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Green Nation – Free Solar Panel offers in South West UK – Greater freedom for the rest of us

August 30, 2014

This is a big shout out for a fantastic renewable energy company in the South West UK who are doing wonderful things with solar energy.

Established in 2011, Green Nation is developing solar farms of increasing size and helping public, commercial and private residences to maximise the benefits of solar power.

gn_com_home_pics2This is the type of organisation that is quietly making a big difference to some of the challenges we are facing today and on a blog related to imagining the world my children will inherit I have no hesitation in advocating and promoting their offerings.

Aside from being founded and run by people who are passionate about the transformative capabilities of technology, they already have many happy commercial and residential customers who are seeing the tangible and realistic benefits of installing the latest generation of solar panels.

Regular followers of this blog will know my admiration for the call to action campaign One Hundred Months and its excellent monthly updates which are a healthy mix of eye-opening climate science, political skepticism and technological optimisim.

As the counter clicked down to 29 at the beginning of this month, now well under the half way point in this credible and insightful action timeline, the concise and useful 5 point communication contained an excellent article documenting progress that is being made to combat our dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. Titled  10 reasons to be hopeful that we will overcome climate change point number 3 contains this encouraging comment … Read more…

Remembering Frank W. Hoskins – 4th Battalion Rifle Brigade 1911-1919

August 4, 2014
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Frank W Hoskins on joining the Rifle Brigade and being posted to Africa and India aged 18

I never met my paternal grandfather, Frank William Hoskins, but his story is one of the biggest inspirations in my life.

He died aged 67 in 1961 after suffering a stroke and contracting pneumonia a few years before I was born.

He enlisted in the Rifle Brigade in 1911 at the age of 18 and was on active service in Africa and India prior to the outbreak of the First World War. In 1914 he was sent with the British Expeditionary Force to France and survived being posted for a year on the Western Front, including having to deal with the first use of poison gas and flamethrowers on the battlefields during the Second Battle of Ypres. In late 1915 he was sent to Salonika to fight on the Macedonian Front for the remainder of the war. He was discharged from the Southern Command malaria concentration centre in spring 1919 – marking the end of his military career.

Having contracted malaria twice during his time on the Macedonian Front I have no doubt that this contributed to his early death as it is well documented these days that the disease can lay dormant and recur for many years after early infections. Added to which were the after effects of the only known drug treatment for malaria at that time – quinine - a hateful substance that caused tinnitus, giddiness, blurred vision, nausea, tremors and depression.

So despite surviving at the vanguard of many battles as a sharpshooter, scout and skirmisher, the psychological and physical legacy of the  ‘Great War’ stretched beyond those early 20th Century years to finally claim him as a victim later in life. Read more…

Rome – a Smart City starting to get into a Twizzy

August 1, 2014

It’s been a while since I produced an automotive related post but a recent trip to Rome has reminded me just how ripe things are for a revolution.

smart_romeThe people of Rome don’t do cycling. In fact, seeing someone riding the streets on a bicycle of any pedalled variety is a rarity. What they do love however is small cars and scooters.

The country that gave us iconic cars like the Fiat 500 and the Vespa and Lambretta scooter brands has clearly embraced other small four, three and two wheeled vehicles, most notably Smart cars.

Rome must be the Smart car capital of the world and it is easy to see why the narrow cobbled streets and lack of large open parking areas or multi-story car parks have led to such an uptake of compact two seated vehicles that up half the space of the average family car. Read more…

QinetiQ – A Public Scandal or a National Triumph?

June 13, 2014
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Any resemblance between a cat of oversized proportions and a former CEO and Chairman of a controversial defence company is purely due to Photoshop …

Lack of job and financial security while working as a freelancer/contractor is often made up for in the variety of opportunities and projects that present themselves.

Over the last 6 years, since opting for flexibility and variety in my working life, I am lucky enough to have experienced some amazing and diverse workplaces and challenges. It has been a privilege to work alongside some very talented and committed people too.

These last few months have been no exception and have added to that vault of experiences – good and bad – particularly in the field of content technologies (my specialism) but have also served as a reminder of how the world has changed significantly during my working life and how the rules of business also need to change significantly going forward if we are really going to address the challenges of the 21st Century and make the world a better place for our children.

While working on a short term assignment with QinetiQ I also decided to read Sir John Chisholm’s book – The QinetiQ question – A Public Scandal or a National Triumph? - which describes, in a surprising amount of detail for an event associated with MoD and intelligence services classified research, how QinetiQ came to be formed and the major controversy it generated.

For anyone wondering whether to make Sir John richer by a few more quid by buying this book then I’ve added my review here for consideration – For anyone remotely interested in my thoughts on ‘the QinetiQ question’ then please read on …  Read more…

Announcing the ‘2020 Visions Trilogy’

March 1, 2014

2020visionstrilogyI like writing. In fact I’ll probably go as far as saying I ‘love’ writing.

During 2013 my blog posts got longer and longer. Too long for most time-poor, attention diverted readers no doubt. Most of them were ‘off-topic’ too.

The original premise of this blog was to imagine what the world will be like when both my children have reach adulthood.

So this year I’m trying something different. By the end of 2014 I am attempting to complete three novelettes, hereafter known as the ‘2020 Visions Trilogy’.

  • Nine Lives
  • Hybrid Theory
  • Space Race

Each one explores different aspects of life in 2020 from different perspectives and will explore some key themes such as communications technology, genetics and climate change.

As ‘content management’ and ‘content marketing’ have been central to my career I am also using these creations to test some ideas on publishing technologies.

Watch this space :)

LED this way and that on the road to recovery – Spring Fair NEC 2014

February 4, 2014

This last weekend I went on what is an annual pilgrimage for many business owners – that glorious ‘assault on the senses’ known as the Spring Fair at the NEC.

ipad_businessIf you haven’t been there, or to the smaller Autumn equivalent, then it is basically where the nation’s shopkeepers – both online and bricks and mortar – gather to see what latest and greatest ideas they can stock their warehouses and shelves with to entice the punters to part with their cash.

It was interesting to see what’s changed and what hasn’t since my last visit in 2011

The first thing that was noticeably different is that the ‘buzz is back’. You could see that even on the opening Sunday, when the general public like to take a peek, there was business being done. The last time I witnessed anywhere near a ‘buzz’ at a Spring or Autumn Fair was way back at the start of 2008 before the impact of the financial meltdown hit home in the UK.

The other big general change from a couple of years ago is that tablet PCs have become not just a flashy accessory but an essential exhibition tool – from snapping visitor badges, to demonstrating product variations to collecting order information, the exhibition stands were awash with tablet toting staff tapping and swiping away.

Here are a few more observations and highlights from this year’s visit … Read more…

Makes me proud to be British

December 23, 2013

Continuing the unprecedented run of warm and fuzzy feelgood posts on my blog over the last six months or so I’m finishing my 2013 commentary with three experiences in the last week that have made me particularly proud (and lucky) to be British …

TimBL takes a stand on web freedom hypocrisy

ingsoc-prop1As a regular nominee and occasional winner on the various ‘Greatest Briton’ lists, inventor of the World Wide Web and all round good local bloke – when Tim Berners-Lee speaks, I listen and when he worries, I worry too.

This week he was the figurehead of a collaboration of free speech advocates and leading activists who have written an open letter highlighting the hypocrisy of member nations of the Open Government Partnership.

I am less proud of the fact the UK is one of those hypocritical member nations but in 100% agreement with the simple point that the western world doesn’t have a leg to stand on in protesting about lack of web freedoms elsewhere in the world when its leading members are complicit in running one of the largest surveillance networks the world has ever seen.

Commenting on the exposure of what organisations like the US National Security Agency have been up to in secret it says …

“These practices erode the checks and balances on which accountability depends, and have a deeply chilling effect on freedom of expression, information and association, without which the ideals of open government have no meaning.”

Read more…

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