Monthly Archives: December 2008

Final thoughts of the year

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So as the New Year beckons – (as does the champagne) and the old year draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the bits of my working life have been enhanced by technology or otherwise so here’s my list.

1: Twitter.  Twitter has enabled me to connect to people who aren’t answering their phone, enables me to silently follow the famous (in the technology and the celebrity world) and has given me feedback, help and advice within moments of asking.  As far as I can see, the site doesn’t make any money, has thousands and thousands of followers and is addictive – it you’re following the correct people. I’m at twitter.com/eileenb if you’re curious about the stuff I write.

2: Live Writer.  With the ability to add Tags, insert maps and photos, my blogging life is much much better.  I catch up with stuff online and blog offline when I get the time.

3: Google Reader.  I whizz through my feeds (over 500 of them) in no time. Star what i want to return to and blog it later.  Yes, i know that you’ll be thinking that i should ONLY use Microsoft products, but i like this reader MUCH more than the IE version of the RSS reader – and when we produce something that’s better – I’ll switch to that.

And the worst….?

Sorry chaps it’s got to be the tracking Santa application I played with on Christmas Eve# from MSNBC.  Eeek.  Norad have been getting it right for years and years!  Come on chaps, it would have been good if the site had actually worked BEFORE Santa arrived.  You have a year to make things much better in 2009.

So I’ll sign off now for the New Year and wish you and yours all the best for 2009 and I’ll see you then!

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How doe a SatNav know which is the fastest road?

So here’s a challenge for those of you who understand the way that Satellite Navigation Systems work things out.

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In the UK we have a system of road numbering which goes from Major to minor roads.  For example, there’s the A1, A2, A3, A4 etc.  all major trunk roads before the motorways appeared in the 1960’s (and if you notice these road numbers go clockwise around London from the 12 o’clock point.  Scotland follows the same road numbering system but the road numbers start with 8 or 9.

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Then there’s the roads with 2 numbers, A12, A13 etc.  Less important or major than the major roads

Then 3 numbers (the A120, A137 etc) smaller roads than the A1

and we have roads like the A1071.  Usually roads with 4 numbers used to be minor roads (called B roads).  some have been upgraded to A roads over the last few years.

Now onto the SatNav question.

I was driving down the A1 to get home.  The SatNav was programmed to get me home in the fastest time.  The machine kept insisting I went down the A14 (remember this road is supposed to be a more important road than the A120 if you follow the numbering system).  In reality the road from Stanstead airport to Braintree is a recently finished dual carriageway and just as fast to drive as the A14.

So my question is:  Are SatNavs programmed to follow this type of road system methodology, thinking that roads with 3 numbers are less “major” than roads with 2 numbers?  Do they know?  or do they just factor in the shorter distance regardless of whether it’s faster or not. (The A120 cuts 1 mile off my journey compared to going via the A14 so there’s not much in it really)

If you know do tell.  And stop hubby and I arguing over the navigation algorithm that SatNavs use whenever we get in the car…

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OCS Technet Events coming up

Brett will be delivering a couple of Unified Communications events next quarter that may be of interest – especially as R2 is almost here… one face to face event in Manchester, and an online event…

“What’s New in Office Communications Server 2007 R2” Location: Manchester   Date: 26 February 2009

TechNet Presents: Office Communication Server 2007 R2 -  Voice Capabilities , London Date: 11 March 2009  Time: 16.00

 

Two ways to watch Santa on his tracks

I’ve been following the NORAD Santa tracking site for about 10 years now and have been really impressed by the way the site gets better and better each year.  You can also play games like those on Northpole.com

But this year, I’ve found another site on MSNBC which also tracks Santa and you can browse around Virtual Earth in 3D

I shall be looking at both as Santa tracks over to my house (with my diamond necklace in his Santa sack) and deciding which I prefer – all in the interests of science of course 🙂

Happy Christmas all …

Staying positive amongst the rumours and gossip

I was reading Mini Microsofts predictions of the rumours of doom and gloom at Microsoft in January and feeling rather down.  There are many people out there who are not as fortunate as I am though and have already experienced life changing events at work.  So I had a trawl around the blogs to find out some tips and tricks for keeping positive and staying focused in the credit crunch and how to become an asset to the company.

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How personal branding can stop you from getting fired.  There’re some good tips here:

Use a blog to position yourself as an expert in your field and people will be magnetically attracted to the information that is flowing out of each post you write.  How very true.  Just look at all those bloggers out there.

Appear to be an expert – even if it is about first footing traditions – or making mulberry jam 🙂

Please the people that matter – or you’ll end up pleasing no one…

Take the time to find out who you are – and you may find out that you don’t really like the role you’re in, you may not be happy with your work or aren’t true to your values and decide to move on

And – more importantly – don’t believe every rumour that you hear – it burns cycles and stresses you out.  And it might never happen either…

Unified Communications – Real stories from real people

This is one of our internal videos that we use to raise awareness of UC.  I know Bob really well and I can just imagine him on the call.  So I asked him for clearance to share this with a wider audience.  The other videos are still internal only (but I’m working on that too.)  We have lots of real stories like this that show that Microsoft is full of humour and fun. 

This video is Bob down to a T.  Enjoy…

It makes me think twice before going onto a Live Meeting / RoundTable session too. 

Sorry Bob – you made it past the legal team 🙂 Hee Hee…