A year of work in progress – day 77 (Zoology)

Day 77 – 30 April 2014 and day 26 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

The last day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and I’m pleased to say that I have arrived in one piece. Not everyone did though. I started off at number 422 and ended up at 383 (out of2018) after some thinning out of the entrants. I’m not surprised that some fell by the wayside as it was tough at times.

Writing a few hundred words every day wasn’t difficult, nor was it that hard to think of a topic related to a specific letter. There is so much going on in the world that if you keep your ears open something will always turn up. It wasn’t a challenge to post every day or to read the blogs of my yokefellows (colleagues – that was going to be my Y). It was the combination of all of these things that made it something to rise to. As I’m often reminded though anything worthwhile is hard.

I am ending the challenge with zoology, the subject I ended up studying at university. I say ended up because that was not on my life plan. Who has a life plan at eighteen anyway? I had tipped my hat at being a vet and had sat my A levels with the impossibly high aspiration of getting four ‘A’s and two ‘1’s at special level. Failure was inevitable and so a friend of mine said to me why don’t I do zoology as there are plenty of spaces on that course. That should have been a warning.

I did and bummed my way through three of the formative years of my life. It was great fun and I came out with a rather meaningless degree and little prospect of a related career. I entered the motor trade and then the office products trade and finally (perhaps) the public sector. It wasn’t until my forties that I really knew what I wanted to do. I am fortunate though in that I get the chance to enjoy my work every day and am glad that I am not a vet.

Life’s like that. Some choices you make and some are made for you but on reflection I could have made more of my formal learning. I feel that I had been taught a lot but enthused very little and to me that is the key. Enthusiasm trumps rote any day. Now if I find something interesting, which I do all the time, I dig in and learn as much as I can.

I am often asked what a zoology degree has to do with working in ICT. The answer of course is that we are all animals aren’t we?

When I first arrived at Durham I was surprised that we were still running on a fat client desktop environment. I had come from a thin client experience and found it a retrograde step. Having brought ten organisations together less than six months prior to my joining however meant that we had a lot else to consider before thinking about virtual desktops or VDI again.

Our plan was to bring all of our user computers up to a common operating system – XP. We had all other possible flavours at the time. From there we would move everyone to Windows 7 and then consider VDI. We have now arrived at this point and this morning we got all of the management of ICT Services together to ask whether we go VDI or we don’t.

There are many pros and many cons and there is no straight business case. We had a number of speakers describing what we had done so far, both good and bad as well as where the market is now with virtual desktop products. We then broke into groups to debate its merits before coming back and drawing some conclusions.

Coming together as a group was a good exercise and we will use it again. What role VDI will play in our future is still unknown

In the afternoon I went to Newcastle for a meeting of iNorthumberland, GoDigitalNCL and Digital Durham, the three broadband programmes covering the whole of the North East. We had lots to talk about.

Learning points for today: The way our website is being accessed is changing, one year ago desktop accounted for 72% of traffic, mobile 17% and tablet 10%. Now it is 57%, 26% and 17%; there is no collective noun for managers but an indecision and an asylum have been suggested; we need to eat our own dog food and; cost and value are different things.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – good discussions but some heavy going.

2 thoughts on “A year of work in progress – day 77 (Zoology)

  1. I started off wanting to be a better, so I spent some time after leaving school working for one. It was this that showed the sad part of having to euthanasia animals. I found this bit too sad.
    After a year doing food technology (too early for me), some years in The Army (kept meeting chauvinist), then to UNI to study Biology and Biochemical.
    Somehow I ended up in IT.
    However I think my scientific background is a big help in troubleshooting problem. I understand the need to document what I do, to change one thing, test, change back, change another thing, test, etc.
    Its techniques that I have found the majority of IT people don’t use.
    Strange how things turn out ☺

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