Back intact and bear free

August 31, 2007

Canadian jaunt turned into a very rewarding Canadian Trial

I’m Back from Algonquin provincial park – still a little jet lagged about 10000 kcal down in the week not lost any weight but converted about 16 lbs from fat to muscle. feeling very refreshed revived and ready for anything.

top tips and observations:

Do not let a man with a hangover be responsible for buying your food for a canoe trip.

Do not underestimate mother nature she is very unforgiving

Sometimes a walk in the park is decidedly not a walk in the park.

do not fall for the skin so soft myth – the Algonquin biting insects just don’t notice it

Bears do sh*t in the woods :) and just because you don’t see them it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Moose are BIG

honestly I loved it but it was damn hard – no film crew around the corner for us and we had a few hairy moments.  

I feel pretty  invulnerable at the moment  even though it’s the most physically demanding thing I have done in my life my body is suffering and I’m somewhat exhausted.

Apologies to the lovely couple who had to put up with my stench of bog water for 6 hours on the way home I had no idea until I got back to my own house.

expect normal service to be resumed shortly

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away for a Canadian jaunt

August 17, 2007

I’m off to play with bears and moose :)


Hopefully won’t get too close but I’m away for a canoeing holiday in the Algonquin provincial park in Ontario.

Scared and exhilarated at the same time  so far out of my comfort zone ( i.e. more than 10 miles from a power socket ) and limited technology allowed to be taken anyone know where I can get 11000 AAA batteries cheap ? :)

Back early in September blogging opportunities will be sparse

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Rumble in the telecom Jungle part 2

August 4, 2007

why the PBX is dead

Matt has posted a very interesting response to  my doom laden assessment of the future of the PBX.

Here I should declare my position, I’m a big fan of  the appliance led approach to telephony, hell it’s were I came from and emotionally I’m a bit of a stick in the mud whilst intellectually I’m a technology radical,  I’d like to see the PBX survive,  the flashing lights of that dedicated box are somehow reassuring but it’s on it’s way.

Having digested  matt’s post I think some of the arguments put forward for retention are perhaps equally arguments for discarding the good old PBX.

Call centres or contact centres are a prime example, all they really are are management information systems, a true contact centre is interested in quality and  nothing else, quality of interaction, quality of the transaction and quality of the management are the key drivers, the PBX plays little part and will be increasingly marginalised as voice becomes just another route in.

The communications hub which will inevitably be a server will accept interaction from whichever source the customer chooses and deliver it to an agent, taking my teenage sisters preferences (and she is the next gen worker and consumer) the source will probably be IM followed by text followed by email followed by voice followed by fax  and the PBX is just a sideshow to that route, any dumb gateway will do.

For call handling the foibles that ad hoc groups want are pretty much impossible to accommodate in the traditional model. as a hypothetical user I want my calls to go to me then to my colleague Melissa then to John our support person then to my voicemail which  is the kind of nightmare PBX engineers are often confronted with, trying to fit that into the prescriptive environment of directory numbers and pilots and groups and trunks is a real mind bender.

Send a call to me and then let me control it with a monitoring core application that stops me setting up a perpetual loop or breaking the system. Systems should be able to tell me that the reason I can’t divert  to Melissa is because she is diverting to me and when we achieve this we’ll liberate users and remove the management headache. Having spent time in the bowels of a few PBXs I long for plain English and I’d much rather let the users administer the process.

As Matt says The little stuff you take away is always a problem but you can always assuage the user by education up front and showing them the benefits of the new system, it’s been ten years since a feature has lost us a sale because everyone knows that the 1500 features that manufacturer X  offers still boils down to the 100 that everyone uses and every manufacturer offers , gone are the days of three pages of proposal devoted to an appendix describing directed call pickup and it’s friends.

Sticking with what you know and have will usually have a benefit but what if your choice is to upgrade your proprietary PBX; add  voice functionality through an application sat on your existing network (maybe the network IS the application) or, and this is a real possibility, the inevitable upgrade you will perform on your email system just happens to provide you with a free enterprise strength telephone system?

Like Matt I believe that unified communications needs a single unified interface whichever  application delivers that successfully is going to be the winner and what if  the application that provides UC is the application that 300m of us use day in day out for most of our messaging…….  

You know I think the death of the traditional PBX is much much closer than any of us might have thought

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alternative SPV E650 review

May 14, 2007

never ever ever say you’ll schedule a reminder to do something that relates to your loved one (even if you actually do)

a great alternative review of the E650 can be found here, fabulous – we’ve all been there at some point that ‘ I can’t believe I said that out loud I hope she didn’t hear that’ moment

fantastic – best rule no technology in the bedroom – results in much less pain in the long run

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Office Mobile – Standard or Professional – Part II Excel Mobile

April 25, 2007

More reasons to buy Windows Mobile Professional?

The same treatment for Excel Mobile

Excel Mobile  
Professional  Standard
Only one mode  Separate View and Edit Mode
Sheet Overview not available  Overview Feature available
Cell Text not available  Cell Text Feature available
Accelerate Scrolling not available  Accelerate Scrolling
Page Up and Down with 2 and 8 keys not available Page Up and Down with 2 and 8 keys for Power users
Save and Save As both available  Only Save As available
(No direct Save)
File opens in Normal Mode  File opens in Full Screen Mode
File Delete is available from Opened file  File Delete is not available
AutoFilter is available  AutoFilter is not available
Modify Sheets option is available  Not available
Clear Formats/Contents/All options available  Clear Cell All only available
Cell Right/Left/Center indent available  Not available
Row/Column Auto-fit available  Not available
Paste Special available  Not available
the file is modified, clicking OK closes with Saving changes If the file is modified, selecting File > Close checks if the changes need to be saved
Insert/Modify/Delete Chart available  Only View Chart available
Toolbar available  Toolbar not available
Row/Column Headings and Scrollbars can be turned On/Off Not available
Beam option is available inside the application  Beam option not available
Rename/move option available  Not available
Revert to Save Option is available all the unsaved changes and reopen the last(this will drop saved version of the file) Not available
Rows and columns resizing is available  Not available


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Testing a Post using BlogMailr

April 17, 2007

Another blogging made easier tool to try

David Overton put me onto this from a yacht in Antigua, the lucky [Expletive Deleted] so I thought I’d give it a try – anything that makes blogging life easier has got to be a winner, certainly beats web admin at WordPress over GPRS on my m3100 ;)

have a great time David you deserve the break

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[EDIT] top tip – if you want to maintain your blogging anonymity and you are emailing from your work email account make sure you delete your email signature before sending :) 

tags and HTML work really well so you can email from with rich Outlook and get a reasonable blog post sorted – apparently you can upload images and everything

are you a Geek ?

March 6, 2007

Steve Clayton posted a link to MSN’s Geek test which frankly IMO doesn’t go anywhere near far enough :) and  as Chris Parkes says is too outlandish in some cases – spell my name in Elvish or speak Klingon indeed.

I’d thought about a post along these lines but understood that I’m an unterGeek when I was talking with pride to a codie friend of mine about my Asterisk install and he asked how  I’d tweaked the source .

bah humbug –  I installed asterisk because I wanted to try and get an open source gateway working with Exchange 2007 UM  (there’s a list of supported tested VoIP gateways here and PABXs compatible with Exchange 2007 here) but now I’ll need to consider whether I’m up to messing around with the software enough to try and patch Asterisk to allow SIP over TCP which is what Exchange 2007 UM requires.

that sounds l33t Geek doesn’t it?

Geek is a very relative term, in the company of some I am Uber Geek in the company of others I am the unterGeek

Anyway I’d add the following questions to the test:

When sat at your main PC can you see the insides or part of the insides of any other computer without turning your head? (needs to be a yes but still OK if you have to turn your head a little)

(if you don’t have to differentiate between your computers or you don’t have computerS don’t bother reading on)

How many operating systems could you have running at once ? (yes of course virtual machines do count, extra points if the base OS ends in an x)

Have you spent a small fortune in the last  12 months on gadgets to perform a particular task, mainly or only because they are gadgets when you had barely spent £35 on non gadget examples in the last 12 years? (think cameras)

Do you have any mementos of your 1st computer secreted around the house? ( I’ve got my original ZX81 somewhere and the BIOS chip and processor of my first IBM compatible)

have you set your own wireless network up and at least one other family members and maybe a friends? (of course) (extra credits if you’ve ever fixed a strangers Internet connection when logging on through an unsecured wireless link, accidentally of course)

Do you buy CDs anymore and do you have an opinion on DRM?

that’ll do for now – more on the Asterisk and Exchange 2007 unified messaging shenanigans later

in the meantime any additions ? anyone? anyone?