Personal

Coffee: A Journey

I never used to drink coffee.

Early in my career, fresh-faced and beardless as I was, while spending my days coding business software and my free time tinkering with 3D graphics, I burned the candle at all 3 ends in a fashion that was far from healthy. The lack of sleep often took a bit of a toll on the old (or at that point, young) synapses, so at first I started drinking coffee purely for the caffeine.

Over the intervening years I’ve grown greyer and more cranky, but in the coffee department I’ve at least become more sophisticated, or so I’d like to think. It occurred to me that maybe others might find this journey interesting, and have written it up below in a long and frankly rather self-indulgent fashion.

So, if you’re a fellow aficionado of the magic bean (or cherry, if we’re being pedantic), or maybe you’re thinking of taking your coffee a little more seriously, perhaps you’ll find this interesting or entertaining, or maybe you’ll just have a bit of a laugh at my expense. It’s a long one, so if you make it to the end, you’re entitled to respond to it however you like, including telling me it was a load of old bollocks.

If you’re sitting comfortably, let’s begin.

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Appreciating Quiet

Hey everyone, hope you had a good Christmas and New Year break. You may have noticed I’ve been a little quieter of late, and there have been a number of reasons for that. I had to be a little more careful about what I talked about during the last quarter of 2015 because the company I work for went public (go TEAM!) - a new experience to tick off the list 😀 - and unintentionally that started a bit of a trend.

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Hands on with JT's fibre to the home

fibre Internet JT Local

I’ve been banging on for a while about why I think the only future for Guernsey’s internet infrastructure to homes and businesses is to embrace fibre broadband, and that technologies like VDSL and 4G are limited stop gaps at best. Fortunately, there is one telecoms company in Guernsey who agrees with me, and that’s JT (I’m sure Sure will come around eventually). JT have a fibre network to supply our government buildings and schools already, and are actively interested in trying to roll it out to homes and businesses who are near to this network, to free us from the horror of spotty, inconsistent copper-based broadband.

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Timing

Business History personal time

Warning: this post contains images of me over the years. I take no responsibility for the damage this may cause to your retina and/or mental state. Time’s a funny thing; it just keeps on passing. There it went just now. And again. And here I am, burning your actual time postulating about how time passes. And again, with that apology. Sorry. I should stop now. Another thing is that we have this impression that there’s a “right time” for things.

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[self.sourceTree exit];

Four and a half years ago, I decided to write a Mac tool for Git and Mercurial, which I’d eventually name SourceTree (aside: names are hard, and I was quite pleased with this one). I wasn’t happy with the Mac apps that were out there at the time and thought I could write something that fit my needs better, and by extension the needs of other developers who felt like I did.

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Why fibre, and why now?

This is part of a series of arguments I’m making for Guernsey to take the plunge and invest in all-island fibre broadband. I’m currently working with JT on their market test of small extensions to their existing fibre network to evaluate the viability of connecting some people to fibre with only private sector funds, but ultimately I’d like to see our government following examples elsewhere and investing in public/private fibre infrastructure across the whole island.

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Discussing fibre to the home with JT

Those of you who follow my blog know that I have a keen interest in the provision of high speed broadband in Guernsey, including to homes. If not, you can catch up with my reasoning in this post a year ago, and this one a few days ago. The main issue right now for home broadband in Guernsey is that Sure controls the main fixed line network, and they are currently committed to a strategy of VDSL (fibre to the cabinet, copper to the home), which can provide a pretty decent, if not particularly future proof, service except for the fact that the rollout of new cabinets has been slow enough that there are still quite a few gaps where line distances make VDSL impractical; including both of the addresses I’ve lived in 2014.

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Guernsey's digital strategy update: my view

Aside: I’ve decided in future to share my thoughts on local issues primarily through my blog rather than doing media interviews, for a number of reasons. I’m better at writing than I am at speaking, and I’m not as comfortable with the reactive, off-the-cuff and time-limited style that I’m forced to adopt when doing interviews. Sharing here on my blog I get to say what I want to say, at my own speed and in the way I intended, without someone else driving the direction of the discussion or editing my responses.

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I believe in the cumulative power of small steps

Business personal

I’m now sometimes referred to as an ‘entrepreneur’, and occasionally I spend a little of my time trying to figure out what that actually means. I realise that a lot of the time, how other people perceive it is quite different to how I see myself. Much of the talk around entrepreneurship is about blue-sky thinking, of aiming for the moon shot, of being the big-talking guy who is always selling his next grand vision of the future.

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Imagination is an asset

Remember when you were a kid and pretty much everything was a spaceship? A cardboard box, an egg carton, a bottle of washing up liquid. There were spaceships everywhere in those days, you couldn’t go from the kitchen to your bedroom without tripping over three of the blighters. And to think NASA were paying top dollar for theirs, when the damn things were just lying around. Then you grew up and the skill of being able to turn anything into a spaceship with a single thought suddenly lost a great deal of its currency as a marketable skill.

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