Posts tagged 'Work'

Reading the Manual

I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to fix a graphic. Most of the day felt like a waste as I tried different settings and menus, but I didn't manage to fix the problem. Then, just as I was about to leave, I found a set of pdf ...

Asking For It

I sent an email today that I could come to regret. I am in the process of modifying lots of graphics as part of a project. I thought that it would be a good opportunity to correct any errors in the graphics while I was at it.

The problem is ...

More Phantom Work

After yesterday's frustration, I went back to the project again this morning. This time I actually made progress. At least until lunchtime.

Unfortunately something went wrong with the remote connection and I was kicked off during lunch. This means that I could not commit my changes. At some point ...

Phantom Work

Last week I spent a whole day updating a graphic to make it compatible with a planned upgrade. Unfortunately I forgot to save the file in the correct location. At midnight a script synchronised all the documents and overwrote my work.

I only found out late this morning when I ...

Working While Cycling

I attempted to get on with some deep work today, trying to get my head around some concepts and work out what the best way to approach a certain problem is. I don't manage to get very far. Despite several attempts to focus on the problem, my brain wasn ...

Fixed it in the End

The theme of this week can be summed up with a couple of XKCD comics: Repairs and Success.

Each day was a different project. Each day I started with full enthusiasm to fix or improve something. Each day I regretted it by mid morning. Luckily I did manage to get ...

Background Noise

The job I spent most of today required a fair amount of focus. It wasn't a particularly difficult task, but took quite a while and was pretty repetitive.

I had lots of errors on lots of files, and I just had to work my way through each one fixing ...

Happy with my Position

Last night I attended a "networking mixer" by the Edinburgh University ChemEng Society. A selection of alumni were invited along to give some short talks about the companies they work for, what their career has been like and advise for those that are looking to get a placement or graduate ...

Is it Worth the Time

There is a great XKCD comic, is it worth the time, that displays the maximum amount of time you can spend on a project before the payback is more than 5 years, depending on how often you do it, and how much time you save each time you do it ...

Which Plug?

I had my laptop plugged into a bank of 4 sockets in a meeting room. But which socket was I plugged into? I don't want to unplug the projector by accident. Following the cables is harder because they were threaded down the back of the desks, keeping things nice ...

The Curse of the Intermittent Fault

At the end of last year, I made a temporary change on the control system. A temperature transmitter, which is used to control the temperature of gas leaving a cooler, kept seeing sudden drops in temperature. The control system would see these drops and would respond quickly to them and ...

Staying in a Professional Lane

When looking back at my career so far, one thing has jumped out at me: I am rubbish at staying in a professional lane. I haven’t picked one professional niche and stuck with it.

I started out working in operations at a food factory. I spent a small amount ...

Hosting Quick Meetings

Early in my career, I had a duty to occasionally host a daily meeting. I was always worried that I would make a mess of it, that the meeting would drag on, that we wouldn't get round to covering all the necessary items. It turned out that it wasn ...

Entering the World of Work

Ten years ago I started my first "proper" job. My first job after graduating, in the world of chemical engineering. I, along with about 20 other recent graduates, arrived at a conference center in the middle of the countryside near Peterborough to start working for British Sugar.

When I first ...

Starting and Finishing the Same Day

When asked how my day went, I did the usual and started describing some of the activities I worked on. On of the jobs I did today was essentially devised this morning.

We had known that there was a problem for a few weeks now. I came into work to ...

Complicated but Clear

I had to describe the details of a project that I have been working on for the last year. It is quite a large project that touches on lots of different systems. I needed to explain all the systems that are affected in the clearest way possible.

I spent a ...

Managerless Meetings

Last week my wife mentioned that she had had a day full of meetings at work. But unlike normal, all the management team were off at a different set of meetings. As a result, the meetings actually ran smoothly and painlessly.

Today I had a similar meeting. All the managers ...

Customer Acceptance

Sign directing 'To Customer Acceptance Centre'
Acceptance Centre
Sign directing 'To Customer Acceptance Centre'
Acceptance Centre
Close

I know what it actually means, but when I read this sign, I had a vision of the company lining up all their customers and deciding which of us they were going to accept and offer a service to.

Two Hours: 4 Characters

Productivity can be difficult to measure at the best of times. Even more so when you are programing. This afternoon, I wanted to add a feature to a webapp I had been working on. The first step was to import some data. How hard could it be?

I wrote what ...

A Frustrating Phrase

Once you have been doing a job for a while, you end up seeing some problems that have been fixed before. In most cases this is a good thing because it makes it easy to fix it the subsequent times. But occasionally a long period of time has passed between ...

Progress After a Pause

Last week I attempted to restart work that I had been working on a couple of months ago. I had thought that I could return where I left off and get going again. If only.

It took us two and a half days to get the system working again as ...

Proof that Distributed Control Works

Today we had a perfect example of distributed control working.

The way our DCS is set up is with individual plants on their own local networks and these are connected to a central network that runs to the control room where the operators and the advanced control schemes that work ...

Back in the Office

Today was my first day back in the office after a week long break. So I wasn't able to enjoy the sunshine as I walked or cycled through the park. Instead I was inside a blast resistant building with little connection to the outside world.

And it was brilliant ...

ABB Presentations

Despite being on holiday this week, I attended a seminar by ABB on energy efficiency and smart sensors.

There were two presentations, the second presentation was about permanent condition monitoring devices that remain in place on each piece of equipment and gather data every hour. Then the data is collected ...

Simple and Silly Pleasures

There are some simple things that can bring more pleasure than they probably ought to. During a meeting today, we were working out what the next steps were. My manager was mid way through assigning some tasks for me to do on Monday morning when I pointed out:

Except I ...

Not Such a Busy Week

Back in February we planned a dry 4un testing week to run through different parts of a migration to help answer what will happen during the changeover.

Since the Dade was put in the calendar, I have been invited to lots of other events which have all been scheduled for ...

Holiday Booked

I have ay last actually booked some days off work. I had great plans at the start of the year to work out when we would take time off as a family, but never actually did so. Earlier this week I realised that we are now nearly half way through ...

Well That Didn't Work

The ploy a couple of weeks ago to encourage better security has clearly failed. The person who unwillingly sent an email to the rest of our team, offering to buy pies, sent another one today.

This was followed up about an hour later by a different team member offering to ...

A Really Frustrating Afternoon

This afternoon, I attempted to merge two graphics together including all the custom code that makes them work behind the scenes. I had thought it would be pretty easy but in the end I failed. I did manage to get some problems fixed but never at the rate that it ...

Being a Unit of Measurement Part 2

Last month I wrote about a challenge at work where one of my colleagues had decided that he was going to weigh the same as myself by the end of the shutdown. Today was declared the last day and our weights were compared.

  • He started weighing 1.508 Alistairs
  • He ...

One Job, Multiple Professions

One of the things I like about my job is that I get to cover tasks that could be considered multiple different professions.

For example, today I was in a meeting discussing how to implement an upcoming project. We were particularly interested in how to upgrade the various parts of ...

Two Tasks

I started the day with two tasks that I wanted to complete. One, I thought would be very simple, it is done so many times, all I would need to do is find an example online and copy it, possibly with a couple of minor tweeks. The second task involved ...

Same Road, Different Journey

Today I needed to go back to our supplier's factory to do some more testing, but I also had a meeting first thing at our own site first. As a result, I drove over to the other factory at 10:15 rather than the usual 07:15.

What a ...

Encouraging Good Security

One of my colleagues, who is one of our cybersecurity experts, managed to walk away from his computer, leaving it unlocked. Considering their role within our organisation, and that they have been known to encourage other members of our team to buy cakes and pies for the rest of the ...

Alarms and HMI Presentation by Bill Hollifield

Yesterday I was able to attend a presentation on alarms and HMIs1by Bill Hollifield. Bill quiet literally wrote the books on alarms and HMIs.

The first part of the presentation was on alarm management, what problems different sites face and how to fix them. To be honest, there ...

No More FAT

That is us finished with the Factory Acceptance Testing of our new software package. Since the start of April, I have been mostly working at the supplier's factory rather than my usual office. There are some fixes that still need to be completed and signed off, so I may ...

Spending a Bank Holiday in a Quiet Factory

I am used to the idea of working on a bank holiday. The place I work at just lumps all the bank holidays into your normal annual holiday allowance1. If you want to take the bank holiday off, you need to book it off. The places my dad and ...

Factory Acceptance Testing

The work I have been doing at our suppliers factory has involved testing a new piece of software and ensuring it has been setup correctly for our site. As usual with these sorts of things, we have a procedure to follow to test each part of the system. Occasionally we ...

Being a Unit of Measurement

At the start of last month, a team member announced that at the end of the shutdown, he was going to weigh the same as me. He was going to start eating healthier and focusing on his exercise. I was unaware of this at the time, I was working off-site ...

Re-examining Exams

I was listening to a discussion about a study titled “Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives?”. Most of the other coverage of the study has been around which groups of people were shown to be either more or less truthful while merely describing the ...

Code Golf at Work

For the past three weeks, I have been at a suppliers factory testing a project prior to delivery to site. The other day, one of the managers of the other company came over to our group and gave a graduate a challenge, write an excel script to colour each cell ...

More on Hats

After yesterday's post, I remembered about a time when working in Newark. I was living on my own in a flat, and had no car at the time.

As a result, any time I was outside, I would have a helmet on. I had no garden to spend time ...

Teaching Others

One thing I noticed during the regen was that I always ended up in a better mood after I had a teaching session. Anytime someone asked me about the process, I couldn't help myself and would launch into a lecture about it. I really do enjoy the opportunity to ...

Done

That is me done. The regen is over. We reintroduced feed at 03:10 this morning and I am now off of nightshift.

I am extremely tired just now, partially because I have just worked for 12 hours a day, for 12 out of the last 13 days. The other ...

Regen Weather

The regen is progressing well but I noticed something weird last night as I walked into the unit. The ground was dry.

Up to that point there had been lots of large puddles around the unit, and the bits between the puddles were also kept wet with regular rain showers ...

It Doesn't Get Old

During last night's shift, we were talking about the construction of the building we were in and one of the operators asked if I remembered them building it.

I knew it was a long time before I started working there but asked when it was built and was told ...

What a Rush

Ahh, I remember this feeling.

Each regen, I alway have a moment when I remember how previous regens have felt. I felt the feeling for most of last night's shift and the first couple of hours of this shift. It is not continuous throughout the event, but there are ...

One Shift Down

Slow progress but we did make progress. My brain felt like it was working through molasses. Very slow to do anything.

On the plus side: I got a good days sleep.

Hopefully tonight will be slicker.

After Midnight

It looks like the shutdown will be delayed slightly due to a vulnerability on a different unit. I went into work tonight to monitor a short trial, however the trial was cancelled.

I wasn't too bothered, I had intended to stay up tonight in an attempt to get my ...

Paperwork is Pointless...

Paperwork is pointless if you don't do the rest of the work.

This is a general rule that applies in most cases, but what got my thinking about it today was in relation to safety paperwork such as risk assessments and method statements. Earlier this week, a company was ...