Flying woes continue

Just before Christmas I flew to Nice in the south of France for a day’s meeting, on the way down our plan was struck by lightening, a pretty interesting experience. I though that getting hit by lightening was a reasonably common occurrence, but it turns out not to be.

Yesterday morning I was due to leave Liverpool for Geneva for two days on the first Easyjet flight out of Liverpool. All was going well, we were traveling down the runway picking up speed when there was a strange knocking sound and vibration. The captain then obviously applied the brakes as everything and everyone flew forward, books, glasses cases all flew several rows down the plane. The plane then slewed to the side of the runway and just stopped, it only took a few seconds before the captain came on and informed us that we’d had a bird-strike.

At this point visions of the recent Hudson river crash flew through my minds eye, but this time it was the only slightly warmer River Mersey, that would be our watery runway. AS we moved off the main runway and returned to the apron, an engineer appeared and confirmed to the Captain that in fact it had been a bird strike in the engine.

So I guess we were pretty lucky that the captain did decide to pull up… anyway wish me luck as I’m about to jump back on a plane again….

Will Yammer follow hot on the heels of Twitter?

Use of Twitter, the micro-blogging web-site that allows people to post 140-character updates, has exploded in the UK over the last few months; traffic to the site increased by a staggering 974% over the past year according to Techcrunch UK. The site itself now ranks as the 291st most visited site in the UK, and was described by the Telegraph as the best known microblogging site:

Twitter is probably the best known of all the “microblogging” sites, and it has been incredibly popular with geeks and the technorati since it launched in 2006. People post messages to the site, either via the web or by text message, and these “tweets” are forwarded on to their network of friends and contacts

Twitter’s seminal moment in the UK was on the Jonathan Ross show on the 23rd of January . This show marked the return of Jonathan Ross following an “enforced holiday”. Both the presenter and his guest Stephen Fry– a self-confessed geek and blogger- are avid users of Twitter, and on the show they discussed how the site works and how they use it.

Following this programme, numbers of @Stephenfry followers have rocketed. Stephen Fry now has over 160,000 people following him on Twitter, which means that he has overtaken many of the superstars of the tech world such as Kevin Rose (you see those Digg buttons to the right? He’s the guy behind them) and is closing in on the number one, Barack Obama.

This prime-time moment brought Twitter to the attention of the general public, and it hasn’t looked back since. Interest in @stephenfry reached a new level as a result of the “#frylift incident”. Stephen got stuck in a lift  for about an hour and twittered his followers with updates. He even used his iPhone to Twitpic a photo of his predicament (viewed 77,000 times) .

This incident was featured in several  major news papers, including The Guardian blog and even the Daily Mail

So, as Twitter grows massive in the UK and elsewhere, the next question is – will micro-blogging take off within the enterprise? Recent Techcrunch50 winner Yammer provides a micro-blogging platform to enterprises, free of charge and with some level of confidentiality. Yammer is pretty much like Twitter, but is designed for closed groups or companies. Orange has a group on Yammer with a growing number of active users. Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo, is quoted as describing Yammer as “The best communication and productivity tool available in the market today.” on the front of the Yammer home page.

My own view here is that most people aren’t inclined to blog because they find it too difficult. Micro-blogging, on the other hand, is so simple that there’s almost no excuse not to. Its adoption by so many time-poor people is, in my opinion, an indication of how easy it is to interact with your customers or your peers.

Twitter is already being used by several big organisations and brands to talk to their users. For example,Scott Monty from Ford and Connor Maples from Orange. Lance Armstrong (not an enterprise but very much a brand – Livestrong) is twittering his training in the run up to his forthcoming Tour de France title challenge, in an attempt to be transparent and interact with his fans.

Twitter is increasingly being accepted as a worthwhile tool which allows you to interact with your community. Does micro-blogging have a place as a collaboration tool specifically within the enterprise, and will this help Yammer follow hot on the heels of Twitter?

also posted here

E71 has replaced the workhorse (E61i)

I swapped my phones around again last week, I replaced the slow but trustworthy E61i out and replaced it with my E71 which had been sitting idle since I picked up an N95 8GB. The E61i is a great device and I really like the keyboard and it’s great for heavy email use, so I was a bit nervous as to whether the E71 would be able to cope with the industrial volume of email. I needn’t have worried the E71 is a joy to use as a heavy email device, the screen and speed make it much less frustrating to use than the E61i and the keyboard is as good as it gets.

Intelisync on the E71 looks a lot like to Nokia’s consumer email service that I also use, so flipping between private email on my N95 and work email on the E71 is seamless. The only down side is having to flip back to GSM only, with the volume of email and constant push of those emails.

Google latitude blip – I’m not in Liberia.

I was sat in Frankfurt airport late on Friday evening when I fired up Google’s latitude to see where folks were. When I fired the app up, i tend to use the network location feature as opposed to GPS to preserve battery, but I had a bit of a shock when it located me in Liberia, West Africa.

Apologies for the rather fuzzy pic, but I didn’t have a screenshot app installed so use the N95 to snap the E71.

Crapberry replaced by N95

A while back the wife wanted to her replace her ageing Sony Ericsson with a new phone that could sync her calendar and get emails instantly. I wanted her to have a Nokia but she wasn’t bothered and the only device that could sync emails instantly and sync Google calendar without manual intervention was the Blackberry.

So she got a Blackberry Pearl,yes it syncs emails instantly but it also alerts you when you send email The sync of contacts from ZYB was a disaster and the menu system on it is just horrendous.

I have to confess that I’d never had a Blackberry and having try out every other Mobile Phone OS was keen to give the much vaunted Blackberry a whirl. I spent a considerable amount of time setting the device up and exploring the menu system. Once click and your into text only menu systems with no clear structure or clarity.

Well the device lasted about 3 months, we were travelling home when I received a text, whilst I was driving and the good wife was the passenger, she read the message to me. Whilst reading the message she explored the menu’s on my N95 8GB and declared that this was a proper phone and the crapberry had to go.

So the Crapberry has been replace with my old N95-1 which has been tweaked to a rather lady like theme and twinkly ring tone. I’ve asked Squemster to write a review of her experiences with the Blackberry. I know my experience with the device was horrendous I sure hope the latest devices have moved forward from the stinker that this the Blackberry Pearl.

London, Frankfurt and Geneva

The next 10 days or so are going to be pretty full on travelling, Tomorrow is down to Slough, then into London for a trip to a restaurant with the CFO of a major UK telco, then back home on Tuesday.  Thursday it’s the 7am flight out of Manchester to Frankfurt for two days coming back 10pm Friday night. Monday it’s off to Geneva for two days, this time with that hassle free airline easyjet. My Ticket to Geneva and this is return cost £39; in comparison a ticket to London on the train if you just rock up is £186, just nuts.

So the Patagonia MLC is getting more use with the one-bag travel system so much less hassle and worry and my other Christmas present the Fuji travel adaptor with USB charging will also get an outing too. I’ve debating whether to take the Asus as well as the work laptop, but I don’t think I’ll bother, one laptop will do, who do I think I am Jonathan Greene 😉

Truphone will also be coming along too as it always does, I’ve got a new gold number from them which is cool, but it’s not been enabled yet, so looking forward to getting that setup.

Where all this might go wrong is the weather, when I checked the BBC weather it said between 2-5cm’s of snow. Any amount seems to cause the UK to grind to a halt, so we’ll see what happens. Posts on twitter and indicating it’s started to snow in some parts already.