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Freelancing and University

well today is the day! 2 changes in my life happened today πŸ™‚ well to be honest they have both been a gradual transition really but hey πŸ™‚

i go back to University as a “full time” student today i say full time with a lot of emphasis because this term until december i am actually only at university 2 half days a week. i had been part time previously so already had some credit hence not so busy this term and the story behind why i went full time is a long and stressful one, to summarise it. My uni is just poorly organised and they care about businesses more than there students so part timers often get overlooked easily, i was one of the unlucky.

my second change is that i am now a full time freelancer! i was previously working full time for Newfrontiers and ChristChurch London and doing bits and bobs in spare time as it allowed, but no more! My job title is probably still to be decided but i like the idea of Freelance IT Consultant. my main skills and areas are particularly hosting management, web hosting, server setup and management and other troubleshooting or optimisation. as i gain more time and skills i will definitely add web development into that list also, if your interested in that head over to my freelance site: http://somersettechsolutions.co.uk and have a look around or email me on anthony@somersettechsolutions.co.uk – i know my freelance site is in dire need of an overhaul, its somethink i plan to do now that i have more time.

with these new changes come some great opportunities that i cant yet talk about yet and it presents challenges mostly financial. i am praying that God blesses my freelance work and provides me with lots of clients so that i can work hard and earn the money needed to keep me financially stable. i am praying that the right opportunities come through and that i can have the wisdom to discern which ones to go for, which ones to pass up (probably not many!) and how to take things like brushing my web design/development skills back up to speed (lots of reading to be done no doubt).

hopefully with the new changes and new beginnings i will also have time to blog a little more too!




Back in the UK

well i have actually been back since tuesday evening, but its been such a busy and exhausting week that this is my first chance to write something here.

Zimbabwe was an excellent time, if only i had internet to blog about it as i went, sadly i only had enough internet to do the basics and minimum stuff near the end of my holiday (like making things official on Facebook πŸ™‚ ) i got to see a lot of the country while spending time with Marie’s family including there farm.

Shelley & Adam’s wedding at Antelope park was totally stunning and totally unique and the pictures i did get to take dont do it justice. it was a great time and a great party.

after Antelope park i took Marie up Domboshawa (its basically a very big rocky hill) where we enjoyed a picnic and the view while waiting for the sunset and i waited for the right moment to propose! note to self or anyone considering similar, if you plan to get down on one knee in a rocky place either wear full length trousers or knee pads πŸ™‚ it goes without saying Marie said yes of course.

we spent the rest of our week celebrating and meeting friends and planning stuff for a december Zim wedding. Coming back this week was eventful, i first got food poisoning on the plane (but not from the plane food – likely something just before) and spent most of my 8 hour flight from Nairobi curled up in a ball or over the porcelain (well metal) throne, got back to england to find the good old tube unions decided to strike so we had to get a taxi from the airport at a cost of over Β£100 by the time i got home 3 hours later πŸ™

was ill the next day at work but had to crack on, and its been non stop all week with trying to catch up with the backlog and with new FP’ers starting in the office, its scary and sad to think that i will only be working for Newfrontiers for 2 more weeks.

hopefully normality resumes soon! at least first time back at church in about a month!




Newday: Lonnnggg Day

am writing this the morning after the long day, Wednesday was officially Day 1 of Newday, delegates started arriving and also so did the bulk of the servers, we had been prepared and made up all the badges we could before had and distributed the relevant ones to there teams but that was not even half of our number of servers (about 300 out of 750) so as normal we were manicly busy all day from about 8am until about 9:30pm only stopping for 45 mins for lunch and 45 mins for dinner.

i was on my feet all day and basically, taking photo’s, printing badges and laminating them, we must have printed somewhere near 200 badges yesterday, of which well over 100 were after lunch alone. i think i am slowly getting feeling back in my feet. as a result i sadly missed the main meeting last night and as i left this morning not had chance to listen to any of the worship or word. am actually looking forward to the live album this year. had a record low number of mocha’s this year at 2, not because i was trying to cut down but purely because we were so busy we never had time to have them, have possibly OD’ed on Mcdonalds McFlurry’s though because have had one every evening after leaving the showground this week.

am headed back to London on a train as i write this (hooray for iPhone tethering!) am glad to be able to pick up a reliable phone signal again, headed straight back into the office and back to work. after having had a nice fry up for breakfast.

keeping it short this morning due to sleep deprivation and the need to catch up with emails and civilisation in general.




Newday: The calm before the storm

end of my first day of setup (almost) its been a struggle of a day. started at 8 am after a hearty newday breakfast

got straight to work on getting everything ready to print our main run of server badges – downloading photos, batch processing them into right size etc. without going into boring detail, what should have been a task that only took an hour to 2 max just to print the badges out took a whole 8 hours including working through lunch to coax into life.

its a good job we had today to prep and print the first batch (those that bothered to upload photos) it would have been a whole different ball game if we were doing this tomorrow when a lot of the main event servers were arriving. after that we got efficient and got the full print batch printed, cut, laminated and punched within 2 hours – even with 100 reprints!

all leading on to a nice relaxing dinner (wont post the photo!) and a peaceful evening to moan about slow internet. praying that they have the wifi enabled back at the agricultural college and that the room doesnt smell of paint this evening. going to sleep well i hope.




Never underestimate the power of “Word of Mouth”

the title says it all really, and seriously dont underestimate it. lets just give some background, i do occasional freelance systems admin work in my free time, this includes but is not limited to, server setup and maintenance, site migrations and optimisation and other general geekery relating to webservers πŸ™‚

i was contacted last week by a guy called Rick Anderson of Tailoring the Web to optimise and speed up his server hosting one of his sites Build Your Own Business Website he told me that he had paid for VPS.net to migrate him from bluehost and manage the server for him, he was telling me how since moving his site had in fact slowed down. i set out to optimise the server and also optimise the site by making use of the awesome W3 Total Cache plugin for wordpress, over 2 nights i was able to improve page load times from 4.5-5 seconds down to between 1-2 seconds, i was pretty pleased with that and went to sleep pretty happy.

over the next 2 days i recieved 5 enquiries about doing similar stuff (Migration/Optimisation/Setup etc) now bear in mind i currently only do this in my spare time (will have lots more time to spend on it from October) all of these referrals were as a result of Rick making one single post on the Thesis Support Forum where he is a very active member, i dont currently actively advertise my services so that i dont get swamped with extra work so its a pleasant surprise especially as i need to earn some extra money at the moment (Uni fee’s amongst other things).

Incidentally if you are looking to build your own business website, do take a look at the site as it is a great resource and tool to aid you in that process and walk you through it, and if you ever need hosting services or server setup, do send me an email anthony@somersettechsolutions.co.uk

in other news, this time next week i will be flying through 2 different countries to go to Zimbabwe for a friends wedding and to meet Marie’s parents and help out with a christian youth conference called Ignite2010 – busy times so please pray for me