Archive for March, 2012

ZRMT – to Andy Loughran (

March 10th, 2012

As I’m opening up ZRMT to multiple authors, I shall be moving my personal things to .

Thank you.

Ubuntu – The Philosophy

March 10th, 2012

When I first came across Ubuntu, I fell in love with the philosophy.

I am who I am, because you are who you are.

Having studied Psychology, the ‘person in social psychology’ is an extremely complex issue. When you ask a person to define ‘who they are’ – they very often describe social relationships. “I’m a rugby player” describes a person, because we can then draw on the social norms associated with rugby players, drinking, fitness, fairness and camaraderie.

In our consumerist society, the western adoption of ubuntu would probably go along the lines of:

“I am who I am because I’m better than him”

In the race to the top, in constantly looking as individuals to better ourselves, the first thing that breaks is community. The social fabric of communities that helped build up the work ethic in the early development of the industrial revolution has been reversed, when now the paradigm is to try and better oneself in comparison to one’s peers.

The problem with this approach is that it breaks community. Instead of looking for shared prosperity, we are looking to break it. The recession of 2009 is evidence that such an approach is not sustainable, nor what people would actually want. I can assert with confidence that the majority of people would be uneasy to say all they want to do is be ‘better than their neighbours’.

The root of the problem then lies in the social system, which is manipulating our individual psychology for prosperity. We are told by adverts to want the next big thing, we need to get bigger houses, more TVs, the latest iPad.

The good news, for me, is that it is the system that is manipulating the individual, rather than an inherent belief in an individual to want to better their peers. The vast majority of people look to share their prosperity with their friends, family and future offspring. There are other factors involved with the status quo, but I will not go into them in this post.

So if we go back to the root, if we look carefully at how we behave. Think about the pound that you spend; the time you use up. It is possible to turn the system on it’s head. I’m lucky enough to have been involved in the ‘Open Source’ movement – this is moving away from software being regarded solely in terms of monetary value, and instead being given a social value. We exchange it for free, so that each of us may have a more prosperous resource from which to work.

Certainly, there are more challenges to be faced when using the same structures to share material goods, but these are not insurmountable. I’m sure anyone that’s worked in retail will be fully aware of the mark-up put on products. If buying through a third party supplier, it’s possible for the end distributor to make far more money on ‘mark-up’ that was earned by the manufacturer. I’d argue that the main reason for this is that the ‘buffer’ between the distributor and manufacturer is large enough for it not to have to play on the conscience of the distributor. If we move to a more local economy, then I’d suggest that these discrepancies in ‘value’ versus ‘price’ would be much narrower.

Etape Pennine

March 5th, 2012

On October 7th 2012, I shall be participating in the Etape Pennines cycle race up in County Durham, England.  If I were doing this by myself for a group of fit cyclist friends, it would be a challenge.  In order to make it even more exciting I’ll be doing it with my family.  This will include:

  • Chris Loughran – Dad
  • Jim Loughran – Uncle
  • John Loughran – Elder Brother
  • Simon Loughran – Younger Brother
  • Chris McCarthy – (ok, so I did have to get one experienced cyclist in to help us).
  • Me.

The reason I’m doing it is to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.  Unfortunately last year my Nan lost her battle with Dementia and passed away at the end of November.  It was a very tough time for the family, but unfortunately it was not my first experience of the condition.  Both my mothers’ parents also had the condition.

I remember posting many years ago about John Suchet‘s battle in coping with his wife having the condition.  He pointed out that it was not a condition which necessarily caused the contractee to suffer, but the family and loved ones that surround them.  It can be a very painful condition, moreso when you are left to comprehend the suffering of an increasingly lonely partner.

What does make a big difference though is education and experience.  I was a few years younger when my Gran started showing the signs of dementia, but old enough to have been by her bedside for the last few days of her life.  Understanding the condition made it much less of a chore, and though it was obvious to see that many in the family were in distress, I always felt happy that my Gran wasn’t the one suffering – and if we took to her new character and interacted with her ‘in her world’ then she was extremely content.

The Alzheimer’s Society is a fantastic charity, and due to my girlfriend having worked with the Alzheimer’s Society last year, I’ve been able to gain an invaluable insight into their work.  Funding both care and research into dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society are fighting on all fronts against dementia.

The donation page at the moment is still setup from the donations from my Nan’s funeral.  I hope to get the login details off my Uncle soon so that we can re-theme the site to raise the funds for the cycle.

I look forward to your support over the coming months – I need all the peer pressure I can muster to force me to keep training (and keep patience during a 5 hour+ cycle with my family).  Please share your stories of dementia and I’ll be riding for you too.


1st Training Run – 

Project Management

March 5th, 2012

I’ve worked in a new role for nearly two months now, as a Project Manager for Score Communications.  It’s been a very relaxing transition from my earlier more technical roles.

I’m really enjoying working with a great new team, and the support and help they’ve given me so far as I settle into the new role.  The challenge I face is how to make my mark on the company without adding ‘red tape’ to their development work.  I know all too well that having to fill in too many forms and statuses can make the job of administering/developing very tedious.  The key part is capturing project timescales, rather than developer timekeeping.

The next few months will be incredibly challenging, but hopefully even more enjoyable.  I look forward to sharing a bit more information about our ‘stack’ and what tools we’re using in the future; I also hope to get feedback from the people reading this blog about what they use.  We’re playing around a bit with Agile Methodology, whilst trying to transition from the existing methods.

I’m also hoping to use the blog a bit more – much of my time over the last few years focused on my online presence on Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook – a much lazier approach to ‘Social’ Media.  I’m also hoping to kick off a few side-projects and keep my technical skills up to date.

Coding Guidelines

March 2nd, 2012

I saw this, and I concur:

You code sucks, let's fix it
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