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Error 301: Moved Permanently

It’s been over 3 years since any real activity on the site here, but behind the scenes a lot of changes had occurred outside of the digital realm.

So to quickly recap from the previous post, I had been in Chicago for my new job which I had started a few months previously, and somewhat celebrating the change itself with the post.  At the end of it I remarked that I would hopefully update it all before January 2017…

Subsequently I somehow survived the 3 weeks in America without any unforeseen disasters and made it back into the UK without offending anyone at the borders.  So much so they decided about two years later to ship me back for another week in Chicago!

Of course, I should really detail some of the other changes that occurred behind the scenes;

  • After spending a year and a half in the Windows & Linux space, mostly working on the Red Hat Linux stuff and occasional dabbling with their ESXi platform,  I volunteered to change roles to work with the newly created Virtualization team.  Nothing really changed since most of my Windows work had been fixing ESXi anyway!
  • I got a job promotion (yay), well two in fact but a bit more coin in my hand for doing so well at fixing the broken stuff and helping others out.
  • Towards the end of 2015, I decided the Nissan Qashqai I had bought back in 2007 had seen better days, so a quick visit to the garage to fix it up and I quickly part-exchanged it for a nice new Ford Focus instead.
  • On the gaming side of things, I got involved with a bunch of guys who run the tight ship ARK for playing lots of Arma 3 missions.  I have been known to feature loudly on a number of the session highlight videos with my shouts and screams as all hell normally breaks loose on us.

With that quick and somewhat lacking summary, it’s on to the “meat and bones” behind this actual post, and the reasoning behind the ridiculous title itself.  So after 5 years of owning a small 2 bedroom Apartment in Belfast I decided to go look for something a tad larger to call “home”,  I eventually found somewhere nice and kicked off the ever painful and stressful process to sell the Apartment and buy an actual house.

This took just under 4 months to complete, but during a snowy weekend in March I hired a couple of guys to ransack the Apartment, and moved everything about 20-odd miles away to a new 3 bedroom house located far far away in another town.

So I am now one step higher on the property ladder, with loads more space to accumulate junk over the coming months and years instead of tripping over everything in a tiny apartment.  I did learn a few annoyances from living in the apartment in Belfast though!
Communal hallways and Security Doors are a pain, especially when the main front door is broken more often than not…
The first plane out of Belfast City Airport is normally an Air Lingus A319 at 6:30am, usually with engines howling as it takes off overhead…
Trying to find a parking space in the communal Car Park late at night, when there’s none left because the builders miscounted them…
Some residents don’t understand recycling, or the waste bins, or keeping things tidy in the first place…
Certain noises carry, so neighbors earn nicknames like “Mr. Stompy” due to their traits…
Deliveries are a pain, especially during cold wet winter evenings when you have to walk across the compound to let Domino’s in through the front gate…

Thankfully I will not have to deal with any of that ever again, now I just need to get proper fast internet installed in here!  Oh the pain of standard ADSL after 5 years of Fibre Broadband.

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System has recovered from a Critical Failure…

Chicago SkylineIt’s good to be back 😉 Okay so it’s been a long 2 years and 2 months since my last post here, which had me celebrating the purchase of my apartment and a quick snippet about my trip to Boston with my work.

So why the silence for 2 years? especially after previously stating in June 2012 about hopefully blogging more?  Mostly there was not a lot of interest to talk about with my new job, and “social media policies” made me paranoid enough to do my own form of self-censorship .

So you might be asking the question, if I was paranoid about self-censorship why would I be writing a post now?

Simple, I quit the company 😆  Stress and anxiety is not good to get from a job, and when you get pigeon-holed into one area to work you do not get room to truly develop. As an interesting turn of events one of the other individuals who worked with me quit last week as well   :mrgreen:

At the end of September 2014, I started with my new employer doing an entirely different role.  Previously I had been employed as an ESX “Subject Matter Expert” and worked 2 years within that role,  which is somewhat funny as the original job spec was for a “Windows Support Engineer”… how can you go from Windows to ESX? in a Managers eyes its very simple if you happen to have “vSphere” listed on your CV!

My new job is a Windows/Linux hybrid role, which should be a very good level of personal development and challenges!  This does mean a lot of training in Red Hat linux in the coming weeks, which sort of leads in a round-about way to the image above…

The company decided the best way to train me up in the arts and skills of Red Hat, is to shadow other guys in the team for a few weeks but this has one minor problem… the rest of the team work out of Chicago and New York. 😯  which means the fun of going to America and working from the offices for a few weeks.

I have 3 weeks away in America, coming to the end of my first week in Chicago now as I type this and finally getting over the jet lag somewhat.  Another week to enjoy working in Chicago before I hop on another flight and head to New York for the 3rd and final week of being away.

So I have a new job doing something entirely different and challenging, working out of the offices in Chicago and New York, and no longer being stressed out.

Who knows, maybe my next update may be sooner than January 2017 🙄


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Are you sure…

So, over 2 years ago I posted my last blog here.  in those 27+ months a lot has occurred and a lot of changes have taken place, some for them for the best.  I guess I need to summarise what has been going on since then.

I could run through a million reasons as to why I stopped blogging, mostly due to work commitments and my reluctance to sit and type a long spiel after I got home.  but that should all hopefully change for the better now as long as I keep “to the company line” in regards social media  🙂

I was involved in a lot of stuff in the past 2 years for work, most of it being upgrades and implementations of new technologies like:

  • Installing a virtualised Citrix Xenapp 5 farm to replace an aging and bug riddled Citrix PS4.0 farm with consultants.  our first dabbling with a proper vSphere 4.0 environment and ESX 4 hosts.
  • Upgrading all the 450 odd desktop computers from the old reliable Windows XP images, to a new fresh Windows 7 install using MDT2010 and some physical drive cloning hardware to assist with the remote offices.
  • Changing the companies old ID cards which were hand made, to new hard plastic MiFare encoded professionally printed IDs that were not embarrassing to show during meetings.
  • Rolled out a new Managed Print Service throughout the Organisation to make it a uniformed printer at every office which works, and controllable by the ID cards we had created.
  • Running round half the country to migrate the larger remote offices networks from some old MPLS networks at 256k up to a much improved 2Mb network
  • Implementation of a brand spanking new vSphere 4.1 virtualisation environment, based on Server 2008R2 to replace the old hardware, on some brand new shiney “bits of tin” which were Poweredge R710’s
  • Rolled out a brand new Secure Remote Access solution for the organisation which used RSA tokens and Bitlocker encryption.
  • and many more small projects involving VPNs, Blackberry handsets, training users on some stuff, internal blogs and forums, and the obligatory need to do my own job at the same time.
That’s only a small part of what I actually remember, it has been 2 years of constant motion so I am sure there are smaller things I have missed out but its been interesting in some ways.
But, it all had to come to an end one day…  So on a mild morning at the end of March I went for a job interview with another company in Belfast.  I had been interviewing for a few months previous and they had never came to much, so I didn’t hold out much hope and thought I would go through the motions anyway.  Come the end of April and I received a phone call from their HR Department making me an offer.

My last day of work with my previous company was officially the  25th of May 2012.  8 years and 8 months after I started with them as a lowly temporary employee, which lasted 2 years and 5 months before I got a chance to work full time for them.  We started as a tiny group who had to deal with only 9 servers, and 25 sites throughout Northern Ireland, and it grew in those years to being in excess of 50 physical servers, 46 physical sites and a Disaster Recovery site which saw more disasters than the main office ever did.

So where does that leave me now?  Hopefully being able to blog a bit more  :mrgreen:  and uploading new photos to the newly updated Gallery (which co-incidentally broke a LOT of pictures in very very old blog posts) using a little android app called Xotof   🙂
Lots of things coming up in the future as well, first thing being a trip to Boston in the US with work for a week… lets hope the hotel has decent wifi so I can upload photos and update this blog  😆
Holy crap, that is a wall of text!
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Fresh lick of paint…

Another painless upgrade to WordPress, and a new theme to give a bit more “space” to the page.

There seems to be a growing style of “squashed”  themes where its all clumped down the middle of the page with huge white bars either side of it, so I went for one which fills most of the page.  All I need to do now is to do some quick modification and it’ll be sorted.

Also went to stick WordPress Gallery Embedded (WPG2) onto this blog again, only to discover its a bit of a disgruntled employee… doesn’t want to work and if it can get away with it, wont 🙁  So it’s been stripped off for the time being until I can figure out how to get it working.

Im also back to my old K750i which I had to fix, the SPV M3100 just has been bugging me with in-car bluetooth issues lately in the Qashqai.  Good news is the K750i does work, but I dont know for how long!

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Out with the Old…

So, almost 2 years ago (circa November ’05) I went and exchanged my old Peugeot Partner, for a new Ford Fiesta 1.25 Style.
Ford Fiesta 2005 3Dr silver Photo

This was because the Partners fuel economy was closer to a Hummer than its figures made out, so it was effectively costing me loads to drive to work and back each week. A minor niggle back then was also the fact that I was a temporary employee for who I work full time for now, You never do get “job security” when your a temp. so changed cars to something more affordable in case the SHTF (shit hit the fan)

So, 2 years later and I’ve been Permanent for over a year and a half and still driving the Fiesta has proven one minor flaw in my plan. Boot Space.
The Boot in the Fiesta might be “big” for its class, but its bloody tiny when you work in IT. constantly having to fold down the back seats to get stuff in and out gets annoying after a while, so I decided to start looking for a bigger car over 2 months ago.
Ended up last week picking up a brand new Nissan Qashqai 1.5d Acenta from Charles Hurst Nissan in Newtownabbey, fair enough its not as big as some of the Estate cars I had been looking at (like the Mondeo Titanium estate) but its big enough for me.

Nissan Qashqai

I’ve also started kicking myself into gear to getting all my Airsoft stuff sorted out for going again, just shortly before the VCR Act starts to affect us.  Picked up a nice M16 SPR (Mk 12 Mod 1) AEG from RSOV in Hong Kong for cheap, its one of these dreaded Chinese clones (aka Cheapsoft) so it might develop a fault but its all simple gearboxes and motors at the end of it all… dead simple to fix. All thats left is some load-carrying equipment and I am ready to go.

Now to go and attempt to upgrade my phone (Orange SPV M3100) to Windows Mobile 6…

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