A week in Sydney

I had spent the last week in Sydney for work.

The best part of it is what can actually get progressed by simply being there, with the appropriate suppliers..

The worst part – CityRail’s time table is poor, it takes around 1 hour, 45 minutes to get there, and that means waking up early, and getting home relatively late.

The train trip is through several tunnels, and so FM radio reception cuts in and out. The Vodafone coverage across aspects of the journey, for example, Artarmon station, is non-existent.
The boredom associated with little to do but watch night turn into day, and then day into night makes the trip ever more tiresome.

Then, you have the patches where the train isn’t moving at all, for example, Friday, we spent about 5 minutes of the trip waiting for a train to clear a platform at Hornsby. These trains run on timetables, yet everyday, they can’t have a clear platform ready for a train..

I’d suggest a faster service – since much of the area the train travels through is isolated, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to increase the speed of travel, resulting in faster trips. Not just an extra 10ks either, I’m thinking more along the lines of Bullet Train, 200+ – that’ll make the trip much faster.

And as for possible trains already at a platform? Easily solved by adding another line purely for express services which would help avoid the regular services that stop at each station – as if catch that train, it’d be a very slow week!

For some reason, the face to face approach leaves me more confident in things getting fixed. It almost certainly helped that we went in armed with examples of the issues to correct, and discovering what the cause of most of the issues were made many of the solutions far more simple (if only this was done last time… ).

It seems to get further then an email, carefully constructed to convey the seriousness of the issues. I’d have thought the email would get a better response, but face to face tops the list of ‘how to get *it done’.

I’m not surprised by my team ‘mate’, who as expected as far from improved, remaining the same old, same old, asking many questions, and for some reason, lacking the ability to just do it. There’s an issue that took 4 weeks in his hands, knocked out in just 10 minutes with a phone call by me.

Then I still have the international issues, but I think we can solve many of those, I’ll stop being helpful to much of the staff who request it, and allow them to think on their own. I liken much of my tasks to similar to a wiki page, you are reading it, you get familiar with it, you find a minor issue, you click edit and correct it. I do that, except, go further and fix it. I’ll take away that ‘fix it’ bit and leave the issue for them to figure out. It’s not easy to do – ignoring an obvious issue, and leaving it there, because you know it’s not going to get better. Oh well.

I’ll look forward to monitoring, I’m hopeful of improvements from the changes put forward, many of which should (and would if it was just my choosing), improve experiences all round, and reduce the numbers and duration. It’ll be good (like, waiting in suspense good), to see the results.

Back at home now, I’ve got a curtain to fix up, the front steps need fixing, a wireless sensor to finish building, and come Monday, find out when the heck our meters are getting installed – it’s been ‘within 2 weeks’ for 6 weeks now – a disappointing result from the company involved.

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