The Great Migration

Today marks the end of the great migration from my old web host to my new one. My old host Arvixe has put one step too many out of place. A colleague of mine mentioned they were acquired by a conglomerate known as EIG Hosting and ever since their support has been abysmal. Not to mention they stopped providing free domain privacy without telling me. Very poor. I have since moved to A2 Hosting and am fairly happy with them so far. During the upgrade I also updated my homepage with Bootstrap.

Work has been good. I have been learning a lot about ServiceNow as I continue to administer the system. Go-live is only 8 business days away and things are getting pretty fast-paced. In among the work I have applied for a new position a few steps up the ladder, and will be interviewing in a week or so. If all goes well I may be in charge of people soon!

Another project is on the go, however I don’t want to jinx it. It’s hard to find time between home and work, and motivation can be lacking after an already stressful day.

No Man’s Sky came and went. It was what they said it was going to be, and what I expected it to be, but it certainly fell short of what a lot of people wanted. I put probably 40 hours into it, and while I didn’t get to the centre of the galaxy, I definitely have done most stuff. I’ll go back to it when they have patched in a bit more content.

Thanks for listening!

Home Again

So it turns out WordPress converts html code to characters. Guess the joke in my last post didn’t work. Oh well, live and learn.

We returned from our holiday a week or two ago and have since got back to work. As I half expected I didn’t get time to write or learn while we were overseas, I had far more important things to do. It was a holiday after all!

On the work front things are changing. My position has been moved from the Service Desk to the “Administration” team within the service centre, basically meaning I am one of the primary administrators of our ITSM tool. It has been pretty interesting in the day or two where I have actually been able to “administer” the system, but the transition project is at a point where we can’t do too much to the system, so I am helping out some other areas currently.

Part of this new role is writing Javascript, and the system is built on AngularJS, both of which are courses I could take at Codecademy. So that is something that I have put on my to-do list when I get a chance. This is all being hampered by the new podcasts I have gotten in to (The Black Tapes, Within the Wires) and new games which will be coming out (No Man’s Sky). Holy crap I am keen for No Man’s Sky.

While I was away I had an idea for an app reinforced, but I am struggling to find time to learn how I would be able to go about starting to create it. By the time I get home from work I’m basically spent, and on the weekends I will spend them with my Patrice or relaxing. I’m considering trying to save time at work and take a whole week off, and use that week for productive things, but I know if I did that I wouldn’t actually get anything done. It’s a tough circle.

Once again I’m going to say how I would like to keep the blog more updated. I’m really hoping that getting a laptop I can take to and from work will help out with that, and, well, I am writing now aren’t I? Maybe I’ll make a habit of it. Fingers crossed!

End of Year

It’s getting awfully close to the end of 2013, and heading into the (crazy) year 2014. It all sounds so futuristic. After reading one of my friend’s year-in-review blogs I thought it couldn’t hurt to do one of my own, and vent a little.

So first up, some serious bitching.

I’m pretty sick of work. I find that I’m a guy who is happy to do a menial job for an extended period of time, as long as the conditions are OK and I’m working with people I get along with. I have been in my position on the Service Desk for a number of years now (3 1/2 or so?) and have not really had much of a problem with it until the last six months. Sure, the work is fairly boring and repeditive, but at least it was a fairly cushy job. After most of the department was fired by the Liberal government our workload dropped a good 60%. This meant that we always had time to take a breather between calls, and could have a bit of a talk amongst ourselves. It also meant that I got to know the people I was working with fairly well, and the work environment was fairly good. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but our “manager” was changed, and the new one slowly started to get more and more tyrannical. About three months ago our Director also changed. At first, I thought this was a good thing. It would fix all the sexism and nepitism of the previous one, however I was wrong. The first team meeting we had after the change, the new director introduces herself and brings in a “List” of things the Service Desk need to improve in their work in order to qualify for a “up to 4 week secondment” to another team within Technical Operations. Basically, it’s just another way of getting everyone to work harder with no pay-off. The only person so far to have benefited from “The List” is the one person on the Service Desk who brown-noses to the manager. Great system.

I was told to my face that I would not be able to apply for any positions within the government as my manager couldn’t give me a good reference because my “attitude is poor”, and our Director has yelled at the whole Service Desk and lied to our faces about who is actually on “The List”. It’s all shambles. I’m so jaded about the whole system that the only way I can see myself enjoying this place again is if my Manager and Director change. You wouldn’t think that it would be hard to respect your employees, but no, we get treated like children.

I’d like to say that it is out of my system now, but I’m still fuming. Anyway. On with the better part of this post.

Firstly the biggest change recently has been Patrice getting an offer of a full-time position as an RN. While she hasn’t got a start-date yet, it is coming. What that means for us is a little more stability in income, and we might actually be able to get some big things done around the house. I’d also like to take some time off for myself. We always discussed taking time off when Patrice got a full-time job. I’m not sure if I want to take a block of 4 weeks at half-time or if I should maybe break it up into mon-tues-wed off for 7 weeks. That would be excellent.

If I do end up taking a big whack of time off work I would like to set myself some goals to achieve while I was away. I think all through 2013 I have felt a bit let down with the opportunities I have passed up. There was the programming course I tried to do online, which I completed about 60% off then gave up. There was also NaNo which I got to 30% or so of the final goal, and various other little things. It’s so hard to dedicate myself to something like that when I’m working full time, and spend most of the weekends doing things with family (I really do enjoy those things though).

Well anyway, here is a list of things I would like to do throughout 2014 in no particular order:

  • I want to program more
  • I want to set up my Raspberry Pi (with camera)
  • I want to finish a project I start
  • I want to save some money for end-of-days-esq situations
  • I want to recreate my website and be happy with it
  • I want to make more of an effort around the house

I’m sure I’ll think of more. I might update with a final list as they come to me.

That’s all for now. It’s good to get this off my chest.

CL4P-TP (Claptrap) 7″ Figurine

Recently I have been playing Borderlands 2. While I have finished the campaign, and I haven’t been enjoying the second playthrough as much as the first, I still love the style, story, art direction and character development within this amazing title.

When I saw the 7″ figurine at the local EB Games I knew I had to get it. It even made me clean up my desk at work so I could give it pride-of-place.

It has a number of points of articulation, including shoulders, elbows, the flaps over the arms and eye, and the wheel. The antenna also raises and lowers. The paint on the figure is very detailed, even down to the smears of dirt and mud around the wheel.

I am very happy with how it looks and feels, the only thing I dislike is the small plastic bar holding it upright doesn’t sit very firmly into the figure. It works, you just have to be careful.

I paid $34 from EB Games.

The First Six Months of the Rest of My Life

So today is my 6 month wedding anniversary. I have to say, I love my wife so much. While I find myself flawed more often that I should, everything about her is perfect. Living with her has been the best time of my life. I can only see that continuing.

The holidays were great. We had Christmas with the In-Laws for lunch, and my parents for breakfast. New Years was spent with friends, and the rest of the holiday has been spent relaxing. There was even a 12-hour Lord of the Rings marathon in there somewhere.

The other part of my life at the moment is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What a spectacular game. I have invested about 70 hours so far, and I feel like I’m only 2/3 through it. There are so many side quests, and things to do. Not to mention you can just start a new character, and choose all the other options. It’s almost a whole new game.

Work starts again tomorrow, and it’s going to be the end of my acting Team Leader position. I look forward to the lessened responsibility, but am a bit sad about the lower pay grade. Considering I never actually received a pay at my “new” level, it was all just back-paid at once, it won’t be that much of a shock.

Life keeps on moving. I might keep you informed, however because “you” is basically no one, I might not. Who knows.

Leading the Team

So over the last few weeks I have been acting as Team Leader at work. I think that as this time is wrapping up, I will be glad for the break back to normality.

The position isn’t that much different from what I was doing in my “pleb” role, but I was responsible for more of the “fixing” problems, than actually “telling people that we know about” problems. Some problems were easily fixed; you would make a phone call, talk to the system administrator, and the issue would be resolved. Others require more finesse, where you make 5 phone calls to work out who would be responsible for the system, then find out they are away that day.

You are also responsible for the communication to the senior staff. That’s the scary part. A problem is raised, it is completely up to you if you send communications or not, how you send them, when you send them etc. And if they aren’t right, someone gets in trouble. Luckily, this only really happened two or three times, and in those times, I only made a poor decision once. And my Manager (who got the blame) was ok with it. He is a great guy.

Long story short, it has been a stressful month-and-a-bit. This has impacted on my home life and my side-projects a bit as well. StationeryReview.com has suffered from lack of reviews, and while I have been working on TheLeek I haven’t put as much time in to it as I should have.

In the coming weeks, Skyrim is coming out, and I am hoping to make the most of it. I might even get a review posted (depending on how much I can play, and if I have the time.)

Have Fun Y’all,
Andrew