Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One Step Beyond

I've arrived in Sydney and I’m just recovering from the jet lag. An uneventful, if delayed flight caused by congestion over Amsterdam. Why they couldn’t have gone over Kent and Denmark I’ve no idea. It’s a pretty big sky, plenty of space to move around, you’d think people would use their initiative for a change. Perhaps the pilots are all using the same version of Tom Tom navigator!?!?! I woke up of Uzbekistan, not a very interesting view so I went back to sleep. I spent most of the flight sitting next to a Virgin Blue stewardess who wouldn’t shut up. Thankfully I managed to move on the HKG – SYD leg and get some peace and quiet.

Sydney was baking when I arrived, 30+ degrees and humid, but it cooled down later that afternoon and this evening its quite cold. The weather here is a little odd. One minute I’m sitting outside in a t-shirt having a flat white (coffee for you brits) and then, within the space of 30 minutes the temperature drops 10 degree’s. It felt like someone had turned the air conditioning on.

Work is going well, although nothing to get excited about. Plenty to keep me out of trouble over the next six weeks, including working over the holidays!!! Bugger!!! I’m doing a little Christmas shopping over the weekend and some advance planning for Abi’s arrival. I need to come up with some things to do while she’s here. A visit to the Cinema and the Hunter Valley are on the cards but any suggestions would be welcomed. Just click on the link underneath this entry to leave a comment.

I downloaded some Madness tracks on to my iPod before I left home. We received a free Madness Live CD in last Sunday’s daily mail. So with 24 hours to kill I thought I’d listen to something different. It bought back so many memories, flashbacks to school discos, the drainpipe trousers, white towelling sports socks, black loafers. Who can forget the opening line….’Good morning miss, can I help you son, 16 today and up for fun….’ singing about a 16 year old trying to buy some condoms. I think I’ll dig out some more 80’s classics, The Smiths (not Murray’s favourite, I have no idea why!!!), The Cult, The Cure, Talking Heads, Level 42, OMD, Japan…I could go on but I won’t.

On another note I found this interesting video on the 'Where the Hell is Matt' blog (see my earlier posting). I know it's stupid but isn't 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'. Check out the guy doing the Robot dance. I spilt my coffee!!!!

Random thought of the day ‘If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?’ Answers on a postcard please.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Watched this movie on the flight over. Thought provoking even if it was a aimed at an American audience. I recommend everyone should watch this. An Inconvenient Truth.

Updates to follow.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On our way

We’ve been back from Barcelona for over a week now and I must apologise for neglecting our blog. It’s been a hectic 10 days getting ready to go down under for the holidays. Delivering presents, writing cards, sorting out the garden, cleaning the car and working out how someone my size packs for six weeks and keeps the luggage under the 32kg. I leave at the weekend and Abi follows me down 10 days later.

We’re both looking forward to spending time in Sydney although we will miss friends and family back home. We love the city and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of fun. Two invites to dinner on Christmas day and some idea of what to do on New Years Eve. Abi wants to watch the fireworks with 1.2 other people sitting on a blanket near the harbour. I want to watch it from my balcony sipping champagne and stuffing my face. Let’s see what we do.

Further updates will follow. For the moment here is a picture I found on the net of a typical Aussie xmas dinner.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jazz with Miles & Dizzy

Well the conference has finished and I’m all done – physically and emotionally. My brain is full to capacity and I need to take it easy this weekend. It was an enjoyable conference but probably aimed at someone far more technical than myself. Still, I attended some very interesting sessions on mobility and got the latest news on Microsoft products.

This weekend Abi and I are planning to explore the wonderful city of Barcelona. If you can get past the loud Americans and British Stag/Hen parties then it’s a great place to spend the weekend. Abi and I wandered around a little bit of the Gothic area last night, did a little window shopping & then sat outside a lovely restaurant drinking Rioja while watching the world go by. Perfect.

The hotel we’re staying at is awesome!!!!! The Cassa Camper. One of the best hotels we’ve EVER stayed at. Just off Las Ramblas near MOCBA (Museum of Contemporary Art). It’s on a quiet side street right in the middle of town. The location couldn’t be any better. It’s in a very old building yet has a modern feel to it. Only 25 rooms, so it’s not impersonal and every member of staff greets you as if you were a friend, but not in a ‘put on’ way. This is how hotels should be. Its a member of Design Hotels, a group of hotels 'united by progressive design'!!!

The Lobby is like a 50’s jazz club, with arty features, a map of Barcelona & then a seating area, where we can enjoy breakfast (made to order via a little ‘hatch’) in the 24hr self service area. This is equipped with snacks and drinks, salads, soups, pastries and in the morning cheeses & breads. The reception ‘desk’ is an informal (but organised) bar like area – so all in all, we are impressed and Rob will make me appreciate his hotel seeking skills for a while to come! (Rob’s just mentioned that
www.tripadvisor.com is the perfect place to start searching for hotels whenever you travel – so he’s not taking all the credit!)

Right, breakfast is about to arrive – so we’ll catch up later. More on the wonders of Barcelona to come.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Where the hell is Matt

Watch the video below (click on the picture) and ignoring the guys silly dance (it's quite funny really!!!) you'll be amazed at the places he got to. Interesting site, have a read too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tech-Ed update – Day 2 in Barcelona

Incoming brain overload!!!! There are way too many sessions, 7 sessions per day with around 10 presentations per session. I can’t go to all of them and I think my brain is going to explode. That’s not true really!!!!, it’s been very interesting and I’m looking forward to the last few days. I’ve focused on Architecture and Mobility, trying to figure out what the future may hold. Perhaps I should rephrase that and say ‘I’m looking at Microsoft’s vision of the future’

In response to Murrays comment, No, Mr Gates didn't grace us with his presence. I think he's somewhere saving the world or having lunch with Bono (what a muppet!!). A guy called Eric Rudder delivered the Key Note speach. He's senior VP (why do americans insist on calling executives VP's? LBJ, Gore, Ford and Nixon were VP's, these guys are directors). I didn't grace the session, this was partly due to BA's on time departure (there is some sarcasm here guys). As I was VERY late getting in to Barcelona I decided to have an extra hour in bed and miss the rush as registration.

What does the future hold for me in the wonderful world of outsourced development? Do I really want to be a paper pusher? Endless telephone conferences with people in remote places, awful hours and discussing the merits of left and right justification, font’s and sizes. The highlight of my year being the next release of Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Noooooooo I’ve decided I’d like to work on developing myself into a solutions architect. Why I hear you ask. Well it seems an interesting career path to take. An ideas man, someone with a vision. I don’t want to regurgitate previous projects, I want to look to the future, innovate and stretch myself. I don’t want to work in the Strategy team; I’d rather do something that has some benefit to the business. I’d rather walk the walk than spend hours talking the talk. I want to come a recognised professional at what I do. Yeah!!!! I had an interesting discussion with a Microsoft Certified Architect yesterday (only 120 in the world). He’s given me some tips on how to develop my career. Further updates on this subject will appear shortly.

Oh and my blog has been published on the Conference Web Site (see picture). No idea why I submitted it, I just thought I would do it for a laugh. I don’t think any of the attendee’s will find it interesting but lets see if any leave some comments.

I’ve uploaded a few conference photos to our Flickr site. (Click on the Flicr link on the right hand side to see them). I’ve also started a Flickr map. Click here and have a play with it :-) I think it's a very cool way of looking at your photos.

More updates later!!! Have fun!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Return of Geek Boy

Well, here I am in cloudy Barcelona experiencing all that Microsoft has to offer. I’m attending Tech-Ed 2006, Microsoft’s conference for the top geeks in Europe.

Seriously though, it’s been interesting so far. A Key Note speech on the launch of Windows Vista & Office 2007, then a lecture on Application Architecture. This afternoon I’m attending lectures on Windows Mobile 2005 development and Business Process Modelling. If anyone wants to discuss this in detail please let me know.

More updates to follow….Keep watching this space and I'll share my innermost thoughts with you.

Be good...R