I was going to post about the state of Apple Music in 2019 after its appalling launch which was besieged with technical problems. I tried to find some images from a previous version of this blog, but instead found these odd photos:

The purpose of life? Allegedly (for us blokes) it’s: grow up, get a job, get married, have kids, become a grandad, retire, and then die peacefully.

I’ve achieved three of those things. Growing up, getting a job and I was once married. I did want kids at some point, though if I am to be honest with myself, my desire to actually have them was maybe a little less than that of my ex-wife. My attitude at the time was that if they turned up, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world (though I was concerned about ending the family lineage and not being able to give my parents grandkids).

My ex-wife really wanted kids, and as soon as we were able to do so, we started trying. Unfortunately there were a number of stumbling blocks, and ultimately we turned to IVF treatment which got us further than we had ever been. But disaster struck there too, and I nearly lost her and the baby as a result of complications.

But even this didn’t hold us back – we tried to adopt internationally (there are many reasons for doing so versus domestic adoption, one reason being the age of the child being adopted, which for for first time parents, matters a great deal), but the cost was substantial and even with our salaries, it was prohibitively expensive.

In the end we went our separate ways. It wasn’t just about having children, but there were a number of other factors too. I felt that maybe I had rushed things a little too much – I practically proposed to her a day or two after meeting her. I’m not known for my patience, it must be said.

Being single again for the past 5 years since the divorce, dating has been challenging. I’ve found that many women around my age on dating sites have already had families. One or two children. Either separated or divorced. Fewer women have no ties. And every time I’ve joined these dating sites I’ve always wondered about the question: “Do you want children?” I don’t think it’s an easy question to answer.

What really brought my around to being a dad was volunteering at an NGO in Beijing, China, around 2008, helping orphaned children heal. A young girl of around 5 or 6 came up to me and latched on. We played for a good while, and I noticed that on a couple of occasions she would bite me. Apparently this was common among children in this situation and was an attachment issue. But I didn’t mind. I really took to her, and her to me. Saying goodbye was extremely difficult, and thinking about it now brings me to tears. But the good news, and what’s makes my heart glad, is that she was adopted by a lovely American family. As far as I know, she is doing extremely well in that environment. But I cannot help but think she could have been with me and my ex-wife.

And this is why I’m very pro-adoption. If I were to date a woman that already has children, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But would I biologically want my own? I still don’t know. I really don’t. Given the madness that’s going on in the world at the moment, I’m not sure I’d want to introduce a new born baby into the insanity that is Brexit, Trump or Putin (and the rest).

Having read about birthstrikers, it makes me think that perhaps not having children of my own helps my own community and even the whole planet. By assimilating into somebody else’s family seems a more sensible thing to do. You may not necessarily seen to be THE dad to those children, but at least you’d be A dad (though secretly you’d want to be the former).

Life goes on. I’ve no a clue what’s going to happen in the next 5-10 years. I may meet someone. I may not. Work keeps me extremely busy most of the time (with a possible detriment to my social life – I take work extremely seriously and if I were to lose my job, there goes the house and everything I’ve worked hard to achieve). But I do know I need to put myself more out there. I had a considered adopting a dog. But that’d go down well with my neighbours who also have dogs. I couldn’t leave a dog at home alone even if they have enough stimulus to keep them busy.

In any event, the answer to life, the universe and everything remains 42.

Debian 10 (aka Buster) doing its thing

July 26th is Systems Administrator Appreciation Day! A day where office workers everywhere should be bringing in delicious treats for the IT department to ensure goodwill between techie and Luddite remains in full force.

I’m not quite sure why I wanted to be a systems administrator some 22-odd years ago, but here I am – still a systems administrator. I suppose it all started when I started visiting my dad at work and being fascinated by the telex machines and computer systems, including the multi-user DEC systems they had.

SysAdmin Man Begins – taken from my very first C.V.

After leaving university I started building PCs for a local company in Norwich, then set-up and managed Linux and Windows servers for the same company when they became an ISP. That job was a jack of all trades and also included writing software to configure the TCP/IP stack for dial-up for Windows machines, web design, and technical support.

After a few more years in the ISP industry, I went to work for The Moving Picture Company (MPC) in the film and television industry, sysadminning the infrastructure for high-end visual effects for major movies and TV shows. After that, my first taste of systems engineering in a software development firm that specialised in VFX software, before moving on back to the ISP/web hosting industry for 9 years.

Now I work in e-commerce and handle corporate infrastructure as well as that of client websites. All the years of experience from the above come into play. It’s been an interesting journey so far. Not sure what else fate has in store for me, but I’m sure I’ll be a sysadmin until the day I die.

Fellow sysadmins, I salute you.

This Drake was certainly well cooked yesterday on what was Britain’s hottest day in history. Getting to work wasn’t a problem, but getting home was. It took me three hours from leaving the office in Wimbledon to travel approximately 27 miles.

I had intended to go to Ronnie Le Drew’s book launch party for Zippy and Me at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, but given that we knew what the weather was going to be like – I didn’t fancy my chances of getting from Wimbledon to Islington in time – nor how long it would take to get back to Woking.

The first problem was that as I was about to leave, the heavens opened up. First a spectacular thunder and lightning show, then a heavy downpour. Thankfully it didn’t last long. When I made to Wimbledon station, it turned out that the train to Woking would be delayed. Luckily there was a train to Guildford (via Epsom) which I sometimes take if it’s likely the Woking train is likely to be very late (which it very much was), so I hopped on.

The suburban stopping service on South Western Railway routes uses old train stock. They have no air conditioning to speak of, just windows that can be opened and closed. But this is not enough – especially when trains have to run far slower over track due to heat-related stress – to get a decent airflow. I was sweating buckets. It was if somebody threw a bucket of my own sweat over me. And I forgot to bring water.

When I got to Guildford, the train to London Waterloo via Woking was delayed too – so there was another 20 minutes worth of extra waiting to be had. To make matters worse, when I got to Woking, the regular bus service was majorly delayed by an hour.

So I went to McDonald’s, had something to eat and drink there, then went back to wait for the bus which turned up 5 minutes later. Three hours to get home – door to door – in some of the most uncomfortable conditions I’ve ever encountered. It wasn’t even this bad when I’ve been travelling to hot countries such as Egypt where there is little access to AC.

While it’s going to be cooler today, I strongly suspect the train services aren’t going to be much better..

Back in 2013, my dad pulled out from the attic my collection of Star Wars toys. I have quite a few! Some of the plastic isn’t in great shape, but these were well-used toys. I present a gallery full of the wonder from my childhood.

We start off with Star Wars, then look at at various odds and sods.

Ol’ Darth contains a surprise..

I loved Basil Brush as a kid, and even had a puppet of my own..

Then there was the 6 million dollar man.

Then some other oddments..

And finally, more vehicles..