That time of year again

It appears that this tradition (if three posts can be considered a tradition) is destined to be a biennial one; two years in a row is apparently too much for me. I do seem to remember writing one last year but it appears to be lost in the backlog of drafts I’m getting so good at ignoring.

Bundling these the two years together will be interesting; I’m not sure any two consecutive years of my life have been so different. Continue reading

Categories: Cycling, Everyday Happenings, Rowing, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who knows where the time goes?

I’ve been here for two weeks. How did that happen? There is very little in my life that hasn’t changed in those two weeks and yet I’m still left feeling like it’s been two days at most. Continue reading

Categories: Everyday Happenings, Training, Work | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Counting Down the Days

After nearly a year of aimlessness, my life is about to regain some direction. I have hopes this will bring all sorts of new wonders. Maybe I’ll post more than once every four months. Maybe I’ll sleep at a reasonable hour every night. Maybe these two contradict each other and I will fail on both counts trying to achieve the other.

Tomorrow I am visiting a rowing club with the aim of getting back to regular training as soon as possible.
I have a feeling it’s going to be a shock to the system. I’ve not trained at all (don’t even mention the 500 miles) recently and my hands haven’t held a blade handle for many months.
In roughly 60 hours I will be arriving at a new job doing something I hope I can both do and enjoy.
I can’t helping feeling they’ve made a mistake and will turn me away at the door, “Oh sorry, there’s been a bit of a mix up. You’re not the person we wanted to hire”.
In less than a week I move into my own flat.
Over a farm house in the middle of nowhere. I’ve lived in the middle of (a different) nowhere since I can remember and this still manages to look remote. Think single track roads and no other houses in sight. Still, it’s going to be mine, even if it is in a rented kind of way.

I don’t think I can pretend not to be an adult for much longer.

I’m an adult. Who knew?

Categories: Everyday Happenings, Rowing, Work | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

What do you do with contingency time?

It’s a common enough idea. If you need to be somewhere by a specific time, and being late isn’t an option, you throw in more time than you should need so that if something goes wrong you can deal with it. All well and good (in an ‘accepting your own inevitable failure’ type way) so far.

What happens though when you don’t fail? When things go right and your journey takes exactly as long as the internet told you it would?

Continue reading

Categories: Everyday Happenings, Work | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

The trouble with getting better at things

Is that by the time you get towards the end of a project you look back at the start and wonder what the hell you were doing. Two months ago I started a new job and learnt Python from scratch. A week or so into it I moved on to making a GUI and had to go through the learning process all over again.

My first tentative steps carried me through single buttons that said “Hello World” when you poked them, to popup windows whenever you pressed anything. The first rendition of my program was a mess. The first parts of it had some of the most inefficient code I’ve seen looking back at it. Everything was repeated for every element of each page and actions were carried out as one huge long procedural code block.

As I went along I got to the stage where something worked then moved onto the next, each time figuring out a better way of doing things. Single functions in loops paved the way for a whole lot less code and much easier debugging when things inevitably went wrong.

Slowly I got to the stage where my various superior people took copies and tried and tested it. Things were suggested and alterations were made. When these took me back to the first stuff I wrote, a small part of me died inside.

I’d obviously not done anything as useful as comment on anything. The only guidance as to what I’d been thinking was the string of “if debug: print(‘[Something is happening here]’)”s weaving through pages of solid code repeating itself through swathes of randomly named variables that had handily shortened names because I would obviously not forget what I was thinking. Right?

So when I was faced with such a wall of confusion, I did the only sensible option and started again from the beginning with a new plan and a big copy and paste stick.

This time it was the new and improved version. No more did new windows open for everything. No more do pages run off the page. The screen resolution no longer causes problems (“It’s fallen off the screen I can’t get it to do anything”). It’s almost looking like a program should. Or it would do if it wasn’t for the colour scheme. As part of the new thinking behind this version, things have been grouped together on the page so that functions can act on them all at once. To let me see where one group starts and another stops I have employed various colours. It was an appearance described as hideous, ugly and vile. I assume that’s not a selling point.

As I ran out of the standard “red”, “blue”, “green” etc I looked up what other named colours linux offers and found this list of named x11 colours to save the bother of figuring out hex codes as I went along. And I was thinking I’d run out soon. I think I’m safe on that front. Who knew ‘Dark Goldenrod’ (#B8860B) and ‘Peru’ (#CD853F) were even colours? I wonder what sort of situation would have people deciding and arguing over the merits of ‘papaya whip’ (#FFEFD5) when compared to ‘Lemon Chiffon’ (#FFFACD) and ‘Linen’ (#FAF0E6). This was a whole new world I’d discovered.

It turns out there are more than sixteen colours after all. Who knows what I’ll find out tomorrow?

Categories: No NaNoWriMo, Work | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The world of employment

Is about to be upon me. Knowing it would be inevitable eventually and choosing to face it now rather than let it catch me unawares later, I have a job. Going back to age old ways of getting a job, and proving it’s who you know not what you know, I am working for the company my father works at doing stuff I know precisely nothing not very much about. Through my degree I had taken every opportunity to avoid maths and had therefore spent much time doing computing modules. These focused on using c or java to make command line programs to do calculations of one sort or another, possibly with an input file being read somewhere.

A few years back while at school I did an IT project that entailed writing a spreadsheet for an existing company. I wrote one to help choose correct machine parts and provide a quote from a price list. Apparently it’s still being used by the sales department now.

These combined have apparently lead people to think I am good at, and enjoy, “computers”.

I was looking for a job based around something computery so Dad asked if they (the company) were looking for some “computery” stuff to be done. When they did, my services were put forward and I was offered an open ended position to sort the problems they were having.

So far so good. Until that point I assumed I would be doing more of the same and that I would spend my time finding out just how much I enjoyed MS Excel. Until I turned up to find out exactly what they wanted, that is. It turns out I’m writing bespoke software for collating and analysing customer complaints and warranty claims before moving onto the next items on their long and equally intimidating list. Out of my depth doesn’t really start to cover it. I told them this and they said I’m starting on the 3rd of September.

I think a baptism of fire followed by abseiling up an exponential learning curve (from what I can remember of the past three years I’m thinking I probably don’t mean exponential, maybe inverse or negative exponential – something like 1-e-x2?) are going to be the main events of September.

The week until then currently has me running around frantically trying to figure out the difference between SQL, mySQL and SQLite, whether CRUD is a good thing for software to offer and which way up php, Apache and visual basic go. It could be an interesting experience.

In the mean time, if anyone knows a diminutive fellow with an unusual long name with some time on his hands, could they send him my way?

Categories: Work | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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