-- Business blog now available --

A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Monday, 29 September 2008

Business Consultant for hire

I leave Fujitsu today, i.e. at the end of September. I am striking out on my own, and plan to do contracting work in the North East of England. Hopefully this will be a springboard to more varied projects – reflecting my interests in cutting-edge collaborative tools and virtual worlds etc.

In putting together my leaving note to Fujitsu colleagues (and the associated mailing list), I was able to reflect on all the fantastic people I have worked with, in nearly 10 years with Fujitsu. Also, that I genuinely believe Fujitsu has been an excellent employer and good place to work.

Those ten years have given me a great foundation to help Customers maximise their return on their Technology investments. In practical terms, this means helping them:
  • Exploit existing collaboration tools and infrastructure
  • Understand impact of consumerization and Web 2.0 on Customers and other stakeholders
  • Create a successful blend of infrastructure, using established collaboration / information management tools and leading edge ones
  • Understand technology’s impact on People, and create programme of change to manage this impact and maximise Return on Investment
  • Make informed decisions about which tools / trends match needs of organisation - don't just go with the flow
I’ve worked for Fujitsu with a number of large Government Departments, and a mixture of Private and Public Sector bodies.

More details at http://www.linkedin.com/in/justinguysouter.

sex blogger consultant
Props to Laughing Squid / Scott Beale, Ariel Waldman and, of course, to Hugh Macleod

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Angela Beecroft, nutritionalist

A quick follow-up post re Dairy Intolerance.

As a Christmas present, my Mum offered for me to visit Angela Beecroft, a nutrionalist based in North Yorkshire / Teesside.

I was keen to take this up, as Caroline and I thought I might have some other food intolerances and I was thinking Angela could suggest some further tests.

I managed to combine a visit to Angela with one of the “Experiences” from Croft Circuit – as the circuit is close to Stockton, one of Angela’s locations.

It was a pleasant surprise that Angela takes a holistic view to dietary health, and although wanting to do a further test, suggested that a healthy tummy might have further benefits – e.g. less fatigue, sharper thinking etc.

Anyway, I’ve started taken a treatment of powerful Bio bacteria – i.e. stronger versions of the bacteria you find in Bio yoghurts.

The plan is to have a tele-conference on 8th October to review the results from my test and see where to go from there…

Angela doesn’t have a website [although I’ve suggested looking into a blog or similar to her], but she can be contacted via Beecroft4 – at – aol – dot – com.

Useful websites she recommended are:
n.b. I’m posting this using a date just after the original DI post, as I’m trying to concentrate on business things at the mo’!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Lactose / Dairy Intolerance

A post about problems with my digestion - with the gory bits avoided wherever possible.

Growing up, I bore a unfortunate similarity to Johnny Fartpants. :-s

Now, I'm pretty sure I've got an intolerance to Lactose. Lactose is the sugar in dairy products, sucrose being the sugar in plants etc. [I think that’s right – Ed.]

What this means is that I can't / shouldn't eat things which I love, namely no:
  • Cream
  • milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Dairy Yoghurt
If I do, then (as my Uncle, a retired Doctor described) lactose is broken down into carbon dioxide[?] gas, and a substance used a commercial laxative. (Most people can put 2 & 2 together, and seem to find this description acceptable – apologies if you don’t!).

So, it's dreadfully boring. When someone's eating a fantastic piece of [insert your favourite cheese here], I can only sit there and pine. Bah.

However, what's even more boring is how pathetic my Doctor was in terms of diagnosis and helping me understand the situation:
  • I told him that Caroline reckoned I had a dairy intolerance – the response was “you probably have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
    • I asked what that was - “er, it’s when your bowel is irritated”: I wasn’t impressed
  • They suggested I see the Practice’s Dietician
    • When I walked through the door, the lady concerned said “you’re not overweight”
      • I agreed, but said that I was seeing her about a dairy intolerance
    • She suggested that I take the dairy out of my diet
      • I responded that I had already done this
    • She said that last time she had studied this was at University (presumably 15-20 years previously) and she couldn’t really help
    • I asked whether she could recommend articles that I could read on the Web
      • She couldn’t, but offered to look on the Practice database – but didn’t have a password. Doh!
  • In fact, I went into the Practice a week later about another matter, and was given a piece of paper which had http://lactose.co.uk/ printed on it (it’s now http://www.foodreactions.org/intolerance/lactose/index.html)
So, the upshot was that the principle of taking a pill to help me digest food with dairy products in it was established – hooray! Lactase is the enzyme that my stomach appears to lack, and hence filling the gap with a pill *does* help.

I now tend to buy Lactase via eBay from the States. I have found that the CostCo own brand (Kirkland) pills seem to be the most effective.

Otherwise, I have eliminated as many dairy products – and products with dairy in them – from my diet, as possible. I put soya milk on my cereal and in my tea. I use Pure margarine, and Caroline uses Lactofree milk for cooking.

It’s worthwhile knowing that Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury do “Free From” ranges, designed for people with various intolerances. I’ve also found soya yoghurts pretty good, although the plain ones are best avoided. Alpro does pretty tasty desserts.

Caroline has been fantastically helpful in terms of shopping, and takes a lot of trouble to check ingredients in the food that we have. However, we agree that I may have other intolerances.

N.b. I have tried products from sheep and goats, and they aren’t as effective as giving me trouble-free digestion as the products above. I’ve also tried things like Oatly, which isn’t bad. However, I find the Alpro ‘cream’ to be better.

Note – I first started drafting this in May 08.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Template construction lessons learned

(so far)

  • Save your template before and after each change, e.g.:
    • Embedded code, like Google Analytics
    • Adding various widgets
    • [Change control becomes important later, so best start at the beginning! :$]
  • Going back to original Blogger template
    • Under Layout | Edit HTML | Edit Template, choose "Revert template to classic"
      • This indeed takes your right back to the default Blogger template, which includes your blog posts, and a couple of standard widgets, e.g. About Me, Previous posts etc.
      • There is then an intermediate step -- to be able to get to the 'upgraded' Blogger layout editor, you have to 'upgrade' the layout editor
      • This seemed to bring back my existing widgets! :-s
      • I then removed the widgets one by one
        • I was expected that a reversion to the Classic template would take them away
        • It did, but 'upgrading' seemed to bring them back... :-(
  • I then ran the reverted template back through Disqus - still no joy :'(
  • I then chose "Revert widget templates to default", and ran the code through Disqus - success!
    • I think returning the widget templates to default stripped the Disqus code from any widgets
  • N.b. I encountered an "Upload template error" in Blogger (code bX-9khcxc), when I pasted the code from Disqus back into the Blogger edit html frame - very frustrating!
    • However, I did a quick search and found that the problem was because I was using Chrome, and also Firefox - use IE instead, it worked for me :-D
    • This Google Group helped me work this out
  • I have opted to keep existing comments on this blog, and chose the option on Disqus for comments 'from now onwards'
    • Will check existing posts and Not allow comments, and hide existing ones (where there aren't any) - if I can be bothered!
    • The only glitch with Windows Live Writer that I have come across is that you don't have the option to switch off comments - essential if you want to allow Disqus to handle comments for you
    • Therefore, one has to publish a draft from WLW, and then go to the Blogger interface online to switch them off <yawn>, before you publish!
  • On the other hand, Flickr publishing in WLW is rather good
  • I'm putting a couple of FriendFeed widgets into the template until I have a discussion with a web designer I know.
  • I'm also trying to get the 'Recent Readers' widget from MyBlogLog
    • Part of the process is to paste this following link - Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification - into a post, which 'verifies' your site in the eyes of MBL.
    • You can also try putting a meta tag in your site homepage, but putting it into the Blogger template hasn't worked for me, hence this Plan B...
  • Umm, I think that's it for now! Comments / amendments very welcome.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Template under Construction

DC Under Construction Series - DC USA Retail Complex in Columbia Heights

Photo by Otavio_DC

Quick head's up to say that I'm editing the Blogger template which makes Wellbanked look nice -- ostensibly to sort out the Disqus commenting function.

At the moment the functionality seems to appear twice for those commenting, which isn't good.

Hopefully I should have this sorted in a couple of days. I have / intend to:
  • Saved the existing template to my PC
  • I have saved the titles and contents for the various widgets in my Google Notebook
    • Gives me a backup of the widgets :-)
  • I've checked the underlying code for analytics tools like Google Analytics, AmungUs etc. that I've put in over time
  • Revert to original template - Blogger functionality
    • Save it
  • Put original template through the Disqus template integration process
  • Restore widgets as appropriate / as needed
  • Put in a widget from Twittercounter
  • Put in a widget from MyBlogLog
  • Pick up on a number of dormant draft posts and publish them!