jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-30 03:12 pm
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Woes of a techie

This morning while I was looking at our bug tracker, my laptop switched itself off. No error shutdown sequence. No blue screen of death. Just off. That's not good.

I went to lunch knowing I had to be back for a 2pm meeting. While I was out, the meeting was moved to 1:30. That's not good.

This afternoon the debugger didn't want to step in to the relevant bit of code. Then it told me it was executing blank lines. That's not good.

Can I go home now, please?
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-24 03:52 pm
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Death, part 2

I work in London. This means that I might be blown to pieces by a terrorist. It hasn't happened yet.

What can I do? The country is on a high terror alert, but I still go to work. As I came into the building, I was asked to show my security pass for the first time today. But I'm still more likely to be killed crossing the street.

I'm puzzled by terrorism. What do bombers hope to achieve? Everyone carries on as if nothing happened, but with extra security checks. Nothing changes. The IRA, the Nazis, religious fundamentalists - none of them have thought this through.

Anyway, if I get killed in an attack, please blow a big raspberry at whoever did it (profanities are optional, but satisfying) and carry on as normal. Play 20th Century Boy at my funeral, and no religion please.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-24 03:37 pm
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We had a message from YC the other day that he was OK, which made no sense until we realised there had been a bombing.

Lots of young people are dead, and I'm pleased that my kid isn't one of them. This is uncomfortably close to being pleased that someone else's kid died.

The next day I read the news about what happened. The government had responded. So what? There were stories about people helping - free taxi rides home for the people in the area, cafes giving food and drink to people affected and the emergency services, and people offering a bed/sofa/floor to anyone who couldn't get home. I had a little cry and missed an on-line meeting that I should have been in.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-24 03:20 pm
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Coffee machine, part 2

I was sceptical that the beans in the coffee machine were actually used. Today I hear from my (less sceptical) colleague that he's seen the coffee machine open, and the bean hopper is in fact quite large (not just a display thing in the door) and the woman who replenishes kitchen things was filling it up.

So when you get coffee from the machine, it grinds some beans to make it. Thanks heavens.

Then it adds powdered milk.

This may be the last coffee post, but I can't guarantee it.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-18 03:46 pm
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Don't let the coffee grind you down

The topic of discussion at work today is the coffee machine. It has a window at the front where you can see some coffee beans, so you might assume that it grinds some of those beans to make your coffee. But my contention is that they are just for show, and the coffee inside is already ground. I suggested this to a colleague, and he didn't want to believe me because he would feel cheated. Now he's told me that he thinks that the bean level in the window has gone up. I think that he might be seeing what he wants to see.

Rest assured that I'll keep you up to date with developments (if there are any).
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-17 11:15 am
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Writing email in Outlook, I used the sentence "So will I." It put a squiggly line under "I", and suggested "So will me."

Thanks, Microsoft.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-05-08 12:19 pm
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No time for breakfast this morning, so imagine my delight when I found that I still had some custard creams at work. Healthy and nutritious!
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-04-29 10:54 pm
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Film about films

Went to see Their Finest and enjoyed it. Good film, and the cinema had plenty of legroom. Kept trying to figure who one woman in it was: Rachael Stirling who was in Detectorists.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2017-04-23 12:53 am
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Joan Osborne

I went to see Joan Osborne. It was a somewhat unusual show. She's only appearing once in England, she's not promoting an album (because she's in the middle of recording one), and it was in a church (the Union Chapel in Islington - architecture!).

The album she's recording is Bob Dylan covers. Now I'm not a big fan of Bob Dylan, and covers can be a bit crap, but she did several excellent versions of songs by him. I particularly like Tangled Up in Blue (not a song I knew) and Highway 61 Revisited (which I did). A few times with the songs I knew I felt like she was making up the tune, then but Bob Dylan often isn't doing much more than speaking the words, so if you're a real singer you need to sing.

She did some of her own songs too. There was a (well deserved) big reception for Work on Me and when the clapping stopped she said "So you like the sexy ones, London. Mental note!"

The crowd was mostly older than me, so there was a lot of grey hair. We all sat politely in the chapel pews, although most people stood up to applaud at the end of the night.

Joan Osborne can sing like no one else I know and I had a great evening out. You should too if you get a chance.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-11-02 01:10 pm
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Cycling off

I ride a bicycle to the station on my way to work. Yesterday the velcro on my hi-vis jacket came undone, so I was doing that up with my left hand, and I tried to change gear with my right hand, but I pulled the brake lever instead of the gear lever, the front wheel stopped, I teetered a bit, fell, and hit my knee on the ground. Comical, if it hadn't hurt.

Since I've cycled regularly, I think that this is the fifth time I've come off. I've got a metal plate in my arm from one of them, but no permanent damage from the others. I usually ride when it's early, so I may not be that alert. Only one of them happened on the way home.

Obviously I should stop to adjust things. Catching the train is less important than physical safety, and cycling one handed was a contributing factor yesterday.

Also cycling is just riskier. I've never fallen off a car, and accidentally applying a car's brakes still leaves you sitting in the car.

I did once fall off a bus, but that's a different (but equally ridiculous) story.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-08-30 03:23 pm
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Meeting rule 1

Today I forgot the most important rule of meetings: don't go in to a meeting if you think you might need to pee. Eventually I had to bail, and that never looks good.

Edit: by "bail" I meant "leave the meeting", not "scoop out liquids". Just in case you were wondering.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-04-25 02:54 pm
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Weird train event of the day

A man near me was sitting doing not much. Suddenly he leaned forward to his bag, took out a belt, and put it on. Why?

Did he think his trousers would fall down when he stood up? He'd got to his seat without mishap.
Did he just like wearing an unnecessary belt? He'd put the belt in his bag instead of round his waist.

When he'd got the belt on, he carried on doing not much.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-03-24 11:19 am
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A Poor Outlook

I prefer web mail, but I'm currently forced to use Outlook, a bizarre and Byzantine behemoth* that frustrates me if I try anything beyond "write message" and "read message". Worst of all is the search, which often doesn't find things that are definitely there, and doesn't understand "quotes means phrase search".

But I found how to make it work: obscure words. I have a long-running email chain with the word "putative" in the subject, and Outlook finds those messages easily and quickly. So when you send a new message, get your thesaurus out.

*Apologies about annoying alliteration.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-03-17 12:17 pm
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I found this on a packet of tea:
The sun streams in through the window. Rain beats down on the roof. Wind rustles through the trees. Or a blanket of snow waits outside.

Whatever you wake up to, pop the kettle on and drink in the day.
Quite poetic for marketing blurb.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2016-02-29 11:18 am
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Overheard at work

"If you make it publicly available, everyone can see it."
Well... yes.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2015-12-14 03:59 pm
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Enjoying work

I had fun today. We had a problem on our live servers. An end user reported it. It hadn't been noticed by the developer, the code reviewer, the QA team, or the acceptance testers.

Why was it fun? Because just for once, we get to do fix-it-now, fly-by-the-seat-or-your-pants work. There's no lead time, no meetings, no prioritisation. "Find out what's wrong and fix it today."

Tomorrow, back to dull production line normal.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2015-11-18 07:35 pm
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This year I bought a new turntable, amp and speakers, so I can listen to vinyl again. Lots of old stuff I haven't heard for years has had another play. Two things jump out at me. The new equipment is a lot better than anything I had before, which surprised me - lots more detail in the sound. The other is that things I used to really like often don't sound as good as I remember (Parallel Lines was a surprisingly thin listen). My mind has a rose-tinted rear view mirror. A few things are much better. I had to listen to a live version of Red Barchetta several times (B-side of the single Subdivisions).
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2015-10-21 03:19 pm
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I saw Ghostbusters recently. It was pretty good. When the song asked "Who you gonna call?", lots of people answered.

One thing that I remembered clearly from seeing it years ago was the car they used, because I as a child had had a toy ambulance that shape.

But the strange thing about it was that I'd never seen an ambulance like that. Ambulances looked like this.

To resolve the confusion, child me decided that Americans are weird.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
2015-10-21 01:13 pm
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I like...

  • Afternoons
  • Raw carrots
  • Tea (if you make it in a teapot)
  • Trees
...and a lot of other things I can't recall at the minute.