Saturday, July 24, 2004

Learn Me Something
Man, that was a long week. It should have been fun and easy teaching a course like Linux+, but it was stressful. The materials were horrible, and the students didn't really seem to be enjoying the class much. For one, the materials were based on an ancient version of RedHat, and I used SuSe. This seemed to cause me much more grief than I had imagined and it resulted in a couple of course evaluations with comments like "I wish he had just used RedHat".

I should have known I was in for a long week when partway through the SuSe installations all of the students came up with "bad packages". The two packages which were 'bad' on the CD were zsh, and udev. Z-shell was not really needed, and so that didn't bother me. But udev would cause some problems. I know that certain pieces of it drive the dhclient components (for grabbing addresses in the DHCP process). Naturally, all of the network related services were not starting. No problem right? We can finish the install and install the packages after the first boot. Although I would later learn that udev also drives keyboard layouts. So when students were trying to enter their names at the end of the install, they couldn't. And when they tried to type out forward slashes, they got a pound sign.

About an hour later we were up and running, but that was only Monday. I knew it was going to be one of those weeks.

The bottom line, SuSe did not really fit the materials all that well. Namely there are way too many references to the now defunct "linuxconf". The materials were so unentertaining that the only time I could keep my students awake was when I de-railed from the course materials. We added such projects as "let's find games in rpm and install them", or "let's recompile the kernel". Next time I am scheduled to teach, I am requesting courseware that is either new ... or 'better' to teach from.

Next week I am sitting in a 2277 course. It's a Microsoft Windows 2003 admin class for "networking components". I looked through the courseware and it looks pretty brainless. I am all ready in expert in any kind of generic networking materials they throw at me. So I will only need to brush up on Microsoft's anti-neutral additions, and all the nifty burried layers of the various MMC plug-ins. Yay! I plan on taking my 70-290 exam the week after next. If things go well I will rush to take the 70-291 the same week. That would leave me with two extremely dificult exams to pass.

In the meantime I am really tired of reading exam questions. I am burnt out. I sit and stare into the depths of my lappy late every night struggling to stay focused on what I am reading. But this shit bores me.

Tomorrow is the annual "kids birthday party" at my wifes grandparents house. It will be a nice break away from 'the screen'!

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