For nearly half my life I've been woken in the mornings by the Today Programme on BBC radio 4. So much of the news seems bad that to wake up and hear that Alan Johnston has been freed was fantastic. 

I'm having a bit of a mixed up week because my 3 year old son has Chicken Pox. My wife and I are taking turns to look after him. One of the good things about working for Microsoft is an employment contract which lets me take time off to look after sick children and treats it as if I were sick. By contrast, my wife has to use holiday time. I talked about how technology and our working culture are family friendly and here's another example. I'm doing this morning and she's doing this afternoon;  she's doing all of tomorrow so I can go to the big internal conference that marks the roll-over of financial years (Microsoft years run July 1 - June 30). The early statistics we've had for the year just ended seem pretty good too - we'll get the detail tomorrow and hopefully there will be  some interesting non-secret snippets which I'll be able to share. We now have more than 10 million UK users of MSN Messenger; we were awarded the ‘Child Exploitation and Online Protection’ (CEOP) Safer by Design Groundbreaker Award for our contribution to child safety online. I blogged before about our work with CEOP, and the other reunion we all hope to see.

Today's been split in half because I have my annual review meeting with Eileen this afternoon. I expect that she'll mention that I don't always stick to my technology areas with this blog. Guilty as charged. But I looked at the readership stats, the comments and the links I've had in the 14 months I've been doing this and there seem to be a lot of you reading what I have to say - even if I do say it at length sometimes. It's felt like a good year for me, but blog readership has hard numbers, so a quick thank you to the "People behind the numbers" seems in order.