Posted in Updates on Friday 21st January 2005 at 11:03pm

A week of plodding forwards and moving backwards. Finally conviced people at work I needed to just get on with things - and things promptly stopped happening completely. By the end of the week, the air of disinterested composure I try to convey clearly wasn't working at all anymore.

Anyone who works in School Admissions will understand the level of panic I'm facing just now. Awaiting a much delayed patch from our IT suppliers, trying to second guess what it will do, and trying to plan some kind of contingency if it doesn't do what it should. In the midst of this, some people seem to be engaged in an inter-LEA points scoring match which I'm dangerously close to the centre of.

The most frustrating thing is, I know I can do this job well. I've got excellent collaborative relationships with the onsite IT team, I've just about got a handle on how things work. What I haven't got is ultimate control over what happens when... and that, I'm sorry to say is what some people seem to want.

This rant is pointless, and probably misdirected. It comes at the end of a week where almost everything has gone wrong or underwhelmed me in some way. I've tried half-heartedly to plan for my leave at the end of the month, and even that has been unrewarding and dull because of the pervading sense of people mistrusting me and expecting me to fail.

Need to turn things around somehow.


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!

Movebook Link

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!



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.

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