Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Curious news

Nah. Not about me, I'm talking about news stories I've been spotting :-)

British Gas have drawn public ire again by declaring bigger profits than expected. The theme at the moment is that the companies we're forced to buy things from, like the petrol, energy and utilities people want to fleece us for as much as they can take us. Energy bills have been ramping up, petrol prices are still rocketing and the profits go up quicker.

It's where competition doesn't really work sometimes. Where my parents live are a series of petrol stations which cost around 3-4p more than 20 miles away in Lincoln or Newark. There's no good justification for the prices being higher but they continue being higher because the competition doesn't undercut them. It's the same in the energy utility industry, there's no competitive undercutting going on to aggressively get customers switching. So we pay more on average.

Smartphone app to test urine. I'm sorry but there is no way in hell that I'm going to pee on my shiny new iPhone. It would make the screen all sticky and nasty.

Not gonna happen.

(It's actually an interesting theory on the app but there's all sorts of potential for error. Like the lighting conditions under which the picture is taken)

The myth of working at home. Ok, I didn't read all of this one because I went zzzzzzz in the middle. I've been doing the occasional work at home day, in the hope of making it easier on my ailing skin. The healing gets interfered with by needing to wear sleeves and trousers.

I have a laptop which can get access to almost all of the work sites that I need to access. My mobile can pick up the calls from my works number. The laptop lets me chat online via Communicator. I don't waste a couple of hours waiting for the bus. Win win situation, although I do miss the general office gossip. Offices can tend to stovepipe info, where one person doesn't think to involve another in what they're doing even when they Need to know. We're not so bad with the stovepiping (in fact one of my prior roles was to be a busybody breaking down the stovepipes) but I've seen it where it gets bad.

Point is, when I work from home I'm doing Stuff and I'm contactable. It shocked me last year when I realised that a colleague didn't even fire up his laptop when working from home. I'd sent a "you need to see this" type email which didn't get seen because ... I dunno what he was doing but it didn't involve being contactable via the works network. Wasn't reachable by phone either. (He's not with us any more)

The upshot of that working from home story is that Yahoo have banned it now because they think they lose too much productivity. I think they have a point because I know too many supposed professionals take the mick out of the privilege, which leaves more work for people like me and my colleagues and friends to pick up. It is great to have the option though.

Mission to Mars wants older people. Forget them, let me go !

Pretty Contractor Lady leaves the project. (Ok, it's not a BBC news story but it's big news for me). She's been massive for us over the past few years, shepherding very complicated acceptance through the works which involves persuading some quite contrary characters to sign their names to things that say Job Done. I've always had huge respect for her, she'll leave a massive hole when she moves on.

Does being lonely make you ill ?

They're linking loneliness to physical health as well as mental wellbeing. I suspect the link is more metaphysical there. I've always been a great believer that how you believe you're doing mentally has a big impact on how you cope with things physically. I've believed for a while that my skin's been getting better slowly and steadily, whereas honestly it's still barklike in places and fragile. I'm still my own worst enemy there, causing self inflicted damage that sets back the healing.

The loneliness link is to chronic inflammation with the theory being that lonely people release more cortisol, a hormone associated with being stressed. Yeah, that's a given, if we don't have people to talk problems through with, that problem festers and infects the mind.

It's one reason why I blog, to think through and release thoughts that otherwise rattle round in my head when I'm trying to get to sleep.

Think that's enough news for now :-)

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