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The man at the computer job was very nice and helpful, but he does big installations, the sort that are measured in 'small units' (add three zeros to the end!). He asked me if I know "Serveur"...

I don't know if he meant Windows Server 2003, or if he meant some version of Linux, or perhaps some high-end version of NT is kicking around? Goodness, maybe he meant OS/2? The Crédit Mutuel cash machines run OS/2, I saw one reboot...

Point is, I don't know "serveur" and there is no point even trying to blag it. While I understand the concepts of network administration and could probably pick it up quite quickly, he could ask me to demonstrate "recalibrate the reticulating splines and toss the lot to the Cisco box" and suddenly I'd be like "ooooh craaaap!".

So that's a big no. It also isn't a help that my knowledge is out of date. I'm running XP and programming in Visual Basic 5 on a 450MHz 128Mb computer. The fact is, however, that I don't have loads of cash. Some rather obnoxious pricks (excuse my language) have been like "what are you messing with VB5 for? you really ought to be using <blah> and supporting Vista instead of saying 'it may work'". Well, my first comment is the most obvious - hands up if you LIKE Vista. My geeky friends loathe it. My second comment is that all of this stuff is begged, borrowed, rescued from skips, and so on. Don't you think I'd love to fill a 400Gb harddisc with DivX'd recordings of Ghost Whisperer (er, and anything else with JLH in!) while having a hyperthreaded processor that doesn't suffer Tourette's when I ask it to record stuff off the telly and load a web page? Don't you think I'd love to have broadband here at home so I can spend my evenings looking for the best donut recipes? Don't you think I'd love one of those little Asus EEEEEEE-PCs so I can even browse my emails while out in town? Take a burger at a McDonald's and update this b.log while I'm there!

Of course! Throw into that a decent widescreen TV instead of a thirty-year-old 14" with only a single UHF input and twiddle-dial tuning (remember those?).

The problem is the pricetag. I've not won the lottery. I'm not in a 40K/year job. So sorry, you are all going to have to make do with VB5 programs written on a machine that says it was built for Windows 98...

As for job prospects, there is a course run by AFPA (or something like that?). I will board in a city for a term equalling around ten months, or a thousand-odd hours of learning time. At the end, I will be Microsoft certified, Cisco certified, and something else I have forgotten. From a way-of-life geek to a career geek. Is that a promotion?
The problem? This course is available in Angers. However I live a couple of miles over the border so I know they'll want to send me someplace like Brest. For our mobility, they might as well be sending me to Marseille or Lyon. Sorry, but I don't like the idea of leaving mom alone here during the long winter nights. It is very dark, a billion miles away from anywhere, and we don't have much in the way of heating. It isn't unbearable, actually I quite like the dark. I'm totally a night person. Sometimes when I lived in Bridgwater (circa 1993) I used to walk around town at 3am. It was quiet. Peaceful. I sometimes go for a walk up our lane at night, with only the moonlight as an aid (but, on a good moony night I once sat out and read a manga, so it can be quite bright).
Unfortunately mom grow up in a more citified environment, and I think this amount of darkness and isolation creeps her out.

So if it comes down to it, the question is... Will I choose a respectable course with good final qualifications (the final examinations are taken in English, as nerdy stuff is predominately in English!) which could open the door to a well paid career? Or will I choose to stay with mom?
For me, it's obvious. And it's a no-brainer.


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