Friday, 23 September 2011

Milestone coming

Quick post: I've just noticed that I have 690 subscribers. I need to make another milestone patch...


You may be aware, from other posts, that I have lost my job.

The county council closed a whole swathe of Middle School, ostensibly to improve pupils' education, but the evidence used was interpreted spuriously, because the real motive was to save money; they've removed a whole layer of management-level wages, admin staff, support staff, and even the teaching staff.

Anyhoo, the upshot is that I was made redundant - career-wise, I fall between two stools, being too expensive to compete with NQTs, yet too inexperienced at KS4/KS5 to compete with more expensive time-served teachers.


I'm out of work.

And, oddly, I'm quite enjoying it.

Last time I was out of work, it was incredibly stressful - zero income, we lost the house and it took a complete career-change to get me back into work. I ended up in a very dark place.

This time, though...

My wife's job is safe, and is enough for a living wage. I have a lump of cash in the bank that will tide us over "in the manner to which we have become accustomed" at least until Christmas, longer if I'm careful.

During the day, kids at school, on my own, home is a very different place. It's quiet, I don't get uninterrupted. I potter around, keeping up to date with the house work, finally starting to beat the garden into submission (although the pond liner has perished and sprung numerous leaks, so I need to replace that soon), and I'm being far more productive on Instructables. I'm confident of beating my personal target of "publish more projects than Christy" well before the end of October (she's currently on 133, I'm on 130, so as long as she doesn't have a publishing flurry...).

Life is good.

I've decided, though, that it can't go on (unemployment, I mean. Life can. I'm quite keen on Life.).

So, I'm looking for work, and I've decided to have another career change and I can afford, for the moment, to be choosy about which jobs I go for.

I'm still going to teach, but I want to switch subjects. I want to switch to Technology ("shop", to our colonial cousins), specifically "Resistant Materials" (although I'm not averse to Textiles or Food Tech...).

I spent a day in a high school RM department before the Summer, and the staff there said I had a "natural touch" for the subject, and a suitable vacancy has just come up.

Fingers crossed.

(That was a bit of a ramble, wasn't it? I think I need to get back to work to talk to real flesh-and-blood humans more...)

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I can safely say that the world is much more amazing place than when I was a child.

Mobile phones, personal computers, more than three TV channels, instant communication with anybody on the planet, and affordable travel to any point on the globe in 24 hours.

Society evolves to cope with these changes, cultures move on, but we seem to be perpetually stuck with dickheads.

In fact, we seem to be suffering with them more and more. The gimme, I'm entitled generation. They all "know their rights", but cannot grasp the notion that there are responsibilities concomitant with those rights.

Individuals are excusing their own actions, not because they are right, but because they are not as bad as they might be.

In the UK's August riots, a youth was prosecuted because he went to the riots with a hammer strapped to his thigh. His defence? "But, I always carry it!"

The mother who went on holiday and left here children home alone, but is was OK, because it was "only for the week".

And somehow these "rights" become "permission" for all sorts of activity. The right to free speech becomes the right to burn down shops and rob passing tourists.

And this entitlement seems to be only one-way.

A mob believes it is entitled to wreck a community shopping centre, but how dare that community object! How dare the police intervene!

A stereotypical hoodie gave a telling sound-bite on the news - "We're exercising our right to protest Iraq, innit? Them police got no right to stop us." The Iraq war, of course, being over for quite some time, and nothing to do with the original trigger for the original protests.

By the same measure, people online claim the right to free speech, but they get upset when others use that same right to disagree with them.

They think that, because The Man doesn't listen to their whining demands, and act instantly, no matter what those demands are, or how busy The Man happens to be at that time, then they have some sort of "right" to protest because It's Not Fair, and that protest can be whatever they like.

So, they call a few people names - that's OK, because it could be worse.

They hack a website with some silly messages - nothing wrong with that, it could have been worse. They claim some sort of immunity from comment or retaliation, claiming there was nothing wrong with what they did, purely on the grounds that they could have done far worse.

What infantile, immature, irresponsible nonsense that is!

Think about it, entitled generation:
  • I stab you in the leg, but I could have stabbed you in the heart, so you have no grounds to object to my actions.
  • I steal your wallet, but it's OK, because I could have kidnapped your daughter.
  • I taunt a minority, but that's OK, because I could have started a pogrom.


Yes, this is a rant of sorts. Yes, this is a temper-tantrum of sorts.

I'm expressing my anger because just such an idiot attacked Instructables recently.

Naturally, several people objected, but this moron thought we should be thanking him for his attack, because he had warned the site that there was a security issue, but they hadn't responded quickly enough for his tastes.

He actually admitted that: his hacking attacks were the direct result of his own childish impatience.

Reality check, Ballboy.

A complete stranger sends you an email full of threatening instructions - are you going to follow them immediately?

Or are you going to spend some time checking things out? Personally, any emails I get along the lines of "act now to rectify this serious security issue" get reported as phishing scams before I get past the first line or two.

So, HQ don't immediately leap into action, smother this guy with gratitude and offers of a job*. The response? He hacks the site, popping puerile comments up all over the place.

But, "that's OK, because it could have been worse". HQ start to work on the problems, but not fast enough for the hacker's tastes, so he renders the whole site useless.

That's not enough for him, though. I objected to his actions. I called him what he is - immature and a vandal. His grandstanding and shouts of "well it could have been worse" do not persuade me that his vandalism is justified, so he took the coward's way out. He silenced me. He couldn't persuade me, he couldn't out-debate me, and he had only one other person even suggest he might be slightly right, so he "proved" he was better than me by replacing my avatar with a horse, and posting childish forum topics in my name.

To top that, he stole several hundred dollars-worth of pro-codes from my account.

I've got a message for Ballboy - FAIL.

You think that committing theft proves that you are trying to help? Your cowardly, bullying actions simply demonstrate that I was right about you all along.

*Speaking of jobs, this idiot thinks that hacking gets you a job. Reality check, Ballboy - maybe most people in digital security used to be hackers, but most hackers do not get jobs in digital security. There's a *reason* why this guy describes himself as "impoverished", and trying to get "donations" through blackmail is it.