This one has been brewing in my head for a few weeks now. It’s strange.

Do you ever feel like your life is a little bit like playing The Sims? Trying to juggle work, home, friends, other responsibilities and maintain all of those different relationships?

You used to have to give them a phone and have a chat with them to maintain that level of friendship. Absolute nightmare to manage, it still gives me palpitations now. Ha.

Sometimes, with the way that shifts are working out, its hard enough to maintain the relationships between the people I live in the same house with – let alone people that I just don’t get to see as often anymore.

There are loads of people I used to work with that I considered as really close friends, once you remove that daily 9-5 exposure, the relationships start to drop off, and even though I think fondly of them often, there’s just not enough time in the day to maintain these relationships and they start to break down into acquaintances .

I don’t think there’s anything that anyone can do to stave this off – people I used to work with from 3-4 jobs ago I still have on Facebook, they still pop up on my memories and they still make me smile – but remove that thing you have in common, the daily grind and you just don’t have enough time anymore.

Throw in a few kids, family, shopping, constantly growing feet and bodies, Open University degrees and that 24 hours you have in a day seems to be an ever shrinking pool of nothingness.

I was talking to my dad about why he never speaks to or sees a friend that lives in the village that he used to work with and he just didn’t know – he says it just happens. I remember we used to visit this guy fairly often as we had a shared interest in Atari and Commodore computing. But as we move away from those common platforms, relationships degrade.

Having started a new job 2 months ago (I can’t believe how quickly its flown) I’m paying more attention to how these relationships are degrading. People that I talked to every day, I’m speaking to once a week or so. Some people I’m not speaking to at all. It’s sad, but things move on and it seems to be the circle of life. You can certainly see how people as they get older and move away from work that they can lose those circles and connections.

Stay at home mums and things too – it must feel so isolating.

I’m in a very good position, I have a job I love, a family that I love and I don’t want for anything. It’s still a shame that we have this 9-5 thing going on 5 days a week and the kids have school and it just stops us from being able to enjoy some of the finer things in life I guess.

There’s always retirement, if you make it that far – and that’s where you’re meant to be able to enjoy those things that you’ve worked your whole life for. I just hope I get there and I get to enjoy it. Everything crossed. 🙂

Social media is bad mmmkay?

Social media is bad mmmkay?

Came across this YouTube video earlier.

If one of the guys involved in putting together facebook (who has since left) is telling you to stay away and not use it, you should probably do that.

Bamboo fixed

Bamboo fixed

Turns out Bamboo wasn’t working properly – I think I’d started to create a test job, and that had broken the DB patch/reboot job. Just re-ran it through and all seems good now.

Need to stop it from emailing me every night and having me just ignore the emails. I might tie it into SNS or something. It’s good to have something to play with.

Tetris 99

Tetris 99

Last week I was on holiday from work, looking after the kids on half term. I found that a new game has hit the Nintendo Switch E-Store – Tetris 99. It’s Tetris meets Fortnite and it’s amazing.

A fast and frantic battle royale with 99 players all playing tetris at the same time, with a slightly updated version of the Tetris theme that we all know and love and with completed lines being sent to opponents that you can target in order to scupper their plans.

It’s very fast, very fun and very pick up and playable. I really should start bringing the switch to work so that I can play on my lunch breaks. Maybe if and when Harry gets his own switch and I don’t feel so bad about taking it away whilst I’m out of the office. We’ll see.

Sounds like it might be a limited free download for Nintendo switch online – you obviously need membership to the online service for this.

$40 a month on EC2 instances

$40 a month on EC2 instances

Looks like my main web server instance is costing less than $2 a month on a T3 Micro. That’s a spot instance with a fairly high bidding price set so that it’s very unlikely to ever be outbid and is still the cheapest way to provision EC2 capacity.

By the same token, my database server is also a T3 micro instance and that’s looking to cost just under $7 a month on demand – same uptime as the web server so you can see there’s a $5 saving.

The bamboo server is having to run on a medium server and that’s used around $27 this month. Don’t you just love java?

Still got $300 of credit in my account so there’s no massive rush to move off the on demand instances right now. Maybe I should think about it though.

Workmail is $4 per user per month plus tax. Route53 is $0.50 per domain per month, there’s no getting around that. If I can keep my monthly bills less than $30 a month that would certainly keep my wallet happy.

Need to do a fair bit more work with bamboo to see if I can get it running on something a little less powerful or spot instance it. We’ll see.

Stability is a wonderful thing

Stability is a wonderful thing

Not a single server outage in the last three weeks. Which is great, it means that I’ve gotten everything set up properly as far as server updates, security groups and maintenance are concerned.

Bamboo seems to be doing what it’s meant to do and is rebooting the servers nightly. Everything seems to be working properly with regards to database backups and everything. I need to double check what the monthly cost is looking like when I start to run out of promotional credit at the end of this year. Could be quite costly.

New job!

New job!

Today I start my new job. I’m really excited.

Even though its just over the road from where I used to work, and the commute is pretty much exactly the same as what I have done for the last 7 years, I still drove over there yesterday to check out the car park in a bit more detail, find the visitors spots I’m supposed to park in and just make sure that nothing has changed in the last three months since my interview.

I can’t remember being this excited about going into work for a long time, I’m looking forward to meeting the people I’m going to be working with, I’m looking forward to the technologies I’m going to be working with and I’m really looking forward to a fresh start with a whole raft of new adventures.

Oh, I’m looking forward to ordering my first ever company car too. The kids are telling me it has to be red (it was going to be red anyway to be fair, but don’t tell them). I’ve been driving around in a Hyundai i30 all weekend – its a beautiful car to drive and it reinforces my decision to order a Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid. The hire car has to go back in the next few days and I’m going to be using a Skoda Octavia pool car. Hope it has heated seats! I didn’t half miss them this weekend in the cold.

It’s been a long three months. I’m feeling full of positivity and hope for the future.

Long may it last 🙂

SSL redirection – now working

SSL redirection – now working

Thought I was having some apache woes earlier this week. Looks like it was just a red herring and the real issue was the 80 > 443 forced redirection I’d set up.

Properly set up and test now. You never know, I might even start getting traffic.



I’ve always had a thing for lemmings. It’s my go to Amiga game and always one of the first ever things I fire up when I plug the Amiga in or Amiga forever. There’s something oddly satisfying about getting those little guys from the entrance of their hazard filled world to the exit.

I got to thinking the other day, I played a lot of lemmings during my early computer stages. The game came out when I was 10. I loved the puzzles. And I still love them now.

It teaches you to think quickly, it teaches you to manage resources. It teaches you logic and sometimes it teaches you to defy logic. You’ve got a limited amount of climbers and builders so you may well have to change your strategy part way through a level or start again.

Found this really interesting article on it today.

Anyway. The reason that lemmings has come back to the forefront is that Sony have recently released their mobile version. It’s laden with in app purchases but it is possible to play without spending a penny as long as you’re willing to limit your time playing to 20 mins here and there (actions cost energy and energy is limited).

The levels aren’t as clever or intricate as DMAs were. I’m pretty sure that they’re randomly generated to be fair. But they work. And they’re fun. Rather than assign roles to lemmings you assign them to squares on the screen. Tell it where you want stairs and the next lemming to hit that square will build them for you. Floaters with umbrellas? Just stick a floater space in. Every lemming that falls through it will glide softly to the bottom. Be careful though, effects wear off as soon as they touch the ground again so you might find yourself needing tiered floaters to get down safely.

At first I didn’t like the new control system. After a little while I realised there was no other way this could be done on a small touch screen.

Lemmings on iPhone

Lemmings is available here on the App Store and I heavily recommend it.

For me, it’s the quintessential puzzle game that helps to teach you how to think, how to manage things under pressure and how to know when the only option is to hit the nuke button.

Oh no!

One week to go!

One week to go!

Just one week until I start my new job. Excited is an understatement. Can’t wait to get going. My playing around with bamboo was in preparation for this, and it seems to be running pretty well – it’s updating and rebooting both of my ec2 instances nightly using AWS tasks and emailing me using SES to let me know whether the job has passed or failed.

Everything seems fairly stable. Bamboo itself is the biggest server I’ve got running in ec2, but it’s Java – and Java likes to eat all of the RAM so, it is what it is.