Visiting the UK, Part III – Scotland

We finally arrived in Scotland. First things first, we either got very lucky, or the weather is a lot better than the reputation would make you think it is! Starting with the Lowlands, we found our ways on the West Highlands, then heading east and finally back down to the Borders region. And once again, for those who think about web services, universal Internet access through WiFi is not yet a reality in Scotland (and it’s the same as the rest of the UK we visited)… many regions don’t even have cell phone coverage!
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Visiting the UK, Part II – Heading North

We’ve travelled almost 1000 miles through the UK since the last posting in my blog… What a beautiful country this is. As we don’t really have a pre-defined travel itinary, I won’t say we got lost many time or took many detours, but we did (this blog entry was written a few days before posting, but finding an Internet connection in the middle of the countryside in the UK while not really actively looking for it is not as easy as in London)
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Visiting the UK, Part I – Heading South West

OK, here we go: Just left Maidenhead, Berkshire to go for a two week holiday tour of the UK (Marielle and I will stay on the same island, e.g. no Ireland this time around). After over three years living in this beautiful country, it is time to go and to see more than London and the Reading area. So far, we’ve headed south and west and are now in Cornwall.
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“Blue ocean strategy” by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Interesting how red has a negative connotation and blue has a positive one. Mr. Kim and Mauborgne, in their book “Blue Ocean Strategy” compare the bloody red ocean strategies (doing more of the same) vs. re-defining the name and rules of the game in a nice blue ocean (without the bad weather). This book provides great ideas about thinking about the customer first, making the competition irrelevant in the process.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Why do many companies compare their products with what the competition is doing and fight a features war while needing to be very careful on costs? Why not look at what the customer needs and wants to focus on that instead? In a step-by-step approach, “Blue Ocean Strategy” provides a way of defining a strategy that will make the competition irrelevant and minimize costs at the same time. A well-worth read!

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Slow progress with the update of my web site…

It is taking a lot longer than what I initially expected, but I finally had the chance to make a big first step toward the redesign of my web site. As you can see, the look of my blog has somewhat changed compared to the previous slightly tweaked standard template.

A little background about the new look. It was created using CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X3 on my Macbook Pro… yes, that’s right, CDGS on Mac OS. I wanted to put Parallels to the test and wanted to use my favorite graphics suite to create the web page layout (with CorelDRAW X3) and the slicing on the images (with Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3). The CSS was then hand-written using Textmate which replaced HomeSite as my web-editor of choice since I moved to the Mac.
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“The Apple Way” by Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

Analysing and learning from Apple, their successes, their failures and their mistakes is what Jeffrey’s book tries to achieve. In “The Apple Way”, Mr. Cruikshank goes through twelve different aspects of this company and the related management approaches to provide insightful facts and ideas on how to run high with almost no market share and build a cult around your brand.

The Apple way

One of the top High-Tech companies of this new millenium, Apple brought the Mac and the iPod, as well as the Newton and the Lisa. This book provides interesting summarizes of the good, the bad and the ugly related to the management and strategy behind the company and the products.
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My weblog has moved (again)

Yes, I know, I need to stop that… that’s why there is a simple redirect. My Weblog is now in its final position (until the next move). The full link to my weblog is gerard.metrailler.net/weblog/gerardm/, but you can also get there by going to metrailler.net/blog. For those who have RSS feeds, here are the new links for the atom feed, the RSS2 feed and the RSS feed. I can no longer guarantee that the old links will be available for much longer, so please update your aggregator links :)

Crackberry, here I am

I finally gave up the fight and got a BlackBerry. After using it for a few week, I have this love and hate relation with it. But at the end of the day, I am, for the time being at least, able to keep up with my inbox, especially when travelling, without needing to spend my night connected.

Yes, I am now one of the millions of users who happily type on this tiny keyboard – I have the 7100 model – any time I have to wait somewhere. Really adictive this little device. It is definitely not as good as a Palm OS device for an all purpose PDA, but as a mobile email client, it rocks. And the integration with the corporate email really works great, including global address book lookup and folder support (see my blog entry about the Palm TX) as well as syncing of calendar, tasks and notes.
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Boot Camp or virtualisation, why choose?

There has been a lot of noise on the net about Apple’s latest beta software called Boot Camp. The next day, another company announced Parallels for Mac OS X (intel processor required), a virtualization software. Listening to this weeks TWIT podcast, I started wondering why it needs to be one or the other?

Latest new from Apple: Macs do Windows! Well, at least with a little beta software Apple released publicly that enables to dual-boot between Mac OS X 10.4 and Microsoft Windows XP and that is completely unsupported. I haven’t received my MacBook Pro (yet) so I wasn’t able to try it out, but this is just the beginning… and here is a potential future I would welcome.
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“Creative Business Presentations” by Eleri Sampson

Doing presentations is an important aspect of my job, and I have to say, I really enjoy it. I am always looking at ways to improve myself and am ready many documents and books on the subjet. “Creative Business Presentations” by Eleri Sampson was a great read with many interesting ideas and insights.

Creative Business Presentations

While reading the Presentation Zen Blog there was a reference to the Creative Business Presentation book. After reading it through, I really like the step-by-step approach of this, with many ideas and comments that are worth putting in practice.
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Apple rumors craziness: the “airport front row” not yet tm

Last week’s Apple announcement, and especially the rumors craziness leading to that event, got me thinking. How to react when you are a company in the spotlight where your fans dream of wild things and post information about what your next product will be, setting expectations that are getting harder and harder to meet. By the way, did you know that Apple is about to release the Airport FrontRow, after the Airport, the Airport Extreme and the Airport Express.

And to get the Apple legal suite off my back in case I actually got this one right, this is pure speculations based on what Apple is currently doing, who their target users, mixed with a few readings on the rumor site, discussions with friends who don’t know more than I do, added with a few of my own ideas. Sounds like fun… enjoy!
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My “Best” travel experience (so far)

Well, if it has to happen, it has to happen all at once. I am certain Murphy’s law is very much applicable to my recent travel experience. But on the bright side, my luggage always showed-up.

As the law says: “if it can happen, it will happen”. I must have been pushing my luck for way to long as I rarely have major problems while travelling, except a few luggage delivery delays (never lost), which I avoid by having only carry-on most of the time. But now, travelling seems to catch up with a vengeance. My trip from London (UK) to Boston (USA) via Montreal (Canada) at the end of February 2006 has been an interesting experience that I would rather not repeat in the near future, to say the least.
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