5 reasons #ukhousing should adopt Google+

I’m starting to like G+ more and more. Brett makes a good case for it here.

Brett Sadler

ImageFollowing my last post titled ‘Google+ and #ukhousing – is 2014 the year?’ I’ve continued to have lots of conversations with people about the ups and downs of using Google+. I’ve also continued using G+ to interact with other people and learn as much as possible about the platform.

Since my last post, I’ve had some further thoughts on Google+ and I’ve identified 5 reasons why I think #ukhousing should adopt Google+:

1. G+ will become more common place. We’ve all seen that Facebook numbers have started to reduce, but this trend was forecast some years ago. Well here’s another trend that’s been forecast, G+ membership is growing fast and will continue to do so. Whether you agree with Google’s continued plan to embed the platform in other Google products, it’s a fact that this will only increase G+ membership.

2. G+ Circles and Communities. I had…

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If I were to have a New Year’s Resolution…writing more blog posts would be it.

I think it’s about time I started to blog more again. This site has been woefully neglected over the last year or so so I’m going to commit to writing more of my thoughts down on here. Previously, this blog was called STEP (Society, Technology, Education and Politics). At the time, I was working in the education sector but now I’m in housing so I’ve got to come up with some sort of name change I guess. Not quite sure STHP works so well. Answers on a postcard (comments feed!) for a new name for the blog.

Like taking horse tranquillisers

A random title for a blog post I grant you but all will become clear. I’ve spent the last few months since completing my final year of Uni looking for a tablet. Frankly, at the time I didn’t know if I really needed one of not but being a “poor student” for so long and after completing an arduous three years I felt I deserved a treat! I already had a Samsung Galaxy SII running ICS which I loved, although it was a little too small a screen to browse the web and read articles on it for long periods of time. I’d also kept my laptop from my old job which was running Windows 7 – after formatting and reinstalling it was working well. However, for quick browsing when sat on the sofa it still wasn’t all that great waiting for it to boot up and not very sociable when perched in front of it. I needed that thing between the rock and the hard place…

So the question was, which tablet should I buy? I try and catch the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast on the walk to work which over recent months has charted the gradual demise of BlackBerry, so that put the PlayBook out the way. The Motorola Xoom was suggested by someone at work as a suitable device for web browsing (which was all I really wanted it for to be honest). However, just the mention of Motorola took me back to dodgy pay-and-go phones at school and, not knowing any recent successes that Motorola had device-wise, I was troubled with the possible reliability of the hardware. That left an assortment of tablets from the likes of Asus, most of which were running different flavours of Android and the hard-hitters from Samsung such as the Galaxy Tab. There was also the possibility of an iPad but I wasn’t going to get locked into a format like that, I’d made that mistake with the iPhone 3G.

I didn’t get much chance to play with many of the Asus offerings – the one or two I’d spied in our local branch of PC World were drained of all their juice. A shop assistant informed me that some of the local “cherubs” had a habit of stealing the power cables. Fortunately they had a good selection of the Samsungs to play with. However, it was the new Google Nexus 7 sporting the new Jelly Bean OS that caught my eye and after a few minutes of playing with it I fell in love with it. It was like the bigger, admirable brother of the Samsung Galaxy SII but without the extra tat and overlays…but it was simply too small at only 7 inches. A real shame. So that left the Samsungs…but they were sluggish. Had there been a Google Nexus 10 I would have probably snapped it up there and then. I even looked at the iPad but simply didn’t appreciate this new “Retina” screen Apple and co keep banging on about. It felt like an oversized iPhone – how could they justify the cost?!

Usually I’m pretty decisive when it comes to tech; reading the reviews, making an informed judgement, playing with my gadget of desire then finding the cheapest price for it online. However, this time I was paralysed with choice. Nothing really jumped out at me. It reminded me of this TED video I watched a while back. Even a play with the Head of IT’s Galaxy Tab, with its attractive keyboard dock and USB mouse input didn’t make the situation any clearer – thanks anyway though Mike!

So, what did I do in the end?

I bought the new iPad.

Even now I don’t know what compelled me to do so, maybe I was sick of messing around so followed my head rather than my heart; recalling the many positive reviews and personal endorsements, and hoping for the best. I felt dirty and wrong approaching the counter in Tesco, buying back into a brand I’d vowed never to do again. Not only was I buying an iPad, I was also buying it in Tesco, the corporation sucking the life out of our high streets. Even on the way home I was thinking about turning round and returning it for an immediate refund and preparing for a stern telling off from my IT colleagues back at work the next day. I skulked back home, where my other half was most excited that I’d arrived with a new box with an Apple on it. She even had to open it for me as I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

After just 15 minutes of playing with it, all of the rave reviews that I’d seen of it made sense. All of the people I’d spoken to about it who vouched for how good it was, I finally believed. Obviously it’s early days but it just does what I need it to do and makes it all very enjoyable too. The retina screen really does make browsing and reading articles a crisp experience, bringing even the most dull sites to life. I get it now, I really do. Sorry IT chums, I’ve turned to the dark side again. ..but it feels soooo good.

Internet Explorer 8, Temporary Internet Files and Roaming Profiles don’t mix!

Think I’ve finally solved a problem that’s been bugging me for months. Was experiencing an issue whereby roaming users were finding that IE kept freezing or locking up a few seconds into loading. It was definitely user-based as I could log on with a different (local profiled) user and not experience any problems.

Turns out there’s an issue which I wasn’t aware of with roaming profiles and IE temp files. This would explain why deleting the user profile and data would temporarilly fix the problem until the temp internet files file grew again.

It’s a really simple fix: in Tools -> Internet Options, go to Advanced tab, scroll to Security and tick “Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed”. I’m hoping this will also fix a long log-off time too where I’m guessing it was having problems syncing the temp internet files.

More info here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/185255

Keeping my fingers crossed. Just need to find out how to deploy this setting via group policy now.

SharePoint Woes

Been tinkering around with a new SharePoint installation today on a single machine using Virtual PC.

Came across two very useful guides which refreshed my memory:

First one is more of a how-to guide on single virtual machine installs:


Second solved an annoying 401 error after setting it all up involving a loopback issue that needs disabling in the registry:


Hope you find them as useful as I did. If nothing else, this post will jog my memory for next time..

A path to publishing

I’ve created a couple of new pages on this site which will host a show-reel from video productions I’ve produced, filmed and edited over the years. I’ve already put a couple of videos on there now of the two Lindsey Lodge Hospice Sleepwalk charity events that I’ve covered in recent years.

Secondly, I’ve added a page for Research and Publications which will host essays and research from my bachelors degree course and anything else academic that I may be lucky enough to be involved with in future. The aim is to get something published in a journal in future, not to bore you to death with poor quality essays but I’ve got to start somewhere! Who knows, you might find some of it insightful or even useful. If you do find my work useful then please credit me in your citation.

Decision Made

Well, after a lot of thought I’ve finally decided to “bite the bullet” and set up my own blog. Over time I’ll be publishing essays, research, interesting articles I come across on the internet and anything else I think people may wish to read about. I won’t be offended if you don’t like something. That’s down to you.

Basically, if you’re interested in society, education, politics or technology then hopefully you’ll find what I put on here of some use to you.