Monday, 19 December 2011

Mobile Phones not allowed

Just found this hanging in one of the refurbished lecture theatres.  We haven't had a Regsitrar and Secretary for about five years.  Compare and contrast with the large TV screen images which are marketing our mobile phone App About UoB.  Err go figure.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Xmas Do

An excellent evening in the "Disco Bar" (as it was) but "Escape Bar" (as it is) with friends and colleagues from across the teams in Learner Support Services.  The pub quiz by the re-formed "two idiots" was fantastic and Professor Davis and his chemistry experiments will no doubt be remembered for years to come - especially the one requiring health and safety approval.  The toast eating contest was also memorable for various reasons.  But the biggest laugh of the evening was later on at home watching the comedy series "Life's Too Short" when Warwick fly tipped his brand new washing machine.  Absolutely Epic!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Deck the halls

Shamefully cut and paste from an internal circulation but worthy of viral marketing.  Here is a nice way to spend a few minutes in a University setting - which looks a lot like the Atrium/Student Central here at Bradford.  From original message:

The halls of the Carlson School of Business are bustling these days with students preparing for their upcoming finals. Recently, those same halls were filled with "merry measure" when all received a surprise visit from a saxophonist and about 300 of his friends.

View Holiday Card

Thursday, 8 December 2011

IT "at risk" dates

We are currently reviewing our process of established IT "at risk" dates during the year which are published well in advance (currently out to January 2014) and which allow fixed dates in the University Calendar for IT related service interruptions.  I believe that we are quite unusual in having this particular luxury embedded in our culture and so far supported (although sometimes a little reluctantly) by the University management.  Some of them would prefer out of hours evening and weekend working usually during holiday periods i.e. holiday for the rest of the University in terms of the academic calendar.  The options we are considering include "Do Nothing" and stay with three periods a year, moving to more frequent calendar but less days "at risk" in each period and less days overall too.  Third option is moving to a more ad hoc arrangement, particularly for high impact services or new projects, perhaps mixed with the second option ie a hybrid approach.  One thing we might need to think about is the label - is "risk" the right word?  perhaps it should be the IT "opportunity" dates or "improving your IT Services" dates because the work is often about addressing a risk through maintenance and housekeeping of systems.  comments welcome.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Snow Plough ready for (immediate) action

Almost one year to the day it snowed very heavily on the way to work this morning.  A thick heavy coating of snow on untreated roads in Bradford led to ice rink conditions not helped by generally poor driving by commuters unable to manage the conditions.  This week is degree ceremonies week so its the anniversary of last year's closure and I believe that the trigger for all this weather is the purchase and delivery last week of a brand new snow plough, gritter and tractor which arrived on the lowloader for immediate use!  Here it is:

Friday, 2 December 2011

Disappearing teaspoons

This morning there wasn't a teaspoon to be seen in the staff room or on my shelf.  So I put a sign up on the wall saying: "please bring back the disappearing teaspoons".  This evening a learned colleague in the Library told me about this BMJ article on the disappearing teaspoon so here is an abstract and a link.  So we are not the only ones affected, but could you make a career out of it?


Objectives To determine the overall rate of loss of workplace teaspoons and whether attrition and displacement are correlated with the relative value of the teaspoons or type of tearoom.

Design Longitudinal cohort study.
Setting Research institute employing about 140 people.

Subjects 70 discreetly numbered teaspoons placed in tearooms around the institute and observed weekly over five months.

Main outcome measures Incidence of teaspoon loss per 100 teaspoon years and teaspoon half life.

Results 56 (80%) of the 70 teaspoons disappeared during the study. The half life of the teaspoons was 81 days. The half life of teaspoons in communal tearooms (42 days) was significantly shorter than for those in rooms associated with particular research groups (77 days). The rate of loss was not influenced by the teaspoons' value. The incidence of teaspoon loss over the period of observation was 360.62 per 100 teaspoon years. At this rate, an estimated 250 teaspoons would need to be purchased annually to maintain a practical institute-wide population of 70 teaspoons.

Conclusions The loss of workplace teaspoons was rapid, showing that their availability, and hence office culture in general, is constantly threatened.