Left, right, left, ouch, left, ouch, ouch, ouch,…

Forgive me, blogosphere, I have sinned. It’s been bloody ages since my last effusion.

Anyway, apologies* out of the way, I have something to say. And it is this: THANK YOU.

Rewinding slightly. A few weeks ago I found myself walking the Great Glen Way, as part of the “Domino Dander for Dosh 2013” team. Prior to this, I’d really never walked more than a handful of miles in a day, or at last not more than half a dozen times. Never 20+ miles in a day. And certainly not 80 miles in 4 days. It was what they like to call in daft business terms a “stretch target”. And I wasn’t alone: 5 of the 9 walkers were similarly inexperienced.

And we made it. But that isn’t the important bit: the really important bit is that, in doing so, our friends, family and colleagues sponsored us to the grand tune of well over £11,000. Every penny of which went to charity, almost all of it to the Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland. So if that was you… again, thank you. You made a difficult task infinitely more bearable and rewarding.

In advance of the walk I really wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to do it. But at no point was my belief more shaky than at the end of the second day. Less than half-way into the walk, my legs were like jelly, and my feet were covered in blisters. I was in proper pain. As I was the following morning when we set off. And for the next 40something miles, frankly.

Which is where we come to my fellow walkers. They are an amazing bunch: Tony, Coatsie, Dawn, Eileen, Bill, Steve McD, Maureen and Steve L. It was a joy and a privilege to spend the week with you all. But I do particularly want to thank the people that got me through the walk: Tony for the latter part of day 2, which was an horrifically dispiriting and punishing walk along the Caledonian Canal; Steve McD for the last few miles of the exhausting 12-hour-long day 3 (I have never been so glad of a hip flask as I was then); and Eileen for sticking with me, and putting up with my daft blistery banter, for the whole of the 4th day.

It sounds corny to say so, but it was a life-changing experience. Not in a finding-out-I’m-the-second-Jesus way (it turns out I’m not – who knew?), but in a never-being-quite-the-same-again way.

And I’ll do it again. But perhaps not in the same boots.

* Yes, I KNOW you’re not supposed to apologise for failing to blog. Call me a rebel.

That C.U.L(DC).T. shirt

So, I have now run out of my sort of #ls12 C.U.L.T. shirts. They’re all gone. You missed your chance. Lotusphere was a complete waste of time for you, because you didn’t manage to get hold of one of these. Seriously, they’re a rare as rocking horse shit, and as precious as a unicorn’s foreskin. Chinese “doctors” would grind them up and use them for medicine if they could get hold of them. You get the picture.


So, here’s the image. That’s right: it’s a truly terrible pun. What did you expect?!

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

(Click for a larger version)

If you don’t get the pun … (a) what is Spock? (b) what are we about to do to him? (c) reverse those two words. Still not? Ask an LDCer.

Anyway … Matt White, Mark Myers and I still have some of the ‘official’ LDC shirts to give away, so hunt us down and demand one. Of course, we may demand in return that you actually wear it for at least half a day while you’re at Lotusphere, but that’s fair enough isn’t it?

Penumbra Groupie!

I was ambushed :-) at the Penumbra meeting this morning, and now find myself elected to the Penumbra board for the next couple of years.

Having been a member for the last 3 years, it will be interesting, and I suspect challenging in all sorts of fun ways, to fulfil this role along with my board colleagues Lisa Duke and Jamie Magee.

In the meantime, so far as this week goes, I’m looking forward to the Penumbra dinner tonight, and the (relatively recent tradition) ice-cream Tuesdae (sic) social event. And a very big thank you to Jamie, and to outgoing board members Carl Tyler and Wouter Aukema, for herding the Penumbra cats and organising these events.

iPad travel tip

Yesterday, I purchased a ‘Camera Connector Kit’ for the iPad, so that while at Lotusphere 2012 I can pull photos off the camera and immediately work with them on the iPad. All good fun.

One of the two connection options one gets with the CCK is a USB port, designed to allow the camera to be plugged in directly with needing to remove the SD card. So I thought to myself … what happens if I plug the USB half of my Plantronics wireless headset into that? Lo and behold, there was rejoicing in heaven and on earth: it works! So now I have a nice way of making comfortable and private Skype calls from the iPad.

All good, given that I shall be laptop-less at #ls12 this year for the first time. I still have to suffer the indignity of using LogMeIn (or similar) to remote onto a real computer in order to be able to use a Notes client. But there are very few (albeit some) reasons why I would need to do that. And my hand luggage will be a LOT lighter than usual :-)

Lotusphere 2012 C.U.L.T. shirt. Sort of.

As you are doubtless aware, if you are a Yellow Bubble type reader, there is no C.U.L.T. shirt for #ls12. (If you’re not a Yellow Bubble type reader, you may as well give up now because the rest of this will rightly be meaningless to you.)

For those less into the in-jokes, C.U.L.T. stands (stood) for “Certified Unofficial Lotusphere T-shirt”. They were great fun over the last 10+ years, and Rocky Oliver, Henry Newberry and Andrew Pollack are all owed a debt of gratitude by us members of “the Lotus community” for the volume of effort they put in to make these happen year after year.

Now, it so happens that, late in 2011, after the LDC shirts for Lotusphere 2012 had been selected, I thought of another shirt idea. And, having thought of it, I simply had to have it made, because I (and I may be alone in this of course) happen to find it very amusing. In a gentle nod to the absent C.U.L.T. shirt, this one is the “Certified Unofficial LDC T-shirt”.

There’s no sponsorship – I’ve paid for these myself – which means there really is only a tiny number of them, and they will inevitably therefore be immensely valued as family heirlooms and great cultural treasures by future generations. Possibly.

Stop me at Lotusphere and demand one. Or, of course, demand one of the many other ‘official’ LDC designs that we of LDC will also be carting around with us. They’re all available in sizes up to XXXL (the shirts, not the LDCers).

London Developer Co-op: At the turning of the year (or just after it)

The wizards and sages at LDC have pooled collective wisdom (cough) and authored a pithy review of 2011 in advance of #ls12. Enjoy:

A week before IBM Lotusphere / Connect we realised this was by far our biggest conference yet, with 2 speakers, 3 sessions, 2 sponsored parties and bleeding t-shirts everywhere. So, what have we been up to during the last year?

Well, bucking the global slowdown for one thing, new clients now include one of the world’s largest media websites, another multi-national insurance company, and myriad smaller interesting clients, with some monster projects in the pipeline (fingers crossed).

International clients are now the norm rather than the exception, with contact coming in from all over Europe and the US. To cater to these requirements our skills set has diversified even more. Adding to bleeding-edge IBM and Microsoft stuff, we have had large client implementations using Spring and Spring webflow, PHP and advanced HTML5.

Nearly every new project contains a mobile element and all coding now caters to this as a matter of course.

This was especially true of our XPages work which seemed to really reach a tipping point in 2011. Like other projects, everything we’re doing with XPages also has some mobile aspect to it, but the interesting thing is that there is now a constant stream of new applications being created with XPages (NB: that’s “new new”, not “new upgrades”). And 2012 doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

2012 will be more of the same, providing more for our clients and keeping pace with the ever accelerating rate of change in both IT and business requirements.

It’s time to kick arse (we’re British) and write / delete code (remember: less is more, and more code means more test cases!).

Onwards and upwards. Tally ho. Etc.

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