in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #146 — Positive

It was inevitable, really. I had a late night on Wednesday, staying in the office after work to remotely attend a school governor meeting. On Thursday I woke up feeling a bit rubbish, but put it down to my late night and the general lethargy that everyone I talk to seems to have right now. As I was due to head into the office I did a lateral flow test before breakfast; it came up negative so I figured it was just fatigue. In the office I felt peaky all day, keeping my suit jacket on because I felt cold and generally not feeling myself. My colleagues suggested it could be anything else other than COVID-19 as there now seems to be other illnesses circulating again. I left work on time and did another test as soon as I got home, but this time it was positive. A lot of Thursday night was then spent messaging people I had been in close contact with, and sending my apologies for events I was due to attend.

I’m now a couple of PCR tests in and haven’t heard the results of either of them, presumably because the testing facilities are busy once again. On Saturday I had a flurry of text messages from the NHS telling me that all four of us need to isolate until the end of Tuesday due to suspected close contact with the Omicron variant. The rules seem to be changing so even if I find that I’ve got the new variant myself it’s not clear when the rest of the house will be allowed out.

With Omicron looking to have an indoor R rate of 60 (yes, sixty) and two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine offering zero protection against getting a symptomatic infection from it, it is looking very dicey to go anywhere this close to Christmas.

The illness itself has thankfully been very mild. I’ve had a little bit of light-headedness, a sore throat, and generally felt quite tired, just like with any other kind of lurgy. I even decided to go on the turbo trainer on Sunday for an hour; it was interesting to see that my heart rate was around 10bpm higher than it usually would be. My wife managed to get to a walk-in booster clinic on Saturday and so hopefully she’s better protected against catching it from me or anyone else.

There’s only one week of work left before I have a couple of weeks off for Christmas, and I’m going to be spending the next few days entirely at home.

This was a week in which I:

  • Was so happy to see the team go live with our new IT infrastructure stack in the final city that we support. We now finally have all of our five offices live on our new infrastructure, four years after the programme started. They did an incredible job to work around some last-minute difficulties.
  • Agreed a high-level approach for venturing into in-house software development and data science within our team. There’s lots to think about as we end the year, and I’m excited for what we could be working on in 2022.
  • Prepared for IT governance meetings with the CEOs of two of our country offices. One of the meetings was moved to January but the other went ahead successfully.
  • Met with our audio/visual vendor to review issues with our current meeting room setup from a technology perspective and agreed next steps to move us towards a better solution.
  • Met with peers a couple of times to discuss our approach to our strategic vendors and any risks we have to manage around them right now.
  • Experimented with Yodeck and piSignage on two Raspberry Pi 4s as potential digital signage solutions. Yodeck seems very simple to use and has tons of features such as auto-emergency warnings and the ability to see remotely exactly what is being output on each monitor. piSignage was far from intuitive and I discounted it within a few minutes of using it.
My first Yodeck experiment, including a live video feed from Sky News via YouTube

My first Yodeck experiment, including a live video feed from Sky News via YouTube

  • Attended a monthly update from our Governance and Control and Cybersecurity teams.
  • Took part in another Team Effectiveness workshop with the leadership team in our department.
  • Enjoyed a fascinating talk from our CTO on microprocessors, business and geopolitics.
  • Attended our business unit’s year-end ‘town hall’-style meeting, a hybrid session with people joining from six cities around the world.
  • Loved hearing reflections on 2021 from the whole department in our final team meeting of the year.
  • Joined a ‘Digital Showcase’ meeting for a demo of a new tool being offered to clients.
  • Spent a number of hours reviewing a myriad of documents ahead of our school Full Governing Board meeting, the last one of the year. Originally we were due to meet in person and go for a meal afterwards but we shifted it to an online meeting as soon as news of Omicron started to spread. Given that I tested positive the day after the meeting, this was a great move. Hopefully we can get together early next year. We welcomed a new governor to the board and said goodbye to two others. Governor recruitment and retention is a never-ending job.
  • Picked up a new Apple Pencil for my iPad. I’d been using a capacitive stylus again for the past few weeks and it doesn’t begin to compare to the Pencil.
  • Expanded the suite of KP105 smart plugs in the house to remotely control more of our things. I’ve had a problem with our video doorbells occasionally going offline when the Wi-Fi gets choppy, with the only solution being to turn them off and on again. Having these plugs means that I can remotely power cycle them to get them back on the network.
  • Spent a lot of time in front of the F1. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a race as this one. Sadly I think that the result wasn’t fair, and I’m sure we’ll be talking about the race and World Championship result for weeks and months to come.

Next week: The last working week of the year. Hoping to see out the rest of my COVID-19 infection trouble-free, and keeping my fingers crossed for everyone we’re meant to be catching up with over Christmas.

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