Bob the Frog - giant edition!If anyone visited the Frog stand at BETT this year, you may have noticed Bob the Frog glowing with the light of a thousand suns.  Well, he’s still glowing – only now he’s glowing at the front of the office, blinding visitors with his incandescent – well, fluorescent, to be precise – glory.

I’m not sure what the marketing advantage of having visitors blinded is, but there must be one…

I’ve been meaning to post something about this to my site for a while, but I’ve been busy.  Oh, alright – I’ve been playing Guild Wars.  Sheesh.

Anyway, on Friday I was treated – along with the rest of the staff at Frog – to a sneak peek of Frog 3.0, the next-generation software we’ll be showing off at BETT.  While I am, for obvious reasons, as biased as a very biased thing, I have to say I’m honestly impressed.  It’s shiny.

Having been in charge of an implementation of the open-source VLE Moodle in a past life, I thought I knew what a learning platform was.  Turns out I was wrong – the new Frog does things I never even thought possible.

I can’t say too much about it until it’s officially unveiled, but if you’re heading to BETT be sure to find the big blue stand with Bob the Frog on it and have a play – I guarantee you’ll be impressed.  I was, and I’m notoriously fussy.

Santa's Little Helper, a.k.a. Gareth DaviesWell, not Santa per se…  More one of his helpers.

Okay, it was company MD Gareth (no relation) Davies in a daft hat handing out the results of the Secret Santa we’ve been running.

I’m pleased to say that I came away from it with an absolutely awesome toy crossbow – which is powerful enough to send a dart flying half-way across the office.  I don’t know who was buying for me, but they know me scarily well.  The only problem was keeping Lee away from it for the safety of people around him.

Sadly, I was too distracted by the crossbow to see the recipient of my gift’s reaction, so I’ll just have to hope that they were suitably pleased.

Davenport Lyons, the by-now infamous lawfirm situated, sadly, here in the UK, is continuing its campaign of sending threatening letters alleging possibly copyright infringing actions and demanding money.  You may remember a post I made in which I drafted a response asking to see the evidence the firm allegedly has under the auspices of the Data Protection Act.  Although I’m not a lawyer – thank god, I never could eat a whole baby – I do have more than a passing interest in the law and my rights therein.  Accordingly, the letter was drafted as best I could.

Since that time, many individuals both on bit-tech and another forum called Slyck have downloaded and sent off the letter along with the required payment.  Since then, most – as I predicted – have not heard back.  However, some of the very earliest letters have had a reply – here’s an example from bit-tech member nw104hh:

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londonticket (16k image)Well, I’ve been lax in updating this ‘ere site – but with good reason. My new job is keeping me extremely busy, and conspires with my commitments to bit-tech to keep me away from anything that might resemble free time.

Case in point – on Tuesday, I travelled to London to attend a training course on Adobe Connect – which, from Halifax, is a fair old train ride. The sales director at Frog, Paul Scott, was gracious enough to meet me in the Big Smoke and take me out for a drink and a meal while he had a meeting with a sales trainer he’s hoping to hire. Nice – especially as I didn’t have to put my hand in my pocket the entire evening – but it meant that I didn’t get to the hotel until around 2300, which is a long day when you start at 0630.

The next day involved interminable underground journeys and the course itself – free sandwiches, naturally – plus the train back. Which didn’t get in until 2100, meaning I didn’t get home until 2130 – at which point I had to write my articles for the next day. I’m not complaining, you understand – well, no: I am complaining, but I’d rather be busy than the alternative. I just hope that this 0830-1700 job doesn’t have too many 0630-2300 days included.

In other news, I’ve bagged myself a sweet new ‘phone, which has pretty much replaced my palmtop and MP3 player. More about that when I get a chance to do a proper update – probably this weekend.

Well, I’ve survived the first day of my new job.

Everyone seems really nice, and there’s certainly plenty to keep me busy. Between a full audit of software and hardware, the installation and configuration of an internal WSUS server, and sundry other tasks it looks like I’ll be kept out of trouble for the foreseeable future.

It’s a shame that the commute is as long – and expensive – as it is, though. That said, I’ve got Plucker to keep me company on the train. Speaking of which, I’ve managed to shoehorn RSS feeds onto it, too – when I get a chance I’ll write a longer post detailing how.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – my bit-tech articles are complete, and my bed is calling.

Members of the //bit-tech// forums are reporting receiving letters from UK law firm Davenport Lyons demanding dosh – £520 and upwards – for ‘making available’ a range of games on peer-to-peer networks. If the money isn’t forthcoming, they threaten court action with a plentiful supply of legalese.

Well, hooey. So far the only people they’ve taken to court are individuals who ignored the letter and didn’t turn up on their court day – which resulted in a default victory for Davenport Lyons.

If you receive such a letter, **do not ignore it**. Instead, ask to see the ‘evidence’ that you made the software available. I’ve drafted a sample letter to send back to Davenport Lyons which //bit-tech// members have found useful.
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Eugh. If anyone ever tells you that Cat 6 UTP cabling is just as easy to work with as Cat 5e, tell them to bite your shiny metal ass.

Guess what //I’ve// been doing today. That’s right – crawling around a filthy loft space running cabling with a mind of its own. The rigid plastic guide inside the sheath might help keep the cable unkinked and ready for 10-Gig-E, but it certainly makes it a bugger to work with.

Still, it’ll all be worth it – 44 brand-spanking new Cat 6 network terminations going to a lovely dark blue wallmount rack with a couple of switches linked to a Gigabit fibre backbone back up to the main rack. Shame I’m not staying to enjoy the fruits of my labour, really.

My first change of career in six years. I’ve just had a ‘phone call from my friendly neighbourhood headhunter confirming that I am now (well, 4th August, anyway) employed by FrogTrade – a Halifax-based producer of magic Linux-based boxes that do everything a school could possibly ever want to do.

It’s a bit scary, but I’m looking forward to it all.

Now I’ve got to prepare my notice for my current job – I have a strange feeling that they’re not going to be particularly happy.

When I write articles for bit-tech I occasionally happen upon a topic that a full-time staffer is writing about. When this happens, one of the stories gets put on the long spike – usually mine. Below is one such story, which I figured I’d reclaim from the archives and post here – despite it being somewhat outdated.
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