Thursday 26 October 2017

Back to Sheffield Hallam University

Yes, I'm back at Uni! I'm a student again!

I haven't left Sheffield, I've just gone back to study at Sheffield Hallam to study a Masters degree in IT to improve my all round IT skills, and hopefully push my career on. I'm really looking forward to learning some tech stuff that's out of my comfort zone. I'm also going to enjoy the student lifestyle again.

To save money, I've moved in with a few friends into some of the best student accommodation Sheffield has to offer. We could have got some cheaper student housing, but I've got some money squirreled away and thought I'd like a decent student flat close to Sheffield City Center and Ecclesall Rd. We are also a short work from the ever improving Broomhall area of Sheffield and one of my favourite Sheffield pubs, the Washington.

I'm looking forward to a great year out of the rat race and studying hard. Some of the best years of my life were being a student, and so I'm really pleased I can do this.

The next weeks sees lectures on Big Data, new types of databases (yes, I know I'm a geek!) and some business type stuff I haven't a clue about. I'm also off to two student parties, once in Crooksemoor and one in Broomhill. I'm also making use of the extra free time I have now as a student to visit an exhibition in Sheffield City Center.

I'm going to try and be better with my blogging. I'm sitting in my lovely student accommodation right now after getting home from university earlier than I would do if I were working in the office still and chilling out before a trip to the pub. I’m even going to squeeze in watching the Simpsons.

I love being a Sheffield student again!

Friday 29 April 2016

Comma Rules

I've been a bit slow with the uptake on the blog, but I'm back. Those of you who know me know I can be pretty strict, and so I'm going to live up to my reputation by looking at the rules around using the comma.

The Oxford comma 

 The Oxford comma is the last comma placed in a list of things. For example:

Bring me a pen, pencil, and notepad.

The Oxford comma is placed right after pencil.

The Oxford comma is a matter of style and it is not required by several style guides. AP Style is used by newspapers and magazines and does not require its use. Written in AP Style the above sentence would look like this:

Bring me a pen, pencil and notepad.

The use of the Oxford comma is generally up to the writer, but should sometimes be included to avoid causing unnecessary confusion for the reader. For example:

I love my girlfriend, Beyonce and Humpty Dumpty.

Without an Oxford comma, the sentence could be perceived as stating that you love your parents, and that your parents are Beyonce and Humpty Dumpty. Below is the same sentence with an Oxford comma.

I love my parents, Beyonce, and Humpty Dumpty.

Vocative comma

Names that are addressed directly are in the vocative case, and require a vocative comma to separate them from the rest of the sentence.

I’ll see you this afternoon, Darren.

Darren is being directly addressed, and must be separated from the rest of the sentence with a vocative comma.

It is not just people’s names that require a vocative comma when being directly addressed. Animals and objects also require a comma when addressed directly.

Fido, be a good dog and fetch the ball.

Fido is being addressed directly and is separated with a comma.

You are my favourite pasta, you taste so good.

Pasta is being directly and is separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

Unfortunately, sir, the room is double booked.

Sir is being addressed directly in the sentence and is separated with commas.

The comma splice

 The comma splice is often overused and one of the most prominent mistake writers make when using a comma. A comma splice is used to connect two independent clauses of a sentence.

Below is an example of a sentence where the two clauses of the sentence make sense on their own, so do not require a comma to connect them.

David gets along with everybody, he is a very friendly person.

If the sentence has two independent clauses that need to be divided, you have several grammatical options.

You can divide the clauses into two separate sentences by using a full stop punctuation mark. This is the simplest solution, but may dilute an argument or break up the style of a sentence.

David gets along with everybody. He is a very friendly person.

A semicolon can be used. Semicolons are often overused, but can be a powerful tool to make a strong statement with their correct usage. The example below shows the use of a semicolon to signify a link between the two clauses without stating the link explicitly. The use of a semicolon can be a great tool for delivering a persuasive argument.

David gets along with everybody; he is a very friendly person.

A conjunction can be used to directly link the two clauses together. A conjunction makes the connection between the clauses more explicit to the reader.

David gets along with everybody because he is a very friendly person.

That's all for now, but I promise I won't leave it so long next time!

Thursday 13 February 2014

Working for an Absolute Return Manager

I managed to get some programming work from this relatively new Absolute Return Manager, they are London based and manage two absolute return strategies; discretionary and systematic. I have been looking into their investment philosophies, looks pretty interesting really and I reckon their products are a good fit in a portfolio for those looking for downside protection. The discretionary product has a low correltation to equity and fixed income asset classes providing an uncorrelated reutrn to traditional assets, whilst focusing on absolute return. The systematic fund differentiates itself to other trend following strategies plus offers a high degree of liquidity. The firm has an experience team with long tenure both together as a team and with the systems they use. Let's hope I end up with a long tenure here, and get to visit London more often!

Finally get some action in the financial industry and in the big smoke. It looks like I will primarily be helping them with their CTA fund. This systematic trend following strategy uses a statistical framework using filtering technology to determine trends and trend convictions across fixed income, foreign exchange, commodities and equity markets.

It's pretty complex stuff, so I had better be on best behaviour for a while. This aboslute manager targets volatility for each asset class rather than at the overall fund level tending to lower volatility where correlations between asset classes have been week. The statistic framework then allows for the translation of ideas from other disciplines which have extensively researched filtering and tracking problems (i.e. robotics), yes I know I am a boffin.

One of the most appealing things for me is that the team uses sophisticated technology which has been developed by the team for their exclusive use. Can you image our conversations down the pub..
Result - wish me luck.

Monday 15 July 2013

Hair removal!

Gawd, I must be becoming more of a girly girl. I pride myself on being a Tom Boy, but I've just had hair removal! Yes me! Hair removal!

I'm off on holiday next week with a few friends, and it's going to be a beach holiday. Not the sort of thing I'd usually consider, but a good crowd from our Sheffield office are going, so I thought I'd go along.

Anyway, I'm not one for regular shaving, and with no man in my life it's not something that I would normally even consider a priority. The problem is, my legs and, ahem, crotch area are (well were) pretty darn hairy. Now I've brought what I consider a pretty tasteful bathing costume for next week, the least skimpy you can get, but still, I've had to face up to facts and do something about my excess hair.

Not being a big fan of pain, I decided to go for laser hair removal. Plus anything with lasers must be good, right? I booked an appointment at this Sheffield clinic, and nervously went along, but it turned out to be quite a nice experience. The hair came off pretty easily and with no pain at all, and I'm actually enjoying having smooth legs. What's wrong with me!

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to my holiday next week. I've got my 'Game of Thrones' books to read, good friends and smooth legs. I'm going to be out of my comfort zone on a beach, but what the hey! Good friends make everything nice.

I've just looked at my blog, and including this my last to posts are about hair removal and hair cuts. What's happening to me?

Saturday 18 May 2013

Going to the hairdressers

Shall I change my hair style? It’s been a while since I’ve had my haircut, so it’s got much longer that it usually is. This gives me a nice new hair style opportunity and a blank canvas for my weekend visit to my favourite hairdresser, the Hair Salon Sheffield in Hillsborough.

It’s a tricky one changing hair style. I feel quite comfortable with my hair, but I always find that a change can have unexpected benefits, like when I finally gave the new Battlestar Galactica a go and found out it was actually better than the original after all.

I’ve had my shortish hair for years, but what else could I try? I’m not a big risk taker with hair and I’m not going crazy, and the horrible new retro Perms I’ve seen in the hipper parts of Sheffield make my physically sick.

I’ve been trying to take inspiration from the hairstyles of some of my favourite Sci Fi characters. A Princess Lea, Episode 1 hair style? My head is too big. Deana from The Next Generation? I’d have to have my hair made curly and I’m not keen on that kind of artificial treatment. Maybe even a blonde action hairstyle, ‘a la’ Starbuck (the 2000 girl hair not the 70s boy hair)? Imagine me blonde? I can’t see that somehow.

Anyway, I’ve got a sneaking feeling I’ll lose my nerve at the hairdressers on Saturday, and go for the usual haircut. I hope not, I hope I can be brave like when I first gave the remake of my favourite 70s Sci Fi show, Battlestar Galactica, a go. I guess only time will tell what my hair looks like on Monday when I’m back in my little office in deepest, geekland of Sheffield.

Friday 22 March 2013

Hand made cards

I've got a huge softspot for arts and crafts fairs, and Sheffield has some of the best. One thing I really like are hand made cards, and I'm working on a new website that sells nothing but handmade cards.

It's a new venture I've been involved with, and they plan to sell hand made cards to the USA and the UK.

I usually stock up and buy in bulk from the craft fairs in Sheffield. Birthdays and events always come around when I'm busy, so it's great to be able to reach into a draw and pick up a card (and my large collection of stamps, I brought loads before they went up in price) and quickly post it. When you have a great collection of hand made cards, like I do, then it's even better.

It's nice to be working on a project that involves something I really love. I'm looking forward to getting it all ready and hopefully spearding my love of art and crafty hand made cards to the world!

Over and out.

Monday 10 December 2012

My weekend in a Holiday Cottage in Lancashire

I've just got back from a great weekend in rural Lancashire. Me and my old Lancaster Uni mates rented a Holiday Cottage in Lancashire, in the middle of nowhere, between the villages of Pilling and the amusingly named Cockerham.

It was great to meet up with everyone again. Lots seems to have happened and this might be the last time we can do this type of holiday for a while, as two of my buddies, Sarah and Mary and are pregnant.

It's going to be weird when friends my own age are starting to have babies. I don't even have a boyfriend, and I'm a million miles away from wanting children psychologically. The problem is, if we have this type of holiday again, they either can't make it, or they will have screaming babies, which will inevitable ruin the late nights and peace!

My highlights were a walk in the Forest of Bowland, which was absolutely beautiful on a cold Lancashire day. We also stopped off in Clitheroe for a great pub lunch and went shopping Preston. We stayed in a great self -catering and pretty cheap holiday cottage which was really nice..

I'd recommend a short break in Lancashire to anyone. Great countryside and friendly people. Pity this might be the last time we can all do this!