Covid Impact

So you might have noticed a break even longer than my usual disappearances. So where have I been and have I done anything interesting?

Like everyone else Covid-19 has had a major impact on my job. I work for a large Higher Education provider. The UK lockdown meant we suddenly had ~4k staff members and ~35k students working elsewhere than our Campus. This caused any number of issues and problems to solve.

It’s certainly been an ‘interesting’ year and I’ve learnt a lot about networking and how the organisation actually operates. Lots of performance issues have become apparent when they aren’t being masked by a good fast network.

That’s eaten up a lot of my time, and meant I’ve not really fancied spending extra time in the ‘office’/backroom as it feels a little too like staying late. Thanks to getting more efficient and some improved workflows I should get more time to do things outside of the job.

New Role

At the start of 2021 I moved into a new role. I’m now the Techncial Lead for an Operations team. Still doing a lot of SQL DBA stuff, but the role is now focused more on setting out our future trajectory for a wider range of technologies.

A lot of the role is looking forward and creating strategy, so there’s been some dark corners of our infrastructure I’ve had to poke around into and then come up with plans to bring things up to scratch or convince the owners that we’ve just going to have to shut it down.


I’ve found myself moving back toward the *nix world with the job shuffle. There’s a lot more Linux in use as it makes Azure cheaper, and our developers are moving towards .Net Core so Linux hosting makes sense. So I’ve been spending more time at the bash prompt than the pwsh prompt, sometimes ending up with an unholy marriage to get things done.

There’s been quite a steep learning curve catching up with some more obscure bits that I’d never looked too deeply into before.

Still plenty of SQL Server in the mix, but certainly less than 12 months ago.

Mech Keyboards

My world has become a lot more text based during lockdown. What would have been a quick chat on the way to grab a coffee is now a Teams chat.

At the start of lockdown I was using an Apple Magic Keyboard, but soon found it wasn’t doing my fingers any favours. This led me down the mech keyboard rabbit hole. After a couple of iterations I’m now on a home built Kyria split keyboard using the Colemak Mod-DH layout.

I’ll probably do post on this in a bit as I found thinking a bit more about my main user interface an interesting experience


We got a dog. Say hello to Marx:

He’s an energetic little Cocker Spaniel, he’s got a lot to learn so I’ve been getting into a lot of dog training theory and practice for the last couple of months getting him ready for some adventures once the weather improves

He’s named for this Marx:

Gary Marx

Not this Marx:

Groucho Marx


All that means I’m going to be starting to blog a bit more regularly, but that the topics might change a bit. Not hugely, but there are posts about how to build dog training placeboards and what dog transport crate fits into an F40 BMW 1 series in the pipeline 😉