Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I was about to get organised...

Written on Tuesday 29th: I was about to get organised... then life happened! As followers of this blog know, I've been very much looking forward to the restart of routine come end of September. Yesterday was meant to be my son's first day back at school and I was hoping to get on top of the housework and errands between yesterday and tomorrow, the two days I am not at my office job. However my son is ill and though I luckily managed the trips around the shops over the weekend, I did not really get any time to start properly on getting our home in tip top shape. Instead I ended up picking my son from school only two hours into his first day and then spending the rest of the day at the doctor's and then overseeing a sick child. At least he was in a co-operative mood and I managed to cross one item off my 'to-do' list - clean and clear up his room as well I can given the huge amount of things he owns as well as all the bits and pieces that make up his creations (he's a very imaginative and creative boy who enjoys coming up with crafting ideas which he then wants to keep... ALL of them!)

Continued on Wednesday 30th: So here we are, third day into my son's tummy infection and I have to say he's been a very good boy so I'm not as off my plans as I'd intended though obviously giving him time and attention means I did still fall a bit behind, not just on the chores but even with work I had planned - both the writing and in my small crafty 'business', if I could still call it that after officially closing shop. The thing is, I could never really stop creating. So whilst I am no longer bothered with providing my designer unique creations to shops I still do quite a few of them over a year to give as gifts so I still do try to schedule time to get them done. But now I'm sidetracking. Point is, despite that these extra few days of 'holidays' that my son got which has moved routine further back, I realised that however panicky I am about falling behind at things, and however many things are on my list of big changes yet to come in life in the coming couple of years (which I can't discuss as yet), as long as I have my family with me and healthy, including a darling little boy who hugs me at will and insists he loves me more than I love him, then all's well in my life, however hard it may sometimes appear to be.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Somewhat Happy

You might remember my rant from a few weeks ago where I said I would be more mindful about doing what makes me happy, even at the expense of other things (http://vintagehew.blogspot.com.mt/2015/08/on-dieting-tomorrow-and-being-happy.html)

Well, I did start sleeping enough at first, though lately I've noticed myself slipping back into the old ways. Thing is, I fell and ended up with my wrist in a cast for a while so lots of things remained undone for a few days and then it all heaped up so in the end I couldn't leave things as they were any longer, once again at the expense of sleep-time. I must admit also to there having been another, personal reason too, which I won't go into. But I plan on recuperating back my habit of sleeping enough as soon as I can.

Meanwhile I have been reevaluating whether I am truly happier than before (am starting now to sound very much like Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness books!!). Truth be told, I am not sure. I do feel happier, though I can't exactly pinpoint whether that's totally from the fact that I've once again started dreaming of all the things I want to eventually do up else change in our home and that always gives me a thrill, even when I think of stuff that costs thousands and will only get changed years from now.

One clear indicator that I must be at least somewhat happier is that my OCD has gotten better. Here I must explain - the type of OCD I have is the kind where I keep checking and rechecking things. Every evening as part of my bedtime routine, I check that everything is switched off and locked and the same counts for when I'm going out of the house. Part of it stems from realistic problems that could happen that I worry about, another (ensuring that the cooker knobs are all turned off) comes from a previous gas accident I've been in and that will haunt me to my dying day. Anyways, back to the present, the more stressed out I am the worse my OCD becomes. So whereas on a happy day I will tell my mind not to go through the nightly switching off routine over and over because I do know everything's been switched off, on more iffy days I find myself going back to the same locations to see with my own eyes again, even ten times in a row, that everything is switched to the off position and that windows and doors are safely locked.

So all in all I can assume that my happiness project is working, despite maybe in weird ways. But then again, who's normal?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Meeting the Industry - Sixteen Limited

Sixteen Ltd is relatively new in the hectic business market and yet it can boast quite a number of achievements since it first started operating a year ago today. A few weeks ago I met Mr David Seisun, managing director of the company, at a lunch. Talk turned to what his latest business venture was all about and he kindly allowed me the opportunity of an interview on the occasion of the company’s first anniversary.

Together with his team, Mr Seisun works from Sixteen’s inviting offices which are situated at 29, Triq is-Sliem, Marsa. From behind his white oak no-nonsense desk, he explains that the company is a Cloud Systems Integrator with the motto Analyse/Design/Implement. I admit I am not a very technical person so he explains, “We implement software from different cloud software vendors worldwide into our clients' business to make it run more efficiently and most importantly gather valuable data and convert it into instant information for the business owner to understand and take action based on realistic information and not just on gut feeling or unfounded prediction.”

He makes a joke about how in the past ‘being in the clouds’ led students into detention and now, rather, “The cloud is the future, as the industry shifts more and more to shared resources.” One very obvious positive attribute to this type of software integration is how  it allows even the small and medium-sized businesses to afford this “wide variety of processing power”. In fact, David elaborates, Sixteen Ltd also offers IT consultancy services. The main aim of the company here is to work ‘with’ the businesses and offering them what is really needed.

This is not Mr Seisun’s first business venture and he’s heard “numerous stories of companies investing hundreds of thousands of euro in ‘State-of-the-Art’ systems that are no longer relevant to today’s world. These companies,” he elaborates, “are not willing to change the system even though it is strangling their businesses.” The reason is that the Capital Expenditure made makes it difficult for these companies to step away from their past mistake and start anew. Having a system where they pay-as-they-go, so to speak, provides them with a cost effective solution. This, David admits, is how the idea for his latest business came about.



I ask whether Sixteen Ltd is the only provider of such a service locally. It is not, and yet the company strives to distinguish itself through the quality of service and a personal touch. The key, he advises, is 24/7 support following the implementation of the system.

So what, exactly, does Mr Seisun’s team provide the client? During the preliminary meetings the team Analyses the client’s current work processes. This is followed by the Design phase, during which the new system is mapped out so that it can be Implemented. It is here that David points out just how important it is for the new system and processes to be implemented properly. The company sees the Implementation process through from beginning to end, and even provides training for employees. He explains all this to me using examples, mentioning scenarios that would require various software applications. I come to know of the existence of cloud applications such as Timely (an appointment manager), Vend (retail POS) and Xero ( a user-friendly accounting package). All of these and more come at the low cost of a monthly subscription fee, rather than a major one-time fee or the need for expensive hardware to accommodate it.

So how possible is it to provide a customer with the service if that customer is based in a
different country? This poses no problem as Sixteen Ltd has partners in Austria, Albania, Macedonia, Dubai and Estonia. Whilst the design and implementation still happens through the Malta branch, the partners take care of the initial data collection and the training. With all the systems being on the cloud, there is no need for any hardware installation, therefore making the procedure simpler, requiring only a simple web browser in order to set up the systems.

It is time to end our interview and I can’t help asking, “Who or what inspires you and are there any noteworthy entrepreneurs that you aspire to emulate?” His biggest influence seems to be the phrase ‘Impossible is nothing’ and he is very adamant about the fact that he’d rather find challenging business opportunities to handle successfully than follow what everyone else is doing. People he aspires to include Steve Jobs (founder of Apple Inc) and Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of amazon.com) as well as Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google Inc.

I walk out of the Sixteen Ltd offices accompanied by its founder and director who cannot help but proudly add “we are changing the way companies in Malta and abroad are doing business, our goal for 2016 is to increase that number as much as we possibly can.”








Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Fifty Five... a Happy Birthday Collage of Words and Pics of Hugh Grant

It's the 9th of September again and so it's yet another birthday for the lovely Hugh Grant, who once said of his name during an interview, "It was going to be Lucy." Contrary to his mother's wishes, her second child turned out to be a boy so he got Hugh John Mungo instead! This is not yet another long biographical entry about the West London boy but rather a compilation of links to film reviews, articles about him and also a collage I made especially for him and the fans. Happy Birthday dear Hugh!

A short feature about Hugh:

A long article about Hugh:

The Hugh Grant label on my blog, which includes but is not limited to reviews of films he's been in:

And here is the collage I prepared especially for today's birthday boy: