Category: Bermuda

Leaving Bermuda for good!

If you search inside an English dictionary the sentence “leaving for good” you will find the following explanation: “leaving for good means leave a place permanently, with no intention to return”. This is exactly what is going to happen to me and my wife, we are leaving Bermuda for good. It has been 4 years and a half (beginning of 2008) but now it is time to move to a new adventure.

Below I decided to post a brief history of why we moved to Bermuda, what it means live in Bermuda and why we are leaving.

Why did we move to Bermuda?

In 2008 I was working in Switzerland for a private bank and I decided with my wife to challenge our life. We were 28 years old and we were sick of living in a country (Italy) where the only way to have a decent career is to “know somebody …”, in the same time we were exhausted by the “frontaliere” (Italian term used to classify an Italian worker that cross the border with another country every day and comes back home in the evening) life we were having by crossing the border of Switzerland every morning at 7 a.m. and coming back home in the evening at 8 p.m.

I found an interesting offer in Bermuda for a public re-insurance company (Nasdaq company) and I applied for the position of CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Within a few weeks our life has completely changed. I got my job and I had to leave Italy in few weeks and my wife was able to reach me only after 6 months, due to the absolutely insane restrictions that Bermuda immigration department applies to work permit holders.

If somebody asks me now, why did I move to Bermuda? I would say because I was looking for something different, something new, something more challenging. Did I find it? Absolutely yes, even if I am still looking for new challenges and new adventures, I absolutely “realized” what I was looking for when I moved to Bermuda. And to answer to the classic question: “Would you do it again?”, I would say: “Yes I would but I would change some things in a different way”.

What is good about living in Bermuda?

caribbean-islands-snorkelingWell, I can’t say that the life in Bermuda was a bad experience.

  • First of all you save money, and this is probably the best thing you can do when you are married and your plan is to build a family. In Bermuda salaries are absolutely higher than any other place in the world, tax rate is almost 0% (there are taxes but they were all paid by the employer) and the criminality was very low.
  • The weather, it is absolutely nice especially from April to November/December you can easily have some spectacular sunny days and going in the office is really hard!
    In the summertime the humidity can reach insane levels and between July and September you live with the A/C on all day (humidity can reach 90%). The average temperature is 20 C in the spring, 25 C in the summer and 15 C in the winter.
    Of course you are in the Caribbean, more or less, so you can expect: Storms, Hurricanes, Heavy rain and more …
  • Meet people from all over the world. Even if Bermuda is a small island, we got the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. US, Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, you name it … This has been a fantastic experience, I made a lot of friends and even if I won’t see them anymore (maybe) I learned that the sex, the color of the skin and/or the nationality doesn’t really matter; you can find good and bad people coming from the same town. Winking smile

What is bad about living in Bermuda?

rantWow, do you really want me to open this Pandora Box? Seriously?

  • Bureaucracy simply too long. Bermuda is a small island, there is an average of 60,000 people and 4/5,000 expats some says 10,000. The amount of public employees, considered the size of the island, is big and every single public service has problems. It takes long to get paperwork’s and permits and as soon as there is a little issue it will just take more time. They are starting some telematics automation but it is still not enough, especially from a geek point of view.
  • Food quality is something that you have to deal with on a small island in the ocean, especially if you compare with the high price. One Apple may cost you around 1.5$,the water is very expensive, one bottle of sparkly water costs you almost 2.5$ … The meat and the fish are frozen and expensive too, because every single piece of food, or most of them must be imported by sea in the island. 
  • Cultural difference, living on a small Island is different than living in a big a city and local culture and approach to socialization and communication is very different; for example, Bermuda requires a special ceremony composed by “Good morning, how are you?” that needs to be included before any request or question to a local. It is not bad but if you don’t know the local culture you may risk to be misunderstood.
  • Infrastructure difference. If you come from a big city you may find fundamental to have high speed internet, cable TV, wireless everywhere and many other services. I had 3G and DSL in Bermuda but it was very expensive and not so high speed as I would like to have. Plus with bad weather conditions you may struggle in receiving good signals.

Why Netherlands?

We have been in the Netherlands few times and visited the entire country, we love the flat landscape because is simple and well organized, Dutch are  friendly people and even if you speak only English you can easily communicate with everybody. The social system is expensive but works pretty well, so I prefer to pay more taxes but live in a system where everything works properly. The food is not too expensive and the quality is good. Traffic with the car is more complicated but if you ride a bicycle is the perfect place for you!

It is absolutely organized, consider that we found an apartment from internet, we saw it and we liked and when we moved in it was absolutely perfect. Every single paperwork has been done from internet and we received in the new location all the documents we needed.

Below I want to share some nice shot (not mine) taken from www.flickr.com. They represent where I was and I where we are now! Enjoy. Smile  

Bermuda photos

Den Haag photos

NET Event–Migrating WinForm application

Last month (21st of July 2011) I spoke at the Bermuda NET Event “Migrating WinForm applications to WPF/Silverlight”. This has been for me the first NET Event in Bermuda but for sure it will not be the last one. We are planning to have a new event this autumn where we will touch other topics like: ALM, Parallels and more.

Thanks to Alessio Bellisomi, the web developer that works in my company, I am able to share with you some nice pictures of the event and three short movie of the event. Unfortunately, for this event, we were not super organized so I do not have with me the full video of the entire event. I promise that for the next event we will provide the entire video and maybe we will be also able to stream the content.

The audience, considering that we were in Bermuda and considering that it was end of July, was more than expected. I believe we were around a 30/40 ish attendees. The feedback has been really positive and we expect a very fast grow of this UserGroup by having more events and more speakers.

Pictures

The pictures are available through Google photos

Slides

Videos

The videos have been hosted on my Vimeo account and they can be viewed through their web site

Bermuda WinForm event, part 01 from Raffaele Garofalo on Vimeo.

Bermuda WinForm event, part 02 from Raffaele Garofalo on Vimeo.

Bermuda WinForm, part 03 from Raffaele Garofalo on Vimeo.

Thanks

Special thanks need to go to Sandra de Silva (president of the UG and owner of Nova Ltd) and to the other members of the committee. I want also to thank all the participants and I hope this autumn there will be more!

We are hiring in Bermuda, two senior Devs.

Hi guys, I am glad to let you know that my Company is hiring two devs. The Company is growing and the IT team has to grow too!

Actually I am looking for two Senior Developers that are interested in join our cool team here in Bermuda and may also consider to relocate in the future to the awesome San Francisco, in US. The first period will be in Bermuda than it will be up to you to decide to stay in Bermuda or move to SF.

If you believe you are one of them that can make the difference, just contact me through my blog and I will let you know what to do and where to send the application.

Right now we are looking for two senior developers with the following characteristics:

  • At least 5 years of experience with Windows Form and possibly good knowledge of WPF too. I am not interested in Silverlight and we don’t use it here.
  • Good knowledge of WCF, how it works and how it can be used in a SOA environment.
  • Preferred, good knowledge of WF (Windows Workflow). The version 4, not the old version 3.5. Winking smile
  • Absolutely, at least basic knowledge of what an O/RM is, NHIbernate and Entity Framework. Related topics like UnitOfWork, Repository, Transactions and so on …
  • Preferred knowledge of a Client UI composition Framework like CAB, SCSF or Prism. This is what we use here! Winking smile
  • Good knowledge of agile techniques in general, DDD, TDD and all the other fancy words we use in our job … Smile

If you believe you are one of those guys out there that can make the difference, that you are eager for knowledge and you want to work in a nice place like Bermuda is, give me a shot! Of course you will work with me … Surprised smile

PS: Just to make it clear, I am not interested in: remote consulting, remote whatever, consulting, job agencies and so on. Winking smile

Off again, health problems.

Hi everybody, as you can see I am off again.

Unfortunately this time was not for my fault, directly.

I had a surgery last week here in Bermuda web site and now I have to stay on the bed for a while, so no PC and no nothing.

I can just spend my time for studying for the new certifications I am going to prepare.

I will be back soon and I will post a lot of SQL08 and Biztalk news, just wait and stay tuned!

How to write IT Procedure for Audit.

This is an unusual post for me, today I will not talk about C#, or about Design Patterns or about SQL but about IT audit.

In the past I have worked in a couple of banks in Switzerland and as a consultant. Now I’m working as an IT Manager in a finance company in Bermuda. One of the most non valued and non considered process in the IT departments are the procedures and technical manuals.
But not for me.
In my opinion one of the most important thing in a well maintained system is to keep live and up to date the procedures and the technical manuals. In this way in case of failure, in case of modify and in case of audit, the IT department will be ready to fly!!

Unfortunately Google doesn’t give us a lot of suggestions and examples, so I want to share with you my knowledge.

What’s an IT procedure?

An IT procedure is a document, manual that explain a process or a system in a well knows format, readable also by non-IT people. The document must contains some critical information that I will classify today for you.

Please don’t create IT procedure with 10 thousand different font and colors, because it’s an official technical document and non a graphic challenge!!

Main Structure.

Starting by the name, the document must represent what you are talking for. For example, if the document represent a backup procedure, the correct name syntax should be [PIT] [number] [procedure], where PIT means Procedure Information Technology, the number is a unique GUID assigned to the document, and the name in our example should be Backup procedure.

After the cover we should add the approval section. This section must be signed to give to the document a real mean.

image

After the approval we have to add the Table of Content and to accomplish this step, if you’re using word, you can simply add a table of content object and use the Header 123456 to represent the various section of your manual.

The various sections.

Every section of the document should represent a particular information. You don’t have to create a section for every step of the procedure, that part is the process section … Let’s see what I’m talking about.

Principal section [procedure name].

In this section you should explain the process you are going to document and add some extra sub section like: objective, description, scope, priority …

Authorization and roles.

In this section you should explain who is involved in the process, which are the responsibilities and so on. Sub section are: authorization, roles (brief description), people involved in the manual.

Roles.

This is the detailed section of the previous one. For every roles present in the procedure you have to create a subsection that explain in details the role, the scope of the role and the people who take part in the role.

Process.

This section explains in details the process. I cannot make an example because for every process there different steps, but let’s try to imagine a backup procedure, the subsection could be: backup process, verify process and restore process.

Don’t forget to add a schematic flow that describe the process in all its content. Should be a diagram, a work flow or whatever you consider right.

Request forms.

If the process contains one or more forms, here is the place where you have to add a small screen shot of these forms, for every form you should create a subsection that describe the form instead.

Key contacts.

The key contacts is often the final section of an IT procedure. Here you have to add all the people involved in the document and in the process, why you should contact one of them, the exact role described previously in the document and so on …

External links.

I suggest some articles (my blog is not a bible for nobody) that can help you.

How to write an audit approach

How to write procedure to increase control

How to write a standard operating procedure (IT specific)

Compliance books (ASAP my personal one)

Hope this will be helpful for someone. And enjoy your audit!!

Bermuda relocation, fake expectations?

I want to post something about what you’re heard about Bermuda and a balance of wrong and true.

Bermuda is a bad move for your career?

Bermuda it used to be a halfway house on the road to professional oblivion for expat business types who were either tipsy or incompetent or both, but not any more. You can find very professional people in Accounting, IT and Financial area.

Everything is expensive?

Actually, also if we compare Bermuda to Europe after the Euro, Bermuda is merely expensive. A month rent for an house could be from 2000 to 20000 this is true, but with a salary of 6000 you can live good and save something, and the lowest rate salary here is 65000 USD annual.

Bermuda has racial problem?

First of all, is there any place without racial problem, come on!!
There are differences of opinion from race to race, this is true, and the black point of you is a little bit more expressed here. Nobody is disadvantaged economically and educationally or in access to complete healthcare.

Expact are third class citizens?

It could be for something, but not for your career. You can join financial companies here where all the management team is not Bermudans and also you can find good landlord that accept only expat people.
In another way you can find some places where if you aren’t Bermudans, you have to wait to be served.

Is Bermuda suitable for Gay?

Definitively I can say NO! I’m married and I’m getting in touch with a lot of local and expat people, but if I have to be honest, Gay here are not considered.
Homosexual behavior here was illegal until 10 years ago, yeah I’m saying illegal, so you can imagine how is the local culture about Gays.

What about the hurricane?

I came from Europe, Italy, and definitively we don’t have any Hurricane, Cyclone or stuff like that. Bermuda’s people for century have built houses and offices as if they were under constant cannon ball. The most hard was Fabian in 2004 and 4 people were killed, but Bertha this here has passed with a power of 1 and nothing has changed. I can say that here is more pretty safe and organized than in U.S.A. about hurricane.

Guys this is what I can say about my 4 months experience in this Island.
If want to ask me something more (I’m not an expert) contact me, maybe I can suggest you. 

My Kite-Surf equipment.

Last week I have completed my first group of lessons at the Iko course. The level are tree: Discovery, Intermediate, Independent.

When you take the first lessons about the Discovery level, you don’t need a kite because your teacher will give you everything. But when you start the intermediate level, you start with kiting; and in my opinion, because every kite is completely different, i have decided to buy my personal kite, board, and various instruments.

My 5th line kite.

This is a new entry in kite-boarding, actually you can find only kites with 4 lines, but I have bought a brand new North kite 5 lines, the Rebel 08.

image 

If you want to know all the differences from a classic 4 lines kite and my brand new Rebel 08 5th line, you can watch this interesting video: http://www.northkites.com/public/content/e139/e161/e271/e5165/content/index_ger.html?image_actual=1.

The bar is awesome:

image As you can see it’s a 5 line bar with a lot of future like Iron-Heart, a chicken-loop more resistant and easy to use. Read here all the instructions.

My safety equipment.

I didn’t buy only the kite with the bar, but also
the harnesses:

image image

This is very important, because here you attach your kite!!!

Then I take also a impact vest, very useful if you have to swim a lot and also if you have to fall down from a bug height …

image

Finally, the helmet:

image

The board

The board actually is a second hand given by an Italian friend of mine relocated in London.

image

Hurricane Bertha and Bermuda, my first experience.

As may People of you know, hurricane Bertha is coming really close to the east cost of Bermuda Island.

Today I have been to Sandy’s beach to play kite-surf, because with the hurricane that is coming, the wind is perfect dangerous to play this crazy sport.

In first I want to give you some information about Bertha. Bertha actually is a small Hurricane quoted 1, so the smallest in that category. Actually is really close to Bermuda and we can feel it by the wind that today is increased too much. Actually here the wind is around 30 knots, and tomorrow can grow a little bit.

In these link Hurricane National Center you can stay updated with all the information you need for every hurricane present in the world. The web site is updated every quarter and you can also subscribe to an RSS feed.

Another thing I want to let you know is about Bermuda and Hurricanes. Usually in the other Countries like United States, the Government activates every time a procedure of evacuation when an hurricane is coming. But you cannot do this in Bermuda. So you can stay really quite here, because the houses are built in case of an hurricane 5, and also all the Public services and Companies give you all the information and all the instruments to be safe.

Actually I cannot tell you more about it, but I will send another post in the next days to keep you updated.

For the moment I can only say to you that tomorrow I will go to play another time kite-surf, and enjoy the strong wind, otherwise I will come back in Italy with a direct free flight with my kite, using the power of Bertha. Smile

A local Bermuda Painter

During one of my tour around the City of Hamilton, Me and my wife we have found a really small and strange alley. Inside you can find any sort of strange shop.

I was really suggested about the paint made by a local painter here in Hamilton. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name but I can show you some of them, because I was able to stole some shots with my camera.

Take a look.

CIMG0141

CIMG0142

CIMG0143

Really nice, is some sort of Naïf painting but with a Bermudan touch.

I love it, maybe I will buy one and I will hang in my Office.

Some nice shots brand new.

Hi guys and all readers of my blog. I’m really with everyone of you but unfortunately in these days I was very busy and I didn’t get one minute to update my weblog.

I have receive a lot of requests about new shots from Bermuda so in this short post I will send you some updates.

Hope you will enjoy!!

Some shots from Hamilton City

CIMG0114 Front street

CIMG0120 The Parliament

 CIMG0118 One of the Churches

Some shots from my House

CIMG0095 From the patio

CIMG0124 My new Girlfriend !!

I hope you will enjoy, stay tuned I have a lot of more shots to show you!!