Personal News

Yes i'm still here. I know i'm not really an active Blogger at the moment (my rants have landed more on Facebook and Twitter than anything else) but I am still alive, and still very, very busy.

PS: Linux Conf 2015 was awesome. You might spy me on http://lca2015.linux.org.au/about/our_team which will give you an idea of what I got up to. At some point I might even write about it....

It's been a long time since I blogged. However this one seemed appropriate.

(For my facebook friends, this paraphases my recent status update)

Today marked my first day in my new job at ICONZ. Unfortunately, SMX had to disestablish my role there and I was in effect, made redundant.

Being made redundant when you're the sole breadwinner for a household is a very stressful event - not one I ever imagined i'd go through. We were faced with a very short period of time in which either I had to find work, or we had to completely turn our lives upside down. Liz (my wife) had the option to take a job offer but this was not our preference, as we have built our lives around Liz being at home with the kids, and me being out at work. Flipping that upside-down would not have been good for any of us for a whole raft of reasons I won't go into.

I was deliberately a little bit cagey in terms of 'announcing' my situation - a deliberate attempt to be considerate to SMX and to my friends and colleagues there, as my situation was in a state of flux for much of the time between the situation being explained, the final decision being made - and then my notice period (which was abbreviated).

I don't begrudge those still there, I recognise the reasons for the disestablishment of my role and to be honest, I was already considering my options as I had concluded that I wasn't happy with the way the position had evolved in my time there. Of course, having a bombshell dropped on me at relatively short notice isn't the same as being able to find a new opportunity and put in notice in the usual fashion!

The support offered by the family and friends who were fully aware of the situation, was immense and I must register my gratitude - in particular those who made useful suggestions, referred me to firms with vacancies, to useful recruiting agents and such.

(Quietly raging at the slip of the fingers that caused me to have to write this blog twice!!!)

Several weeks ago i received my (first ever) summons to attend Jury Service. I happen to relish the fact I live in a civil society where the right to trial-by-jury-of-peers is entrenched, and innocent-until-proven-guilty is the same. So I was actually quite excited by the prospect.

(My employer, slightly less so, but they're good enough to pay wages to staff who are on Jury Service. some don't!)

I didn't have a reasonable reason to seek to be excused from Jury service. Several people I observed when I turned up at court did, one for family (kid-related) reasons, and a few more due to being language-challenged (strong english is required). So I plowed on.

The night before - so, last Sunday - @vaughndavis tweeted a blog entry by @simonemccallum - about her recent Jury Service experience. Simone: Thanks heaps for your timely blog entry (and tweet) - it gave me some useful perspective on the eve of my service!

So after turning up at the appointed time - metal detector and x-ray machines ala airport-security part-in-parcel - I queued up with the other 100+ called jurors to get checked off and then sit in the Juror Assembly room.

Eventually (by the way, a good book and a smartphone are your best friend at these things!) a short DVD is played to introduce the court process, and the players (judge, registrar, clerk, lawyers, defendent, witnesses, jurors). After this the balloting begins; 35 panel-candidates at a time are drawn randomly for each selection.

Yesterday I took the first of a few days of Annual Leave, looking to spend some time with the family after a fairly chaotic few months with work and brigade committments.

Mother-in-Law still in town from Wellington, we took the kids to Ambury Park - a great experience for urban kids! - and then decided to hit Ruby Red Cafe in Mangere Bridge for a coffee/fluffy break.

My mother picked up the tab, and ordered our usual collection of Soy Fluffies (for the kids) and coffees for the rest of us, Soy as required....

Unfortunately the person behind the counter heard 'two flat whites' when mum said 'two soy fluffies'.
So when two unwanted coffees (that our kids could hardly drink!) turned up and we refused them, there were apologies and the correct order did arrive fairly promptly.

Sadly though, no refund was coming. Although the waitress had offered one, by the time it came to it, the guy behind the counter refused, saying he made what we ordered.

Mum being mum, she wasn't interested in the conflict.... but for me it's simple; as a retailer you take the hit and offer the refund in the interests of return business. I know we won't be going to Ruby Red again - what's it cost them in loss of business?

(Mum learnt a lesson too; get a read-back of the order and question when the charge looks too high!)

The New Zealand Network Operators Group Conference 2012 was held in Christchurch this year, and I was fortunate enough to attend.
The usual conference form is Workshops / Multi-Day tutorials Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, half or full-day tutorials on the Wednesday, and the conference proper on the Thursday and Friday made up of a series of technical presentations (from 5 minutes to 45 minutes in length) on a variety of topics of interest to Network Operators.

NZNOG is the only event of its type in the NZ ICT calendar and serves as a useful way to keep up with current events, new developments and innovations in the NZ Networking scene.

Of course, there's always the light hearted side of things; Network Geeks are renowned for their beer-drinking prowess and well, NZNOG never fails... the proportion of NOGgers who don't drink do nevertheless get to have a great time.

I have Photos (See http://gallery3.blakjak.net/index.php/Events/2012/NZNOG-2012 and ) Video (see below) ;-)


This was one I did ages ago, and it came up again recently so I fished it out of my browser history. I was surprised I hadn't blogged it at the time... so here it is!

(and my first time using an iframe!)



I'm currently tinkering with some new theme options. Sorry if anything looks a bit wonky. Decided it's indeed time for a change. :-)

Until recently i've been disallowing comments from anonymous users.
This was largely due to the obvious (spam etc) and i'm looking into the newer tools that're available within Drupal to deal to these now that i've upgraded, so this is an experiment for a little while. This is a blog site, so I do welcome comments (it's just that i've previously required folks to sign up, which remains a manual process for the time being.)

Most readers of this will not have a clue what i'm on about.
Some will. That's fine.
Mainly I'm blogging this now because I need to put it somewhere i'll find it later, so that I read it and slap myself around before giving in.

To what, you ask? To a momentary lapse in reason. To having a selfish moment. To sharing that moment with a couple of key people you respect. And then being shot down... and in hindsight, deserving it.

Well after a nail-biting finish, New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup 2011 by ONE POINT last night. The French fought well, but so did our guys, with some awesome, grinding defence holding onto posession - and that winning point margin - in the last few minutes of the game and some standout work by a last minute substitution... ! (I'm sure you'll be reading about this everywhere, so I wont go on... !)

I've been very busy personally with RWC-related things; my Fire Brigade have been out-and-about quite a bit ensuring that we've had ready-response capability on standby during matches and the hours either side where the Fanzones in Auckland have been going nutty. Aside from two shifts on-station in the CBD, I had three further shifts of catering (as the duty Canteen driver) and during the Final, I had one of the guys and one of our contingency vehicles standing by at home. And we got a call too - missed the first 15 minutes of the game!.

Today as part of the celebrations for our Win we decided to bite the bullet and take the kids to the massive Parade that'd been laid on in celebration of the hard-fought, long-awaited win. So after establishing a position on the parade route a full 2 hours before the kickoff, we had a 'fair' view of goings on. And they did a good job...

Herewith a video I took of the NZ Army Band doing a great rendition of "Kamate", the Haka we all know and grew up with...

Now with photos!. Damn my kids are cute:

.

And of course, most importantly...

Plenty more in my Gallery.

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