Today I made my way up to Sheffield to attend the UK Network Operators’ Forum‘s 13th meeting. UKNOF is something I’ve wanted to attend many times in the past as there has always seemed to be a very interesting set of presentations, but I could never convince my employer to let me do so as my job was never particularly networking-related.

Well, these days I am my employer, so very little convincing was necessary! Despite the presentations having a lack of immediate relevance to my day to day work I still found them on the whole to be of very high quality and of benefit in understanding the wider networking world in which I operate. Not only that but it gave me the opportunity to meet a number of BitFolk‘s customers in person.

The purse strings at BitFolk are necessarily tight at the moment though, so that meant just a day trip for me. I would dearly have loved to travel up on Wednesday night, stay 2 nights and come back tomorrow, but unfortunately finances dictated an eye-watering 4am wake up today for me in order to get the 6.37am train up to Sheffield from London St. Pancras and arrive in good time for the 9.30am start. Again I’d have loved to stay tonight and sink more than the two rushed beers I managed but here I am on the 19.27 back to London.

A London venue would have been easier for me, but that’s just being selfish. Sheffield appears to be a very modern, good looking city, and the people a friendly lot. More time here would have been good, and another visit very welcome.

Electric Works, the actual venue of the conference too was superb — such amazing acoustics in the conference room that I don’t think the microphones would even have been needed were it not for the recordings being made. Speaking of the recordings, it was refreshing to find a (free!) conference that takes logistics seriously. A decent quality wireless network, downloadable slides in advance of the talks, streamed and recorded video and jabber and IRC chat rooms were provided.

A fantastic effort by the UKNOF organisers, and Bogons and Portfast for the video streaming. Thanks to Yorkshire Forward for hosting and to Pingsta for the beers afterwards!


Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t get enough exercise. Over the last year or so I have lost a bit of weight due to having a better diet and being a little bit more active. Now that I’m working from home almost all the time I thought it would be a shame to reverse the trend and start putting it back on through leading an even more sedentary lifestyle. Something had to be done.

I don’t get on with exercise for the sake of it at all, so the idea of going to the gym just does not appeal. I decided that two things I could probably bear to do are cycling and swimming.

Since Jenny moved in it’s become pointless for her to keep up her gym membership in Holtspur, so last week we took a walk down to Feltham Airparcs Leisure Centre to see what it was like. From the outside it looks a bit drab, run down and 1960s so I wasn’t expecting much, but in fairness their pool looked quite good. Jenny wasn’t overly impressed with the look of the gym but she decided to give it a go anyway, and when she did get around to it this week she found it was better than it looked.

I also bought a basic bicycle from Halfords and this morning I cycled the 1.5 miles to Airparcs and went for the early bird swimming session, then cycled back. It’s the first time I’ve been swimming in something like 20 years, but once I’d got into the rhythm it was fine. Normally the early bird session is from 7am until 9am but in school holidays it finishes at 8.15am, so I only got just over an hour in. I liked how quiet it was this morning — no annoying kids at all even though it’s holidays — so I hope it’s like that every week. I think there were 9 people there including me at the busiest time.

It’s a small step but I’m really pleased that I seem to be able to get along with it, and if the pool stays quiet like it was today then I could see me going up there for an hour or two several times a week.

Inevitably I look a complete tit in my cycle helmet as well, but I can just about ignore the odd looks I get from all around me!

Dear Lazyweb, where’s my power beep gone in Ubuntu?

Update: Solved! Someone pointed me to the “beep” track of the volume control, which was hidden and muted.

Last month I upgraded my ThinkPad R61 to Ubuntu Jaunty. Recently I noticed that I no longer have the beep when taking it on or off of AC power. I don’t know if it has always been missing since it was installed, or if it went away some time after. The beep still happens at all times prior to the kernel loading, so I don’t think this is BIOS or hardware related. The power applet does know when I am on AC power (or not), and seems able to estimate battery life reasonably well.

Anyone had that before?