D4D

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Archive for the category “Work-related”

Warm

Today is the UK’s hottest day of the year (so far) – which is quite surprising, as it’s right at the start of Wimbledon fortnight. Usually that would signify two weeks of grey/damp/wet weather, but this week so far seems to be clear,bright and – yes – warm.

Of course, I realise that people in Australia, America, and umpteen African nations (as well as a bundle of others) are laughing their socks off at us here thinking that 30° C is anything more than ‘slightly warmer than winter’, but lordy, we do like to complain about it.

The thing is, here in the UK we’re just not used to extreme weather – or even ‘more than mediocre’, really.  30°C isn’t extreme to most places, any more than -10°C is, but to us in the UK, those are extremes. Neither end is common enough for us to have created the infrastructure to deal with it – neither air-con in every building/facility, nor heating and anti-snow/ice stuff for the cold bits. Neither hits us for more than three or four weeks a year, really – and on average it’s probably even less than that.

So yes, we’re not good at dealing with weather – and some of that is just part of Being British™, I suppose. But there is also that side to be considered, that we just don’t have the equipment (whether in buildings/facilities/institutions, or just within our own bodies) to cope with it decently.

For myself, I don’t mind it.  I used to really dislike hot/warm weather, but I’m getting better at it. Today’s been spent ‘working’ at home, and it’s meant I’ve been out in the yard for most of it, now that it’s a decent place to be. Those two weekends of doing stuff here turns out to have been pretty much perfectly timed, so it’s a pleasant environment. And there’s been enough shade in general to have let me be out in the warmth without crisping myself in direct sunlight.

That’s a win all round in my book.

Reintegrating

By the time my contract comes to its (current) end date, I’ll have been ‘working from home’ for nine months, with only one day a week in the office.  It’s fair to say I’m getting pretty used to that kind of state of affairs, where I don’t have to deal with loads of idiot colleagues all day every working day.

So I’m already wondering what’ll happen when it comes to The Next Job, which will – pretty much certainly – involve being back on-site five days a week.   It’s going to be interesting, for sure.

It’s fair to say that I’ve already become very used to working on my own schedule and workload, and it suits me nicely. Even better, I don’t also have to hear the inane banter and chatter of other people, particularly about things I’ve no interest in – soap operas, X-factor, Big Brother and the like – or fuckwitted opinions with no basis in anything like reality.  I’ve become more acclimated to peaceful offices where I can have a radio on if I want (or not) and that’s about it.  I’m less stressed because of it, and generally less ratty. (And if I could then sort out my sleep patterns, all would be rosy in the world)

In short, it turns out to have suited my personality quite well.

As a result, I may end up focusing more on further jobs where ‘working from home’ is the primary – but there’s no guarantee that they’ll happen, or come up in a timely manner.  As always with my stuff, I’ll take whatever gets offered first, and work from there.

In honesty, I can’t say I’m looking forward to any return to full-on office-based work, but it’s something I’ll face up to as and when it happens.

Changing Terms

Last week, Milton Keynes suddenly changed their parking rates. Not by a lot, all things considered – it costs me about 20p a day more now – but it didn’t seem to have been very well publicised.

(Disclaimer : There may have been notices in local papers or whatever, but I don’t get those, so didn’t see anything. But there was nothing I saw on parking meters etc., so regardless of how much it was discussed/publicised beforehand, I hadn’t seen anything. And I’m sure I can’t be the only one)

One of the other changes, though, was that now you have to pay on Bank Holidays as well. That’s not been the case up ’til this week – it’s always been free – and it’s all just a bit sneaky.

Because it’s only happened for the second bank holiday weekend in May. So anyone who’s known it was free from the first weekend would be quite within their rights to assume it would be the same this weekend.

There’s more information about that change – they’ve put stickers on the parking meters etc. – but if someone had seen three weeks ago that they didn’t need to pay, would they even go near the parking meter this time?

I don’t know – but there’s definitely a lot of parking tickets been issued today on the bit outside my office building. Which indicates that my theory may be correct on this one…

Rationalising Things

Over the years, I’ve had a number of random ideas, and then bought up the relevant domain names.  I’ve done the same with business concepts, and also several writing ideas and the like.

When all’s said and done, that means I’m left with a whole bundle of websites and domains I don’t use – or (worse) that I don’t update, becoming the ‘net equivalent of ghost towns and cemeteries. They’re all started with good intentions, of course – but spreading myself over that many sites just isn’t going to happen.  I feel stupidly guilty when I remember one of them, and realise it hasn’t been updated in a year or more.

So over the rest of this year, I’m going to give up some of them completely, merge others, and really just rationalise things into a shape and state I can manage and maintain. Hopefully that’ll then give me some of the headspace I need – or at least reduce the guilt levels a bit – and I’ll see what progress can then be made.

D4D™ will, of course, survive the cull – as will the sites for my writing, and company.   Other than that, there’s a couple I’ll keep because I use them for other things, but over the next year there’s definitely going to be a reduction in the sites and domains I own and maintain.

Headaches

Yesterday, for the first time in ages, I had a real belter of a migraine.

Migraines are something I never used to get, until about ten years ago – and even then I don’t get them often. It probably averages one a year, but of course these things don’t work to averages. I don’t think I’ve had a proper one in three years or more, but today made up for it.

It started off (as usual) with a weird little visual artifact, almost like a blind-spot in my field of vision. It’s a weird feeling, even though it’s just the precursor.  Sometimes it’ll all ease off at that point, other times it won’t.

In this case, it didn’t. It ended up with a prolonged set of visual weirdness, flickering at the edges, and like constantly looking through a kaleidoscope – which is even less fun than it sounds.  And it’s even less fun when driving home – doable, but it felt like driving in a Star Trek warp-speed effect. I have no idea what speed I actually drove at, but man alive, it felt fast.

And of course through all that, my head feels like someone’s put a vice round it, and is tightening it slowly.

It’s finally waned in the mid-evening, although the headache stayed on, if less intense than it was during the day.

All told, as always, it’s left me a bit drained, and not in the mood to do much. In an ideal world, I’d spend the day at home and vegetating, but that’s not the way it’s worked out, as I’m off to Leicester today to see one of my clients.  As it is, I’ll be quite happy if I don’t have another one like that for a good few years again. It’s been a belter.

A Coming Calm

With any luck, this week will be the end of a generally madly busy first section of the year.  Work has been ridiculous – and will still be busy – but should calm down after Friday.

It’s actually coasting down this week, although I’ve got some things to finish, but one of the big projects is out the way for the moment, and the other is finishing this week.

As a result, I’m all booked in – and greatly looking forward to – for a break this weekend, travelling to Edinburgh and coming back on the Sunday.

It’s a long time since I’ve been to Edinburgh (current calculations make it about fifteen years) so it’ll be interesting to see the place again.  It’s been one of those places I’ve always felt I could live – although it would put me a long way from all friends, family etc. – and I kind of want to see whether I still feel like that about it.

Work-wise I’m still secure ’til mid-June now, but the next phase should be a much easier piece of work than the last three months have been. (I hope so, anyway – there’s been far too much complex maths and codifying of guesswork in this bit)

Going (More) Digital

Over the last month, I’ve upgraded and/or invested in a couple of new bits of hardware for media, and it’s been an interesting journey so far.

The first bit happened once I’d bought the new TV, and has been the addition of an AppleTV – which gives me far better access to various streaming services etc., and lets me watch them on a decent screen instead of on the laptop or phone. So far I’m pretty impressed with it – although the initial setup was a pain in the bits, until I’d finally figured out one thing that wasn’t mentioned anywhere except on the first screen.  If you’re on that first screen – or if you’ve reset the bloody thing so you can see that screen again – you can touch an iPhone to the AppleTV and it gets all the settings across automatically. Wifi details, iTunes account details, etc. – which makes things very easy indeed.

There hadn’t been any real point in getting the AppleTV ’til I’d got the new TV screen – the previous one wasn’t that great, and once it had been knackered, I was more interested in replacing it, rather than in showing AppleTV/Streaming stuff on a knackered screen.  But it’s good now.

I’ll write more about it at some point, as my use of it gets more advanced and more noteworthy.

The second thing is more for the office than for home (although as and when I give up the office, it’ll come home and be used there instead) and that’s a digital radio. Yes, I could’ve just bought a normal radio for less, but I was actually interested in the channels that are digital-only (including BBC Radio 6 etc.) as well as the ‘normal’ ones.  And yes, I can listen to those stations via t’internet and streaming, but it still takes up bandwidth, and means the laptop is working harder, with less decent sound quality.

I’ve only used the radio for a couple of days so far, but I can’t deny, I like it. Set-up was an absolute doddle – turn it on, let it scan, job done. I’ve set up some favourite stations and so on, but in general it’s just a decent bit of kit with better sound quality, and it’s nice to use. And it’s good to have some music to work to, as well.  Sure, I’ll probably also set it up so I can play stuff from phone/laptop into it, but for now it’s good just to have the radio going.

 

Bloody hell, I’m entering the 21st century…

Post Navigation