June wrap-up

I know, things have been a little on the slow side over here my blog. I’ve been trying, I really have – thing is I’ve just been very busy this month. But it’s been a good month, let me tell you that.

First month completed at the new company has gone really well. Been working hard on an internal project that I demo’ed to the directors and then ran a series of load tests on. Got very positive feedback with a few bugs and feature requests which I’ve got most out of the way already, so things are looking up!

I moved my mobile phone contract  from one provider to another and got myself a new phone. I call it my iPhoney.

lg-kp500-0

Actually to give LG props, it’s actually a pretty good touchscreen smartphone. It’s the first LG phone I’ve owned – after not being impressed by Nokia’s range a few years ago I opted to try out Samsung and I enjoyed their phones (D500 and my previous phone the D900). I wanted to get a nice Samsung Jet or S8300 but they’re not too expensive packages right now and purchasing the phone without a contract just isn’t an option for me right now. So I settled on the runner-up, LG’s KP500.

It’s not a multi-touch screen like the iPhone but it works well, it’s responsive and pretty quick. The big bonus for me is finally having a phone that’s smart enough to run multiple applications and allowing you to easily switch between them. For example checking your email, browsing my news feeds on Google Reader, sending an SMS and taking a call – multitasking WIN! It has a built-in accellerometer so that you can rotate it for viewing web sites and photos, etc in landscape view instead of portrait. It does have a few drawbacks, like not having 3G or WiFi capabilities but I’ve been using 2G/GPRS/Edge for a while now and I’ve gotten used to it (also its data cost is much cheaper than 3G).

It does have Bluetooth though and is USB 2.0 compatible which makes transferring stuff a breeze actually. In fact, I used Bluetooth just the otherday to pull all my data from my Samsung D900 to my PC and then imported all that data, again with Bluetooth to my LG KP500 and voila all my needed data on my new phone. It also has a MicroSD slot for memory cards and came pre-installed with a 1GB card.

Another toy I also got this week is my Vantec NexStar portable 2.5″ drive enclosure with a 320GB Seagate drive – going to make transferring stuff to and from work a breeze now.

Coming soon (on order) is my personal Dell Voxtro laptop – more on that soon.

Otherwise, looking forward to a weekend away with friends in Yzerfontein. Till next time!

Playing catch up

I know, I know, the posts this month have been far and few between. I’ve had a lot on my mind since last month and my blog has taken a little bit of a back seat.

As you by now know, May brought some news that rocked the boat. I’ve now spent two weeks at the new company and it’s been a good and productive two weeks. It’s the usual work your butt off at the new company to prove yourself time for me, hopefully for the last time. It’s not the end though, I’ve got 3 months worth of work ahead of me and hopefully things will go well.

This weekend started off with a bang around 4pm on Friday. The bang being the sound of automatic gunfire and grenades going off. No, South Africa hasn’t turned into a war-zone but the network at the company did. We had a round of playing network computer games against each other, with even some of management getting involved in the action. It was a lot of fun and was a nice ice-breaker getting into a new company but by 10:30 that evening I’d had enough and packed up to head home.

A friend of ours was down for business this week and she stayed with us from Thursday evening. A little after I got home she arrived after visiting friends and asked whether or not I was keen on going to the rugby game on Saturday (British & Irish Lions vs Western Province) as she had organised two tickets from her brother. Now, I’m no sports fanatic but as of late I’ve been getting more and more into watching and enjoying a few rugby matches so I said, yeah I was keen.

Lions-vs-WP

British & Irish Lions vs South African Western Province team on Saturday 13th June 2009

It was my first trip to the rugby stadium in the area I grew up (sad, I know) and it started off with us walking (briskly) in the rain and sitting in the rain for the first few minutes of the match (hence the blurry quality of the photo, as well as having taken it with my mobile phone). There was a lot of kicking going on in the game and I almost wondered if we were watching a soccer match and not a rugby one. Eventually the game picked up pace and with 3 minutes left of the second half Western Province scored their only try of the match bringing the score to an even 23 all. The Lions finished us off with getting their last penalty of the match through the uprights winning 26-23. I’m actually keen now to go and watch some more games – so watch this space.

Today we had family over for Melissa’s up-coming 7th birthday on Wednesday with home-made waffles and sweets. All in all a quiet and chilled weekend which is very welcome. Let’s see what the rest of the week brings. I’ll do my best to try and get a few more posts up soon.

Another chapter begins

Well the last two weeks have been a bit of a roller-coaster. With the news at work of retrenchments and the idea of having to find work again, especially in the current state of the world economy, had me quite stressed out.

I’ve since contacted a number of companies, gone through a few agencies and attened a few interviews but today’s news made me sigh with relief. I went to see a company late last week (through a referral from a family member) and was really keen for a follow-up as I really liked what I heard and saw. The follow-up meeting happened on Monday which went really well and this afternoon I got the offer that I was hoping for.

So I’m really excited to say that I’ve now left the unemployment line and joined the ranks of the employed again. I’ll be joining the team at Khanyisa Real Systems on Monday morning. I’m really hoping this is an exciting, fruitful and long next chapter in my life. I’m of the age now that I need to find a place that I really enjoy and can settle in, and by all accounts this seems to be it.

Wish me luck 🙂

It's official

I can now finally blog about what I alluded to last week. There’s been some water-cooler talk at work for some time now over the concern for lack of current work and new work, which just isn’t coming in as quickly as everyone had hoped. We were asked to put forward ideas for additional cost-cutting measures but it seems the unavoidable has to happen, some staff need to be retrenched. 

In an effort to be fair to all staff the company has decided to invoke the last in, first out policy. So the last 4 full-time employees who have joined the company are being offered retrenchment packages. 

We were told of the likelihood of retrenchment last week but I knew, in all fairness, there weren’t any other practical, feasible and unanimously acceptable ways that this cost-saving could be achieved without retrenchment.

And so, I am one of the fantastic four to be retrenched. It’s been a bit of a weight lifted off my shoulders (I did not sleep well at all last week after the news – after all I have a family and a mortgage to worry about) now that this process has actually been finalised and I can actively focus on moving on. At the same time I’m so ticked off with the fact that I’ve spent the last 9 months proving myself to the company, and now I have to do it all over again, someplace new. I’ve been involved in commercial software development for over 11 years now, I think I’m getting a little old for this now.

Anyway, the company is actually being very helpful in respect of the retrenchment process and are being very accommodating to those being retrenched with regard to use of resources, time off for finding new work and even speaking to their preferred partners to assist us in finding new employment. Something which the company can pride itself in, as that’s something hard to find out there. It’s important to note that this is not the company’s only positive points – they have many, including the people I’ve had the privilege to work with. They’ve done a lot for us and this was really their last resort – so, no harbouring grudges from me. 

I’m really going to miss working here and with the people but I guess it’s just my time to turn to a new chapter. Let’s hope the next one’s longer than this one has been!

Serious frickin' bureaucracy

I just came across this post on The Daily WTF and thought I had to share it with you. We’ve all had to, in some point of our lives, deal with a government-type institution and you all know the pains of getting passed from one department to the next. Well Ben E. describes what it was like working for the State Department – read on and enjoy.

Poll: 5 day or 4 day work week

Have you ever considered the possibility? And if so, which would you opt for? The normal 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to comprise your 40-hour work week with 2 days break inbetween or would you rather work an extra 2 hours each day for a 4 day week with a more balanced 3 day weekend?

 With the longer summers we have and mostly good weather I’d opt for the 4 day week. Less travelling into the city, means less congestion and less pollution and would save you money. Or would you make up the difference spending it on your day off?

 

Wouldn’t people just be more productive with those extra few hours to finish off tasks in the day, and be more refreshed on Monday morning after a 3 day break?