You will be aware of the Suffolk Broadband Campaign.
To me, it’s not clear what they’re asking us to do. For Clarity’s sake here’s my analysis and plea for you to take action.
In order to get better Broadband speeds in Suffolk we need to demonstrate demand by filling out a survey - we need at least 10,000 signatures otherwise we are not to expect any improvement.
If you also have a business in Suffolk, take another 3 minutes and also complete this survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SuffolkBusinessBroadbandSurvey
The deadline is 31 March 2012 - so please act now!
Thank you, in advance, for your support and effort.
Being a vegan means I find it pretty difficult eating out (especially in Suffolk). London is becoming much easier now with spots like Itsu, Wagamama and Le-Pain-Quotidien where I can now look forward to eating off the menu, a rare treat.
I’ve definitely become better at managing dietary requests. In recent months this is how I’ve refined my strategy, you should too. It applies to any special requirement you may have and certainly isn’t limited to a vegan request.
If the menu is lacking ask for something specially prepared.Asking this of the person serving your table is generally lost in translation - SPEAK to the CHEF DIRECTLY. Either ask for him/her to come out to see you or force your way into the kitchen but don’t let the “waitron” cloud over with that can’t do attitude we invariably experience. Odds are, the chef will go out of his way. If the chef is half decent she will have been trained to understand what special dietary requirements mean and hopefully also trained to care.
Go direct, cut out the middle ‘man’, it’s working pretty well for me.
Image clipped from CodeYear.com - have you signed up?
There’s something bubbling up all over the place. Firstly, there was this quote that caught my attention a few weeks back:
“And we morph again, from a manufacturing economy to a service economy to a software economy. Again, not everyone will be writing code. But many more people will be ordering it, writing it, managing it, and interacting with it. It makes sense to understand it and to be able to create at least a little.”
Had I avoided being blindly shepherded into Chartered Accountancy, I would have followed my passion as a 12 year-old, which was software engineering. Not being able to create code is a huge regret and a constant cause of frustration. Now that hacking is becoming a life skill it has special relevancy when bringing up two young children too!
Resolved: I will pay attention to acquiring this life skill. Where to start though? That’s always been my problem. Thanks to Alexia’s post I’ve been pointed in the direction of CodeYear.com an initiative of CodeAcademy.com - looks like a pretty good place to start - care to join me?
Remember my post in January a year ago? “2011: Shaped by San Francisco. Eat to Live” - Well, I’m proud to report that I’ve relentlessly stuck to my new vegan lifestyle - I’ve lost 30kg (66 pounds, or 4 and a bit stone) and my waist is down from 40 inches to 34 inches. More importantly I sleep better, I’m in far less pain with my back and generally in a better state health-wise. (My cholesterol is down from 7 to 3). I still have a way to go with my 2012 weight-loss target being a more modest 10kg and exercise will help shed this (not an easy task either!)
My vegan conversion hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to throw out 40 years of bad habits and customs; shelves of recipe books now gather dust and our entertaining has taken a real knock. I’ve just skimmed the surface of my new world of raw food and vegan cookery. For my 40th birthday, my wife treated us to an intensive Raw Food cookery course at SAF Restaurant in London. Preparing vegan dishes is now a real labour of love and you will often hear the whir of a dehydrator in our kitchen.
Being vegan feels very “early-adopter” - something which I’ve always enjoyed when it comes to technology. The world is increasingly becoming aware of the health and environmental benefits of consuming a plant-based diet. Eating out remains a challenge but less so when I’m in London or San Francisco where there are enough people demanding a fresh, healthy and plant-based subsistence. It feels as if a slow but inevitable realisation is transforming peoples’ lives.
Some people are born with poor eyesight and have to wear thick glasses to see clearly; I’m born with a poor metabolism and need to be a vegan. That’s how I’ve become resigned to my lifetime’s commitment to eating a plant based diet. But YOU should too! The more media I consume on the subject, the more I realise I’ve done the right thing and that the answers to our planet’s health challenges lie in one simple solution.
I’d like to invite you to a special event held in Suffolk in association with Food Safari on Saturday May 26th 2012. The evening will kickoff at 730pm with a screening of Planeat, an inspiring and thought provoking film, followed by a sit-down dinner catered by David Bailey, the founding chef of SAF. Not only do I want to share the powerful message of Planeat but I also want you to experience how good a fully plant-based meal can taste! Only 60 tickets will be available so please register your interest here and we’ll be in touch with more information when the tickets go on sale. David will also be running his Intensive Raw Food course in early July at Food Safari’s Suffolk Headquarters.
Here’s the trailer of PlanEat - if you cannot make the evening in May - please stream the movie on the PlanEat site (it only costs $5.99)
With increased consumption, bandwidth in the UK isn’t getting better, it is getting worse and we’re becoming increasingly reliant on it.
We’re staying in rural England with my in-laws celebrating Christmas. I become restless when away from interent connectivity for more than a few hours, so when we were married 7 years ago, I had broadband installed in my in-laws home just so that my visits to Gloucestershire didn’t leave me feeling cut off!
The in-laws found this move a self-centred one yet, now, my MIL, a noteworthy silver-surfer depends on it daily to communicate and transact. She’s even achieved Senior Contributor status on Trip Advisor - Who would have thought?!
I relish the positive disruption and empowerment for which we can thank the internet. Consider just these five credits:
I often blog about how launching an online business requires little or no investment these days with tools built in the cloud.
So, what I am about to say will undoubtedly sound ungrateful: Whilst digital offers us unrivalled opportunity we are becoming increasingly constrained by the UK’s bandwidth capability especially outside city centres.
Five years ago, the bandwidth availability used to be pretty respectable at my in-laws home in rural Gloucestershire. Now it’s almost unusable at peak times. I’m afraid to say it’s the good old BBC iPlayer that’s to blame for highly contended data networks. Anecdotally, I enjoyed wonderful bandwidth whilst the nation ditched iPlayer and watched Downton Abbey on Christmas night - my download speed increasing from 512 kb to 5 mb/s at precisely 9pm on that evening! Here’s a thought? Shouldn’t some of the television license fee revenue be used to fund better bandwidth if it’s iPlayer that’s consuming such vast chunks of it. (an ongoing debate) This 2008 Guardian article suggests that 2012 will see 2.8 billion iPlayer views.
Back in Suffolk, we continually struggle. We had a quote to bring fibre to our farm in Suffolk. Our farm is admittedly rural but only 10 minutes from a Tesco and we can see the BT Martlesham tower at Adastral Park (described as being a global innovation and development centre) from our first floor bedroom. The bandwidth we could enjoy with fibre was no more luxurient than that enjoyed by the average London home. Yet, we were expected to pay an installation charge of £28k and a monthly sub of £1k. Obviously, svery hard to justify and totally unaffordable. We opted for bonding three adsl lines which we can survive on during the day but doesn’t allow us to stream youtube never mind iPlayer at night when everyone is on their home networks consuming digital content.
There’s a lot of campaigning locally but in these difficult times I’m not sure our country’s esteemed leadership has the vision to invest in the fibre infrastructure outside the city centres (admittedly the investment business case is hard to justify). I don’t believe our nation can afford a national cabled infrastructure. Technologies such as the 4G/LTE networks are definitely the answer to our prayers. 4G will see data speeds of up to 100 mbits per second. but we’ll have to have to sit and wait for 3-4 years before we’ll have country-wide access in the UK. Sad times indeed.
Earlier today I wrote my last FatIdeas post. I’ve turned to a new platform Tumblr which is now hosting AdrianMelrose.com. I’m late to the Tumblr Party as in June11, …
One of the recent responsibilities I have taken on with great pride is that of Treasurer of Great Bealings Church. You’ll probably find this slightly incongruous with the Rocky Horror Show, please bear with me!
The Church’s outgoing treasurer of 17 years, Roger Roseboom, is a delightfully larger than life character who continues to pursue his gifted interest in youth theatre and amateur dramatics. Roger and I have become chums during the handover process. After he discovered that I had spent the majority of my school days either in the orchestra pit or on stage (rather than on the Rugby field) I immediately fell prey to Roger’s casting.When he heard we’d sent our two girls to Woodbridge School, he seized the opportunity to co-opt me onto the cast of The Woodbridge Fringe Uncut which he and his wife Margaret are producing under, describing their production company as EP Produtions “Embarassing Parent Productions” Say no more!
So what is this production all about? First it is in aid of the charity SCARC (Suffolk Communication Aids Resource Centre) which is based at the Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich. The aim is to raise as much money as possible for electronic equipment to enable severely disabled young people to communicate, possibly for the first time!
The idea for the show grew out of another charity auction event in which generous Woodbridge School parents ‘won’ the Seckford Theatre for a day. I shall be one of nearly forty fellow parents in tow as a cast, there to entertain you, the audience, with gems from Sister Act 1 and 2 (rocking nuns to get the feet tapping); she also has Beautiful Girls from Sondheim’s Follies,The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (audience participation and appropriate costumes most welcome…); with comedy sketches and solo songs
I’ve deliberately not given you much notice of the event. By no means do I have a major role. I’m performing in the 4 Yorkshiremen in the sketch below (yorkshire accents for a born and bred South African particularly challenging) and also am Riff in the Rocky Horror Picture show - Let’s do the Time Warp Again! which involves choreography something which takes me far out of my comfort zone. All I can say is that I do it for a bit of fun, and for charity! So please support this worthy event if you have nothing planned this Saturday night.
The performance is on Saturday 3rd December 2011 at 730pm at the Seckford Theatre.
Some may not understand why this morning found me all choked up. Irrespective of your generation, we should all be able to name one or two people who have shaped the way you think; have inspired you to be better people. Steve Jobs is one of those men to me and he is no longer with us.
He has shown us how to test the boundaries with everything we do. He was driven in his quest for simplicity and perfection. The example he set us was not just about defining the technology curve. He was a leader - one of the greatest leaders of my time.
He should also be remembered for his personal war on cancer in the the last 6 years of his life, an example of his fight, dedication and passion.
It’s still early in the day and we’ll see some befitting dedications to Mr Jobs, but this (thanks to Ken Segall is the one that moved me early this morning when I discovered the sad news.
Amidst the mobile phone hacking blame-game, how many of you understand how this hacking took/takes place?
Don’t for a minute think the hacking procedure is an elaborate thing. “Hacking” makes you think of a Bletchley styled operation: a technical and deliberate science. Sorry to disappoint you. It is far simpler than that.
A few years back when you signed up for a mobile phone number your voicemail came with a default pin code. You weren’t asked to change it before use and you weren’t explained why you needed to change it and the risk of not changing it. I *think* this has now changed (I really do hope it has). Even today, you probably rarely use the pin code because when you dial into your voicemail from your phone you are authenticated by your mobile number (assuming you haven’t blocked your caller ID).
But did you know that you can access your mobile phone’s voicemail from any landline too? See the footer of this post for the numbers to dial. All you have to do is enter you mobile phone number and your pin. That’s the first big fail on the part of the networks - they have failed to educate people about how voicemail works. They have failed to protect their customers. What’s worse is that unless you change your pin, it remains set to a default four zeros, or 1234 etc depending on the network.
If the mobile operators forced their customers to set their own private PIN (most now do)- none of this scandal would have happened. But if you’ve had your mobile for years there is still a good chance you run the risk of a default pin number. The mobile operators have done nothing to help you tighten up the security. I think the onus is on them.
Would you trust your bank if it mailed out your debit card with a default pin number on it and expected you to change it?
So why did the mobile phone operators get away with it? They haven’t been asked to account for the blatant breach in protecting their customers’ privacy. If they had prioritised security and education none of this invasion would have taken place. It was just too simple and too tempting for the “scum-of-the-world” reporters to resist.
Whilst there’s no defence to invading anyone’s privacy, I hold the Mobile operators jointly and severally liable for this diabolical mess.
Vodafone UK - 07836 121 121
O2 - 07569 149 187
Orange 07973 100 123
and if I haven’t listed your operator above simply Google “Accessing my XXX voicemail from a landline” and replace XXX with your operator.