world. Sepp Blatter should resign over his stance on goal-line technology – but won’t (that would take a man of principles).

Right. That’s enough for now. Its Argentina against Mexico next.

Hello… hello…

There was a ringing sound in the living room. The Gorse Fox went to investigate. Picking up the offending device he could, magically, hear the voice of Beloved Aunt as if she was beside him. Given that she was 3559 miles away in Toronto, this was clearly witchcraft of some kind.

Never being one to ignore strange occurrences the Gorse Fox drew a pentagram on the lounge floor with table salt and stood in the middle whilst chatting to Beloved Aunt on the device – one can’t be too careful, you know. It was good to catch up on the news from the Empire and to hear that she was well. Once her computer is no longer being held to ransom by Rogers we will hopefully use Skype to talk more often. (It seems wrong to rely on the spirits, necromancy, and other arcane rituals to form the conduit as we had today).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Needing Napalm

Cravings for fine Indian Cuisine have overcome the Gorse Fox's self control. An order has been placed.
The seconds tick by... tick, tick, tick...

Quiz



Now, which part of the deck has the Gorse Fox cleaned. Write your answers on a postcard and send them to yourself.

Help! Worth sharing.

Every now and again a batch of emails drops through the virtual letter box and contains transcriptions of calls received by various call centres. Without replicating reams of these there are always a few that make you chuckle:

Customer: My new keyboard is not working.
Tech support: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?
Customer: No. I can't get behind the computer.
Tech support: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back.
Customer: OK!
Tech support: Did the keyboard come with you?
Customer: Yes!
Tech support: That means the keyboard is not plugged in. Is there another keyboard?
Customer: Yes, there's another one here. Ah...that one does works...

Bless!

Customer: I have problems printing in red....
Tech support: Do you have a colour printer?
Customer: Aaaah.....................thank you.

Doh!

And finally:

Tech support: Good day. How may I help you?
Male customer: Hello... I can't print.
Tech support: Would you click on "start" for me and....
Customer: Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me!  I'm not Bill Gates.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Drawing to a close

As the working week draws to a close the Gorse Fox found himself on the early train to London. Friday always appears to be a quieter commute, but this was exceptional on both the train and the tube. GF was quite unflustered as he arrived at the Broadcaster early enough to grab a coffee before the planned meetings.

The diagram that GF has developed to show the nature of the Boroadcast business and its supporting IT has proved to be a bit of a winner and he is being encouraged to flesh it out. He suspects that it may, in the long term, prove to be a good reference model for the industry (once sanitized).

The Gorse Fox’s sister is approaching another birthday. Today seemed like an ideal time to meet up for dinner at The Crown Inn at Chiddingfold. The weather was gorgeous and the drive across country through Arundel, Fittleworth, Petworth and Northchapel was just beautiful. The restaurant struggled to keep going as they suffered several power cuts during the evening, but our meals were excellent and the service was superb.

As the sun went down it hardly seemed to darken as a huge full moon rose and continued to illuminate the countryside with astonishing clarity and made the drive home quite magical. All in all one would conclude it was a splendid day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just random stuff

The Gorse Fox had the pleasure of working from his home office... a 30 second commute from the kitchen. It was busy with work arising for two separate broadcasting organisations (a subject area that GF really enjoys). It appears that meetings have been rescheduled tomorrow and this means GF will be back in town for much of the day.

Very little impact made on administrivia today.

Interesting developments continue in the World Cup:

  • Italy - out
  • France blaming England for their chaos
  • Sunday England play Germany (for a change)
  • New Zealand on their way home without losing any games (well done Kiwis)
Some impressive displays by new Prime Minister - people completely disarmed by lack of spin and lies and not sure how to respond after so long.

Piers Corbyn's long range weather forecasts seem to be coming true - and people are still surprised.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cheer correction

No groan followed the last cheer - but website tells the Gorse Fox he was offside. So only 1-0.

Cheers

Huge cheers keep echoing through the deserted halls of Starfleeet.... based on the cheer count and groan count it's currently 2-0 to England with a seriously near miss as well.

Marie Celeste

The Starfleet offices resemble the Marie Celeste this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Random thoughts

Good day with the client... shame about all of the administrivia from Starfleet that is building up and consuming the evenings. Back in the Starfleet offices tomorrow... but a very full day ahead.

Harridan Harman accuses the Tories of breaking election pledges. That's rich coming from the party that reneged on virtually every manifesto pledge her discredited regime made. As one of the papers reported last week, the Labour Party ought to be made to make a public apology in Parliament over the catastrophic mess they made of the economy.

Budget - not quite as brutal as expected.

Signal failure at East Croydon - chaos at Victoria... but GF got lucky and his train ran to time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Err... what?



Not something you expect to see on the streets of London ... well not for the last million years or so, anyway

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Forecast

A Monsoon is forecast. A monsoon is forecast.

The monsoon with a small “m” disrupted communications with Koh Lanta and so the Gorse Fox has been unable to talk with Cousteau-cub… but hopefully will catch up with her during the week at some point.

The Monsoon with a big “M” is the Indian Restaurant where Urban-cub has booked us a table for this evening. GF has been looking forward to this and avoided spoiling his appetite by not eating since this morning’s cereal.

The Silver Vixen has again been busy with the blue paint and the Gorse Fox has been creating sawdust in his own particular fashion. This was part of the trellis re-design mentioned yesterday. It’s all looking very promising, but GF is hampered by the need to use some power tools – which are (quite rightly) banned at the weekends here in this little haven of peace and quiet.

World Cup continues to astound:

  • The French team seem to have imploded
  • The Italians were held by New Zealand (well done you Kiwis).
  • The Spain team lost
  • Portugal need a new decompression chamber to handle cases of the bends they suffer whilst diving
  • The Germans lost a game and missed a penalty

Against all of this the fact that the England team continues to underwhelm is almost a relief!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kinda Blue

The Gorse Fox has been helping out in the garden. Now, calm yourselves, this had nothing to do with horticulture. This was maintenance of a trellis built several years ago. Wear and tear, sea spray, and friction from the climbers it supported had rendered the colour pale and wan. The Silver Vixen had decided this needed sorting and so the trellis-work was released from its frame and attacked with paint brushes and blue paint. A further coat will be needed on the reverse side tomorrow, but it's looking smarter already.

A little dynamic re-design has been called for as the original frame clearly had some flaws due to the softness of the wood and weight of the vegetation. A trip to the nearby DIY emporium has seen a selection of wood obtained to fulfil this redesign as soon as possible.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Phew

What a disappointing England performance.

It was a good working day and GF was happy to get home just after the game started… but really need not have bothered.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pizza

It was a gorgeous start to the day. The sun rose over London and poured its gold droplets through the chinks in the curtains. The Gorse Fox's meeting had been put back until 10:00 so he took advantage of the extra time to stroll across from Paddington to Central London where he found a sper little cafe to have breaksfast before meeting up with his colleagues and clients for the day's workshops.

It became clear that our beloved leader had studied in the school of management consultancy as she told us what was needed, then repeated it several dozen times using different words over the following two hours. Nice person, but light on content!

At the end of a very good day, GF strolled back to the hotel and then went looking for something to eat. Tonight he tried a northerly direction. Again, very little choice other than Arabic restaurants... but GF did find a nice Italian place with a wood-fired pizza oven. This proved to be a great find and certainly deserves a repeat visit.

Can't see the Mexicans beating the French tonight... though it would be a fun result!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Squiggly writing

The Gorse Fox is staying at an Hotel near Paddington. Nice enough place, with decent sized rooms. As usual, appalled by the cost of hotel food he donned his jacket and went out to find a restaurant that was not trying to claw back the national debt in a single stroke. He was somewhat surprised to find how this part of London is dominated by Eastern cuisine and shops - where the shop names and menus are written in that elegant squiggly font that seems totally impenetrable to the Gorse Fox.

He gave up after the first foray south and returned to try a westerly direction towards Paddington Station. This proved slightly more fruitful. The Gorse Fox fancied a pizza. It became clear he was not going to be lucky so in the end he ducked into a small Indian restaurant with the idea of a quick bite and back to the hotel for the second half of the World Cup match. The Ganges was not a great choice, but it was adequate.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stuff

No real theme to the Gorse Fox’s ramblings today.

Ronaldo – referee got the measure of him and stopped the diving in the Portugal game. North Korea putting up a spirited show against Brazil. Kaka obviously took diving lessons from Ronaldo when at Real Madrid.

Another new project bubbling up at present – this one may need to be just a watching brief as GF can’t really commit to a fourth overlapping piece of work.

Urban-cub back from a weekend in the Lake District – some nice photos and obviously enjoyed the walking and scenery.

Monday, June 14, 2010

But where?

The Gorse Fox has just received an email “5-day Cruise Ship Sale”… he thought about it for a while then decided he had nowhere to keep it.

Interview

The Gorse Fox was working from home. In his calendar lurked an appointment. This appointment snuck up on him and at lunchtime he found that, along with a colleague, he was interviewing a possible recruit for Starfleet.
GF has always considered himself a fair and perhaps gentle interviewer and the majority of recruits he has processed in the past were accepted and turned out well. Sometimes, however, you have to admit that the round hole that you are trying to fill is not best served by a square peg. It was a long interview – the recruit had no concept of summarisation or brevity – and whilst he was obviously very experienced in his speciality, that was not a speciality that Starfleet needs at present.
Some rules for aspiring consultants and interviewees:
  • You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that ratio
  • Silence does not need to be filled
  • Waffling is a warning sign that you have no content – be brief and clear.
  • When you don’t know – say you don’t know – don’t guess.
  • I all you know about is aero-engines, don’t start a discussion of brain surgery.
  • Answer the question you were asked – not a question you would like to have been asked
  • Steer the conversation so that you are asked the questions you want to be asked

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rumble

The Gorse Fox was watching the World Cup when he saw that there had been 7.5 magnitude quake in the Nicobar and Andaman Islands. Knowing this was close to where Cousteau-cub lives he texted her. It was the middle of the night for them, but the alert was quickly down-graded.

Interestingly, he has managed to exchange messages with her today and she explained that people have been forecasting the quake on the 12th for about two weeks now, and Koh Lanta has just run an exercise to test their preparedness.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pain

The football has been disappointing. South Korea were ok against Greece, Argentina had their moments against Nigeria, and England (as usual) led us on a roller-coaster in the game against the USA. A draw was not satisfactory.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Re-Writing History

A brilliant piece in today’s Telegraph from Jeff Randall. No wonder Jeff didn’t last at the BBC with such views.

Faced with the horror of exclusion from office for at least five years, former ministers – Ed Balls, Lord Myners and others – are rewriting their part in the policies that helped wreck the United Kingdom's social cohesion and financial solidity. Not since Shaggy's chart-topping song It Wasn't Me have we been treated to such a ridiculous attempt at self-exculpation.

We’ve certainly seen comments in this week’s press claiming that this Minister or that Minister didn’t agree with the party-line.

With the repudiation of Gordon Brown's locust years by his erstwhile henchmen gathering pace, it can be only a matter of time before one of the candidates to replace him calls for a truth and reconciliation commission.

and

As for the nation's finances, only now, it seems, when the damage has been done, and the taxpayer condemned to long-term impoverishment, do we hear voices of dissent emerging from the ranks of Labour's placemen.

The Gorse Fox doesn’t feel as if he can add much to the original article – it is a masterpiece. Go read and enjoy this demolition of last few years of financial and social destruction.

More Skype

Whilst GF was busy working in his home office, Skype buzzed. He hit the answer button and there, 9500kms away, was Cousteau-cub and the Coventry Hobbit calling in for a chat. This time she had the video working so it was nice to see them both as we caught up on her recent passport run and the exploration of the dive opportunities among the southern islands.

What a start

What a start to the World Cup – the opening goal was such a beauty. The Gorse Fox and Silver Vixen are really looking forward to the next few weeks.

The Silver Vixen has gone to a meeting with her coven this evening, so GF will watch the France –vs- Uruguay by himself. The beauty of games like this are that GF doesn’t mind who wins – so can just sit and enjoy the game itself.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rose

Very fruitful day in Starfleet’s London office. The morning started with a briefing for risk controllers and then moved on to a workshop to shape the upcoming work for the main client. Afternoon was spent looking at some of the tooling we may use and Rationalizing, that despite what people think, irony is not wasted on our American cousins. :¬) Just look at some of their branding.

Plans for next week look slightly muddled but that is becoming a normal state of affairs.

A fine tray of sushi and glass of red wine seemed like the ideal reward at the end of the day.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Apiary

The Gorse Fox’s study was a hive of activity throughout the day. Phones buzzing, papers flapping, and, having combed through a mountain of ideas and thoughts, honeyed words dripping from the keyboard into the documents and wikis that were the focus for the day. The Gorse Fox bumbled on through the day and feels highly satisfied with the progress.

Tomorrow will see him back in town. If only we could us the teleportation devices instead of trains!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Startroopers

The Gorse Fox is lucky to be in a community considered to be the top 150 technical troops in Starfleet UK. Today was one of the few opportunities for this group to get together to discuss what is going on in business, in the country, and the galaxy as a whole and also a chance to look at any initiatives that may disrupt what is forecast.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Booked

The Gorse Fox had the pleasure of working from home. In this case the challenge was to find out how to get a license for a particular tool in Starfleet’s armoury – and to find where to get said item and download it to GF’s laptop.

As usual, finding such information in the morass of information stored in Starfleet is quite a challenge. Security is such that there are many false clues, broken trails, and misinformation. Despite this, GF did get there in the end.

To round off the day GF has managed to book the hotel for the Florence trip later in the year.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Images

The Gorse Fox has finally finished uploading various photos from the recent Thailand trip. These are nestling on Flickr and you are welcome to have a browse.

The complete set can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gorsefox/sets/72157623945832023/ but is not recommended as it stretches to nigh on 1000 photos!

There are also some subsets:

Transfer

The transfer market is buzzing that Jo Cole may be leaving Chelsea for Arsenal. GF is confused – as far as he knows Jo Cole is English so what chance would he have of getting a game? How would he understand the dressing room chat?

He’s obviously planning to wind down to retirement.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Lazy days

The Silver Vixen was out with her coven. The Gorse Fox was left to his own devices (and several of them were in working order). The brilliant day forecast did not quite live up to expectations with a haze masking the sun for parts of the day.

The Gorse Fox used the time to do some more work on the photos from the holiday and get them uploaded to Flickr. He also spent time on a WiKi for work that was to have a limited audience. Unfortunately, this meant each participant had to be entered by hand using a really, really slow tool.

The news reported that Michael Dawson had arrived in the England training camp in South Africa to replace Rio Ferdinand. Hopes dashed, the Gorse Fox stopped waiting for a call-up, but wishes the team well!

When the Silver Vixen swooped back from her coven it was clear that most of the time had been spent on spells and very little on sewing. Deciding that we were still in a holiday mood we headed out to Lemon Grass – the excellent Thai restaurant in Rustington.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Another one done

The week finished with a day working from home. After a few days in London the lure of the coast was too much to resist. Unfortunately work kept the Gorse Fox in his home office and not on the beach.

Projects seem to be in a state of flux again… but building up. GF wonders if he may be destined to be plugging holes in several metaphorical dykes.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Brief stop

Early start today as the Gorse Fox needed to leave mid-afternoon to get back in time for a Council meeting. Nice to be home... even if it's a brief stop before the meeting.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Reviewing the situation


Well, yesterday evening's Indian may have been good value, and excellent quality - but GF did find that sleep was somewhat sporadic last night. It did mean, though, that GF was able to get up and about early and was in the office by 07:30 doing his expenses.

It was good day work-wise, and a brilliant day weather-wise. In fact the Gorse Fox made the most of his requirement for stamps to go out for a stroll after lunch and post his expenses at the Post Office. The place was abuzz (as indicated in the photo) and it seemed a shame that GF would soon have to return to the office.

Skype has been his friend today. One colleague in Scotland was online and it was easy to chat with him and get confirmation of a number of assumptions he had been making during the morning. Then Cousteau-cub came online, so again GF was able to chat (text) with her for a while and tocatch up with what's going on in Koh Lanta.

After work, GF headed for Wagamama's for dinner, then onwards to the hotel for a call to the Silver Vixen and then a quiet evening.

Cafe society



The Gorsefox had to leave the building at lunchtime. Obviously working at an outpost of the cafe society.

Found

That which was lost has been found. Even the Gorse Fox didn't think he was that devious.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

After the Bank Holiday


The Gorse Fox had a very long chat with an Aunt last night. It was nice to catch up on the news from his cousins, but sad to hear that the Bishop has been very unwell, and whilst local  to home, GF has spent much of this year away in town and rarely home. He'll have to try and make contact when he gets back again later in the week.

As far as work goes, it was a good day. Much of the day was spent formalising the notes from the meeting we held last week.

As the Gorse Fox left the building the rain was there to greet him. Despite the forecast, this morning's trip had been fine... but the drizzle had set in during the day and whilst fine would be capable of soaking you to the skin if unprepared. The Gorse Fox was , of course, prepared and made his way to the hotel via the Westfield Centre. Checked in and settled he called the Silver Vixen for a chat and then headed out into the gloom and across to the Indian Restaurant opposite the hotel. This proved to be a good choice. The food was very good and the prices most competitive. (Which is more than he can say for the small shop in the hotel that charged 1.75 for a bottle of water!).

Internet connection not working in the hotel room... having to rely on phone again. Shame it can't be used to do Starfleet expenses... which had been on the agenda this evening.

So the football squad has been chosen for the World Cup... GF is sure there'll be some complaints, but all in all he thinks the decision looks pretty sound


Better

Two hours and twenty minutes.... much better