Animated gif of traffic chaos in Sheffield
June 30, 2007, 12:08 am
Filed under: flood, sheffield

PreviewIn my last post, I described my journey home from work on Monday. I have a little website called TrafficJammr that shows info on traffic problems around Sheffield.

I used the data I collected on Monday to produce this short animation of the traffic problems as they built up throughout the day.

The animation didn’t come out as dramatically as I hoped it would, but this is because the “heat” is relative to the rest of the map. So while the A61 being shut had an amplitude of 5 (out of 5) there was only 1 report, whereas Rotherham center had 3 or 4 reports very close together which made it appear “hotter”.

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The kindness of strangers
June 26, 2007, 9:31 am
Filed under: flood, sheffield

The following is the tale of a rag tag group of strangers, thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, struggling to get home to their loved ones and facing almost insurmountable odds. Sounds like the plot for a cheesy disaster movie? Well that’s what happened to me on the way home from work yesterday.

buried burgundy(Photo: random_dave) It had been raining heavily all morning and just got heavier and heavier toward lunch time. At 2pm my boss sent a mail round the office saying we should all leave sooner rather than later, so I did. I got on a bus at about 3:30 and 4 hours later we’d travelled less than half a mile, but at least we were out of the rain.Our driver had repeated calls from his depot to drop us of and return home, but he was an absolute diamond. By now all that were left on the bus were those passengers who lived right at the far end of his route, this included some pensioners, a 5 year old boy, a pregnant lady & a disabled lady. The driver did his level best to try and get us as close to home as he could, he drove all the way out to Rivelin Valley, through Stannington and up to Oughtibridge. Unfortunatly the road at Outibridge was unpassable so we had to turn round and go back to Hillsborough, by now it was well after 10pm. We had a whip round for the driver (who’s name I didn’t get) and we got off and started to walk.

We waded through the water at Leppings Lane, and onto Halifax Road. Myself and Phil walked with Samantha, the disabled lady we met on the bus, the rest of the group were able to walk a lot quicker, but I couldn’t just leave her. We walked almost as far as Wadslet bridge, all the way trying to thumb a lift.

Eventually Danielle & Dave picked us up. They were in the car looking for Danielle’s sister who hadn’t arrived home. Shortly after picking us up, the received a call to say she’d arrived home safely. The traffic was at a standstill again, so I figured they’d rather be at home, we got out and started to walk again, we’d got as far as The Red Lion on Halifax Road. We didn’t have to walk far, we managed to thumb another lift from Ken, who had driven all the way from Huddersfield because his son had had to get off the train at Sheffield. Unfortunately Ken couldn’t get anywhere near the station, so his son headed for the Town Hall, and Ken headed home. We got out just before the A616 and walked the short distance home from there.

When we got hom, Samantha’s Dad met her at the door and thanked us both for helping her home, but I think I should be thanking Samantha, because without her I’d probably have tried something daft to try and get home :-)

It’s a real shame that it takes something like a flood to get people to help each other like that, just imagine what a better world we would have if everyone was like that all the time.

Getting More Things Done
June 20, 2007, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Getting Things Done, GettingThingsDone, gtd

As Ian was gracious enough to point out, it’d been three weeks since I started to read Getting Things Done, and that was the last post I made :-)

Well, here’s a quick update of how I’m going, I’ve made my lists as suggested, Projects, Next Actions, Not Now & Future. I’m using Remember The Milk to organise them, with a list for each apart from Projects, which I’m doing with tags. I realised on the way home tonight that actually, Not Now isn’t needed and everything on it should be moved to Next Actions and perhaps I need to create another list called Waiting, with things that I’m waiting on other people for.

The most important thing I’ve got out of this so far is The Two Minute rule, if an action is going to take you less than 2 minutes to do, do it now. It’s a simple matter of efficiency, it would take you longer to process it, decide what to do, file it, pull it off your list later and then do it. Lots of little emails have been sent this way.

I’ve also implemented an empty inbox “policy” for my email, work & personal. My work inbox had hundreds of mails in, some needed stuff doing, but most didn’t. They all went in an archive folder, and new emails get processed when there’s about a page full. Outlooks popup thing lets me see if any are urgent and need dealing with now, but to be honest I’m not important enough to get emails like that :-) I use Outlooks flags to mark emails that I need to look at later.

Gmail was the same, over 1000 items in my inbox, so I went through the 1st page and dealt with any that needed a response, the rest got archived.

I’ve started to use Google Calender a lot more too, to set reminders that I need to do something on a certain day, and I use Remember The Milk‘s notifications to remind me about things that are waiting for other peoples input.

I wouldn’t say I feel that much more productive at work, but that’s probably because I work on 1 thing, and it’s very linear, one task naturally leads to another, but they all get added to RTM just the same. At home on the other hand things are a bit better, I’ve sorted quite a few long standing jobs that just needed that little bit of impetus to get moving,and I do feel organised at least.

That better Ian?

Stubbs Gets Things Done
June 7, 2007, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Getting Things Done, GettingThingsDone, gtd

Or starts to at least.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my time management is pathetic, I struggle to keep up with everything I need to do at work, despite the fact I only actually work on 1 project, and my chores at home are left undone for months on end, much to Vicky’s chagrin.

So I recently bought a copy of Dave Allen’s “Getting Things Done“, and I think I’ll be it’s toughest challenge. Actually, my brother in law will be it’s toughest challenge, but I’m right up there.

So far it’s already had benefits, I’ve started to use my PDA as a collection tool, I’ve emptied my Outlook inbox at work and started to deal with the < 2 minute jobs as soon as they come in, already stuff that would just sit there and get lost has been done (like chasing up Waterstones & Which? magazine)

I’ve logged in to my long dormant Remember The Milk account, and created 3 lists: Next Action, Not Now & For the Future, tomorrow I’ll empty my collection of stuff into those 3 lists. I’ve also added some things to my Google Calendar with reminders as well.

So far so good, all my stuff at home has yet to be untangled, but it’s had a little impact at work and I’ve added all my work stuff to lists in our tracking system there, not integrated with RTM, but it is with our build server & source control, which I think is more important at the moment..

Is this irony?
June 5, 2007, 6:55 pm
Filed under: books, dont make me think, irony, waterstones

I’ve just ordered a copy of “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug from Waterstones, and I got a back order email telling me it’s not available.

Does the fact that the email made me (and is still making me) think “So is the rest of the order going to ship?” and “Do I need to do anything” make that email ironic?

I’ve sent them a “Contact Us”, lets see what happens.

I must be missing something.
June 5, 2007, 6:49 pm
Filed under: i can haz cheezburger, lolbots, lolgeeks, wtf

What the fuck is I Can Haz Cheezburger, lolbots and lolgeeks all about? Are they supposed to be funny? ironic? are they having a dig at World of Warcraft players and people who send lots of text messages?

Perhaps it’s just a sign I’m getting too fucking old for the internet.

The desktop app is dead, long live the app
June 1, 2007, 8:16 am
Filed under: desktop, dojo, DOM:Storage, flash, gears, google, web app

One of the things web apps have historically been bad at is operating offline, but that’s all starting to change, Dojo did it a few months ago, Flash lets you do it, Firefox2 supports DOM:Storage, and now Google Gears lets you do the same.

Is this the last thing that seperates desktop apps from web apps? Should we now just be talking about apps?