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Ceterum censeo… » Thailand

Ceterum censeo…


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  • Michael's Blog
  • Michael's Curriculum Vitae

  • Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    03/21/2013 (8:59 pm)

    Goodbye to Thailand.

    Filed under: Thailand ::

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    So… my time in Thailand is complete. Another international posting finished. I go home tonight, pack up over the weekend, and return to sporadically sunny Melbourne next week, where I’ll stay for the foreseeable future. Yay!

    So, looking back, I’ve…

    • delivered an application upgrade
    • ran some detailed negotiations leading to not providing a service (because it wouldn’t have been effective)
    • coordinated some cross company testing
    • enthused about function point estimation (twice)
    • seen that there are actually lifetime benefits from a strongly followed prescriptive process
    • had a couple of case studies in the primacy of the business case
    • missed more natural disasters (flooding this time)
    • learned to play golf (well… learned to sometimes not mis-hit the ball with a golf club)
    • went to a filming of The Daily Show
    • sent fiery lanterns swarming across the sky
    • grew a pretty horrible mustache for Movember

    (hmm… maybe I should share some of these experiences…>

    There’s a degree of ambivalence about the experience. After coming back from Japan, I was pretty enthusiastic about overseas postings, and would encourage the idea in others. But, as it turns out, these postings can have a significant downside. (Which I’m not going to go into, because this isn’t really that sort of blog.) So now, rather than being directly encouraging, I’d have to ask something like “how to you feel about taking risks you might come to bitterly regret?” Which I don’t, but I could see the land without a telescope. If risk can be accepted, then I’ll encourage.

    But I’ll stick with the idea from last time.

    It’s been hard.
    It’s been good an experience.
    It’s finished.
    I’m ready to go home.

    Time to do something different.

    (More specific sharings will follow if and only if the mood takes me.)


    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    12/28/2011 (7:01 pm)

    Karaoke lunchtimes

    Filed under: Thailand ::

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    For reasons that escape me, December has been Karaoke month at work. (I’ll hazard a guess that the reasons have to do with this “fun” thing I keep hearing about.)

    View of cafeteria

    Every day this month, three acts get up during lunch time and sing to the diners. It’s all in Thai, of course, and I’m not familiar at all with the original versions, but I’d say the acts ranged from passable to good.

    For added fun, the singers are ranked at the end of each session.

    Daily winner presentation

    Some particularly popular acts received small cash tips from the audiences. Groups would chip in a little here and there, and send someone up for payments. I’m unable to say whether this was driven by personal popularity, performance quality, or aspirational attractions.

    UPDATE 30/12:
    I found out some more about the awards. The winning singer each day gets 400 baht, and is invited to compete again the next day.


    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25
    10/31/2011 (5:36 pm)

    DIY Countdown timer

    Filed under: Thailand ::

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    (This is probably more ‘distracts Michael’ rather than ‘actually interesting’, but I’m going to share anyway. Tough.)

    I quite like this banner. It has been set up in the project room long ago (but presumably less than 80 weeks ago). It’s highly visible, and (from a distance) looks quite solid.
    countdown timer

    Closer up, though, you can see that it was put together after spending 20 minutes in an arts and craft store. It’s some sort of laminated cardboard, with some high contrast paper (or maybe paint) on one side, elastic bands threaded through the weave, and judicious use of sticky tape when all else failed.
    Countdown detail

    Sadly, those aren’t the most durable materials…
    Countdown broken

    Fix one was to balance it in place, which worked for a few weeks. Fix two was more sticky tape.

    (I’d have used toothpicks on the back to hold the elastic in place, rather than weaving them all together, but no one asked.)


    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25

    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 20

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 20

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 22

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25
    10/24/2011 (3:30 am)

    Planning for floods…

    Filed under: Thailand ::

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    As you may be aware, Bangkok is currently suffering through some pretty serious floods. Lovely Wife and I aren’t feeling any pressure from the floods. We’re located in the center of the city, so when the city works to protect itself, we get full benefit. Plus, the particular region we’re in is safe enough that it has been designated as an evacuation point in case disaster strikes elsewhere. And just in case it does get that bad, the apartment complex has laid in a stock of boats.

    Column boating, just add water

    In addition to the government effort to protect the city, many of the individual buildings are working to protect their own weak spots. Most of the larger commercial enterprises around the city have been setting up their own sandbags. Some look effective, some… less so.

    A credible effort to protect the basement complex

    As part of a general preparation knowledge, I got sent instructions of how to build effective sandbag dikes: “Since a dike will fail if not built correctly, training people on proper procedures for placing sandbags is very important. In the rush, volunteers will do something, but the result frequently is a dike that performs poorly or fails.” A dike is a piece of engineering, with some serious failure points… you can’t expect a win from simply piling bags at the front door.

    A not so credible effort to protect the store

    When I arrived at work last week, I found that the sandbags had been deployed around the warehouse, ready for trouble.
    Warehouse protection

    All entrances are guarded with sandbags, which means we have to climb over the entrances.
    This is a cool fort

    The server room got some extra protection, which is reasonable, but I do wonder whether the interior walls would be effectively waterproof.
    Water isn

    Everyone at work has been busily planning how to respond. Various assessments, plans, responses and actions have been put in place. The preparation is well needed… there are bodies of water all around the work centers. I’ve never been sure exactly where this water comes from. It’s clearly artificial, but I haven’t seen any crops being set up. But it must be fed from somewhere, and that means the water get out of control.
    nearby_water_2.gif

    Attendance at work has been down somewhat. Everyone was told to stay home if needed, without having to worry about leave issues.
    nearby_water_3.gif

    So far, though, I’ve personally seen very little actual flooding. The biggest disruption has been a roadside diner that got washed out. (Actual damage is not clear… do these places have electricity or plumbing?)
    diner_2.gif

    There are others who aren’t in the city, who are quite understandably upset that the floods are being sent through their slice of home. So, the floods are causing real damage, but not in our circle of awareness.

    diner_1.gif


    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25

    Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 11

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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 22

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 24

    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25


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    Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /hermes/bosnaweb19a/b2387/nf.birchgrovecreative/public_html/michael/wp-includes/functions.php on line 25
    10/10/2011 (10:42 pm)

    So where does Michael work now?

    Filed under: Personal, Thailand ::

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    Here is where I work:

    I get an hour commute to and from work. It starts out fairly industrial…
    standard freeway views.

    … becomes less urban…
    paddocks and ponds.

    …and even downright rural…
    maybe this is a general store

    …until work comes into view.
    land ho

    On the way home I get less scenery…
    note the crescent moon

    …and more lights.
    that ambulance is not going to make it in time

    There’s two work sites which I regularly attend.

    The first is the parts warehouse. It’s handy that the project is based here, because we’re installing a parts warehouse management system. Plus the customers are here, so it all works out nicely.I spend most of my time here.

    I’ve a cubicle of my own…
    one place I work

    …with a view of the depot (sort of - can’t see the shop floor when I’m sitting).
    a view to the gemba

    There’s also the option of the project room. It’s crowded and cramped.
    40 people crammed into a poorly ventilated room

    The thing is, the project room is were everything happens. It’s full of charts, and vendors, and people in charge… the buzz is here.
    morning stand up gets crowded
    (EDIT: It seems I need to point out this photo was taken during morning stand up. It’s not like this all day.)

    By comparison, the cubicle is a cone of silence. Since I’m not actually involved in that particular buzz, I opt for the cone of silence. But if the buzz is still here when I need to get things happening, I’ll set up in here.

    The second location is the corporate head quarters. IS management is run from here, as well as the rest of the organisation (except manufacturing). Whenever there’s a high level meeting, or some sort of presentation, or a need to talk to someone other than the immediate project team, I make the trip across to here. which turns out to be about This comes out to two or three times a week, at intervals I’m not good at predicting.

    I have another desk here, in an open space that feels far too big. It’s pretty peaceful, though.
    seriously, there is 1000+ people here

    Working out where I should be is an ongoing puzzle. Mostly it involves working out whether or not I’ve been told about meetings. There’s nothing like finding out you should be 30 km away and no one told you to get the paranoia flowing. :)

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