Wise Words – Yoda

After a situation at work today, where an individual became very desperate I was reflecting on how they possibly got themselves into such a mental state.   Considering the fact that there is an assimilation process which may or will likely lead to departures its been getting a bit fraught.   

Not 100%  why but I thought about this clip from Yoda.

  • Fear of people losing, jobs or income or anything leads to them becoming anger.
  • The anger is then vented either internally or externally
  • They either suffer or others suffer

Future of Retail – Ha!

On Friday I was shopping in a department store in Derby, I wont name them but the other week they announced 50 stores would be closing, putting at risk 4000 jobs.   

My wife had picked up a jumper and as I stood there and got thinking.  Remeber how a few years ago this was going to be the future of shopping with the introduction of the internet.

You would walk into a store, and have a smart mirror that would let you pick accessories to go with an outfit, or even let you see it in other colors.   Instead of a smart mirror, we walked the entire first floor looking for a normal mirror, not smart just a reflective surface!    
Its no wonder now that stores are struggling, if they cant even do the basics.

If you go into a high street store in the UK, the tills are probably backed up with customers.  However not for people buying things from the shops, but people returning things they had brought online.   Why not buy it online when you can have credit of up to £1000 buy the same top in every color and two sizes as well, and then just return the ones you dont want.

The fact that more stores haven’t introduced Amazon style click and collect boxes in stores just shows how slow they are to react but quick to complain that Amazon is destroying them.  Even a well known supermarket in the UK has a click and collect service, that lets you do a digital return but then you just throw the item into a secure bin.

Walking through the town today, 7 weeks from Christmas there must have been 10 shops in a small shopping center that had closed down.  Its no surprise, I think you would probably do better opening a shop to act as a postage point for people who work in the town, and then handle their returns for them.  Unfortunate for more big names will die, because they are not embracing technology or even thinking outside of what they have done before. 

Legacy or walk away?

Just over a year ago I started a new job, and there were two things that made me take the job.  One it’s working for an organisation that helps people that are at risk and need help, so a chance to help contribute to making a difference was a big thing.  The second being that there was a lot of disruption within the IT function and it was a chance to put this right, and I was looking for a challenge.

I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve not really had issues with internal politics, a bit of moaning but not that bad. However over the last few months this has been an issue.

The organisation I work for merged and we have two teams that are different styles trying to work together, I say trying, I am not so sure.   There are weekly clashes on policy and approach and it’s draining to feel everyday there is some new “battle” awaiting you.

When I mean battle it’s things like someone has changed how a system works but haven’t considered the other organisation, or a major decision has been made with no consideration of anything.  Even when you flag things it’s ignored.

It’s as that point where I think enough is enough, and it maybe time to move on. There’s an opportunity to shape the future but then I think have I the energy for another 12 months of politics.

However I then think what would you like to leave behind? Now this isn’t some ego thing, but I wouldn’t want to just walk away and things be no better than before.  I am two weeks from finishing a major service now project and want that to work.  So do I stay and get a couple of phases of development under my belt, however given I didn’t come into do this I am not so sure.

It’s all something I’m giving a lot of thought to and the next week will be crucial.

Time lapse Twickenham

I do like a good time lapse and I’d like to get better at these to be honest.  However I’m still impressed that I can stick a smartphone in a window and capture the world passing by.

Last week I was in a hotel in Twickenham and saw the opportunity, so stuck my iPhone in the window and went to dinner.  The result wasn’t spectacular but I was still impressed.

We have come a long way

Last week Apple released the new Iphone’s to the world, with OLED Screens, and awesome camera features, they look amazing, if a little pricey as ever! I currently have an Iphone SE that to be honest the battery is shot on, and is being quite janky.   I am looking to see if ios12 will improve this, but ill be honest an Iphone XR looks a good option at the momment. 

I currently have an Iphone SE that to be honest the battery is shot on, and is being quite janky.   I am looking to see if ios12 will improve this, but ill be honest an Iphone XR looks a good option at the moment.   If I could afford the XS I think I would go that way, but I am trying to think how often I have used the zoom feature on my work 7Plus.

So while going through some photos just it was ironic that I came across a picture I saw in March this year, if you consider what an Iphone XS Costs, and the the fact that it has more processing power than the computers that put Neil Armstrong on the moon.  We have come along way, baby!  A 10MB Hard Disk for more than twice the cost of a 512GB Iphone XS!   We have come along way since the 1980s!

App of the Week – Hole.io

My son recently introduced me to the mobile game Hole.io, and its genius in its simplicity.  You are a black hole that you control by moving your finger around the screen.  As you eat people, cars, buildings and other objects you get bigger and bigger.  The main game is a race over 2 minutes to see who can eat the most things and score the most points.   

As with most games these days, the more you play you are rewarded with skins for your hole (sounds weird).  There are also other games as part of the app with last hole standing, as well as how much of the map you can eat in 2 minutes.  The game is add supported, but as usual can pay to remove these. There has also recently been an update that has added an extra 2 terrains to the game.  

One of the brilliant bits as well of this game is that you can create a game room, and then play anyone within Bluetooth range at the game.  I have quite enjoyed playing this with my son, but also had a few crafty games at work.  The performance doesn’t really lag and it plays quiet well.

What I didn’t know until writing this was that its also a browser based game and you play this on your desktop as well using a mouse/touchpad.

Switching Off

We have just come out of the August Bank Holiday in the UK, and I felt more refreshed in those 3 days than I did in my week away a few weeks ago.  I think there are a couple of factors this and its probably a sign that something is wrong.

When I was away, I made the mistake of checking in to my email, why!  Like the rule of nothing good happens after 2am, nothing good comes from checking your email.  I’m not going to have an email in my work account telling me I have won the lottery, or got a promotion.   So I made that mistake, see things with no context and generally wind myself up.

Where as the long bank holiday means also everyone else is in that position, and so there is no email, no crap & politics and so you do shut of and recharge.

This has made me think a little more about having more structure to my week to allow me to recharge more.   I am trying to get myself moving more to help shift some weight, which while I want to get running again, I need to just move.   Also I want to try and do some personal development, so looking to set a side a night a week to do this.   As this development focuses around some development work, this will be a mix of work stuff as well.   Which as I benefit from I dont mind, but I am also making the point of not doing day to day work, email etc, that stuff can stay during the day.  

Grains of Sand

A few posts ago I was talking about the project that I am working on to relaunch our instance of Service Now.   Unfortunately an issue in the way that commutations would flow prevented any real progress and lost us 3 weeks.   This was a major kicker and lost us a lot of momentum.

We tried to pick this back up again, but due to people leaving and it being a popular time for holidays, its been hard to get it going again.  Work requests are piling up for day to day tasks, plus with the business going through a merger we are struggling for time to focus.

More and more work is coming in and means the older stuff is slipping to the back.  We are suffering from a real lack of steer and direction to help us priorities and its really sapping my energy at the moment.

An analogy I used the other day is that its like grains of sand, you add more and the older ones slip to the bottom, and don’t resurface. 

Truth be told we need time to sit and work this out but with resources thin we are not getting anyway.  Really not sure what the answer is at the moment, but its draining. 

Work is Hard

The other day I was in the lucky position of being able to work from home during the summer holidays to keep an eye on the kids.  However everything went sideways and a major incident involving printing and other crisis kind of ruined my plans.  Later that day I was talking to the kids about the fact work sometimes is like this and sometimes you just have to put the effort into get the job done.  However I also pointed out I’m lucky in that I work in an office, not a factory or a mine and so my definition of hard work is miles away from others.

Today I was talking to a colleague about how busy it is at the moment.  Within my immediate team we are down on resource to resignation and holidays and were also going through major business change.  Now I don’t actually mind being on my own, I’ve been used to that in my last two roles.  While I have had a team  I was the on,y one in my role and so it’s all on you.  In my current role that’s not the case and it makes it difficult at times mainly because sharing information isn’t critical until  it, that person isn’t there.

So back to my point, as we were talking I mentioned that I don’t mind being this stretched  and do like it in some dark way.  However after working for 12 hours for a few days, a thank you wouldn’t hurt.  To which he replied, that’s why you get paid.    This struck me, and he is right, that’s why I get paid a salary that at times I feel awkward about, and reminded me of this clip from Mad Men when Peggy is complaining about he lack of credit, god I miss that show.

Do I feel any less stretched, no! However has it remind me that that’s why it’s called work.

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them – Ann Landers


Crazy Ideas

I’m a big fan of the Simpsons, and recently Sky in the UK have been showing them in order from the first series. It makes you appreciate how long it’s been on but also how good some of the early stuff is. The more recent series have been a little unmeroable, although there is one that sticks out.

This is the episode where Elon Musk visits Springfield and automates the Nuclear Power plant. However my favourite part of this episode is that Homer becomes his Muse and his ramblings or homerisms in a car journey trigger inspiration.

This got me thinking what crazy ideas I could come up with that could be real products.

Window wipers that refill from rain water, why do they always run out of water at the wrong time.

Artificial intelligence that knows I don’t want to hear Christmas songs when shuffle is on music in the middle of summer, or in fact any time other than December!!

A toaster that can charge your tablet or phone via wireless charging, must pop when charged. Imagine placing your device in that slot. (This probably would t be that hard with a wireless charger and the heating ripped out of a toaster)