Malleable Musings

March 2, 2010

Taking a holiday

Filed under: Life at home — Brendan @ 11:45 pm

So 2010 is nearly two months in and I find myself on only my second (or is it third) blog post of the year.

My low number of posts has certainly not been due to a dearth of ideas. Quite a bit has happened over the past month – although I didn’t think the world really needed another post about the failures/sucesses of Apple and Google with their recent product launches. That said, I haven’t seen that much about the difference in approach the two companies make in their product launches.  I was also quite interested in what’s going on at Facebook as they sent me an email as from my last job I’m still an admin of a Facebook page with a large number of fans. It said that, “To ensure a positive user experience, we require admins of large pages to confirm their affiliation with the brand, business, person or entity that their Page represents. ”  I thought this was interesting especially in light of Project Titan.

In addition to all of the tech news there are some really interesting things going on in my area of work. Personally I’ve also been through some interesting times – visiting for the first time what I consider one of the craziest, most unsustainable cities in the world (previously I’d only seen the Tarmac of DXB).

Nor has my low number of posts anything to do with an infatuation with a new micro-blogging service. For the record my initial reaction to Google Buzz was, “Wow looks good but not really for me – yet”. What was bizarre about Buzz for me was that I have never used my gmail as a primary email, instead its the email I use for all of my web services. Therefore I only had one automatic contact from an IM conversation.

Instead I took a holiday; both metaphorically and literally.  The low number of posts can all just be attributed to a busy start to the year. I just haven’t found my usual time to blog. So, partly out of guilt (why do we blog anyway?), I’ve resorted to piecing this entry together when waiting in shopping queues, waiting for my kids, on buses and in various other moments when I’ve had more than 30 secs to myself with my phone.

This is a lot harder than it sounds especially as the week before last was half term and so most of this blog post was written whilst I was on a family holiday and one of the key phrases that I heard if my phone is ever visible is, “Dad, can I play on your phone”, particularly when we are in taxis, on aeroplanes, waiting at airports etc.  Top tip: an iPhone is a godsend to keep kids amused when the flight home is delayed by five hours.

The holiday has been great although we haven’t done a huge amount. The kids are at the age where they are very happy just playing on the beach, having a swim, playing the occassional round of minigolf and dancing at their mini-disco in the early evening.

Our one proper outing was to visit Sioux City, so we now have two little sherrifs running around shooting each other.  I loved how you can become a fan of their albino crocodile on Facebook.

It was a lovely disconnected holiday for me.   I didn’t touch the Internet (although the kids have – when there was torrential rain we visited an arcade and instead of playing air hockey or pool they spotted some computers and asked to play moshimonsters). Nor have I watched much TV, other than some of the events from Vancouver 2010 on German Eurosport. It’s funny but usually in the Winter Olympics I’d be hooked on the curling – this time it’s mainly two-man bobsleigh, snow jumping and biathlon. TV scheduling all seems to be based around national preferences and medal chances.

Instead of being online in my downtime when the kids are in bed, I’ve immersed myself in a book.  I’m pretty pleased with myself on that I managed to read two books cover to cover and get halfway through a third.

The first book was a great page-turner, The Ghost by Robert Harris. The wikipedia description is spot on – the lead is not that subtle a characterture of Tony Blair.

The non-fiction was John Simpson’s “Not quite world’s end“. It was harder going but thoroughly enjoyable.  It contrasted nicely with The Ghost and I identified well with many of the situations he found himself in, especially those in Africa.  He’s really isn’t a bad old boy, but what I found most interesting was how vigorously John defends the BBC.

Far more vigourously than the corporation’s director-general Mark Thompson seemed to do on Newsnight this evening.  I’m a license fee and independent state broadcasting fan but I really don’t know what to think of how poor this performance was.  It left me wondering what exactly to think.

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