For some reason...

Jul. 20th, 2010 | 04:18 am

 ...I set up a facebook account. Seemed a good idea at the time - I'm only doing it because, so Nat tells me, what goth events there are in Liverpool are organised via Facebook Wall now.

So Monday was spent with my phone hammering out "You have a new friend!" messages. Very Pavlovian. Ding! Here's a cookie. Ding! And another one...

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What rough beast...

Jun. 6th, 2010 | 10:49 pm

Our outgoing Corporate Masters began to send out letters documenting our existing contractual terms and conditions. Gosh, that's how much I earn. I've not seen it bare for a long while, since we do standby and over time pretty much constantly.

...and on and on...Collapse )

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(no subject)

May. 31st, 2010 | 02:12 am

Quiet Sunday. Was all going well, until I settled in to watch The Matrix on blueray (with the interviews-in-an-overlay mode active), and a surge of nostalgia started me fretting about random things. My mind's still whirling, mild fight-or-flight panic whenever I let it stop to dwell on anything for too long.

There was a short-but-intense meeting with our manager a chap from HR and a Union rep on Friday. Mostly there to serve as an opportunity to ask questions they couldn't answer, and for my colleagues to vent. Gosh, they did vent. Copies of our terms and conditions will be distributed Tuesday, IBM will be onsite on Wednesday to say hello (they call it a "town hall" meeting), and we will begin having one-to-one meetings on Thursday. Expect that's a legal requirement, or something, because I'm not sure what there is to discuss.

Our manager was the target of some verbal disapproval when it was revealed that he wasn't going to be a part of the transfer. "Selling us down the river" noises made at him. However, if his role isn't moving into the new organisation (he had been told last week that it was) then he probably is a target for redundancy.

Tomorrow I will glare at my tiny stash of Tech 1 blueprints, glue together a spreadsheet, and prepare some manufacturing runs.

Now I'm going to carrying on reading from my iPad (arrived Thursday afternoon), and see whether my eyes bleed. Couple of hours in, no sign yet.

Met up with a friend-cum-acquaintence on Thursday evening for speculative drinks and suchlike. Not pleasant. Won't be doing that again.

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Wheel of Malazan Empire Time

May. 23rd, 2010 | 10:37 pm

Growing impatient for the next, penultimate Wheel of Time novel, which is a bit daft, even the release date is still showing as Oct 26th. Gather Storm really did have some wonderful parts, and such a finale!

I was considering yet another full read-through, but perhaps I'll save that to next summer, prior to the last novel.

One thing I should consider starting is a Malazan Empire run. Book 10, The Crippled God, is due out in January, and book 9, Dust of Dreams, intentional left almost nothing resolved, a clean reread of the whole set of books would probably being very rewarding.

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There I was, minding my own business

May. 23rd, 2010 | 10:26 pm

 Was ice mining in my standard backwater system, and I notice a yellow-marked Drake (a battlecruiser) warp in at the distant low-end of the belt.

The pilot was from MBALM, aka "Gravediggers", one of the main corporations of the Privateer alliance. I spent the next thirty minutes until the hold of my Orca transport ship was full watching for red-marked names appearing in Local comms channel, or unusually ships heading towards me in warp. Then docked my pilots up safely, happy to not have been comedy-ganked by some of the more annoying pilots in the star cluster.

And they say ice harvesting is dull...

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TUPE, or not TUPE...

May. 23rd, 2010 | 10:23 pm

 Yes, that was quite bad. Won't do it again.

Big meeting in work Tuesday afternoon. The IT population was divided in three segments. One group, most core developers and all contractors, stayed at their desk. A second, mostly ecommerce devs, attended a large room in the main building where the ecom business manager talked to them.

The third, technical services, hardware support, operations and security staff went over to a neighbouring hotel, and were briefed by the board-level Chief Information Office. I was in this set.
Guess which group got some "interesting" news?

So, our CIO - who went unrecognised by large numbers of others attending - informed us that, after much work, the company was signing a deal with IBM, in order to more rapidly response to the shifting requirements of thingywotsit in a slings-and-arrows ecommerce world. Terms and conditions will continue unchanging after the transit of employent, but IBM will be conducting a thorough review, and there is an expectation of job losses and possible off-shoring of some roles.

Change-over is to occur on July 1st. No rush then. Lucky us. You now know about as much as I do.

We've been expecting something to happen - several senior managers have been essentially AWOL for the last year. Finally to have the shoe drop is rather a relief. Particularly since it's exactly one of the scenarios we hypothesised.

Ominous is that one of those senior managers involved in the process seems to genuinely know absolutely nothing about what's going to happen on July 1st.

I worry for those left behind, really. The non-ecommerce group seems likely to follow us in the wilderness in the medium term, since there's a project on to redevelop many core business applications. Our contractors - my current team consists of three permanent staff, and three contractors - are now looking for new roles as fast as their 1 month notice periods will allow them...

Hey ho. I didn't quite make thirteen years working for the same company. Not a bad run in IT, not bad at all.

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Feb. 28th, 2010 | 01:15 am

Saw Avatar with D & M. Second time around for me. They concurred with many of my comments from my original viewing, so there was some good snarking during the car-trip back.

Home now. Cold. Boo.

So many people I quite like, who seem to quite like me, but none of them here now. The peril of the emotional butterfly.

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The Finale Gathers

Nov. 3rd, 2009 | 02:50 am

 Picked up the new Wheel of Time book, The Gathering Storm, on Tuesday. Stayed up late a couple of nights, and finished the last few hundred pages when I got home from work on Friday.

And now I'm on holiday for two weeks. And I have a WoT-hangover.

I re-read all eleven previous books across Summer. I took a while at it, via a hybrid of reading and listening to the audiobooks from I expected the "doldrums" - the becalmed sequence of books from seven to ten when the Jordan's plotwind seemed to have failed, leaving the serious seemingly stranded in the middle of nowhere very interesting - to be difficult to reread but surprisingly it wasn't so bad as I remembered the first times around.

So, I enjoyed the re-read. Despite all the series (extensive) faults, it was great to be back in Randland, with all these old friends. And the scent of  rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan nostalgia was no bad thing.

LJ tells me I did a similar re-read before book 11. I don't remember doing that, but perhaps the amnesia is no bad thing.

The new book, ah, well. It's something else entirely. Things Happen. All The Time. So many things they don't really fit. The series hasn't had such a high progress/word ratio since, possibly, the days of The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising, and I don't think it's ever had this much resolution inflicted on it. Jordan didn't close plot arcs, he wove new ones of ever finer thread, book after book.

So, though the book 11 (notice how I'm uncertain of the titles of the "middle books") demonstrated that Jordan had rediscovered a sense of direction, this new novel, book 12, The Gathering Storm, doesn't read like something he would ever have written. The characters are there, they feel (mostly) as we knew them, but the pace and drive is something quite alien. And I like it.

Gods bless you, RJ. You found something before your end, and if the signs are right, and Mr Sanderson can bring it home, the finale you had planned for us will be glorious.

Meanwhile, is there an LJ RJ usergroup anywhere? I really should look one up.

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Louise Cooper: Time Mistress

Nov. 2nd, 2009 | 11:43 pm

Louise Cooper's Time Master Trilogy was one of the earlier fantasy sequences I obsessed about in my teenage years. My paperbacks have an 1987 copyright, Unwin, Robert Gould covers. I spent a chunk of time when I should have been revising for my A-levels doodling a guide to the world, feeding into my interest in desktop publishing at the time.

I sent a copy to Louise, and we exchanged a few letters for a little while during my university years. She sent me an unbound copy of the "Chaos Gate" sequel trilogy before it was published - I wonder whether I still have that. I've found all the other books, dusty and yellowing. She was a very generous lady.

I just found out from this month's Ansible e-letter that she died recently, quite suddenly, aged 57.

I have registered on her forum now. Too late, too late.


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(no subject)

Jun. 9th, 2009 | 10:54 pm

 Dizzy. Day was going quite well until started feeling dizzy half way home on the train.

Didn't really quite how dizzy until I stepped down onto the platform at my home station, and tried to walk in a straight line. Joy, thy name is lolvertigo.

Been working lots of hours for the last month or so. Project is interesting, engaging, different, despite the software being utterly, cranky, erratic. New faces, new working relationships, and incremental updates to old ones.

Feeling rather stressed. And dizzy.

Though I think I mentioned that already.

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