due to growing 'pressure' associated with working in an enterprise, I started using OSX a while back. Figured I would be pushed into using either Windows or OSX at some point and therefore decided to jump before being pushed and opted for OSX as it is more similar to what I am familiar with. No matter how much I try, Windows constantly frustrates me. I think this is mainly because of their emphasis on hiding the nitty gritty details from the average user - details I actually like. OSX does similar, but it is closer to what I'm familiar with, so I can usually dig down enough to find what I want. Once we had the mac speech server, I decided it was time to jump.
Work wise, my situation is a little difficult. I'm located in a small rural city about half way between Sydney and Brisbane. There isn't much local work for programmers and despite the improvements in telecommunications, good developer jobs which allow you to work remotely are scarce unless you have a skill which is really in demand. I've been offered a few good well paying jobs, but they all want you to move to a major city. The thought of hours of commuting on public transport each day leaves me very unimpressed. The living costs in larger cities is also something which doesn't enthuse me. I like the fact it takes me 10 minutes to get to work, can walk almost everywhere, have a nice house with a good yard and visiting friends doesn't require so much planning and effort (though I spent some time in New York about 15 years ago and absolutely loved it - could almost be tempted).
In recent years, my employer has moved away from development and gone for a more outsourced model. They wanted all the developers to transfer across to doing service and contract management - something which bores me silly and makes me want to chew off my arms. However about 3 years ago, there was a decision to setup an IT Security team. I applied for the manager's position and was lucky enough to get it. So my focus has changed from software development to IT Security. Like all jobs, it has some pretty dull components - policy, procedures, risk management etc. However, it also has some really interesting parts - penetration testing, evaluation of software for security weaknesses, running security education and awareness programs for users, developers, executives etc. Above all, it has lots of scope to find what your really interested in. The only disturbing part is learning exactly how bad the situation is. Quite honestly, it is in a terrible state and I'm actually quite amazed more serious security incidents haven't yet occured. The good thing is that when you move to an area which is so immature, the scope for improvement is quite incredible.
Much of my programming is now done in my free time. As usual, I've got too many projects on the go at once and with two teenage kids, time seems to just vanish. Lately I've been developing my web app development skills and learning Clojure and ClojureScript, which I'm enjoying a lot. I'm currently focusing on some tools relating to security - building my toolbox to give me that little edge and there is nothing like scratching your own itch.
I'm constantly amazed at how things have improved over the last 18 years. To think we have come from a time where you needed hardware speech synthesis to one where we have quite a choice of software solutions, from a time where getting access to material in electronic formats was a constant challenge to one where electronic formats is almost the default. This isn't to say there isn't a lot of room for improvement, but wow, what a difference a few years has made. The biggest challenge I face these days is time and getting the work life balance right. Damn first world problems!
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