Back from work

I have been really silent on this blog for the past three month or so.  That’s because I was totally consumed by my work.  The team in the office is growing, and we are having more stuff to do than ever.  But to add to the usually routine, we were doing some really huge restructuring.  When I started at the office back in April, the IT stuff was one huge mess – everything was chaotically interconnected and it was practically impossible to change something without affecting something else.  We’ve been working hard to separate things ever since, and last week we deployed the last changes to the structure.

Now we have our internal CRM system separated from the web site and from the customers’ tool.  All three parts are on their own now and we can make changes to each of them separately.  There are, of course, a few minor things still left here and there, but overall I am quite happy with how it turned out to be.

Two things that we deployed last week were our new web site and customers’ trading room.  We didn’t have much control over the web design part of it, user interfaces, or the deadlines for that matter, so the results aren’t as glamorous as we’d wanted them to be.  Check them out for yourself – and .  Both of these projects are in a very raw state right now – poorly localized, styles are off the limites, user experience is close to horrible, and both of these weight quite a lot.  We will be working on addressing all these issues in the coming month, together with some new and interesting developments.

In the mean time, I think I’ll have more time for blogging too.  There has been quite a bit going on that I want to share, and I’ll try to utilize the slow Christmas time to unleash all of that and clean up the backlog.

On laptops in the classrooms

I came across an interesting opinion by David Cole regarding the use of Internet connected laptops in the classrooms, during lectures.

study found that laptop use was significantly and negatively related to class performance

While I was reading the article, I kept nodding my head a lot.  Yes, if I was back in college and I could have an Internet connected laptop on my desk, I’d be even worse of a student than I was.  YouTube, forums, emails, Twitter, and a whole lot of other attention grabbers would not leave much for plain old college education.  At least in my case.  I know.

But then, I started thinking if that was true for other people I know.  And I couldn’t be so sure anymore.  A few guys I know literally can’t stay for too much long wihtout a computer and some sort of Internet connection.  It’s like food or oxygen – they just have to have it.  And when they have access to a computer, it’s often amazing to see them use it.  Lots of interesting, topic related stuff coming up.  Fact checking.  Exploring the topic deeper and wider.  With quotes and all.

And that got me into this idea of a new generation.   Younger people, who grew up online.  Web is in their blood.  A desktop computer as an ugly concept, and an offline computer as a useless box.  This kind of people.  I don’t think they would be much distracted.  In fact, quite the opposite – I think their grades would go up with better Internet connection and laptop-friendlier environment.

And that’s where I started worrying a little bit about the studies that were mentioned in the article.  These studies may be very accurate now.  And they are performed by bigger universities and colleges.  The results of these studies will take a few years of propagating into smaller colleges and universities.  And that’s where the problem will arise.  By that time, most new students will of the web native generation, but their alma maters will be choosing to disconnect them and ban their laptops.  Even though it probably won’t be too relative by then.

But then again, isn’t it like this most of the time?  I think it is.

Banking paradox

Yesterday I discovered one of those banking paradoxes.  If you have a check and you want to get the money the same day, but I don’t want to turn the whole amount into cash, then you still shouldn’t go for “deposit check” operation.  The thing is that depositing the check to an account takes two to three days, because check needs to be cleared.  However, you can cash the check and then deposit cash to the account.  Both of these operations are imeediate.


Kudos to Amazon

I’ve been ordering stuff from rather frequently.  I never had any problems with any of the products or deliveries.  Until my last order.  For some reason it just didn’t come.  And because it was a DataPost delivery, it couldn’t have been tracked either.

So, when all the dates for estimated delivery passed, I emailed back to Amazon asking them if they have any information about that order.  They told me that they haven’t, but if the order won’t arrive in the next few days (they gave me a specific date), then I should just let them know and they would resend it free of charge.

The date they mentioned came and went but the order still wasn’t here.  So I waited for another couple of days and asked Amazon again.  They emailed me back and said that they will place a replacement order within the same day.  A few minutes later they confirmed that the replacement order has been placed, and just wanted to know if I still want all of the items, since one of the DVDs that I had on the list changed status from “In Stock” to “Usually ships within the next 4-6 business days”.  I said that I don’t mind about more delay and would rather just get all of the things that I ordered.

And that was it.  Two weeks later the re-placement order came in.  And now let me state the obvious: I am a really satisfied happy customer.  My respects and thanks go to Amazon for handling the situation the best way they could.

P.S.: A few days after the replacement order arrived, the original order came too.  Very much delayed, but it came through as well.  Because I am a greedy bastard, and because those DVDs are just so good, and because Christmas is almost upon us, I won’t be sending one of this orders back.  I’ll keep both of them.  But I will for sure order more, a lot more from Amazon.  Thank you, and an early Merry Chrismas.

New phone : Sony Ericsson G900

A couple of weeks ago my beloved Sony Ericsson P910 died.  It got dropped one too many times.  A rather large semi-lequid patch appeared in its left bottom corner and touch screen stopped working.  Since the keyboard died a long time ago, I was left with no way to input or navigate the phone.  Being an exceptionally smart individual I decided that a reboot might cure this, and, obviously, that left me at the “Enter your PIN” prompt with no hope what so ever.

Next morning I rushed to the mobile shop.  The first two on my way were closed, since that was too early in the morning, but gladly I remembered that there is a Germanos branch in Debenhams, which opens pretty early.  Like 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning.  And indeed it was open.

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