A new experiment on the blog this year. I’m planning to write a weekly report on what I’ve been doing. No idea how useful or interesting it will be or how long I’ll feel like keeping it going. So here’s what I did this week.
Speaking and Training
Didn’t give any talks this week, but there are a couple of things in the pipeline. I’m running four days of public Perl training courses in London at the end of next month and I’m starting to get into the marketing for that. O’Reilly have offered two free places on these courses as prizes for a competition that has been advertised in Linux Format.
As part of my marketing campaign I’ve been working on a new web site about my training business. Currently I’m working on the content. The look will come later.
Probably the most exciting thing to happen in this area is that I’ve been invited to give a talk about Perl in Transylvania. I’ve been doing some work with some Romanian Perl programmers and they’ve asked me to go over and talk to their new Perl Mongers group in Cluj. I’m going over for a couple of days at the start of February.
Over the last few months, Linux Format have been publishing a series of articles I’ve written about Modern Perl. The third and final article in the series will be published next month. The articles are about writing a web application to track a reading list. This was to replace a bodged together system or Perl programs that I’ve been using to track my reading for the last few years. This week I finally put the replacement system live at books.dave.org.uk. If you’re interested, the code is on GitHub. At some point I should probably write an article about it on my Perl blog.
General Business Stuff
About a month ago I realised that I was tired of dealing with Nat West for my business banking. It seemed that they made everything far more complex than it needed to be. I asked for advice on Twitter and most people seemed to recommend using HSBC instead. So I applied for an account with them through their web site.
Well, it wasn’t anywhere near as easy as it could have been, but last Saturday I finally opened my new business account. With a new bank account and a new accountant a few months ago it really feels like the business has started a new era.
People ask why I carried on with the HSBC application when it was all so painful. That’s because I still think they’re more efficient than Nat West were. It crystallised for me when I was thinking about the computer systems that they use. In recent months I’ve spent far too much time in Nat West branches watching the screen as an assistant tries to sort out a problem. Their internal systems are all running on what seems to be CICS-based software from the 1980s. When I was watching the chap opening my account in HSBC last weekend it looked like they were running an old version of Windows from the 1990s.
So HSBC’s software seems to be about a decade more up to date than Nat West’s. But still twenty years behind the rest of the world. Surely banking doesn’t need to be so tortuous?
I spent a lot of last week finishing a decluttering exercise that I started after Christmas. I’ve shredded a huge mountain of old paperwork and for the first time ever I have every piece of paper in my study filed in the right place.
Our back garden backs onto a railway embankment and there are a lot of trees there. So we get a lot of leaves covering the back garden. Yesterday I went out and swept up several months worth of fallen leaves. One of the tree has nasty small leaves which get through the grills over drains and block them. So I lifted a lot of drain covers and pulled out a lot of muddy leaves. It wasn’t fun.
I’ve been watching a lot of TV. The new series of Sherlock was an obvious highlight. But I’m also enjoying the Sky version of Treasure Island and the BBC’s Public Enemies. One thing I didn’t enjoy was Eternal Law. Despite being written by the same people as Life on Mars, the premise of lawyer angels proved to be just as silly as it sounds.
The scales just told me that I’m almost three pounds lighter than I was a week ago.