A year of work in progress – day 137

Day 137 – 5 August 2014

I can’t get over the drone we’ve bought. I should have mentioned it yesterday but it wasn’t until late in the afternoon that I got round to seeing it. Steve had asked me after our visit to Edinburgh if we could get one as research and development and I’d forgotten all about it. But it’s here now and Graham and Gary couldn’t hide the sheer delight on their faces as they showed it to me.

They’d been testing it in the back yard. Its inaugural flight had been to soar high above the Tanfield site (228 feet I think) and to beam pictures back to earth. Apparently it can stay up for about twenty five minutes and can both stream pictures and store higher quality video on its built in memory. It’s a very clever device and my mind has been whirring with what we could use it for, such as building inspections and instructional videos. I just need a way to get our customers to be as enthusiastic about it as we are.

Today I was supposed to be concentrating on the ICT Strategy rewrite but, despite a slow start, I managed to get that finished yesterday. Instead I had a go at writing a procurement document for a small piece of work to try and get our Big Data programme going. I would like to create a demonstration of what is possible, using anonymised Council data and or additional data from external sources, with a view to presenting this to members and senior managers. If successful then this will allow the Council to develop a wider Big Data programme. This could be finally underway.

Before lunch I had an interview with John for Radio Teesdale about the Digital Durham programme. I think this is the fourth interview I have done now but they are always nervy to start off with. I say to myself ‘just ignore the microphone’ as I stare at it but at least we have a good story to tell.

I bumped into Steve from Sport and Leisure over lunch and grabbed the opportunity to talk to him about interactive display screens and contactless payment, a couple for the future.

My final meeting for the day was with the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure project team. We are making progress but once again our structure has got in the way of us getting where we ought to be. As a service we are great at getting things done vertically, that is within our own silos, but struggle when we need to address issues horizontally. This is the biggest opportunity for improvement within the team as we need to use the best of all talents but this, like all things worthwhile, will take time and effort. I described again the things that I would like to see happen.

I’m away for a while and so expect the heavens to open. Before I get back, I must finish ‘The End of Men’ and ‘Wolkenkrabber vol Verschrikkingen’.

Learning points for today: The Empire does strike back; ICT can be fun (I always knew this but am just saying); Hett village is named after a hat; fish goujons and salad is a healthy alternative (according to Steve and he should know) and; I could do with a holiday.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – a bit demob happy.

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