Thursday, April 16, 2009


by Suw on April 16, 2009

I’ve just 40 minutes of battery life left on my MacBook, and nowhere to plug it in. I might well be sitting in United’s “Economy Plus”, but they haven’t seen fit to install plugs for anyone wanting to, y’know, do work on an 11 hour flight.

Things have been utterly insane of late. It’s hard to know where to begin. Ada Lovelace Day was a smash hit, but I’ve barely had time to even think about how amazing it was, because Kevin and I have been house hunting. Kev took two weeks off work to find us somewhere new to live, and he did a damn fine job. We now have a spare room, more space and more of a sense that we’re going to enjoy the flat, rather than feel like we’re invading our landlady’s personal space. We boxed everything up, with much needed help from friends, and moved over the Easter weekend. We haven’t gone far, just to the Arsenal side of the train tracks, but our new neighbourhood is much nicer. We might be further away from the supermarkets and the gym, which is a bit of a pain, but we’re near two parks and there are a lot more nice restaurants and pubs nearby.

The move has also taken us away from the scene of Ahmet Paytak’s murder. He worked at our corner shop, and I must have seen him nearly every day for the few months that he’d been working there. Then one night, as he and his son were closing up, a couple of chaps on a motorbike decided to shoot him and his son, for reasons that remain unclear. Ahmet died, his son Husseyin was shot in the thigh. I felt such sadness for Ahmet’s family. He was a lovely chap, quite quiet and shy but always friendly. Then one day he went to work and never came home.

More positively, I have been insanely busy with work. Last year was an almost total wash-out where work was concerned. I was busy up until the wedding, but summer and autumn were dreadful. Partly it was because I tried to expand my business, instead of focusing down on what I’m good at; partly because I was utterly rubbish at marketing myself (I’m not a natural when it comes to sales and marketing); and partly because I think businesses were waiting for the economic shoe to drop. Now everyone knows how bad the situation is and the truth is that you can’t just put business off forever. Some stuff just has to be done, and thankfully that includes the sort of stuff I do.

This year is shaping up to be much better. Not only am I having a whale of a time with Book Oven, who have to get the award for Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With A Client, but I’m now working on a research project for Carnegie UK Trust on the role of social (and ‘new’) media in civil society. I’m going to be blogging more about that on Strange Attractor. That sees me busy through til mid-July, then off to Prague before collapsing in a heap.

I’ve been writing a lot more. Not the fiction recently, but over the last few months I’ve done long piece for .Net magazine, and more for The Guardian’s tech section. I’m doing better at researching and writing quickly: it’s taking about 2 days for me to research and write 800 words now, and I’m learning not to over-report which helps a lot. But I want to get much, much better at writing effectively this year, so expect more from me.

Now I’m on a plane to San Francisco, primarily to attend O’Reilly’s Social Web Foo Camp, but also to do a bit of research for the Carnegie project. When I get back, I’m looking forward to focusing on my main two projects and to spending more time relaxing with my husband. We’ve barely had a chance to catch our breath the last few months, but hopefully, now the move is over, we can chill out a little. Hopefully!!

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