Month: October 2015

Morning Coffee

I was woken up this morning by the bloke bringing me coffee in bed.

This has never happened before. I suspect that his reasoning was that he needed me to get up to let him out of the car park (the car park entrance is secured by a remote key), and the safest way to wake me up is by providing a suitable caffeinated offering. He is a wise man.

There are worse ways to be woken up at silly o clock on a weekend morning. This small gesture has also set me up for being in a good mood for the day, inspite of the early hour. Which I guess is probably the whole point of the post – such little things can be so awesome, and cost so little. I’d like to say that I’ll try harder, but really – a small thing like coffee in bed costs very little in terms of time or effort. So, I guess I’ll try and go forward by being more mindful that the little things can make someones day, and just make sure that I take the few seconds required to act on that.

My thoughts on Quotas

In the UK at the moment, there have been rather public criticisms that our Police are ‘too white’. In my internet reading, I also often come across articles about how there aren’t enough women in the board room. And various other quotas for different industries.

On one hand, I can see what is being driven at – equality, and this is all fair enough. However, I get very nervous at the all too predictable demand for ‘quotas’ to be put in to place to address these issues.

Here’s where I stand on it – I beleive in equality. I firmly beleive that every person should have an equal chance at a given oppurtunity. Quotas are, however, a slippery slope to reverse discrimination. Where does it stop?

As things are right now, I sometimes wonder if I have an easier time getting a job in my field due to looking great on a HR check sheet – female, wanting to be a software developer? Awesome! It’s demoralising to wonder if I have received a job offer not through virtue of being good at what I do, but through virtue of possessing lady bits.

So, I’m against quotas. They just reverse the problem to a different demographic. What I’d much rather see is the right person in the job – whatever it may be, and regardless of if the applicant is white, green, alien, etc.

If there is a worry that a minority is not being represented enough, by all means encourage anyone in that minority to apply for the job. Just don’t hire them based upon meeting some quota to show how ‘diverse’ you can be. That’s insanity – especially if the job role is something involving responsiblity. Hire the best person for the job, and see the job get done well.

Memory vs Understanding

I have a pretty good memory. Call it an ability or skill (I prefer the latter, personally), it was something I got thinking about today.

Now, I don’t remember *everything* – my memory is not photographic. I do remember anything I happen to pay attention to, though. It’s generally an ability I use to annoy, though it does let me sail through quite a lot of things. I can remember conversations word for word *, random numbers. Sometimes, entire modules of code if I happen to be the person who wrote it.

Here’s the thing though – while it’s handy, it doesn’t bring with it the ability to understand things. I think this is an important distinction, especially when I think about my education. I was able to get through my GCSE’s not by understanding the content, or even revising – but mainly by remembering things, and using logic for the rest, Later, I got more disciplined. and started actually revising. Although if I’m completely honest with myself, my academic success is down mainly to an ability to recite by rote as opposed to actually understanding things. I did get better at understanding the underlying material later during studying for my degree, as my own interest in the subject steered me that way.

There’s not really much point to this post other than random musing, I guess. What does bear thinking about – for me, at least – is that testing metrics throughout academic subjects are slightly off, if I can acknowledge that I didn’t always understand the underlying material, but still scored highly anyway. Maybe that’s why I always preferred coursework to exams, since it seemed more challenging, if only because I had to demonstrate an understanding of the work.

None of this means that I won’t continue to use my memory for evil to annoy to make life easier, of course. If anything, I may actually start looking into ways to improve my memory further as a little side project.

This is most likely down to the fact that I am female. All women have this ability, so that they can beat people around the head with what they said *years* after the event. True facts!

The joy of rent

I privately rent a single bedroom flat. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s somewhere I can live without the need to train up a new housemate – which suits me just fine. For the most part, I really enjoy being there.

The main things that bug me are generally control issues. I freely admit I am something of a control freak.

So, on to niggles:

Things break. I’d capable of fixing them myself (as I type this, one of the rings on my hob has blown, causing the power to trip if I forget and turn it on). Due to the agreement I signed,plus the thinking that there is no point in blowing my own cash on buying things for someone elses property, I have to wait for the landlord to send someone over to sort it out for me. In all fairness, my landlord is a good one – I rarely have to wait long. On the flip side, I know that I could get the part myself, and replace the part that is broken. Though personally – if it was up to me, and was my own place – I’d be upgrading my cooker to something that wasn’t built in the 80s.

Decorating. The coffee, beige and blue theme throughout was probably aesthetically pleasing and fashionable back in the 80’s. Now? Meh. But since it isn’t in a state of disrepair to warrant as wear and tear, the only way it will be sorted out is if I decide to fork out and do it myself. See previous mention of not wanting to blow my own cash on someone elses property – especially given how much I pay a month in rent.

Dead money. I’d much rather see a chunk of my cash disappearing into something that is *mine*.

Electric only. Yup, my flat has no gas supply. And no central heating system – electric radiators only. Which given I don’t really feel the cold, isn’t too much of an issue. My visitors and guests may get a bit chilly though. I could possibly get around this by just not inviting people over. 😀

No garden. This just makes me sad.

Given house prices in the area I live in, I estimate another 20 years until I can buy a place of my own. So, I’m kind of resigned to my situation. That does not mean that I don’t occasionally indulge my resentment over the whole thing when I can’t use my front right hob ring on my sadly outdated cooker though. Hmph!

Low-tech tools

At work, I spend a lot of time thinking (about work related things, for the most part!).

Now, some will no doubt have a million high tech tools that suit them well. My own choices keep getting downgraded to low-tech solutions.

The two main things in my office toolbox I couldn’t do without? My A3 whiteboard, and A6 notepad.

My current task is putting together a new application. Which is great fun – but for some of the components of it, I occasionally need to brainstorm or communicate my thinking to my colleagues so we dont trip over each other so much. My A3 whiteboard comes in very handy here, as I can sit people at my desk, show them some code, show a supporting internet page, and also have the entire diagram laid out (and quickly edited) – without needing to waste paper.

My pad gets used mainly to make notes to myself. I have a couple of new pages a day, mostly. I use this to write down my own arguments for/against a particular issue before going to talk to other people about it. This is still a fairly new habit of mine, but it is paying off. I have a tendency to jump from point to point then back again if I allow myself. Having my thoguhts ordered on a notepad before entering a meeting means I can keep myself on track from point to point.

Best point about both? I can easily carry them around with me. Personally, I always feel more official when I have my notepad with me – unlike carrying around my phone, which I suspect looks like I’m handling my social life all day. It’s like having a clipboard and a lab coat. All I need to complete the look are some nerdy specs, and I can totally start giving off a perception of a brain, despite evidence to the contrary.

Presentation Feedback

Today was a good day – I realised I must have made an impression with my presentation last Friday, as I had a few people approach me today to discuss it a bit more.

The feedback was largely positive – they found the presentation relevant, and it all made sense. I was even praised for my courage in presenting what I did, as one of the newer members of the team. The main advice I got was how to try and approach management with my points.

First and foremost – I naturally speak quickly. I speak even faster when I am either nervous, excited or passionate about something. Which, on Friday, I was all three. I struggle with slowing down my speech at the best of times. I do need to get better at it, especially since one of the guys pointed out that it made me seem nervous. He then went on to point out that if I seem nervous in front of management, I’ll probably get eaten alive. He has offered to coach me through future presentations, and even present with me – which I find to be pretty awesome, so I’ll bite his hand off for that!

One of the main pieces of advice to come through from all who approached me, however, was to try and focus more on numbers. I need to find a way to prove that what I am suggesting can save both time and money. This one will be more tricky. I may have to wait a few months until a few more projects finish, collect up some data, and attempt to crunch it into a format that can prove my point. However, not all the projects finish at the same time. The project that is ringing alarm bells for me is nearing completion – and I’m not one of the people working on it. Yet my own project, where I can prove that what I’m proposing has benefits, isn’t scheduled to complete until late next year.

So – I need data. My current sources of data may not even be comparable. My thinking cap is back on once again. Given current workloads though, I do have a bit of time to consider my approach to this, and now I have a bit more help in presenting it. All in all – I’ll take this as a win for now!

My current top 5 anime

I enjoy watching anime. My favourites are probably not the most commercially popular ones, but here are my current top 5:

  1. Bleach
    1. unlikely to be completed in anime form – you’ve been warned! I just love love love this, though. People running around with big swords slaying monstery things that normal people can’t see? Fabulous.
  2. Death Note
    1. You find yourself rooting for the bad guy throughout. Even though he’s crazy. And then crying halfway through when something happens to someone awesome. It kind of goes downhill after that point, but it still enjoyable. Worth watching!
  3. Fairy Tail
    1. Lighthearted, with over-the-top characters. What more could you want? Still on going.
  4. Full Metal Alchemist : Brotherhood
    1. Another very enjoyable one. I was gutted when it ended. Elric is awesome.
  5. Knights of Sidonia
    1. I came across this on Netflix. Still on going, but a nice sci-fi one for those who are bored of over-the-top sword fights. But how could you get bored of over-the-top sword fights? Crazy person.