Well what can I say, 2012 has been a bizzare all round, BIG ups, equally BIG downs,
So here is a summary (in no particular order) of signifiacnt things that have happened (from my view point) , or I things I have learnt that I feel I must share
My list of Notable Deaths (No family this year)
- 26th Dec, Gerry Anderson, 83, British producer, writer and director (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons), Alzheimer’s disease
- 9th Dec, Sir Patrick Moore, 89, British astronomer and broadcaster (The Sky at Night), infection
- 6th Nov, Clive Dunn, 92, British actor (Dad’s Army) and singer (“Grandad“), complications following operation
- Oct (no day recorded) CAT
- Oct (no day recorded) Chicken
- Sept (no day recorded) Chicken
- 10th October, Chris Owen, Friend, ex work collegue, took his own life.
- 10t Sept, Lance LeGault, 77, American actor (The A-Team, Magnum, P.I.).?(Colonel Decker)
- 19th Aug, Tony Scott, 68, British film director (Top Gun, Unstoppable) and producer (Numb3rs), suicide by jumping
- 25th Aug, Neil Armstrong, 82, American astronaut, first person to walk on the Moon, complications from coronary artery bypass surgery
- 31st Aug, Max Bygraves, 89, British singer, variety performer, and TV game show host (Family Fortunes), complications from Alzheimer’s disease
- 3rd june, Roy Salvadori, 90, British Formula One race car driver
- 5th June, Caroline John, 71, British actress (Doctor Who).[
- 10th May, Carroll Shelby, 89, American automobile racer and designer.
- 20th May, Robin Gibb, 62, British singer and songwriter (Bee Gees), liver and kidney failure
- 16th April, Graham Simpson, 68, British musician (Roxy Music).[
- 1st Feb, Joe Ekins, 88, British World War II soldier
- 22nd Feb, Frank Carson, 85, Northern Irish comedian
- 2nd Jan. David W. Barron, 76, British computer scientist
Non Techie books Books I have read in 2012:-
- Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, Douglas adams (Dont panic)
- The God Delusion , Richard Dawkins
- Overcoming Depression: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques , Paukl Gilbert
- Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Melanie Fennell
- What is Good?: The Search for the Best Way to Live, A.C. Graying
- Running Out of Tears, Esther Rantzen
Things I have learnt through experiance in 2012:
- There is life after Citalopram
- Lee Whitehead in chester (not me) does not know his email address
- Lee Whitehead in Newcastle (not me) does not know his email address
- A few computer experts (not me) ?need to realise their knowledge is not complete, and they need to re test their assumptions
- When it comes to my day jobs , i am just a number
- I am however a a number in demand
- Having spent a few momths with a “3 Pint of stella” view of the world, i discovered i need glasses due to ASTIG issues
- The General public are influenced too much by what they here in the press.
- The Media has too much control over the public by publishing complete and utter bollocks
- There are some poeple who really do care, but it is difficult to spot them through those who pretend to care.
Things I have learnt through watching the world go by in 2012:
- The Legal system is seriously flawed
- Trust virtually no one, and anything that say, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory_syndrome
- Windows does a LOAD of messed up stuff without telling you. (Revisiting Windows thumbnail databases)
- Some people get REALLY upset when the superfast broadband does not arrive in their street, (see the bit about some computer experts above)
Other noteable events? in 2012:
- My son turned 16
- The pain of looking for secondary schools for my daughter
- I learnt to use a sewing machine
- I remade my self a NASTY shirt for a christmas party
- I discovered LOW walls while towing my caravan
- My wife discovered LOW walls while driving her car around a car park
- My sony VIAO laptop, was not a suitable subject for am Issac Newton experiment
- Sorry there is NO Dad’s dance video this year
- I had a Spray tan (guinea pig for somone’s training)
- I had my back waxed (guinea pig for somone’s training)
- I had a proper Barber shop wet shave (NOT as guinea pig for somone’s training)
- Getting a nipple pierced is an odd sensation !
I am sure there is more and i will add to it over the next few weeks
So September 2010, after a few personal incidents of broke personal possessions, anger out bursts and not wanting to do ANYTHING, the Dr put me on a daily dose of 20mg Citalopram. My side effects from the long list seem to have been limited to headache, sweating & tiredness. At the same time? I invoked a work benefit call the Employee Assistance Program and got some free (to me) counselling.
The initial effects on my state of mind were a little peculiar, week 3 & 4 were almost euphoric. If you can plot ones mental state of mind on a chart from 1 to 10, (1 being suicidal, 10 being best party ever), i would describe my state, pre citalopram as 2-3, never suicidal, just pissed off with everyone & everything. So week 3&4 being almost 8-9 was a major shock to the system, albeit a good one. Then came the roller coaster ride. During the next 12 months I could be anywhere from 4 to 8 on the scale and change to the other end with no warning.? The triggers up or down were unpredictable and uncontrollable. A piece of music, a comical text, a silly sign or a positive email may be a positive trigger, but equally a text, email, ?could just as easily, be a negative, ?Humans do not often notice a stable state, but instead they really notice change, and the constant swings up and down the scale was very off putting. It took two weeks for me to realise that even a bad day was still better than an average day before citalopram. This WAS progress..
Looking back to before September 2010, it was no surprise I was struggling. My wife had been on similar drugs for over two years, following the death of her gran and 19th year old nephew only months apart (I will add, I hope I never have to go to a funeral of a young person again, it is wrong on so many levels). So?I had that and some major work issues to deal with, which I will not discuss in detail, let?s ?just say impossible deadlines to deliver major service releases which no one wanted to back / support. During all of this I also lost interested in anything techie.
The whole personal journey leading to September 2010 was a massive learning experience. I will admit until witnessed my wife go through mental health hell, I had always been one of the “pull your self together” brigade, but then I got to experience the whole depression & anxiety trauma first hand.
My personal journey from September 2010 till December 2011 was a complete roller coaster, Good days, bad days, non descript days, fluffy days all merged into fog. Then while rehearsing for my first stage apperance since I was 11, a Dads dance for my daughter dance school, I met a guy reading A.C. Grayling’s What is Good. I am not a big book reader, in fact not sure, I had read anything other than technical manuals since I left college. but this book caught my attention. Graylings comparison of good, bad, evil, sin and the like was an eye opener, Grayling is certainly not known for his religious compassion, so as such his philosophical analysis of the good the bad and the ugly steered right into my thought processes. This was the first of many books I have now read more on Philosophy, personal morals, social morals, Depression and atheism. The later has made me realise I am NOT an atheist, more just agnostic. It is not to say that I think a supernatural being ($deity) does NOT exist, more like, I dont care and everyone is allowed to have their own view. This and other realisations have enabled me to deal with , rather than have them run my life, the issues that started this all off.
January 2012, I had decided I wanted to change my job, not leave my employer, just move to another dept. First i had to finish the project, I was working on, but i made it no secret I wanted a change. Then comes ?the push, I get 28 days ?notice i am being push out of the team. So 10th April I become the proverbial spare prick at a wedding. the act of being pushing had a surprising result, I was not expecting, I became depressed once more with a side of confused, angry and frustrated, it had pushed me back SIX months, if not more. Despite getting a new role on the 13th april 2012, the months that followed were no pretty. I destroyed laptop, for no reason, many many anger outbursts…. More sessions with an EAP appointed counsellor.
So here we are, August 2012, 5 months into the new (well kind of) role, it is actually same job, same responsibilities, different priorities and different boss, later (oh and great team of people). I am am now in the slow process of coming off the citalopram, Day 11 on the reduced dose, 10mg. My mental state is bobbing along around 5-6 on the previously discussed scale. I am still reading books. I am back to tinkering with technology, I bake cakes too,? the triggers are still there, but trigger a smile or a chuckle, even the bad ones. All is looking good, watch this space !!
For those who think depression is weakness, it is not !
For those who are experiencing depression, there is an end !
For those was friends and family suffering depression, Do NOT just walk away.
For everyone, understand that everyone is different, different beliefs, different ideas, different capabilities but that is no reason to think any less of them, help them if you can
Following on from The upside and downside of working for a Large corporate, I decided to take an extra week off over the easter break. Prior to the Easter break I had nine job leads, all with issues, location (leeds, brentwood, hemel hempstead or ipsitch) or yet to be approved budgets….
Returning to work on the 16th April, with a somewhat blase attittude, “lets just see just how good my personal brand really is”.
I have always been sceptical about “Personal Brand”. Yeh Richard Branson, Alan Sugar and Steve Jobs are all household Names / Brands, but after being pushed into the Transition Centre I was convinced I was just a number, in fact, a nine digit number starting 7011……
For years I had been trying to do all the right things with the right people, demonstrating business benefit in most of what I have delivered. YES… Some things I could have done better, some things I could of pushed harder, but I had never seen much in the way of evidence that I had a personal brand to speak of, let alone a good one. NO promotions, NO decent pay rises etc etc
To my amazement, on the 11th April, (2nd day as a re-deployee) I get a message from an old colleague and friend, “Did I want a post in his team?” After some discussion it transpired that senior managers in his part of the business were determined not to let me go, to the point there created a post for me. They had heard I have been moved to the Transition Centre, and they were seriously concerned about the impact that would have on parts of the business. My first re action was , “How can one man (number) be so important??”, but I accepted the offer of a new role.
So Two weeks with same desk, same Pay, same responsibilities, different Manager, different dept, different line of business later, here we are. I am a member of a new team, which is a very eclectic mix of people, from Geneva, Exeter, Edinburgh, Ipswich, and now Gloucester. So far (two weeks in) it has been thoroughly enjoyable working in a well-managed, well-motivated and knowledgeable team.
Now all I need to do is shake the “anger”, “frustration” and “confusion” that the four week journey, towards, through and out of the other side of the transition centre has left me with??.
Working for a large corporate as I do, has many upsides
- Good Pay
- Great flexibility
- Agile/home working
- Great Leave entitlement
- I also get free broadband
- and in this case a corporate that does not do compulsory redundancy
However there are some downsides too (driven by trying to maintain shareholder value)
- Many many business transformations (re-orgs)
- Many Cost reduction challenge/initiatives
- with re-orgs & cost come staff ?head count challenges
Did I mention they don’t do compulsory redundancy. well that is one saving grace
So as of 10th April i am classed as a redployee, in the “transition centre” where I still get paid for looking for an internal post, re-training is available, so I could take the opportunity to gain some decent Cisco, Oracle or Linux skills. Time will tell.
On the plus side, looking forward to a NEW challenge and NOT collecting a P45….
The time has come, and I have decided to have another go at losing weight.
Being the geek i am it has to be an online service, but weight watchers is SOOOOo expensive, so you lose pounds from your wallet too. then I found myfitnesspal.com, a free online (with good mobile app support) calorie counter, Marvelous..
So?I signed up, only to find a number of my friends were already using it,
Great forums, community support, and most of all constructive feedback from real friend, not the dirty look from a stranger if yoiu put a pound on,
So, coming to the end of my first month on GiffGaff, the Mobile MVNO powered by O2, so what can i say about it?
First impressions are excellent. Quick simple well managed, my number port in was amazingly smooth, coverage is great (will expand in this later), certainly sorted the issues I had with Vodafone and a few rural towns I frequent.
I am running an HTC Desire HD, with Cyangenmod7, and it got the APN setting first time, I did however use the community provided android app to fine tune the APN settings. An excellent example of the community support model that GiffGaff owes its success to.
Fantastic value for money, 8p / min for most call unless you get a goody bag, I am using the 10 quid goody bag, 250 mins, truly unlimited SMs and truly unlimited internet (but you are not allowed to tether). Even if you brought a brand new android device for say £400, it comes in cheaper than a contract device over 14 months!!! Yes 14 months, NOT 24 and a loads of minutes you don’t need..
Auto top up on low credit, auto top up for goody bags is in the pipeline, so while being a PAYG service, it has all the flexibility of a contract and more.
Only TWO issues I can see at the moment.
- O2 does not have the best 3G coverage in the UK, but does have outstanding 2G/edge to back it up, so for calls, text & email you can’t beat it, the foursquare app get a bit upset on 2G, but every other app I used just gets on with it
- I would like more than a TOP5 breakdown on my call and SMS usage, online perhaps, that said this is a rare feature for a PAYG service.
Looks set to be another day of testing, finding and fixing other peoples cock-ups.
Some people just don’t get system readable data must be consistent….
‘Bob23′ is not the same as ‘Bob 23′
May have to go all Rambo with a big gun….
Lee Hampton-Whitehead’s location@17:45,8/6 Gloucester, Gloucestershire, UK http://m.google.co.uk/u/m/d3GM4F
Test from android maps to WordPress integration….
Still not sure exactly why, but i have been considering a tatto for a few months. However I don’t get the traditional tattoo artworks, gothic imagery, skulls, names etc etc.
So the hunt was on for something different, original and most of all very me.
Thought about various electronic references, ohms law, resonant frequency or Q formulas, but a bit to obscure for main stream people.
So along came bar codes, plenty of forums later, I started to look at standard type 39 barcodes, but to get something meaningful in, and have a chance of it scanning, it would need to be VERY long
So 2D barcodes had to be considered, QR Code seems to be the current 2D format that most people recognise, and is supported by plenty of moble phone scanners.
Still has to be quite large to scan, but it just had to be done.
After 2.5 hours sat in a Gloucester tattoo studio, I now have a QR Code Tattoo, best of all it scans too!
Though i am not sure if Greg will ever do another QR Code.