News from Lucid and our trainees
The Lucid newsroom has been a series of stories to keep you up to date with what we're doing.
If you have trained with Lucid and have an interesting news story about your company, your career in communications cabling, or a worthy cause to support, then please send a brief summary of your story to our newsroom editor.
Below are brief 'tasters' with the full story accessible from links as and when we have more information available.
March 2013 : LaserBee version 5.4 with diffuse reflectance tool released
LaserBee now incorporates a comprehensive diffuse reflectance tool which, in addition to the simple far field Lorentzian situation can model uniform or Gaussian extended sources in both the far and near field.
- Click here to request a demonstration copy of LaserBee with the new diffuse reflectance tool.
- Click here to buy LaserBee.
January 2013 : A flying startThe new year has started off positively with training courses already scheduled in Norway and a busy February in store. After the holiday period courses are starting to be booked up well and even though the financial situation remains somewhat bleak we are trying very hard to add value to all the courses we have on offer. More and more we are being asked for bespoke courses so if the public courses we have in the calendar are not exactly what you want , do contact us and we will try to accomodate you.
July 2012.......Up , up and away !Despite very difficult trading conditions for everyone due to the worldwide financial crisis, Lucid seem to be getting busier with bespoke training courses overseas. So far this year we have seen our trainers working in Norway , Ghana and Angola , and very soon we will be going to Germany . This type of work allows us to be much more flexible in what we can do and allows the trainers to keep up to date with what is going on in the industry in different parts of the world.
December 2011: No Christmas cards again..
Our charity donation this year was to the air ambulances. We now try to support both the North West Air Ambulance and the Great North Air Ambulance, as the two services that provide invaluable assistance in our area and help numerous people every year.
November 2011: Community broadband presentation to Jeremy Hunt
A group of community broadband champions and enthusiasts from the ECCBF were invited to present to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State with overall responsibility for broadband in the UK, whilst he was visiting Cumbria. John Colton from Lucid attended as an invited speaker, and set-up a fusion splicer so Jeremy could perform a fibre splice as the 21st century networking equivalent of cutting a ribbon for a building or launching a ship with champagne. The splice officially opened the Warcop Cyberbarn where those wishing to learn more about computing and broadband can go and enjoy learning in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
July 2011: John presenting at East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum (ECCBF) Industry Day
This is strictly speaking not a Lucid event, but for some time now we have been keen to support local community groups in Cumbria who are mobilising to instal their own access networks in order to get high-speed broadband for their homes and businesses. This event brings together the community groups, the government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and Cumbria County Council with potential industry partners for technical pilot build projects. John is presenting a community FTTH 'build & benefit' scheme on behalf of his local group, fibre GarDen, and neighbouring communities who also want to progress this scheme.
June 2011: FIA Summer Seminar in Stratford
Our director, John Colton, attended the second FIA Summer Seminar in Stratford. The event was well received by those attending, with attendance up from 2010. The hot topic at this years seminar was fibre to the home, or fibre to the subscriber (FTTS) as the more generic term is these days. Other topics included challeges in fibre-optic measurements - particularly with high-density multi-termination fibre optic connectors, and problems with counterfeit cables - particularly prevalent in the copper datacoms world with inferior copper-clad aluminium (CCA) products at low prices. Interesting as the papers were, John commented that the best part was catching-up with friends and colleagues.
May 2011: EN 207:2009 safety goggles do not always give sufficient protection!
EN 207 has always been difficult to interpret. In particular, the treatment of repetitively pulsed lasers with pulses longer than the maximum exposure durations in the tables was not dealt with. LaserBee considered pulsed lasers with long pulses as effectively short repeated exposures to a continuous wave laser and prescribed goggles according to the pulse power. Now EN 207:2009 specifically tells you to use the average power, which can be a lot less than the pulse power and, in certain circumstances, can even result in the specification of eye protection which will not reduce the radiation sufficiently to fall below the Maximum Permitted Exposure (MPE). Needless to say, LaserBee is aware of this and provides safe options.
here to request a demonstration copy of LaserBee with the new
- Click here to buy LaserBee
April 2011: Awful Tragedy in Garsdale
On Friday April 29th, Elizabeth Colton died in hospital after a tragic accident earlier that day when she was trodden on by a horse. Elizabeth was just 13 years old and a happy girl who loved to do things for others. She is much missed by her parents, John and Annette, and her sisters Alexandra and Isabel who are all distraught. There is a tribute page to Elizabeth on the North West Air Ambulance website, where people can also leave donations to this worthwhile charity if they wish.
The recently revised EN 207:2009 standard for laser safety goggles contains a significant error in Appendix B - Recommendations for the use of laser radiation eye-protectors. Section B.3.1 introduces a beam diameter factor, F, and users are told to multiply the values in Table B1 by the factor F. In fact, you should divide the values in Table B1 by F! This error has been reproduced in BS EN 207:2009.
For larger beam diameters, say ~ 50 mm, the factor F can change calculated scale numbers by two units. The difference between multiplying or dividing by F can therefore mean that that a scale number calculated as described in the current standard is too low by as much as 4 scale units. (i.e. a calculated scale number LB 2 should actually be LB 6).
Lucid queried the use of the factor F with the relevant British Standards committee in September 2010 but have as yet received no formal advice. Informal discussions with a member of the DIN committee responsible for the change have led us to what we believe is the correct calculation. In view of the significance of the error, we have decided to revise LaserBee to incorporate this correct calculation in advance of any published revision to the standard.
here to request a demonstration copy of LaserBee with the correct
207 eyewear calculation.
- Click here to buy LaserBee
October 2010: LaserBee 5.3 with new Flight Zones Tab also complies with new EN 207 and 208 standards
LaserBee 5.3 complies with the recently revised EN 207:2009 and the EN 208:2009 standards for laser safety goggles and alignment goggles. It also introduces a 'Flight Zones' tab which is based upon the ANSI ZI36 standard for Laser-Free, Critical and Sensitive flight zones. These are a useful indicator of what levels of illumination cause distraction, glare or temporary flash blindness, a topic which is missing from the EN 60825 series of laser safety standards.
here to request a demonstration copy of LaserBee with the new
Flight Zones tab.
- Click here to buy LaserBee
October 2010: Lucid Approved for all City & Guilds 3667 Units
Following a City & Guilds external verifier (EV) visit, Lucid have received an excellent report (click hear to view EV comments) and are approved to offer the level 3 network planning and design units too. We were involved in developing these units, but have wanted to ensure our course is second-to-none before offering it to candidates - we should now be offering the first units as public courses very soon...
What's all the fuss about? See for yourself at: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/neelie-kroes/a-big-week-for-broadband/ At Lucid we want to make sure that FTTH and next generation broadband access becomes a reality for as many people as possible. When we got a call from a farmer one Monday morning we had no idea where some voluntary help would lead...
September 2010: Lucid at Rory Stewart's rural 'Penrith & Border Broadband Conference'
The weekend of the 18th September was extremely busy for many people involved in trying to get broadband and inparticular fibre optic cables to rural areas. Immediately after the Cybermoor switch on at Nentheat, there was a pre-conference colloquium meeting at Penrith organised by NextGenUs and AFL Fujikura. On Saturday Ed Vaizey, Minister for Broadband, opened a rural broadband conference at Rheged chaired by Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border. This was a very popular event with tickets having sold out soon after becoming available, and consequently our technical director, John Colton, got up late on the Saturday morning and just gate-crashed the afternoon sessions! It turned out that this was well worth doing as Chris Condor from Wray and Wennet community broadband showed an excellent short video of the UK's first community fibre to the home (FttH) connection. This video featured, amongst others, Lucid's Dave Gallivan and John Colton. Subsequently Chris told John that she had been approached by some US delegates at the conference who are keen to show the video at an event in the USA. Following the conference, a further colloquium was held in Penrith to discuss issues raised at the conference. The photograph shows rural broadband trailblazers, Lynsey Annison (speaking), Chris Condor, Nicholas James, Daniel Heery and Malcolm Corbett on the panel with Rory Stewart (centre).
September 2010: Lucid help Alston Cybermoor connect Nenthead with highspeed broadband
On the 17th September, Lucid's John Colton and Dave Gallivan, were invited to the grand switch-on for the highspeed broadband fibre optic link between Alston and Nenthead. The ceremonial act of switching on the network was conducted by the Honourable Ed Vaizey as the Minister for Broadband, with Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Borders, also attending. This was a typically friendly and enjoyable event with short, interesting and often amusing speeches by those involved. Lucid were invited as a partner organisation who have helped Cybermoor with this project. The photograph shows Ed Vaizey, Daniel Heery, project manager at Cybermoor, and Rory Stewart, making the connection at Nenthead Primary School and demsontrating the highspeed broadband by downloading a video to a laptop PC..
July 2010: Lucid Trainers sit & pass FIA Trainer Exam
This month Steve Dobson becomes the third Lucid trainer to succesfully sit the FIA certified trainer exam.. Steve's colleagues, John Colton and Dave Gallivan have already taken the FIA exam, at two earlier sittings . All three trainers passed with marks in excess of 90%, of which we are very pleased. The exam is designed to ensure fibre trainers have a good all round knowledge of fibre optics at a basic level just at or beyond that required for the City & Guilds 3666 or 3667 schemes. The pass mark has been set at 70%, and the FIA has been surprised to find that many fibre trainers have failed to meet this standard first time, but happy that in some cases they have improved their knowledge in weak areas and then passed a re-sit sometime later. The requirement to sit the exam has arisen as 'grand-fathering' rights have been withdrawn .
July 2010: Lucid offer new City & Guilds 3667 qualification
From August 2010, the new City and Guilds 3667 qualification will replace the well established and industry standard City and Guilds 3666 qualification. Lucid are amongst the first City and Guilds 3666 providers to be approved to offer the new 3667 qualification, and indeed Lucid have been involved in the development of the new qualification. Follow this link for more information on the new City & Guilds 3667 qualification.
June 2010: On-Line Laser Pointer Hazard Distance Calculator
It is probably more likely that someone like an aircraft pilot, car, truck or bus driver will be seriously distracted or dazzled by the glare from a laser pointer, rather than a member of the public simply being blinded. You can now calculate distraction, glare or flash-blindness hazard distances on-line here.
June 2010: John Colton interviewed live on air at Insight Radio
Insight Radio, the RNIB radio station, interviewed our Technical Director, John Colton, live on the radio today (21 June) to discuss the dangers from laser pointers and the 1W blue laser pointer that has been styled as a Star Wars lightsabre. The interview with Simon Pauley is still on the Insight radio website and can be found selecting shows, and the 'Early edition'. This brings up a lot of interviews or features, and John's is some way down the page under a heading 'Laser'. Alternatively Click Here to go straight to the page..
June 2010: Follow-up on the Sky News item below
We've noticed many comments from readers on websites not sure if the news item is sensationalist with Star Wars comparisons, or is there real cause for concern? We have summarised some facts here, and where we have made assumptions they are stated so you can decide.
June 2010: Sky News "Deadly 'Star Wars Lightsabre' Sold To UK"
On the same day that our Technical Director, John Colton, was presenting a laser pointer safety study to a North West Photonics Association seminar in Blackburn, Sky News contacted John for comments on a 1W blue (445 nm) laser pointer that is being sold over the internet. John was aware of this laser and is horrified at the thought that it could be bought by children and other people who have not been taught laser safety. The laser is widely advertised on the internet and has the potential (assuming it is as powerful as claimed by the manufacturers) to cause permanent eye injuries with only very brief (fraction of a second) exposure.
The big question now it has been brought to the attention of the authorities is whether they can adequately police imports of this laser into the UK. This will be difficult if not impossible. Banning the sale of the laser may only make it more desirable to the section of the public who like these devices as toys. It is by no means the most dangerous laser available, as stated by the suppliers, except that it is small and therefore easily portable.
Some comments are already criticising Sky News for 'publicising' the laser, but the reality is that there will be plenty of internet sites, chat rooms, forums and video demonstrations doing this, and Sky are just highlighting a problem. The fact we don't like the problem should not lead us to shoot the messenger or demand they fall on their own laser pointer!
- Just to be clear the device in question is not a lightsabre as per Star Wars, and will not slice your arm off, but rather is extremely hazardous to the eyes over much longer distances than a lightsabre!
June 2010 : Death by Powerpoint or blinded by Laser pointer? Lucid presents study of Laser Pointer power
John Colton has carried out a study of the actual power levels of cheap laser pointers, with rather surprising results. For more details click here.
June 2010: FIA Summer Seminar & Networking Event
This is a new edition to the FIA calendar, a seminar event designed to have wide ranging talks and stimulate discussion and networking opportunities. This inaugural event, held at a hotel in Oxford, was well attended and from the comments received afterwards, it will be a very popular event in the future. Our director, John Colton, presented a talk at the event on qualifications in fibre optics and communications cabling, the new QCF, the forthcoming City & Guilds 3667 and a possible comms cabling Diploma.
May 2010: FOHEC
The second Fibre Optics in Harsh Environments Conference was held in Swindon and well-attended. John Colton attended for Lucid and met up with several friends and colleagues at the evnt which is fast becoming the annual event for those involved in fibre optics on ships, land-vehicles, aircraft, space-craft, oil platforms and submersibles (under water search and survey).
May 2010: FIA exhibit at IFSEC
As the use of fibre optics in various new applications and environments increases, the FIA decided to exhibit at IFSEC, the security industry exhibition in Birmingham at the NEC. Increasingly CCTV and other security monitoring is using fibre optic cabling, so it was decided that encouraging this industry to install fibre cabling properly and enroll with the FIA could be a good idea. Our director, John Colton, who is also on the board of the FIA, attended on the Tuesday and manned the FIA stand.
February 2010: Lucid presents at the JANET Optical Briefing
John Colton presented a talk on optical fibre characterisation at the JANET Optical Briefing. To read more about on the JA.net website click here.
February 2010 : LaserBee Version 5.2 released
Version 5.2 of our LaserBee software package introduces 'intelligent input routines' which significantly enhance the usability and flexibility of LaserBee. Items which were outputs from calculations can now be used as inputs if so desired. For example, given the pulse energy and pulse rate the average power was calculated. Now, any two of these parameters can be given and the third wil be deduced. This is a simple example but the new 'aperture calculations' tab is so powerfull that it has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
- Click here for a demonstration of intelligent input routines and the aperture calculations tab.
- Click here to request a demonstration copy of LaserBee.
September 2009: Welcome to Lyn
Lyn Allen has joined us working four days a week to provide admin support. In particular Lyn will be responsible for supporting the laser safety auditing work we do which is growing and leading to more paperwork and support for clients.
May 2009: Lucid win Learning & Development Provider award 2009!
Late on Thursday 14th May at the Rheged centre near Penrith we were announced as winners of the 'Learning & Development Provider award 2009' in the Excellence in Cumbria awards ceremony. We have always worked hard to make our training courses the best in the industry as we wish to ensure we are second to none, and this award is further evidence of that demand for excellence at Lucid. The awards ceremony itself was preceded by an excellent dinner, entertainment, and introductory talk by Mathew Wilson of M-Sport (the people behind the Ford Focus World Rally Championship cars), with an interesting after dinner speech by Richard Farleigh of BBC Dragons Den fame. Many of the success stories and tales from other finalists and Richard Farleigh were encouraging and inspiring.
For us at Lucid this was the award we wanted. There are a lot of training, learning and development providers in Cumbria, with this being a significant industry in this area. These providers span a range of activities from management and soft skills to heany engineering and high technology skills areas such as our own field. This makes the award for the Learning & Development Provider a hotly contested prize. Like many businesses we don't normally have the time to reflect on our achievements, but receiving the award is a pat on the back for all of the hard work by all of our staff in consistently delivering excellent training.
May 2009: Lucid help with a rural community FTTH project
At lunchtime on Monday May 11th Lucid received a phone call asking for help from a small rural community that want to install their own fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), in a bid to replace wireless broadband links that were proving unreliable. The fibre-optic cable together was provided by FibreStream as community goodwill (they are keen to encourage community FTTH builds), with a mole-plough, diggers and drivers supplied by a specialist contractor under very special terms as a demonstration show-case for other communities. In all the procurement only started on Monday morning, with work starting after 4pm on the same day and the fibres were lit and operational by early Wednesday evening. Lots of little issues and problems, but overall a remarkable success for a small community with many lessons learnt along the way - more to come or search for wennet video on youtube.
The photo opposite shows Lucid's Dave Gallivan testing fibres with an OTDR and HU-125 bare fibre adapter in a stable. This was a quick check that none of the fibres were broken before splicing, whilst Chris filmed the process for the enjoyment of others...
The cable used was a compact single gel filled tube with 12 single-mode fibres and aramid yarn type tensile strength fibres beneath the outer jacket. This type of construction makes the cable quite flexible, light weight and compact, which is useful at building entry points, but without the crush resistance of a steel wire armoured cable typically used for direct burial. The cable was afforded additional crush protection by being fed through ducts in more vulnerable areas such as gateways and shallow burial areas.
December 2008: No Christmas cards - rowing the atlantic?
Normally at this time of year we prefer to donate to a charitable cause rather than send lots of Christmas cards to all of our friends in the industry, and this year is no exception. One of the guys we have sponsored twice to drive Land Rover ambulances to a hospital in the Gambia has decided that next year he and a colleague will row the Atlantic ocean, raising money for the same hospital in the Gambia, with some funds also going to the Air Ambulance. Since these are our two favourite charities, we have decided that we have to support this madness and will be sponsoring the trip with both this years and next years Christmas charity money.
November 2008: Lucid's John Colton represents the FIA at an OTDR Workshop/Seminar in Fiber Optics Valley, Sweden
Our Technical Director, John Colton, was invited to give OTDR technology presentations at an OTDR workshop/seminar event in Hudiksvall, Sweden. The event was organised by a consortium of companies making up the Fiber Optics Valley in Hudiksvall, a nice town just a few hours North of Stockholm. John delivered an OTDR tutorial session on the first day, and on the second day gave a talk on OTDR field testing standards and issues, before sitting with four other experts on an expert panel for a questions and answers session chaired by Prof. Leif Stensland. The event was a great success, being attended by around eighty people. A further event with a different focus is now being discussed for next year, and will likely be well attended as all of the attendees were made very welcome and seemed to both gain from and enjoy the OTDR event. John represented the FIA in Sweden and got the association a mention in a Swedish newspaper when he was interviewed by a reporter at the end of the event.
July 2008: Lucid Tennis day.
With our Mike Regan being a keen tennis player, we decided this year that we would have a team-building day learning to play the game better. Of course the day we picked it poured with rain, but this did not deter us and we had a fantastic afternoon of coaching, fun and games. We have since challenged a couple of local businesses to a fun inter-company tennis match, but have not had any takers. Contact us if you would like to challenge Lucid to a tennis match, but don't expect a tough match despite our afternoon of tennis coaching!
June 2008: Laser Safety qualification course at the Optic Technium in North Wales.
Lucid partnered with the Optic Technium in Wales to provide our popular laser safety training course with OCN qualification. The course held at the fantastic facilities in St Asaph, North Wales, was a great success and is due to be repeated in early 2009. Contact Lucid or the optic Technium team if you wish to enquire about attending the next 2-day event, having a fun training course and gaining a qualification in Laser Safety.
May 2008: Excellence in Cumbria Awards finalists.
Lucid has once again been selected as finalists in an event celebrating excellence in learning and development. Although Cumbria is not the largest county in the UK, it has a wealth of training providers and this is an area in which the county is truly strong. The event was a glittering affair with a fantastic black-tie dinner and entertainment held at Center Parcs in Penrith. On the day we were one of the top three for excellence in learning and development provision, but the top spot was taken by a much larger business based on their multi-million pound turnover. We were happy to be acknowledged as a top training provider in our home county of Cumbria, but we still believe we are the highest quality provider in our field that we know of world-wide.
April 2008: Presentation by Lancaster University students from the Business School.
A group of Lancaster University students completed a study on Lucid, our market place and what our students felt about us. The results were:
- we are seen as the highest quality provider in the UK
- we exceeded the expectations of our trainees for both the training provided and the support afterwards
- our marketing is weak - we don't do enough to sell ourselves, were our training and services are strong
- our competitors fear us as the quality provider in the industry
Many thanks to the students for the considerable effort they put into contacting several people in the industry in order to get a fair picture.
March 2008: Lucid Ramble - phone on the odd Friday afternoon and the company may be halfway up a hill!
As many of you know our main office and training centre is located in a beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but we have long felt that we don't make enough use of our wonderful surroundings, spending too long in the office instead. Our new resolution is that in quieter times such as Easter and the summer holidays, we will divert the phones to mobiles and have a team ramble up a hill - often with a picnic along the way...
February 2008: New up-dated PAT testing course following release of new Code of Practice
With a new Code of Practice released in January, we updated our training course in February to ensure we are on top of things.
February 2008: Free fibre optic measurement seminars
Our technical director, John Colton, is guest speaker at three seminars around the UK on fibre optic measurement and characterisation. John has been involved in fibre optic testing and measurement for over 20 years and regularly speaks on fibre testing and characterisation. The seminars are being held in Livingston (Scotland), Manchester and at the new Wembley stadium in London. The seminars are being sponsored by EXFO, a well-known manufacturer of fibre optic test and measurements equipment. John will be representing Lucid, but also representing and explaining the role of the Fibre-optic Industry Association (FIA).
January 2008: Bert tows support Landrover Discovery 180 km through the Sahara and successfully negotiates a mine field...
All sorts of problems (and rocks) have been thrown at Bert over the last couple of weeks, but he has come through and is pressing on - read more about Bert below and follow the links for the online expedition journal.
January 2008: Bert visits Lucid the day before his big adventure
Bert (see photo to the right) is the Land Rover we are sponsoring and was brought to Lucid on Thursday 10 January, the day before setting-off from Kendal to drive down France and Spain, across North Africa and down the African coast.
The project called 'Challenge Gambia' is to deliver a Land Rover to a remote hospital in the Gambia where it will be used to help provide care and medical services to even more remote clinics and villages.
The Land Rover (pictured here with its drivers doing last-minute fog-lamp adjustments at our training centre) has been extensively rebuilt to ensure it will cope with the rigours of the drive to the Gambia, and further to ensure it will be in a fit state to provide a valuable service there. The new Land Rover has been dubbed 'Bert' and is joining 'Meg', an old Land Rover ambulance that made the same trip three years ago (see December 2007 news below for a picture of Meg) and has been providing a priceless service since then.
The drivers are Clive Bradley and Michael Costello from the main company organising the challenge, Dove Nest Group Ltd. In the photograph opposite (courtesy of Andy Binstead - Lucid's budding photographer), Michael is on the far left with Annette and Sarah from Lucid, whilst Clive is on the far right with John, Peter and Denise from Lucid. Unfortunately all of the other Lucid staff were training off-site and so could not be at Lucid Training Centre to wish Clive, Michael and Bert well and for their trip. January in the Yorkshire Dales meant umbrellas were necessary, but we are well-equipped at Lucid and Bert will soon be enjoying warmer weather!
For more on the challenge and to follow the progress of the Land Rover, please see the link here for the Dove Nest Group www.dovenest.co.uk. The link sends you to the 'Challenge Gambia' page where you can see the journal of progress as the team send their text messages to headquarters in Kendal. We hope also to get some pictures of Bert and the team as they tackle various stages of their journey (some ar now up on the Dove Nest site - see link above), and in particular the Sahara where it is impossible to get adequate break-down cover and vehicles are abandoned if they can not be repaired quickly, using the parts they carry or other vehicles in the convoy have with them. The dangers of crossing the Sahara mean that this stage of the trip is only tackled in a convoy of several vehicles, typically half a dozen or more. The strain on the vehicle is huge with real off-road conditions and immense loads carrying fuel, water and other supplies and spares. This is a real expedition rather than a day out at a 4x4 driving range and quite a test for many new off-road vehicles, never mind a second-hand Land Rover.
In addition to providing financial sponsorship, the photograph opposite shows Michael checking the directions to the Gambia offered by Lucid's Annette (holding the Lucid umbrella) and Sarah (looking cold). Rather worryingly, Michael seems to be pointing North-West from our training centre in the Yorkshire Dales. This would be the long way around, but might have the advantage of avoiding the Sahara.
From leaving Lucid on the morning of the 10th January, Clive and Michael were spending the afternoon loading Bert with the provisions for the journey, spare parts and supplies for the charities being supported in the Gambia.
On the previous trip with 'Meg', Clive and his then co-driver Darren Ready, were part of the Plymouth Dakar rally which raises funds for charities in Africa. This time they are following the same route as the rally and with the kind consent of the organisers, such that they will enjoy some of the benefits of travelling in convoy with others across areas such as the Sahara, but they are not officially part of the rally. There are several reasons for this, but not least the desire to provide an altogether higher class of vehicle than is in the spirit and rules of the Plymouth to Dakar rally.
For more about the Plymouth to Dakar rally, the entry rules, and the work done by the organisers of this event please follow this link www.plymouth-banjul.co.uk.
We are pleased to note that whilst the multi-million pound budget teams from the Paris to Dakar rally have this year cancelled due to safety concerns, our intrepid team are pressing ahead on a slightly smaller and less well supported budget.
In the photograph opposite, Clive is laughing at the prospect of Lucid director John Colton (rear seat) joining the trip to Africa. Lucid's senior health and safety consultant, Andy Binstead, took the photographs of the Land Rover you see here and has already stated that he would like to be in the team for any future trips. This would be after a full risk assessment, of course, and after asking permission from his wife...
We hope you will enjoy following the progress of Clive, Michael and Bert as they tackle bureaucracy and pot-holes (and that's just in Cumbria) on their way to the Gambia. Progress will be reported on the Dove Nest Group website under the Challenge Gambia Journal, from 11th January 2008. We also hope you agree that this is a nice way to spend the money we would have spent on Christmas cards that would now have been consigned to waste bins or recycling bins. Please do give us your feedback so that we can make informed decisions on what to do next year!
December 2007: Lucid spend your Christmas card money...
Once again instead of sending you all a card with the seasons greetings for Christmas and the New Year, we have decided to spend this money, and a little more, on a charitable project. This year the project is to sponsor a Land Rover to be driven down Europe and North Africa to a remote hospital in the Gambia where it will be used to aid a wide and remote area with poor transport infrastructure.
The picture here is of the old Land Rover ambulance, 'Meg', that we sponsored three years ago (see news from Jan 2005 below), which is still providing a valuable service at a hospital in the Gambia. You can just see the Lucid logo above the rear wheel arch, although the contrast is not great on the green, ex-military, background. The new Land Rover should provide better contrast for the logo as it is a white ex-NATO Land Rover that has previously seen service in Bosnia before a harder life as a family vehicle in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District!
For those of you who missed following our sponsored 1960s Landrover ambulance three years ago, you can... Read about the last event here, and the good causes that benefited from this event. Our sponsorship benefits the hospital at Bansang, see www.bansanghospitalappeal.com, where the ambulances are used. See also our good causes page for more about the other causes Lucid supports.
October 2007: LaserBee 4.0 available
This is the latest update of our well-respected LaserBee laser safety software. Version 4.0 is available as an upgrade to existing customers, is delivered free of charge to those under contract or who bought versions 3.0, 3.1 or 3.2 within the last 12 months, or can be purchased outright by those wanting to check laser safety calculations. Versin 4.0 incorporates the changes in the IEC 60825-1 and the BS EN 60825-1 laser safety standards that were published this year.
June 2007: First 'Fibre Optics in Aerospace' course
Lucid partnered with Avoptics to deliver a 2-day course covering the implementation, techniques and standards involved in implementing fibre optic systems on board aircraft, and in other similarly demanding specialist environments. The course was a success, but has been further refined and it is planned to re-run this course in November this years and February next year.
June 2007: Mike Regan joins Lucid
Welcome to Mike Regan who joined our sister company Lucid Training Limited in June. Mike is primarily working in the Laser Safety field with Lucid as a certificated Laser Protection Advisor. Much of this work will be with general laser applications and cosmetic clinics, but Mike has an extensive background in Laser Safety in fibre optics, having been the laser safety expert for Marconi (now Ericsson) in Coventry.
February 2007: Well Done to Matt on scaling Kilimanjaro
At Christmas 2006 Lucid agreed to sponsor Matt Wynne to climb Kilimanjaro on behalf of Scope. Matt was successful in getting to the top and raised over £10,000 for a very worthwhile charity. To find out more about the work Scope dioes please click on the link above.
February 2007: LED Safety Article in Photonics Spectra
The February edition of Photonics Spectra magazine carried an article from Prof. G.R. Davies of Lucid on the hazards associated with the latest high power LEDs. This article has attracted several favourable comments and has been referenced and acknowledged by several workers in the industry.
February 2007: Changes at Lucid - new challenges for Neil
After more than 5 years of developing and delivering a range of fibre optic, photonic and laser safety training courses at Lucid, Dr Neil Haigh has taken the decision to leave this full-time role in order to explore other areas and opportunities in photonics. We would like to thank Neil for all of his hard work and wish him well with his new ventures. We also hope and expect to work with Neil again as a contractor to Lucid for various projects and training courses in the future.
February 2007: Lucid take first ELCAS bookings
Having been aproved as an ELCAS training centre in December, Lucid have submitted programmes and taken bookings for the first Enhanced Learning Credit course programmes. More programmes are being developed and will be on the website soon.
January 2007: Oil & Gas News choose Lucid for first Company Profile
Lucid were chosen for the first Company Profile feature in the January issue of Oil & Gas News compiled by JetAir a flight management company providing scheduled and charter flights to the oils and gas industry. This is a small, but very professional news briefing publication distributed on JetAir aircraft. The feature on our company as users of JetAir's services with the work we do for the oil and gas industry was very rewarding. To be the very first company profiled of any of their clients was a real honour. For more on JetAir see www.jetair.co.uk
December 2006: No Christmas Cards again....
We have decided to continue our tradition of donating to charities instead of buying company Christmas cards. This years Christmas donation has gone to sponsor Matt Wynne's expedition to climb Kilimanjaro. Matt is funding the trip himself so that all proceeds go to his chosen charity, Scope. To find out more about Matt's expedition and the work of Scope, or to add your own donation, see www.justgiving.com/mattwynne.
In addition to this donation, Lucid support the Air Ambulance as our chosen local charity, and we make regular donations to other local carities throughout the year. We are always particularly pleased to sponsor people doing something for charity and we are hoping next year to sponsor another vehicle in the Plymouth Dakar rally as we know that was popular with many of you following the progress of our team.
For now we would like to wish Matt all the best in his climb and also best of luck in achieving his target of raising £5000 for Scope. We will keep you informed of Matt's progress and hopefully have a photo of Matt astride the peak in February!
Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all of our trainees, suppliers and friends.
November 2006: Hot of the press - IEE proceedings featuring 10 selected papers from OFMC including Lucid's "Statistical model for the validation of unidirectional OTDR splice loss measurements"
The IEE Proceeding Optoelectronics Volume 153 Number 5 with publishing date of October 2006 arrived at our offices on 15 November, and includes a substantially extended version of our paper presented at the Optical Fibre Measurements Conference (OFMC) 2005. This is now a fully refereed journal paper having gone through a further thorough peer reviewing process as an updated and extended paper. The paper was a joint paper between Lucid and Global Marine Systems, but with the mathematics and hard work expanding the paper for the IEE proceedings done mostly by Dr Annette Colton of Lucid. To read a copy of the abstract and download a copy of the paper click here.
November 2006: A hot month for Lucid trainers...
Lucid trainers are working in very hot climates in Algeria, Nigeria and Oman this month. As cold weather brings winter into the UK, don't be surprised to see Lucid trainers with sun tans! We have enjoyed a busy year to date with several training courses abroad, having trained in the countries above, several European countries plus the USA. Don't worry if your location is not so hot, we provide training where required, but hot climates or alternatively ski resorts are popular with our trainers at this time of year!
November 2006: Lucid enjoys a busy two months in the newspapers
It has been a busy time for Lucid with the press, with articles about us and our training programmes appearing in several local newspapers across the North of England. In October and November articles have appeared in the Westmorland Gazette, Northumberland Gazette, Evening Chronicle, the Journal and the Business Gazette. These articles were all written by journalists without any press releases or prompting by Lucid staff, which makes this achievement all the more satisfactory - our success being recognised in the general press!
October 2006: John Colton invited to speak at an Innovation Day at M-sport home of the Ford Rally Team
On 25th October our technical director, John Colton, gave a short invited talk to a group of North West business people. The event was designed to highlight benefits and pitfalls of innovation, with the aim of encouraging or stimulating businesses to innovate. Various experts were present to give advice, from their own experiences to sources of funding, partnerships and issues of intellectual property and copyright.
The day was arranged by Business Link, and proved popular not only for the talks and networking opportunity, but also for the very appropriate setting of Dovenby Hall Estate, home to Malcolm Wilson's M-sport organisation who develop and run the Ford Focus rally car in the World Rally Championship. A tour of the M-sport facilities proved very interesting, and it was nice to see the team triumph in Australia. For more on M-sport see www.m-sport.co.uk
October 2006: Lucid win 'Innovative Business of the Year 2006'
At a presentation lunch at Carlisle racecourse, Lucid Optical Services Limited were announced as winners of the 'Innovative Business of the Year 2006' in the Pride of Cumbria Awards 2006. We were honoured to win against stiff competition from several other innovative Cumbrian businesses, but were happy that the judges had recognised the efforts we put into developing training courses, training delivery, qualifications and our unique and innovative 'LaserBee' laser safety software package. More info....
September 2006: Another training first...
We celebrated the success of eight students at a special presentation day, where our Technical Director, John Colton, was amongst the speakers. The trainees had all taken part in a new Lucid devised training programme that was both unique and ground-breaking. All of the trainees were serving sentences in prison, so the training had to take place in prison. The programme involved training guys from a range of backgrounds as cable jointers to work in the telecoms cabling industry. This included erecting and climbing telegraph poles with climbing belts and ladders inside the prison grounds - getting permission to carry out this type of training in this environment was not easy. The programme was, however, a partnership involving Lucid as the training provider, EU-Skills as the sector skills body overseeing the managment aspects, the prison staff who were extremely helpful and supportive, Enterprise plc as the sponsoring employer and the LSC as the funding provider obtaining funds through the European Social Fund (ESF). Some of the trainees have now been released and are in jobs as a result of the training and the qualifications they gained with us whilst in prison. It is hoped, and expected, that having found gainful employment the reasons for re-offending are greatly reduced and the guys will become valuable members of society. The next programme is now planned for January with recruitment from within the prison population now beginning.
September 2006: Lucid run an LED safety training workshop - believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and possibly Europe
In conjunction with the Photonics Cluster, Lucid have developed and delivered an LED safety training event believed to be a UK and European first. The event consisted of a morning training course session followed by afternoon practical work in the Photonics Cluster labs. The event was delievered by Lucid's Dr Neil Haigh and Professor Geoff Davies, and was so well received that a further event is now planned at the Photonics Cluster for November, and we are already working on further refinements.
August 2006: Lucid are selected as finalists for the Pride of Cumbria Business Awards
In our first year of entering the Pride of Cumbria Business Awards we are pleased to have been selected as finalists in two categories: Innovative Business of the Year; and Environmental Business of the Year. We are keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to the announcements of the winners at the awards ceremony on 6 October.
August 2006: Our sister company Lucid Training Limited starts trading
As we have become more involved in Laser Safety, this has led to us doing more Health and Safety training, risk assessment and consultancy work. Ultimately we decided it would be appropriate to offer Health and Safety services under a seperate company banner with a staff of specialist Health and Safety practitioners, hence Lucid Training Limited seemed a more appropriate name for this more general business. The Lucid Optical Services business continues as the specialist optical and communications cabling brand that has a reputation we believe to be second to none in this industry sector.
July 2006: Congratulations to Sarah on gaining her BA (Hons) from Lancaster University
Well done to Sarah on gaining a 2:1 in English Language from Lancaster University and graduating this month. This is an excellent achievement with Lancaster University having a strong reputation for Linguistics. We took the opportunity to celebrate with Sarah, and the trainees here on courses, by opening a couple of bottles of Champagne.
June 2006: Sarah Cowperthwaite becomes the new voice of Lucid
Sarah joined the Lucid team in early June as our new office administrator. She has rapidly become involved in many aspects of the running of the training courses and is for many the first point of contact on phoning or emailing us at Lucid.
May/June 2006: New picnic area completed
Late in May we completed the groundworks for our new outdoor picnic area, and installed picnic tables to seat up to 16 people at the beginning of June. This facility has already proved popular with both staff and trainees who often use it for coffee breaks as well as lunch breaks. The opportunity for fresh air and stunning views is regularly commented on by visitors.
May 2006: Professor Geoff R. Davies joins Lucid
The Lucid training team has expanded with Geoff Davies, a Professor of Physics for many years at Leeds University, joining Lucid initially on a part-time basis whilst still working as Emeritus Professor of Polymer Science at Leeds. Geoff is now working on developing optics, laser and LED based measurement courses aimed at non-specialists who are interested in the benefits that optical technology can bring to their field.
April 2006: City & Guilds 3663 qualification in network planning & design launched
Our Technical Director, John Colton, was in London at City and Guilds headquarters for the launch of the 3663 qualification. This is a level 3 qualification in network planning and design that John helped develop as a consultant to City & Guilds. At the launch John gave a short presentation about the scheme and together with his co-developers answered questions from the floor. We expect to be running this new qualification soon.
January 2006: Lucid courses approved under the FIA qualification scheme
Several of Lucid's accredited awards were approved under the FIA qualification scheme. This means that trainees can be certain of FIA recognition for their achievements when they take these training courses with us and pass assessments. Lucid are the first training organisation to have their certified awards approved under this scheme.
January 2006: Networking+ article
The January 2006 edition of the Networking Plus magazine includes a guest article by our John Colton in the "Off The Track" column. The article discusses some aspects of the FIA quaification scheme and the empowerment of trainees to report back to the FIA on the quality of training from fibre optics and communications cabling training providers.
Dec/Jan: Europhotonics article
Following the presentation of our paper on submarine uni-directional OTDR splice loss measurements at the Optical Fibre Measurement Conference last year (OFMC'05), our John Colton was asked to author an article on this for Europhotonics magazine. The article appears in the Dec/Jan Issue which arrives in early February.
September 2005: See us at OFMC 2005
The Optical Fibre Measurement Conference is this year being hosted by the NPL in Teddington. Lucid are there and contributing to the conference with a paper written in conjuction with Global Marine Systems. The paper describes the work done to devise and develop a tool to assist in the evaluation of one-way OTDR measurements of splice losses. Such unidirectional OTDR measurements are not normally recommended, particularly between fibres of differing mode field diameters (MFDs), but are common and unavoidable for submarine cable splicing. The paper presents the equations developed by Lucid's Dr Annette Colton and coded into a software tool by Lucid's Dr Neil Haigh, and shows comparisons with real bi-directional OTDR loss measurements and other data gathered by engineers at Global Marine Systems. Lucid plan to include some latest results and refinements in the presented paper as some further development work is on-going. The paper will be presented by Lucid's technical director, John Colton, who is also a contributor to the work and a joint author on the paper.
Lucid's Dr Neil Haigh is also involved in a laser safety tutorial at OFMC'05, being given by Neil and Simon Hall from the NPL.
September 2005: Lucid launch Raman Amplification in Optical Fibres courses
Lucid have just finished the development of two courses dealing with the subject of Raman amplification in optical fibres. These are a shorter 1-day seminar event covering the theory and implementation of Raman amplifier technology, and a longer 2-day training course which is able to go deeper into the implementation and cover worked examples.
Raman amplification is rapidly becoming a reality in todays DWDM networks. The technology and its implementation are complex topics, but Lucid has worked hard to ensure the issues become transparent. Trainees gain a good grasp of effects such as stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) and gain a valuable insight into optimal amplification solutions for EDFA and Raman amplified fibre systems.
We have already taken bookings for this course and will be delivering the first on the 6th September. A public seminar version of this Raman amplification course is likely to be arranged for the second half of October, but numbers will be limited so please let us know if you'd like to be kept up to date.
August 2005: FIA Qualification Scheme goes live
At the Fibre-optic Industry Association council meeting on the 16th August the council agreed that the Qualifications Scheme, that has been developed by the FIA over the last two years, could go live and start accepting applications from trainees. This decision was prompted by applications being received even though the FIA has not yet done an official press or public launch. Since the meeting a newsletter to FIA members has since been circulated.
The aim of the FIA qualification scheme is to achieve four main goals for the fibre optics and communications cabling industry:
- ensure trainers are skilled and knowledgable
- ensure training courses carry awards from licensed awarding bodies
- improve levels of professionalism and hence the perception of our industry
- provide individuals with prestigious and meaningful qualifications at low cost
The principle for applicants, or learners, is that training courses they attend and qualifications they gain can be combined to yield fuller or higher level FIA awards. Successful candidates will be allowed to use letters after their name that recognise the FIA level they have achieved. The utlimate goal is the FIA level V award which confers the title of "expert" with appropriate letters, such as CFE for Certified Fibre Expert, as a badge of honour for the individual. For more on this scheme see www.fia-online.co.uk/equals01.htm
If you are a Lucid trainee who would like to enrol on the FIA scheme you can do so through the FIA website, www.fia-online.co.uk, or you are welcome to phone us for more details and to discuss your application.
Several Lucid training courses qualify under the requirements of the FIA qualification scheme, see our Optical Fibre & Cabling Qualifications.
August 2005: Lucid Trainers apply to become FIA Certified Trainers
Four of Lucid's team of expert trainers have applied to become Fibre-optics Industry Association (FIA) certified trainers. This new status fills a hole in the fibre optics and communications cabling industry, where training could be provided by anybody with no checks on their knowledge, skills or qualifications. Now we believe this scheme gives potential trainees an opportunity to verify that their chosen training provider has staff who are knowledgeable and commited to training.
It is also important for trainees to check that their chosen training provider is FIA approved and their course is delivered by an FIA certified trainer, or it will not count towards the FIA qualifications. More on this shortly...
July 2005: Bigraphy on Dr John Haygarth published
A new biography on Dr John Haygarth FRS (1740-1827), who made several advances in the field of medicine, has been written by Sir Christopher Booth, and published by the American Philosophical Society (www.aps-pub.com ISBN 0-87169-254-6). Our largest training room is named the 'Haygarth Room' in honour of Dr John as he is known here, but his fame in recent times has not travelled so far from Garsdale, Chester where he worked and Bath where he settled in later life. We are happy that Sir Christopher Booth, from the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, has recognised the significant contribution Dr John made and researched this work. For a brief summary of Dr John's work see http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/trial_records/19th_Century/haygarth/haygarth_biog.html
6 July 2005: Champagne corks fly at Lucid
After hearing the news just before 1 pm that London had won the right to hold the 2012 Olympics we got out the chilled champagne to celebrate with the trainees here on two courses running this week. A glass of bubbly washed lunch down nicely. Well done to the London team and we look forward to hearing that some of you are working on cabling infrastructure for the huge building projects that will result from this victory.
June/July 2005: Lucid decide to advertise and market ourselves
Yes we've placed our first adverts ever in the comms industry press after almost seven years of relying on word-of-mouth recommendations.
June 2005: Demo version of LaserBee launched at Laser 2005
Lucid exhibited for the first time at Laser 2005 in Munich, where a demonstration version of our popular LaserBee software was launched. Peter Bennett of Laser Physics UK commented "around 90% of the people we've demonstrated LaserBee to have bought a copy - hence the need for a demo version for the people we can't get to quickly".
May 2005: Lucid helps 18 trainees into work
18 unemployed guys from the Newcastle area have recently started full-time employment in the communications industry after successfully completing a six-month training programme with Lucid. Read more....
January 2005: Lucid sponsored Land-Rover ambulance reaches remote African community
Instead of sending Christmas cards, we donate to or sponsor a good cause. This year an epic trip to deliver a Land-Rover ambulance to an African community where it will help save lives and continue wearing the purple Lucid logo (just above the rear wheel arches)! Read more....
August 2004: Dave Gallivan joins the Lucid team
Welcome to Dave who had worked with two of our staff previously and has now joined us at Lucid. Read more...
March 2004: OCN accreditation for Advanced OTDR and Advanced PMD Testing course
Lucid has gained OCN accreditation for the Advanced OTDR Testing course and the Advanced PMD&CD Testing course. Both courses will now give an award at level 3. This is roughly similar to an A-level, a step above the 3466/3666 City & Guilds courses at level 2, and a natural progression for many in the industry.
March 2004: Lucid launches first accredited Laser Safety qualification in the UK
A panel consisting of representatives from Open College Network, universities, independent industry experts and Lucid staff has approved our "Laser Safety Introduction" course at level 2 (broadly equivalent to GCSE at grades A-C). This is the first Laser Safety Qualification from a QCA licensed awarding body in the UK, and to our knowledge in the world!
March 2004: OCN accreditation for Fibre Optics Introduction course
A panel consisting of representatives from Open College Network and universities, independent industry experts and Lucid staff has approved an updated version of the Fibre Optics Introduction course. Hence delegates can now gain a recognised award at level 2, similar to the 3466/3666 City & Guilds courses.
January 2004: "Laser Bee" laser safety software purchased by prestigious national laser laboratory
December 2003: New 2, 3 and 4 week resettlement programmes
December 2003: First orders for "Laser Bee" laser safety software packages
November 2003: Lucid gains Open College Network (TROCN) centre approval
July - October 2003: Laser Bee launched at photonics & laser exhibitions in Munich, Edinburgh and Birmingham
February 2003: Comtec - EXFO seminar on PMD and chromatic dispersion
December 2002: John Colton, technical director, elected to the council of the FIA (Fibre-optics Industry Association)
October 2001: First course at Lucid's new training centre
September 2001: Dr. Neil Haigh joins Lucid
August 2001: Annual visit from City & Guilds External Verifier
April 2001: Training in Angola
December 2000: Steve Dobson joins Lucid
November 2000: Work started on new training centre
August 2000: Lucid gains City & Guilds Centre Approval
April 2000: Expanding geographically
Lucid runs two simultaneous courses in different countries outside the UK
March 2000: Manuals get even better
Lucid starts production of manuals in full colour in-house
January 2000: City & Guilds 3466 scheme approval
Lucid runs first City & Guilds fibre optic course and gains scheme approval for City & Guilds 3466-02 Multimode and 3466-03 Singlemode Optical Fibre Installation.
January 2000: Peter Rossall joins Lucid.