Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Things what I done

So today and yesterday afternoon I helped out supervising a bunch of kids in the office as part of the company's "bring your child to work" day.  It was more fun than I was expecting I think; I volunteered to get myself something vastly different to do from my day job but I don't think I know what I was really expecting to happen.

The kids were really well behaved though, the guys organising it had them making things to keep an egg safe when dropped from a height with basic office supplies that they could 'buy' out of a budget and sell back what they didn't need at a loss.  Some of the designs were pretty good.  Interestingly the first day (with younger kids) most of the teams had something using a bin liner as a parachute so for the second day, to push them a bit, the bin liner parachute was outlawed.

That's all I've been doing that isn't day job stuff of note though; I've spent the past couple of days screwing around with the database my team uses so that it can store more useful information about performance goals.  There's some interesting stuff there about who decides what goals are and such, but I don't think I can write that here.  It was good anyway, getting the database to work the way I think it should was satisfying.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Feedbackings and team leadings

So two things happened today that are truly of note:

Firstly: it's time for performance reviews.  I have to review myself with both a score and evidence of why I deserve such a score, which will then be examined by my Task Manager and PDM.  Frankly I wouldn't mind much at all but it's all wrapped up in this corporate culture again and I hate that.  Mainly because I don't think I'm going to do very well by their metrics despite the fact that I do my job pretty well for the most part.

Secondly: because I've been around on the games development giveback project for pretty much the longest apart from the graduate who's overseeing the whole thing, I've pretty much been made the team lead.  This is big if you ask me.  I'm scared to be honest, last time I was even close to being a team lead on a project it went horribly... time to make it good I guess.

Oh and on another note... it has now been a week since I half-broke one of our servers.  It still hasn't been fixed.  Just as well that half isn't very important.  I guess that's noteworthy as well...

Friday, 20 September 2013

Keeping track of what's going on...

So it's been over a quarter of the year now... definitely settling in nicely although right now I still don't feel like I want to come back here as a graduate.  In my one-to-one with my task manager a couple of days ago he said that my team lead thought I was getting in to the swing of the work more quickly than is usually expected of an IT so that made me very happy!  There has also been praise from the guy who assigns me work within the team, which always feels good.

One thing that's been coming up a bit of late is people asking me what I've been doing with my time so I think I need some system of keeping track of what I've been working on.  Probably the best way of doing that is just using the internal tools the company has but I'm going to think on it a bit more and see if I can come up with something that's a little more personal to me but not publicly visible.  So not here.

Thursday, 29 August 2013


So this is a first for me, it's really not much but it feels good to finally have actually done this:

I have just written a simple shell script that actually uses features like cases and variables.  It's a really simple thing to program but this is the first time I've ever used a script to do it.

For the record: it reads an error log file, pulls out only the lines that are relevant to my sandbox copy of the website and then returns the lines either for a day passed to the script or today if no day is passed in.

I read the server error logs a fair bit; they're more useful for debugging than I think most people know.

Only 10 lines of script but I like it.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Never moving in with people I don't know again

If I didn't have to live here I would never put up with his shit.  Ever.  I can't stand being around him.

He mistakes energy for enthusiasm, loudness for confidence, and sexualised misogyny for manliness.  I want to move to almost anywhere else but God knows I don't have a damn choice now.

Friday, 23 August 2013

My biggest weakness.

Right now my biggest weakness is reading code.  I know that now, it was brought home to me in a big way about 10 minutes ago when my team lead found a solution to a problem I didn't really understand in about 5 minutes.

Needs work, lots of work; no more making excuses about it being PHP and therefore unreadable anyway.

No more.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Giveback Projects

So IBM has this thing they call "giveback" which is essentially signing up for projects outside of your day job... I'm not sure why, maybe they don't think we have enough to do during the day.

Either way, I've signed up for a couple of things:

Bluebricks - an internal PHP framework for creating useful tools and services.  This is basically an extension of what I do in my day job but I have to say that I've been part of the team for about maybe 4 hours total and I've already pushed a change to the working version of the tool I'm on.  It feels like I'm going to have more production code out there for this by the end of the year than I have for my day job but I really hope this is wrong.

Helping work experience kids with a project.  They have some kids on work experience coming in to build... something in early September, I've signed up to spend a couple of afternoons helping with that.  No idea what it'll entail yet but here's hoping it's good.

I feel like I've signed up for more as well but I can't remember anything else off the top of my head.  More stuff as it comes back to me.

Office Space

I have three managers for my day job and at least 2 for a project I'm involved in as part of give back... sometimes it feels like maybe Office Space isn't as far from the truth as I want it to be.

Part of the whole IT thing is having one-to-ones with the Personal Development Manager (PDM) and my task manager once a month... right now I really don't feel like this is needed.  I barely have anything to say to them anyway.

Been too long...

So it's been nearly a full month since I posted anything here... this is definitely a bad thing.  So here I am at 3 in the morning having just finished reading my book, not tired enough to sleep, writing.

So what's happened in the past month (jesus, it's already been that long since I started)... mainly a lot of moving of goal posts.  Several times now I've been given something to do, done it to what I thought was a pretty good standard and taken a fair bit of time and then the person who's supervising me has said that actually that's not the way I should have done it or that he's told me to do the wrong thing.  This is immensely frustrating, understandably, and really disheartening; having to throw away a couple of day's worth of good work through no fault of my own.  It's certainly not making me any happier with the day job, although that's definitely getting better as time goes on; I'm being given much more interesting work to do so I think I'm finally being trusted to do things that aren't just boilerplate maintenance jobs.  There is a part of me that still feels that if I'd gone to do the other placement I was offered in Canterbury that I'd be doing more interesting work by now but obviously I have no idea if I'm right about that or not and even if it is accurate to say that it doesn't make any difference now.

The social side of life here isn't making me entirely happy either.  I'm getting on with people well enough and I've got a few people I could tentatively call friends but the people I actually socialise with are all old-current ITs who are leaving soon.  I have no idea what I'm going to do for people to talk to when they're gone... it's not that I dislike the other people, I just don't feel like we have anything much in common.  Very few of the people who are here are 'my kind of people'; they're not in to the same things as me generally, and of course us all being new to each other they don't get me either.  I'm not trying to pretend I'm some kind of complicated person who you need to know for ages to really 'get' or that people have to be in to the same things to get along... but it's not the same as the people I know back in Canterbury; those are my kind of people.

My house mates are much the same kind; maybe two of them are people who I could really see getting along with but the others... we're just too different.  They say and do things that fundamentally rub me the wrong way.  It's not their fault and they're not bad people, we we just conflict too much to really get along right now.  I spend the vast majority of my spare time in my room at the minute because being alone is preferable.

I'm really trying to get better about being here and most of the time it seems to be working... but in my quiet moments, when I'm not keeping myself busy enough I still wonder if coming here was the right choice.  Friday, right around the time when I found out that 2 days work was wasted was a big one of those moments.

Ah well, I'm heading back to Canterbury for a couple of days next weekend, that will be a lot of fun!

Sunday, 30 June 2013


I'm typing this from my house at last!  So happy!

Seriously, the place is nice and I'm really happy to have my stuff back rather than being sat in a room away from my main PC and my guitars.

That aside, it's been a while since I posted anything.  The week was largely uneventful; I'm learning the systems in place in the department and how the team at Hursley fits in with the other teams around the world.  It's a big, sprawling thing to get this stuff working the way people want it to and my team forms a small but no less important part of that.  Another thing I'm learning is how the in-house systems work for testing... there's a lot of code to read and it turns out that reading code when you don't know the standard libraries is pretty hard; trying to read this code has been the best crash-course in PHP I think I could ever get.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Week 1 end...

So here we are at the end of the first week... I'll admit yesterday was a major wobble but I think I can blame it on being drunk and really tired.  I'm still feeling a bit under it today but since I'm only tired I'm not being anywhere near as melodramatic about it.

Aside from that... it's all still a bit info-dump-y at the job right now.  I'll actually have something to do once I get in on Monday though, even if it is only preparing some documentation about the various systems involved in what we do.  It's needed though, and that makes me happy.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Not things with stuff...

So right now I'm not at all happy with the way my placement is going.  I understand that IBM is a massive company and that the systems in place are complicated... but I haven't done anything.  Literally no work since I started.

As much as I hate to trot out something that's a cliché among gamers these days... I didn't sign up for this.  I have learned exactly nothing since I joined and that's the reason I signed on with the whole Year In Industry thing; to learn.  That's what I do these days: I learn.  That's what I want to do, it's what I've spent the past couple of years doing... right now IBM isn't helping.  I've been told a bunch of stuff about the way the JRE testing system exclusive to IBM's internals works and nothing else...

I don't want to quit, that would be stupid right now but I can't see myself doing what I actually want to do in this team.  I'll give it some time and see if anything changes but for now...


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Information. Overload.

Seriously, there's just been so much stuff to think about and remember for the past few days.  I think all I can remember is a few people's names and where my desk is... I think, I'm not sure about the desk.  Hursley is just so god damn huge.

That said, I'm looking forward to properly getting down to some work; I've been put in the Java Runtime performance testing team... so I can't talk in detail about what I'm doing for the most part.  Just that I'm going to be on the team who do performance testing on IBM's in-house version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Also I got a company laptop (pretty beefy machine), a fancy lanyard that's different from the other ITs and an IBM branded mug.  These things all make me quite happy.

Aside from all that a bunch of outgoing and incoming ITs went bowling last night, was a lot of fun.  Pub quiz tomorrow so I think a very good night's sleep is the order for tonight.

Monday, 17 June 2013

First day

Pretty uneventful all told.  Mainly the day consisted of Death By Powerpoint and things designed to help the placement students (ITs) get to know each other; there was an icebreaker involving building a 1 metre tall tower that could hold a mobile phone out of only paper and tape.  We succeeded.

Still, this is definitely a good thing; a nice way to ease in to a new job environment and get some of the panicking out of the way without actually having to do anything real.

Now, if you will excuse me... I'm going to go and fall asleep.  I didn't sleep well last night so I'm now tired enough to have fallen asleep very shortly after having got home for about 20-30 minutes.

Tomorrow brings more admin tasks and presentations... oh the joy.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Arrival! (Part 2)

So earlier I said the only things I could think about were food and fear... I've eaten now.

I feel like elaborating is probably a good idea:

Broadly speaking what I have is a fear of failure but not simply failure, it's a fear that I never deserved to be here to begin with.  I've spoken to several other people about this and it seems a common theme among a certain kind of person; we fear that at any point people will figure out that we're faking it (whatever 'it' is) and suddenly we'll have to go and get a job in MacDonalds or similar.

Rationally, I know I'm pretty good at what I do and I will likely be capable enough in this job to at least not screw it up... but there's always the paranoid part that doesn't get that and is scared.

That said, the next couple of days at least will probably be administrative and basic training things so I won't know if I have what it takes for at least a little while.

Until then, I will enjoy my B&B stay and try not to get anything too wrong.


So I'm typing this from a B&B in deepest Hampshire. It took me four hours to get here, plus a bit of walking, maybe half an hour, because there were no cabs at the Chandler's Ford train station.

Right now all I can think about is food and fear.

More later when I've eaten.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

First Post! ... I'm not at IBM yet.

Earlier today I got a call from the guy who's going to be my team manager at IBM when I start there.  I haven't started yet but he called to make sure things were alright and to let me know what (roughly) I'm going to be doing when I start there.

According to him I'm going to be attached to their Java development and testing team as part of a team of people providing metrics for performance.  I'm going to be trying to automate data aggregation from what I understand but this doesn't mean actually using the Java language, which is unexpected.  Apparently I'm going to be working in scripting languages (PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl, that kind of thing) to do this.

Additionally they apparently encourage interns working on other projects together.  I really want to see if I can get some people together to work on something using a functional language but apparently that's a relatively niche things so it might not be doable.  I just really want to keep up my skills with these languages, I enjoy them a lot.

I'm terrified and excited.  Mainly terrified.

More to come when I have more to say... so probably when I've actually started there, for now I'm trying to keep my mind clear and focus on other things I have to do.  Like deal with my new landlord.