Week 37 of 2020 brings online car sales, more hospital visits, iCloud sync fail, Joe Wicks, chasing reports, Google Meet, Zoom PT, SDLC’s, Cazoo and Monzo.

What a week! I write this on Monday evening after quite a crazy weekend. Let’s get into it with a “dear diary” format.

Monday 7th September

Another trip to Northants General, this time scheduled for Mrs J as we try to understand the pains she’s been going through the past few months. At least I was able to wait nearby in the waiting room with a café this time – better than other recent experiences, stuck in the car park.

Tuesday 8th September

We got Mum a new iPhone for her birthday this year after she’s been struggling on iPhone 5 for the past year. As the go-to tech support guy, naturally it was my job to get her setup but to find it hadn’t synchronised with iCloud for over 5 years was quite alarming – apparently due to lack of local storage for sync to function. Removing a few unused apps helped kick it all off, then migration was plain sailing.

Earlier in the day, I got back into some fitness with a 20min Joe Wicks workout in the living room. It was tough and took plenty time to recover but it felt good to get back into some exercise.

Wednesday 9th September

Wednesdays are when I typically have to setup the weekly reports for our product managers and tech leads to go through. We use an internal arbitrary tool which is nowhere near as versatile as Confluence but I’m finding little tricks to simplify the process. That’s the easy part though. Chasing and formatting the content into a cohesive standard takes much more manual effort than should be required. I’d love to automate this but tools don’t bode well towards it at the moment.

I also arranged a short Zoom call with an On The Side member as part of our #drink-buddies channel (using Donut for random pairings). It was lovely to have a F2F chat with Luisa, chatting through our personal working arrangements and how we can support others in the community on side projects. Side note; Google Meet is nowhere near as good as Zoom. Despite being such a monopoly, not all Google’s tools are market leaders.

Thursday 10th September

Bit of a strange one this but remember those group PT sessions I blogged about previously to help team morale and wellbeing? We tried a Zoom workout at lunch today, trying to keep up with Mr Wicks on another brutal HIIT YouTube session. Technically, it worked quite well – we don’t have to see each other but having open comms to chat shout and support each other definitely improves encouragement plus the cheeky bants diffuse some awkward and difficult moments.

Friday 11th September

As part of my current role, I’ve been tasked with establishing some standards and guidance around software delivery. As I’ve observed multiple teams’ process and challenges, I’ve pulled together a set of standard processes as a guide all teams can cross reference towards the ideal software delivery lifecycle (SDLC). Needless to say, no mean feat with tens of teams and “design by committee” so I took as many tech leads as possible through it Friday morning to mixed reactions. Some realised the value in it whilst others challenged some detail. In hindsight, quite a success considering typical techie’s attitudes.

As I tried to unwind after quite an intense day, I took back to my bass guitar (one of the daily habits in my Ticktick, regularly reminding me to practice). With Kool & The Gang’s Ronald Bell passing away this week (RIP), it made sense to learn “Celebration”. Check out how bad I was…

Finally, let’s not forget it’s #FatFriday (obligatory bacon sandwich breakfast) and, ideally, Dress UP Friday (for all us lockdown remote workers who are tired of wearing t-shirts).

Saturday 12th September

With Mrs J returning to work (school) this week, we’ve come to realise the Land Rover she uses isn’t ideal for motorway driving. However, she needs something high up to accommodate a previous slipped disc and it’s the one of few vehicles capable of towing our 2,000kg caravan. Checking around, we realised a smaller 2.0 or 2.2 Discovery Sport was capable so we shopped around and ended up on new online dealer, Cazoo – a disruptor in the car retail sector. Prices were competitive and, having an internal contact, I felt comfortable continuing the purchase unlike traditional car sales. However, being such a large investment and difficult to judge the actual dimensions, we ventured out to the nearest dealer to size up. It felt naughty but after all the years of dodgy dealers doing me over, it was time for some comeuppance. I did like how the vehicle is reserved whilst we go through the motions of finance deals plus they give you 24 hours to accept and proceed. Nice touch.

Sunday 13th September

With the finance deal lingering in my inbox overnight (always good to sleep on these things), I pressed the necessary buttons in the morning and went through the mobile verification steps in a seamless process.

Now it was time to sell the old one.

Mrs J posted on the local Facebook community yielding a number of false leads but one character was pretty determined, turned up on the door same day and counter-offered. We were slightly hesitant to his offer but it was no nonsense and, asking around, seemed reasonable after all. Time to Monzo the funds, transfer ownership online (no V5 log books needed) and it was all done in a matter of minutes. The future of private car sales and with a lot less stress.