Saying farewell to a colleague is never easy and it’s always good to have a little drink in their honour. On Friday we had a ‘virtual leaving do’ for a colleague and friend of mine: Ed Bremner.
I first worked with Ed in 2003 when he was a staff member at TASI (Technical Advisory Service for Image based at the Institute for Learning & Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol. Although ILRT remains it has been reduced to an initialism and TASI has been rebranded as JISC Digital Media. Ed and I worked on the QA Focus project – Supporting Best Practices For Digital Library Programmes.
Although I heard from Ed over the years it wasn’t until he joined UKOLN in 2010 that we got to meet up again. Ed was brought in to work on the IMPACT: Improving Access to Text project. In 2011 I had some work time available so helped out on the project and attended a couple of European meeting with Ed, which was good fun. Ed is a good all-round bloke and very talented too (see his photography site). He’s always been a great mentor.
By the time Ed had begun working for UKOLN he’d moved away from Bristol down to Cornwall – pursuing one of his great love – boats! With quite a big family down there and an old house to do up Ed was reluctant to move – he’d been working as a consultant for the last few years and was au fait with working from home, so remote working seemed like a good idea. Ed has written for this blog before (for example about Skype) and been the instigator of some of the ideas for it such as recording Skype, screencasting and he started the Tuesday morning chat. He is a perfect example of someone who can self-motivate and use technology to support himself.
Anyway all of this is just a prelude to the actual topic of this post – Ed’s leaving do. Ed explained to us that he couldn’t make it up the University of Bath before his leaving date but he had another idea…
“However, as I am a remote worker….and most of my day-to-day contact with you guys has been online, I thought it might be appropriate to have a virtual ‘Leaving Do’. So, I will down tools this Friday a little early at say 4-4.30pm, crack open a tinnie and open the Chatzy virtual room. If you can’t make it in the evening, I will be on Skype all day, so please do just drop by and say hi.“
What a great idea. Ed created a virtual chatroom and we popped in to say cheerio!
Chatzy is a little like instant messaging but has no registration steps, it’s free, doesn’t require Flash or any installation on your computer and is pretty intuitive.
Quite a few people were there already when I arrived. Although it took a little while to get an understanding of what people were talking about (the session transcript helped with this) discussion was free-flowing, informal and actually quite similar to a normal ‘drink with friends’. Topics ranged from tech stuff, beer brewing, to hat wearing (Ed’s hat collection is infamous) and what we will all miss about Ed – not that much work stuff actually. Most people brought a drink along (wine and ginger beer seemed popular, though I opted for a coffee as I was multi tasking and also cooking dinner for my children) and it seemed a very fitting way to say goodbye to Ed, well goodbye, for now.