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Archive for the category “Creativity”

Christmas Cheer

ScroogeAs always in the run-up to the Festering Season, the BBC is currently promoting the Eastenders Christmas Day special.

I don’t watch soaps, haven’t in years, and I really don’t get the appeal of them in general. But even in that sector, I truly don’t understand why so many people keep on watching Eastenders. It’s such an unremittingly depressing programme, one where nothing has a truly positive outcome. Even happy occasions – births, marriages etc. – have to have a downside, a negative touch. (Who’s the father? Who’s had an affair? What other explosion of emotion will happen?)

Christmas is, as always, the worst of all. There’s apparently going to be someone effectively going through the throes of a breakdown, so on Christmas Day there’ll be millions of people watching this whole thing of someone’s life collapsing around them.

Maybe it’s about making people feel better about their own lives – that no matter how bad they get, the people on Eastenders are suffering worse. I don’t know. But it’s a mindset that I simply can’t get my head around.

Signs of Progress

Last week, I had a couple of indicators that things are definitely in a recovery pattern for me again. (And not just that contract offer a month before the current one expires)  This year’s been pretty up-and-down, albeit with more ‘down’ than was feasible or expected, so it’s good that it appears to be closing off on a period of much-needed ‘up’.

The first real thing has been the ability/desire to get out a bit over the last month or so. As already blogged, I’ve been off to Felixstowe and Brighton, as well as two London concerts. That’s a massive improvement over a lot of the year already.

Next was the MK Geek Night last Thursday. I’ve been going to this now for a couple of years, but this year had a couple of wobbles – one where I didn’t want to go because of Too Many People, and one where I was simply too busy/overworked to go (although that one also had the potential for Too Many People as well as A Couple Of People I Really Didn’t Want To See)   Me being me, I usually get myself a bit stressed about it due to the whole lots-of-people thing anyway, but those couple of times this year it felt pretty insurmountable.

However, this time it didn’t worry me at all – just turned up with some other friends, and all was good. That, I think, was the real ‘lightbulb moment’, that showed me I was doing better now than I have been in a while. Indeed, I even commented on it to one of the friends while we were there.  Definitely A Good Thing.

And finally, I’ve started writing again. There’s a couple of ideas on the burners, and as yet I’m not sure if they’ll actually go through to completion – but they’re being written, which is another major sign of things being better.

So yes, it’s all a bit positive.  Of course, the pessimist side of me is now just waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to mess up a bit, but that’s par for the course – and I’m not hiding away or sheltering and trying to avoid the shoe when/if it does drop, I’m getting on with things in the meantime.

Forskolin

At the moment, I’m getting an absolute shedload of spam for some supposed new wonder-drug product called “Forskolin”

Now surely it can’t just be me that chuckles at the name, and thinks it’s referring to something somewhat ruder? And really? They couldn’t come up with a better name for a slimming product than something that makes you think “Foreskin” every time?

Acronyms

The current place has just launched a new product for their customers. They’re proud of it, and they’re flogging it now.

It’s been called “Alternative Reporting System for Executive Decisions”.

No-one – not one of ‘em, not marketing, not the board, no-one – has realised what the acronym for this product is. And they’re launching it.

I could tell them. I can’t be arsed.

[I so wish I was making this up. But I’m not]

Minimum Viable Product

One of the buzzwords in the current (but please God, not much longer) workplace is “Minimum Viable Product“. It basically means “The customer gets what they’ve asked for, and nothing more”.  In other words, “Yeah, fuck it, that’ll do”.

It’s a good concept when a business is starting, when you’re writing the first versions, where it’s a product idea and you don’t know if it’ll work, and/or what’s going to be the popular or desired features. So you write the minimum to launch it, make things work without bells and whistles, and find out what people want. It stops you from diving down the wrong path (and yes, mixed metaphors, live with it) and wasting time that’s valuable, that could be better spent on creating the things people do want.

It’s great for a startup, for a new product.

It’s NOT great in any other eventuality, and particularly not for an established product with customers paying shedloads. It leads to inconsistencies, weird functionality, and general oddities. Buttons disappear, sections are different, and it’s all a bit amateur.  And that’s exactly what we’ve got.

But can you persuade them? Nope. It’s the buzzword, it’s How Things Must Be.

Which just isn’t healthy.

Breaking Things

Last Friday there was a big(ish) story in the BBC and Media about the convicted paedophile who is requesting his laptop – complete with ‘non-obscene’ images of one of his victims. Dorset Police were quoted in the story as saying it would be ‘unlawful’ to delete/remove those images from the laptop, because they’re not technically obscene or showing nudity.

Now, aside from the fact that there’s something so blatantly wrong with this entire process (and why wasn’t the laptop just removed/destroyed as part of the evidence and ‘proceeds of crime’ bollocks?) then surely this is a perfect opportunity for a tragic IT-related ‘accident’?

Make sure it’s believable, could happen, and is feasible, and it’d be the devil’s own job to prove anything.

For example, a liquid spillage. Or leaving the machine next to – I don’t know – some kind of large magnet. Maybe the metal scanner in a doorway. Or just mis-filed in such a way that a) it can’t be found or b) it got destroyed. Lost property, IT security, avoidance of possibility for divulging person information.

There are many, many ways in which this could’ve never been an issue. The mis-filing and “sorry, can’t find it” would be easiest (and probably hardest to be disproved) but any of them would work nicely.  It’s more of a problem now, because they’ve admitted that a) it exists and b) it’s currently in an OK state. Ooops.

Break Contemplation

When this current contract ends, I’ve already got the next one lined up, which will be another 4-6 weeks of work, taking me through to the start of June. It’s a nice situation, having something already lined up and waiting to start – not all that common, and helped by the knowledge that I have no intention of extending this one at all.

It’s making me think about what’s next (i.e. what’s after that) and I’m actually contemplating taking a week off, disappearing to a cottage somewhere.

It’ll be expensive though. Not the cottage (or whatever) itself, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll still know that it’s costing me a week of work, which is a not-insignificant amount. Mind you, I haven’t actually had a proper break/holiday in more than two years, so it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.

I’ve got some ideas on locations, but also of things I want to do. But mainly just taking a break, and hopefully putting some of what’s in my head onto paper/disk/keyboard.

Right now, that’s sounding like quite the plan.

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