Nov 01 2014

Change of scenery

Published by under Thoughts,Uncategorized

As of today, and after five and a half years, I no longer work for CETel. The reasons for my leaving are manifold, and most of them are not for public discussion – it just gets too personal too quickly. Let’s just say that the negative side effects of my employment had turned me into an insufferable person that even I myself no longer wanted to be around anymore, and I should have done something radical about this deteriorating situation a long time ago.

I want to feel my true self again, and I really would love to be the man again that my wife had chosen to live with so long ago. Before I left CETel, I hardly recognized myself and even today I sometimes can still barely remember the person that I once was. I’ve been on a doctor-prescribed sick leave for the last few weeks, and the distance to my old work place has brought back some of my former self, but it will take a while to fully restore myself. I have hopes that I have turned around the boat before it had passed the point of no return – but the point of no return was already very, very close.

Finding employment that is not just more of the same isn’t easy, and it took me very long to find an alternative with a real perspective. My new job carries the title “Manager IT” and my work place is in the South of Germany, several hundred kilometers away from where we live. It was not a feasible option for us to relocate, so I am going to spend several hours per week on the ICE to commute between my new work place and home. Actually, the current plan is that I will be gone for three days and will work from my home office for the rest of the week. While the commute at a first glimpse might seem nightmarish for some, I think it will actually be a good cure for a lot of the damage that the old work environment has caused.

My new employer is a multinational company with people from all over the globe. The environment feels almost as international and multicultural as the United Nations and this is just one of the many things that I have been missing for so long. My nationality and identity might be German, but I feel much more at home in a multicultural work place than in an office where almost everybody has the same nationality and where only the foreign customers bring a colorful touch to the mix. Being back in an international work space alone is going to be an interesting and welcome change, and the good news is that my new company has many other great things going for itself that I might write about later in one way or another.

I hope that all of the things to come will be the change that my family and I need so badly at this point.

So here’s to a new start and a change of scenery!

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Apr 22 2014

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS First Impressions

Published by under Xubuntu Linux

Two days ago, I installed Xubuntu 14.04 LTS on our Zotac Zbox. I don’t “do-release-upgrade”, I always wipe the SSD and install everything from scratch. No matter what the marketing departments are trying to sell you, in my experience there still is no operating system in existence on this planet where upgrades work properly.
I had a ton of PPAs on my Xubuntu 12.04 setup, so in all honesty, the look and feel of the “new” Xubuntu 14.04 isn’t that different to what I had been using over the last two years. The Whiskersmenu is new, ok, the rest is more or less what I was already used to.
The difference is that 14.04 feels a little bit faster, and it certainly feels more polished and whole lot softer around the edges. I didn’t run any benchmarks and I don’t care much for that kind of thing – it’s more important how something feels than what a stop watch says. And Xubuntu 14.04 feels mature, stable and well done. That alone is worth the update.
One thing is broken, however, but that has nothing to do with Xubuntu 14.04: Caffeine 2.6.2 no longer shows a “preferences” menu and it cannot be configured anymore. Since the Zbox is primarily a movie player, this actually IS a problem. I found a couple of bug reports about this topic on the net, so I assume this is going to be addressed in the next Caffeine release. But like I’ve said, it’s not a direct Xubuntu problem – Caffeine is not even in the official Xubuntu repositories. It’s just a bug that appeared because I re-installed everything from scratch. And thus far, this is the only issue that I’ve encountered.
Of course, I’ve also taken a peek a Ubuntu 14.04 (Desktop) and I also have two production servers with 14.04 LTS (Server) at work. No matter what flavor you choose, 14.04 deserves the attribute “trusty”. It is a VERY solid release and if my month with the final beta version of the server is any indication, then it is also a very stable and problem-free release that is well worth the pain of upgrading/migrating from 12.04.
Kudos to the development teams for their excellent work, and also a huge thank you for giving away such great software under Open Source licenses!

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