Archive for December, 2013

Goodby Citrix, hello Red Hat


I start a new job with Red Hat on Jan 6. I’ll be the distribution sales manager for Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

I’m really looking forward to it – more responsibility, more involvement in the business side of things. Same amount of travel, but to some rather safer places.

Citrix taught me a lot over the last two years and five months, both in terms of how to do things and how not to…

We had a very tough Q4, so I’m disappointed not to be leaving on a high, but the numbers have been perfectly respectable. My successor has a good pipeline, as well as, thanks to recent hirings, a lot more support than I had.

So here’s to Red Hat – back in the Unixy/Linuxy world world again!

Mid concert


I love the way Angus breaks a string, grabs a guitar with no strap and then plays the solo while the roadie puts the strap on. Starts around 1.13 in.

Beirut bomb


I have driven along this stretch of road many times with friends and colleagues.

Offices we’ve had meetings in had their windows blown in by the blast.

People usually shrug this stuff off, but I have Beirut based friends and colleagues who said they’d never leave who are now looking for jobs in Dubai and working out what they need to do to get their Australian or Canadian visas.


I can’t see myself going to Beirut for a while.

Lucky man


This guy was very, very lucky.

What an idiot.

As always with Gulf News’ crime reports, you’re left wondering what the full story was. Wandering drunk into an Emirati’s house and scaring his family and only being fined 1,000Dhs?

A career in politics


This is brilliant.

When I was there OUSU spent their whole time focusing either on international politics they had no influence over, or on pet projects that didn’t seem to benefit anyone, or complaining that the Union Society had better premises than they actually deserved.

If they’d done something relevant, such as putting on a good club night, students’ attitudes to their other activities might have been a bit more supportive.

Defending Lebanon


The UK has donated these Land Rovers to the Lebanese armed forces.


These Defenders are the newest vehicles you’ll see on the streets of Beirut at the moment!

Lend me your Range Rover


And let me do drives like this one. So cool.

Last month’s Nigeria trip


All the work done in Nigeria is paying off – the last two years’ of travel were worth it.

This last trip was utterly exhausting on the way home. The usual one hour or so journey from hotel to airport took just over three and a quarter hours – terrifying traffic, rain, awful roads. I was convinced we’d have an accident and I’d find myself stuck in a dangerous area. My imagination began to run a bit wild.

We made it to the airport though. Just before immigration there was a power cut, which left the terminal in semi-darkness. AC was working, barely, in the lounge, which was a relief. The walk to the gate was beginning to get frightening – pitch darkness, with water dripping from the ceiling. If I hadn’t walked the route before, I’d have been completely lost.

The only light was the glow of the PC monitor at the Emirates gate. On a positive note, due to the darkness I managed to walk past the security ‘pat down’ where G4S employees ask you if you have a ‘gift’ or ‘souvenir’ for them.

I have never been so pleased to see an Emirates employee.

There were some other interesting moments on this trip.


My driver from airport to hotel ran a red light and armed police stopped us. They have Chinese made AK47s with a ‘wood look’ plastic stock. Odd choice for police work. After lots of shouting, driving around the corner, more shouting and then a slow drive towards, I was told, the police station, I told my driver he had to sort things out – I was not going to spend the afternoon in a police station. My hotel was around the corner.

Things were ‘sorted out’ for $18, much below the usual price ‘if there’s a white man’, which would have been around $50, I was told.

The police car was right to stop him. I couldn’t help notice that the police pick up had no rear lights and was half smashed to pieces.


I can imagine this guy giving great customer support. A character, I am sure.


Far from the gentler roads of Florida.



Full page birthday wishes.


I love these old Range Rovers, still working as tow trucks.


Traffic was so bad on the way to one customer we got out of the car and walked. It was a bit scary when I fell behind a bit, not being used to walking through so many cars and people.


Wherever we’re waiting at customers’ premises, there’s usually some Christian literature. Not the sort of healings I used to read about at Church as a child. I don’t quote know what ‘cancelling with the blood of Jesus’ means. To the glory of God, the nail was defecated out though. Thanks goodness for that.


Sly shot of the Irish Embassy’s G-Wagen.


Prime beachside property, apparently left empty for years. Lagos confuses me when it comes to property. Most partners seem to have their offices in converted residential accommodation, as do several banks I usually visit.


A great advert for Guiness. Caption competition? ‘The morning after’?


Traffic on the way to the airport.


Another classic Land Rover, with no functioning lights and one too many passengers.



Life expectancy of a man delivering leaflets in the traffic, on roller-skates? Similar to that of WW1 fighter pilots, I imagine.


For no apparent reason, this man was attracting attention by wiggling his bottom and wearing a skirt. It made me want to buy some tiles immediately.


Vanity licence plate?


The Camry drove through water I’d have been nervous taking the Patrol through.


This appears to be a cattle truck, transporting lots of men.


Crossing the bridge. There’s always room for one more.


The sky bridge to the plane.


Finally! Light and Emirates staff!


And back to this.

Zara’s first Christmas concert


Zara is now going to Blossom Nursery three days a week now that Mrs Saul has started work part time.

At my nursery we played with stickle brick and fell off the concrete ‘steam engine’ onto the tarmac.

Blossom has a huge soft play area, full care for babies, weird robotic sleeping pods, drumming lessons and French and Arabic. I’m amazed.

Most of the staff are Filipinas and seem genuinely to adore the kids.

Zara loves it and we have had, so far, no problems dropping her off.

Today there was a Christmas concert. This consisted of the staff dressing up and singing various non-religiously specific ‘holiday’ songs, although one in Spanish actually had the words ‘feliz navidad’, the only specific mention of Christmas!

Most of the babies and toddlers sat there looking baffled or crying, but Zara seemed to join in quite happily. She’s at the front, the last one in a red dress.

xmax concert.jpg

View from the top


On Friday I caught up with an old friend from Sun Microsystems days, Maciek. He was in town from work and extended his stay to include the weekend.

It’s always fun to hear the reactions from someone on their first trip to Dubai. Maciek made the error of trying to get around on the bus.

Here’s a great pic he took of our area from the viewing point on the Burj Khalifa. You can see a road going up vertically in the middle of the picture. Our building is the second on the left after the road starts.

view from burj maciek.jpg