Birmingham news and blogs Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Fiona Cullinan

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Mozilla Open Leaders: You’re in, now what? 

14 Jun 18

The next round (Round 6) of the Mozilla Open Leaders programme is now open to applicants.

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How to start a data privacy conversation in your city – a bulletpoint guide 

30 May 18

This guide forms the end documentation for my recent Mozilla Open Leaders project which culminated in launching a regular data privacy email for Birmingham, UK .

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Launching Observed City and learning to work open with Mozilla 

30 May 18

Click to view (opens in new tab) – my short demo starts at 3 mins 20.

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Career ideas on a postcard 

2 Apr 18

Potential future office view from El Nido I guess I should do an update of the post-sabbatical kind since I’m 18 months on from wanting to change my work/life, and six months on from the End of the sabbatical.

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Best of Brum at Spring Fair 2018 

28 Feb 18

I’ve attended various events at the Birmingham NEC over the years – for journalistic research and client content marketing work, ranging from travel trade fairs to freight and logistics exhibitions – but none so ginormous as ‘the UK’s …

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Birthday surf and bodyboard in Europe’s Hawaii 

22 Feb 18

It’s true, a few Atlantic Islands claim to be Europe’s Hawaii but Fuerteventura does lay a good claim to it as the north shore has massive waves and really does catch that laidback surfie vibe.

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Fuerteventura crater walk 

22 Feb 18

I don’t know why –I suspect it is something to do with being brought up on 1970s disaster movies – but I love volcanoes and volcanic islands.

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Words from a woman who lived in the wild for six years 

27 Jan 18

I got this book for Christmas as a surprise gift and while personally I don’t even like camping, it has been interesting to live vicariously through someone who has gone off the grid and lived as a pretty wild woman.

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On becoming a Glass Room Ingenius 

30 Nov 17

I RARELY LOOK at email newsletters, even the ones I’ve subscribed to, but in September I opened ‘In The Loop’ from a Berlin technology collective called Tactical Tech, and inside was a dream opportunity to build on work begun during my …

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Happy 30th to Acorns Cotteridge – a note from the founder’s daughter 

26 Nov 17

It was 30 years ago, in September 1987, that my mother, Ann Cullinan, opened the first-ever  Acorns Children’s Hospice Shop in Cotteridge, South Birmingham.

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How to make your cybersecurity event more engaging 

29 Sep 17

I’m fascinated by how cybersecurity enthusiasts and organisers present and run their events, as that seems to be crucial in (a) getting people to come along, (b) triggering action.

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End of the sabbatical – so what’s new? 

23 Sep 17

Thinking, thinking… A year ago yesterday I logged off a seven-year freelance contract and started planning a different life – a healthier one with a better work-life balance preferably, and maybe a change of work focus, and maybe take some time …

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Seven ways the Bank of England encourages a culture of cybersecurity 

22 Sep 17

“What is important to you?” This is the first question to ask before planning any cybersecurity strategy, according to John Scott, Head of Information Security Education at the Bank of England, talking at the recent Cybersecurity UK Roadshow …

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Notes from Cyber Security UK Roadshow Birmingham 

31 Aug 17

A one-day event held yesterday held at Innovation Birmingham on the Aston Uni campus to help businesses get to grips with cybersecurity.

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Tor’s two sides, Amazon’s offline surveillance and how to obfuscate 

23 Aug 17

Interesting links I’ve read this week: The dilemma of the dark web: protecting neo-Nazis and dissidents alike (Guardian, 23/8/17) “Perhaps the most important use of Tor, for many of its users, is simply allowing access to the open web in a …

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The dick* pic guide to government surveillance 

22 Aug 17

* and boob I had a conversation with a family member recently about my growing interest in cybersecurity and they responded with ‘I’ve got nothing to hide so I’m not worried’.

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Challenge: Get up early for a week 

22 Jul 17

Park report: King’s Heath is my current favourite to walk to.

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Since Snowden… a visit to Infosecurity Europe 2017 

11 Jul 17

‘Since Snowden’ has become a bit of a catchphrase for me after his revelations in 2013 about the mass government surveillance of our data.

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What’s the point of yoga? 

16 Jun 17

My mother-in-law is a long-time yoga teacher; my sister is in her second year of a yoga teacher training course; and many of my friends are yoga addicts, some to the point of getting up at 5am to practise or get to class.

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The bonkers magic of KonMari 

9 Jun 17

‘Sorting out the house’ was mentioned several times when I asked friends what they would do with a few months off.

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Overland to Easter Europe: Kotor to Dubrovnik 

24 May 17

Day 12: Kotor to Dubrovnik It’s raining heavily on arrival in Dubrovnik and it’s freakishly cold.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Belgrade to Podgorica 

20 May 17

Day 8: Belgrade to Podgorica Goodbye Belgrade – we head for the train station and get in the long queue to catch our replacement bus service.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: New Belgrade 

19 May 17

Day 7: New Belgrade (Novi Beograd) It’s the bit I really want to see –  the dormitory of Belgrade – built to house the expanding population.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Belgrade 

18 May 17

Day 6: Belgrade First thing – well, noon – we change apartments.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Budapest to Belgrade 

17 May 17

Day 5: Budapest to Belgrade Panic at Kelenfold Station – it is 10.55, the Beograd train says 11.04 but I was told it leaves at 11.37.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Budapest 

16 May 17

Day 3-4: Budapest I’m staying in the catchily-titled 4YOU Citycenter Apartments, actually in the company’s old converted offices on the fourth floor of an inner courtyard.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Zurich to Budapest 

15 May 17

Day 2: Zurich-Budapest via the Arlberg Pass, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna Back in the UK, ‘Maggie’ May has called a snap election and it seems my best hope is for a coalition of chaos.

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Overland to Eastern Europe: Birmingham to Zurich 

14 May 17

18 April 2017: Birmingham-London-Paris-Zurich (everybody talk about pop muzik) It feels great to have the world in my backpack again and leave all responsibilities behind.

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Balkans overland trip brings introspection 

12 May 17

Well, at least I went to the Balkans… Despite  bemoaning the lack of a big tickbox item on my sabbatical  last month, I have actually been planning a small ‘big trip’ since January and last month it happened – a two-week, snow-to-sun, …

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Sabbatical in full swing of lying in, coffee dates, protests and trip planning 

1 Feb 17

Stirchley Lidl protest at the Council House.

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‘Everything does change, something is happening’ 

1 Jan 17

Bollards at 4am.

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The myth of free sabbatical time 

26 Nov 16

Capturing time with a long exposure of moving light I’ve promised myself I’ll blog my sabbatical once a month and looking back at November I’ve surprised myself with how little I’ve achieved given that I’m only working 1-2 days a week and …

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Understanding the world through rabbits 

12 Nov 16

Attacked by bunnies For the first time since we got rescue rabbits nearly four years ago and started on our journey to understanding these surprisingly complex animals, we finally had some major breakthroughs this week and, as usual, I’m viewing…

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Day 30: The end of the beginning 

23 Oct 16

My 30 days of blogging about the transition into a sabbatical is theoretically ending today, which is kind of ironic as I feel I’ve barely started winding down let alone begun, and annoyingly there is no one to invoice for all the work and …

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Day 29: Saturdays 

22 Oct 16

Cleaning to music, coffee shop chats, charity shop mooch with sis, cruising to Big City Radio, a bargain buy (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 99p), hanging with the bunsters, eating nice foods with Pete, watching funnies on the tellybox, writing to my …

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Day 28: Doing nothing and stopping drinking 

21 Oct 16

The thing about transitioning from work to not-s0-much-work is that it starts with a frenzy of all those things that have been awaiting.

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Day 27: Bedlam 

21 Oct 16

Caught the  Bedlam: the asylum and beyond  exhibition at the Wellcome Building in Euston, all about mental health and how it was treated – in asylums featuring metal collars, chains, straitjackets, ECT, teeth removal (and other innards), pills…

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Day 26: London leaving lunch 

19 Oct 16

Visiting that London for a farewell lunch with work colleagues and a catch-up at the agency I freelance for (or rather freelanced for).

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Day 25: A shed and a shop 

18 Oct 16

The man finally has his shed, the bunnies finally have their rabbit house and I finally have, um, a dance studio, an indoor beanbag hut for winter, my patio back? After all the excitement, we went grocery shopping together for a soup-beanburger-…

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Day 16-23: Out of office 

9 Oct 16

Gone to Italy to eat pizza, drink wine, consume culture and walk old Ligurian donkey tracks.

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Day 14: That fence isn’t going to paint itself 

8 Oct 16

Having worked my way through a long list of admin, shopping, household, DIY and animal husbandry jobs today, it put me in mind of when retired people saying they don’t know how they ever found time to work.

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Day 13: Rita, RSI and recovering from years of type ‘n’ click 

6 Oct 16

Lunch with an 86-year-old birthday girl, Rita, who can barely walk due to leg inflammation and support strapping makes one truly appreciate one’s own mobility and relative youth.

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Day 12: Humming of the bird 

5 Oct 16

Busy day for not very nice reasons but then a lovely visit from my long-time curly chum and sambista, Carinya, who is writing up a storm over on her Guyana blog, the Humming of the Bird .

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Day 11: Fat Fluffs, mentoring and Tories in town 

4 Oct 16

Rabbits are both social creatures and vicious furballs of hate so they must go through a bonding process in order to be ‘friends’; sort of like a supervised date.

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Day 10: What does taking a sabbatical mean? 

3 Oct 16

I’m still working with two other clients so it was a busy day back at my desk, writing, editing and figuring out a Q4 content plan of attack.

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Day 9: Doll to Brum 

2 Oct 16

Breakfast in Dolgellau, lunch in Brum; only 3.5 hours to get home.

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Day 6: A lake, a pitch and a ponder 

29 Sep 16

The main thing I want to do on this sabbatical break is get fit.

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Day 5: Edward Snowden and crab racing 

28 Sep 16

A heavy mist enveloped Aberdovey until lunchtime (or was it cloud? – we are currently located up a very steep hill) – so the morning was spent doing something I’ve been looking forward to for ages: reading books.

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Day 4: Aberdovey 

27 Sep 16

Out of office: Have gone to Wales to read books and salute sunsets.

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Day 3: I do like Mondays 

26 Sep 16

Monday has always been manic on the work front but I wake up on day three of sabbatical leave with an empty day ahead and a bright idea.

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Is it a sabbatical if it’s the weekend? 

25 Sep 16

Day two of my sabbatical was partly spent wielding an axe in order to get some knobbly tree and rose roots out of the ground.

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End of an era – so what comes next? 

25 Sep 16

Getting off the treadmill.

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Microadventure #3: Bodyboarding weekend in Cornwall 

24 Jul 16

Tl;dr: unfit middle-aged Brummie woman with lifelong surfing obsession fulfils dream by not standing up on board.

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Harkive – how I listened to music on 19 July 2016 

21 Jul 16

I’ve been meaning to do the annual  Harkive  project and this year I’ll finally got around to it, albeit a couple of days late.

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Microadventure #2: Nordic walking in the woods at night 

27 Mar 16

‘There’s no snow, you know!’ OK, so walking with ski poles across the pedestrian crossing in suburban Birmingham may draw a few gags but needs must.

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Microadventure #1: Alone in Kings Heath park at night 

27 Feb 16

My heart was practically tachycardic as I entered the blackness.

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A collection of spam quotes to touch all the internet people 

21 May 15

Image: (CC) Mike Mozart / Flickr A while ago I starting collecting some of the best/worst spam quotes being left on my various blogs.

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My new trip camera is an iPhone 

13 Mar 15

Recently I sold my DSLR with every intention of replacing it with a new hybrid camera.

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Poster girls, GoPro debut and a sudden Total Eclipse of the Heart 

26 Dec 14

Snowselele is the now-traditional Christmas singalong featuring  Moselele  (“The second best ukulele group in Birmingham”) and a chorus of around 400 drinkers at the Prince of Wales pub in Moseley.

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Oh Dear Diary – another step on the path to conquering public speaking nerves 

26 Dec 14

I’ve posted a few times about my fear of public speaking so agreeing to read from my teenage diary at Oh Dear Diary , as part of the Birmingham Comedy Festival, involved yet another stomach-churning, leap of courage.