I lost my mate….

Earlier this year I got a call from a mate of mine, a mate I didn’t often hear from……

“Wow something serious must have happened for you to call me man…..” I answered the phone with

The voice on the phone wasn’t his, it was his girlfriends.  He’d had a suspected massive heart attack and was found unresponsive on the floor of his place.

Now I’ve lost family and friends before, I know how it goes, and I’m not trying to sound callous but it’s just a part of life. But this one hit me pretty hard.

I’d known this guy for more than 20 years, we’d been out nights before, shared stories, jobs, a mutual love of technology and healthy distrust of authority, I’d gone through some of his life shit with him – not helping much but just being around.

Except I wasn’t that much.  We’d interact mostly via email, phone, occasionally meeting for a brew and a chat, always planning a beer – I owed him plenty.

But now we won’t.

I’ve grieved but I’ve also felt selfish.  In the four years or so I’ve been running the business I’ve had more time but I didn’t take time out to go see my mate.

And now I can’t.

It’s funny how life teaches you lessons, sometimes in very subtle ways.  I’m not being told I was a bad mate, I’m not being told I can do better.  But my lesson here is that too much focus can mean you stop having time for other, arguably just as important, parts of your life.

Today I grrr’d arrgh’d and swore my way through getting my kid some semblance of a costume scraped together for Roald Dahl day.  I was stressed because we were in a rush.

Didn’t want to spoil her 100% attendance record.

But you know, it was actually fun, despite the stress and the lunatic raving from me.  And it taught me something else.

Even moments that, at that time, don’t feel precious are.  So enjoy them.

And please, if you can freehand Fox whiskers with a mascara pen any better than I can I tip my hat to you.

And to you John, I raise a beer.  One of the very many I owe you.  I’ll miss you brother.

I lost my keys

The keys dropped into my hand and I knew I’d never forget the feeling. I’d held them before but this was the first time I had them in my hand after I’d passed my test!

My first car was a 1976 pillar-box red Leyland Mini 1000cc

Although this one suffered a bit in its later life it was loved, hard.

The car was stripped the vinyl seats were removed, most of the trim, all of the other interior bits and bobs, it needed a bit of interior work, welding and general tidying up, so whilst that was happening the interior got a proper scrub.

(I still remember sitting on the passenger seat in my back garden as I polished the drivers seat!)

We even gave it a full respray at home, I remember that took ages, we had to get all of the dust out of the garage and slather it in old newspaper before any paint took flight.

That year I learned a lot of things about car engines and general maintenance, how to remove and clean the distributor cap, how to sort out the sparkplugs, fluid levels, wheels and tyres, and a whole lot more that, somehow, seems less honest now most of it is automated in my modern jalopy.

Maybe it led to my logical approach to tasks, unwittingly shaping the way I process things even now, how I concentrate on what seems insignificant, fine points that I feel will give a benefit in the long run, maybe, perhaps the orderly way in which parts needed to be removed and replaced informed my mind to be more like that.

That being said I wonder what totally buggered up my ability to remember, even after a few seconds, where I left my bloody keys?

It’s apparently a problem that affects 87.50% of men (and I just know I made that right up don’t you?!) throughout the world.  We simply do not, ever, know where our keys are.

The smallest things can cause the most stress and for me it’s keys.  Since starting up the business it’s not become any easier. Sure, I think I’m more organised in general but keys still get in the way.

Until last week.

I was checking out a particular hardware seller who has daily special offers when I spotted my salvation, amazingly discounted from £12ish to a couple of quid.  My god, that’s less than the price of a beer, so how could I not?

And now, some time later, how is the world?

It’s bright, it’s blue skies, I’m almost cured!

I now have an app on the phone which, when triggered, will set off an alarm on the keyfob that is now snugly fitted to my keyring, causing me to race to the location of the keys and grin smugly to myself.

I’d have paid full price for it, but at £2 it was just a crazy, life-altering, bargain, and the sort of thing that just makes me completely geek out at the total simplicity of some technology.

But here’s the thing……I’ve not really had to use it yet! You can’t believe it, but having some form of security has obviously relaxed my mind to such an extent that the stress of finding keys just vanished – who knew?!

Mind you, it’s probably just as well, because I’ve now lost my phone!!

Another week done

Interesting week this week. One of the hardest things to really get on top of as a business owner, at least in my humble opinion, is to give the appropriate amount of time to each job.

So feeling happy with this weeks workload.  Last week was a bit more hurtful, one evening I was sat up till 10:30pm putting together quotes and doing odds and ends.  Too easy to lose track of time.

Inbox zero playing a large part of helping this.  As at now, Inbox has Zero emails in and the next folder, which is the one that I have to go through to respond or whatnot has 19.  Everything else is lower priority so happy to be more on top of that.

I read this week how connected lives mean that we struggle to detach from our e-lives.  I’ll admit I am a bit glued to my phone, back when I was in “honest” employment I used to set my phone the deliberately not download emails at weekends, take a break.

Now I just leave the thing face down in a corner or let it run out of juice for the weekend.

But then there is the small matter of emergency support, so I guess peeking a time or two isn’t entirely inappropriate is it?!

Had some great success and misery with suppliers as well this week – such a great relief to find responsive and professional firms to deal with, and ones that are happy and keen to work with me?  Bonus!

And so that’s about that.  A bit of a collection of random thoughts this week, good to have an info dump, might make it a thing.

Oh, and Confucius says, write your ruddy password down kids!

No big thing….

…..but over the last couple of days I’ve moved web host

I say it’s no big thing, but it is, for some!  I was only speaking with a client last year about how they spent £1000s setting up a business website (I know, in 2017!) but within the cost was a hefty cost for setting up and moving from an existing host.

Now lets get one thing straight…..I don’t mind companies making some money, but I’ve never liked them taking the piss with it.  £500 for “annual hosting fees” is something I’d generally deem as stupid and unnecessary in the past, but now I’ll concede that you can argue a reason for it – certainly justified when it comes to a decent-sized e-commerce website, as that’s going to require really good security and monitoring.

But a 10 page WordPress brochure site?  Nah, not buying.

I’m “lucky” since I’m an IT pro, I can do this stuff for myself, but should I?  There is an argument to be had that paying someone else to do stuff like moving websites frees up my valuable time to do other stuff.

But I kind of enjoy it, so until such time as I really can’t find the time I will!

So this latest move…..it’s certainly not expensive, but more than that, there was a function to allow the full move of a WordPress site (including database setup and moving existing data) so that’s what I did.  It was so simple, a few clicks, a few details and waiting for DNS to update before enabling the SSL, a couple of updates to the settings and we’re done.

You could have paid a nice chunk of cash to a “web developer” to do that but why should you?  Of course there are good reasons for having them, as well as digital marketing support, but if something is made so easy for you it’s a good idea to make use of it don’t you think?

So far so good then, really happy with the new hosts and will be slowly migrating all of my web stuff to them over the next few weeks.

Oh and Happy New 2018 too 🙂


Today I had a very frustrating issue crop up with a Windows box – the TL:DR of it was that Windows updates applied and the box rebooted without being asked cue install error.


The above is very similar to the issue – but you’ll note it was posted in 2011 – today is most definitely 2017.

It’s not the same conditions but essentially the same error and, ironically, the same fix was offered.

Isn’t it about time that in a production environment we had some form of safeguarding or at the very least let’s have a flag when a potential update issue might occur or at the very least a REALLY SIMPLE way that a user can be directed, remotely, to prevent this causing major hassle.

Especially in these enlightened times when we’re all going to get nagged to bits about the importance of keeping our kit up to date with the latest patches.

Sad face