A Day in the Life of...Simon Jenkinson

Welcome to the first in a new series of themed blogs on ‘Don’t Get Blogged Down by Technology’ – ‘A Day in the Life of…’

Now, we’re perfectly aware you probably don’t give two monkeys about what each of us gets up to on a daily basis. So to spice things up we’ve added a slight layer to this, and will be discussing the role of technology within our day to day lives.

Perhaps some of those ‘thinking people’ will compose a survey based on our tales, and it will be the start of some sort of majorly influential study.

Or, perhaps not.

Anyway, here’s my ‘Day in the Life Of’:

My day generally starts off, in the words of Robin Williams, at “OMG it’s early”.

I start sifting through tweets to see if there are any new blogs on MSDN, the Dynamics Community, or updates for the various technologies I follow. (A bit like Socrates’ thinking man, but on a digital throne…)

It’s then the hard choice of what to wear – should it be a white shirt and black trousers today, or black trousers and a white shirt? (A little in joke there as Kunjan Barot always points out that I seem to wear the same thing to work, but every character has a costume right?!)

I tend to leave the house, in Stoke, at around 6:30am, and make the journey across a number of counties to Loughborough. It’s about 50 miles, but that’s just the right amount of time to listen to a full album’s worth of songs as loud as I like 🙂

The Bluetooth connects my iPad mini with no messing, no thought process, and I start off my playlist with Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven or AC/DC’s Highway to Hell… (OK, I’m stereotyping developers and technical people again, but you get the picture!)

There’s not a great deal of technology on the A50, as you can imagine, but one interesting tech fact that I did find out a few months ago was when I stopped off at a service station, near the end of the A50 close to the M1. I found that you could get 4G (Nottingham and Leicester are a couple of the cities that already have 4G).

Having the inquisitive nature that I do, I downloaded a speed test App on my Nokia phone, and found a whopping 22mb download speed. That’s awesome for a mobile network, and when the coverage is expanded, that will be game changing for business productivity when 5G comes out!

I normally rock up at the office about 7:30am (and wouldn’t change that for the world).  It’s a great time to start as you can make the most of the day, and get a lot done in a short amount of time with no distractions.

At my very first job, one of the colleagues that I worked with taught me that you should always make a list of things you are going to do each day. That’s something that has carried through my career, but I’ve only just moved on from the quill and parchment, following my recent purchase of a Nokia Lumia 1320.

This Nokia boasts a massive 6” screen and has coined the phrase “Phablet” by Luke Barfield in our Loughborough office. The great thing with Windows Phone 8.1 is that you can hook it up to OneDrive and install OneNote. That means that not only can I share my notes with colleagues, but I can use them on my Laptop, Phone, Phablet, and iPad.

Having a bigger screen means that the keyboard is also bigger, making it easier to type, and the comedy value of looking like you’re playing a PSP console in a meeting is just priceless!

As the day progresses the tasks I do can vary on a day to day basis, but almost certainly involve coding something at some point for someone, with a focus on a customer’s needs .

Contrary to popular belief, writing code is actually a very creative process. It means you need to be a cross between Leonardo Da Vinci and Special Agent Gibbs from NCIS.

What I mean by that is that some days you can be creating a Mona Lisa of an application or customisations. Other days you can have a digital crime scene where a “Perp” of a bug is feeling like a lucky “Punk”, leaving forensic evidence all over QA’s sandbox Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V environment.

You then have to piece together a sequence of events to track back the root cause of the problem.

The level of concentration that this requires can be immense, and can leave you mentally drained by the end of the day.  But it’s so much fun, and of course well worth the effort.

Visual Studio 2013, along with Notepad and Excel (!?!) are a big part of my day. You’d be surprised what coders use Excel for, such as generating commands from a load of data using the built in text functions. But when you find a tool that simplifies your day, then use it. It’s all about working smarter not harder…

Coding can be a lot like playing the piano. ALT+F4 to close a window, F5 to start debugging, CTRL+HOME to scroll to the top of the page, SHIFT+INSERT to paste your master piece, ALT+TAB to cycle between open windows, CTRL+S to save all of your hard work.

But no matter how hard you try you just can’t SHIFT+CTRL+B (Compile + Build) a word document. As James Waterworth (Developer from our Loughborough Office) will tell you, it just makes everything bold!

Something that doesn’t happen too often on a typical day, but happened recently, is all part of the research element of my job.  Microsoft released Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Cumulative Update 9, and I was busy testing out the new features…

One of the great new things about this update is that it has some really powerful PowerShell scripts to compare and merge any customisations a customer has in their Dynamics NAV Objects.

This, combined with the PowerShell scripts release in Cumulative Update 8 for importing and exporting data, shows a real commitment by Microsoft to streamline upgrades. It makes things easier, and something that is rumoured to be a key feature of Dynamics NAV 2015. It’s due to be released this autumn, so do watch out for a TSG webinar on the benefits for your business coming soon.

The great thing about the journey home is that it changes with the season, and travelling from East to West can show you some of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine, even in the UK!

It’s a great natural mental shutdown, and is only complete when you slump into bed, iPad at hand with a documentary on Netflix or catch up TV.

So that’s my ‘Day in the Life’, I would be interested in hearing about yours, and how technology plays a part in it.