Q: You say you write programs, what language(s) do you prefer?
A: I have written in many languages over the years, but my current preferences tend to either be shell scripting, or PHP for new projects.
Q: Why a boat?
A1: Why not?
A2: Seriously, why not?
A3: Three main reasons:
- Cost (capital) – getting on the property ladder at present is a bad idea. Noone knows where prices will be even 2 months down the line, let alone in a few years when you want to sell your house on. Negative equity is a very real possibility in this situation.
- Cost (living) – Council tax, water rates, electricity and other costs of living are going up year on year. Some of these can’t be avoided; but many of them can. Currently, if you live on a boat and are classed as a ‘constant cruiser’ you pay no council tax as you are generally in a specific area for less than 14 days. Water is included as part of your yearly license fee and sewage is paid for as needed if you have a tank, otherwise you use a cassette toilet and empty it for free. Electricity is normally provided from batteries on board, recharged from your engine as you travel. The forward thinking among you will have already considered that Solar and other renewables could be harnessed to reduce the amount of power needed from the engine, that perhaps propulsion might be made more efficient and that there are probably less conventional approaches to waste management that may improve the time between pump-outs.
- Freedom – While on a boat you still need to live according to the law of the land, being able to move your home elsewhere can be a very liberating feeling. If you don’t get on with your neighbours? Simply cast off and move. Don’t like living in the UK any more? There is a whole continent of waterways just over 20 miles from our coast. Living in a bricks a mortar house doesn’t give you this freedom. It is unlikely you could sell your house at the drop of a hat and they aren’t exactly portable.
Q: Okay, I get why a boat, but wont it make working for a technology company impossible?
A: Yes there will be challenges, especially for someone that uses a lot of technology on a daily basis, but none of these are insurmountable. Internet can be provided via WiFi, 3G, 4G (when and where available) and Satellite. All of these have tradeoffs, but if you know what you are doing, you can use all these together to provide the best solution to your problem. If I have server on the net that is willing to act as a proxy and VPN endpoint for me, then I can round-robin load balance over whatever links are available at the time and always have a way to get out to the net, even if it may not be the fastest option. Better still, with services like Amazon EC2 and the Rackspace cloud, I can pay only when I need this capability.
Q: Do you have a girlfriend?
A: Not at present…
Q: Do you take contract work or do we need to go through the company you are currently working for?
A: Yes, but only if it fits two criteria: it is not something that is a core business interest of the company and I will not do something illegal or that may bring my present employer into disrepute. It the work fits these requirements and it is something that I find interesting and have the time for, then I will certainly consider it – especially if it furthers my own goals.
Q: Are you the Mike Preston that…
A: …with the Baltimore Sun? No
…an actor? No
…a councillor? No
…the webdesigner at mikepreston.co.uk? No
Q: What is your political viewpoint?
A: Honestly, not many labels fit me well… moderate anarchist if you really want a label. Put simply, I think that we should be able to live our lives free from government interference except where legislation (and tax) is needed for the greater good. This includes trying to protect the public from themselves, where the decisions do not affect the wider population, through law. People should be offered basic food, basic accommodation and basic clothing for free as a safety net, but they should not be given money for being out of work. Yes, I know this is a hard position to argue from, especially when it comes down to deciding what affects the wider population and what doesn’t.
- Freedom from gov interference where possible
- Safety net to stop people falling too far
- Removal of many of the poorly thought out laws and schemes that don’t work, are a drain on the country and just make life so complex.
- National Security – we should be trying to reduce fuel and food imports where possible to remove the big lever the rest of the world has into our economy. We should be looking to the future and pushing more people into research and funding it.
– Feb 2 2011