Archive for the 'General' Tag

Twenty Four Severed

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

Today it’s two years since I officially became a self-employed Cocoa developer, although things didn’t really kick off until I landed in Phoenix, Arizona to rendezvous with my erstwhile business partner on June 10th, 2003. The first 40 weeks spent in that wilderness (and for two months, quite literally so) were absolutely dreadful, but since April last year, when I first started working completely for myself, things have improved enormously and now I can say that I’ll never look back.

Not that I would be welcomed back into the world of IT services if I tried. Actually, I’ve had wobbly moments in the past, applied for jobs and been made offers, but once you leave the Corporate Machine (particularly to be a Mac developer) you are typically regarded as a maverick and the extensive experience on your CV is ignored. I understood this when I left and part of my plan was to keep the contracting side of my career going, but it’s impractical to do both well. Besides, I was sick of working for other people. I chose the starving artist route and here I am, happy and thin.

Ten years is a long time and it was weird the first day I was no longer part of that machine. Even though it was my decision to leave, it was like being removed from the Matrix: I felt disorientated, weak and strangely numb. Nowadays, even the thought of returning to that world makes me nauseous. For me, getting into the IT services industry was something of an accident. I enjoyed it for the most part, worked hard and achieved my aims but suddenly ran out of places to go.

All I got from the last year or so was helping other people and working with a good team. After a while things become so abstract you no longer actually do any real work, only talk about it. I have attended enough meetings, pre-meeting meetings, telephone and video conferences, wash-ups, workshops, one-to-ones and presentations to last me a lifetime, maybe longer. Dilbert stopped being funny.

It seemed that regardless of what I was working on I could walk into the office in the mornings, do what needed to be done and leave ten hours later without having to think at all. The pace was always frantic but the job became dull, dull, dull. I love being busy but need to be creative. If I am learning, making something or applying thought to solving problems I’m fine; take all those things away and I see no reason to get out of bed.

These days, it’s the other extreme – I do what I like, like what I do and do it all! I design the software, develop it, test it, write the documentation, administer my web server (and oh, the joy of being your own DBA :-D), design the web site, do the marketing, provide the support and keep the books. I don’t waste time and money commuting, my workday is as flexible as I fancy and despite putting in more hours than before I can even find time to write crap like this.

Another concern I had about going out on my own was that it would be lonely, but thankfully that’s not the case. Every day I’m in contact with people from all around the world: users with support queries, ideas or just writing in to say thanks, suppliers, journalists, developers, Apple sales reps demoing my stuff – the list goes on and on. With Feeder, I also feel part of something: podcasting, the next-generation radio, has exploded since Feeder 1.0 was released at the beginning of this year and through Feeder I’m helping people do something amazing.

It isn’t always easy and I take home less than half what I did before, but that’s OK. I can make ends meet and it’s incredibly rewarding. I’m so much happier and so much less frustrated these days I hardly know myself. My foot is pressed to the metal on the road to Smugville and I’m not going to stop!

This post is dedicated my friends at EDS and is sponsored by Jobserve, Jobsite, Jobsearch, Computer Weekly Jobs, Monster, Jobcentre Plus, et al. After all, Every Day needn’t Suck. 😉

What age do you act?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Hans asks “What age do you act?“. This is timely considering that I am now 30 + 1 day. I could do with some cheering up…

You Are 26 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view – and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what’s to come… love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You’ve had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You’ve been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?

That I appear to act 6 years older than Hans but 4 years younger than my age sounds about right. Also, Claire told me last night that I looked 26 and (just in case that could be considered too complimentary) would probably look much younger if I didn’t smoke. Thanks! I think.


Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

I am 30 years old today, born on a snowy afternoon in the middle of April 1975. It doesn’t usually snow in April in the UK and that was followed by one of the hottest summers ever. Today, the weather is thankfully a little better, but not much!

It’s a strange birthday; no “life begins at…” type sayings or other things to make you feel better, and now I will have to get used to choosing another option on pop-ups like this:

So instead, I find myself approving of pop-ups like this:

Everyone is being very kind, speaking softly, almost sympathetic. Indeed, you can sense the compassion. “Poor boy,” they must be saying amongst themselves, “he’s 30 today”.

But it’s OK. I’ve come to realise I’ve barely completed the first act. Not everything in my world is rosy at the moment – when is it ever? – but I’ve never been so happy and get the feeling the best is yet to come!

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

Today my good friend, Californian dude, occasional Reinvented Software developer and refreshingly mad person Hans Kim started his own blog and – ahem – dedicated the first post to me. Thanks Hans! 😀

The Blog is called Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, which if my Latin serves me correctly translates as “After This, Therefore Because of This” or the assumption that because one apparently related event follows another, then the first must have caused the second.

To test that in a silly way: Did Hans start a blog the day of my 30th birthday because I started one the day after his? Er, no. The coincidences don’t mean anything. In fact, Hans was the first person to tell me I should start a blog, while long before that had told me he wanted to start one himself. I’ll let you work out the Latin (or even the English!) for that in your own time.

Happy blogging, Hanso!

Naked Lives

Monday, April 11th, 2005

My good friends and regular Reinvented Blog contributors Ade and Claire have started their own blog called Naked Lives, so I’ve added a link in the sidebar. They haven’t told me what it will be all about, but to hazard a guess… everything!

Think of them as Dawn and Drew, with the VW obsession but much better looking. 😉 And don’t forget to spot the Angelina Jolie references.

Good luck with the blog you two!