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My Reflections of 2014

Hi to everyone

A very happy new year!

It's quiet at the moment, so I thought I would take some time to reflect on what for me has been a very good year on the whole. Didn't Frank Sinatra record a song about that?

The end of 2013 was one of the busiest times for us. We were still running the Team-FM internet radio station at that stage, and I remember our Christmas schedule contained no less than 38 different special shows for Christmas and the new year, including a few we both presented. Organising and promoting all of that was quite exhausting, but fun to do. I love a challenge like that. It ended with one of the best New Year's Eve party shows I've ever heard, which Lulu presented. The precision and presentation of that was some of the best internet radio I have ever heard, and I still get comments about it even now.

Sadly, Lulu's health began to deteriate shortly after, and so we decided to close Team-FM in March. It was a sad time, but Brian Dalton and I still wanted to "keep our hand in" in terms of broadcasting, so we both set up The Bell.
www.the-bell.net.
Much smaller than Team-FM, when we're not on the air it practically runs itself, and we were glad to get that project up and running with the help of Paul Johnston from Ireland who assisted a good deal with the website for that. Thanks to Paul and also to Brian D for all your support this year!

While we didn't intend The Bell to grow, it seems to have done of its own accord. People seem to want to hear it and present shows on it, and that's fantastic. Through that, I've got to meet (and learn about) Dean and Becs, Danny, Anne, David and Eric. They've all been wonderful. We just get on, do our own thing, and pull together when it is needed. In the words of the Dave Clarke Five, "I like it like that".

At the same time, I was able to get back in touch with Jonathan Mosen, and I'm very pleased about that. We've always worked well together on different projects, and so we did again this year on a full length audio tutorial regarding the StationPlaylist broadcasting software. That was more difficult than we imagined, but I hope we made a very thorough job of it. There will need to be revisions next year, but again, it was good to collaborate with Jonathan on that. Jonathan has also given me some good advice this year, so thanks very much to him for that.

Gordon Luke is also someone else who I've re-established contact with this year. Again, he has given advice about various projects too, and his help has been invaluable. Thank you.

So to the middle of the year.

With no Team-FM to run, I was wanting something to occupy me. To be brief, Lulu developed the concept of a product called Leasey. You can read all about it at
www.leaseycentral.com.
This was a great idea for computer beginners and advanced technology users, and I was very keen to get my teeth into this one.

Leasey took about six months of very hard work, 7 very long days a week. It's challenging when you develop a product like that because there is the development to do, the ideas to form, the beta testers to manage and work with, the documentation to write, the marketing and promotion to do, a full audio tutorial to design and record, and many more things besides.

It is true we had some real setbacks, not of our making, but eventually we released Leasey on 8 December. That was a good day! We saw lots of hard work come to fruition and it was good to see it in the hands of other people who could make real use of it.

Through Leasey testing, I also got back into contact with Bruce Toews again, who I hadn't worked with for a long time, so it was good to do that and to meet other like-minded people as well, all working towards the same goal. We had an excellent testing team, and 2015 should be good for Leasey with lots of ideas now in the planning stage.

Because I felt I could do a lot more with our JAWS-based products with a good deal more flexibility, I decided to resign from Astec during December of this year and we would strike out on our own. While as you can imagine this has been a very busy last month of the year, I really do think we can make a go of this. Early signs have been very promising indeed, and the next version of our J-Say product seems set to be the best yet. We also have other products which are in the development stages too.

As is usual with me, I've also read a lot of books this year, thanks to Audible and RNIB Overdrive, a new talking book download service launched in 2014. I've begun to read Kimberley Chambers' books this year. She is similar to Martina Cole in style. But my favourite books I've just finished re-reading are those by R D Wingfield who wrote the Inspector Frost novels. I always feel sorry for Frost. He does all the hard work and from those who matter gets none of the credit. But his team love him, and they know he is the person who does the really hard graft.

I also discovered books written by James Henry, (actually a pseudonym for two writers), who have written prequels to the Frost novels set in the early 80's. They're all on Audible and they are just as good.

So what else happened this year.

Oh, there's one thing I almost forgot, I got married this year. Lulu made me very proud when she became my wife, and it was a really lovely day. We were also able to make an audio diary of the event so we can look back on it over the years. Lulu looked beautiful as any bride does, and during the last few years, she has made me exceptionally happy. I was also really glad to meet up with my brother again who I hadn't seen for quite some time, and hopefully we'll be able to see each other again very soon.

So here we are, at the end of 2014. It certainly has been a year of moving forward and re-establishing old friendships. Lets hope for good things during 2015!

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