Ramblings of an IT Consultant

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

Is Christmas just an excuse?

In Just for Fun, Technology on November 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

For some Christmas is an excuse for a good time.  In the  weeks running unto Christmas, we all rush about trying to find the perfect gift for friends and family, it’s an excuse to spoil them! We also spend the time attending parties, which is another excuse to drink too much and stay out late having a good time. Then when the big day comes it’s another great excuse to eat and drink too much before falling asleep in front of the sofa.

Over the past week I find myself talking to clients about work that they require, and I find myself planning my time after Christmas. I don’t seem to be the only person doing this.  I have also noticed that my clients are also doing the same thing. Today is only the 15th november, so why does it seem that everyone is slowing down for Christmas already?

For me the events of the year have taken their toll.  It’s not been a bad year all in all.  I have a new a wife, become an uncle and had a really good year business wise.  But on the other hand I have had to help my wife with the sudden loss of her mother.  With everything going on I seem to be feeling the need of a long break, and Christmas is the opportunity for that.

Maybe my customers have had their fair share of ups and downs too.  Its been a bad year financially for lots of businesses, tough choices have had to be made and nobody is quite sure what the effects of the governments cut backs has in store for the next few years.  So for them maybe it’s an excuse to take a step back and spend some quality time with the family.

Whatever the reason, for me and a lot of others it would seem that the Christmas break could not come soon enough.  So what is your Christmas excuse?

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Feeling Guilty on a Sunday!

In Just for Fun on November 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

It’s 5:40pm on a Sunday and I have been feeling guilty all day.  Before you wonder, I have not upset the wife, spent all day on the sofa watching sport or even spent all day reading the papers and then dozing on the sofa.  In fact since  getting up after my wife brought a cup of tea to bed,  I have been quite busy.  My day eventually started by making bacon sandwiches and then cleaning up the large amount of mess from making said bacon sandwiches.  I also went shopping for the ingredients for dinner tonight, and finally started to cook dinner.  Later I will have to clean up the war zone of a kitchen!  Oh and dinner is a curry which  is bubbling away quite nicely, just in case you are interested!

So after all of that why do I feel guilty?  Well I have had a busy working week and did not manage to get through all of my work.  I promised myself I would do what had to be done today so I could start afresh tomorrow.  It’s odd because no matter how much I try to rationalise the fact that I deserve time off like everyone else, I still feel guilty.  I suppose it can be hard, working for yourself and finding a good balance.

Before I met and eventually married the current Mrs G, I would pretend to work all of the hours I could,  just to keep myself occupied.  However looking back on those times I realise they were less productive, as I would spend most of my time surfing the internet or playing poker on Facebook.  I was working weekends because my life was unstructured.  I work best under pressure, and not doing much during the week was doing just that!

Now I know I have to put 100% into my day as I want to spend the evenings and weekend with the wife.  This has had a very positive effect on my business and my working life.  My customers are a lot happier and are receiving the service they deserve.  As a result I am getting more work and positive feedback.

In conclusion, I will go finish off cooking dinner, get ready for mindless Sunday night TV and banish any thoughts of guilt from my mind.  If I ever feel guilty again on a Sunday, or a Saturday for that matter, I will force myself to read this post again!

Pointless but funny!

In Just for Fun, Technology on October 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I was looking through twitter and I came across this video on Youtube which as recommended by Jonathan Ross.  One of the funniest videos I seen in a while! Thought it could add some fun to my fellow bloggers day.  It is technology based sort of…… well its on YouTube! Baby Monkey (Going Backwards On A Pig) – Parry Gripp Enjoy!

Top 10 Reasons to pull your hair out at work

In Just for Fun, Technology on October 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

As a software consultant I get pleasure of working with other peoples handy work.  Generally in most consultancy jobs I can spot good and bad bits and so I decided to list of top 10 gripes.  Whilst putting this list together I realised that this list could apply to any job.  Also if you are a client of mine this is not personal to you its just been one of those days! 

  1. The client calls you with a very complicated programming problem and then expects to you explain how to resolve it over the phone
  2. After explaining it to them over the phone you realise it would have been quicker and a lot less stress to drive to their site in Newcastle to do it yourself
  3. Your drive there and fix the problem in 1 1/2  hours and realising there is not a days work to do and the client expects not to pay for your time
  4. You arrive on site to fix an issue and after a 3 hour drive you find if they spelt correctly it would have probably worked for them too
  5. You arrive to take a look at an error in their code and try to fix it only to waste at least 3 hours before realising that if you had started again you would be in a pub somewhere by now
  6. They think a weeks work can be done in a day don’t but dont really want to pay a days money either
  7. No matter how many times you tell the customer that you dont program in clingon the customer still expects you to take a look
  8. Someone buys a ready made solution and thinks you can understand it and change it with a 30 second look at the programming when it would be easier and cheaper to start again
  9. The client believes that if you are not working on their site then the chances are your not working for them at all.  Ok so sometimes you do go and do something else but generally you work harder without the distractions
  10. The client changes their requirement at the last minute and you have to more or less start from scratch before the 2hr deadline is upon you

So there are my top 10 I am sure most of you can add to that!  Feel free to leave your comments on your bad day in the office.

The Juggler

In Just for Fun, Uncategorized on September 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Oh how I wish I could juggle!  Not that I would like to be in a circus, although sometimes I feel like I am.   It’s only Tuesday and I feel like I could do with tomorrow being Saturday.  Today has been one of those days where my plans flew out of the window.  I have a website to get finished for one of my clients that I need to have complete by 10am on Thursday.

So my day began trying to clear all of the small stuff off of my desk, only for new stuff to arrive.  Then people started to arrive for a little chat or some help with their work. I gathered my thoughts and carried on through the workload, only to receive an email about something I should have done but I hadn’t, not because I forgotten to do it, but I had not received the original email asking me to do the thing I hadn’t done.  I could see the closing straight at about 5 o’clock and thought only 3 more jobs and a blog to write.  But then the phone went with someone needing something done in a hurry.  Helped them out and the phone went with someone wanting some programming advice, only for the phone to go again with the original person needing more help.  In my job, everyone else thinks their work is more important than mine!

My wife came home to this stressed out wreck in the corner!  So I need juggling lessons or maybe I need to learn to say I am too busy.  Who knows but its been a long day!  Everyone thinks that working for yourself has its perks but I can’t find any.  The thing is, would I change my life and get a job?  No!  Why not?  Well, although it’s stressful, I like my job and the feeling of achievement with the ability to help others.  Now . . . where did I put those juggling balls?

Apple IPad a gimmick or a business tool?

In Apple IPad, Applie IPhone, Just for Fun on September 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I love technology and as soon as I knew the IPad was coming out I wanted one.  The odd thing was, I never bothered to find out the actual date it was coming out.  Even back then I could not workout what I wanted one for.  I have an IPhone and every time I looked at the IPad to me it looked like a large phone.  So I think I must have put the IPad to the back of my mind.  My Friend Janine contacted me a few weeks before the launch to let me know that she had pre-ordered hers, she was so excited about it.  Still I had this nagging in my head that I had to have one but still could not justify it and put it to the back of my mind once more.

A couple of weeks later my wife came home and casually mentioned to me that the IPad was released.  From that moment I had to have one.  I knew that I would torment myself until I had brought one.  But I had a stumbling block…..  The wife.  We had only been married a month and to be honest I had no idea how she would be about such a large and seemingly pointless purchase.  She was great and asked how it would be used as part of my business.  I had no real idea but thought it could be used with demonstrations of websites I work on as well as emailing.  To be honest even I knew I had no real use for it but I wanted one.  My wife left for work and less then 15 minutes later I was hot on my heels to the Apple Store.  Once there the sales guy asked if I wanted a demo.  Obviously I said no and left 10 minutes later with my new 16gb IPad with 3G.

Later on that evening when I got it home I had a little play with it but instantly the better half had hold of it and was surfing the web.  She had some work stuff to sort out and rather than fire up the laptop she used the IPad.  To be honest for a week or so afterwards it just sat on the coffee table unused and unloved.  Then after a while we started to use it to look things up that we had seen on the TV.  We both like reading books and we started to download Ibooks.  We then set about uploading our wedding album onto the IPad and then took it around to the family so they could see the photos.  Then we progressed onto games that would could both play together, we got quite competitive about playing draughts of all things!  So all in all we can both agree its a great toy to have on the coffee table.  We even took it on holiday with us and found it useful when looking up places to go.  The thing is we could have done most of what we do with the IPad on the IPhone but the IPad makes it so much easier.  Even my wife admits its one of the best things we have bought since we got married.

So what about the IPad in business?  You know what, I really don’t know.  I have used it twice when out and replied to emails and read a few documents, but thats as far as it goes.  I have installed a remote desktop connection to my home PC and to my web servers and am convinced it will be useful one day.  My friend came in today and tried to make me agree that the IPad is not a business tool but and just a gimmick.  It struck me that I still could not agree to that. 

So what do you think?  Are you still trying to convince yourself that its not just a toy or is their a real business need for the IPad?