Trying out Posterous

I’ve been thinking about personal blogging for some time. My main blog at is, of course, focused on my business activities as a freelance Business Continuity consultant. This is backed up by the Facebook page atwww.fac…

I’ve been thinking about personal blogging for some time. My main blog at is, of course, focused on my business activities as a freelance Business Continuity consultant. This is backed up by the Facebook page But often, I want to blog about a wider range of matters.

I do, of course, exist on Google+ but I don’t really see Google+ as being a proper blogging platform; at least not yet. So I thought I’d give Posterous a go.

I’ve had an account on Posterous for some time but I hadn’t done anything with it: it was one of the many “play” areas I have set up at various times. So, I’ll play with this one for a while to see if it satisfies my needs. 

My previous personal blog is still there on at but I don’t expect to update that much; other than placing a redirection here.

Back from the Haarlem Jamborette 2011

Wednesday night, late, I got back from one of the best, if not absolutely the best, Scout camps I have ever been to.

The Haarlem Jamborette is held every four years on the outskirts of the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands in a nature area called Sparnewoode. It sounds like a nice place, but it is right under the approach into 18C at Schipol Airport, so it can get a bit loud at times :-).

Ten Scouts, plus six Explorer Scouts and three Leaders made up the contingent. The Explorers were all ex-5th Letchworth and went to the Haarlem Jamborette in 2007. The three leaders were on their third visit; having also been in 1999.

This years’ Jamborette was the 11th and gets better every time. There were 2100 scouts and 400 on the service team; making 2500 people, split up into four sub-camps named Haarlem, Halfweg, Zwanenburg and Sparndam after the local communities.

Each Jamborette has a them and this year’s theme was “Energy Unlimited”. The objective was to “create” 80,000 Jambo-Joules or energy by taking part in the activities to the best of ones abilities.

During the ten days of the Jamborette we:

  • went to the Walibi Theme Park;
  • took part in Sailing, Kyaking and a boat trip;
  • went on a day trip to Amsterdam and Haarlem;
  • went on a day hike;
  • took part in a day of creative activities;
  • had a day off to rest and recuperate (!);
  • competed in a number of sports; and
  • did some old-school Scouting activities.

Oh, and there was an Open Day on the middle Sunday; during which the local public were invited in to see what was going on. We took the opportunity to promote Letchworth Garden City.

Quite a lot I think you’ll agree.  Throughout the whole expedition, our scouts behaved impeccably: well, almost.

On the way out we travelled by minibus to Harwich; then ferry to Hook of Holland and coach to Haarlem.  I drove a van with all the kit, plus a couple of Scouts. Each of the sub-camps had to model themselves on an ancient civilisation: Romans, Chinese, Incas or Egyptians.  Our campsite was in the Haarlem sub-camp and we were told to be Romans. That meant dressing up in tunics and togas and bearing swords and spears at the opening ceremony. We also built a Colosseum.

To begin with, the weather was hot and dry. The day we spent at Walibi World was particularly hot. Sadly, the weather deteriorated and we got very wet and muddy at times. You will see pictures on our Facebook page though not many are up there yet.

The leaders were also well catered for. There were two leaders’ bars: one quiet (The Mokkie) and one extremely noisy (Club Recharge). Beer was sold in return for the camp currency – Jambos. There were several excellent bands playing in Club Recharge, plus DJs on the other nights. All in all an excellent way to wind-down at the end of a busy day.

What will I remember the most about the Haarlem Jamborette 2011? I think the sight of our Scouts dancing in Club Recharge. They were amazing. But I will also remember with great fondness the warm reception we were given by those crazy Dutch!

I’m already looking forward to 2015: even tough I will be 62 by then!

Keeping tabs on Scouts

A couple of days ago, I came across the voice memo I made when a bunch of us Scout Leaders were “relaxing” at Green Beret late last year. Along with playing Bunnies and Spoons, we were discussing the problem of keeping Scout records up to date with all the events, camps, hikes, nights away, etc that add to various activity awards. The discussion was so interesting that I recorded it.

We decided that what we needed was a technological approach that automated the capture of attendance. Various technologies were discussed including RFID, Near Field Communication and tatooed bar codes!

After listening to the voice memo, I realised that there was another solution that was becoming widespread, easy to implement and does the job exactly.

This is just a tease. Can you think what it might have been? I’m doing some work on it today and might have something to show off quite soon.

(Clue: anybody who has one of my business cards already knows the answer)

Another Tesco rip-off

Varina has just come back from shopping with yet another rip-off tale from the St Neots Tesco store. She was looking at Turkey prices ( even though we have already ordered ours – go figure).

Anyway, she noticed that a certain range of turkeys was on special offer: half price. The small print showed that this offer only applied to turkeys in a certain range of weights.

Well, what do you know; even though the space below was full, none of the turkeys was in the weight range that qualified for the special price.

How may people will get caught be this rip-off?

Incidentally, she challenged a member of staff who responded that they would look into it. Yeah, right!

Is it so hard to make decent coffee?

Why is so difficult for the English to make decent coffee?
I ask after a particularly poor example served up to Varina and me in a Shrewsbury coffee house.
Is it poor quality control, excessive cost control, ignorance, or a general inattention to customer service? I don’t know, but I do know that I rarely go back for more!

Have your kids forgotten how to play?

I spent the weekend away with my Scout troop. We camped at Harmergreen Wood in Hertfordshire on our annual woodland camp.

Part of our regular programme of activities is playing “Wide Games”. Wide games are generally games of strategy played in the open air over a large area. Typically, a game will involve two teams who have to achieve an objective.

Over time, we leaders have observed that the standard of game play has declined. Three of our leaders, including the Scout Leader, used to be Scouts with me as their leader. It was they who commented that the current crop of scouts don’t take the game seriously.

On discussing the matter further, recalled that if they were involved in similar game that involved some degree of stealth; e.g. to get inside a defended area; they would have blackened their faces and crawled around without any lighting (most of our games are in the dark). Nowadays, scouts wander around making a noise and with their head torches on. It doesn’t seem to matter how much we emphasise the need for stealth: they just don’t get it.

So, I reiterate the question: have kids forgotten how to play?

Re-positioning this blog

(I nearly entitled this “re-purposing this blog”) but just about stopped myself)

Now that is running smoothly I really don’t need this site for the business, so I’ve decided to use it for a personal blog. My previous blogs have always been a mix of personal and professional posts, whereas is (almost) strictly business. This site will therefore cover a much wider range of topics.

Moving this blog again

I have been using the DominoBlog template since I started blogging back in May 2004, but now it’s time to move on.

The reasons for moving are two-fold:

  1. With my departure from elastictime and the creation of Agdon Associates I lost access to a data-centre hosted Domino server. I now have a Lotus Foundations server on my home ADSL circuit, and while that is OK the service availability is not good enough. Also, the bit of frigging I need to do each time the server reboots to expose the Domino http stack is becoming tiresome.
  2. Whilst I haven’t lost my appetite for Lotus Notes and Domino and would love to continue working with such a fine product, the fact is that there isn’t much Domino work out there. Consequently my efforts are directed elsewhere and so the desire to find an exteral host for the Domino blog is diminished.

The question is: where to go?

A new site is in development for Agdon using Drupal as its base. Drupal does have blogging built in but I quite like having my blog distinct from the business.
Given that I want the blog hosted and I want to continue to use, I seem to have the choice of Typepad (Moveable Type), WordPress or Blogger. Typepad is paid for but Blogger has Ads: not sure about that.

So, I am experimenting with all three for a few weeks. I’ll create trial blogs on Blogger, WordPress and Typepad and cross post to all three.