D4D

Your right to walk the streets unmolested by the police outweighs my right not to get blown up

Archive for the category “Work-related”

2017/18 – What’s Next? The Coming Year

As is traditional round these D4D parts, I lay out my hopes and/or plans for the coming year on my birthday. Like New Year’s Resolutions (and as likely to be completed, it seems) but on a different arbitrary date. Because why not? It’s as good a day as any.

That list for last year (2016/17) wasn’t massively successful, mainly due to my inability to get out less, so I’m hoping to be slightly more realistic this year…

So, the plan for the coming year is…

  1. Keep rebuilding the finances, adding to savings and so on.
    By the end of this year, I’ll have completed the whole bankruptcy process, and it should be off my credit history. (As I understand it. Some people have said it only comes off at six years from the end of the bankruptcy period, which’d make it September 2019. We’ll see)
  2. Exercise more, lose weight, improve health
    Another ongoing process, carried over from 2016/17
  3. Complete September’s walking marathon
    This imploded epically in 2017, so it’s another carry-over.  And this year I’ll do some more training, and not destroy my feet four weeks before it…
  4. Write more
    Actually complete some stuff, and see what to do with it from there.
    I’ve also got some tech answers to this, giving me more time and space for writing (I hope)
  5. Do less
    I’ve written about this before, but I am *really* bad at doing nothing. Lazy days do my head in, and I end up feeling stupidly guilty about “wasting” a day.  But conversely, I’m acknowledging that I do need downtime for other things. So I need this as a reminder.
  6. Business ideas
    Look at completing some of the business ideas and plans, and see what I can do with them from there.

And for now, that’s it.  I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more successful than last year’s list!

Dragging

This week is always a tough one for me – I find that more and more, my body is really messed up by the changing of the clocks. It leaves me slightly disoriented, particularly because daylight levels have suddenly changed according to the clock. For example, last week I was getting up in the dark to be ready for work, but evenings still had some light to them.  Now, arbitrarily on one day, it’s changed so that I’m rising and going to work with daylight, but that the evenings are darker much ‘sooner’.

Because of the Seasonal Depression I get anyway, I know that my brain is aware of light levels and so on, but it’s always interesting to see what affects it. It’s not fun while I’m in that change, but it’s still interesting to see it.

All told it leaves me just out of kilter, more tired than usual, and just that nagging feeling that Something Is Not Right.  It eases off – it usually takes about a week to do so, so we’re nearly there now – but it’s a tough week of being tired, demotivated, and slightly crankier than usual.

And of course it’s not helped by also a ) being very close to my birthday, and b ) having been another busy week or so. I was away last weekend, I’ve been out most evenings this week, and then it’s busy this weekend as well, although I’ll at least be home in the evenings/nights.  Being out so much also means that the cats decide I’m leaving or something, and get extra clingy and annoying while I’m home – which also doesn’t improve my mood or temper. I’m not good at being In Demand – and particularly not at being In Demand And Shouted At – but there we go, that’s what this week has entailed.

It’ll all ease off again, I know.  It just means that this week post-clock-change is a beast.

Situation Standard

Yet again, I appear to now be idiotically busy over the next few weeks – well, really ’til the end of the year, what with one thing and another.  I still don’t quite know how I end up doing this to myself, but it’s pretty much standard behaviour these days.

I’m not complaining – in general I like being busy, and prefer it to days doing nothing  – but every so often I look at the calendar, and the board that holds all my upcoming tickets, and think “Lyle, you really are a bloody idiot“.

So, just in the next six weeks, and in no particular order, I will be…

  • Seeing Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear in Chichester (and staying overnight, possibly stopping off in Oxford on the way back)
  • A one-day conference in Birmingham, which may or may not happen, depending on other work commitments/stuff
  • A day-trip blitz run to Sheffield
  • A day in London doing a food festival in the morning, and a play in the evening
  • followed the next day by a day-trip run to Middlesbrough and Durham (for reasons I won’t go into now, as it’d identify the dates I’m away)
  • a weekend in Newcastle (which is, of course, not the same one as being up in Middlesbrough, despite proximity and so on)
  • A day trip to Cambridge
  • An evening in London, via Oxford (there’s reasons, but yeah, still idiotic)
  • And at least two other visits to London (with another one in early December)

Not just those travels, but somewhere in there also needs to be

  • Finally getting the starter motor on my car replaced (a hassle/fight that’s taken way too long, and will get written about some other time)
  • Seeing a number of films, which I’ve already got tickets for
  • other (more local) food things
  • Working (of course)
  • And finishing off two other projects.

In short, all a bit mad.

I know I’ve said it before – but for next year I need to start doing a little bit less, not being so booked up, and allocate some downtime for myself.  I just need to get some perspective on it all – because ‘downtime’ for me is also car-time and driving-time, it’s time where I can just float a bit, figure things out and so on.

Mind you, that’s also what I’ll be doing over the next six weeks, so I can figure bits out and what I want to do (and how) in 2018…

Moving Emails

Over the weekend, I ended up moving a lot of my email processing over to Amazon’s “Workmail” product. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but we’ll see what happens over time.

The email server/service I was using (via a company I do a lot of my hosting with) was generally OK, but had some significant issues which they didn’t appear to be able (or willing) to fix. The main one was that emails with attached files – particularly PDF and Word documents – would occasionally disappear. They wouldn’t bounce back to the sender, and they wouldn’t tell me (the recipient) that something had gone wrong, they’d just disappear with no notice to anyone.

Generally it’s been survivable, but last week there were things for HMRC and others that didn’t make it – things that were, safe to say, bloody important.

So I’ve moved the primary accounts over to Workmail, and it’s been quite smooth.  The setup didn’t take long, and while there were a couple of teething errors when it came to migrating the emails from Old to New, it all worked pretty nicely.  Once I knew what the hell I was doing (and/or looking for) it became even easier/better.

After that, the main ball-ache has been putting the new accounts onto all my devices, and getting everything to syncronise properly again. It’d be nice if you could just push the new account to your devices, but that’s a level of tech that’s above and beyond what we’ve currently got, sadly.

Still, it’s all worked, I’m fully moved over with all my key accounts, and it hasn’t made me want to throw computers through windows. Even that is pretty noteworthy, I think.

Working Motion

This week, I’ll be changing office.  Nothing major – just at the other end of the building from my current one, and on the back of the building rather than the front.  There’s a number of reasons for it, but it’s mainly because the front of the building is a sun-trap, and it all turns into a rancid sweatbox. The back of the building is cooler (or at least more consistent) and that’ll be nice.

I also wanted a bit of change – it’s not a major one, but it’s still a change, a new view, and sorting out all of that stuff.  As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m in a bit of a stasis block at the moment, with no change in (for me) way too long when it comes to house, job, contract, clients and so on. Location-wise, I’m likely to be staying where I am for another year-and-a-bit, so moving office (even while staying in the same building) means just a bit of change.

I’m sure there’ll be more coming in the future, but for now, this should be enough.

Along the way, I was also pleased to see, when I prepared to move the office, how little crap I’d actually accumulated in the eighteen months or so that I’ve been in the current one. I was able to move everything within an hour, and had a half-bag of rubbish to get rid of along the way. And that was it.

So on that score, it’s all been pretty successful.  For the office itself, we’ll see how it goes, but all told it’s not really much of a change, so should all be fine.

London (2)

Following on from last week’s post, I was in London a lot last week.

On Thursday and Friday I was at the always-excellent Lead Developer conference, at the QEII Conference Centre, near Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament.  I could have chosen to stay in London overnight on the Wednesday and Thursday nights instead of travelling each day, but honestly, I couldn’t be bothered. So instead I ended up with longer days, travelling each day down to London and then walking (because I’m a lunatic) from Euston to Westminster, and back afterwards – roughly three miles each way, and yet still preferable to taking the tube.

It made for long days – particularly as I also chose to eat in London both nights, with a friend at Iberica on Thursday, which I’d not been to before (but will be go back to) and on my own on Friday at Monica Galetti’s Mere Restaurant, which I love. (And apparently I’m the person who’s been back the most since they opened in March – an achievement of which I’m simultaneously ridiculously proud, and somewhat ashamed)

And then on Saturday, having seen a recommendation from a friend, I had been lucky enough to get the last available ticket for the matinee performance of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, at the Donmar Warehouse. I’m going to write more about that in a separate post, which’ll be done for later this week. (Just in time for the production to finish on the 17th. Helpful, eh?)

Sunday was allegedly calmer, but still busy – and involved catching rather more sun than I perhaps should have, although not to any point of danger or ill-health.

And now, I’m back for a new week of work, which is going to require some brain-power at some point early on.  Bugger…

A Week Of Wankers

Last week seemed to be purely populated by incompetents and clowns, sadly.  It meant I was dealing with cretins and “customer services” on about four fronts, which is… less than ideal.

My idiot bank has done an ‘update’ which means that payments done through the banking app aren’t going through. It works via the website, or via phone banking, but not through the app – neither the iOS or Android versions.  So I called them to explain, using the version numbers for the apps – and the in-app versions don’t even match up with the release versions. Genius.  The people I spoke to didn’t seem capable of even understanding the problem, and then when they did, told me there was a new version of the app that I needed to download.  Except… that version hasn’t actually been released and made available on the app-stores yet.  Genius².  So there’s a complaint in about that, where I was promised a callback within 48 hours. Seven days ago. Genius³

Following on from that, my shitbracket accountants continue to be the epitome of incompetence – failing to communicate on anything; breaking promises left, right and centre; failing to provide stuff within deadlines; needing to be nagged every inch of the way; the usual.  It’s a good job I’m not paying for the service at the moment (I’ve had an issue about their communications “skills” for the last 18 months, and their Operations Director promised I wouldn’t pay until that was sorted.  As they’re ongoing, and with no signs of improving, I’m still getting the service for free) although I’ve no idea what they’ll do instead as an apology when they get round to it.

Having made that complaint, including copying it to Directors, not one of them even bothered to acknowledge it. Which continues to confirm that they’re crap at communication.  Oh, and then they tried cancelling my account, then reinstated it, and fucked that up too.  Massively impressed, as I’m sure can be imagined.

On that one, I was promised a callback from the Operations Director (again) by the end of Monday. Still waiting.

There were a couple of others too, although to a much lesser degree. I’ve no idea where it’ll all end up (except with me getting apologies and some form of compensation) but it’s all good fun in the meantime.

Of course, it would be nice if these people just did the jobs they’re meant to, and did them without cocking it up, but there we go, that’s life.

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