Holiday tech

I am on holiday and have tried not to geek out too much but a certain amount of tech is needed of course – that is:

Cannon EOS 550D
For taking good pics – I brought two lenses the standard 18-55 and a 75-300.

iPhone 4
Not so much for making calls as shooting video! It’s pretty good quaility.

MacBook Pro
So I can pull off those pictures I took on the cam and play with them in aperture – gives me a chance to retake some.

iPad2
all manner of entertainment including blogging, keeping track of the weather etc. I’ve deliberately stayed out of my mail and any instant messaging app!

… I wish I had brought portable speakers!

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On holiday at last


So I finally made it on holiday! Dispute all the concern with volcanic ash, the flight was non eventful. I’ve taken a package holiday with Ving which is a first for me – I’ve never been on such a holiday. So far all is good. Ving as a company has been outstanding, the already said I would get my money back should the vulcano screw things up.

Its mighty pretty and there’s not really much to do here, right now I am sat on the bus on my way to the hotel; the weather is great. I brought new sunglasses, they are fairly expensive and I hope they survive the next few weeks.

Everything is paid for… Hmmm free beer! I think its going to take a few days to relax and stop thinking of work, I’m looking forward to swimming! After this holiday begins another diet so I will enjoy it while I can.

Funnily enough our coach driver was stopped for speeding!

I have a fair amount of blogging to catch up on! The photo attached was taken in the car park!

To travel or not to travel


So, on Thursday I am due to fly to Greece or am I? If there is a god I dont think he wants me relaxing – my last trip was cancelled due to Ryanair and a snow storm. This time I’m probably not going to go because of a volcano. That kind of sucks as I severely need some time off – I’ve had a fairly high pressure life at work recently. Two major volcano blasts in 2 years, major earthquakes in Japan – I wonder how long it will be before this planet cracks open line an egg – perhaps the rapture was supposed to be the rupture.

I can’t believe all those christian types were expecting to go to heaven this week leaving the rest of us heathens to live the rest of our time here. The joke is on them, having in some cases paid us to look after their pets. What is the world coming to :) I’m still having fun with the iPad. The picture I drew above is on the iPad, and I have redone my company signature or at least the image part of it.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Shifting into priority B


It’s fair today the last month as been busy. I have spent most of it in Finland on a fairly high pressure project that became my issue over night. I have a funny feeling that last week the project manager of the project sent out a mail to our senior manager saying we have no ideas on where to go with some technical issues on the same day I sent him a mail with 7 things he should try. Still the direct emergency is over now even thought there are lots of things I need to be involved in.

There are a couple of things that happened during my stay that kind of made me think I had been transported back to the 80s

1. The building I worked in is an ex government building – they have all looked the same since the 60s
2. They still have smoking rooms – I thought that was outlawed everywhere!
3. Someone I was at a bar with one evening drove home after 3 pints, which reminds me of my college days – a fella named Gordie who was an ex Para that would routinely drive home pissed in his mini.
4. First song of the day – video killed the radio star.

This morning I have to catch up on a few other projects, get my task lists up to date, prepare for a team meeting etc…If shifted into priority B mode. I’m on holiday in a few weeks which should be nice.

Airports


I was thinking today about airports – the iconography is really good – the little signs with the plane on – the little mens and gents toilet signs, all those escalators – all clearly contrasting on a backgroud – a lot of though has gone into such things so that they can be internationally recognised. It s a really good job.

I cant help but wonder how alien things must seem for people in languages that dont use the standard numeric set tho I mean those helpful signs 1-29 might not be so helpful to a guy from china.

A lot of thought has gone into the design of airports and there’s a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes we take for granted or just don’t see. I was looking at the IT infrastructure for a large airport operations company a few weeks back. Theres tons to think about

Young Employees


I couldn’t help but smile. I was standing in an elevator in an undisclosed location today when I saw a young employees programme poster – the idea of it was to arrange a meet to bring together young employees – there will be beer, and a sauna apparently.

The funny thing is at the bottom of the poster it said that it was open to everyone!

UFOs

 

As you can see from the picture not to be outdone by the Americans (see Men in Black) Finland has its own UFO. Its made of concrete which makes it fairly durable against the elements and makes it really blend into the background. As you can see in the picture they landed it on another building, and its nice to see that a race of hyper intelligent beings cannot parallel park either.

I have fond memories of the UFO in Eidhoven (the science museum). I visited there in 1988 and it was cool. I must go back sometime and see if its how I remember.

Hotel mornings

The joys of hotel living! This place has a spa, a pool, a good restaurant and crispy bacon in the mornings. It’s nice to be able to just amble on down stairs, pick up brekkie and sit sipping coffee while you flick through the news on your iPad. I was watching a video about a folding interface – where you control a little clear plastic mm thick phone by bending it in different directions. If it was that thin and used a touch screen interface it would be a winner. Wouldn’t be surprised if the iPad 5 would be about that thickness. Maybe I’m old fashioned, maybe I like pointing at things or maybe my Che just isn’t aligned with the whole paper folding idea.

Hotels are great for catching up with either sleep or tv series.. Watched the entire second season of the Sarah Connor Cronicles yesterday – well half of it! In Finland I have no social life!

Looks like it will rain today, and in fact it snowed again in Sweden last week the weather is nuts. Oh well, my coffee is over maybe I should get to work

Attached are pics of my hotel food from yesterday!

Location:Grottmannavägen,Espoo,Finland

The pocket

It’s a silly thing but if you ever wondered what that little pocket in your jeans is for – it’s for your hotel keycard – although steve jobs would have you believe it’s for an iPod nano.

Grats to Matt and eva for the now addition to their family (an iPad). Ironically all three of the most senior members of our senior Microsoft staff at work now have them… Which is clearly only acceptable because MS have no similar offering! O:-)

I had a picture to go with this but i decided against it!

Tax

I worked it out yesterrday – exactly how much i pay to the swedish government in tax – 51.5%. That doesn’t fill me with joy. i am wondering if i should see an accountant and figure a way around this situation, as i am not accustomed to swedish tax law really. Im starting to think that working as a contractor is the way to go. Tax used to be better  when i was contracting, I had my own Limited company, and would take out a really small wage to avoid the 40% high earnings tax and then take the rest of my pay out of the company as a dividend – wich was taxed at a constant rate of 25%. Of course the government tried to get around that by changing the law so that you couldnt have a single person company drawing dividends that way – so umbrella companies started to spring up so contractors could work around the rules together. Ahh the joys of tax law in the uk!

This is only the second job I’ve ever had where i have been a permanent employee. At first i liked not having to submit my own accounts but I’m starting to reconsider. I don’t want to leave the job i have just yet – I’ve just had my pay review and rejected the 4% pay increase they offered me because i can prove that i am actually being underpaid. It looks now as if even if i do get the raise i asked for i still wont be significantly better off.

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