Me talking as if I know what I'm talking aboutOn Saturday I went to OpenTech 2005, and not only did I get to meet some great people and listen to some very interesting talks, but they also let me try to entertain the crowd by talking about how to keep your job while blogging.

I’ve been to these sorts of talks before, and have felt a bit disappointed when people just talk about things that they have written on their blogs – but I’ve now got some sympathy for them having just done it myself.

The keynote talk by Danny O’Brien about living life in public was very good (and you can download an audio of it), basically you lot (dear readers), know much more about me, than I know about you…

Would you like to change this?  Tell me about yourself in the comments field.

He has also set up a Pledge, that I have signed up for (and I am a stingy git).

If you think that the need for someone in the UK to fight for Digital Rights is worth £5 a month, then I suggest you take a look at the pledge as well.

Ewan Spence was there, and his “Ipod Shuffle shuffle” was another highlight.  I do think that his little Lego banner needs a bit more grey in the hair now.

My talk went as well as I thought it would.  I do get the impression that blogging is “so last year”, which is only spurring me on to get my backside in gear and start podcasting.

Gia gave me one of the nicest introductions going (and she later bought me a beer, and continued to embarrass me by saying nice things).  I then got up, talked about Libel and not calling your boss a git and showed loads of cute pictures of kittens.

Personal evaluation of performance : Could have been a bit better, but could have been a lot worse.

Other talks which I saw, and was interested in were the “What should I read next” launch (which will refer you to books you might like based on previous books you have read and enjoyed), MythTV (although I may have to wait for a Windows version, because Linux gives me a headache), the Big Brother social network (I’m trying to think deep thoughts about how this technology could be used in a health setting), and Backstage BBC, which is frankly stunning in its forward thinkingness

At one point after the last talk (at the bar – naturally), I was surrounded by Stroppycow, Annie Mole, Rachel and Gia and it made me feel like a right stud.


The (nicest ever) picture of me is by Neil Turner (no…I’m not trying to steal the video camera)

30 thoughts on “OpenTech”

  1. I'll have the “I'm an Offiicial Reynolds Groupie” T-Shirts printed then…More puppies…hmmm, I'll have to think about it.

  2. Staring on Ppge 8 of The Times on Saturday and the frontpage of the Beeb's news website today – where to next, Tom?

  3. I thought your talk was great – you come across as a natural presenter. Excellent use of kitten images… and thanks for the bottle opener, too 🙂

  4. more importantly…when do the rest of us get to see the kitten pics……(sorry, some times the girly bit escapes)

  5. I'd tell you more about myself except I haven't the faintest idea what to put. I did have a blog of my very own, once upon a two-years-ago… but ended up with scary stalker issues :(This has upset several young men over the last few months who meet me, google my name, and then pop up on msn saying “who's Steve???”

  6. About me: I'm a musician, but not a very good one. looking to do something a bit more useful and personally satisfying. Was thinking either the ambulance service, nursing or physiotherapy. Found your blog, and that clinched it, even though I think I first started reading while you were waiting to find out if you were HIV+. Am now 1st-aid qualified, currently sorting relevant voluntary work so I'll have a decent-looking CV when I apply to my local Trust's patient transport service. If they'll have me, expect moany coments in a few years' time about how it's all your fault.On the other hand, I was able to step forward and help an old lady with a heart problem the other day: one of the most personally fulfilling things I”ve ever done, and that's your fault too!

  7. Aw Reynolds- you look lovely!With all the stresses of your job, I'd have thought you would be a great deal more haggard!

    Keep up the good work

  8. Just finished listening to the Danny O'Brien talk – it's killed my productivity at work for the past hour, but it was a fascinating talk….As for your request… after the end of that talk, I'm not sure I want to put out any more information about myself! Ah well – I suppose there's already most of my life on the internet… what does one more blurb matter…

    I am in no way connected with any kind of medical profession either through work or hobbies. When I was at uni in Bristol, I lived with one medical student (who I haven't seen for ages, but who DOES, I discovered, read this blog!) and was good friends with 4 others (3 of whom are now doctors (I'm going to be very careful in Bristol for a while….). I've also got another friend who's doing his LAS training in Hatfield at the moment… Who knows – he may end up doing a placement at Newham! (I have encouraged him to check out this blog, but I don't think he's quite got around to it yet…)

    So what do I do? Well, I've been working in the film industry for the past 20 months, working on visual effects for features. It's something I've wanted to do since I saw Jurassic Park when I was about 12… For me, it's a fantastic job that I love.

    I have my own blog, although it's been a bit quiet there recently, that talks about the low-budget visual effects work that I do on various friends' films. I'm not a hugely experienced writer, and my writing is very functional, but I'd like to think that it's interesting to people who are interested in that kind of thing (if anyone does go and take a look and find it pretty boring, don't say I didn't warn you…)

    I've been reading your blog for, I suppose, about a year – I think you were in the middle of your HIV scare when I first started… If my memory serves me right, it was a BBC article about blogging that brought me to your door.

    Thanks for a fascinating view into an occupation that is so very different to my own. My only worry is that I may feel that I know enough just from reading this to be dangerous without being helpful….


  9. I think this is the first time I've been asked to tell more about myself as a reader, but here goes!I live smack in the middle of the American tundra, where the wind whips over grassland and the horizon is disconcertingly large. (I grew up on the East Coast, so the wide open spaces have been an adjustment.) But the weather–when it's not Winter–is fine and the local theaters usually have at least one foreign film playing, so the area has its good side, too.

    I started following your blog site about six months ago, after reading an article about professional blogs. (I also found a number of other great sites like Waiter Rant and The Policeman's Blog) I don't have any connection to the medical world or the other blog-writers' professions, but I love reading quirks and details involved in how people spend 8+ hours of their waking lives. It's almost like letting us in on some cache of secret knowledge. Reading your entries is one of the best things about my lunch breaks!

    I have a blog site ( on which I post amateur film reviews and a mish-mash of stuff. It's been a little bare lately, but I hope to update it today or tomorrow. (Too many summer films, too few things to say about them.)


  10. Tom, you are SO IN THERE with the woman that introduced you (can't recall her name)… capitalise on it man! 😉

  11. From Annie MoleAt one point after the last talk (at the bar naturally), I was surrounded by Stroppycow, Annie Mole, Rachel and Gia and it made me feel like a right stud.

    Oh no, we sound like right groupies 😉

    Seriously though it was a great talk and well done on the BBC and other coverage.

    Next time you need a few more puppies in your PowerPoint presentation though.

  12. About Me: My name is Craig and I'm a business student in Wellington, New Zealand.I am also a volunteer events medic with St John and hopefully starting ambulance work soon, hence the interest in your blog!

    I've been reading your blog for about 3 months now and drop in all the time.

    I have my own blog at



  13. You were great! I'll recommend your blog to my neighbour Patrick who drives an old people's ambulance for LB Camden.

  14. Puppies? Kittens? I don't think you look at all like Bill Gates. He wasn't tall, dark and handsome!he last time I looked.Pat

  15. Hello,I've been reading your blog for errrr, well I've forgotten since exactly when but a fair while, maybe from last year some time. And I found it through errrr I forget.

    But anyway! I'm a student close to graduating into the medical profession and so am interested in just how annoying yet good the NHS is – as a whole and its parts. I've also been living in London recently so there's another connection. I like kittens a lot and cats, but not dogs, but puppies are acceptable.

  16. I found your blog thru the newsletter, spent 4 hours reading almost everything you had ever written on here. Then my eyes nearly dried up and had to go to bed as it was starting to get light.I now read every time you post something on here and await the oncoming of that great little “An article has been posted to Random Acts Of Reality” email I get every couple of days with much anticipation.

    I am a network engineer who lives in surrey, and whenever I see a RRU even though I know you wont be in it round here I still smile and hope the person in it has had a nice day…

  17. Hello there Tom.Well having been one of many who now doubt started reading this blog after seeing the bit on the BBC web site; I feel I should indulge you with some info about me. After all, I have just read every post of yours from June 2003 to the present day. Started on Monday and just finished! You must have a very good host to handle all the traffic! Oh and dont worry about my time, my current job is a joke!

    I'm 27 years old. Born in Ashford general hospital, West London. Spent the first nearly three years of my life living in Staines. Right at the end of one of the, then, major runways for Heathrow. By the time I was 2 years old, the only plane that disturbed me in the slightest was a Concorde on take off. The up shot of which is that I can now sleep through fire alarms, and other VERY loud things that most people find painful to hear.

    After that I moved around. A lot. Father was in the Royal Marines. Eventually ended up in the University of Hull, where I tried and failed to get a degree in Analytical Chemistry and toxicology. However I did meet Henna there! A Finnish girl whom I now married to and live very happily with, along with our 14 month old daughter Helena, in Tampere, Finland.

    I too once had a blog. And as I was not working, but studying (Environmental Engineering, and no, please dont ask L), I felt that as long as I told the truth then no-one was going to bat an eye lid at it. My dedicated following of less than 10 readers a week never said anything. And then I wrote about a relationship and a factual error made by a teacher all in one post. And ended up one step short of the courts, emailing search engines asking them to remove from their cache my already deleted blog. Oh and showing someone who I considered to be a liberal minded academic, that I had indeed deleted every single posting I had ever written from the hard drive of my computer. And I have never written another blog again. I have photo blog for far-flung friends and relatives to see my little family, but that doesnt count.

    The moral that I picked up was that Finns dont like to hear the ugly truth from non-Finns. A fact that has since been told to me by several people whom assumed everyone knows that! Well as I say, Assumption is the mother of all ****ups! My wife understood where I was coming from, but 4 years in the UK has allowed her to develop a rather thick skin and a sense of how misguided many of her countrymen can be.

    Well enough about me. Your blog is more that outstanding, its been so funny I have literally fallen off my chair with laughter at one point. I have felt the immenseness of the deaths that you have tried to prevent and have marvelled how on earth you can be blessed with such an awesome younger brother! Mine is the polar opposite.

    Please keep up the great work, cant wait for the podcasts, can listen to them and then maybe fall off my chair with laughter in my lab! Also you have instilled in me an urge to restart The rantings of a Brit in Finland, my blog may yet rise again!

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