In our modern fast pace lives, most people will confess to lacking one finite resource – time. I too, can get caught up in the rat race world of chasing the corporate dollar. However, I do believe that at times it is important to unplug, step back and ignore the shameless marketing that feeds constant and consistent consumerism. A case in point is my mobile phone, the embarrassment, which I refuse to even display on my desk in the office, as heavy as the burden has now become. It was not like this over four years ago on Friday 3rd October 2010 when I eagerly awaited the arrival of not just my first proper smartphone but my first mobile phone not made by Finnish manufacturer – Nokia.
Probably six months into the ownership cycle, I realized that without rooting the device, I was extremely limited on what I would be able to achieve. While at first this was rather disappointing, considering I had placed so much faith into not just a new phone but a new company, they did not live up to my expectations. However I was willing to wait, in an ideal world I would purchase a phone unlocked SIM free and use this on my Vodafone SIM Only Contract, as I would be out of contract by December 2012. I removed all apps from my phone and left it has a mere shell to use for emergency web use (checking football scores via web based BBC Portal) and of course, calls and texts. Without forgetting that it had become the defacto alarm clock. (Who in 2014 uses an alarm clock other than their mobile?). To be frank, I hardly do much of that in any case. People who know me, will testify that I text more than speak on the telephone. I am not a big user of my mobile phone, as usage reports using the Ofcom backed Bill Monitor portal prove, I probably would be better off with a pay as you go option. Most people would have just upgraded to the next available phone when their contract date was up but I decided to wait. I always knew the moment I purchased a phone, either offline or as part of an upgrade, I would be disappointed that I had not waited a little longer for the next model that would be announced literally days later. (As irony has it, the initial specs of the HTC M9 was leaked the following day)
It was probably when the four year old ProPorta shell started to break apart off my HTC Desire, was it time to finally consider an upgrade. That was my mission for the weekend, to get not just a good upgrade but an excellent deal on my next smartphone. I first checked online to see what deals were available, including purchasing the old HTC One M7 in blue on eBay priced around £200. I visited Expansys, which I have tended to religiously visit on an almost a weekly basis to check prices on a range of smartphones. First stop mid morning while in Slough was the Vodafone store, with their Black Friday deals. There was a deal to be had, but I wanted a second opinion. While in Uxbridge, before a trip to the cinema I went to the Vodafone store in intu (formerly Chimes) shopping centre. They had the HTC One M8 in store in grey but were unwilling to offer me the additional employee discount (20%) on top of the Black Friday deal (50%). Even with a request to speak to the manager (only the assistant manager was available) and even when he got off the telephone in the back office, all he did was show a long list of terms from Newbury HQ which basically meant no additional discounts could be applied on top of the Black Friday discount. I left the store disappointed but willing to fight another day back in my home town of Slough.
The Vodafone store in Slough High Street was extremely busy for Sunday lunchtime. Once again I was served by Manpreet. She was patient once again and confirmed the same deal was on offer and even upsold me onto a 4G plan for a few extra pounds a month. I had to take the deal but they only had the HTC One M8 in silver, my heart was set on grey. Probably rather strange for readers to understand, particularly as I will be putting my phone (as I have with all my mobile phones) into a case. The deal was done, the order was processed and I would receive at my office by Tuesday lunchtime.
Deal done, I headed over to the HTC office, which happens be behind the Queensmere and Observatory Shopping Centre. I took a few photos, declaring to HTC and Philip Blair, head of the EMEA business that he and his company have one more chance. If they could call on Iron Man last year to try and rescue their brand, maybe they are worth another roll of the dice. What will probably shock most of you, is that I will probably leave the device boxed up for several days until I get around to unlocking and loading Cyanogenmod with the help of a colleague in the office. If you have waited over 1460.97 days for a brand new phone, what difference will a few more make? Here’s To Change…
Office moves or desks moves, at my current employer, I have moved one floor down and desks now three times. My current desk is situated in an extremely open plan office. We have had the partitions lowered to a bear minimum, which will make calls very interesting in the future. The objective to increase collaboration between all members of the Operations team and make us as a department approachable for all sections of the business we support.
A regular occurrence almost four years ago, was being the victim of multiple office pranks by dearest colleague while working at Intel Corporation in Swindon. I tried my best to document each event, to ensure evidence could be provided to HR in time for performance reviews. We have a variety of attempts to disrupt my working day, all of which I took on the chin, in the vain they were attempted. Just a quick recap Eco Warrior was Back In The Office Read(ing) All About It and taking the Action Required. I have also now gone back and added the tag – office prank to better catalog all attempts to sabotage my working space.
You can imagine my surprise to return back to my desk from a meeting to find this – my monitor, keyboard, telephone, mouse mat and phone charger covered in Post-It Notes.
Driving home from Wycombe to Slough on Thursday 23rd October, around 9pm, the night sky was lit up with fireworks for Diwali. Travelling down the A404 (M), I was listening to Capital FM and a female caller, requested Wait On Me by Rixton. Having not heard this before, I thought it best to at least give the song a chance. Being outside the age bracket for contemporary popular music, I had never heard of this band before but had heard their other main hit – Me & My Broken Heart. (Although at the time I did not know who they were). Young people of today, will be shocked to discover that even up to the late 90s, you could call up a radio station to request a song, only for them to play something completely different. I can recall DJ’s actually saying, “We do not have song X, but we can play song Y, will you please introduce…” This practice obviously would not work in this well connected, YouTube, instant gratification world. Plus, how many young people wait for a song to be played on the radio. The prestige of such a premiere no-longer works in a multichannel multimedia world. A song can be available for many months on-line before you hear it on the radio, although to be fair to the radio networks, they have got better in recent years. Then again, who under 30 still listens to the radio?
Ed Sheeran is going to dance in his next music video was the filler chat from a DJ one weekend a few weeks ago, as I made my way out and about. I thought little more of this idle chatter until I went to watch the music video on YouTube via our television set a few nights later. Ed is dancing for sure, but it is little more than window dressing by his fabulous performance parter, from So You Think You Can Dance – Brittany Cherry. Reading about the choreographers of the dance, I was taken to some of their note worthy performances from the US dance competition. Unsure of a duo calling themselves Nappytabs (The concatenated name of married couple and working partners Napoleon & Tabitha). There was a comment from Jordin Sparks regarding her song “No Air” but I did not get a chance to watch the video until Friday evening, when I got to search for the video on YouTube on the TV. We had been viewing various clips, from Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, to funny clips from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Watching the clip, took my breath away. YouTube with it’s file limits and heavy compression does not do the dance justice. I actually need to hunt down the full HD version but for now, this is all we have. How did I miss this from six years ago?
I have probably watched the clip about a dozen times now. I love every second, particularly the part when Joshua is brought back up from the floor by Katee. The ending with the exchange of the jacket is pure poetry. I wonder if Sparks or even Brown for that matter would have thought their song would ever been performed while a couple performed Lyrical Hip-Hop. While American has a long standing history of dance and dance shows, here in the UK, aside from BGT, most of the dance shows (Strictly Come Dancing aside) have flopped because there is not the appetite for this type of performance, cloaked with the candy of reality television presented by one of our own, Brummie Cat Deeley.
Nobody likes roadworks. Yet, they are an everyday nuisance of modern life. Living next to the First Great Western mainline route between Paddington and the West has meant we are inflicted upon by the noise of trains going by on a regular basis from 6am until midnight. Just like the planes overhead flying out and in to Heathrow, you get used to and after a month or so acclimatise to their existence. However, when we moved in over three years ago we knew little of the impact Crossrail would have on our new home. Stoke Poges Lane has a bridge, affectionately named after a local factory landmark, Horlicks Bridge. The bestowed name from the GSK building nearby which many years ago produced the nightime beverage. It is tight for two regular vehicles to cross at the same time and when lorries approach the crossing, they have to wait to ensure they are given a clear passage. Network Rail own the bridge, rather than Slough Borough Council, so therefore have been in charge of the upgrade in preparation for the electrification of the line from Reading all the way to the capital. The bridge is to be removed in November and fully replaced with full size bridge in April. Meanwhile we have had to put up with roadworks which started about two weeks ago, with three way traffic lights controlling the flow of vehicles over the bridge.
While driving home from Wycombe this evening, I came up to the lights and waited for them to turn green as you do. A wait of ten minutes, maybe a little more. However, as the lights turned green, a driver had taken the risk and jumped the red light on the other side. Now most cars ahead of me decided this was just not on and decided to force the driver to stop just before the signal. Being the better person I decided to let the silver Golf pass, only to have a bright blue BMW behind me toot their horn for holding them up. I was trying to let the vehicle through, so then the rest of the traffic would have clear run at the bridge. Oh the impatience of some drivers. This reall does get my goat sometimes. Why is everybody in such a hurry. I am sure there was a Honda Jazz television advert from many years ago which ended with the lines – “Aren’t We All Just Trying To Get Somewhere…!”
A last minute change of plan, meant I found myself booking a flight over to Prague for a business trip on Monday returning late Tuesday evening. My last business trip was almost exactly two years ago while working for Microsoft to the capital of Finland. I was travelling to the Czech Republic and unknown to me at the time, Holland would be playing them in European Championship Qualifier but I would be on my flight home as the match kicked off.
There is no greater feeling of pride than watching over the bright lights of the London cityscape as we fly down into Heathrow. We flew over Windsor and my office as we made our final approach to Terminal 3. I struggled to make out the building but I could see the Honda building, which is on junction 7 of the M4 and that gave me bearings to look in the right direction. While this was perhaps not as awe inspiring as my trip two years ago, I still felt an immense pride, a warm feeling of what it means to British. While the union may only exist for another nine days, I cannot let go so easily myself.
Months go past with little activity on the blog. I have to be honest, there has been little, if anything worth capturing in recent months. While a short holiday in Turkey may be worth mentioning, I still need to sort through the six hundred plus photographs, although most have now finally been uploaded to FlickR (although not ready to be shared with the public just yet). Summer and been and gone and as we head into September, life begins to return to normal. The train begins on the long journey to December, the end of the year, Christmas before a new year beckons. Where has 2014 gone? Seems to have passed me by without any such plan…
This was not how I had intended to end my weekend, driving back from Nottingham to Slough. My car broke down, just off the M69 as we were approaching the A46 outside Coventry. A call to Green Flag and a forty minute wait later, we were towed over to the nearby Tesco supermarket. It was nearly 8pm at this point, the supermarket long since closed but the petrol station was open and we bought some sandwiches while we waited. The car was going to be loaded onto a trailer and driven down to Slough but we had up to a 90 minute wait. It was going to be a long night. The truck arrived within thirty minutes and we were on our way home. We did not expect to be home before 11pm.
We had been in Nottingham for the 100th Birthday celebrations of my long term family friend’s mother. It had been a wonderful but tiring day and we looking forward to getting home at 7pm to prepare for another working week. It was not to be.