Friday, January 31, 2014

Interesting solutions

I saw an article that today that brought me back to a directors throwaway comment, only this one was for real.

Years ago I worked on a site for a company, it had been developed at a huge cost by an external company. The client and outsourcer had fallen out at some point and the application was brought in house. That was my job to support this application. The only problem was it was a dogs dinner, the commercials were all wrong and in the end less than 100 clients signed up for the package only two for the site. The director decided to can it and stated "It would be cheaper to pay for spearmint Rhino to personally delivery the statements than continue this project".

I remember being a little upset at the time after working on the site for months. However it was the right decision. I though of it today after reading about Nursing jobs in the US who have decided it makes better sense to buy new PC's for their clients stuck on IE7 than to optimise their website to run on it!

I am going to try this on my boos next time a feature breaks in an old browser.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

All of Me

I have just finished reading the second Inspector Rebus book "Hide and Seek" by Ian Rankin. Jono had given me the first book "Knots and Crosses". I was very impressed Rankin has a real feel for the dark underbelly of Edinburgh.

In the first novel John Rebus is a troubled policeman haunted by events from the past and present. His past some of which he can't remember following a nervous breakdown after a terrible time in the SAS. Add to this a troubled relationship which his daughter and ex wife, and overachieving brother. Then mix in the dark drug dealing parts of Edinburgh.

The second novel follows almost immediately from the first. Following the events of the know and Crosses Rebus has been promoted, but his relationship with Gill has failed, she taking up with a DJ. A junky is killed and laid in a satanic pose leading Rebus into a dark underworld of crime, run by Hyde.

Both novels heavily reference Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a book that I have never read but certainly will try and pickup.

The action takes place in the 1980's so there are some weird anachronisms reading today. I couldn't help but think, how much mobiles phones have changed things so much. No more calling bars, and other places where someone might be. Or struggling for change at a payphone are a distant memory, the internet generation wont even know what it was like not to be constantly available.

Fight the power

I wrote before Christmas about my weird case of the water meter that wasn't there. After much convincing they had given me a month from which they worked out the average water usage and then backdated the payments. Today I received a revised statement, I am very happy with the result!

They calculated that over the last five years I have overpaid to the tune of £1,437. They are going to refund this to my water account. So no only has getting a water meter meant I save around £20 month on my payment but I am also getting a huge cheque back too. It's well needed after the Christmas excesses.

In other news I have been evaluating getting solar panels for the last couple of months. It might seem an odd idea living in the North West of England, however with the government subsidy the figures stack up well as a long term investment. If you are planning to stay put for at least 10 years and have a southerly aspect its really a no brainer (at least in financial terms, at lot of people argue the eco benefits but I was less concerned on that score). The cost is easily repaid by the governments feed in tariff over the lifetime 20 years. Unfortunately for me on balance the chance of staying put for 10 years seems unlikely at best. Therefore with a heavy heart my idea of self generated power goes on hold for now.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hollow talk

Yesterday Jono came round for dinner, I made chilli. I got a text from Bruce who was in the Kings Hall with Nina, Philip and Caroline.

Bruce and Nina are jetting off to Mexico next week, by the sounds of it they are going to have an amazing time. Phil was telling me about the diving he did there, it sounded incredible.

We sat and chatted, bitcoin came up a lot, I think I have missed the boat but it we live in interesting times. I have decided to try and do a bit of mining. The window of opportunity is nearly closed but hopefully I can get in and mine something before it snaps shut.

I felt a little tired and was missing Kath a lot, but it was really nice to see everyone.