Weeknotes #83 — Network upgrade

As the the calendar turned to September it seemed as though Autumn arrived right on schedule. Temperatures have dropped, shades of gold and brown have started to creep into the leaves on the trees, and I have suddenly noticed how early sunset arrives.

Monday was spent enjoying our last public holiday in the UK before Christmas, so I had a four-day week ‘in the office’. My week off hadn’t felt like much of a break, probably because the two nights we had away were spent slightly on edge. It’s hard to relax during a global pandemic. Still, this squirrel came to check up on me on a regular basis throughout the week, which helped.

A week in which I…

  • Slotted back into work on Tuesday a little bleary-eyed, but didn’t take long to get going again. My first day was full to the brim with meetings so I had little chance to catch up with all of my emails and Teams messages, and this persisted for most of the week.
  • Got involved in a deep-dive for an issue with our sole on-premises shared drive that we are in the process of moving away from. Lots of our staff suddenly found themselves with errors when trying to access the server. We have a few leads but have not yet got to the root of the problem.
  • Prepped the materials and ran the project Steering Committee meeting for moving off of the shared drive. We’re on track to report that we have hit our first and most significant milestone on Monday, which is an amazing team effort.
  • Had an engineer come to my house to run some Cat6 Ethernet cable out the front of the building, up over the roof, down the rear and then up the garden to my office. Where I was previously getting around 10Mbps download speeds I am now getting 210Mbps. It took two hours and has already been transformative — I should have done it sooner.
  • Met with a company to discuss supporting our various telephony installations across our five global offices.
  • Stepped in to run our Change Approval Board meeting.
  • Tried to spend time in Salesforce Trailhead each day. Our company is pushing for as many staff to become ‘Rangers’ as possible. I need 50,000 points and 100 badges, and I’m currently on 6,575 and 26 respectively.
  • Arranged dates for our Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee meetings for the coming school year. It’s difficult to get dates that fit everyone given the parameters of not being too close to other meetings, and taking place soon after the monthly finance admin visits.
  • Enjoyed a fun end-of-week team meeting where we were given a ‘little-known fact’ and then had to guess who in the team it applied to. It’s great to throw these things into the meetings occasionally to let off a bit of steam.
  • Arranged a visit from the company that built our garden decking and got them to re-fasten some of the boards that had expanded and bowed over the summer.
  • Saw our youngest boy start secondary school. He seemed to take it all in his stride. He’s with two or three of his best friends in his form group, so was very pleased on Friday evening.
  • Started a new kids’ football season with a short friendly match at the local Astro pitch. I ran the line, and had to re-acquaint myself with the offside rule. It was great to get back to some kind of normalcy, although I am pessimistic about how long it will last; there were three or four matches going on and I was the only person wearing a mask, with social distancing between the spectators being very limited. Come on people, make mask-wearing just something that you do now.
  • Watched a thrilling Italian Grand Prix and was overjoyed at Pierre Gasly’s win. He’s been through so much over the past year. To win in Italy with an Italian team is really something, despite the tifosi being absent.
  • Finished reading Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne and Sangeet Paul Choudary. As a long-time reader and listener of Stratechery it didn’t give me any massive new insights, but I do like the way they organised their information and reasoning on platforms today. I have another couple of books lined up on the same topic which I’ll be starting soon.
  • Watched a couple of classic 80s films with the kids. They loved Coming To America (1988) (which is one of my favourites), but thought that Big Trouble In Little China (1986) was just ok. I had great memories of watching the latter film with my brothers when we were kids and finding it a wild adventure, but it now just seems full of plot holes, terrible acting and poor one-liners.

Next week: In the house on my own for the first time since March, with everyone else back at work and school. Focusing on trying to get as much of our Beijing IT infrastructure set up as possible, so expecting a few early morning meetings, starting with one on Monday. At least the commute is short right now.

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