Sometimes I wonder…

Yesterday was a weird day…


Do they really mean Mozilla ? is that a type of cheese isn't it ?
Do they really mean Mozilla ? is that a type of cheese isn’t it ?


Since leaving my last long term full time job in 2009 ( IT support for 20 years following an IT apprenticeship) I’ve avidly been teaching my self all about Web development. I’ve read zillions of books, taken courses and spent many many hours learning all about development. I’ve invested in two 27″ iMacs, a 2011 Mac Book Pro, iPad Retina  and 10.5″ Samsung Tablets for ebooks and a complete home office set up! I’m currently fully self trained on WordPress development, Photoshop and am now on my way towards learning Mobile development.

So Yesterday I am ‘mandated’ to attend Maximus in Southampton. I have to go there multiple times a week in order to get my Job Seekers ‘Allowance’ Generally it’s either to sit and watch whilst my employment consultant ( who is ever so nice but has no real relevant experience and can’t answer basic questions,  even if she had the time to do so) sits there and types into a diary and hands me a list of mandatory appointments.

Or else I have to travel up to an hour into Southampton to sit for 2 hours, using a 1990’s Windows thin client with a 17″ square monitor and a grubby keyboard. The server is obviously off site and it takes 10 minutes to login, the security relies on people selecting the correct terminal or else they can highjack your  session and see all you emails. I am forced to apply for jobs that I don’t really want and would never be suitable for any way.

So any way, yesterday I had to endure 2 hours of listening to a course on how to send emails ! ( yes that really happened) They had a full on self important, plucky and enthusiastic instructor stepping people through the intricacies of dropping down the menu and finding the ‘new’ button. I even learned a new word… ‘Salutation’ and don’t forget to press return twice to create a blank line.

If I don’t turn up and apply for jobs I  risk being ‘sanctioned’ ( they can stop your benefits for up to 3 years apparently!)

‘But I have email alerts set up that automatically send me new job postings’ There is no one there to tell this to, they are simply following orders. The Work Programme actually started out OK for me, I had a decent advisor and sensible reviews and help getting into a PHP job. Maximus must now see the writing on the wall and view getting people in for mandatory job searches as a cheap way to look like they are still doing something. I can see their bean counters rubbing their greedy little hands!

So any way then, on the way home I sit in a New Forest car park to chill out… I’m reading a bit of Tanenbaums latest ‘Modern Operating Systems‘ Why not ? I get a call from a local furniture shop who are after a ‘Sales Administrator’  Now I feel obliged to go and have a chat about this with them. Apparently they pride themselves on their traditional values… and it’s a really interesting job. Sales ? Admin ? Furniture ? Hmm.. I’m not so sure trying to sell re-assuringly expensive furniture to the good folk of New Milton is really my thing LOL.

I recall how Maximus had me send out ‘retail’ oriented CV’s which they wrote for me, based on four weeks charity shop experience in 2013… What was the thinking there then ? Obviously four weeks nabbing back room bargains from a charity shop is more worthy on the jobs market than the 6 months full stack PHP development  experience I’ve got then?   perhaps I’ll go walking instead.

Then to round out the day, I get an email about a new site  I’m helping  with. The user  is having problems with a new web site they are developing and I quote:

Still the same issue, I clicked the link and used Mozilla as my default browser.  Also cut and paste the link into Internet explorer and the same thing, wheel just spins but nothing loads? 
Mozilla ? Are you serious that’s like 12 years obsolete! It’s like a steam engine, as I was trying to explain to my Mum who has a ten year old ADSL router.
I can still remember  when I ran into problems using Mozilla on my Sun Workstation in 2002 or there about and being so embarrassed when I was politely told to upgrade to Firefox !
So if they do in fact have Mozilla, then what version of IE are they talking about? I’ve spent the morning playing around with a Windows XP Virtual machine with IE8, just more out of interest really to see if it works. You can download all sorts of combinations, even IE6, apparently 3% of Chinese people still use that you know. You can download them here
So any way, must go now, am heading up to Southampton. Leaving my nice warm house to sit in rush hour traffic for a while and check out what life is like with the ‘inner city’ people 🙂 Life’s not all bad I get to have a nice tax payer funded drive through the New Forest and if I’m lucky a cup of Maximus tea while the thin client finds its boot image 🙂

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