Saturday, September 22, 2012

Back once again


  • 14 years
  • 1 wife
  • 2 kids
  • 9 jobs
  • 1 limited company
  • inestimable number of kebabs

After 14 years living in the UK, I thought I'd never leave.  But I am, with mixed feelings.

Our possessions are currently on a container ship in Antwerp, en route to New Zealand.

Tomorrow, my family and I fly to NZ.  I'll be back in a few weeks to complete my work obligations in the UK, flying back to NZ before Christmas.  Now's a good time to organise catching up.







Friday, June 10, 2011

Dear Andy Pitt

Andy,

You're the Managing Director of South West Trains. You just issued an apology for ruining this week for thousands of commuters:
On Thursday evening, further major signalling problems in the Waterloo and Woking areas resulted in a significant amount of delays. We are aware that many of you will have spent several hours on trains last night while Network Rail engineers worked hard to rectify these major signalling faults.
As you may already be aware, the cause of the major signalling problems last night have now been confirmed by Network Rail as a deliberate act of attempted cable theft. We are extremely angry and frustrated that mindless and irresponsible vandalism meant that many of our passengers had a terrible journey last night.
But you missed the point, didn't you? Most people would accept that the theft of cable from the railway system is out of your control - it's Network Rail's job to provide track and signals. The point is that your company displayed a staggeringly poor incident response:
  • People who use Twitter were more informed than your staff. For about two hours the guard on my train had no information for us. What ancient technology do you use to communicate with the on-train staff?
  • People left trains because they were afraid of spending the night on a train. People needed food (and in some cases, insulin). Do you have a contingency plan in place to distribute food and water to people stranded on trains? What if people had been stuck overnight? We were lucky enough to have a canteen on our train, but that emptied fast.
  • The response of your staff to the threat of people leaving the train was to threaten them with arrest by the British Transport Police. Nice one. They left the train because they were concerned about spending the night on a crammed train (like the pregnant lady). Do you have contingency plans to evacuate vulnerable passengers? Do you expect people to remain on a train when you can't keep them informed of the situation?
  • At the end of a four-and-a-half hour train journey that should have taken thirty minutes, your station staff were outnumbered by police - and there weren't many police. Your people should be handing out refund forms and making sure that there was medical attention for those who needed it, like the guy who needed insulin, or the pregnant women who had to endure this journey.
You have a duty of care to ensure that we travel to and from work safely. You failed. I don't think your bland apology cuts it, do you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Security Books giveaway

It's time to shed stuff. I'm experimenting with ways to do this.

There's 5 or 6 security books here. The oldest one I bought was in 1996, when I was joyfully discovering TCP/IP and Unix. I could give them to our local charity (Woking Hospice), but I thought I'd see if I could shift them direct to the geeks. If you want them, you're welcome to them (each of them is available for a penny on Amazon.co.uk, plus P+P). Here's the rules:

  • Winner takes them all
  • That person collects them in person, arranges to meet me somewhere, or pays for postage
  • You have to at least pretend (to me and yourself) that you'll read some
  • Leave a comment if you want them. Thanks!

News

I had a stag do:


And then got married:

And had a honeymoon.

All very nice, but I guess you had to be there.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Free as in lance.

  • I no longer work for Enrich Social Productions Ltd or any of it's subsidiary companies (in the Republic of Ireland or the UK).
  • I do work for my own company, The Build Doctor Limited.
  • While I can work with Ruby, .NET and other technologies, I'm loving my return to Java projects.
  • I really enjoy helping people deliver software projects more effectively. It's worthwhile and fun.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Checklist driven parenting


I'm notoriously bad at getting my kids to school on time. It's an ongoing gag that you're only late to school if you're after me. My eldest daughter had suggested a checklist to help get get organised; so this morning we made one. So here it is. Most of the bad handwriting is mine. The kids added an item to the bottom of the list; and they scrupulously ticked each item off.

The result: we were on time, and I didn't nag anybody. One daughter is often last out the door. She was zooming up and down our driveway on her scooter, while I was the last one out. Perhaps I should write one for me next.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Win a copy of Atlassian Bamboo

I'm running a give-away on my other blog. Atlassian are giving away a license for the Bamboo Continuous Integration server. There's also 10 Bamboo T-shirts up for grabs. Just write a few paragraphs about your best or worst build experiences ...

http://www.build-doctor.com/2009/06/16/atlassian-bamboo-giveaway


Monday, February 16, 2009

Play to your strengths


This session at Agile 2007 was very interesting. Mainly because I learned about the Gallup organisation and their focus on playing to your strengths for success.

It's not a very PC message: just do what you're really, really good at, and don't put too much time into rounding off your skills. If you're a monster programmer, don't take a detour into project management. Just keep sharpening your claws.

Anyhow, I'm taking their advice. After spending a frustrating year trying to get a bunch of developers to write .NET software more repeatably, I'm playing to some of my strengths: Unix systems administration, Ruby scripting,and dicking around with open source apps.

My new role is at Enrich Social Productions. Among other things I'm in charge of production systems, which means I get to use Puppet. In a year's time I'd like to be doing most of my admin using TextMate.

Our first project is One Click To Fame, an online talent competition. Really enjoying digging into the guts of the site and understanding the dependencies.
It's also nice to work in media again.