Oct 272011

The most powerful energy source affecting this planet is the sun. Energy from the sun arrives on earth in the form of heat and light. Ultimately the plants and animals that populate this planet absorb this energy in some form or another. Since the first creatures crawled out of the primordial soup they have been consuming the suns energy, some more efficiently than others, which is why they evolved at different rates and into countless forms.

In prehistoric times the planet was sparsely populated. The majority of the plants and animals had evolved into giants in comparison to the creatures that populate or world today. It stands to reason that such huge creatures had huge appetites in order to consume enough resources to provide the energy they needed to function and continue to evolve.

It is generally accepted that these magnificent beasts died out during the ice-age, which may have been caused by an asteroid strike, volcanic eruptions or normal climatic change. Whatever the cause, the result was the same. Energy from the sun was unable to penetrate the atmosphere and the giants it supported were unable to survive without it. The only creatures that did were the tiny ones with meagre resource requirements.

Fast forward to modern times and we find our planet heavily populated, not with giants but millions of smaller species, which have all evolved from the small creatures that survived the ice-age. One of these is known as “Mankind”. Like the giant dinosaurs before us, we still consume energy to maintain our relatively tiny bodies, we just take smaller bites.

With the onset of global warming the earth is absorbing more and more energy from the sun. This energy has to go somewhere and without the giants of prehistoric time the small creatures that remain are the only things that can absorb this extra energy the sun is providing. This process of absorption is manifesting among mankind as an obesity crisis.

If energy absorption by the planet was increasing you would expect all creatures, including mankind, to expand proportionately. However, we don’t all absorb energy at the same rate, just like the dinosaurs, some of use naturally evolve faster than others and fuel this evolution by storing more additional energy as and when it’s available.


I’m not fat, I’m evolving. If you’re not, you’re a dinosaur.

Jul 212011

IT Service Delivery is the customer facing side of our IT department. After the Helpline, we are the people the customer phone when they’ve suffered poor service and we end up having to take the flak when things go wrong. As IT regularly does go wrong in a large organisation like ours, at any one time there’s always at least one dissatisfied customer looking for an opportunity to vent in the expectation that we will drag the people concerned out of the IT office, line them up against the wall and shoot them on their behalf.

The secret is to put on your game face, engage each one professionally and courteously and not get disheartened. Indeed some encounters can be quite pleasurable, but on the whole they aren’t. I was finding that after about seven years in this role I was getting less and less tolerant and it was sometimes hard to maintain the necessary decorum.

Like most companies these days we undertake performance reviews. At my last review I mentioned I fancied a change and I’d quite like to move away from the IT Service Delivery role. So I would welcome some development opportunities (training) which would provide me with additional skills, with which I could seek opportunities elsewhere within the IT department.

“They’re always looking for developers”, says my boss. “If I had the skills I’d be interested”, says I. A few weeks and zero training later and I’m now sat on the top floor in “Development Team C”, tasked with developing an electronic forms solution (something we have never done before) to interface with a multi-million pound project set to go-live at the end of the year. In at the deep end is a bit of an understatement.

Not long after my last performance review my boss moved onto a new role and it seems to me my new masters couldn’t wait to get rid of me and used the review as the catalyst for off-loading me. Am I feeling like an integral and valued member of the IT department? What do you think!

Anyway, here I am surrounded by programmers who’ve been doing this for years. They have their own language which mainly consists of acronyms. If I was to type a typical conversation up here I’d do so with Caps Lock turned on.

As well as learning to speak Geek, I’m reading up on PL/SQL, ASP.NET, Atern principles and DSDM methodologies while at the same time trying to write Functional Definitions (whatever they are) for the electronic forms and trying get to grips with the development tools I’ll be using to actually create them, while also struggling to understand all the various processes and procedures employed in my new role. Do I know what I’m doing? Do I heck as like!

Any significant change which takes us out of our comfort zone presents a challenge and can be quite stressful. I’m trying to rise to the challenge without suffering the stress. After all, I’ve been with the company for thirty-five years so I’ve seen a few changes in my time and managed to survive them all.

On the subject of stress, the guy who off-loaded me so readily had a heart attack last week, but being the trooper he is he still turned in for work the following day (only to be sent home again). Undeterred he turned up again the next day and this time stayed long enough to collapse and is now sat in a hospital bed sending people e-mails from his company supplied BlackBerry. If you’re willing to kill yourself for the firm, the firm will make all the right noises, but ultimately, will let you. Am I going to kill myself? Am I bo**ocks!

My new boss has just put an appointment in my diary for a performance review. this could be fun 😉

May 232011
Aches & Pains of Internet Diagnosis

Like everyone else I have aches and pains. I possibly have more than my share due to being very large and unfit and having a sedentary job. Like most people I take a couple of painkillers, apply some heat or use any one of the many other over the counter solutions until the ache or pain goes away or gets worse. If it goes away then great, if it doesn’t then a trip to the local GP is called for. I certainly don’t go running to the GP as soon as something hurts. I’d never be away and I’m sure [More…]

Apr 192011
Light at the end of the tunnel

Had a day off work in order to take Ann to Preston Hospital for her penultimate radiotherapy session, primarily so I could sit in when she had her review with the oncologist. The review was a bit of an anti-climax but we’re not expecting any further treatments to be required after tomorrow so things are good on this front at the moment and we feel the scary times are over. Later Ann and I were talking about the whirlwind of things she’s been through in the last six months since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first thing that [More…]