31 March 2009

What is a manager?

A question was posted on one of the discussion forums I use asking "What is a manager?". I came up with: "A manager is a person employed to facilitate and direct the activities of their staff to deliver to the goals of the company."

26 March 2009


I discovered today that one of my colleagues at work was at the same university as me at the same time as me. Well, she started the same time as me but studied a 3 year programme where as I studied a 4 year programme so she graduated a year earlier than me.

Keele was a small university, 5,000 students, but I don't think we moved in the same circles. On the other hand, it's been getting on for 20 years ago we both started and I have a shocking memory for names so we might have met. Also, I was heavily involved in the student's union (I think I spoke at every Union General meeting during my 4 years at Keele bar one) and RAG so there's a chance that she might have seen me pontificating from the lectern or out fund raising.

New Blog - Stephen's SAP Blog

As I'm now beginning to work on SAP I've started a blog about it, mostly just somewhere to make notes about interesting/useful things I come across. If it also helps anyone else then great but if it doesn't then no worries.

One of the things I have noticed, comparing Oracle with SAP, is that whilst for Oracle you can find online free resources at pretty much any level (both official Oracle sites and individual sites and blogs) in SAP there seems to be loads of 'salesy' type sites telling you how wonderful SAP is and how it will revolutionise the way you do business (presumably for the better) and some very in depth technical sites (mostly forums), where you're sunk if you can't get in an manually edit the data and code, there's nothing anywhere in between. There certainly don't seem to be any how-tos, any pages that seem to be telling you howto when they come up in Google searches are actually saying "If you want to find out how to sign up for our course and pay us a lot of money." Of community there seems to be little, aside from the aforementioned bit twiddler forums.


I admit I'm a bit Leonard of Quirm when it comes to blog names.

8 March 2009

How about Free Prescriptions for England?

Having read recently about how Scotland and Norther Ireland were soon to join Wales in giving free prescription medicine to all, I thought I'd go to the Nomber10 petitions site to see if there are any petitions to extend that to England. I found 2:


I would suggest that anyone (in the UK,obviously) who agrees that prescriptions throughout the UK should be free, not just in 'Everywhere that isn't England', signs these. The first closes April this year and the second closes January next year but currently has more signatures. Maybe it will do some good, maybe it won't, but it's got to be worth 5 minutes.

Only 11% of precriptions redeemed are chargable, the vast majority being exempt for any of a number of reasons. In all likelihood the added cost of those 11% being made free would not be onerous. Infact, I do wonder if the costs of administering those charges may not outweigh the income. I submitted an FOI request to the Department of health to find out:


I fully expect them to come back with one of the normal excuses like "We don't hold that information, try the local PCTs" or "We do hold that information but it will cost too much to collate it and send it to you." Worth a try though. If anyone else wants to submit a similar request to Department of health or their own PCT, have at 'em.

Politicians work for us, if we keep bothering them they might remember it. Squeaky wheel gets oil and all that.