Mon 10 – Sun 16 July 2017
Tech for Good
The future is video
Probably the big thing of last week was the pilot workshop we ran for some of our International projects on how to make and use video better. There is a similar workshop for UK projects on Mon. We are doing this because it is vital that our projects use the potential for communication that video offers. Indeed video is heading towards being the premium media on the internet. Note the infographic at the end of this blog. Though it was interesting to talk to a participant from Africa who pointed out how the high cost of data there mitigated against this.
I wasn’t officially part of the workshop but sat in on it as part of my TfG brief. It was very good. Our own professional staff who make and edit videos as part of their job led the training. I learnt so much including small practicalities like don’t film in front of a window and manually zoom in and out on an object. But the key thing I learnt, and I think the common learning of the project participants, was just to go out and film then upload it. It’s all about confidence and as long as you do some prep and planning then you are very unlikely to make a bad video. Plus if it’s crap then you just re-do it.
The actual awards ceremony took place on Tues afternoon to name the winners. Brilliant that two projects we have funded won awards: Bristol Braille and Nerve Centre – Fab Farm. The former is one of the current Tech for Good grant-holders. The latter is based in Derry and uses aquaponics to support and help young people with learning disabilities. The winner of our Africa award was praekelt.org with their brilliant MomConnnect scheme. As somebody described it in the office, NCT by text. True but also linking up over a million pregnant women and tying in with a health service that is not similar to what we have in the developed world. It was great to meet some of the other projects shortlisted for our award including Integrity Action, Green Shoots, and Haima Health.
— Praekelt.org (@praekeltorg) July 11, 2017
Also good to note the special award to Maggie Philbin for her work around TeenTech but who I remember from my childhood doing Multi-Coloured Swap Shop. The popular vote winner was ‘C The Signs’ (an app to help doctors detect cancer early), and winner of winner’s was Sky Badger – a virtual charity helping families with disabled and special needs children. There was a very moving address by their founder.
Other TfG stuff
- Two assessments done on applications for funding from our UK Tech and HIV programme, both good.
- A catch up with Cassie Robinson of Doteveryone who is working with Snook to evaluate our current Tech for Good programme
- A couple of speculative calls. People regularly contact me to talk about what they are doing and if we can link in. Often it’s about money which I can’t just give out willy-nilly. However, I like making these type of contacts as you never know where they might lead and how else are you going to make new links in your network?
- Ongoing promotion and planning for our open event on Mon 24 July where our latest Tech for Good projects will present what they have achieved followed by a reception. Feel free to sign up and spread the word!
— Billy Dann (@BillyDann1) July 8, 2017
It was incredibly hot in my hotel room on Sun night – temperature, nothing else. So up and out early. After breakfast it was along to see my old friend Bob in his home. He didn’t look as well as I had seen him. He seemed to have a bad cough. Apparently he has had a cold. Still it was a lovely day so off to the local cafe to sit outside and watch the world go by. Then a quick trip round the supermarket. He’s got hearing aids in but I’m not sure they are that useful. Onto the bus and up to Kemptown to meet up with Brian. He looked well though the health of his beloved dog is not good. Our food took ages to arrive, they forgot our order. But we simply used the time to chat. Back on the train which was one of the ones not cancelled by the industrial action that day.
Health and Efficiency
The last night of my intro class on Thurs night. Our lowest turnout (why?) but a good one with some very taxing positions. I must now do some regular classes, once a week would be great though it’s not going to be cheap. However it is probably comparable to the cost of going swimming and I prefer yoga.
My cold has gradually been getting better though people keep noting and mentioning it. I did not let it stop me taking exercise but I only got to the gym once last week due to being at work (3 days done instead of 2.5), being in Brighton ,and having to go to the INR clinic on Fri morning (3.3 so outside range and back again next Fri – sigh). Sun morning was my only time at the gym last week. Good weights work-out as part of the recovery from jog-run the day before.
In line with my new found inspiration on the power of video, I did a video report on Saturday’s jog-run which can be found on the new video page of my site here. I also bought new running trainers and attached is a picture of those bad boys. Didn’t buy at my usual shop as there was a 30 min wait to be served (!). Instead went to another shop and was very satisfied with the service including the assistant explaining the width sizings and them taking my old trainers for recycling.
Personal Development – Art and Culture
Languages and emails
Managed to get some Duolingo done most days but not every day and the usual story on coding practice. I also had my usual focus on trying to keep on top of my emails. Indeed the weekend was a time I paid particular attention to them, getting down to 84 work emails (all read, not all actioned) and under 100 unread in the inbox of my personal account. An achievement though zero in both remains the target.
Books and Reading
No books completed but two on the go. A paperback by James Herbert as well as another much longer novel on kindle by Stephen King. Two geniuses of the modern horror genre.
Dr Who audio adventures
‘Spaceport Fear’ (sixth Doctor Colin Baker)
Only one fully listened to last week. The Doctor and Mel are trapped on a spaceship. Familiar story-line but very relevant to man’s travels in space in the future if they happen as we think they will. Trapped in a metal capsule surrounded by treacherous nothingness. So very fragile. Like a single atom in our everyday life. The story itself was very reminiscent of the 80s TV show including references to the wedding of Andy and Fergie as well as Zola Budd. Story itself was OK – rival humans who have degenerated into two tribes as well as a duplicitous leader and misunderstood aliens wanting revenge. But much more enjoyable as the memories it brought back of the TV show.
And just to say I am delighted with Jodie Whittaker as the new female Doctor.
So the week ahead is busy as per normal:
- Just working 2 days to make up for the 3 worked last week
- 2 or 3 gym sessions planned plus a jog-run. It would also be nice to fit in a yoga session.
- Check in with my HIV consultant on Wed about my new meds. They seem OK bar affecting my INR/warfarin dosage. Also need to do fasting blood tests on the same day to check if my cholesterol levels have gone down.
- Team away day on Thurs, and a catch up with Shift about the research they are doing on milestones for TfG projects on Tues
- Coffee catch-ups with Penny from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Harriet from Lloyds Bank Foundation plus lunch with my team colleague Dilhani
- Several more speculative phone call catch-ups, who knows where they might lead…
- I will get through at least one of the books I am currently reading and a couple more Dr Who audio adventures
- Still committed to trying to achieve Duolingo every day and some coding practice
- Get INR checked and hopefully back in range
- Theatre visit next Sat to see ‘Yank’ – a new musical about gay American soldiers during WWII
Have a nice week everyone, and be nice to each other!