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One Month In

Posted 2013.11.03 12.35 in Work

So, it’s been just over a full month since I started working from home full-time.

I haven’t completely gone paranoid anti-social nutters. Not yet, at least. I did clean my desk, though:

Working

The image depicts a typical session of work. XCode and iOS Simulator are running on the big 27″ screen. Terminal and Finder are running on the secondary screen. The iPad and iPhone are there too for testing or debugging. And a notepad. Yeah I still use pen and paper for most of my quick or short notes and reminders.

One thing I was a little worried about when working from home, was that I might be tempted to work less, or slack off or the sort. After the first month, I don’t think that’s happened. What has happened though, is my ‘productive hours’ have moved around.

Rather than plugging in from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, I find that I’m working the same amount of time, but doing it whenever. Like maybe I don’t get much done on a Monday or a Tuesday, but I put in 18 straight hours on a Sunday. Or work from 2pm to midnight through the week. That sort of thing.

That’s not to say that I’m not available or doing nothing when I’m not being ‘productive’. I think I’m more available than I was before, since rather than a 9-to-5 window, I’m pretty much ‘at work’ 24-7 now. Eg. I can respond to customers’ emails at 7am over morning coffee, or 9pm after dinner.

Anyhow, most of the aprehension I was feeling last month about this move has faded. Now I’m just back to the normal level of stress. And I’m looking forward to see how month number two shapes up.

Homeward Bound

Posted 2013.09.27 13.19 in Work

To varying degrees, I have been self-employed since 1991.

That is to say, I have not been anyone’s employee for the past 22 years. I’ve done contract work, I’ve had some regular customers for almost all of those 22 years, and I’ve had other customers who’ve come and gone.

I’ve always done at least some work from home, but I’ve also always done at least some work at an office. My office, customers’ offices, et cetera.

Over the past couple months however, I’ve been working more and more from home, and less and less in an office. That trend is now going full speed ahead.

Starting next month, I’ll be working full time 100% from home.

Right now, I’m feeling about 60% excitement, 30% anxiety, and 10% overwhelmed.

For the past several years I’ve shared office space with a couple of my customers, and now we’re all getting out. Everyone’s moving their work home.

There’s a Lot of stuff that needs to be moved home, lots of files, equipment, furniture… And then there’s another whole lot of furniture and stuff that we don’t even need so we’ll try and sell. And then there’s a whole whole lot of stuff that’s just junk we need to get rid of.

Every time I think I have a handle on what needs to be done, every time I think things are nearly finished and we can relax, some new pile of work / files / stuff appears and we’re back to trying to revise the plans.

Still, even with all that, it has (more or less) gone smoothly so far. With only two more days to go before I ought to be full-time at home, things are not too overwhelmingly crazy.

That just leaves only one big potential glitch to get in the way of me working from home:

In The Way

And then, Colour!

Posted 2011.07.04 23.24 in Hobbies, Photography

After a couple decades of developing my own black & white negatives at home, the time has come to make the big jump into colour!

Like many, I’d heard lots of reasons for why not — too difficult, too expensive, too picky, exacting temperature control requirements, and short-lived chemistry. Lately though, I found some articles online that helped to disspell some of these myths.

Finally, looking at the pics I took a couple weeks ago, I realized that it was time to make the jump to colour. Canada Day was the perfect opportunity to shoot some colour, and today I had my first go at processing it.

For my first attempt at processing colour film, I’m fairly pleased. The first image above was using 10-year-expired AgfaColour Pro film, but the rest were on a new roll of Kodak (Professional) Portra 400VC. The VC stands for Vivid Colour and I am quite pleased with the results.

The camera was, um…. well… a Lomo LC-A+. Yeah I know, I know. There’ll be a whole post about that in the future. Honest.

Anyways, I’ve got a couple medium-format rolls lined up for some colour chemistry, and I’m still shooting colour with 35mm as well. So there’ll be more colourful goodness coming in the next couple weeks.

OMG! Free Kittens!

Posted 2010.10.16 13.28 in Cats, Pointless Blather

I was driving to the grocery store and I passed a house.

And the house had a sign.

And the sign said FREE KITTENS!

And I’m all like OMG! Kitties!  I love kitties! I should stop!

No I shouldn’t!  I got kitties at home. I don’t need more kitties.

But kitties!

My kitties would hate me with the passion of a thousand white hot fiery nuns!

But kitties!

Free kitties!

OMG!

I should stop and find out what kind they are.

No! If I see them I won’t be able to resist them!

But kitties! They need a home!

Free!

Fortunately by the time I’d got through all that in my head, I was at the grocery store.

But still!

FREE KITTENS!

OMG!

Home Camera Repair: Epic FAIL

Posted 2009.10.29 9.39 in Hobbies, Photography

Just so nobody thinks that home camera repair is all fun and wine, there are the occasional FAIL moments.

My Lomo Lubitel 166 was in need of some work – when I got it, it was filthy (“refurbished” my arse) and the Bulb mode did not work. A simple cleaning was easy enough and I was sort of prepared to live without Bulb mode since it didn’t come with a cable release socket anyways. (Though wierdly, it actually came with a cable release.)

The final straw came when I had loaded it up with the second roll of film, then the back flopped open and ruined a couple exposures. At that point, I figured I’d fix the Bulb mode and see about doing something to improve the way the back closed.

Repairing Bulb mode proved to be pretty simple. But putting it back together… well there was the kicker. I could get it back together, but the shutter wouldn’t cock. Or I could get it so the shutter cocked, but it wouldn’t go back together. It was frustrating. I fiddled with it for a few hours then gave up and set it aside for a week or two.

Camera Repair Failure

Last night I tried again, but found myself to be still frustrated – I have no idea how they hooked the cocking gear to the winding gear. I can hook them up in a dozen different ways, but none of them work.

In frustration I “removed” one side of the camera, to see if I could get at some of the gears. I got at the gears, but still no luck. The camera body is mainly plastic, and the outer bits were ‘welded’ in place so getting at the gears meant breaking some of the outer casing.

At this stage, it’s pretty much a write-off. All I can do now is scavenge it for parts. Sigh. Well, you can’t win them all. And I did get one roll of film through it. Still… after spending 29 years waiting in a box, it found me, shot one roll of film, then I killed it.

Mind you, a little failure is good now and then, helps to keep us mindful of consequences and helps us learn.

Home Camera Repair: Nettar

Posted 2009.10.20 10.04 in Hobbies, Photography

After all my recent successes, I decided to do some work on one of my new favorites – the Zeiss Ikon Nettar. This camera is 60 years old, made in 1949 it is a medium format 6×6 folding camera. With bellows and everything, it’s a real beauty, and in almost perfect condition! The only problem was the viewfinder was totally fogged up. Not surprising if it’s got 60 years of gunk in it.

Unscrewing the top plate.

Unscrewing the top plate.

Fortunately, cleaning a viewfinder on one of these cameras is a fairly easy task. Just remove the screw that holds down the winding knob, then remove the screw that’s underneath the winding knob. On the other side, there’s one more screw, and then the top plate just lifts right off. The only caveat is to be careful not to lose the two buttons – the shutter release and the opening latch, are ‘loose’ and held in place only by the top plate.

With the top plate off, the front and rear viewfinder lenses are easily accessable. The glass is only held in place by ‘friction’, being pressed into a lightweight metal frame. This means it’s easy to dislodge them if you aren’t careful.

Once I had access to the lenses, I just used a couple q-tips and a drop of windex, to wipe away the grime. Once it was done, the viewfinder was clear as crystal. It was a snap then to just put back the buttons and top plate, then tighten the screws down. Only about 10 minutes for the entire procedure, and now my Zeiss Ikon Nettar is as good as new!

The Nettar without its top plate.

The Nettar without its top plate.

C41 Film, B&W Chemistry

Posted 2009.09.25 9.35 in Hobbies, Photography

So I’ve tried a few times to process colour film at home in Black & White chemicals. And I’ve had a few failures. It started out as a lark, then became a bit of a challenge and a learning process. In the meantime, I also got a newer, better scanner that has a bit more oomph in its transparency adapter and can better manage the darker negs that colour film produce. (Darker due to a built-in orange mask.)

My most-recent attempt actually produced workable results! Pitty I wasn’t trying to take good pictures.

What happened was, I picked up one of those disposable / one-use cameras. It was cheap, a ‘store-brand’, and mostly I wanted to take it apart to get at the shutter assembly and the electronic flash components. So I had 27 frames of film to piss away, and I did just that, snapping here there and whatever. The film was ISO 800 which is very fast (for me at least, I used to think 100 was ‘standard’ and 400 was ‘very fast’; now 400 seems standard.)

Anyhow, so at the end of the day I had managed to waste the whole roll and took the camera apart to get it out. The no-name camera contained a roll of no-name film. I had been hoping for some clue as to who made it, so I’d have some hope of knowing what to expect. No luck. So I snipped off a bit of the leader then loaded the rest into my developing tank.

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