Oh the pain… the pain!

Oh the pain of having your mouse pause every few seconds for several seconds as you’re trying to work – welcome to my hell.

I crack open Adobe InDesign CC to work on the ethics manuals today and due to the large number of hyperlinks and hyperlink destinations within these documents my several years old PC is just groaning under the strain. It’s paltry 8GB RAM and spindle-based hard drive are just not up to the job.

What makes this whole experience sheer murder is knowing that I am shortly to receive a new Windows 10-based Dell Laptop with 32GB RAM and 512GB Solid State hard drive. As I sat there today I willed the email to arrive in my inbox telling me my appointment was tomorrow, I would have happily cancelled any appointment for it to arrive, sadly it never arrived. Instead my mouse barely moved as I continued to add hyperlinks and hyperlink destinations to my document and my frustration grew with each addition.

Thankfully next week off… hopefully that email arrives whilst I’m away.

Wait. No longer!

I decided in late May I would swap from my first name Bryan to my last middle name Corin. It has been an interesting journey, I have been asked why I was doing so many a time, even asked oddly if I was changing gender as the person enquiring had worked with someone whose name changed and later so too did their gender. No, my gender will not be changing, sorry to disappoint.

Some have adapted to my new preferred name relatively easily whilst others several months on still find themselves slipping up and quickly correcting themselves. Generally though most have now adjusted to calling me Corin and have said they really quite like the name.

As someone who likes to hide in the background I find all the attention it has garnered oddly strange. I had planned to formalise my name change in late October or November as I had already booked a holiday to Singapore and thought it better to wait. I got a tad frustrated at work the other day when an IT worker refused to created a new staff ID card as preferred names are no longer accepted. I decided enough, I wanted to move on and change as soon as possible. I finally submitted my paperwork today, it will take around 6 weeks to return, then the process of changing my name everywhere else, especially my passport.

It will be good to be official.

Are our PC’s sentient?

There seems to be something awry with my Windows 7 PC at work this week, it seems to be grinding to a halt doing just about anything for some reason. Whether I am working on the new ethics manuals in InDesign, or the mundane task of data quality audits in Google Chrome and Excel, my PC is just acting as though it has developed the flu.

I actually do wonder whether our PC’s are sentient, knowing when they are not far from being put on the scrap heap. I should have a lovely new SSD-based laptop by the end of next week, or early of the following week; has my PC picked up on this and cracked the shits?

Today I sat at my PC and my mouse wouldn’t move across the screen as it should in a fluid movement, instead it was a jittery jerked movement, barely registering that I’d moved the device at all. Unlike yesterday when I had InDesign open with a document having a large number of hyperlink destinations, today all I had was Google Chrome and email open. I opened Task Manager and 91% of the paltry 8GB RAM it has was gone, what the hell is going on, that shouldn’t be the case. I later rebooted the machine as I was fed up with not being able to work, our IT Department was applying updates in the background again — they’re meant to do this late each Thursday (but never do!).

I can’t wait for my new laptop to arrive, solid state drive, 32GB RAM and a fast processor, not to mention larger screens where currently I have these awful small ones that aren’t suited to my day-to-day work. I will be on cloud nine once the new system is deployed.

My Minestrone (Stew)

A few weeks ago I was walking into Coles supermarket in Joondalup and had an overwhelming desire for Minestrone, no idea why. I didn't want any of the canned crap though, you know, the soup with your salt kinda half litre variety.

I took the cheats way out and bought pre-cut vegetables, but here's the recipe I have developed and called Minestrone stew as is much thicker than a regular soup:

500g diced vegetables (including carrot, corn, celery, spring onion and red onion)
1 pkt streaky bacon, chopped
1.5 litres chicken stock (I use Campbell's)
1 can Red Kidney Beans, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 pkt Minestrone lentils
1/2 pkt shell pasta (or another kind that holds sauce)

Fry the bacon in large saucepan.
Add lentils.

After 1 minute add the chopped vegetables and fry for several minutes.

Add kidney beans and diced tomatoes. Stir through.

Add chicken stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.

Add half pack of pasta. Cook for 15 minutes.

And you're done. Hope you enjoy.

Tennis elbow it is

During my recent ‘Tour de France’ with Trafalgar, definitely not cycling, we were in Amboise after having just visited the home of Leonardo da Vinci (Clos Lucé) and over the  river about to have our group photo taken. I was walking down the slope and looking at the royal castle in the distance, and not having seen any problem on the slope where I was walking continued walking down.

All of a sudden the ground disappeared from beneath my left foot, and too much and too quickly that I just couldn’t gather my balance. Before I knew it I was arse over head and heading for a Frenchman with red wine bottle and glass. I managed to stop myself by throwing out my right arm and my left wrist, but heck doing so bloody well hurt in a big way. At first I thought I may have possibly hurt myself, my wrist really did hurt, way more than did my arm.

A day or two later the wrist felt better, thankfully, and the arm wasn’t showing any signs at this stage of having any problems. However, upon returning to Australia my right arm started to feel sore, especially whenever I tried to lift my coffee or water bottle, life as I knew it was possibly coming to an end – LOL!

I see my doctor each month and had forgotten to mention in in July, so brought it up today, turns out had a case of Tennis Elbow, I’ll not even try to remember the medical term she uttered. I was told to tape it up as this would likely help, otherwise consider dry needling with their physio.

As a guy I was buggered if I was applying tape to a hairy arm, especially Rock Tape which is quite adhesive, so I hit the shops in search of hair removal cream. I’ve never used it before, it was interesting how easy the hair comes off, just 4 minutes after applying the cream to the arm. Applying the Rock Tape for the first time was interesting, I first watched tapes on Dr YouTube, then full steam ahead. Here’s hoping my efforts have some effect and support the arm, I’m not physio/Dr.

What a week

It has been a busy week in this party of one.

Last week I was told I would be working on refreshing the Research Ethics manuals that are currently under review. My part involves redesigning and making these manuals look fresh, they’ve licensed similar manuals from another university and wanted to use these as a basis for improving our own. The source documents are particularly wordy, especially the comment insert boxes which I think are over-the-top wordy. I sent through an initial design for the first document on day one just hoping for some feedback, little did I expect glowing feedback and no requests for changes, does this ever happen?

The most challenging issue I have with these documents, apparently there will be 46 in total, is that they will all interlink, and will be PDF’d. I did an initial test after creating the second document the following day, queue alarm bells, it just didn’t work within Microsoft Word, the links were trying to call the word documents and in specific locations. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge within this area, I don’t typically need to do such things. Another annoyance was how the footer was behaving, on some pages text would but up against, on others there would be a decent gap, it was bugging me on so many levels.

I decided today I would move to InDesign and see how this application handled interlinking, I knew for sure I was not going to have the footer issues. It took me hours to get my document in, build the hyperlinks up, and get the commentary boxes in place; it is certainly nowhere near as fast to get the document to the same state as it was in Word, but the look is far better for the extra effort. I now need to prepare the second document to allow me to check linking between the two and InDesign performs – CROSSING FINGERS!

I met this afternoon with representatives of our IT department to discuss process mapping I’d been working on recently within our department. I’ve worked within Visio for a few years, however I’ve always done so without any formal training, they will be training me to work to their formal EPC specifications and storing the diagrams within their server. All is still created within Visio, however to a formal structure with naming conventions to maintain consistency across diagrams. Some of the diagrams we have outside of their system are highly detailed and difficult to read when scaled to fit an A3 page, I noticed they mentioned breaking down but it will be interesting to see how they go about this – will be appreciated by all the ability to read once more.

Been a bit of tiring week too, worked a 14 hour day Wednesday between work, then working at home for one of the schools on their website… utterly exhausted after that one, slept like a log. I am grateful for the weekend now and chance of a sleep-in. Thank heavens is winter and sun not rising early right now! Enjoy the weekend, I shall, not raining – woot!

Round: Meds app

I take a few different medications, heck I joke we're I to jump I might just rattle.

A few years back my pharmacy had me subscribe to an app to remind me when my meds were getting low, I could then press a button to just order and pick up later that day, it was quite good. Sadly they decided against continuing with the service, moving to SMS messages that were weeks ahead oh my needing a refill.

I did rely upon the SMS messages but would delay my response, but they too stopped. Just last week I went to take a pill and noticed I had none left in the draw, the box was atop the draw, my signal to self I need to visit the pharmacy – I failed!

I decided to go in search of an app that might help keep track of my meds and the number of pills remaining, and more importantly prompt me to restock when I am running low. Hitting the iOS App Store I eventually found Round Health (https://appsto.re/au/upbk_.i).

Round Health allows entry of your meds and when you take them, but unlike most apps I've seen before its reminders work on a range e.g. 5-7am, so you will actually be reminded twice if you don't indicate you've taken the meds. To assist with restocking you enter the number of pills you have remaining, when at 5 you will be reminded to visit the pharmacy. If like me you have an Apple Watch it includes an app which is convenient.

Check it out.