Tuesday 23 June 2015

Ship happens

No, that's not a typo. I'm waiting for dry ice to arrive so that I can ship frozen materials out, plus a bunch of other things too.

It's slightly odd managing things here, trying to find ways of guiding tenants while niether terrorising them, nor coming over as wet and ineffective.

Sunday 21 June 2015

Clearing my desk.

So it's Sunday afternoon and I'm moving all my stuff out of the office in readiness for the new tenants taking over my space in the Innovation centre. It's a slightly emotional time - I've been completely fine about it until then last hour - to be leaving 'my' space here, even though as lab manager I'm just across the corridor. It isn't the same though, and this desk isn't 'mine' in the same way.

Tuesday all the frozen stuff for one of my customers will be shipped off to Ireland and a lab there that will carry on the work for them. I have another customer for whom I may rent a little space and just do a couple of days over a weekend purfiying antibodies and doing conjugation work, if they don't want to get someone else to do it.

There's lots of kit to be sold or donated still, and I've only just started throwing away the mountains of paper that are no longer of practical use.

Movin' on etc. Time to get back to binning!

Thursday 18 June 2015

So by Monday my labspace will belong to someone else.

A while back I took a day to pray & fast about work, resulting in 2 job offers the following day and a decision to close things. Next week a new company starts in the shared lab, in the space I formerly occupied, and I need to clear my junk & make room!

It's a little hard moving on, though the real pain will come, I suspect, when moving the paperwork, accumulate over more than 6 years. What to bin, what to keep? I've been here before, except then more had to be kept, where as I plan to discard as much as possible this time. May be looking for temporary space for a filing cabinet though. :p

Monday 15 June 2015

For my sins, I'm reading Vanishing Grace

Philip Yancey has been a somewhat liberal, evangelical and influential voice in Christendom, writing about 'difficult' things. He likes to quote bits and use examples from Brennan Manning and various similar others who have been through destructive personal experiences and suffer addictions, even while retaining a high profile as authors and thought leaders.

It makes me want to ask whether our sin and failure is part of God's plan for us.

There's a line of theology that suggests Adam's fall was intended by God all along, in order that He might send Jesus to redeem humanity. Could this cycle of sin & failure, grace and restoration be something God actually wants for us - as this book strongly hints at - or are we actually called to live righteously and walk without sinning before God, as the letters from Peter among other parts of the bible suggest fairly unambiguously?

And that then leads to the obvious question of whether, If God intends for us to fail and need forgiveness, that is actually sin at all, since it's following the will of God?


p.s. It's not a book I'd say that I'm enjoying - full of beating up the reader over the failings of the North American Evangelical church to be generous and show grace or compassion. It's being a useful read, but not something for pleasure.

It has made me re-see Bicester Community Church, and how we were planted out as a community of grace through a gentle and gracious leader, and how that graciousness has been encouraged and protected over the years. There's a root of the same grace in Oxfordshire Community Churches too, that has fed the grace and helped it grow. A generous nature I appreciate all the more now.

Friday 5 June 2015

I didn't really want to talk about May 21st a couple of weeks ago.

Liza -  we'd love to stay in contact, and thank you for your kind words.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Some of you will have a new task-bar icon.

And some won't, especially if you're running OSX or Linux.

Microsoft included an 'upgrade to Windows 10' button with their weekly updates today, to 'encourage' a more enthusiastic uptake than they had with W8. I've been curious about W10 for some time anyway, and today I joined the windows insider program, downloaded the W10 Insider preview evaluation copy & installed it on the same partition as my current W8.1 Pro installation. Installation wasn't completely without hiccups, since after the initial install I was required to make some choices about the setup, resulting in a download that froze the screen, requiring an eventual hard off & reboot.

Initial reactions are very positive compared to the evaluation copy of W8 that I tried a couple of years back. Most things seem to work OK, the interface is clean and simple, with many icons as line drawings. Colours can be a bit mungy, but nothing like as ghastly as Windows 7 icons. The task-switching facility in the taskbar is nice and Project Spartan (otherwise known as Explorer for W10) seems quick, clean and crisp. It also has a wonderful facility designed to help with reading the text on a web site, where side menus and other distractions are moved out of the main window, text is enlarged into a single clean font and any images are left embedded in the text. The result is a very clean web page experience - sure you lose the original formatting, but most of the time that's no loss at all.

I have the feeling there's LOADS of new features here that I'll never see or use, simply because I'm not that nerdy any more.

Desktop is running on Windows basic drivers because I've not yet installed Nvidia's driver (325Mb!) but unlike yesteryear, it will deliver the monitor's native 1650X1080 resolution and looks tidy into the bargain.

In some ways this is still very traditional Windows. The visual makeover is only skin-deep, and although the new menus look fresh, drilling down quickly brings up a W8.1 style control panel, which isn't a bad thing really if one is already familiar with such things.

And in some ways this looks just like a Linux distro running an older KDE 4.n version of the desktop, with the dark, semi-translucent taskbar and line-drawing icons, the flatish desktop icons, the different backgrounds, the odd behaviours of screen edges etc etc. This is none the worse for it, except that where windows was once slick & crisp compared to the competition, now it seems to have copied the competition from a few years back. For comparison's sake, I'd say that OSX icons are much more polished, but the OSX screen font is very poor beside windows' own.

Compared to that Debian/Gnome install I did last week this looks a bit clunky and unsophisticated. It was telling for me too, how the Debian install 'just worked' for me as a user, with minimal need to learn where things were or what to do, while this install feels like a leap into the unknown, and needs much exploring. Having said that as though it were a negative, it feels like, for the first time in many years, Microsoft are developing exciting software again. However conversing we Chris, we also both feel that we'd like an OS to 'just work' for us, rather than provide lots of exciting tools and diversions that get in the way. But no OS designer was ever going to strip out the bells & whistles, now were they?

In a while I'll install Libreoffice, lightroom and some other applications, but I shall probably download that Nvidia driver at work over a connection that's around 10X faster than this one.