Posted by Stu @ 10:13 PM, Fri 11 Apr 08
Filed under: Personal Life
I smell of train, that horrible recycled stale-air smell you find on British trains these days. But I don’t care.
The first week in the new job has been great. I’ve got this big silly grin on my face (even though I’m thoroughly knackered from all the commuting). There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but it’s exactly the sort of work that I find fun. I guess there’s something wrong with me
The travelling hasn’t been too bad. Monday was the worst, when the 18:35 from Bath Spa didn’t turn up at all. I finally got home just after 21:00, thoroughly shattered. Lesson learned; I need to be out the door in time for the 16:35 where possible, or for the 17:35 at the latest. Any later than that, and a hotel for the night is worth serious consideration.
Working on the train out from Cardiff on a morning is a real luxury. Most managers never get – or take – the time on a morning to review the day ahead. At the moment, the time’s mostly going on all the new stuff I have to learn, but it’s going to be a real godsend as I’m more involved in the day to day. Amusingly (to me, anyway) this is the same train I was catching down to Southampton during my secondment to the OS (albeit an hour earlier), so it already feels like I’ve been doing this routine for months.
On the train back, it’s a bit more hit and miss. Most days, I’ve been able to snag a table seat, or one of those seats at the end opposite the space for the wheelchairs (those spaces are the best; the table seats on these First Great Western commuter trains are quite cramped), but when FGW forget to stick the right number of carriages on the train, it’s standing-room only all the way back to Cardiff. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent audiobooks one can buy and listen to when this happens. Management audiobooks are very popular, but I’m seriously thinking of getting all of the Harry Potter audiobooks for when distraction is the better approach.
I have to give a special mention, and a huge thank you, to everyone for making me feel so welcome. Most places make an effort for new staff, but this is different, because I don’t think they’re making a special effort. It feels a lot like my time working at the University of Sheffield – and those were without doubt the happiest years of my professional life so far.
I definitely owe Aled a beer for putting me onto this job in the first place.
I ran into Richard from Box UK on the platform at Cardiff a couple of times this week. It’s nice to hear that I’m being missed, and I certainly miss the sort of work I wanted to do there, but right now I don’t miss the work I ended up doing there. Everyone tells me that I’m great at consultancy, but it doesn’t give me the personal satisfaction that working on products, services and systems does. I guess it’s why I took to Tai Chi; I’m a natural observer, and I love that iterative polishing and improving something release after release after release. You just don’t get that in consultancy. Consultancy all to often is like a one-night stand. As some of you who are married will understand from your own experience, there’s a much more meaningful fulfilment to be had from a deeper commitment.
I bumped up the RAM on the MacBook Pro this evening. It’s now at the max of 3GB; shame it won’t go to 4GB like the later generation MBPs will. It’s mostly to speed up Aperture 2, and to make things a bit quicker when I’m running a couple of virtual machines at a time (CentOS and Ubuntu for work).
Tomorrow is toy day. Got to send the dead Cisco router back for a replacement, and the new phone and GPS navigator should arrive too. I’ve bought the Garmin Mobile XT product and an unlocked Nokia N82 to run it on. The N82 is mainly to play with VoIP over Wifi, although it does have a 5 megapixel camera too, which I’m looking forward to. Bath is a very pretty place after all, and I’m learning the virtue of travelling as light as possible.
Hopefully Sunday I’ll make it out to get some more Merthyr Road photography done. There’s some old railway tracks in the woods at Treforrest that I wouldn’t mind taking a careful look at.