D4D

There's something I should tell you. I'm not left-handed either.

Connected

This weekend I’m off seeing friends Oop Norf, and because of working from home, opted for the easier option, leaving home early, stopping off at a services most of the way to where I’ll be, and working from there for a few hours.

It actually worked out pretty well – surprisingly so, in some ways – and meant I didn’t get stuck in tons of shitty traffic.

The surprising bit was that where I stopped, up at Hartshead Moor services, my phone had a full 4G data service – surprising, because Hartshead is pretty much the bum-end of nowhere. But still, 4G.   That meant I could connect from laptop to iPhone using WiFi, which then gave me data via 4G, without having to pay a penny to the on-site extortionists of BTOpenzone et al.

That, to me, is a complete win. I’ve got unlimited 4G data through my phone contract (I know, it’ll still have a ‘fair-use’ limitation or whatever, but I’m well within that anyway) so it’s saved me the money of a connection through BTOpenzone, and won’t even hit my phone bill.

There are some bits of this modern life that I really quite like…

Business Progression

This week has actually been pretty positive when it comes to sorting out things for my own company again.

As mentioned earlier in the week, I had a look at an office to rent – and signed up for it. Annoyingly, it’s not available until mid-February, but that should still work out fine for what I want/need. It’s only a little place, but it’ll give me the time, space and office I want, and allow me to do a lot of other stuff too.

At the same time, I chased up the farce that has been the application for my company business account. It’s a long story, and one I won’t bother with ’til I know more, but it’s been bloody annoying. Standard bank incompetence, and hardly a great way to get business in, but well, we’ll see.

What with those achievements, plus the car MOT and so on, it all feels pretty positive! Most unnatural and surprising…

MOT – Loan Car

While the Saab was getting its MOT yesterday, I got a courtesy car/loan car from the garage. Weirdly, for a Saab garage, it was a Renault.   In this case, a Renault Clio Pzaz (don’t blame me for the fucking stupid name) which I can only describe as a hateful piece of shit.

I’m sure it’s fine for urban driving and commutes where you’re not travelling on fast roads or motorways – but on those roads, it’s a scary, underpowered piece of crap.  I know, I’m spoiled by being used to driving cars with a 2L turbo engine – but I do drive primarily on motorways and fast roads.  If I were doing that while driving something like the Pzaz, I’d be one scared driver – even getting up to 70mph was a struggle for it, and meant the motor was buzzing around the 4,500rpm mark, which is more than double the rpm the Saab uses for the same speeds and more.

Interestingly, I felt the same about the last Renault I drove – way back in Feb 2013.  Obviously both were base-models, and thus the lowest of the low, but still, they’ve not been at all fun.  I’m sort of surprised, because a couple of the car magazines I read recommend the higher-spec and better-performance Renaults. I haven’t played with any of those, so can’t comment – but I’m definitely unimpressed with the lower-spec base-models.

Thankfully, I only had it for a few hours. With luck, I won’t have to drive one again.

MOT – Passed

The car passed it MOT with no problem at all. Needless to say, I am very happy with this news.

I had been getting a bit stressed about it, as I hadn’t heard anything from the garage by 4pm. In fairness, they’re normally pretty good about letting me know if something’s going to be expensive, so I knew it was likely to be OK – but all the same, it was a bit worrying.

Anyway, I called them just after 4, to find out what was happening. And all was well – it was just that the garage had forgotten to call me. Bit annoying, but far better than “Oh yeah, we had to do a load of work, here’s the bill”

As it turned out, it passed with flying colours. One advisory (an out-of-balance parking brake, of all things) and that’s it.  I’m quite surprised by this – it’s a Y-reg with 125,000 on the clock, after all – but pleased.  And considerably better off than I was expecting…

MOT

Among other things today, the car’s getting its MOT done.

I’m hoping that it won’t need much. I’ve already sorted most of the known issues already, including new tyres, new wiper-blades, and a replaced headlamp bulb a couple of weeks back.  Of course, the inverse of that is that anything that does need doing is likely to be expensive.

Still, we’ll see. But for now, fingers crossed.

Office Space

With the way work is going this year, I’m going to be looking again at renting some office space for the time being.

Last year I rented a desk in a shared space for a while, and that worked fairly well, but wasn’t perfect for a number of reasons. So while that’s still an option, I’m looking at stepping things up a bit this time round, and actually doing a proper office.

As with all large towns, there’s a number of options available in both Milton Keynes and Bedford, and I’m looking at my first one tomorrow.  It sounds promising – designed for small and start-up businesses, monthly contract, central Milton Keynes and so on – but I need to see it and figure out the necessities.  I’ll write more about it in the coming days, I’m sure.

Why do I need some space like this?

Well, I’ve got a lot of work coming up, and while working from home is OK, I find that it’s occasionally difficult to keep up motivation when there’s no real push to be “at work”. Also, I find it’s suddenly very easy to not actually interact with anyone for several days a week, and that’s not ideal either.  I know I could easily become very hermit-like and insular, and I don’t actually want to do so.

So renting an office space will at least give me back a commute, a journey to/from work, and because the building is shared with a number of others, it’ll probably allow me to make some connections and interactions along the way. Never a bad thing.

Renting a desk is OK – but limits me to the times the main office is open, which I found more restrictive than it could’ve been, and limited the available hours I had.  I’m hoping that a rented office will give me more flexibility, enabling me to do longer hours when necessary and so on.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens and how it all shakes out. I’ll know more by the end of Tuesday…

Somewhat Calmer

Over the weekend, I’ve been working on reducing the impact of whatever/whoever was attacking D4D™ (and many others, I’m sure)

Looking at log files, it became apparent that a number of the issues were related to a particular site primary user-name that’d become known. Not massively surprising- it wasn’t the strongest in the first place, although the password was- and while it hadn’t been cracked/opened, it was getting hit so many times that it kept on getting locked out. And because it was the primary user-name (which I used all the time) it meant I was getting locked out as well.

As a result, that user has now been massively demoted, and I’ve created a couple of others with more-secure usernames and similarly secure passwords.

It’s not been the easiest of processes, and I’ll be keeping an eye on it over the next few weeks – but at least things now seem to be calmer and less slogged-down with hassles and shit.

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