Archive for the 'personal' Category

Thinking in paperback

June 17th, 2010

I found myself thinking a lot about books today, those rectangular things with their covers artistically crafted to lure us in, our noses stuck in them, eventually to be found mysteriously at the bottom of a bag or box with scruffy corners but no less valuable to us because of their contents and what they mean to us.

Our whole media world is busy going digital, we’ve seen this have a huge impact on some industries, especially the music industry which has been slow to adapt to the changing way that consumers behave. If the consumer wants it, they want it immediately, so digital music makes a lot of sense as a platform.

Logically it should be the same for books. Amazon released the Kindle, Sony followed closely behind with the Reader which has been heavily backed by Waterstone’s in the UK, Apple are late to the party but are claiming to revolutionise the way we read books with the iPad (who wants to travel with lots of books when you can take a sliver of aluminium and glass that you need to charge constantly).

On the London Underground this morning a business man was sporting a flashy new iPad, I was half expecting that he’d be nose deep in a novel or checking his email or some such, but no he was heavily stuck in a maze of menus, quickly realising with a pained expression that he had no connectivity to the Internet so anything that he didn’t already have on his iPad, he couldn’t get access to.

In the digital industry we’re always chanting content is king, and we’re always going on about the importance of simplicity, so at the very basic level I think those are clear reasons that the trusty paper book could continue to beat it’s electronic equivalent, but I can’t help thinking there is something just a little bit magical to them as well.

Books seem to have personalities of their own, they’re compact and happy to be carried around with you, letting you dive into the world they create for you whenever you want. They’re try not to be complicated, other than the alluring cover it’s no frills and no distractions.

We can’t seem to part with our books when we’re done with them. What is it that makes us cling on to them even though we might not read them again for years? We’ll might lend them to our friends, we might go as far as swapping them for other books, but we just won’t part with them for money alone.

Maybe they have some hidden cosmic value that we simply can’t put a figure on once we’ve been taken in by their story, or maybe I’m just crazy. Either way you have my colleague Ray, the random business man on the tube, and a client I’m working with at Waterstone’s to blame for this rambling!

Boxed in

June 17th, 2007

Back in October of last year after being locked in a stressful half year haze of soliciation I finally completed on the purchase of my first home, a one bedroom flat in London. I was quite lucky that the flat is located within reasonable distance of buses and the tube network, and most of the flat has been left in good condition.

The kitchen however was one thing that absolutely needed changing as it’s been around for about ten years; the cooker is outdated, the styling is far from modern, the walls were yellow (yes, yellow…) and the lighting… well that’d be a strip light.

I looked around at all the various providers in the UK (MFI, Magnet, etc), MFI by far had the largest range within my price range but lost my custom simply by the attitude of the sales person when confronted with the small size (1.9m x 2.1m) of my kitchen. Magnet have a gorgeous range but given the cost versus the amount of time I’m likely to live in this flat, it would probably have no return.

At the time the sales were in full swing and though not my first choice, a colleague of mine had a relative working as a kitchen sales advisor for B&Q’s kitchen department. I was spoilt rotten as he drove all the way from the Cardiff store to visit me and helped me plan out the layout for the new kitchen which nobody seemed to actually care about, have to love the Welsh (or anybody out of London) for their politeness.

So we’re six months down the line now and my living room is basically full of flat pack kitchen parts stacked against the walls, appliances, and that’s not where it ends as not everything would navigate the tight hallways in my block of flats, so some of it is out in the hall.

I’m feeling really boxed in and this is only really the beginning of it as my living room looks in to my kitchen, so on my week off whilst the kitchen is being fitted I’m going to either be trapped in my bedroom to give the fitters space to get on with it, or I’m just going to have to get out of here.

The fitters are already running late, we were supposed to be starting on Friday to skim the ceiling. It’s really important to try and get the ceiling work done first so that no painting is required once the new units have been fitted, obviously this reduces the risk of damaging them before the work is even completed.

Two hours after the fitter was meant to arrive I’d heard nothing. After a few phone conversations with his boss it turns out that his car had broken down, but nobody had communicated with anybody, and certainly nobody had bothered to communicate with me.

I hope that tomorrow morning we get off to a good start so that I can enjoy my new kitchen without too many issues, and it goes without saying that the sooner I can reclaim my space, the sooner my stresses will fade away.

A change (for the better)

June 11th, 2007

The past year I doubt anybody has really seen me out and about much, I’ve invested most of my time in decorating my new flat, my career, but socially I’ve been a bit of a hermit (I hate that word).

Over a coffee in Soho square not so long ago a friend of mine told me a story about some Russian friends of his family that were visiting the United Kingdom; they had some ‘interesting’ views if not a little rude on the way British women present themselves and how they considered the average British person’s priorities to be wrong. Are they right?

I got promoted earlier in this year to be technical co-ordinator at one of our company offices, it’s an awkward title and an even more awkward role; essentially it was meant to be my task to transform the way project managers and account managers thought about the technical requirements for projects and ensure that technical architects and developers are engaged at the right time to be able to plan and deliver projects successfully.

An excellent opportunity, but one that requires a great deal of trust and respect from senior colleagues before you can give a respected opinion and start changing peoples mindsets. This is one opportunity that did not turn out as planned, unfortuantely I ended up being spread into the resourcing system gaps like wood filler.

I’m one of those people that likes to learn whatever I can and solve problems, so I’m good at filling the gaps… it just got too stressful though with no sign of anybody actually wanting to plan for the future or take any weight off of me.

At my company due to our size we are broken down into smaller teams called ecosystems, and thankfully my management have listened and I am now being moved into another of these smaller teams where I will most likely be on much larger projects and have a lot more that I can contribute to.

I also benefit from the fact that the office this team is based in is thirty minutes closer to home. So that’s less stress, and a shorter commute, not to mention summer is right around the corner. I’m just going to hold that thought for a while.

No room for fraud, thanks…

June 21st, 2006

I decided to pay off my credit card this morning because things are moving ahead quite quickly with the flat I’m purchasing and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have anything outstanding to worry about before all the big money needed to move around for it.

When it comes to checking over statements I am not the best person, I buy from a lot of different locations as I move around through London on my way home or when I’m just experiencing things at the weekends, but this morning I noticed a debit that had come out from a post office in a location that I knew I hadn’t been to, and besides I’d rarely ever be seen in a post office with the queues that seem to form in them.

I won’t give out any details, but a relatively small amount has been taken from my account, which I’ve reported to my banks fraud department. I was talking to a friend about it this morning and by possibly the strangest co-incidence he has also been charged an amount by the same mystery post office.

Both amounts were small, so whoever has managed to gather our collective details is smart enough to have tried for amounts that wouldn’t be noticed, but I am still a little upset that we live in a society where people feel within their rights to go to such lengths to take from others.

A large majority of people work hard for their income and their personal possessions, these become part of our livelyhood. Many of those people share with others, be it to a charity or to friends, associates and colleagues via other means.

The people who have the “courage” to commit fraud, taking from the hard workers, an act of hiding behind many guises unable to face the world, what do they actually offer to society? All they are doing is taking from it, with not a care for who their victims are or what situations their victims may be in. I simply don’t understand it, and definately don’t think their is any room for it in our rapidly evolving society.

Finding some balance

June 19th, 2006

I’m finding it increasingly difficult at the moment to find a balance between the amount of time spent contributing to work, the amount of time I spend attempting to be social and the amount of time that is spent on personal projects such as getting my own blog off it’s feet and into a prettier outfit.

Tonight for instance, I wanted to work on the bugs with the theme I was working on for WordPress for my own blog (where you happen to be reading); by the time I’d finished deploying various new features for a client site live and then enjoyed (fallen asleep during) a tube journey home, it was already edging towards 9pm.

Sure, I don’t need to spend time in front of a computer geeking away when that’s what I’ve been doing all day, but it is something that I wanted to do tonight and there are only so many hours in the day before you’re required to get into bed and recharge the batteries before the commercial world comes to get you again.

It’s been suggested that we’ll be moving offices in six to nine months, and the locations that the company have been looking at would probably cut my journey in the mornings and on the way home down from over an hour each way, to half an hour each way. It might not sound like a huge difference for those that have the luxury of a short walk or drive to work, but over here that means less time in the stuffy underground transport system, and an entire hour of the day reclaimed!

Until then I’ll have to make do and remember to get some of that sleep stuff that everyone keeps telling me about… I seem to have been trying to substitute it recently with large amounts of caffiene.