GSMA Grand Tour – An Awesomely Epic Adventure

Now that I am at home I have started to reflect on the amazing adventure that I have just had. During the Tour itself I didn’t seem to have a minute to reflect other than when out on the bike, enjoying a climb up a Coll for example:Coll de la CreuetaCol du GranierCol de Perjuretok i drove up this one !

or an amazing view from the top once I got there

Coll de la Creueta (1)Pano View

In the end i managed 1130km with an average overall pace of 2:45, burned almost 35,000 calories and climbed 23,500m (which is totally wrong as overall was 22, 500 but it felt like it some day !) and spent 52 hours in the saddle ! (all figure from Runkeeper so not 100% accurate)

I was worried about my fitness before I went as posted here but in the end these never really caused a problem other than getting down to the brakes on the bike for the long descents.

It would take me a long time to write up the whole event, I had planned to post each day but time was never there to do it as we were running the trial, the team and trying to rest. My overall feeling is one of immense pride to have managed to do half, of managing to do 3 whole stages, setting a distance record of 200km whilst in much pain but feeling so happy after (getting to the hotel and having to cycle up and down the main street of Castres to get over the magic 200 mark was fun !)

It was very inspiring for me to get to meet, and know many of the trial riders, to learn their stories, to begin to understand the impact of diabetes on a very personal level, in some cases to watch them have to give up on riding as the technology we provided warned them of a dangerous drop in glucose levels, in others to be amazed at the level of perseverance and dedication to complete the task. All of this while carrying and using several devices to help us complete the trial, always happy to hand over the modules and looking for them in the morning, the modules will be a fond memory from the tour 😉

Equally it was fun to meet so many colleagues from Orange, we had over 60 riders for the event of all levels, I know they had fun even when riding full days, I got an insight to the life of a team manager, mechanic, kit man and I can see how tough it is to do this full time, getting a full team out with all the equipment was an achievement though 🙂

On a personal level the tour means so much to me, I made it in one piece, sort of, I learned a huge amount about cycling, still too slow downhill but getting better, and had a lot of fun bonding with new people through the shared experience of joy and pain. It’s something I will never forget, there are many highlights, mostly to do with getting to the top of several Cols, often with the help of others through kind words of encouragement, motivation and in one case an actual hand (thanks Carl!) there were also some lowlights like the falling off a few times, 4 at a standstill due to cleats and headphones ! and one high speed that could have been worse but in the end we were all ok, but as I was reminded, pain is just weakness leaving the body, Man Up and cycle on which is what i did same as others that had cracked ribs, I even managed to lead the pack !

Cracked RibsPeloton

I got a medal this time which was such an unexpected pleasure and it will last far longer than the physical effects, my family is very proud of me, I am also and will be even more so if i get fit enough to do it all again, I hope it happens again next year as my new target would be to do the whole thing if i get the opportunity and to improve on the technology to aid Diabetes further.

You can see lots of Tweets using the official hashtag #mhealthgt and plenty of better pics 🙂

Reposting this for the THIRD time as keeps disappearing !!!


GSMA Grand Tour – A Journey of a Lifetime

In just over a week from now I will take part in this amazing event that has been over 3 years in the making, amazing to think it is almost here and to reflect on what its taken to get to this point !

When looking on Twitter at the official hashtag – #mhealthgt there are several inspiring stories about why people are doing it, mainly around diabetes which is understandable given that this is the main focus of the event, rightly so given the size of the problem this disease creates, but the purpose of this post is to explain my reasons for taking part, there are two main ones.

The simpler one is that I have been working as technical liaison between Orange and the other partners involved in this amazing project in order to get the infrastructure in place to securely transmit data from devices on the riders and bikes to an Orange platform in a Continua compliant format, some of it brand new and game changing such as the Dexcom G5.

On a personal level I am doing this to prove that I can, let me explain, the more i learn about diabetes, the happier I am that I do not suffer from this disease, my lifestyle (sedentary/travel/hotels/poor diet) puts me at risk but so far I have managed to avoid it. What I have suffered from is chronic pain from multiple joint related issues, since the age of 21 i have had 15 operations on knee, spine and shoulder. I’ve been put on neuropathic  pain killers, hot wax, acupuncture, you name it but in the end the bone, cartilage and tendons just don’t cut it anymore.

It’s quite a shock to find out in your early 20s that you broke your back some time before then, get it fused (agony beyond belief, the morphine drop was interesting, the rubbing skin off elbows not so much) and take 6 months to recover, then screw knee up (tear meniscus in two directions almost all the way through) and start a series of operations every 2-3 years to clean out cartilage and junk from the joint.

Then one day figure out that the back is hurting again so go see a new guy, discs have died from previous operation, spine is collapsing, so have another operation, this one puts metal in the back to hold everything in place, not as bad this one since i had an epidural, although waking up post op and not being able to feel, or move my legs was pretty scary, they kept spraying cold air on my legs which i couldn’t feel at all, then another nurse realised they had left the epidural on ….. thanks for the sheer panic ! – anyway operation kind of worked and on i went with several more knee operations, squeezed in an op on left shoulder when i popped it in gym and had to have a decompression.

So to cut it short(ish) then I have been having operations every 2-3 years since my 20s, I’m now 46 and have a knee that needs replacing and a spine that refuses to stay fixed since the fusion never took and a bolt has come loose and is poking in to my disc so will get it removed after the tourSpine Pic.

Oh forgot to mention that i managed to give myself an inguinal hernia while doing rehabilitation for the last knee operation in April this year where i had some Microfracture done to help me do the tour so will need to get that repaired at some point after the tour also.

I haven’t kept up any exercise in between all the rehabilitation, to be fair i haven’t been very good at following the exercises set, but with the Tour in mind I have had a goal, I have found some motivation, I have managed to do a 100km+ ride even, I am amazed when i do this stuff, I can’t believe i can do it, then I am so amazingly pleased when I do, the feeling is way more effective than sucking down 3200mg Ibuprofen a day !

I am really looking forward to taking part in the tour with cyclists of all levels, from Orange and all the other partners, both from the professional aspect of driving mhealth, or personal connected health, using global standards, through to just the plain feeling of achievement to have taken part – see you on the road or at the end in sunny (hopefully) Barcelona – follow us online through the tour website. Good luck to all the riders !!


Harmonise those Universal Charger standards to make them Common

In another attempt to harmonise the various Universal Charger Standards out there, including the one’s I worked on, GeSI have offered to try and broker a new deal to get them aligned, I hope it works as I tried very hard in our previous discussions but Rocks and Immovable Objects spring to mind ….


Check out the PR here

Universal Charger has arrived at MWC2010

This blog was created mainly to cover the conferences I attended as part of my role at the time, I’ve moved on to other things since then and so have not posted, however I went to Mobile World Congress for the first time in many years where I had the pleasure to work with David Goodstein of GSMA promoting Universal Charger, here is a post from David summarising the week better than I could:


I’m just back from Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, working through emails, business cards and expenses receipts.

That was my forth MWC and definitely the most exciting, principally down to my favourite project….. Universal Charging Solution.


UCS featured at GSMA Pavilion along with other GSMA initiatives. We didn’t have any super fancy give-away’s like NFC project (handsets), Mobile Broadband project (modems) and RCS/OneAPI (USB disks) but the UCS animation was visually appealing and we gave away some 1500 postcards, mostly donated in handfuls to UCS partners (Telefonica, Orange, NTT DoCoMo, Orascom, Motorola, Sony Ericsson etc.). The postcards are an example of a low cost consumer awareness initiative that could be available in retail outlets in the very near future.

Motorola and Sony Ericsson had UCS devices at MWC. They kindly donated some samples which I was able to demonstrate, along with the ST Microelectronics sample we already had.

Sony Ericsson Greenheart Charger

Sony Ericsson GreenHeart EP800 (EU version)

These were super useful in my further recruitment efforts. I spoke to more operators and vendors with a view to getting additional support  for this popular initiative . When you put a charger with detachable cable and micro-USB connector in front of someone, they instantly get it. There seems to be universal acceptance/expectation that micro-USB is the ubiquitous connector for the foreseeable future. Sagem, Samsung, Modu, INQ and non-mobile vendors such as Garmin and Sensaris acknowledged their commitment to Micro-USB.

Powermat had a big display. Maybe it’s down to the fact that they were opposite GSMA pavilion and their characteristic "beedle-beep" attach/detach signature is now hard wired into my brain…. but I just had to go and visit. They seem to think that the time for wireless charging has come and invested a lot in their presence at MWC. Qualcomm also demonstrated wireless charging. I have nothing to say good or bad about the efficiency, sustainability or usability of these solutions. But I will say that Powermat seem to have thought through transition from wired to wireless by producing a wide range of tips (connection adapters). So do Energizer who were kind enough to give me one of their products for which I was very grateful and I’ve used twice since. The box contained 6 tips. I will use 4 (lots of legacy receptacles in my household) and dispose of 2 (in a responsible fashion). Powermat and Energizer are more pleased than anyone to see harmonisation of connectors.

Powerkiss was a particularly interesting prototype on display. It addresses donor charging by providing a plug-in dongle that enables wireless charging from a table. Imagine this in Starbucks / Libraries / corporate meetings. Of course questions about intermediate technology, interoperability and sustainability arise. But for me, the interesting thing is the implied range of transitionary and future charging scenarios.

The bottom line is … UCS features such as common connector, detachable cable and decent (>850mA) output will facilitate a significant other ecosystem, in the same way that Apple connector already does.

Novoro "TheTravelOne" is an after market 1.0A charger with interchangeable socket pins (for wall) and a USB Std-A output port for versatility. They have chosen to supply only Std-A to Micro-USB cables with this product and do not make "tips" or other cable types. In fact, their entire product range (Bluetooth car and head sets) is micro-USB.

Ian Hay, Orange surpassed himself and GSMA PR staff by blagging his way into the V.I.P. suite to present Mr. Stephen Fry with a UCS charger.

Ian Hay with Stephen Fry

Mr Fry self is a self confessed smart phone / twitter / social network addict. While presenting GSMA Awards, Mr Fry admitted to owning 18 smart phones and consequently his "bedroom is a mess". As Mr Fry exited stage, Mr Hay exited the arena like Roadrunner!


By all accounts (Ian’s account) Mr Fry gratefully received the charger and has since emailed his appreciation and thanks. We hope that this might lead to some UCS related tweets from Mr Fry and who knows where that will lead. We have reserved a UCS charger for Neelie Kroes, new EU commissioner for Digital Agenda. I hope Sony Ericsson and Motorola will continue to provide additional samples so that we can continue these PR efforts

Google Voice + Gizmo5 = Free Inbound & Outbound Calls

I’ve been reading a few posts about this amazing feat recently, plus also keeping an eye on Google Voice since it came out as GrandCentral, I work for a Telco and have done almost my entire professional life, I don’t always agree with what they do or what they provide, but then show me someone that does!

I follow with fascination the ways and lengths to which people will go to avoid paying for the service of being able to communicate with someone else who is not within earshot.

Myabe one day bit for now I still have to find a mobile with large enough keys for my parents that just works, Google Voice or Windows Live on the PC is as far as it goes too, snowballs and hell come to mind when thinking of this sort of setup, even my notoriously ‘Scottish’ Dad would rather pay a few € cents than go through this setup.

Anyhow, each to their own, I guess when these services force the cost of communication to free someone will pickup the running and upkeep of the infrastructure to carry all this free traffic

Google Voice just added SIP connectivity through Gizmo5 which basically enables FREE inbound and outbound calling! With the Gizmo5-to-Google Voice connectivity not only can you can connect any SIP device (softphone, IP phone), but you can even use regular telephones for free calls in the entire United States. Google Voice already offers DID numbers in nearly every area code, which means businesses, especially SMBs can take advantage of this without resorting to some obscure out-of-state area code.
As you already know, Google Voice already gives you FREE outbound calling in the U.S., but the missing piece of the puzzle is free INBOUND calling. Well, Gizmo5’s beta service called Gizmo Voice is the final piece to the puzzle. Gizmo Voice lets you take full advantage of the messaging and calling services of Google Voice combined with Gizmo5’s support for any SIP device. Thus, in addition to the free inbound and outbound calling, you also can take advantage of Google Voice’s free voicemail and free voicemail transcription.
With Google Voice + Gizmo Voice you can make and receive U.S. calls without any monthly or per minute fees. This is a game changer! SIP termination providers surely aren’t going to be happy about this deal. How can they compete with free?

Continue reading Google Voice + Gizmo5 = Free Inbound & Outbound Calls…


Google Voice + Gizmo5 = Free Inbound & Outbound Calls
Mon, 27 Jul 2009 17:33:43 GMT

Forget Microwaves: Startup Vubiq Banks on Millimeter Waves

Rather than email this, since I just read a post on GigaOM about how we still use it too much, I looked at options in FeedDemon and see that it integrates with Live Writer so here we are..

This interests me due to the fact that there is, necessarily so, a desire to look at what the ‘best’ way to carry traffic is..

Vubiq's Waveguide Radio Module

Vubiq’s Waveguide Radio Module

Vubiq, a startup based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., is offering a chip that has the potential to change the economics for companies trying to ship huge amounts of data over relatively short distances — notably cell providers trying to build backhaul for their wireless networks or companies trying to provide point-to-point bandwidth between buildings on a campus. Six-year-old Vubiq earlier this month announced a radio that vendors can attach to their own antennas to deliver wireless signals for roughly a mile in the relatively uncluttered 60 GHz spectrum band. With it, companies that want to use 60 GHz for long-range wireless could see their chip costs slashed as much as 90 percent.

Vubiq’s waveguide radio modules (the radio sans antenna) is one of several chips tuned to take advantage of the 60 GHz spectrum for delivering high-speed data wirelessly. Unlike other unlicensed bands, such as those used by Wi-Fi radios, baby monitors and cordless phones, 60 GHz is pretty empty because to date, it’s been expensive to make chips that can tune into that frequency. That’s starting to change as companies build their 60 GHz radios using silicon.

The most publicized efforts are coming from the WiGigAlliance and startups like SiBeam that want to use the spectrum to wirelessly transmit HD video and other data around the home. These companies hope to find ways to make short-range radios that can use that spectrum to deliver point-to-point signals within a room. However, those chips are still a few years away, as right now the companies working through the alliance focus on making sure 60 GHz radios will be compatible with Wi-Fi, says Mike Hurlston, director of Broadcom’s WLAN efforts.

While Vubiq makes a chip with an antenna for the consumer device world as well, CEO Adam Button believes there’s a large opportunity in the long-range wireless market, which is why his company built the new chip that customers can buy and outfit with their own antenna. This allows them to customize the chips to deliver long-range wireless signals in the 60 GHz band. Most industrial 60 GHz chips are made from exotic materials that require an expensive manufacturing process. Because it makes its chips using silicon, Vubiq can take advantage of cheaper manufacturing costs and deliver processors that are 10 percent of the cost of those offered by other long-range 60 GHz companies. Button declined to give exact pricing.

Button says this means customers can use Vubiq’s chips to provide wireless backhaul in the millimeter wave in addition to the microwave bands — an imperative as wireless companies move to higher bandwidth technologies, such as Long Term Evolution. Using wireless may be cheaper than laying fiber to the cell towers in most cases. It also may represent hope for the troubled companies that provide point-to-point wireless signals to corporate campuses. Companies like Terabeam or BridgeWave are likely customers of the Vubiq waveguides, judging by an interview with BridgeWave CEO Amir Makleff in Forbes, when Makleff bemoaned the high cost of non-silicon waveguides. As the world goes mobile, businesses like Vubiq that can help a company take advantage of cheap, unlicensed spectrum with lower-cost chips could change the economics of providing wireless broadband. And that means more mobile broadband for everyone.

This article also appeared on

The future of mobile: GigaOM Pro provides insider perspectives and analysis on the trends defining tomorrow’s mobile market. Learn more »

Forget Microwaves: Startup Vubiq Banks on Millimeter Waves
Stacey Higginbotham
Mon, 27 Jul 2009 04:00:01 GMT

Backup Backup Backup

I recently suffered another disk failure in my Macbook, was happily working away, spinning ball for a few minutes, tried force quit, nothing, tried any keys, nothing, took power out, waited, plugged back in, waited, waited, waited, then the dreaded “?” or QMOD – a few choice phrases went through my mind and then one very load one came out of my mouth, then i realised my office widow was open so had to look outside to make sure no-one in the street was offended.

I took the disk out, tried again, checked it in an external caddy where i could here it making odd clicking sounds, definitely dead, the odd thing was that my Macbook has been sat on my desk for nearly a year, it just doesn’t move anymore!

I immediately checked with Seagate and it was still under warranty so packed it up in the packaging my last exchanged drive was sent in and off it went.

like i said in the beginning this was ‘another’ disc failure, last time i lost pretty much everything and since then backup up religiously using Time Machine, first to my NAS and then switched to a local external hard drive, so this time I should be fine right? – WRONG, in what can only be SODS LAW i ‘borrowed’ the external drive for something else the day before – the day before – and so had no backup, a seriously bad move, I still haven’t fully appreciated how much I’ve lost again, certainly all the mail for 2009 so far, god knows what else !

What I do know is that Mozy has saved my life in terms of those small but very valuable files, one issue is that they are backed up from Mac so when I restore them I get offered a DMG file which is no good on my Windows 7 machine

mozy download

When i get it back the external drive is going back in and NEVER getting borrowed again ….

Too many Betas?

why is it that Gmail always fails to load first time round in IE8 on Windows 7 ???


Too many betas together perhaps, strangely hitting the reloading link always makes it work too, odd

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What’s the deal with Latitude

I’ve been using it since release more or less as I’ve always liked LBS and sharing but it’s kind of odd that everytime I go to iGoogle the gadget is broken and apparently not available in my location…

latitude error

However if I search for Latitude and click on the link I get it working, URL and example below, how odd….

latitude url

latitude working

Works perfectly on my N95 though 🙂

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Business Everywhere on Windows 7 – How-To

Need to get Orange Business Everywhere running on a Windows 7 installation ? Well I didn’t absolutely have to but given that I’m liking of Win7 I thought I would give it a try but as it’s not officially supported I wasn’t sure if it would work out, to my surprise it was relatively easy but is not as streamlined as it could be since it needs an extra click or two which I could do without to be honest.

I downloaded the latest version directly from the Business live site here and choose options for your ‘ahem’ Option modem and ran it using the ‘Troubleshoot Compatibility’ menu option (right click)

trouble shoot

Then click next to run the check and wait while it determines what’s required

trouble shoot 1

after 30 seconds or so you get some options asking what you would like to do, I hadn’t done anything with this yet so choose ‘The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now’ and hit next

trouble shoot 2

I decided to play safe as wasn’t sure of Vista support (apologies to OBS if it works perfectly in Vista but I had no opportunity to check and didn’t want a failed install, system restore etc) so I choose Windows XP as I know it worked there

trouble shoot 3

Finally you get a dialog confirming the options selected and the chance to run the program to test, I did this and it installed with no errors

trouble shoot 4

After installation I had an icon on the desktop with the security shield, in order to run it I right click and run as administrator et Voila!

trouble shoot 5

I still have a few issues with the look and feel of the software, don’t appear to be able to TAB between fields but as this only affects setup it’s not a big deal and once it’s setup it runs very well indeed, I’m writing this while flying along in the Eurostar and a rock steady connection.

Caveat: This is just how I got it working, there may well be other ways but this is my way and I’m not mucking about with it now that it runs fine 🙂

Feel free to add comments on how to improve if you like of course

footnote : while I wrote the piece above i had a steady connection, once i tried sending though I couldn’t keep a steady connection long enough to complete it!