Wednesday, 17 June 2009

How do you manage the #elevensestime conversation.

The elevensestime hour can get quite busy some days, with many conversation streams going on at any one time, several of which you may be participating in. And, to make things more complicated, some of the posts may miss the elevensestime tag or the tag might be misspelled. And we might miss several posts while we make the tea or answer the phone. I suspect we all struggle from time to time.

Watching this in the main browser twitstream can be difficult. But at least it is a single stream so you only have to go up and down the list of posts; avoiding any from people who are not in the main loop. And don't even try to follow a conversation back too many steps.

And setting up a third party application like TweetDeck can be complicated. You probably need columns for:
  • Mentions - so you can see messages which refer to you.
  • Elevensestime search - so you can see all posts with the hashtag.
  • Elevensestime group (i.e. all the people in the group you communicate with) so you can pick up the posts which miss the tag.
Working on an phone has it's own problems, not least the space available.

And then there is the time delay, with posts appearing much sooner in the web browser than TweetDeck (or any other app being used) you might be tempted to switch from app to web to speed things along.

And there is a possibility you run out of API calls in TweetDeck requiring you to change the way you might be working.

Does anyone find this easy. Obviously we men, not being competent at multi-tasking, will struggle. But has anyone found an easy way to do this? What systems and processes are you using to track elevensestime? Have the recent changes to TweetDeck helped (personally I find the conversation window quite useful, especially when you come into a conversation late). What other system do you use? Does the multiple columns on the iPhone version of TweetDeck help?


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Very Chocolatey Brownies

Here's a nice easy recipe for Chocolate Brownies.


250 grams plain chocolate
100 grams margarine
100 grams sugar
100 grams self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp cold water

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

Melt 200grams of chocolate and the margarine with 2 tsp of cold water gently over a pan of hot water or in a microwave. Break up the remaining 50 grams of chocolate into small pieces and mix together with the sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla essence. Pour into a greased 8” square tin. Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven. It should be a bit squidgy in the middle. Allow to cool slightly and then turn out onto a rack. When cool cut into pieces.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee at Elevenses Time.

Monday, 8 June 2009

too much news killed the radio star

As some of you know, I was on the verge of media stardom last week but at the last minute I was cruelly tossed aside like the proverbial worn-out glove.
Earlier in the week BBC4 Today did a short feature on the Cabinet War Rooms, with historian Richard Holmes who has written a book highlighting some of the stories of people who worked there.
One story he didn't have was that of my parents, who met when they both worked in the War Rooms, so I emailed Today to tell them that. I expected, at most, that they might read the email out but instead they set up a studio interview with James Naughtie for Saturday morning, 7.30am. Which meant getting up at 5.30am for a 6.30am taxi to Plymouth... At 6.25am, just as the taxi arrived, a phone call from Today called the whole thing off.
Anyway... my father was at that time a sergeant in the RASC and unfortunately I know very little about much of his war service except that he worked in the Map Room in the War Rooms, presumably sticking pins in maps.
My mother was a corporal in the ATS and had been posted to the CWR some time in 1940, as a shorthand typist. She had both very fast shorthand and very fast and accurate typing and worked for what she refers to as the "top brass" by which I think she means the top military bods in the War Rooms, up to and including the General Officer Commanding.
She both worked and slept in the War Rooms while on duty. If any of you have been there you will have seen, shortly as you go in, a glass plate let into the floor and steps leading down even further into the warren of rooms and tunnels under Whitehall. She slept down there... she remembers calling a sentry one day to deal with a rat running over the pipes snaking around and over where she slept. He bayoneted it and said he was taking it to the canteen. Joke, I hope.
She's now 91 and her memory is shot to pieces, so I can't get too much more out of her than I already know but she says that at the start of the posting she was told that in the event of invasion no-one down in the War Rooms would get out... scary but I suppose in the war it seemed perfectly normal.
She remembers Churchill wandering around in his siren suit and occasionally watching her type. She says that when she'd finished typing something - letters, orders or whatever, she'd take her shorthand notes, the finished work and any carbon papers used, in to be signed, when the shorthand and the carbons would be burnt. She also remembers trekking through the various tunnels (funnily enough, my husband, who was in the Navy, worked for several years in the MoD and used the same tunnels some 30 odd years later. The underground bunkers are all still there and all operational...).
Exactly how my parents met and how they conducted a courtship I do not know and, of course, I reget bitterly that I never asked my father more about his war service... it's a lesson too late in the learning. He continued for a while in the War Rooms after they married, but she had to leave because married couples weren't allowed to work together (she says)... she didn't stay in theArmy much longer because she became pregnant - not with me - and had to leave. My father was given a commission and during D-Day was in Essex - rather annoyed, judging by his letters - and later went to Italy and Africa.
I'm quite relieved about the loss of the interview, but I did want to highlight the work of the Army typists in particular as most of what you hear about War Rooms staff comes from the civilian side - Churchill's secretaries and civil servants. There were so many people with fascinating stories.