The burden of popularity.

I have a busy life. Between work and family commitments theres only a couple of hours left for sleeping, and thats not the only thing I want to do. Sometimes i need to decompress, spend alone time, watch a movie, or play a game just to detach from reality and chill. Reality is demanding!

I like to socialize too – I have an ever increasing list of people I really want to see, and people I don’t see enough, and sometimes I wonder if i just know too many people – Its fair to say I know quite a few people in quite a few countries. Even those close to me I feel I don’t have enough time for, even though I sometimes go out of my way to make time, it seems like I will never win. Its really not about being popular – i just wish that people would try to see things from my perspective from time to time and accept that sometimes i just need a little space.


He has his own company…

What is it about the words “he has his own company” that impresses people. Ive heard it a few times – normally someone will say “hes really clever”… “he has his own company”.

Its like owning a company is a mark of intellegence or some kind of status symbol – its not!!!! Its really easy to set up your own company and run it – it used to be a mandatory requirement when i was working as a contractor – at this point i have had two companies

  • Polymorph Computer Systems Ltd
  • Claritech

Running a limited company just requires a set of accounts and you can get someone to do that for you. My first serious engagement was really easy – back in the 90s i had an agent taht took care of my employment (2IT Ltd) and an accountant that takes care of the books. He was a really pleasant fella who i tottaly hated – purely because he would harass me for things – and to be fair that was his job.

There were two reasons for having my own company – firstly back then it was a tax thing – i could take a small pay and the rest of earnings would be a dividend – tax on dividends was fixed at 25% at the time, where as if i had just taken a wage i would have paid 40% tax on a percentage of my earnings. The second was limited liability – if you do something really stupid and end up in court for damages they could sue your company but not you – so effectively they couldnt take away your house if you accidently set fire to your clients office.

Of course the law has changed since then – now there are umbrella companies that people work for rather than work by themselves.

Ive met some idiots in my years in the IT industry – there was one guy who came across as being a really competent systems admin – and most of the time he was – until you threw a new challenge at him. He had learned is job as a series of lists of things to try in any situation and just couldnt adapt

;Many of those contractors back then “had their own company”.. so next time someone says that – step back and realise thats really no big deal at all.

Prepping for a new engagement

Ive got a new customer engagement coming up and it has taken me significantly more time than usual to prep for this one. Why? Well its technical limitations. My laptop has 8gb of RAM which isnt nearly enough for some of the things i want to be doing. For this particular engagement i need to be using multiple technologies – Sharepoint 2010, SSIS, AD and anyone who as ever tried to install these on an 8gb machine knows how slow and horrible an experience it can be.

Add to this the fact i dont want to pollute my windows 7 environment by putting sharepoint on in (and i could). Ive run sharepoint on a win7 machine once and everything slows down and that little disk usage light looks like its going to have heart failure.

Normally when i build a dev environment i do it as two virtual machines – one has AD and SQL and the other has SharePoint and VS – i configure them in a similar way to a production platform – i have reasons for doing things that way.

So this time i thought i would try something different – firstly I decided because it has to live on my laptop everything needed to be on one virtual machine – i wouldnt normally do this as its a security nightmare – having AD with SQL and putting them on the same physical box as your web server – normally i would isolate out the web front end as far as possible and move sql as far from the front end as is reasonable.

Secondly i am trying out Oracles Virtualbox and i have to say im pretty impressed. Up until this point the only viable option i could find was VMWare – because Sharepoint 2010 is a 64 bit platform you cant use virtual PC – Hyper-V wont run on windows 7. Virtualbox feels more lightweight and flexible than VMWare i have been pleasantly surprised. Of course its meant to try it out properly i have had to run quite a few machines in quite a few configurations. In the last week i have put about 30 hour outside of working hours looking at this and putting it thought its paces – including trying different neworking configurations moving migrating, snapshotting. tons of stuff.

Its been fun – bringing up a set of VMs for a standard SP engagement normally only takes me about an hour – and in truth i could have been ready in about a day – i dont have a SSIS SQL instance already prepped so i would have to build from scratch. In truth i got a little side tracked! Ive had little sleep in the last week.

Mass Effiect 3

I am playing Mass Effect 3, and its a pretty cool game – i am looking forward to seeing the contraversial ending – if its annoyed so many people its probably fairly good. Like the previous mass effect games its very immersive and charactor driven – and decisions you made in the previous games effect your choices in this one. I was gentry reminded that in mass effect 2 i ended up getting off with the quarian tali – which i hadnt intended – but i somehow ended up  not getting off with Miranda, and im not proud, but wanted the xbox achievement. I often wonder what would have happened if things had been different between me and miranda. Interestingly enough Miranda is voiced by Yvonne Strahovski – who is on my seriously pretty girls list.

Its a seriously cool game regardless of my failings in the virtual love department. some of the decisions you make are quite tricky from a morality perspective – its not always cut and dry.

Ive given it 15 hours of my life so far – which is in odd hours when i cant do anything else. Im looking forward to completing it.
It amazes me how much work goes into the creation of these games – its truelly stunning graphics, gameplay and plotlines. I am not proud – I did this:

… But i wanted to do this:

Headphones from hell

A couple of weekends back I brought a new pair of headphones as my old pair wore out – now anything that’s tech related I have a tendency to look after really well – I don’t abuse technology. I brought these headphones for around 700kr in the Telenor store in Kista – and I wish I had kept the receipt. I wanted a firmly durable set of headphones and the guy assured me that these would fit the bill – they are a-JAYS Four.

From day 2 without any abuse already there is inconsistent sound – you can change the audio level just by moving the cable, I’m really annoyed by this becuase I don’t like paying that amount for something like this. So if anyone out there is thinking of buying a pair of these – don’t!


Ok I have been in Lithuania for a couple of days doing an audit of a project – basically looking at how it has been run, how well the technology has been implemented, getting a clear picture of the project status and recommending next steps to management. Although I have done this kind of thing a few times in the past, in this case it wasn’t even for my business unit but the reasons for going there were critical, this had very senior management attention and I was told this would be a get in and get out affair – just a few days of my time. Much as I like helping out, I cannot help everyone, and I have a lot of other things I should be doing at the moment. Thankfully it looks like the management are taking my advice on the matter and I have managed to make a clear break from everything and am looking forward to getting back to normality next week. I managed to find out a few interesting things from our business perspective.

On this trip I was travelling with my ex boss so in some ways it was easier than normal – he pretty much organised everything so I didn’t have to think about much – not taxis, hotels, addresses, which made a change – its funny to see the difference between people that travel a lot and people that don’t. He didn’t have a pin code for his credit card which was a pain, but at the same time he was sensible enough not to have checked in luggage – that would have been a real pain in this case because connecting flights would have required us to collected and rechecked luggage.

We stayed at the Radisson SAS in Vilnius and at this point I am not going to bother doing those little videos as one radisson room looks pretty much like the next – though in Vilnius I think it was probably one of the best hotels there – really nice hotel, the door men all dressed up, a sky bar…

I spent thursday evening in the skybar which was kind of funny, there was a company recruitment day going on which meant free booze, and lots of people dressed really smartly. I’ve never seen so many pretty girls in one place. There were also the leeches of course – a French couple and another guy basically turned up just to get the free booze – they were social though, and I chatted with them for a while. It turned out at the end of the evening that the French girl was bisexual with an open relationship, and there was a bit of drama by the elevators becuase she had pretty much convinced a girl from the recruitment place to leave with them, which didn’t seem to be agreeing with some of the other people there. There was a bit of a tussle at the elevators.

Then there was Dalia – a really nice girl that was there for the conference, working in international finance. She was fairly pleasant fun and articulate and it was definately nice to meet her. She didn’t seem to have found her thing in life and I wouldn’t  be surprised if this time next year she has a different career. It was a good trip, there was too much Travelling and my work was very successful – I as told that management were impressed by how much I managed to find in two days.

I have to admit I liked it there and I know if I wanted to I could end up spending a lot more time there. In truth I could be tempted.

A social networking nightmare!


The New iPad

So Apple have announced the new iPad before its official release. I think they’ve forgotten poor Steve Jobs who would probably be turning in his grave right now. a sneak preview kind of dispels the mysticism surrounding apples products and they’ve lost something in that – in the old days of apple techs would speculate about what could be coming with the next release.

Top that and they forgot the basics – they haven’t even given it a name – the new iPad is all very well – but what will they call the next one? its not going to stick in peoples minds  – they killed the speculation and now can’t name it. Wow Apple, I am impressed. From what i have seen of whats known – the new iPad may as well be named the iPad 2S. Sure its faster, better graphics etc, but will that really capture people? i mean it doesn’t exactly give them the edge, and the current iPad 2 is great.

“We are taking it to a whole new level and are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad,” said Tim Cook… which really annoys me because from what I’ve seen thats total bollocks.the category is just the same, the technology is just the same – it doesn’t project holograms, or have 3d multitouch, or do anything thats really unseen. ok its faster, its better but is that worth an upgrade? no.

Tim Cook kind of seems to have missed the point. When Jobs said something was magical, he really at least could partially justify such a claim. Ho hum, i wonder what they are doing with android these days….


Showing respect for international women’s day

I don’t know who came up with international women’s day or why – there are lots of these little days of the year kicking around when a man is traditionally supposed to be nice to woman – valentines day, their birthday, Xmas…. To name but a few.

I don’t believe in doing things mindlessly – I wouldn’t celebrate a day unless it had a true significance and to be honest I don’t think buying a woman flowers on such a day does have significance – your not doing it becuase you care, but because that’s what is expected! Granted it takes a measure of caring to want to do it but look at the bigger picture – it’s far better to give out flowers on another totally random day of the year than have to be reminded.

It used to be that just remembering a woman’s birthday was a good thing, but technology has taken that away from us. My phone will automatically remind me that it’s the birthday of some of the most obscure people in my life – I don’t even need to think about it – and that to me is a problem. It’s not personal it doesn’t show you care – look at the process on farcebook….

  1. Facebook tells the world it’s someones birthday
  2. A quick witted friend types happy birthday.
  3. You click on “like”

Yesterday some floozy on big brother masturbated in their confessional box – to mark the occasion of international women’s day – that is screwed up thinking. It disrespects just about everyone – the media shouldn’t have allowed it to happen.

I am all for girls that know how to have a good time and express themselves but this crosses a line – there are right times for everything and I was surprised to learn big brother has turned into soft porn, surprised that the media allowed it, and surprised that anyone could be so stupid. One of the core ideas behind women’s day is female empowerment – and I only guess that is what she was trying to express but I have to ask if people are really looking for equality here – what would happen if a man had done this? Is playing with yourself really empowering and was she getting the wrong message across.

Would your average male think that empowers women I have a new found respect or “cool she got her boobs out”. Would that act make him respect either her or women in general?

All I ask is that if we have such a thing as international women’s day people understand it, people really think about what it means, and people revere it – becuase if you don’t it just becomes another faceless valentines day affair with no significance at all. Saying the words “happy woman’s day” should mean something.

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