Monday, May 21, 2012


Work has been quite depressing today.

The issue was that we're supposed to implement something that will send all customer data (name, adress, birthdate, email-adress) to another company, without asking the customer or even informing them about it.
I don't think it's legal. Actually I think it's pretty obvious that it can't be legal.

Still, when I protested on Friday, I've been told that it's already been decided.
A co-worker who wasn't there on Friday got the news today and also protested. She agrees with me that it can't be legal.
The answer of our team leader: she (our team leader) is no legal practitioner, so she can't judge whether it's legal or not. Besides, as long as there's no customer complaints...
Also our devision manager already decided that it's gonna be done. The legal departement is being consulted and when they raise objections we'll just take it out again. By the way, there's rumours that he's friends with the boss of the other company...

I might be naive, but I really have a hard time accepting this. There's two things that are annoying me most about this.
First of all, the attitude that I think I feel, especially in my team leader. Like it's stupid of me and others to be concerned about this. That legal concerns are useless and only an obstacle. That not wanting to break the law is stupid in our field of work.
And secondly I'm annoyed at myself that I care. I mean, it's not gonna change anything. It just ruins my mood.

I really wish I could care less.

"Bedenkenträger" is a German word for someone who always raises concerns/objections. Read more on this article...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pride & Prejudice - BBC series vs. Hollywood movie

Pretty much every spring I get a yearning for the British Isles. I don't really know what's causing it. Maybe the weather.
This spring I decided to fight it with Pride and Prejudice.
Some time ago I got the BBC series from 1995 on DVD but I hadn't watched it yet. And after that I watched the movie from 2005.

I do like the TV series and of course it can explore the characters better. In the Hollywood movie it all seems so rushed. Darcy never seemed to dislike Lizzy at all.

As for the casting, I like the main actors in both the series and the movie.
Keira Knightley's Elizabeth is more lively. I can see more of her friendship with Charlotte. But I also like Jennifer Ehle, maybe even a little better.
I might like the looks of Matthew Macfadyen a little better, but Colin Firth is great, too.
Mr. Bennet is amazing in both - almost steals the show.

But there are a few differences. Mrs. Bennett for example: she's much too overacted in the TV series. No one could stand living with a woman like this. The movie tones it down a bit, while still keeping her characteristics obvious.
Mr. Bingley is a bit very clumsy in the Hollywood version. And what the hell is up with that hair?
Rupert Friend as Mr. Wickam in the movie is a better cast in my opinion, too - who wouldn't be swept away by those looks? (Is it just me or does he look a lot like Orlando Bloom?)
I like Colonel Fitzwilliam in the Hollywood version a little better. And of course there's Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg.
But the biggest difference, and one I hard a hard time dealing with during watching, is Jane Bennet. She's supposed to be really, really pretty, everyone mentions it all the time. What drove the people responsible for the BBC cast? I don't want to be insulting, but... I just don't understand that.

One thing I find amazing about the Hollywood movie is the cinematography. I don't know why this wasn't awarded or even nominated. The landscape. The lighting especially is amazing. I was in awe in some many scenes, it's just so beautiful.
If there's a movie that makes you want to visit Britain, it's this one.

So, it looks like the movie wins by points.
But I really couldn't say "watch this" or "watch that" - so I say "watch both".

Fun fact: I've been compared to Elizabeth Bennet in the past.
I do think it fits, partly. I am intelligent and I might be proud of my "wits". I also get upset and embarrassed by the stupidity and bad manners of others. I like to think I have nice eyes, too. But I certainly don't fit the "lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous" part and neither is my figure very light, I'm afraid. Read more on this article...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Magazine for Freaks

I recently thought that it would be nice to have a magazine that is made for people like me.
Sure there are magazines for themes like tattoos, classic rock, metal, anime, etc. But they're too focused on one thing. It should be more diverse like the common women's magazine.

For example there could be editorial about steampunk fashion, recipes for singles, Goth make-up tutorials, video game reviews, anime convention reports, portraits of classic rock musicians...

Any ideas for other things that could be featured? Read more on this article...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My day at work

Well, I promised to write more about my life, so here I go.
Today was quite a nice, diversified, busy, but not too stressful, day at work, so I decided to tell what I've been doing. I work in website management, we take care of a webshop that exists in several European countries.

My alarm clock rings at 7 AM, but I stay in bed a little longer. I take the bus at about 8:15 AM, it takes 15 minutes and additionally I have to walk a bit to get to work.
Today the bus took a little longer, so I arrived at 8:40 AM. I have a digital time card, so I can check later on in the intranet the time at which I arrived. It also keeps track of how many hours I worked and it's a kind of prepaid card for the canteen, too.
While my computer boots, I make myself some tea. I don't like coffee, so for caffeine I drink guarana tea. I get some fruit salad from the canteen as a second breakfast, check Google news and chat with colleagues. I also check our company Facebook and Twitter page - I'm not responsible for that, but I like to keep up with what's happening on there. I also check my mails, the intranet and sign in to my personal Twitter account.

The rest of the morning is spend with testing. We go live with changes to our webshop once a week, so there's a tight testing schedule.
Today I first had to test some bugfixes to the product recommendations in the webshop. You know product recommendations from amazon: "customers who bought this item, also bought..." - the like. We make quite some money with those, so we recently upgraded to a newer system. I was project manager for that project and we're still in the "aftermath".
That didn't take too long, but then I had to test an adress validation tool which we implemented in two forms in our Swiss shop. It checks for errors in the adress a customer typed into the form and gives feedback and suggestions for correction. Our Swiss shop is available in German and French, and I had to test all kinds of errors a customer could do, and in several browers, too, so testing took more than two hours.

At noon we all go for lunch together in the canteen. This time the food wasn't too good though.
After that we go for a walk "around the block". It's a habit I took on at this workplace. I sit at the computer all day, so the walk really is a nice change. And healthy.

Back at my desk I checked my mails again and answered a few. We want to have product recommendations in our newsletter, too, and I'm helping with organising the hosting. Actually I feel like I'm just forwarding mails and questions, but oh well... They absolutely wanted my help because I arranged the hosting for our webshop recommendations, too. It's not like I know anything about servers and hosting.
I also take the time to check some professional eCommerce blogs. It takes up some time, but it gives me an overview about what's going on in my field of work and sometimes there's valuable information or a good idea in it, too.

At 2 PM I had a meeting with a colleague who works on another webshop in Switzerland (we belong to the same company, I have no idea why we have two different webshops in Switzerland...). This was again about product recommendations - as you might have guessed, I'm the "recommendation expert" in our company. They don't have any recommendations at all in their shop, so I explained the system, helped her plan the next steps and told her what decisions she has to make.
After that I had some free time again, checking my mails again, the usual. I also put a note down about the aforementioned hosting in a project status report. Those status reports were installed by a former boss of mine - I don't think anyone else is doing this anymore, but I think it's a good idea. Then I got hungry, but the canteen was closed early because there was a presentation about how to prevent burn-out. So I had to get something from the vending machine.

At 3:30 PM I had another meeting. This time it's about coupons. We use coupons in an Advent calendar each year. Now the team leader responsible for this feature is supposed to do the controlling (planning how much it will cost us, checking the status, etc). I made an Excel file to keep track of the numbers (planned and actual) for each coupon, each country, keep track of changes, etc. some time ago. I explained to him how the sheet works and the meeting was a lot shorter than originally planned. That's because my Excel file is awesome, of course.
Since I had it opened anyway, I added sheets for the next two seasons. We have two seasons per year: spring/summer and fall/winter. The planning now already starts for spring 2013 (and the deadline for plan figures was today).

After that I finally had some time to work on the concept for a "My Shop" section we want to implement - again product recommendations. The concept contains what I plan the new section to look like, design and technical specifications. I'm almost done, but not quite. I had to look up some things in the manual, test stuff, etc.
When I'm finished, I'll talk it through with my team leader, I guess. Then I'll give it to the design and texting team, so they can come up with an actual layout and text. The texts need to be translated into French and Dutch, too. Also the programmers take a look at the requirements, so they can tell me whether it's actually doable and how long it'll take.

At 5 PM I leave work.
Today I got off the bus two stops earlier because I wanted to do some shopping at Lidl. The weather was nice, so I walked home from there. Read more on this article...