Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer slowdown... not!

For almost a week we were chasing round trying to record extra video inserts and printing leaflets on our laser printer and getting other leaflets printed by the local printer. Why? Lots of the people are leaving for some weeks for the summer.

First to go was Sue and Tim. Tim is starting another university course and Sue went with him to help settle him in. Then two days later Peter and his family left for 6 weeks... then the following day Paula and her family left for 8 weeks. Then... summer started... the following day I am told it hit 40C... and guests arrived from Egypt for 10 days.

So I am left 'holding the baby' for 3 weeks. And today one of our main servers crashed. It appears one of the fans may be faulty so I will have to replace it before too long. Peter had been doing more of the technical stuff recently which had relieved me from that chore. But he has been finding it very much too much of a chore and so we want to find a 'interesting' task for him when he gets back in August. After that is he runs a beginners System Administration for Linux servers course, starting the day after he returns!

Today a colleague flies in from another country and we will be discussing the stories he is writing [50 short stories] which will eventually become a series of 10-12 short video programmes. He will also be proof checking a new version of the Gospel we are publishing. It's not enough for it to be readable, even all the diacritics have to be correct for Arabic. He'll also be helping lay it out for internet and PDF files.

Alongside doing some graphic design for that project and supervising it, I am trying to get a new audio and video chat system going for one of our websites. I haven't done anything on this yet and it needs to be running asap... and certainly before I go to the UK for a couple of weeks in mid July.

Alongside that I am trying to get things ready for a new programmer who will be joining us in August. He is coming on the System Administration course that Peter is running then I will have him for a week to brief him on a major website he will be programming for us.

Alongside that I need to chase up a grant application for funding from the USA... which seems to have gone very quiet.

Alongside that I need to evaluate and plan to meet people in Wolverhampton about a new database system we are considering.

And of course with Sue away I am looking after the house, cats, guests...

Our biggest need right now is for more people. I keep getting encouraged to spend more time doing people related things. And I would like to, but there are tasks that cannot be ignored so I cannot spend the time I would like on people related things.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Live video link

Last Sunday I did a live video link from our offices back to the UK. I set up the camera and put on the autocue at the front so that it could carry the output of the camera so I would know how well framed it was as there was no cameraman - basically move myself to fit into the frame rather than the camera!

We used Skype in one direction and then a mobile phone link [into an earpiece] for me to hear the questions. It worked well. It was slightly difficult talking at times as in the UK it was being put on a large projector for many people to hear and my voice put through the PA system. This meant I heard my voice coming back all reverberant a second or so later. It was quite difficult thinking and talking in that case... well maybe its just because I am normally behind the camera rather than in front of it.

This week we have been thinking about TV as we are planning a series of short video programmes to shoot early next year. The plan is to write stories and get feedback from them, choose te best and record them as radio dramas and get feedback from them and then from those choose the best and film them as short video dramas.

We also had one of the web developers over here for about a month. This was his final day here and he returned to Egypt today. He has done a huge amount of work on our big web project and I am very pleased with the way it is going.

This weekend is cataclismos - the weekend when the Orthodox church remember Noah's flood. This means that Monday is a day off and that is the annual regatta of the sailing club. Frankly I am very pleased to have a day off and go sailing, the last month has been somewhat tiring.