Smart Parking

Now That's Smart ParkingA friend of mine has just sent me these two pictures. They were taken at their place of work.

One of the reasons that I love working from home is the lack of parking hassle. When I do go into the office there is never enough room to park so I leave early to make sure that I get a space.

Now That's Smart ParkingIf we all drove cars like these, it wouldn’t be quite the same issue.

Sue Reading Blogs – how well do I know my wife?


Sometimes it’s good to give a relationship a bit of a test. this time it’s me that has set myself one – how well do I know my wife? This is also a test in the maturity of blogs, or more specifically RSS. If Sue can get into it, then they are probably good for almost everyone. If she doesn’t see the point, then so will many others in the general population. I’ve used Sue as this type of benchmark before and she is great at keeping my feet firmly on the ground.

I have set her up with an aggregator built into Outlook (RSS Popper) so as not to confuse her with another application to learn, and she spends all her life sending emails about this that and the other (that took her a while, but once she caught it she was away).

But then what to point her towards to get her started. There is no point in putting this site in, because she isn’t interested in anything technical at all.

She likes Oak Grove Happenings because that’s about us.


Well what does she like, what interests her. Well she really loves stories about people so Sand in the Gears seems like a good place to go. And she likes pictures so it’s worth putting our Flickr set in there, and perhaps it’s worth putting the Lake District pool in too, because that’s where she grew up.

But then after that, umm, not sure, time for some research I think.

(Any ideas would be gratefully received, as usual).

Count Your Blessings #8 – Paddling pools


Today is a rare day in my particular part of the world. It’s sunny and it’s warm. Lancashire is not renowned for either of these two things, though partly it’s an impression we like to give in order to keep the numbers down.

Because this weather is generally unexpected we all react to it by going a little crazy. We also feel it is necessary to fit everything into a single day that people in warmer climates know they can spread across the whole summer.

In warmer climates people have water fixed into their gardens as a permanent feature. For those of us in Lancashire spending money on such extravagance seems like a pointless activity . We have a much better more cost effective mechanism for enjoying water in the sun, we use a paddling pool. In our case a paddling pool is simply an inflatable puddle, not much bigger than the average car tyre. The great thing is that size doesn’t matter; it still manages to delight half a dozen primary school children.>

As a parent it is a real blessing to see your children having fun, being children. Seeing a face light up when it’s been covered by a splash of water gives a completely different perspective on the world. Hearing children revelling in doing the same thing over and over again makes us adults want to regain that type of joy.

Installation Idea


It’s only just occurred to me how much time I spend looking to see if something is installing OK on the various machines around the house, and I know it must also be the case in smaller businesses where they don’t have a big deployment infrastructure to rely upon.

You set something running and then go off and do something else because you know it;s going to be a while. When you come back 10 minutes later you realise that the installation stopped 30 seconds after you left it.

What I would really, really like is a way of flagging the installations to send me an alert (email, SMS, etc..) whenever it wants a question answering without me needing to go and find that out.

(Just going down stairs to look at Sue’s computer because it’s installing some patches)

It’s great on Windows XP Professional devices to be able to remote control them. But on Windows XP Home and Media Centre devices that luxury isn’t available. 

Upgraded to flick pro

AcerI have upgraded to flickr pro because I got above the 200 photograph limit of the normal account.

I’m not altogether happy with paying for something that is still marked as BETA, especially as all of the pictures in my blog point there. But that’s the risk you take.

I love the way that flickr generates community, I get far more comments on my flickr photos that I do on my blog. perhaps there is something to be learnt from that. I also like the concept of favourites too, there is definitely as need for the Internet to have a layer placed upon it which adds a level of confidence to a particular article or site. partly gets there, but the idea of marking things as favourites is also nice especially favourites that are visible to all. I have found myself doing searches over-and-over again because I can’t remember where an article is.

Here we go again – into problem solving mode

Look like I have been sucked into another problem solving situation, and yet again I am dealing with the frustrations that it brings.

The primary frustration I have is that we end up with big problems because people won’t deal with the little problems. Everyone services their car and includes that in the standard cost of things, yet we so often find ourselves in the situation where people do not service IT systems.

The secondary frustration is that we deal with each of these problem situations in a bespoke way. Each one is unique. This gives us two problems, we struggle to understand what the problem is and at the same time struggle to understand how the team is operating.

How do I deal with frustration? Well for me it does actually make a difference if I put a smile on my face, even if it’s forced. That simple act makes me see things in a different light and help me to focus on the issues.