Every why has a wherefore…

Saturday night found us on the shores of Lake Windermere in the Lake District, enjoying a picnic by moonlight at Storrs Hall.

It was fantastic. I’m not a big fan of the theatre, and had to be persuaded that I was going to enjoy myself – ‘you WILL enjoy this Eli’ – but this was great. The Globe Theatre put on Comedy of Errors, and we sat on the lawn of the hotel,  on deck chairs, quaffing champagne, watching the chaos unfold. And it didn’t rain!

http://www.skyarts.co.uk/video/video-sky-arts-at-shakespeares-globe-on-tour/

It was really good to be away for the weekend. This year is staycation time at Casa Lederwerg, which sounds good in principal, but has been hopeless in practice, as the great British public attempts to holiday in the great British weather.

Back to Monday morning now and work mode – the last trip to Indonesia is paying dividends, three more orders are in the pipeline – USSD solutions are really taking off there, and we have been inundated with requests for quotes.

Mobiles are currently being shipped to Africa, and I have several new clients in East and Central Africa interested in our products, so a trip over there will be on the cards very soon.

Indonesia

I’m in Indonesia, celebrating – clinching a deal with a client here re social networking software… At least, I’d like to be celebrating, but of course it’s Ramadan, so we’re raising a glass of diet Coke to the future of PMB in Jakarta. Exciting stuff. I feel like I’ve just given birth, having nursed this deal for the past several months. In fact, I’m hoping it’s a multiple birth, there’s definitely something else in the pipeline…

Indonesia is such a vibrant country, the opportunities here are endless, I  just wish they could sort the traffic problems out. Maybe it’s something you just get used to…

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan’s surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to transfer sovereignty in 1949. Indonesia’s first free parliamentary election after decades of repressive rule took place in 1999. Indonesia is now the world’s third-largest democracy, the world’s largest archipelagic state, and home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Current issues include: alleviating poverty, improving education, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing economic and financial reforms, stemming corruption, holding the military and police accountable for past human rights violations, addressing climate change, and controlling avian influenza. In 2005, Indonesia reached a historic peace agreement with armed separatists in Aceh, which led to democratic elections in Aceh in December 2006. Indonesia continues to face low intensity armed resistance by the separatist Free Papua Movement.

RV or not RV

We’re back from our Winnebago Adventure! It was great – camping for wimps. That’s me.

Hot and cold water, a proper bed and Sky TV. What more could you ask for? The site we chose was fab – just a five minute walk from St Andrews. In fact it was a golf course – St Michael’s – the M&S of camping? Sorry about that, but they were very organised and good value for money with a marquee set up for hot breakfasts and bbqs, and lots of Dutch, we love caravans and tents do the Dutch.

We played lots of golf with very friendly Scottish folk, and spent Sunday at the Open, which although not a thrilling finish, was a wonderful spectacle… would certainly recommend it!

Hello to all our friends in Mozambique, the latest customers to take advantage of our most popular handsets. We’ve also got more than a few hot leads in South America, especially with regard to some new Android handsets we have available.

And it won’t be long before we can offer our own version of the iPad:

The Indian government has unveiled the prototype of an iPad-like touch-screen laptop, with a price tag of $35 (£23), which it hopes to roll out next year. Aimed at students, the tablet supports web browsing, video conferencing and word processing, say developers. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said a manufacturer was being sought for the gadget, which was developed by India’s top IT colleges.

Catching my breath

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks to be honest. Moving house was a nightmare. We seemed to be thoroughly organised, but it still seemed like chaos! We sent half a tonne of rubbish to the tip and another half a tonne to the local charity shops, and we still have several tonnes surplus to requirement. It does seem to be true that the bigger the space you have the more you fill it.

Minimalist is the new mantra.

Actually I thought ‘Winning Ugly’ was my new mantra.

Because there has been the small matter of a little football competition taking place over the last few weeks which I may have cast my eye over once or twice in between packing boxes… By the way I hear Oxo are making a new product. The packaging is white with a red cross and they’re calling it the laughing stock. England were awful, ‘Losing Ugly’ seemed to be their strap line.

Good job the Oranje were there to save the day for the beautiful game. Well, until the final that was. When it all went very pear shaped. I have to agree with Johan Cruyff who called it ‘anti-football’…

“This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style… If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they lost.”

Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Nine yellow cards, and they were lucky not to be playing with nine men!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2010/8812484.stm

Apparently a trait that the Dutch are well known for is their cleanliness. Mmm, not in this case!

Business continues to improve. Orders for sim cards are strong. And we have just road-tested some fab low-cost handsets that have been very well received. If you would like to have a look, I’d strongly recommend getting in touch, they are selling like hot cakes.

I’m off to The Open today with my son. So I’ll blog from St Andrews, I’m taking my clubs and lots of waterproofs, I didn’t qualify this year, but you just never know!!

The Yiddish for finger is ‘toe’.

‘I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.’

En route back from Jakarta I stopped over in Dubai. That place is incredible. Like something from Metropolis. It changes so rapidly, I can’t believe the difference in just over 12 months. It is SciFi with a pulse.

Anyway, I was able to catch up with an old friend I used to play hockey with. I haven’t seen Henny for over 30 years – hadn’t changed a bit. Which obviously isn’t true. Because that would be weird. And I’m 3 stone heavier!

Off to chase up an order for our latest low-cost phone now, we’ve had loads of interest in these, so lots of samples flying out to Africa and Indonesia. Not sure about the bike charger though. Think I might need a bit more padding on my bike seat.

A friend is cycling from John O’ Groats to Land’s End for charity. That’s 874 miles and far too much chafing to think about. Rather him than me.

On Yer Bike

Phew, I’m knackered. Just been on my bike round the block.

All in the name of PMB, the things I do. It’s all about the newest low-cost hand sets. Powered by bike!

‘The charger can be fitted into any phone with a 2 mm charger jack, uses a dynamo to generate electricity from the movement of the wheels, bicycles are the most widespread means of transport in many markets around the world, so this is just one more benefit to be gained from an activity people are already doing, to begin charging, a cyclist needs to travel around six kilometres per hour (four miles per hour), and while charging times will vary depending on battery model, a 10 minute journey at 10 kmh produces around 28 minutes of talk time or 37 hours of standby time.

The faster you ride, the more battery life you generate.’

It was interesting whilst I was in Jakarta to note the lack of Apple gadgetry at all the meetings I attended. The dish of the day was most certainly the Blackberry. Which is great, because we have the most amazing range of qwerty keyboard handsets , which are flying out at the moment. (website has more details http://www.pmbgroupltd.com/pmbproductshands.html)

Ten reasons not to buy an iPhone – as seen in The Telegraph yesterday:

1) It’s expensive: Buy the top-of-the-range Blackberry or Android handset and you will still pay a lot less than the extortionate prices Apple charge. If the iPhone weren’t made by Apple, networks would have had to start giving it away on £30 a month tariffs years ago.

2) It’s anti-technology: When the iPhone launched it was cutting edge – now as other manufacturers announce, for instance, that you can use their phones as shareable wifi hot spots, Apple says no. Not because of some spurious “user experience” argument, but because of economics. When will they learn that it’s customers – supply and demand – that should dictate feature availability?

3) No Flash: The iPhone, the phone that promised to put the web into everybody’s pockets, can’t even show you most of it, because it can’t handle Flash graphics. Google Android can, in the latest version (OS 2.2), and it’s going to be available free on a lot of budget tariffs.

4) No multitasking: Tried instant messaging on an iPhone? Oh yes, you have to open the app to see if you’ve got a message. Genius. If Apple announces multitasking next it will be an improvement – but there’ll be no apology for the way it’s treated customers in the past, and no guarantee it won’t behave similarly shoddily in the future.

5) Its battery life is terrible: This isn’t a problem unique to Apple, but look at phones by companies such as HTC – multitasking, better cameras, better screens, all draining their batteries far more – and yet the iPhone, with its undemanding technology, still only offers equal performance.

6) Developing apps for it is costing you money: The special version of the BBC iPlayer, of Natwest Phone Banking, of Eon’s meter reader – developing all of these came out of money that could have been channelled away from a self-important minority and towards more generally useful ideas.

7) It comes with offensively bad headphones: Sit next to somebody using the original iPhone or iPod headphones and you can hear everything they can. It’s another example of Apple charging premium prices, but delivering a dressed up, budget product.

8) It’s not very well designed: Use the iPhone as a phone and it’s not got great reception, nor is it particularly comfortable to use for long periods. It’s a computer that happens to have a phone bolted on – jack of two trades, but master of neither.

9) It charges for satnav: In an age when Nokia and Google Android provide completely free mapping and satnav facilities, the cheapest way you can turn your overpriced iPhone into a satnav is with a £19.99 app. Bargain.

10) Those iPod docks are holding back better technologies: As every hotel increasingly thinks it should provide iPod docks, the momentum behind this technology is only growing. But if it wasn’t for the iPod and iPhone’s ubiquity, there’d be more wifi radios, more new technologies and a range of different options, competing and driving innovation.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

It’s all been rather busy at HQ. What with moving house and several international business trips – it’s all go!

I recently returned from Jakarta, Indonesia, where there was a lot of interest in our Social Networks Solution software,  the take up for this will be fantastic, so anticipate a return trip in the next few days to cross some ‘t’s etc… I’ll probably call in on a new client in Cambodia, and the CommunicAsia Fair in Singapore. Seems the pull to the Far East has overtaken you guys in Africa. Just when there was a little football tournament going on there as well! COME ON THE DUTCH!

Anyway, can you believe it? It’s our birthday. We are one year old this week. Feels like ten years. Our feet haven’t touched the ground, and hand on heart we couldn’t have asked for a better start.

Business has snowballed, far exceeding our expectations, especially in the current financial squeeze. So a big thank you to all our customers out there. As my friends in the Redskins might say – Keep on keeping on. Maybe we should have a party to celebrate?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbhEsiGurEQ

Signing off here, have a tender to check for tomorrow. No peace for the wicked….

Fate is not an eagle it creeps like a rat…

We’re moving house. Nightmare. My job was to clear out the garage. Mainly because the garage has been home to some not so cuddly, small, furry creatures. I swaggered bravely to the back of the garage and used a broom handle to gingerly poke a pile of blankets.

The little rastards have eaten their way through half a yoga mat, a garden umbrella and my treasured golf bag which was decorated with badges from all the clubs in Africa I had played at. Gutted, but relieved that the rotten rodents seem to have flown the nest. But that means they are somewhere else.. Where?!

Indonesia beckons. I leave on Monday for a week of meetings and talks re a possible new scratch card contract and the phone software, is gathering momentum.

Interesting facts you might not know about Indonesia:

Indonesia is the fourth largest country of the world, in terms of population.

Indonesia is counted amongst the largest producers of nutmeg in the world.

The national motto of Indonesia is ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago the world, comprising of five main islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya.

Indonesia boasts of thousands of islands, out of which around six thousand are inhabited.

Indonesia is home to some of the rarest creatures in the world, including miniature deer, fish that climb trees to catch insects and spiders that catch and devour small birds in giant webs.

I think given the choice, I prefer the mat eating rat!

Do I not like that…!

These are the words of Graham Taylor following England’s defeat to Holland in the World Cup. ‘Do I not like that.’

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1385396

Excellent. I prefer this though:

It was a very simple team talk. All I used to say was: ‘Whenever possible give the ball to George Best’. Sir Matt Busby’s famous words.

Still on the footy theme, have you seen this clip from a recent Chesterfield game? Keep watching after the goal….!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AGcW0C3cHs

Anyway enough already. It’s only a game!

Back to business and things have been really busy on the work front. This week I attended some training re social streaming and Mobile Networking Solutions for http://www.myriadgroup.com   We’ll be pushing this product to our client base in Africa & Asia.

We’re also interested in some new  USSD products for the low cost markets – great innovations happening here. Talking about innovations – have you seen the new product page on our WEB SITE? Great stuff  available, complete mobile phone software solutions apart from our old favourites which are proving very popular.

I’m just preparing for  a trip to Indonesia, with clients there interested in our new mobile phone software solutions. Will there be time for a sneaky round of golf? I doubt it, it’s a pretty full itinerary and we’re busy at home with orders for sim and scratch cards. Not that I’m complaining! And the way I’m playing? Well, a monkey could do better.


Latin has no word for grey

Have you ever played look-a-likey? If you have a life, then probably not.

We don’t have a life so look-a-likey is always on our agenda. It’s the sort of game you play in a restaurant when you’ve run out of interesting things to say. So once we’ve chewed over the weather, the price of Cloudy Bay, and the waiter’s BO we play look-a-likey.

Find a fellow diner or train passenger or supermarket shopper and match them to their celebrity doppelganger.

Weirdly, the last two occasions we have played this game the look-a-likes turned out to be the actual celebrity.

At Haydock Park a few weeks ago the diminutive little chap in the parade ring wasn’t one of the jockeys, but Michael Owen. I had no idea that he was even interested in horses. But then, as I said, I don’t get out a lot. Her indoors new all about his equine pursuits of course, but then, she doesn’t miss much.

She didn’t miss much in Tolo’s either, a beach restaurant in Puerto Pollenca. I thought she was paying rather too much attention to the four cyclists parking their machines on the pavement, maybe it was all that lycra? Actually it was look-a-likey Sir Chris Hoy, only it was actually Sir Chris Hoy. Lunch with a Lord of the Realm, and winner of 3 Olympic Golds. He didn’t pick up the tab though.