FreakoutITGeek's Blog

Random IT postings from Freakz

Monthly Archives: December 2013

saying yes

As you grow up you are faced with decisions, choices that shape you and your future.

Whilst these choices may lead you in directions you may have never thought about at the time, they are part of everyday life for amost everyone, part of our joint existence in this world.

Many of these choices are major steps in most people’s lives: asking the person you ‘fancy’ out for the first time, choosing a career path, college or university, deciding to drop out, balancing studies / family life / social life / work, proposing to our significant other, accepting such a proposal / or not, getting engaged, getting married, applying for a job, accepting a job offer, getting a personal loan, learning to drive, getting a car, getting a mortgage, finding your dream home, and so many more decisions that people take every day of every week, every year.

Most of these decisions will affect your life in a big way, shaping your future as well as ourselves in the process, often in ways we had never considered and which, at the time, could not have been foreseen.

These decisions are sometimes tough decisions, with lots of feelings, thoughts, considerations, research and soul searching, but most are just part of being an adult and being in control of yourself, your future & your destiny.

So this leads me on to possibly one of the biggest decisions of my life.

The Scottish Referendum.

From a purely personal view, Scotland has had it’s own legal system, with it’s own police force(s), laws and judicial system, it has health and education systems that are vastly different from the rest of the UK and in recent years we have had our own parliament to make some decisions about how we live our lives.

Unfortunately, we are presently run, on the whole, by a Government in Westminster, that we did not vote for, who are making decisions about The UK that appear to be based on what certain parts of England want and not what the whole of the UK actually needs.

When I was growing up I remember the Conservative government at the time, bringing in things like the poll tax, which hit Scotland hard, at a time when the main industries of the country had been brought to it’s knees by the Conservative government, lead by the then PM Margaret Thatcher. Since then, I have found the thought of the Conservative Party ever having power over Scotland again to be the most abhorrent thought, unfortunately it has happened again.

I the last General Election in 2010, only 16% of the Scottish population voted for the Conservative party, with only 1 out of the 59 Westminster seats going to the Scottish Conservative party, with the majority (41 seats) going to the Scottish Labour Party and yet The UK is controlled by a party that the country of Scotland did not want, or vote for.

In order for Scotland to grow, develop and have a future, I believe, we have to vote YES for independence from the rest of the UK. I will be sad to leave the UK, but if a relationship is not working, what’s the point in dragging it out and making things worse.

Whilst I understand that the decision, for most people, to vote to break away from the rest of the UK is one that could be seen as one that has many risks, uncertainty and it may feel scary. I believe it’s no different from any other big decision in life. It comes down to if you want to be able to choose your own path, if you want to be an adult and to take those tough choices yourself. It’s like deciding to move out of your family home, to become and independent adult. The Scottish parliament was Scotland’s equivalent of going to College or University or getting your first apprenticeship / job, it’s a good move but ultimately you have to move on, get your own space, be yourself, instead of being confined in the bubble of family life. Moving out doesn’t mean that you won’t keep in touch, that you will loose everything, that everything suddenly changes. No. Moving on is good, healthy and helps everyone, going on your own is part of life, part of the path we all must tread.

Making tough decisions is about looking at where you are now and where you you think your future lies and making the choices that you feel comfortable with, that will take you to where you want to be, where your heart lies. Life is rarely easy, and big life decisions often come with great risk and great struggle, but ultimately, they are worth every moment of that struggle, just to come out the other side stronger, happier and look back on what you have achieved, the lessons learnt and realise how you have grown from the experience.

I look forward to the future and hope that Scotland makes, what I believe to be, the right decision later this year and votes YES for independence.

Disclosure: For as long as I can remember I have wanted to live an independent Scotland. Throughout my adult life I have consecutively voted for the SNP [Scottish National Party] because they were the only party offering independence as an option and during their time in power both in the UK government and later in the Scottish government, I feel, they have delivered time after time, where other parties have failed to deliver for Scotland.
Whilst I do not always agree with some of their decisions (i.e. The Shore Energy Coatbridge plant see Monklands Residents Against Pyrolysis Plant on twitter and on Facebook ), in general they appear to stand for similar principals to my own.

History: I’d like to point out to readers who are not aware that a Scottish and Welsh Referendums on independence were also taken in 1979, where the majority of voters (51%) voted for Scotland to be independent. Unfortunately I was too young to even remember this event, let alone participate, but I understand that the wording of the referendum was confusing and ‘It required the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament an order repealing the Act unless at least 40% of the eligible electorate voted “yes” ‘, with less than 33% of the voters, voting YES, the act was then repealed.

Taking the next step

I have been looking around for a new role over the past few years but have newer found the right fit that would persuade me to make the move.

I have a LinkedIn profile and have been approached quite a few times with roles that don’t tick the right boxes for me in some way or another.  Some of these roles have ben with some big organisations such as HP, Sky or GE but they just don’t have the right feel about them so I’ve not made that move.

Probably one of the more interesting approaches was a UK based company, with an office in Edinburgh, that deal with constantly developing and expanding cloud computing market and appear to have a bright future but at the same time realise that they need to provide the dull and boring grey IT services such as Blackberry integration into their offering.  I have noticed that the organisation is again hiring in Edinburgh after successfully opening a new Amsterdam office in 2013.

Despite all these approaches I’ve failed to find that fit. As some readers will know in 2013 I unfortunately missed out on a role that I had hoped that I would have been able to finally secure.  The role is one of the hardest roles to secure in IT support, but I still took the plunge after finding out that the organisation in question were hiring for a new Scottish location (which is still in construction, after several years of rumours and over a years worth of structural work to the existing building).  One of the organisation’s recruiters even ran through a screening telephone interview and I was very hopeful to secure the role, but alas it was not to be.

 I am now faced with yet another dream role, which Unfortunately I can’t take… I have approached by two separate agencies (actually one agency has had three different members of staff try to contact me about the role as I appear to be such a good fit for it !!??)..  The role is a Apple Server role, with Mobile Device Management (MDM), Active directory / Open Directory / LDAP, iMacs iPhone / iPad and soo much more..

This amazing role is for a very solid (and prestigious) organisation, the pay level is amazing and the location is pretty good as well.  Looking at the description of the role it is the sort of dream role that I would love, it even appears to be one of these amazing roles that you could take and develop with as it grows and changes, it has challenges, new skills to learn, old skills to update, and it appears that there is a real desire within the organisation to invest in Apple technologies and systems.

So what’s the issue?  It’s a 3 month contract role!! I’d have to give up a full time permanent role in order to take a bucket load of money for what could be a short term contract (there is mention of extension but there is no mention of a permanent position) and then what? 

Now some IT guys will probably think I’m crazy, some of these guys go from contract to contract, taking the work wherever it is and that’s fine for them. I’ve know some guys would take the money and run (even if they didn’t have the skills and knowledge they would sell and BS their way in to get the pay off and worry about the consequences later ). Personally I’m not one of those guys. I like to take on a role and grow with it, develop with the oganisation to create something. I have a mortgage and I don’t mind turning down the big cash payouts in order to keep a steady pay check, a roof over my head and some form of stability in my life at a time where I have enough stress in my life.  I gave up contract work over 13 years ago (when I was single, had no commitments and was free to take stupid gambles on my future) got married, got a mortgage and moved on with my life, I’m not willing to risk it all for a short term dream role, no matter how amazing that role looks. 

So maybe 2014 will be the year of that elusive role that ticks the right boxes without all the negatives, I hope so?

12 Days

For the past few years, those in the know have managed to get free treats from Apple via the “12 Days of Christmas” App for iOS devices (available in the App Store)

With this App Apple give “gifts” from the 26th December to the 6th January (12 days). These gifts can be in the of Apps (games, tools and utilities), Music or Films & TV shows.

In the past they have (in the UK at least) given away a Kyle EP, BBC Top Gear TV episode, Father Ted XMAS special, part 1 of BBC Doctor Who XMAS special, Top
selling Games such as Mirror’s Edge and so much more.

For those in the know it’s a great way to get free stuff for your iOS device every year.

Apple are a bit sneaky about the software, Each year (for the past few years) they have released a new version of the software that you have to download (ie if you have last years version you don’t automatically upgrade to this years version).

If you are lucky enough to have downloaded the App before the start of the promotional period, Apple have ,for a few years , Provided an extra gift as a special ‘thank you’ so it’s worth getting the updated app as soon as it’s available.

So when’s this years App due to be released? Well I just checked and this years “12 Days” (full name this year is “12 Days of gifts” ) appears to have arrived in the App Store on the 10th December.

I’ve just downloaded it and this years app opens and asks for your region for the iTunes Store (incase people are traveling over the festive season?). The app has moved from the blue and white winter theme to a black and gold theme, making it look more like a high end present, rather than a winter gift.

I’ll keep you updated when I know more…

MacWorld (UK) recently wrote an Interesting article on the 12 Days App for 2013 (and a recap of last years “Gifts”)