Is everybody happy?

Are we all thoroughly enjoying Lockdown Life?

In a number of ways I don’t actually want it to go back to the old normal.

I’m enjoying WFHing, although I’m massively busier than when I was WFOing.

There are a few aspects to WFHing that are enjoyable:

  • The relaxed dress code (he said, in his shorts, and tie/dye t-shirt)
  • Seeing the puppers whenever I look down
  • Being able to roam around the garden with the dogs whenever I get a rare break
  • Being able to turn away from the laptop and the near back-to-back calls to play guitar for just five minutes (I’ve just added a new chord to my repertoire and as a result I’m now practising Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty)
  • The fairly regular deliveries of drinks and food to my side (at work I’d have to go and make my own drinks! I know! How will I ever get used to that?)
  • The sound of childish laughter from downstairs (oddly, there was never much childish laughter in either my building specifically, or from across the campus generally).

I realise that WFHing isn’t an option for a great many people. I also realise that there are a number of people for whom WFH isn’t their cup of tea.

But for me? I think it’s very good. And I’d like this to be the new normal.

Or, at the very least, my new normal.

Losing track of time?

I’m three weeks into WFH; it is proving an interesting experience.

Bits of my routine are the same, bits of it are very different.

As far as hours go, before the C-19 virus I was, averaging a spread of 95% to 105% of my working week.

But now I’m working on C-19 projects and my average spread of working hours/week is 125% to 140%.

I spend on average 40% of my day on Teams VCs/calls.

I haven’t committed any major visual errors yet, but did inadvertently give a few people a brief flash of my bathrobe this afternoon.

The dogs come and go, crashing through the dog flap at huge speed, so I tend to spend much of the day upstairs.

My reflexes get tested when one of the dogs jumps onto the bed and tries to walk across the keyboard, especially if I’m on a call.

Today is a Bank Holiday in India; yet I’ve been on calls with a number of offshore colleagues.

This week and next are supposed to be four-day weeks; Good Friday followed by Easter Monday; there is a possibility I might put in a couple of hours on both Bank Holidays.

What will be interesting, in the longer term, is whether employers embrace a post-virus shift away from working in those big, expensive offices, and allow a distributed workforce to carry on working from home.

It will also be worth keeping an eye on employers who recognise that if their staff can work from home, then those jobs could be done in India.

I’m looking at almost all of the Head Office functions of my former employer.

Oi people! No!

No thank you, I don’t want you to talk to me whilst I’m standing in the toilets having a wee.

And I don’t want you to engage me in conversation whilst you’re standing there peeing and I’m standing over at the sink washing my hands.

I think it’s a bit bloody weird for you to accept an incoming call while you are sitting in Trap 2 (or another other Trap), doing your business.

And I’d rather you didn’t make an outgoing call whilst you are seated in similar conditions.

Why would you think it was a good idea to nip to the toilet for a wee while you are on the (handsfree) phone to your nearest and dearest? Or to your bank? Or your insurance company?

We need some decent toilet etiquette to be introduced.

Or some phone etiquette.

But if ever I’m on the phone to someone and I suspect that they’re ‘using the facilities’, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to hang up.

Moving on

Last month (five weeks ago, to be precise) I carried out a decision I (we) made in the late summer last year.

I resigned from my job.

I don’t have another job to go to, but that’s not the point.

I’ve been in my current job for two years and two months, and in that time we have begun to change the company.

Big changes.

Changes in tech, changes in working practices, changes in staff capacity.

Changes that I started.

A lot of things have happened over the last two years and two months.

And the time, now, is right for me to move on.

Who knows what the future will bring?

I don’t, but as I work out my notice period the only thing I’m certain about is that I’m looking forward to it!

Working at home

Just ain’t what it used to be


Moons ago (maybe many, maybe few), working at home was a day spent concentrating on things that needed quiet time.

Respectful introspection.

Deep thought.

No, not the computer off of Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

The other kind of deep thought.

Working at home used to be a time of uninterrupted mental powerhousing, when I could sit down and read those annoyingly verbose documents, and get to grips with what the drafter actually meant.

I used to be able to work at home and take it as an opportunity to get to grips with over 600 unread emails.

Working at home used to give me, in a Supermanesque kind of way, my very own Fortress of Solitude, from where I could just get on with all the stuff that needed getting on with, and where I could do this in a completely uninterrupted manner.

I wouldn’t mind the little Lync (now Skype for Business) application sitting there broadcasting away to my colleagues, because I worked safe in the knowledge that I was actually working.

I was doing things.

And getting on with stuff.

Sadly those days seem to have vanished.

I have been working at home today.

And my Fortress of Solitude has been penetrated


I took my first and only break for a hot drink at 17.12.





Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.

But if I had been in the office, I would have had my first hot drink many hours earlier than TWELVE MINUTES PAST FIVE!

Who do I write to, to complain about this?

Not a dry eye in the house

I’ve just got back from a two day, company-wide conference in Cardiff.

My employer has an enormous Health & Safety programme; it is an ongoing information-based roll-out that is delivered to every employee, in every layer of the company.

This policy is a key strand to the company’s safety strategy, and safety is important when staff are working with highly dangerous materials.

On the first day of the staff conference, the company’s Health & Safety Advisor played us a video.

It’s called ‘Kate’s Story’, and it was shown to us under the heading of ‘complacency’.

If you have the time to spare (just 15 minutes) please give this short film a watch.

It doesn’t matter whether you work or not.

It doesn’t matter whether you work with dangerous materials or not.

Complacency can take many forms, and accidents can happen at any time or place – whether we are at work or not.

But please be aware that this video – this terrible, tragic, yet true story – has such emotional weight that it will, in all likelihood, reduce any viewer to tears.

Just as it reduced a room of 200 people to tears, at our staff conference, yesterday.

In transit

I’m slowly digesting a larger than sensible breakfast, sitting at the departure gate for Dubai, at Birmingham International Airport.

Is there a Birmingham Domestic Airport?

Or a Birmingham National Flights Only Airport?

Thought not.

Anyway, Dubai is just a transfer point on the way to Shanghai.

For a bit of a break.

Back Friday.

Back to Birmingham on Saturday for the Bike Show at the NEC.

Sunday will be domestic duties.

And on Monday I start a new career move, with a job in Syston.

I’m very excited, about the latter, and really looking forward to it.


Considering getting rid of the ZX9R and the Daytona, and buying a ZX10R.

Just for the lolz.


Uncle Sam owned/pwnd by the ECJ

Having a keen interest in ownership of data, and considerable experience in datacentre and public- and private-cloud hosting, today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice was expected.

The legal decision (that the ‘safe haven’ concept provided by US-owned/US-based corporations do not provide the consumer/or the in loco parentis data owner sufficient protection from illegal access by a foreign government) comes as absolutely no surprise.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook, Google (etc) react. But even more interesting will be how Amazon’s AWS and MS-Azure meet this challenge.

The court case result always was a foregone conclusion, but is this the point where the tech industry finally talks about the elephant that’s standing over there?

*points to the elephant standing over there*

Demolition, Saturday unsleeping, and other oddities

This morning the builders started knocking down a wall in the house. Not this house. The other one. The one we’ll be moving in to when the worst of the messy jobs has been done.

After I’d let them in I decided to take advantage of the weather, and do a spot of cleaning. And lubing.

Sparkly clean motorbike chain!

Then I went to bed around 11.30 because I’m working tonight – 18.00 – 05.00.

Unfortunately my superpower – the ability that almost compels me to feel very drowsy at 14.00 on a weekday (embarrassing!) and attempts to swamp me with the dozing when I’m trying to get home from work in the afternoons, doesn’t seem to work when I’m in bed.

So I’m wide awake and writing this.

The day after I finish work at 05.00 I need to be in the office at 06.00.

Two hours after that I’m driving down to Newbury for a day of meetings.

What’s the betting that I find it very easy to sleep on the way down and on the return trip?

The good news is I’m not doing the driving. At least I don’t believe I am. So I should be able to deploy maximum antisocialness (word?) and have a kip while my colleague does the driving.

I’m not sure how it’s possible to have sleep evade me with such dexterity.

I’m very distrustful of sleep.

It seems to come and go on its own terms, lately.

So why am I permanently tired?


I have moved this website (the TLD and this trailing sub-domain blog).

These websites (and databases, etc) are no longer hosted on my NAS in my lounge in Rugby.

They’re now hosted at a Tier 2 datacentre in Nottingham.

That I built.

Yes, that’s right, I’ve built a Tier 2 datacentre.

I could fill your head with the wonderfully geeky adventures that I’ve been through, to establish the datacentre.

But I won’t.

But it’s been a stunning experience.

In a very good way.

However, it all seems to have been set up rather too well (thanks to my design, and thanks to the sensational technical assistance of a Belgian uber-ninja-geek who I got onboard to do the virtualisation, install the KVM HyperVisor, and build the admin tools).

I say ‘too well’, because now that it’s done it’s all…



And I’m bored, because the actual admin overhead is…


And by ‘minimal’ I really mean ‘next to nothing at all’.

Anyway, the Belgian uber-ninja-geek is sticking around to handle first-line support (none!) and to virtualise the next set of infrastructure which I will finish building, RAIDing and installing the OS on, next month.

I shall move have also moved the Geekblog from the NAS to the datacentre this weekend/early next week.

I could fill your head with the amazing fun and games and geeky adventures and outright learning curves that I’ve been through in the last couple of months.

But it would only bring your excitement to fever pitch.

And we want to avoid you frothing up your underwear at the thought of such rampant geekage.

I have moved contracts.

I’m no longer slogging my heart out trudging down the M6, M42, M5, M4, M32 to Bristol.

Now I just potter a little way down the road to Northampton.

This is a massive improvement in my life, obv.

Especially as the weather has improved, so I’m doing most of these daily trips on the ZX9R.

And finally…

I am moving.



To Nottingham.