Little big planet

There’s a old saying that says “it’s a small world” and it really is. The saying relates in reality to the 7 degrees of separation theory which states that you are only ever 7 connections from anyone on the planet. For example, if I wanted to speak to Bill Gates then there are only seven connections (people) that I would need to make in order to get to speak with him. Continue reading

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S**t I got old!

This morning when I woke up the day was the same as any other, the only difference is that I would be driving down to Westbury to drop off my eldest son at the Army Officers Selection Board so he can finish the competition to get into the Welbeck Officers training programme.

Well, I dropped him off almost 2 hours ago and as I left I felt a little emotional about the whole thing as I thought back to when he was just a baby. The years as he grew up and the trails and tribulations that we have been through, both him and me as well as the rest of the family. Now I can safely say that I am so proud of the young man that he is becoming.

What I wasn’t expecting was that this left me reflecting on how I suddenly feel so old. This year I will turn the big 4-0 and while it doesn’t really bother me as it’s just another event it made me realise that while my brain may still be deluding itself that I’m a teenager I really am not. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve got old but it’s not really something that you pay attention to as it happens regardless of what you do. But then, certainly in my case, I suddenly realised “s**t I am really getting old”.

I guess this is why so many people suddenly panic when they hit 40 and a great many have a mid-life crisis. That realisation that you won’t get any younger and that when you talk to someone who is 16-19 years old about stuff you watched as a kid they just look at you like you’re an alien.

So does all of this mean I’m over the hill? No chance, I just need to realise I am not a spring chicken 🙂

Posted in Light relief, Personal | 1 Comment


It’s been a week now since I opened up and bared my soul to the world. It’s one week later and nothing has changed for me. The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole nor have I been sent to Coventry. What I have found is sympathy from those who have suffered from the same debilitating illness and empathy from those who have not suffered but have some understanding of what it can do. People have reached out to me either via Facebook or more directly to show support and understanding, much more than I thought. Continue reading

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My names Rob and I’m mental


“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feels a little like the cliché alcoholics anonymous meeting, “My names Rob and I’m an alcoholic”. Obviously I’m not an alcoholic but the subject of mental illness feels equally taboo even in the modern age. In recent months the topic has become more prominent following the tragic passing of Robin Williams which was believed to have been brought about by an ongoing battle with depression.

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Posted in life, Personal, small business | 2 Comments

The only constant is change

We it’s been almost 3 years since I last posted anything and a lot has changed.Back in April 2012 we were blessed with twins, a boy and a girl, both healthy kids. Let us fast forward to today and those little babies aren’t so little anymore as they are due to turn 4 this year.

My eldest is 16 and as I write this I am sat in a Travelodge near Caterick as he will be taking his residential course tomorrow as part of his application to join the Army Offices programme. Each year almost 1,000 15-16 years apply for just 90 places to enrol into the programme and I am immensely proud to say that he has been shortlisted to move forward with selection. The funny thing is that I still remember when he was born, when he was the same age as the twins are now and so on.

This got me thinking that the old saying “time and tide wait for no man” is so very true; no matter what we do with our lives, time will still tick on regardless. I’m guessing by now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this?

Well it’s safe to say that as I get older I understand that time should not be wasted doing things that you don’t enjoy or that isn’t what you want. Life is short and should be grasped around the neck with both hands and then wring every last breath out of it. As we pass through life many obstacles will get in the way of what we want (money, people, jobs, etc) but sometimes you just have to say “to hell with it” and do what you have to do because it’s very rare you get a second chance.

Anyway, that’s my ramblings; It’s good to be back but now I need to turn in for the night as I’m going to make the most of being able to get a whole night of uninterrupted sleep 🙂


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RIP SBS! All hail the cloud

As many of you will have heard by now, Microsoft announced late last week the end of Microsoft Small Business server as we know it. In the most recent version they introduced Small Business Server Essentials which was Pre-licenses with 25 users and included all of the key features with the exception of Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. The idea of this is that it would be a great introduction to small businesses into the world of a server and should they require it, then they could use Microsoft Exchange via a hosted service such as Office 365. Now with the announcement last week, this is the only version that will remain at the end of June 2013.

The end is nigh

A lot of small IT providers rely on SBS to make up a key part of their sales, hell we shift a fair few SBS servers……so is this the end? Not at all, this simply represents a shift in how we present our solutions to the marketplace moving forward. A lot of IT providers do not like using Office 365 as Microsoft ‘own’ the relationship where billing is concerned and it makes them uncomfortable. The concept that all of us aspire towards is being the ‘one stop shop’ for our clients and the Office 365 billing model goes against this as the client would receive multiple bills from different providers for services. But does this *really* bother the client? After all if we, the provider, manage the relationship for them then there is no real issue. That said Office 365 is not the only solutions. There are a number of ‘white label’ hosting providers that will allow you to provide hosted Exchange to your client with your own branding, this is something that we have done for some time now and it works well.

So it’s all about the cloud then?

Does this mean that we all need to go knee deep into the cloud? Not at all, after all there are alternatives to Microsoft Exchange such as Kerio. With fierce pricing it is a definite alternative to Exchange and more cost effective. What we need to do now moving forward is to talk to our clients and see what they are looking for in terms of their business needs and put forward a technology based solution that will work for them; all be it on premise Exchange, Hosted Exchange, Kerio or some other technology that will empower their business.

Now is a great time to be in the IT business as we see the landscape change so substantially that it will drive creativity and innovation through the IT providers that service small businesses. I for one think that this is a change for the better but like any change it *is* uncomfortable but ultimately you have the chance to shape IT solutions in the SMB workspace moving forward.

Let the good times roll!

– Rob

Posted in IT Community, small business | 1 Comment

I don’t like that!

My kids often say that when I offer them something ‘different’; albeit a different type of food or a film that they’ve never heard of. Ever time they complain I always say, ‘Look try it and if you don’t like it then that’s fine’.

But then I’ve just been thinking that as adults we do exactly the same thing. Anyone who knows me would have heard me at some point say that ‘I hate going into Nottingham’. My justification for this is that it’s too busy, or crowded or some other convincing but lame sounding excuse for what I don’t like it.

Yet here I am for the third week in a row in central Nottingham, yes you guessed it in a Costa Coffee, quite enjoying being here. I mean I drive through it every day on my way to work but now that I am actually in town I really am enjoying being here. Why?

I think there is a couple of reasons for this, the first being that it is actually quite a nice place to visit. The are some good shops, if your a shopper, and there are some good places to grab a bite to eat. While it is a busy place the people are friendly enough. The second reason is it gives me a chance to ‘step off the planet’ for an hour or so. In a really busy day it is very easy to rush from one thing to the next without actually looking at what you are doing or even thinking about it.

So my advise to you is; try something EVER day you don’t like but have never really tried……you might be pleasantly surprised!

– Rob

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Technology is easy!

For almost 18 years I have been working in IT. I guess if I think back, like all true geeks, it was always destined to be. At the age of 8 I was coding ‘Connect4’ on a Commodore Amiga 500 which was published in a magazine and like all true magazines of this time there was ‘deliberate’ errors in it that required you to solve.

As I moved forward I progressed to an Amiga 1200 and then really lost touch with computers. I got back in touch with them again when I was in my teens when I was given a 286 and from here on the storey really tells itself. Back then things were hard to do, I mean the ‘user interface (UI)’ was at it’s very early stages with Acorn and BBC Micro being the choice of education. The Windows platform was really in its earliest stages with Windows 3.0/3.1 being the norm application developers really were just starting to learn to write applications that look good and not just do a job.

Now here we are in 2012 and I find myself once again sat in a Costa Coffee (I’m seeing a trend here?) with my iPad ranting at the fact that I cannot edit a word document to send back to a partner so they can configure a VoIP system for a mutual client. Then further complaining that, on purchasing ‘Pages’ from the app store, I cannot download it as it is over 50MB so can only work over WiFi. What seems like only a short time ago we had no Internet and certainly tablet computers were just a pipe dream of the Star Trek generation but here we are and it is the norm.

In my very short career in IT I have seen such massive changes, not only in the technology, but also in the way we work and interact with one another. I was sat next to two young ladies earlier (early twenties) that were recounting a ‘tale’ which involved ‘posting a status’ and people commenting.

I guess what I find myself doing is looking at what massive changes I have seen over a short period of time and contemplating what changes lie ahead in the next 18 years? Will we really see flying cars? Will there be teleportation devices? These are exciting times and I’m honoured to be riding the wave but how long until my generation becomes too old for all this stuff! What do you think we will see in the next 18 years, let me know your thought!

– Rob

Posted in life, Personal | 2 Comments

Alignment is key

I love my life. I think that has to be the bluntest start I have made to a blog post yet but it’s true, I do love my life. Things are finally starting to come together after some time, when to be quite honest, I never thought they would. It’s not been easy, granted, but it has been worth it. After a long haul (almost 9 months and 3 gardeners) the garden is almost done. Work is going really good at the minute and I find myself starting to enjoy things again, yes there’s still some tough stuff happening but I am really feeling content.
I have a great family and some great kids. I woke up yesterday morning, Fathers day, to find my 8 year old son sat waiting for me to wake up so he could give me his present…..I mean how cool is that. I have a great partner in Julie, she even manages to put up with when I behave like a teenager and drink far too much… that’s true love.

So why has all of this finally happened? Is it just my lucky day or is there something more at play here? I don’t know for sure but what I do know is that I have been reading Relax Focus Success by Karl Palachuk. For those that don’t know him Karl is a IT business owner and published author who has ‘lived it’ and has written a book to share what he did that helped him. Does it have the meaning of life, which by the way is 42 🙂 Of course not but it does have some great ideas about how to create more synergy between the different aspects of our lives.

One of the areas that he discusses is the different ‘roles’ that we play in our lives and how these roles inherently create conflict between one another due to their differing agendas and priorities. One concept that Karl tries to help you to understand and to work with is to create alignment between all of the roles that you play so that you no longer play roles but there is just you; and it is the same you at work, at home, with the family, it really doesn’t matter where or when it is the same you……sounds easy? It’s not and it takes work. I know that I am a work in progress and will remain to be but in these very early stages I see the change and it’s good.

So if you find the roles in your life conflicting and feel torn then I strongly encourage you to buy the book and start reading today. It certainly helped me.

In the meantime, I am going to finish my Costa Coffee and head off to a clients.

Take care

– Rob

Posted in Business, Personal Develoment | 1 Comment

Trend WFBS Server filling hard disk

This morning I was looking into a low disk space condition on a clients server. Of a 400GB partition there was only 68GB left, now in an era of high disk usage this may not seem to abnormal but for this client it was.

First job was to locate where this was all being consumed and after a little investigation there was 113GB but used by the Trend Worry Free Business Security server, I know that Trend is known to use quite a bit of space but this was crazy. A little further digging revealed that over 100GB was being used in the “PCCSRVLogs” folder.

A quick check on the Trend knowledgebase (KB1038277) revealed that debugging had been enabled on the Security server at some point. The answer was to disable this by logging in to the Trend WFBS console on the server, once logged on you click on the ‘m’ in the Trend logo at the top of the screen.

EN 1038277 1

In the dialog that opens then uncheck the debug option and ok. Once this has been done then you can go into the folder C:Program FilesTrend MicroSecurity ServerPCCSRVLog, or whatever folder you installed to, and then remove any files that begin with ofcdebug.

As this is not enabled by default I can only assume that it has been enabled during some troubleshooting session with Trend and the tech neglected to note it down. So if you do have to enable it then ensure you make a note as it will fill the drive!

– Rob

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