Posted in Updates on Thursday 30th December 2004 at 8:23am
Friends and regular readers will know my views on how charity organisations work here, but I feel I must post a link to the Disaster Emergency Committee which is accepting online donations in connection with recent events in South East Asia. Several organisations including British Telecom have donated their services freely to provide this service, and donating this way avoids frustratingly busy phone lines and maximises the amount of your donation which reaches the areas in need.
This got me thinking about the role of the internet in such tragic circumstances. Certainly, I've found myself turning to the net for news over the past five years when world events occur - naturally September 11th 2001 springs to mind. This however is a global tragedy of an unprecedented scale - the vast area affected by the tsunami, and the many thousands of tourists from all parts of the world visiting the area guarantees that no nation will be unaffected by the events.
I urge everyone who is part of the uniquely global internet community to participate in the relief effort for this global disaster.
Posted in Updates on Monday 27th December 2004 at 2:22pm
Back from a few days at my parent's home, generally just relaxing and watching cricket!
I always end up spending quite a time procrastinating about what to do at Christmas. The last couple of years have seen me dashing around - trying to be in several places at once, so it was nice to arrive on Christmas Eve and settle in for a few days. The highlight of course was getting to spend most of Christmas Day with my nephew. He seemed a bit bewildered about everything happening around him, but he just took it in his stride and happily continued practising his new-found raspberry-blowing skills. His mum and dad had serious problems getting all his presents into the car when it was time to leave, such was the volume of gifts.
So, this time around I got a little more involved in things and tried to help out, being aware that everyone in the family has had a rough year, and I surprised myself by enjoying things. I'm by no means a convert to Christmas, but I've realised how important my family is to me.
Its actually quite strange to be back here with no-one around - in fact, I'm actually a bit lonely, which is not like me at all!
Posted in Updates on Wednesday 8th December 2004 at 7:45pm
Received interesting introductory training today on the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The group I was part of expressed some perhaps valid views about the cost of administering a system where practically anyone can ask anything for any reason, and I think hard-pressed front line workers probably left feeling like a whole other weight of paperwork was heading their way.
However, I can't help but feel slightly optimistic about this. I know that there is a ton of data floating around the organisation that I work in which could be useful to me - let alone curious or concerned members of the public. I just don't know how to get it, who holds it or how recently it was updated. A new focus on records management within the council is going to hopefully mean that I can find this out easily. The concept of 'publication schemes' - an open list of everything which is made available and how to get it in various formats - is also welcome.
On a more selfish level, I hope I can look at the career opportunities such changes to how public bodies manage data could bring. As I mentioned to a colleague just a few days ago I'm never happier than when I'm up to my elbows in data trying to work out how to make it do what I want!
Posted in Updates on Thursday 18th November 2004 at 10:13pm
Back from a couple of days away at the Capita EMS National Conference. Set off late on Tuesday and spent the evening at Burford, which turned out to be a remarkable little Cotswold village which I'd love to visit again with more time and better weather. Nice food in a quiet and rather ancient pub.
Heythrop House is a fine early 18th century house, with a disappointingly ugly 20th century conference centre tacked on. The facilities were however pretty good. In general, felt happy to be able to attend - the brief chats with other LEA reps indicated that we were doing pretty well by all accounts. Comforting peek at future plans too.
Entertainment was also interesting - rather bland dinner, and an after dinner speaker who was closer to an old-school stand-up comedy act! Didn't hang around too long at the disco. Felt old and tired by now. Sloped off pre-midnight to my colleagues shame.
Day two was equally reassuring. Brief presentation from the DfES representative who has perhaps been most involved in Coordinated Admissions. Again, felt like we were on course, certainly in comparison to some others.
Very sleepy ride home in dark and damp weather. Time to prepare for this weekend, and another conference...
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.