Archive for December, 2006

Great Big British Quiz

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Last week’s cold (just as I was starting to feel better!) turned into infected sinuses. Not much fun… in fact, it was surprisingly painful, and left me pretty much useless for a couple of days.

This is all by way of an excuse for why I ended up laid out on the sofa this afternoon watching The Great Big British Quiz on five US. I’ve not seen it before, and as it was about the only thing I’ve done today, I thought I’d mention it.


Federating is one way to tackle the headteacher shortage

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few months now, but we’ve had to keep this confidential until we worked out some of the details.

Our school has been looking for a new headteacher since the previous head left 18 months ago. We’ve been through the recruitment process – the advertising, shortlisting and interviewing – five times now. And still, we have not been able to find a head.

We’re not an isolated case – you don’t have to go far to hear stories of headteacher shortages:


Solent Youth Action is a big charity?

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Interesting statistics from the Charity Commission:

  • 57% of charities earn less than £10,000 a year
  • 29% of charities earn between £10,000 and £100,000 a year
  • 6% of charities earn between £100,000 and £250,000 a year
  • 5% of charities earn between £250,000 and £1 million a year
  • 2% of charities earn between £1 million and £5 million a year
  • 1% of charities earn more than £5 million a year

In other words, the majority of charities get less than £830 a month. And 86% of charities (the vast majority of the 168,000 charities registered in the UK) earn less than £100,000 a year.

This surprises me – and makes me look at Solent Youth Action a little differently. I always describe SYA to people as a small charity. But we earn over £200,000 a year. So, relatively speaking, that means we’re not a small charity. We’re actually in the top 14% of the wealthiest charities in UK. Eeek…. scary thought 🙂

Lotus Sametime support for Google Talk

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

I’m starting to feel a bit better after my recent bout of manflu. So time to catch up on what I’ve been missing for the last few days!

With an RSS reader that has been quietly collecting enough stuff to keep me reading all day, I thought I’d start by just skimming the headlines. One that jumped out at me was “Chatting with Lotus Sametime” on the official Google blog.

The new version of Lotus Sametime (IBM’s instant messaging service which we use at work) will support xmpp – an open standard which will let it interact with other xmpp-compliant services like Google Talk. As someone who uses Google Talk to keep in touch with people I know outside work, I like the idea of having a single client which I can use both to talk to IBMers on the intranet and friends on the Internet.

I’ve been using the new version of Sametime at work for a little while now – hopefully we’ll be getting the “IBM Lotus Sametime Gateway” (which allows Sametime to connect with AIM, Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger) soon.

intech is very cool

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

I took my mentee to intech this afternoon. Intech is a science and technology museum in Winchester, who describe themselves as a:

…purpose-built 3500 square metre, award winning, building housing 100 interactive exhibits, which demonstrate the science and technology of the world around us in an engaging and exciting way.

Each exhibit is a self-contained, practical activity which demonstrates an aspect of science or technology by getting you to do something. Not all of them were a hit with him, but there is enough variety in the exhibits that we easily found enough to keep him interested and engaged for a couple of hours – no mean feat!

It was great to see him enjoy it. With some of the exhibits it obviously felt like an achievement when he worked out the idea behind it. That is perhaps the best thing about going to intech – even more important than the obvious education in science and technology, is the boost in confidence this can give.

manflu – more whinging

Friday, December 8th, 2006

Feel terrible. Some symptoms I can understand – headaches? Fair enough, I’m ill. Stomach aches – again, I can live with that. Sweating, dizzy – it’s all bad, but part of the being-ill thing. But my right armpit really hurts. What’s that all about?

Raided the medicine cupboard. Found some ‘paracetamol plus’ – paracetamol plus caffeine. Caffeine? I don’t wanna stay awake, I want something to knock me out and make me better while I sleep.

Found some ‘Night Nurse’ so gave that a try. Ohmygod, it’s horrible. How can anything this foul be good for me?

too hot

Friday, December 8th, 2006

I’m too hot. Sweating. Why can’t I adjust the central heating without getting out of bed? Useless technology. 😉


Friday, December 8th, 2006

Woke up. Still feeling awful. Am off work today and planning to spend the day in bed.

I’m writing this on my phone from bed, but even so there’s probably something deeply wrong about wanting to write a post about being ill. I guess manflu just isn’t manflu if you don’t go looking for sympathy.

My phone is diverting calls straight to voicemail. The text message alert is silenced so messages will be collected for when I can be bothered to read them. The Blackberry-style feature on my phone is off so emails will also be collected silently until I am better. An alarm is set so if I’m still asleep when I need to go collect Grace from nursery, it will wake me up. And in a minute, I’m gonna start the phone playing some mp3s quietly to help me get back to sleep.

It’s kinda interesting that technology that is normally all about keeping me connected and in touch, is today working to keep me isolated and keep the rest of the world away so I can focus on lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself. Technology is good.