Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a call for more hours in a day

I think we need to lobby mother nature to add more hours into each day.

I haven't posted in a while for various reasons, most of which is because I have been so busy at work.

One of the downsides to being the IT Manager (I call myself that....I'm actually the only IT guy here) of the real estate agency I work for is that I have to do everything - given the general lack of computing skills in this office. That includes anything from desktop publishing to brochure design to telephony solutions to building a website to system administration (and *all* the stuff in between).

Lately, I have been busily designing and implementing a new website - very hectic indeed! Also, I've been busily researching replacement telephony solutions for our aging and costly proprietary one - Asterisk is looking really good! On top of that, managing 6 servers with critical applications (PDC, Intranet, DB's, etc) and over 20 desktops and laptops makes life overly busy - especially when you consider the extra maintenance that dear old Microsoft products require.

Thankfully most of the servers are Unix/Linux (save the PDC) making that side of things very easy and automated - they even SMS me if something goes wrong. =D

But yeah, long story short - I've been very busy the last few months. Unfortunately, this isn't going to let up any time soon. My next big project is to completely re-design the company Intranet. Currently, most of our business data (CRM) is hosted on the other side of Australia - needless to say, we've had huge issues with it. So it is my job to build a real estate specific CRM application that does everthing we need - from property management to contract processing to client management. Its a very large job indeed - especially for one developer to do. I've been given a solid year to work on it - but considering all the other jobs I still need to do, I think its going to practically take longer. BUT - I'm going to enjoy doing it. I love programming. I love solving logical puzzles and creating awesome software.

You know, it would be really cool to create this project in the open (FOSS) and create a server + client-side KDE4 interface to the real estate CRM! It would fill a hole in the FOSS landscape (namely, no real estate specific management tools - openrealty isn't CRM, its just for displaying listings). That would give management another really nice reason to start using Linux on our desktops (althought with KDE4 on Windows.... =P).

Anyway, what about KDE's websites? Well, I've been tinkering and playing with a few ideas - I have a Drupal installation with a nice KDE4 theme running here at work on a research server. But I haven't had time to really get deep into the general clean-up of all the sites. I plan on changing this soon. I have four weeks of holidays just around the corner (15th Dec), and while I will be travelling up the east coast of Australia with my very beautiful wife, I will find some time to get some work done on KDE's websites too. More meetings, more action! =)

Congrats to all the fellows working on KDE 4.2 - I'm suitibly impressed! You're doing a brilliant job - keep up the awesome work!


  1. Man, the only IT guy at the biggest real estate company in Australia? That's a disgrace. I live in Australia and am looking for a summer job. I would be happy to help you so you can get back to KDE 4.2 :).
    Does your company have any IT openings? Can't have you doing everything.

  2. xSacha:

    We're not the biggest in Australia! =) But we are in the top 10% of Australasia (ie, sell lots and lots).

    There *was* an IT position up for grabs - but with the managers trying to cut costs they decided that I could cope. I am getting by at the moment - but I don't feel like I'm moving forward. I'll see how I'm going by February 09.

    You would be mightily surprised at how many real estate agents don't have any IT staff at all! It is an utter disgrace - agreed.

    I have to say though, I enjoy that they put their trust in much of my recommendations. It means I can really innovate, and I love that. We don't buy copies of MS Office anymore, we use OpenOffice. We use Gimp for image processing, Ubuntu/CentOS/FreeBSD for servers, I use KDE 4.1.3 on my work desktop and I couldn't go without Kontact! Its great in that regard.

  3. More hours a day? no problem:


  4. Good to hear that somebody is still thinking about the KDE website. After the IRC meeting the mailinglist wasn't very active. So I'm very happy to hear that you are still working on it. A new website (design, structure and functionality) would be really great!
    Best wishes to the other side of the world