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Dom Mooney's Website

June 2014

Person of Interest

When I was converted from a Blackberry to a Nokia Windows Phone at the end of last year, I was fortunate that there was a promotion running at the time that gave you a free subscription to Netflix for six months. It’s proved useful, especially with the kids on rainy days! Lego Ninjago and Chima have been favourites.

I’ve mainly used it - so far for catching up on films that I missed when they came out originally, and also when I can’t be bothered to find the DVD. It’s on all the TVs in the house (one as a Smart TV, the others via AppleTV) and also works well on the iPads.

Anyway, I had been on a bit of a spy/thriller kick, and having watched
The Numbers Station and The Expatriate, I decided to try the recommendation from Netflix for Person of Interest. This was a TV series, with the first two seasons online already. I went with it on the theory that I could just bin it if I wasn’t bothered with it.

Anyway, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the serious. The basic plot is simple. Mr Reese (ex-CIA) works for Mr Finch (billionaire software engineer recluse) in New York. They are sent social security numbers by the Machine, an expert system, which represent people who will be either a victim or perpetrator of violence in the immediate future. This kicks off a variation on the Police Procedural Crime Thriller where first of all the ‘detectives’ need to work out who is the victim and why, before they stop it. The numbers are from the Machine’s ‘Non-relevant’ list which is deleted every night, the ‘Relevant List’ being related to Terrorism.

It’s very well written, with good characterisation. This shouldn’t surprise me really, as it is written by Jonathan Nolan, who was the writer behind the film
Memento, and others directed by Christopher Nolan.

It’s also very apt, especially post-Snowdon, and touches a lot of my interests - the spy drama, corruption, AI, surveillance state and so on. I’m pleased to know that there are another 2 series to watch after this one!

The overarching plot arcs are interesting - the corruption of the police through an organisation-known-as-HR set against the rising gangland control of the criminal Elias, and the interactions with the government owners of the machine and those that want to control or destroy it. There are two cop characters who support Reese and Finch - one a very straight laced detective, the other moving on from a corrupt past life.

I recommend this highly - you can get the first two series on Netflix, or on DVD right now.

Hamburg Photoset

Hamburg: Bridge framing

I mentioned Hamburg before. These are my photos from the two weeks I spent there:

Coming out of the Swamp

It’s been a hard six months at work. Started off well, with me refocussing following handing over the maternity cover role that I had done for most of 2013. It even became inspirational, as I spent two weeks away in Hamburg on a training course which defined a programme for safety management that I fundamentally believe in and can see the opportunity to reduce the number of people who get hurt substantially. It’s perhaps the way to break through the plateau that our performance has been at for the last few years.

And then reality started to bite. There was the small matter of the COMAH report to complete (see
Milestone Revisited for more details) which consumed a huge amount of time and effort, and on top of that the revised lean manufacturing programme for the factory. Now, about a decade ago I was trained in the JIPM’s TPM process, a child of the Toyota Production System, and I fundamentally believe in the rigour and logic that such a system requires. My company has now adopted a new, improved, focussed evolution of this system that promises a substantial, sustained reduction in cost combined with substantial performance improvements. Now, this is fantastic, music to my ears, but it has been a completely demoralising and exhausting process.

The level of rigour is substantially higher, and there is a huge pressure on time. The system is new, and the core company processes and procedures aren’t fully aligned. Officially they are, but they’re working out the bugs and contradictions at the moment, and the goalposts are moving as we play the game. Indeed, I commented to a colleague that it felt like we used to play football, and have now moved to play rugby, only to find out that while we’ve been learning Union we’re actually playing League. As a result, it’s hard, and I’ve taken too much home that should have stayed in the office. Over the last month we’ve had two harrowing audits, and are now picking up the pieces to move things back to a more normal footing. The plus side is that we are in a better position than we were before!

Jill and the boys have been fantastic, and very patient with me, and I owe them a big thank-you.

Anyway, tonight I’ve been sorting out photos that I’ve taken for people so I can share them, clearing my personal email account and generally getting things done. This follows an afternoon where Jill and I got on with essential maintenance in the garden. Slowly, normality is returning...