D4D

Life, the Universe, and Something Else.

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Seen In Summer

Things I see regularly on my current commute that just worry me more than they possibly should…#

  1. Riders of powerful bikes on the M1 wearing t-shirts and shorts.
  2. Rear passengers in cars reclining with their legs hanging out the windows
  3. Front passengers reclining with their feet on the dashboard.

All of these setups worry me – in all cases, if anything were to happen, they’ll be injured far, far worse than they would be if they were sitting properly.

Of course, none of it is really my problem. I just can’t help noticing, and being somewhat concerned.

Squish (Follow On)

This year, I’ve seen a lot of roadkill – as I’ve commented before – which is at least somewhat related to going back to doing a fair amount of driving on fast roads, dual carriageways, motorways and the like.

I don’t mind that too much – although I think it’s quite sad to see it – but there’s something that bugs me about it, which is this.

No matter where the bodies are on the road – including right over by the edge and (particularly on motorways) right in the middle, near the central reservation and safety barrier, right out of the traffic lanes.  Yet within a couple of days, the bodies are flattened, all bones crushed and so on.

It’s not decomposition – OK, it could be, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t happen that fast.

All I can assume is that there’s a certain breed of driver who feel it’s acceptable (or perhaps even amusing, I don’t know) to run over the bodies, even if it means curving out of the lane, towards the crash barrier in order to do so.

And really that just boggles my little mind…

A Lack Of Tolerance

Sometimes I do wonder if it’s a good thing to have this 100% success rate when it comes to interviews. I know it gives me more confidence to not accept shit from workplaces and the like, and makes me less tolerant of bad situations and setups. If I’m not happy, I just start sending out the CV, get interviews, and know I’ll be somewhere else very quickly.

I don’t see the point in hanging on somewhere when I hate it. I know I’ll get something else with very little delay or hassle, so why hang around?

But does that mean that sometimes I’m just not prepared to take the shitty bits? Maybe. I don’t quite know. This year I’ve had some really shite jobs, and moved on from them with alacrity. Will I look back in a year’s time and think “I wish I’d stuck with that one”? I don’t know. I doubt it, to be fair. There have been a couple of occurrences where I have thought that of other roles in the past, with a lot of hindsight and some remoteness from the situation. But very, very rarely.

I’d like to think I’m pretty good at evaluating a workplace (and colleagues) when I’m there. (On a side note, I’d like to be a lot better at evaluating them like that at interview stage, rather than only once I’ve taken on the job. But well, such is life) I’m pretty sure I’m OK with knowing when a place is just going through upheavals, and when it’s actually a bucket of warm shit.

Maybe one day I’ll regret moving on from somewhere I’ve hated. But at the moment I just can’t see that being the case.

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.

Leisure Mileage

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve covered over a thousand miles just for social stuff.

Last weekend (the Bank Holiday) was notably mental, even by my standards. It involved :

  • Friday. Go to work, come back at lunchtime, drive down to the O2 to see Nine Inch Nails in concert, and drive home.  Home at 1am.
  • Saturday. Drive down to Tunbridge Wells for a friend’s birthday do. Enjoy that, not drink much, then think “sod it” and drive home at the end of the night rather than sleeping in a tent. Home at 1.30ish.
  • Sunday. See the parents for a fleeting visit, just so we all know that each other is alive.
  • Monday. Drive over to Brentwood to meet up with friends. Drive home.

All told, that little lot amassed some 750 miles – and meant I travelled the same section of M25 (from M1 round to Dartford Crossing, or thereabouts) no less than three times in four days..  And then a meeting on the Tuesday down in Hampshire.

This weekend is a little bit calmer, but still consists of

  • Friday. Normal work travel, cinema in the evening, then home.
  • Saturday. Into Milton Keynes, collect new glasses and do some other domestic tat. Then drive down to Somerset for a house-warming thing, stopping off at Bristol to collect a couple of train-travellers and get them there too
  • Sunday. Come back. (Unsure yet whether that’ll also be via Bristol or not)
  • Monday. New job, new office, similar commute to the last month.

And next weekend involves a trip into London to meet up with friends and visit a couple of galleries with exhibitions I want to see.

I must be bloody barmy…

The Devil in the Details – Lloyds

Following on from yesterday’s post about Nissan’s dodgy advertising, maths and small-print, the other ad currently incurring my ire is from Lloyds Bank, advertising their new “Club Lloyds” current account.

Now, while I think that clubbing Lloyds would be a fantastic idea, that isn’t the thing with this new account.  Here’s the ad…

And again, here’s that small-print, while they’re bleating on about how great it is to have an account paying 4% interest…

Pay two separate monthly Direct Debits to earn variable tiered monthly interest. 4.0% AER (3.93% Gross) on balances between £4,000 and £5,000. Lower rates apply for lower tiers

So yep – that 4% interest ONLY applies if you keep more than £4,000 in your current account – but below £5,000. And if we look at that Club Lloyds webpage, what do we find? (I’m going to paraphrase, but you can look for yourself)

  • Balances from £1 – £1,999.99 – 1% interest
  • £2,000 to £3,999.99 – 2% interest
  • £4,000 to £5,000 – 4% interest (and note how that band is half the size of the other two)

And right at the bottom of the explanation?

We don’t pay interest on amounts over £5,000.

Yep – no interest at all if you’ve got over the £5,000 in there.

Fuck you, Lloyds.

The Devil in the Details – Nissan

As regular readers will know, I have a really bad habit of reading the small print. (I say ‘really bad’ although it’s not – anyone who doesn’t deserves everything they get. It’s just ‘really bad’ from the advertiser’s perspective)  There’s two ads doing the rounds at the moment that annoy me, so you know what? You get two posts out of it.  Lucky you.

The first (which arrived in my inbox just now, and motivated me to write it) was for a leasing arrangement on a new car – a Nissan Leaf, if anyone cares.

The deal offered is this :

The 100% electric New Nissan LEAF Visia Flex FROM ONLY £199 A MONTH*
WITH A £3,250 ADVANCE RENTAL CONTRIBUTION

OK, so they mention that “Advance Rental Contribution” (which is a deposit, surely?) right at the start, and already it’s skewing the figures. But then we get to the bottom, and the small print…

Finance is available subject to status on eligible new vehicles registered between 01/04/14 and 30/06/14 in the UK to persons aged 18 or over. Rental stated is for Nissan lease. Advance rental of £5,750 (includes £3,250 Advance Rental Contribution) followed by 48 monthly rentals of £199 a month and final rental of £6,201.

Hang on – £5,750 upfront? That’s another £2,500, on top of the “Advance Rental Contribution” – where has it come from, and what’s it for? Even if you take out the first month’s £199, that’s still £2,300 unexplained.  Fucking hell.

All told – with all those amounts listed, that comes to £21,503. For a poxy Nissan Leaf.

But then it gets better…  (Sorry, “better”)

Once you have paid the final rental you can keep using the car by paying an annual rental of £50 + VAT; if you choose Nissan lease then you will never own the car.

As well as entering in to a lease agreement for the vehicle, you will need to enter in to a separate lease agreement for the battery. Monthly price shown includes the on-going monthly battery lease charge of £70.

Now they’re just taking the piss, surely ? So even when you’ve stumped up your £21,503 – sorry, £21,563 including that little final ‘annual rental’ charge, then you will *still* be paying £70 a month for the fucking batteries?

Up yours, Nissan.

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