Monday, December 29, 2008

Some simple messages

As the New Year arrives I wanted to share simple but effective messages, that are delivered in a more unusual fashion, which in itself gets your attention.
Perhaps the next time you are giving a presentation you should think how to get that message across; afterall its not JUST facts and figures is it...

another thought provoking video

This is a presentation of sorts which may just change your view on life, forever!!

@ Yahoo! Video

Benjamin Zander is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic and is well known for his orchestra's passionate performances. Rosamund Stone Zander is an executive coach, family therapist, and private practitioner who brings enormous psychological experience to enhancing human behaviour. They have written a fascinating book in which they alternate as storytellers in sharing principles and examples in the form of compelling stories in their lives.

Each of the 12 chapters in the book THE ART OF POSSIBILITY communicates an idea - a new way of opening up possibility within your life, providing an evolving and additive view as the reader progresses through the book.

First, the Zanders talk about “It’s all invented” where humans tend to focus on very few things, missing most of what is going on around them. By shifting focus, you will see many opportunities for the first time.

Second, measurements can cause us to focus too narrowly on where we are today and encourage “scarcity thinking” - the glass is half empty. The Zanders encourage thinking about the glass as half full, citing the well-known perspective of optimism as being empowering.

Third, if you assume that people will do well and help them to see how they can, they will. Mr. Zander gives every student an “A” in his class, and simply requests that the student write a paper to tell what they will do to deserve that A. This gets the students focused on excellence, and takes away the tension that gets in the way of real results.

Fourth, as a mindset, think of your role as “being a contribution - you are a gift to others”. How could that change what you do – to focus on the external perspective?

Fifth, lead from any chair. This is a reference to involving everyone. Benjamin Zander asks his players to write down how he could improve practices and performances, and pays attention to the suggestions genuinely viewing leadership from all levels

Sixth, follow rule number six - “don’t take yourself so seriously – to lighten up”. Examples show, how in taking this on in organisational settings, a new culture can emerge, enabling fabulous creativity and new ideas.

Seventh, be present to the ways things are. Many of us are disconnected from reality. By getting back to it, we can see more possibilities.

Eighth, give way to passion. Going with your strong feelings allows you to be more authentic, and to go to new heights of accomplishment. Allow yourself to let go.

Ninth, light a spark. See you role as creating a spark of possibility to be lit that others can see. Act as a catalyst for yourself and others.

Tenth, be the board of the game you are playing. Instead of defining yourself as a playing piece or even a strategist in the game you are playing, see yourself as the framework for the entire game.

Eleventh, create a vision that generates “frameworks of possibility” for others and work on enrolling them into what is right for them.

Twelfth, tell the WE story. Focus on being inclusive and considering what is best for all. Move from I to We, from independence to interdependence.

There MUST be something amongst those possibilities you could utilize or work on - personally I like No. 3 & 6.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Evolution of my computers

Below you will see where my interest in computers started way back in 1986!
My first computer was a Spectrum 128k (well I say mine it was actually Punch's but we shared it).

I think we kept the stores afloat in joystick sales as we broke that many. The games took like 5 minutes to load (it felt like a lifetime) and the games were on cassette tape (which made copying very easy - my first line into pirating).
The graphics were okay and a step up from the likes of pong.

I then moved onto the Amiga - now things REALLY got interesting.
The machine for me was a dream and I soon started looking into what could be done with this baby, and A LOT was possible!
I started a group called THE LOST BOYS and worked with many groups on the scene back then such as FAIRLIGHT, ULTIMA, TRADERS DREAMS, and many others.
I actually got published in a Amiga Magazine but it wasn't glamorous, it was for a disk I compiled in which when inserted you simply pressed any one of the 'F' keys to install a different virus onto someone's computer - the magazine thought I was some kind of anarchist!?!?

Then I upgraded to the Amiga 600 and then onto the 1200 - where I stayed for a while, great piece of kit.
Back then the World Wide Web wasn't really big at all, so we all used a B.B.S. (Bulletin Board System) where one computer would call another only and you could chat or pass across data etc, slow but effect none the less (very costly).

Then it was time to get a PC (as the Amiga scene was dying, shame) so I got a 386!!!
Windows 3.1 before they had a nice Graphic User Interface it was horrid; even the Amiga's was better. I upgraded that to a 486 and then onto a Pentium tower unit instead of a desktop.
At this point windows 95 had been produced and that then upgraded to 98, 2000 and XP: it really went from strength to strength, until Vista that is!

In the process of updating several computers and numerous formatting (sad fact), I acquired the Playstation! Boy what a console, I was never a console fan until this point there had been several out Nintendo being the most popular.
Then the PS 2 was launched and again huge leaps had been taken and was a great time killer for me.

Then came the Xbox and again managed to blow me away great console - not so keen on the controller though. Never did get the Xbox 360!? I did get a Gamecube but again didn't really like it.

As I was travelling alot I decided it best to buy a laptop - at this point they too had come along way, so I bought a Packard Bell. It was okay for it needed to do.
Sony released the PS3 which of course I had to get - which also meant upgrading the TV - but that was worth it - again great console, although I don't think they have exploited it to its maximum capability.

Then I had a dilemma - I used a MAC when I worked with Voluntary Action Leicester and at first hated it - but I came to REALLY prefer it over the PC. So when it came time to upgrade my current laptop what to buy!??!
After a few months of fighting with myself I opted for the Macbook Pro and I am VERY happy with my choice. Excellent piece of kit easy and simple, nice operating system, great support for software (my first major concern) but all put to rest after getting and using it.

After having such a good experience with the Mac I decided that an iTouch was my next gadget to have - and if you don't own an iTouch or an iPhone I suggest you get one - (iPhone Nano soon to be released so maybe hold off on the iPhone).
But essentially its a PC/MAC in the palm of your hand!!!!

Considering where we were about 20 years ago things certainly have come along way and continue to do so.
This year for Christmas I am now the owner of a Wii and for the first time I can actually say its a Nintendo product I like, great concept, nice console the games are ok - but more innovation required im tired of seeing Mario and Sonic in ALL Nintendo games!!!

So here's to the future of computers and games! Below is just a few pictures of the past, enjoy ;)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is Xmas....

Well its been an interesting year, so where do I go from here.... ....good question keep 'em peeled to see!

So, this year my blog has had over 3,000 new visitors and nearly 5,000 returning visitors which is nice; someone is obviously enjoying following my life or stumbling across some random posts.
The one thing that seems to get the most hits is about losing weight; why are we SO crazy to loose weight fast!!?!?

Folks seemed to have come far and wide, lots from Spain, America and the UK, but also from South Africa, Bahrain, Kazakhstan are just some of the remoter areas that have logged on to my site.

As 20% of the readers/viewers were people searching for 'Vaughan Town' and came across my site, should I get commission??

Dear readers will be aware Christmas isn't my favourite time of year, but I decided to really make an effect and bring a typical English style Christmas to Spain.
You know what they say about best laid plans... ...well their right! My package from England didn't arrive, so NO Xmas pudding, NO mince pies, NO Xmas crackers, NO stuffing for the turkey and worse of all NO SNOW!

But determined I plodded on (little donkey) and made my own stuffing from scratch! Yeah, you heard me! And mulled wine and all the trimmings - although I must say it simply isn't the same in Spain. The simple things you take for granted and would expect simply couldn't be found (sage for example) even a potato masher!?
As per normal we had enough food to feed the street, makes you wonder why we feel the need to do some much?

Onto the presents, I got a Wii and the crazy Rabbids game - what does that say about me?? Not sure but it is fun. As for Sandra, I got here a digital camera and the Singstar games, and a little something put away for the 3 kings (Spains Xmas - 6th Jan), for Ariadna she got clothes of course and China I sent her an electric guitar and amp, hope she likes it!

It's weird how the people you think would wish you a Merry Christmas don't, and people you don't expect to, do!!?!?
Christmas is ALWAYS a time for unique moments (good or bad), the key I guess is to treasure the ones you have and share them with the people that matter the most.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

iPhone Nano?

Steve Jobs does a disappearing act from APPLE EXPO 2009!?!
Rumours of a brand new product the iPhone Nano!!!

But that age old argument is still going on MAC vs PC, so who is the victor??

Watch below and see for yourself - excellent video!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Vaughantown of 2008

This week started off with the train ticket company losing my ticket, not the best start, then in trying to fix the problem, VERY nearly missed the train; it was about to pull out of the station whilst we were sorting the problem.

The trip was uneventful - no one trying to steal my luggage! In fact this time it sat next to me. Around about half way to Madrid we emerged from a long dark tunnel to wonderfully white snowy fields, then into Madrid - dull, rainy British weather, how sad!!

There was a noticeable difference this year in the Xmas decor in the streets in Madrid, the atmosphere and even in the stalls in Plaza Mayor - last year they were full of novelty items, wigs, masks and much more, this year not so much: in fact I only bought a Santa hat!

Although there was a lot people walking round with umbrellas stabbing folks in the head - I got attacked 3 times, surely by now with all the rules and regulations on Health and Safety umbrellas should be classified as offensive weapons?! (especially the broken ones)

Anyway enough ranting, this week at VT is Christmas week, so sketches and stuff have a Christmas theme where possible. We sang the 12 days at Vaughan Town, Winter Wonderland and karaoke was a mix of Christmas Carols and Karaoke Favs.
Instead of Quemada we had mulled wine; its SO nice.
I did my 50 dance routine which nearly killed me - the last time was 3 months back I think! I'm going to work on another variation for next year; be warned!!!

Sadly one individual didn't really gel with the group or program so left early, but apart from that no issues although the Quiz didn't go down as well as I hoped (oops), in general everyone had a good time and it was a good finish to 2008 we nearly managed to see in 2009 as the party went on and on!

We also had SNOW!! Which was great but sadly didn't seem to last too long.
That's about it - have a good Christmas and a wonderful new year

You can of course find the photos by clicking below
Vaughan Town - Gredos - Program 104

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Feliz Navidad

Well as this was the moment Ariadna came into our lives officially, I thought it apt that we would take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas to all our friends in the world and even to those we've yet to meet.

This will be Ariadna's first Christmas and she is the best gift we could have for Christmas; although the iTouch is a close second ;)
We have had a busy few weeks as you can guess, and poor mom is feeling more and more as the days go by - hopefully Christmas will give her some rest; I'm cooking!

Sadly I have to work next week, so when I return I hope to find Ariadna walking, talking and ready to work!
(well perhaps not just yet, she's SO cute!!!)

Below is some photos of Ariadna's first 2 weeks; enjoy
Ariadna's Album

There is nothing more worth stealing than a kiss from a sleeping baby!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Beginnings

With the new year approaching and a new addition in the family, I thought it time to give my website a facelift; so it too has a new look.

It's now a nice, fresh, warm inviting blog page easy to navigate and hopefully better to read.

I hope the upcoming year is as exciting as this year has been - obviously the highlight being Ariadna!

I look forward to writing more soon and who knows maybe I'll get MY Christmas wish ;)

Monday, December 01, 2008

The lighter side of Christmas

Whilst looking for some Christmas fun I came across these amusing cartoons

and another

and Achmed returns with Christmas Spirit
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