Monday, May 09, 2005


The BBC coverage on announcement that public sector should 'get to grips' with sick leave.
Being a public sector worker, it caught my eye. I do reaslise that there is a problem with this - a quote from Sean Lock's excellent from 15 storeys high rings more than true -"[what's the point in phoning the council? they'll] write your name on a piece of paper, put a cup of coffee on top of it, and then go on maternity leave for six months" (apologies for my poor quote memory).
My own experience is a lot more positive; since leaving the private sector and coming to work for a public owned, "arm's length" company (it's 100% owned by the local council), my illness levels have dropped dramatically. At the last place, I reckon I had about 15 to 20 days off a year due to sickness. In this job, last year I think I had two sick days.
Why? Well, for a start, I now work flexi-time, which helps a whole lot. Rather than having to plan my life around work, I plan work around my life (to a degree, at least).
Also, I don't have as much pressure to get things done quickly; meaning I can concentrate on doing things right. This has the effect that I'm a lot more stressed at work.
My Boss is someone I get on with, and who I socialise with. He's a great bloke, who understands the work I do (he does the same work), and is willing to defend the decisions I make, and stand up for me too.
Generally, I've found working in public sector much less stressful, which has resulted in me needing more time off work..

Friday, May 06, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

C# or VB.Net - Does it really matter?

Brad McCabe's discussed why he uses Visual Basic.Net.
As I commented there, I couldn't give a fig what language you use, if you understand it and can use it effectively, it doesn't really matter. Sure, things like C-Omega, might have some unique language features, but they're just language support for things you can already do...
I've programmed in C, C++, C#, IDL, Java, JavaScript, Delphi, ML, Pascal, PHP, SQL, Visual Basic, Visual Basic.Net, and, at the moment, I'm using C#. This because my boss tells me to use it, and because, after 3.5yrs of C++, it's what I feel most at home with. It also makes the switch to JavaScript, for DHTML, easiest (but still not seamless). Also, for the web based stuff that I do, I prefer it to PHP. I've never really got into Java.
The fact is, they're all just different ways of describing how to do something. Far more interesting are the patterns and practices, rather than the syntax.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Alternative Energy Sources

I've been talking a lot with people about alternative energy sources (i.e. not oil), and then I heard something on the Today Programme this morning about Whisper Generators - they also mentioned domestic wind turbines. The other day, You And Yours reported on Hydrogen Fuel cells.
Somebody else suggested that, if they gets a next term, New Labour will have to invest heavily in Nuclear Power in order to meet the demands of an increasinly energy hungry population.

What nobody seems too keen on is bio fuel. I think these are my favourite of all the renewable/alternative energy sources, as they are truely renewable, and, even better, could easily be the product of organic farming!

How cool would that be? A organic farm, producing vegetables, grains, and perhaps keeping some free range livestock, running all the farm machinery on a combination of methane and oil. I could even have a managed woodland to provide building materials and any emergency fuel.

Bill also mentioned Prarie Dogs:

"Prairie dogs construct crater- and dome-shaped mounds up to 2 feet (0.6 m) high and 10 feet (3 m) in diameter ... [which] enhance ventilation of the tunnels."
If similar tunnels could be used to construct underground wind turbines, we could erradicate the argument about them being ugly.

Random thoughts, but perhaps something to think about.