Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Web 2.0 for business and Educators

Started Wednesday 30th March 2011
Words 423
S.I.= 85%
Digital Revolution hiccups and Digital leaps
Have not really had as much time as I thought this last week.  I have stepped back into the Worlds of teaching at a School in Ely and been progressing my own business and a project for AN Other.

Last week saw the fifth Birthday of Twitter.  Yesterday saw a major glitch in the BBC Website which apparently was due to a faulty, mechanical, optical or software controlled it certainly revealed the problems for business continuity.  More on this later.

 Another special event happening is that Freeview Digital TV is starting for some people today on the Suffolk/Essex Border if their transmitter is turned towards Sandy Heath.  If your analogue signal (ordinary BBC 1, 2, ITV 1, Channel 4 and Five)  works now try scanning with Freeview box or Freeview TV.  Best position for aerial 12 m above ground apparently with no obstruction (does work with roof aerials if close to transmitter)

Friday sees the upgrade  of the Business functionality on Facebook.  This will give same types of activities you can do with a personal profile.  Business pages are still within your Facebook registration, you are not supposed top have more than one account.  In fact you can be deFacebooked if you are in this state of duplicity.  Recently there have been groups removed from Facebook for extreme political views reported in the press so they are monitoring.

The Business continuity issue highlighted by both recent natural disasters and the outage of the BBC Website. The e-commerce end was affected as well as the News feeds.  The BBC was no longer the most up to date news source at that time.  The possibility exists that further outages may happen since the components, if it was a switch, may all have been put in at the same time.  Buy a brand new house and you will usually most of the light bulbs fail at roughly the same time.  The local Business Continuity Network to West Suffolk and South Cambridgeshire has gone live with its' website Business Continuity Network .  Time to integrate my own survey of my practices if the worst comes to the worst and I loose my main desktop.

I attended a meeting last week in Ipswich where the focus was sustainable workplaces.  I am developing my areas of Business interest to enhance the skills to go with this and also the Web 2.0 and cloud implications that go with this.  I will be blogging on my WordPress sites about this over the next few days. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Web 2.0 for business and Educators

Started Tuesday 22 March 2011 0550 GMT
Words 394
S.I.= 78.8 %

Twitters Fifth Birthday

A social app has reached what used to be in this country one of those milestones five years old.  I have been watching the news coverage of Twitter.  I am anthropomorphising the Microblog site because the more I look at it the more it seems to have some functions of a living organisms.  We teach young children in the UK the seven characteristics of living things (or used to not so sure if they are supposed to discover the knowledge themselves).     MR GREEN is the mnemonic often favoured.

M- Movement
R- Reproduction
G -Growth
E- Excretion
E- Excitiability ie senses itself and own envionment
N- Nutrition

So at the age of five we would a few years ago we would have been sending our children to school for the first time.  Now they are taught and formally assessed from the age of three.  In Europe formal education starts later at seven.  Twitter being five, is already drawing predictions of its demise.  Before it's character has even developed properly ( children learn the most before the age of five) it's imminent metamorphosis into a bad character is being predicted.  This is also being mirrored in the UK by the constant inspections that we have been subjected to over the last 30 years.

The effect appears to be a society that has not matured beyond the age of 13.  A society that is still reacting as though in the playground and the biggest bullies are people who are supposed to protect those who cannot protect themselves by this I mean the old, the young and the vulnerable.  The bullies are the local and national  service providers funded out of the taxpayers pocket.

The sixties cry "you and whose army" and "talking about my generation" appear to be beginning of the ME generation, also known as the Baby Boomers.  As they have progressed to leading society from the 1960s, great population expansion, new towns the race for land in Kent then Essex the do as I say don't do as I do has become more prevalent. George Orwell's Animal farm personified.  Nowadays the  pigs with their snouts int the trough are usually paid for by honest hard working tax payers. Is it time to get off the merry round?  I certainly am not enjoying all the fun of the fair!

PS Budget day looming!   

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Monday Morning Week 8 of Chinese New Year

Started Monday 21st March 2011 0520 am
Words 413
S.I. = 82%

Supermoons and Equinoxes

Lunacy  seems to be prevailing a lot in society at the moment, whether actual or perceived.  World events in and around the Mediterranean are taking an interesting but probably predictable turn  given that we are at the beginning of century.  Catastrophic events seem to group themselves around these decades.  Just looking at a few examples from Wiki-pedia relating to Europe and the Mediterranean (similar events happening across the World)

10th Century - Vikings start explode out  in Northern Europe, Fatimid dynasty established in   Algeria , 917 Bulgarians defeat the Byzantine Empire

11th Century - 1001 Volcanic Eruption with 6.5 Earthquake, Egyptian scientist feigns madness for fear of offending Caliph but during this time under house arrest writes the book of optics , Vikings under Leif Erickson continue world tour and find America (was it ever lost), Byzantines beat proverbial out of the Bulgarians 

12th Century - Arms business starts to be established  , Baldwin I crowned King of Jerusalem this event still echoing down the centuries with inappropriate word of crusader being used by North African "leader", pesky Vikings are up to it again this time crusading, must be those genes influenced by short winter days obviously wanting a summer holiday (trying not to trivialise events but also not be sombre)

13th Century - Rise of French in Europe and Normandy falls (1214), 1215 Magna Carta Signed

14th Century - Climate change and the Little Ice Age  and warm summers from 1300 not dependable, food crisis  (Sunday Express article )

I could go on but the patterns are similar to our times.  The career of a British aristocratic family was the first generation made the money from nothing, the second consolidated their position and became respectable the third generation spent it all and then livid off the fact the family was once "great".  This seems to be pattern adopted globally.

We seem to be forgetting the past historical examples.  In the age of the internet these basic facts are there to see, that history does repeat itself.  However with the vast perceived  wealth collectively that we have ......  we seem to allow certain groups to make billions to the detriment  of progress for all.  We should not have children stealing food in modern Britain to feed siblings.  This is not Oliver Twist or the Water Babies Britain surely?

PS Will be blogging more on Wordpress blogs, from this week, also will be blogging on Best of Haverhill about gardening soon.

The Saturday Garden Shed with Sunday Foodie bit

Started Sunday 20th March 2011 1000 am

Square foot gardening and Greek Cuisine

Friday, 18 March 2011

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wellbeing on a Thursday

Getting closer to escaping to that break on Crete
Started Thursday 17th arch 2011
Words 399
S.I.= 79.8%

These are a few of my favourite things

A time to pause briefly.  I have been driving around West Suffolk in ever decreasing circles.  A lot of ground has been covered in what has been quite a complicated piece of organisation and logistics.  Most of the task complete.  Very interesting to see how many businesses there tucked away in barns or down  little country lanes.  Telework  (Telework Association ideal way to reap benefits of working in a rural environment while having a global presence.  Communications are not great East to West in Suffolk.  However West Suffolk is almost grazed by the M11 and Stansted (plea to airlines could we have a service to Crete from Stansted restored since Aegean Airlines became Greece's national carrier have to trek all the way to Gatwick or Luton) is on the door step.

Looking forward to taking advantage of some the opportunities that the Olympics 2012 events can offer tickets have gone on sale.  There are also opportunities for small businesses to be able to bid for part of the supply chain services.  Most large projects have apparently been managed by multinationals (had a conversation with a big Aussie friend who is subcontracting in Stratford) and most of the actual work is being done by firms in East London.  Suffolk on the doorstep, West Suffolk even more so as only 1 hour away, has a great opportunity.

Todays' blog is ostensibly about wellbeing.  I have found the last few weeks that as I have cranked up the wheels of personal industry that even micro blogging can be useful if you are a small business person to not only sometime record your experiences but also share your expertise.  Shouting in a desert can be almost the same as trying to clap using only one hand.  Tweeting at the moment is turning up a vast array of new contacts and opinions.  As people start to get used to tweeting you start to see the personalities of people emerge.  they are generally positive and forward thinking.  This is infectious on a damp foggy morning in Suffolk. Unlike Facebook 140 characters makes you think of the message you are trying to convey.  Blogging definitely falls into the category of a Reflective Journal that can be used to manage and assess your own Wellbeing.  To quote one of my fellow tweeters on Wellbeing, happy  tweeters keep followers. 

Wednesday and Career Change

Renewable Energy makes sense

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Saturday Garden Shed

Garden shed is in composition as opposed to composting:  Theme is about invasive weeds.  Weed being a plant in the wrong place, a rose is a weed in a lawn if it is not meant to be there.

Solutions to problem of Ground Elder and Japanese Knot weed to follow.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday Analysis

River/Brook that runs through Haverhill, sun
today is glinting of the water also

Moving bulk of blogging to Social and Micro Enterprise sites 

The career change mode has now reached a stage where part of the efforts now need to be directed to establishing a presence in the blogs



The free blog will continue, but in cut down form on Monday and Friday.  The phrase is very true in that if you are blogging you may not be doing other equally important things.  "Oracles" R Not Us, maybe attempt to be some of the time.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wellbeing on a Thursday

Started Thursday 10th March 2011

Wednesday and the light at the End of the tunnel

A triffid?
Started Wednesday 09 March 2011 0645 GMT
Words 420
S.I.= 84%

New career starts today... not tomorrow

A sense of purpose is starting to develop as each way point is reached on the voyage of career change.  I have now reached the stage when I can start to write about the new career rather than the plan about how it will take shape.  So far planning has been effective for my futurology skills.

The sense of purpose  that I had when I started teaching had died a number of years ago.  This was a something at the time I did not realise since at the end of each year my benchmark Stats the SATS tests indicated the effectiveness of what I was doing compared to the internal results of Maths and English (usually 20% or in some years 40% difference between Science and the rest) and favourably compared to county and national data .  This was all done without the massive input of advisor/consultant, resources (many years I had no budget at all when a nearby middle schools head of science had 5 GBP per pupil per year to teach science to 9 to 13 year olds this is a paltry investment considering how even 1 inspired scientist engineer can generate millions of tax pounds for the future).  Plus I did not have the same staff and advisors (which came out of school budget) and we still for many years remained on special measures, I even had to do the washing up as I had no technician for many years, well over half, of the 13 I was in teaching.  Yes I persisted against a lot of obstacles because I realised that the pupils we had in front of us were our pension scheme so against the odds of the way the National Curriculum was being run, I continued.

Now I am bringing that same sense of purpose and drive to my new career, working for myself.  This time however, the organisation is mine and will be run primarily with Wellbeing as the foundation block (see Monday's blog).  As the loads get heavier at times in the year the the Wellbeing will be subject to compressive forces, but if the block is suitably robust the business' most important asset (me, have to think that way from the start) should survive as dynamic loading should be within my stress coping envelope.  That is the philosophy behind my actions.  the next few years are going to be interesting as I build a sound economic future independent of banking gamblers!

Tomorrow's bog about Wellbeing!!  

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Web 2.0 for Educators and Business Part 5

Started Tuesday 8th March 2011

A long day I will edit and reform this because what I was goin gto write about is not so relevant for 500 words

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Monday Morning Week 6 of Chinese New Year

Loch Ness  monster spotted on Holiday in Crete
Started Monday 7th March 0530 GMT
Words 531
S.I.= 106.2 % Aspirational Target not met
Week before the Ides of March

looking at the calendar planning what is going to be a very busy week I stated to think of the associations with the times of year.  The Ides of March falls next week on the 15th March.  I have not had a look at Pepys diary for a while, I wonder if anything has changed (ie similar situations different names).

What do I need to achieve by the end of the week?  The first priority is to make sure that I have considered a Wellbeing strategy.  I have found some of the course notes and literature from 2006 when I was a Wellbeing facilitator in my previous job in a school.  As a staff governor ( I really need to update my Linked in profile to reflect my experiences adequately) I took on this role at quite a difficult time for the school.  Special measures  looming again (we just avoided it again), eventually a change of head, acting head was in place, School Re-organisation taking place from 2007 (moves to close Middle Schools in Suffolk, happened in Haverhill and Lowestoft but unsurprisingly not happening anywhere else in Suffolk).

Against this background the one thing that senior management should have been putting in place was a wellbeing strategy but this did not happen.  Now I am running my own business with a view to employing others in the future it is time to make sure that I build my business to be a stress resistant organisation since I can set the agenda and learn from these experiences.

The first question should always be what do we want to achieve?  The second question is what are the benefits to us?  The this what are the costs, both financial and from an emotional intelligence perspective?  The most important out of the four process is the do next bit setting  out aims with a clear time frame and success criteria evaluation.  A detached non-emotional evaluation of the aims then needs to a priority no matter whether there is success or failure.  To quote one of my Twitter communicants    (I will not put her link here as you can search for me and then locate janeaninspires if you so feel inclined) "Tomorrow, instead of looking at what you don't have, examine all that you do have and be grateful! I'm just saying..... :)". Even better  is her comment, "Even if you win the rat race, at the end of the day, you are still a rat! :)" although I still like to win but maybe do it with the original spirit of Baron de Coubatin.

PS also start Advanced Electricians course to be able to install and certify Solar Panels.  A distance learning course I will be using the Wednesday Blog (have achieved career change so do not really need to revisit preparation phase) to be able to keep a reflective diary of the e-learning practice.

PPS Forget almost what was happening with Samuel Pepys? A little bit of blowing his own trumpet (but that is what most diarists do to a certain extent)?  And he was contemplating a career change.  Even then Lawyers and barristers were earning obscene amounts!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Sunday Foodie bit part 6

Shots taken at Duxford Airshow of Aircraft regularly seen
flying in the skies of West Suffolk  during World War Two
 Started Sunday 6th March 2011

Good Suffolk Produce ... catch it before everybody knows 

I attended the local food festival at Chilford Hall.  This was organised by a group called  Taste of Anglia.  I have to say I was very impressed with the Suffolk produce on show.   I always have a slow walk around these shows, usually in the opposite way to the numbering of the stalls.  It is a marketing event when all said and done  so I usually always try to find out what the last stand is next to the exit to see who is the last producer I am expected to remember.  In this case it was that  pub landlord friendly brewer Adnams.

So on my widdershins (fans of Robert Burns' language will understand what this word means) walk I tasted what was on offer.  I signed up for all of the free offers and competitions.  Asked a few searching questions of   potential business affiliates and generally started to understand the position of Suffolk producers and some of the competitors from outside the county.  I came across one vegetable box scheme supplier who would deliver from all the way past Peterborough.  I will allow the reader to judge the sustainability of this practice.

On my second circuit I then started to purchase the products that interested me  most.  I have to resist buying too much as fresh produce will go off and I do hate throwing food away.  Musk's   had a sausage made with Aspalls Cyder which was very good.  Also bought a mixed box of Aspalls Cyder (the Suffolk Cyder) which can also be drunk almost like a sparkling wine with food.  This is more suitable now that most wines have become "super" strength at 12 or 13 per cent ABV.

I lefty the show at 1145 am just as it was starting to get busy.  I tend to stride out a bit so find crowds can be extremely inconvenient in relatively small venues especially when people walk without due care and attention.  Right have to go and get some Jubilee clips as I am going to rehang my front gate and need to make sure it can't be lifted off it's hinges.

PS  My local, the Royal Exchange  has just qualified for an award based on the quality of the service and the quality of the cellar management to serve.  It will probably mean my local gets busier but when something is good   we can put up with that.   The phrase "Strangers are friends we haven't met yet" really does apply here. 

The Saturday Garden Shed

Another type of shed a green polyhouse
Started Saturday 6th March 2011

Sweet Pea and Petunia Salad ......... booked for later in Summer

Time for a little progress check on the potatoes that I have had sitting in my airing cupboard for the last few weeks.  The chitting process is going well they have shoots that are 2 to 3 cm long.  The last of the frosts should hopefully be gone by the third week of March.  The potato bags will then be used for the potato crops rather than planting and ridging up.  The surplus seed potatoes I have already offered to a few people including one new neighbour who has just moved to the area who I met through a chat in our local pub.  Long may the pub remain a feature of British society.

First lot of Sweet Peas have germinated and are now finding their way to the production of the first leaves.  The next sowing of Sweet peas a dwarf mixture and a tall mixture for this weekend.  A set of Petunias using recycled plug plant trays will also be a task.  The excess again passed to other people or  I am possibly thinking of an honesty box system to raise a little money.  Now that would really be micro-entrepreneurship.

I have this little disagreement with my mother each year over plug plants.  She is definite about buying plug plants each year, but is never quite up to potting them all and taking them to the next level.  The consequence is that a lot of the 250 or more plants are lost.  Being a sustainably minded gardener I find this to be an awful waste.  I may have finally persuaded her this year with following argument. The growers of the plug plants are happy as they are able to free up the space to produce more than one product in that growing area a year. They also do not have the risk or expense of taking the plants to a larger size.  Plug plants are fine if you have the space and time and want 250 of the same plant..

The coming weeks will see a lot of different plants that will be needing to be sown as the vegetable growing calendar opens up.  I will update my planting schedule at another time since I find myself a little time poor for blogging. Tomorrow is the foodie bit. I attended the Taste of Anglia event at Chilford Hall so will include comments on some of my purchases from this worthwhile excursion.

Friday, 4 March 2011

A TGI Friday feeling!

Started Friday 5th March 2011  1757 GMT

Travels around Cambridgeshire and Suffolk

To be completed tomorrow since this has been a busy week and I am going to pause and refl;ect tonight.  I have been microblogging twittering a lot over the last week as situations have developed

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Wellbeing on a Thursday

Started Thursday 3rd March 2011 1735 GMT
Words 477
S.I.= 95.6

A year on .......and light has gone back on

A year ago I stepped away from the bull pit of teaching.  The climate in Suffolk schools was indicated recently by the story detailing the effect of top down micro management practices and demands of society on teachers to cure all of it's ills.   I started my own process of establishing a life greater than work balance on this day last year.  On the 2nd December 2010 I stated blogging with the express aim of ordering my reasons and methods of how I had come to make that decision.  More importantly I have used this blog to explore and formulate a game plan for change.  The is blog has been used in part to  establish my own sense of wellbeing and manage a career change in what has been described as  one of the most diffiuclut set of economic circumstances since the 1920s.

I would balance the statement with a conversation I had with a family friend I met in the street yesterday.  This person is the wife of father's former business partner.  She has just retired as teacher after nearly 39 years.  The conversation switched to her own childrens'  experiences of the last year.  She related how her daughter's husband had experienced redundancy three times in the last year.

As we further chatted we moved onto are we really worse off than in the 1920s and 1930s.  Her own father was a Staffordshire farmer during this time.  She could recall her sister who is 20 years older than herself (she comes from  large family as was the case in those times) telling her about the crops her father had to bring home from market and plough in as he could not sell them to anybody.  People did become destitute and follow the Road to Wigan Pier.

Today we do not really have the same constraints as then.  The Welfare state may be being cut but those that sleep on the streets are often there because they choose to escape to that place not because they have to (possibly in a banker free world, I might be drawing too monochromatic a conclusion).

A safety net does exist for those that look for it, we have become over sensitised to story of abuses of the system.  Rightly the ones who take advantage of my diligence in paying my taxes should be exposed.  I also include in this group the leaders of councils who have turned public service into a sector that believes it is doing the same work as private sector PLCs.  I have mentioned before in blogging I believe in a cooperative way of doing business.  Empire builders eventually find they have it collapse around them.  Could we not all benefit from living in a mutually beneficial society that is not part of he ME generation?  Philosophical statement aired.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Seeing the light for Career change

Started Wednesday 2nd March 2011 0553 GMT

Final furlong of career expansion?

Contemplative mood this morning.  Could have something to do with joining and contributing to the Facebook discussion group Kindle for Academics.  Threw my two peneth worth into the mix.  Had to resist saying any more as I have better things no other things that will pay economically.

I had a late night driving experience yesterday along the A14 not the best of lit roads but managed to make it back for just after 11pm.  I attended the Federation of Small Businesses meeting in