Monday, April 30, 2007


With the start of NewJobTM now only two weeks away, the roller-coaster of emotion gathers pace.

Among the thoughts running through my head - along with "I know I saw a can vending machine .. but where will I get coffee from? - is the concern that I'll be incommunicado at my new desk. The thought fills me with dread. Currently - thanks to some inconsistency in company policy, legacy installations and a little tunnelling - I can access MSN, AOL AIM, Yahoo IM, GoogleTalk, ICQ and Googlemail. I use these tools on a daily basis. These, plus general access to the web enable me to research, study and, yes, talk with my family and friends.

Is it reasonable to expect communication with the outside world? Is it reasonable to cut workers off from the outside world? I've long been in the, perhaps, privileged position of being trusted. I hope that I've rewarded that trust by not abusing it and be being a good, productive worker. Between the chats with the missus, of course.

All this brings me to an interesting thought: will the next generation change attitudes to the exclusivity of work? My experience of modern teenagers is that they are rarely - if ever - out of touch with their social group. My daughter is often texting, IMing and MySpacing several friends. Simultaneously. How will she cope with an employer who bans outside interruptions? She soon starts a week of work experience. I'll listen with interest ...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bloody Sky+

For the second time now, we've lost all our Sky+ recordings. Do we get any compensation? Do we buggery.

The first time was soon after we took up the service. Our Sky+ box was unable to record a programme whilst watching another, and any attempt to record two programmes simultaneously resulted in one failing. It transpired that one of the aerial inputs was not connecting properly, and the technician sent to resolve the problem ended up snapping off the wire in the socket. This meant that we had to have a replacement Sky+ box - and transferring our recordings was not an option.

Just the other day, we returned home from an evening out. We settled down to watch a recorded programme - to be told that there were no recorded programmes. The day before there was only 4% left - so we knew this was wrong. It quickly became apparent that our Sky+ box was acting as if we had no Sky+ subscription - we couldn't record anything or set reminders. Having spent half an hour on their 087 support number I was told that the only course of action was to to a "full system reset" - wiping the hard drive.

Now I know that the copyright rules mean that you're only allowed to "temporarily" keep programme recordings - but the kids are devastated. All the recent Dr Who episodes have been lost. A number of files we'd wanted to watch have been lost. Lost has been lost. It turns out they're "upgrading" the Sky+ boxes for the new "Sky Anytime" service. Some improvement.

All this comes during the end-of-warrantee phase where they're shassling us (three letters, now) to take up some £100/year extended warrantee. We're seriously considering jacking in the whole Sky thing and going Freeview.

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Job

What's that sound? It's the sound of a cat being let out of a bag, that is. That being done, I can (finally) announce that I'm leaving CurrentJobTM for NewJobTM.

This is - I hope - a step in the right direction (away from disorganization and frustration; towards fun and reward). Certainly it is a step change for the better in job function, and I believe (watch this space) a step back towards a working environment I really loved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


My eldest daughter hates me, now - apparently.

It seems it's not every teenage girl's dream to be aired on YouTube. Despite what the popular meedja would have you believe. (MySpace is currently *the* communication medium of choice among her cohorts.)

I had originally tapped in a rant about inappropriate use of communications media here. In particular the choice of using email to warn the students at Virginia Tech that a gunman was on the loose. However, I feel it's better to pause for thought and reflect on the tragedy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Static Shock

The kids have invented a new game this weekend. They haven't named it, so I'm calling it "Static Shock".

To play, you need a large trampoline with a man-made fibre mat and a warm day. The aim of the game is to give your opponent a static electric shock. The tramp mat gives the source of charge - but beware! while you're charging up, your opponent will be after you!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Week away

.. in the sun. Revisiting old haunts and meeting up with friends we've not seen in a while.

I'm glad to say that I do not feel a desire to go back. I'm glad to say that I felt happy to be home again afterwards. In fact I was glad that I was glad. If that makes sense.

I guess we're still reassuring ourselves that we belong where we do, now. And we are reassured.