Archive for the 'Health and wellness' Category

Help a Madman – Rob Franklin to cycle 185 miles in One Day for Charity!

I’m fortunate enough to have made lots of friends within the SMB IT Community over the years. Computers and Business aside, there are a group of people I’m especially grateful to have had the opportunity to both work with and regularly speak to on a personal level. Rob Franklin of JPT Solutions in Derbyshire is one of those people. Patient and friendly, Rob is well known within our community as one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

Sadly, he’s also clearlyinsane.

Rob writes – “On the 11th July I will be cycling from Ilkeston to Ilkeston via Skegness in 1 day which is a larger distance (185 miles) than I have ever done before. While this is a personal goal, I also intend on raising some money for charity in the process. I would *really* appreciate it if you could find anyone who would like to sponsor this moment of insanity. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and if you know anyone else who may be able to get sponsors for me that would also be really great.”

185 Miles. One Hundred. and Eight Five. Miles… I’m sweating just thinking about driving that distance, let alone cycling it!

Joking aside, anyone who follows Rob on Twitter will know how hard he has been training for this challenge as the charity he is raising money for is very close to his heart.

“Almost 4 years ago my son, Daniel, was born with a defect in his diaphragm which meant that his vital organs were in his chest crushing his heart and lungs. Thanks to pioneering surgery which was performed in London his chances were increased from 10% chance of survival to almost 50%. While these were still tough odd’s in a few short days he will be celebrating his 4th birthday thanks to the hard work of medical professionals. For the first 2 ½ years of his life he was in hospital spending time on a ventilator which allowed him to grow strong. Now that he is home safe and growing stronger and we wanted to do something to help a charity which helps families of children like Daniel, this is Breathe On UK.

I have decided to do a sponsored bike ride from Ilkeston to Ilkeston via Skegness in 1 day, around 185 miles.

I am asking you today if you can spare some money for a very worthy charity who support families when they need it most and who don’t attract the publicity that some of the larger originations do, any contribution would be greatly appreciated.

Why choose Breathe On UK?

Breathe On UK is a national charity dedicated to supporting the families and carers of young people who are life-dependent on mechanical breathing, or long term ventilation (LTV). Such a situation is recognised as being extremely traumatic and emotionally, physically, and financially demanding: often leading to both nervous breakdown and partnership failure.

Recent research and medical estimates indicate that more than 1,000 children in the UK exist with this condition and that the number is increasing by some 15 per cent annually.  To date Breathe On UK has:

  Established a respite agreement in collaboration with the Association of Children’s Hospices
  Been responsible for a bespoke oxygen delivery mask in conjunction with Respironics (Philips UK) which is now available off the shelf
  Worked together with Contact A Family – Legislation has now been passed to enable The Blue Badge to be given to families of LTV & Technology dependent young children under the age of two years.
  Provided Family liaison support in the South West Helped to re-create the statistics on families and children using tracheotomies

Many thanks

Rob Franklin”

I’m sure you’ll join me in agreeing this is a fantastic Charity to support, and in wishing Rob the very best of luck with his challenge.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Rob to help him raise funds for Breathe On UK – you can e-mail him at rob.franklin@jpt-solutions.co.uk or connect to him via Twitter.

Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

BRMB Walkathon 2010

On Sunday 6th June, 2010, I’ll be joining my colleagues and friends to to take part in the annual BRMB Walkathon.

The event involves a 26 mile sponsored walk with the aim of raising money for a great cause – “building a home for the brave in Birmingham” – assisting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham develop facilities not normally found in a hospital, to help military personnel and others.

We’ll be walking all around Birmingham – you can check out the full course here.

If you can, please help us towards our aim of raising £1,000 by donating here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamescash.co.uk

If you would like to find out more about the BRMB Walkathon click here, and if you’re walking on the day yourself – please let us know so we can keep an eye out for you!

Wish us luck! 🙂

Richard Tubb is an IT Business Consultant who works with ambitious IT companies who want to grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. He is also a Microsoft UK Small Business Specialist Partner Area Lead (PAL) and the elected chair of the CompTIA UK Channel Community. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

How To Power Nap

I’m a big fan of the Power Nap ™ (that’s TubbMark, not TradeMark) – there’s nothing better than 15 minutes quiet shut-eye time with the telephone switched off and the computer shutdown to recharge the batteries. The great Winston Churchill used to engage in a nap every afternoon, telling his subordinates "Don’t wake me up unless it’s an emergency – and I define ’emergency’ as a World War". I like his style!

So imagine my delight at finding the "Guide to a Good Nap" over at Boston.com!

After pulling two ridiculously late 6am finishes in the past fortnight, I think I deserve a nap now before another late one. Yawn! (Click on the pic below to view a larger version)

David Allen – The Master of Getting Things Done

CNN have an interview with David Allen, the creator of the Getting Things Done (or GTD) methodology for organising your life.

I came across GTD around 12 months ago, and can honestly say that it transformed the way I tackle my everyday life!

I won’t get all evangelical about it here, as there are literally hundreds of web-sites covering the subject (just Google on GTD to read some more!) – but if you regularly find yourself with "too much to do", get stressed because you have so many tasks that you don’t know where to start, suffer from "Information Overload", or find yourself working too many hours – trust me, read David’s book and it will help.

Some other sites you might find useful in your quest for an organised life:-

http://www.43folders.com/

http://www.lifehacker.com

The Cure for Hayfever?

Woman sneezing with HankyIt’s that time of year again. Like many people, even though the weather is scorching hot – I’m keeping the Windows closed in the house and when I drive the car. I’m popping tablets and stuffing decongestants up my nose. I’m sneezing and wheezing, or walking around like the Living Dead. In short, it’s Hayfever season.

Hayfever affects 20% of the population in the U.K, and I’ve suffered with it personally since I was very small. One of my earliest memories of Hayfever was as a child, gleefully rolling down a local grass hill with a friend. Trouble was, the grass was freshly cut and when I returned home covered in allergic reactions and with eyes swelled shut, my Dad thought I’d been in a car crash!

It’s affected me pretty badly this year. Over the past few weeks I’ve had a straight choice between a runny nose, sneezing and wheezing – or taking a Antihistamine tablet and being turned into a Zombie. Non-Drowsy? Yeah right!

So two new treatments that have popped up this year have intrigued me.

The first is Medinose. It’s a small battery powered device with two prongs on a cable that you place up your nose. You then press a button and the device delivers four minutes of red light that is meant to condition your nasal membranes to inhibit the release of Histamines – which cause Hay-fever. Do you look ridiculous using it? Yes. If it works do I care? No. I’ve been using the Medinose for about a week now and have noticed an improvement in my condition. What’s more I enjoy the excuse to lie down for four minutes three times a day, shove the thing up my nose and use the time to contemplate the universe. Antihistamine Meditation you might say!

The second treatment made the front page of The Independent newspaper today. It is called Grazax and it’s a pill developed in Denmark that is taken once per day to dissolve under the tongue. Unlike other medicines, it doesn’t treat the symptoms of Hayfever, rather it neutralises the cause – your bodies over-reaction to pollen. Clinical trials have shown it reduces symptoms by 36% in it’s second year of use. A cure for Hayfever? Possibly. The only downside is the NHS in the UK won’t take it on-board because of it’s potential cost. With over one million seriously affected Hayfever suffers in Great Britain – that’s a bill big enough to make your eyes water without needing any pollen!

So for the time I’ll continue to check out web-sites like Allergy UK, take advantage of Benadryl’s SMS Pollen Alerts service to warn me of impending doom, and continue to shove space age probes up my nose! 🙂

As well as being a Hay-fever sufferer, Richard Tubb is an Independent Consultant who works with IT companies to enable them to feel more in control and to grow their business. You can e-mail him at richard@tubblog.co.uk or connect with him via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Christmas Break

Hope you are all having – or have had in the case of those of you who have had to go back to work today – a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas break.

For myself, I finished work last Friday – dreadfully hungover after a blow-out at my largest customers Christmas Party. You can see the (frankly appalling) photographs at my Flickr site.

I’m taking the whole Christmas and New Year period off – just doing small bits of admin until January 2nd when I return to work.

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying some rest and relaxation catching up on my favourite Television shows, Movies, Computer Games, Books and well, let’s be frank, eating and drinking myself into oblivion.

Quick Logger Plus

I’m working with a Business Consultant at the moment with a view to growing the business and improving my own productivity.

One of the areas to be addressed that has cropped up is quantifying how my time is spent when I’m in the office. I’ve found it difficult to keep a running diary of all the little jobs that I do repetitively, as well handling interruptions, small tasks, etc.

A small VBScipt may be my saviour. QuickLoggerPlus allows you to assign a Keyboard Shortcut (in my case, Ctrl-T) which once pressed pops up a small box allowing you to enter the Task you are working on. This text is then time stamped and appended to a plain text file for each day. Want to know where your time went? Quickly review that file at the end of the day/week to see.

Simple – but effective. I’ll report back in the near future to pass on how effective it has been in practical use.

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