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Re: Diary Monday Jan 23rd 2017 to Sunday Feb 5th 2017

Active Participant

As it seems like narcissism is the current way of behaving I thought it might be interesting to keep a diary for a couple of weeks. If you're ever thinking of starting a business like ours, it may be of interest, or if you are already running your own business I would be very interested in your counter-diary. I'm nosy like that.

This has not been a typical week as we've done a bit of travel, that said it's not really that atypical either.

Company names have been change to protect the innocent.

 

Monday 23rd Jan 2017 
Very foggy at the office, today we had an ISO 9000 audit, it went OK. Because it is fairly new and we are fairly old it is taking time to get it all ticking along nicely. That said we have come a long way and it's been hugely beneficial to our business. Our friendly auditor was Dan.
Need to get everyone using project checklists!

Added risk column to requirements template after a post-mortem of the test system for Company R.
Hi Chan scope added more comprehensive 2 card simulated hardware to allow me to test multiple card type screens. Started updating multiple card type globals. This will be a long and ugly job!
Organised Ships monitoring details for quote.
Talked to PH about improvements to automatic project generation on our Project Management tool.
Listened to Spaceman 3 .....
Started 8:30 finished 8:30

 

Tuesday 24th Jan 2017
Hi Chan Multiple Cards, still plugging away.
Midday went over the wire to do more Hi Chan Scope stuff, this time Post-processing, in and out in an hour.
Company W can't wire up a transducer so Jonny was left waiting, very annoying as I couldn't get to them to help. Adrian dispatched. It turned out to be a complete waste of time. Charged accordingly as it pissed me off!
Back on Hi Chan, cocked up the versioning a bit in the rush, so sorted out that for the next actual release. There's a lot of work to go on this yet.
Copied virtual machine to allow multiple servers to be emulated, having no hardware costs money! At least I can carry the system around on my laptop ready for Poland.
Sent statement to company C as they were 19 days late. Agreed a date for payment, amazingly they had lost our payment details. Accountants can be so careless with those sort of things.
Blogged for a bit and skyped Fab about the blog and Vienna. I was actually a bit nervous about this article, but think my nice gentle audience saw where I was coming from. Good comments on this one!
Listened to Mr Splashy by Wonk Unit and the Mickey Bradley Record show on Radio Ulster.
Started at 9:00 finished at 9:00 (although had an hour off)

 

Wednesday Jan 25th 2017
Went to re-wire Tow Tank for University S. Their job was to wire up all the environmental transducers, the didn't execute their responsibilities to our standard, so we went and re-wired it. This is why we look so poor, it's all the free stuff we do!

Towtank.jpg

 

Meeting with Company B regarding test suite for their ships monitoring gear. Need to put together a proposal, probably take a couple of weeks to get it all sorted. Not my favourite job!

 

Thursday Jan 26th 2017
Start at 6:00am way to early for me! 3 hour drive to Company C in Stone, Staffordshire - Integrating Singleshot software, spent the day looking at progress bars. Project portability payback, it just worked.

Checked hardware spec for company W, get the feeling it's blamestorming.

 

Friday Jan 27th 2017
Pleasant night at Weston Hall, very posh. Woke up with back-ache which fills me full of joy for the drive home!

Weston Hall.jpgBack-ache cleared up!!
Final hardware integration went seamlessly after a bit more progress bar watching. Drove home, knackered. Need to write some code and then return in a couple of weeks to finish the interlocking code.
Sorted SQLite table for Adrian - Navicat made it easy to import data, it's proven a tool well worth its money!
Acknowledged order for data collector work for Company A.

 

Sunday Jan 29th 2017
Drive to Bristol at 5:30 pm
Nice dinner in the Battleaxes Pub in Wraxall, we always do our research when eating or sleeping!
Learnt I was presenting Pushing Risk Forward : Mitigation and Judgement case studies at CLA Summit in Vienna. Agenda looks excellent, really varied and focussed on professionalism. It's attached.

Just need to write it now!

 

Monday Jan 30th 2017
Up at 3:30 am for the early flight to Gdansk, yuck!
Fly to Gdansk - Checked into the Hotel Gdansk Boutique (highly recommended!!!, best hotel I have ever stayed in and really good value)
Into Gdansk ship yards the seed for the fall of communism in Eastern Europe so really significant place.

 

From Wikipedia

"In 1980 Gdańsk was the arena for events that marked the beginning of organized resistance to Communist dictatorship in eastern Europe. A strike by 17,000 ship builders saw Solidarity (Solidarność), led by shipyard electrician Lech Wałęsa, recognised as the first non-Communist trade union in the then Soviet Bloc. The move was one of the first successful steps in a campaign of civil resistance that contributed to the eventual collapse of Communism across eastern Europe"

 

It's massive, drydocks and floating docks everywhere.
Took us 30 minutes of driving about to find the ship. This is the entrance walk-way.

WP_20170201_004.jpg
Spent the day lugging gear from deck 8 to the engine room and helping Adrian with the fitting of the our system. Finished 18:30 local time.

Very Very Tired - Slept 12 hours

 

Tuesday 31st Jan 2017
Another day metal bashing and wiring. Engine room pretty much completed save some plugging in of cables.
Sadly the electricians put our cabling down the wrong bulkhead, vindicates our decision to run both systems concurrently, reducing the risk for this kind of issue.
Ran into one of my customers from Company W, he was outside of the hotel and the weirdness of the coincidence really threw me. Someone calling your name out in a foriegn country is most disconcerting.
In between had a top-notch meal of dumplings and fantastic cider at Nova Pierogova Bistro (Cider cost half the entire meal which made Adrian bleat and me laugh).
And then some beers in the brewery at Hotel Gdansk, it was very pleasant.

Finished writing EIA and finally sent it 1:30am local time (after wrestling with the wrong name as a login!!, blame tiredness and flakey internet!), not very hopeful, but worth a try.

 

Wednesday 1st Feb 2017
Cold and foggy, should have took pictures yesterday when it was clear and sunny!
Shipyard looks amazing in the fog with the cranes and ships looming out of the mire.

WP_20170201_001.jpg
All ECR (Engine Control Room) work is pretty much done, I started work on a quote for Company B, hard to concentrate in all the activity. Will try and find a quiet spot tomorrow.
P&O seem very happy with how it is going.
Fantastic meal in the hotel. Adrian had Polish Sausage and Egg sour soup served in a loaf, was very impressed!. I had the best Creme Brulee I've ever had.

 

Thursday 2nd Feb 2017
Nice easy day, setting up the Bridge and tidying up. Walked back to the gate to pick up the taxi for some heavy engineering tourism. The video is the how the ship painters finish their shift!


Back at hotel early for a bit of an explore (it's important to explore!!!!), 

IMG_1477.JPG
Woohoo we got NIWeek approval
The SSDC Way: Desire Paths to a Simple Software Process
Submission Number: 454
Type: Technical Session

Just need to write it now!

 

Friday 3rd Feb 2017
Fly back after a very productive week.
Back to do some planning, got email about another project progressing in the right direction (hopefully another gamechanger for us).

 

Saturday 4th Feb 2017
Timesheets, CSLUG nagging and this blog article

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Comments
Active Participant

Great idea. Fascinating to get a glimpse into what people are up to between meetups!

James Mc
========
CLA and cRIO Fanatic
My writings on LabVIEW Development are at devs.wiresmithtech.com
Active Participant

Wooo Thanks James. I thought I was the only Techno-Voyeur out there. It was beginning to feel like I had embarassed myself in public again Smiley Very Happy

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Member

No, you actually did, Steve. James just meant to say that we all enjoy watching it a lot ;-))

 

You had two very busy weeks. How does that compare to times you spend in the office? Obviously, it makes sense to work long hours when you're travelling. You're at the customer's, production line, shipyard, ... and you want to get things done, go home, and send the bill. Sometimes (not as often any more, though) I actually enjoy putting myself into this beat-the-clock-and-get-things-done mode.

 

But I often catch myself doing the same in the office when there is no actual pressing urgent need for it, no looming deadline. I start at 8:00 am, stay until 6:00 or 7:00 pm, and continue at home at 9:00 pm until 12 or 1 am again. This naturally goes at the expense of the rest of life.

 

Who else gets caught up more often than is good in his work? Is this something that just happens when you run your own business? Is it good, or bad, or whatever?


Joerg Hampel, CLA | hampel-soft.com
Active Participant

Heh! Sounds more like it to me.

I work pretty long hours, in fact because of the travelling and physical nature of working on ship I would say that I worked less hours in this 2 weeks than normal. I don't tend to work especially long hours when I'm away because I find it tiring.

Is it good or bad? for my health/stress levels I try and separate the type of work I do in the evenings and I try not to work weekends. I do enjoy my job so putting time in is not so costly to me. My kids are grown up and contribute round the house, so I don't have many family pulls on my time.

I think my blood pressure is on the high side of normal (but I'm getting on now, so it's not outrageous).

I think one discipline worth having when running your own business is NOT to grab every opportunity, try and grab a variety and enjoy travel if you do it.

We could have saved $300 dollars on food and board (we could even have stayed on the ship), we could have finished the work in 3 long days. It wasn't necessarily a 2 man job. But it was more fun to do it the way we did it.

We do our homework and find a nice hotel in an interesting place, just because it is fun, the separation of work and fun seems very peculiar to me.

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Member

To me, running my own business is ALL about picking the stuff that I want to do, being able to take my own decisions. The thing is, I truely enjoy working, otherwise I wouldn't (couldn't?) be working long hours most of the time.

 

I agree with you: (As soon as your earnings allow) you should choose your opportunities wisely, based on your business strategy and your personal preferences. Better even, create the opportunities you'd like to grab.

 

My kid is 9 years old, so there's a huge responsibility. I missed a lot of the early years because of work and travel, and I do actually regret that. With him, I grab every opportunity I get ;-)


Joerg Hampel, CLA | hampel-soft.com
Active Participant

That was one of my triggers to work for myself, kiddies were 4 and 2 and I was only seeing them for their 20 grumpy minutes before bed!

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Active Participant

Always interested to see what other folks in are up to.  Especially now that I'm working on my own.

 

I think it's the varitey of projects that I love so much. 

 

Some people can't wait to get off the learning curve.  But being part of that "new thing" and figuring it out is just so satisfying.

 

Looking forward to reading more of your posts! 

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Patrick Allen: FunctionalityUnlimited.ca
Active Participant

Many Thanks, most appreciated, got 100 or so to catch up on Smiley Happy

The variety was one of the hopes when we got into this game, and boy did we get it. In fairness I knew my diary was going to have some pretty pictures, so as Joerg alluded to it wasn't a completely typical couple of weeks. This week I have deliberately spent time in the office plugging away at code and preparing presentations, it's actually been very pleasant.

But the last week in Feb I'm likely to be off again, then it's CLA Summit, then back to Gdansk, then NIWeek. So I'm packing in the miles this year.

 

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Active Participant

Hi Steve,

I concur with what everyone has said, it is nice to see what others are up to and our Skype chat even made it to the list. Glad to know our conversations are memorable Smiley Very Happy

 

Regarding Joerg's point about hours and your point about not taking every opportunity. I agree, at Delacor our mission is for this to the best place for us to work. As far as projects, we only take the projects we think we will enjoy. We have learned that taking projects just based on compensation does not make sense for us. 

I like the word "enjoy" and "joy", it is different than happiness. It doesn't mean smiling the entire time, it means being at ease, having time to take a step back and feel satisfaction with what we are creating. 

 

That said, we do need to learn to close shop earlier and not work insane hours. As much as we enjoy our job, the brain needs some time to think about things other than LabVIEW and business related things.

 

Thanks for sharing and congratulations again for getting your presentation accepted at NI Week.

 

Regards,

Fab

Certified LabVIEW Architect * Certified Professional Instructor * LabVIEW Champion