Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Travelling, Toys, Aliens and Brr

Been out and about in the car lately with work.

They don't let me out too much (They think I scare people) but it is good to have the occasional trip out to contractor places or the outstations. Especially when it give you a chance to see what you've been working on. Not that the seeing what I'd been working on was the point of Monday's trip, they just happened to be visible out the windows.

From 200-300 metres away, maybe more. Yep. I've been playing with big toys over the past decade.

Anyway. Travelling. One trick I implemented was to take more advantage of the Smart Numbers telephone system at work. That system lets us take a number with us and either attach it to the phone at the desk we end up at for the day or route it elsewhere. I had mine going to my mobile during the two travel days. Now you're thinking "Hey ! He's going to be in a car for a significant amount of that." Yep. True. But I feel better about telling people to ring me back cos I'm driving than ignoring voicemail messages.

Smart Numbers works well (at least it does now that the bugs have been worked out) but the voicemail system is utter garbage. It's nigh on unusable. Trouble is, the people who ring in don't understand that and insist on leaving garbled messages that we never hear when they should be sending an email instead (or even a text to the number I give in my sig with a "please do not use voicemail, send a text to this number instead")

Travelling doesn't just mean telling people to ring me back when they phone while I'm driving. It's ok for me because my CT is set up with a handsfree spiderphone facility. But it's not ok for the person trying to talk to me as my attention wavers between conversation and driving. If the driving demands concentration, that's where the concentration goes.

I use my own car for business trips. It's just not worth me taking a hire car :

My CT is far superior to the typical hire car in toys
I'm familiar with it and the satnav is well programmed now
iPod integration (and phone integration) works well
It's 50+mpg and therefore a cheaper option
And I realllly distrust the hire car companies

Hire car companies are naughty - I've seen a few colleagues have to defend themselves because mysterious blemishes appeared on the hire car, supposedly when the colleague had it. You have to inspect the hire car carefully before and after. If there are blemishes, take pictures before opening the key packet.

And it's really sad we have to protect ourselves in that way. Surely there should be a level of being able to trust the hire car company contracted by the massive organisation I work for. But then again, that may be part of it. The company may assume they can get away with upsetting the little guy because the little guy's voice gets lost in noise.

Toys ? Kinda gone through this one already with those Smartnumbers - there's just one flaw there, Caller ID doesn't work through the redirect to my mobile.

However ... what I did find out about was something else with that Smartnumbers. At work, if the desk phone rings, we don't have a clue who it is. Unless ... you know about a part of Smartnumbers we weren't told about : Caller ID through the desktop. I need someone to ring me while that's active so I can see it working.

Aliens ?

Think I achieved a couple of things in John Lewis yesterday. Yeah. I bought a vacuum cleaner. But that's boring ... At least it is alongside knowing that the John Lewis girl who was looking after me was definitely thinking I was from another planet. Good to see I haven't lost that.

Oh - here's something really sad. When I started looking to talk to people in John Lewis, I went up to Bloke sales person and Girlie sales person. Bloke immediately passed me over to Girlie, with me getting the impression that he thought selling vacuum cleaners was beneath him and was the lady's work. That's kinda sexist.

Did I care ? Hell no. I'd far rather talk to a pretty blonde lady any time than a chubby, balding middle aged bloke who apparently didn't want to talk to his customer. Wonder what she thought of it ? Look after your people as well as your customers.

Failing to look after your people leads to them not being effective at their jobs, especially if you actively prevent them from doing work which is actual priority work.

Brr ?

Getting cold again here. I've not turned the heating on yet but may have to soon ... Legs are still not healed yet (although they are steadily improving) so I'm still in shorts in the evening. It's getting a bit cold for that though and my knees are starting to ask for knee pads to be on.

Cricket season is almost over too. Played my last game (the evenings have been drawing in) a few weeks ago but the domestic season goes on a bit longer. Enjoyed watching the last England game for ... a week tonight with England beating South Africa.

And I'd better leave it there before I wear out the keyboard. Been strugging to think up topics lately although ... when I get one ? Wall Of Text :-)

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