I went to the 2010 Boat Race

Picture of the 2010 Boat Race

The view of the Boat Race, from the balcony of The Rutland Arms pub, just as the boats have passed Hammersmith Bridge.

Congratulations to Cambridge on their victory!

Delphic in Hammersmith

Picture of Delphic poster next to Hammersmith flyover


I went to The Fox Inn Easter Beer Festival 2010

Picture of The Fox Inn

I attended The Fox Inn Easter Beer Festival 2010 yesterday in West London.

In challenging Bank Holiday weather conditions (showers and a cold wind) a group of beer enthusiasts sampled a range of real ales (and one perry).

Here’s the drinks I enjoyed, along with marks out of ten:

The Festival continues until Monday – if you’re in the Hanwell area I recommend a visit.
Picture of Nick Carroll, Tony Lennon and Chris Collier

Pictured are fellow drinkers Nick Carroll, Tony Lennon and Chris Collier.

It’s Document Freedom Day 2010

Document Freedom Day 2010 logo

Today is Document Freedom Day, the global day for document liberation.

My chosen office package is OpenOffice.org, which uses ODF as it’s native file format.

I’m a great supporter of open standards, and ODF is an example of such a standard working in many applications and gaining increasing traction internationally, particularly in public services.

I went to Rewired State: Culture

Picture the final session at Rewired State: Culture

I attended Rewired State: Culture on Saturday at The Guardian offices in King Cross.

The day itself consisted of two parallel strands: a hackday and, in the afternoon, an unconference, both looking at encouraging links between data repositories such as museums, broadcasters and the wider community, eg data.gov.uk.

At the end of the day both strands were brought together for a session where developers showed of the fruits of their hackday labours.

Many thanks to the organisers, including Emma Mulqueeny, James Darling and the DCMS team, along with sponsors ScraperWiki, for putting together a fascinating day.

I went to the Save BBC 6 Music demo

Picture of Save 6 Music demonstration at BH

I attended the fantastic demonstration protesting at the proposed closure of BBC 6 Music at Broadcasting House on Saturday organised by the Save 6 Music Facebook group.

Demonstrators from all parts of the country were joined by many of the radio station’s presenters, including Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Liz Kershaw, Gideon Coe, Andrew Collins and Adam Buxton.

During one of the speeches, Tom Robinson made a point that hadn’t occurred to me about the proposals. He said the radio plans covering 6 Music and the Asian Network are part of a larger project that is fundamentally about marketing.

He said the management view was that the current branding is too confusing for listeners with too many station names. Therefore the plan is to have Radios 1 to 5, with related stations named 1Xtra, 2Xtra, etc.

No surprise given the marketing background of Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music.

Along with the speeches, there was also musical entertainment from The Coal Porters, Mirrorkicks, Black Soul Strangers, The Brute Chorus and Allo Darlin’.

Support was also given to the campaigns to oppose the closure of the Asian Network and cuts to the BBC website during the event.

At the conclusion of the gathering Adam Buxton summed up its purpose with the chant:

What do we want?
Leave us alone!
When do we want it?
For a long time!

New election site

Picture of Christine Bond's website

My new site for Christine Bond has recently been launched.

The site is for Christine’s campaign in the BECTU NEC and President elections.

I used WordPress to build the site (of course!), giving a great deal of flexibility to quickly react to developments in the election campaigns in the next few weeks.

Christine, coming from a photography background, was detailed in her design brief, and hopefully I’ve brought her ideas to life on the web.

Good luck to Christine in the elections!

I went to UKGovCamp 2010

Picture UK Government Barcamp 2010 schedule board - January 2010

I participated in the third annual UK Government Barcamp a couple of weeks ago.

The unconference for those involved, around or interested in the UK government’s online activities took place on Saturday 23 January 2010 at Google’s Victoria offices.

The schedule (pictured above) was put together barcamp style at the beginning of the day by those present.

Here’s my report of some of the hour long sessions I attended:

  • data.gov.uk – Richard Stirling, from the Cabinet Office, outlined the origins, development and launch of the new data.gov.uk site, which “seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data”. He said the site, publicly launched two days beforehand, does not host data, but is trying to make data easier to find on individual government sites.
  • WordPress – Simon Dickson led a session on the use of WordPress in government, outlining its expanding use, starting with the Wales Office, then Number 10, to it’s current deployment in government. Steph Gray spoke on his experience in using WordPress when rebuilding his departmental website in a few days when BIS was brought into existence. The speed of deployment and flexibility of WordPress, though the use of plugins, was a common theme through the session. I, of course, pointed those present to WordCamp UK to find out more and meet WordPress users and developers from across the country.
  • Making the political sell: gaining support for innovation in political organisations – a session on making the case for digital engagement against a background of cuts. Steph Gray spoke on surviving 2010, whilst Anthony Zacharzewski presented making the political sell. In the current climate some areas of government might see digital engagement as an easy area to cut back without any significant impact – a mistaken approach in my view.

More reports of the sessions by others present.

One of the outcomes of the day is the possibility of organising an event around internal communications and collaboration.

Many thanks to Dave Briggs for organising a great day, Google for hosting the event at their offices, the sponsors for their support and not forgetting Hadley Beeman for arranging evening drinks in local licensed premises!