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'!

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Exam Anxiety
This past week was nice. I got to sit in a Windows Server 2003 class all week and get "taught to". The last class that I got to sit in as a student was for Windows NT 4. Needless to say, it was a long time ago. The instructor was quite good, and I later learned he had only been teaching for about a year. That made his delivery skills seem even more impressive.

Now that I have the class down, I need to rush to self study and get prepared to take the next exam towards my MCSE. It seems most people fail the 70-290 exam at least once, so I am not looking forward to it. I have a recent copy of the Testking questions for the exam, which tend to be pretty accurate in telling you whats on the test. And this test is a bastard! Some of these questions are way out in left field. I know that if I ran out and took the exam right now, I would fail it. So I am taking this next week to study on breaks, lunches, evenings, etc. Then I will plan to take the test in about two weeks from now. I am not looking forward to it.

Night and Day
After a long week of Windows Server 2003, I am going to teach a Linux+ class to a handful of people. What a change, eh? It's been a while since I taught Linux, so it will be a nice change in pace. I have 4 students for the class (the most ever for this course). I was a bit dissapointed when I got my instructor book. My employer is too cheap to purchase me an instructor manual, so they downloaded a PDF and printed it out. The problem is that "EVALUATION ONLY" is printed over top the text on every single page. I'm sure my employer doesn't mind, because they don't have to teach a class with it.

The setup for the class calls for "RedHat 7.0", which I REFUSE to install. First of all, RedHat is a big piece of shit. It's installation is kludgey and error prone. They spread a large collection of worthless packages over at least 3 discs (all of which are required for an installation). At this point, they are losing the war on the desktop market. Probably because their CEO came out and snubbed the user community by stating that their entire focus would be placed upon Enterprise users. Good luck with that, retards. So for the class I decided to use SuSe Linux. It's becoming the most popular distro' of Linux, and Netware recently adopted it as "the desktop OS" for the Novell Netware platform.

Problem is that you can't download the enterprise stuff for free. You CAN download a Personal Editiion which is only a single CD, and contains nearly everything you will ever need. Some of the more traditional linux tools aren't there, like "locate" for example. And I will have to go through my instructor manual this weekend and find out what packages I need to add to suport labs. I also ran myself into a corner late Friday afternoon trying to image the class. SuSe uses the "reiserfs" file system by default, which imaging software like Ghost does not support. After setting up a nice dual boot box, I realised, it was worthless. Rather than start over with my master PC, I just wiped the drive. I asked the setup guys to give me "Windows XP", and went on home. I figure our first lab can be "installing Linux". This will give the students a nice hands on lab, and give me a weekend without having to screw with classroom setups. *wink*

Speaking of which, my SuSe install that I started downstairs should be about ready for a trial! See you later, gang.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Yuppie White Bitches
I hate people. More specifically I hate idiot yuppie white bitches. I am hanging out in a waiting area waiting to hear news on my wifes knees surgery. I spent a good hour or so hiding in a corner in silence unbothered, which was really nice. I was able to get quite a bit of reading/studying done. And then this mother/father/daughter team of annoying upper class white folks show up and surround me. They all sat in seperate seats around me and strike up a conversation. A loud one. I try to ignore them, and stay focused. Meanwhile they discuss whether or not they should go for a cappuccino (please go!) and re-explain the news to each other after watching it on TV.

Eventually the dad leaves off for surgery and I think, "thank fucking God, they'll leave now". But no, they stayed to annoy me another half an hour. Eventually they left in search of a cappuccino and left a book bag to hold their seat. Great. They'll be back, and hey will want to sit here.

While they were gone, a guy came along and wanted the seat so that he could be in view of the TV in the waiting area. He turns to me pointing to the bag and asks, "do you mind if I sit here?". "Oh no", I reply, "you can just put that on the floor".

About 20 minutes later, the mother and daughter team returns, finding their belongings on the floor. They give the man a dirty look, scoop up the bag, and return to their original positions in the area. Can nothing deter them from bothering me?

Here's an idea, I will drown them out of my head with my music! I reached into my bag and threw on my headphones. I don't even want to listen to music. But once I put on the headphones, they shut up! It's as if they were intent on driving me nuts, and having failed, they decided to shut up and read magazines.

Please God, kill all the white yuppie bitches. They will not be missed.

We have a winner!
The doctors at this place are punctual! They took my wife into surgery about ten to seven, and they have completed the surgery by 8:00AM. I just got a call in the waiting area from the doctor. He says the surgery went just fine, and she should have a quick recovery. He strongly recommends she avoids running and jumping activities, and he is prescribing her physical therapy. He also indicated she had quite a bit of knee damage for someone her age. There was substantial damage above the kneecap, and lots of cartilage pieces floating around. He also says she should expect arthritus in her knee. I'm not sure how concerned we should be hearing that. She has awful arthritus anyway. The surgery won't make that any better. But I expect that it will be worse on that knee now.

And so now I suppose we can count our blessings. She is all done, and will only need crutches for two or three days. The doctor says "she will not need to baby this knee". She will certainly be happy with that news. He also said she can shower tomorrow and put band-aids on her wounds. It sounds like she won't even be wearing a cast (which I almost assumed). Good, good news.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

One Down, One To Go
Yesterday morning, I took that Windows XP exam and absolutely aced it. My final score was 954/1000 which indicates I missed one or two questions out of 50. The exam proved extremely simple thanks to the hours of study time I put into it, and the fact that I went through assloads of 'real' exam questions several times from Testking and Without them, I'm not sure that I would have passed. Even though I read the material, studied it very intensely, and I have administered Windows XP since it debued in late 2001. Note to the wise, don't assume those 'client' exams are any less dificult than the server exams. There weren't too many freebie' questions on that test.

And so it's Thursday. One battle down, and my wifes surgery tomorrow. I'm sure she's nervous as hell about it, I know I am. I will be glad when this week is over! I suppose there's nothing to worry about really. The procedure she is having done is relatively common, and there are little risks involved. But hey, it's surgery. Anything that involves cutting you open sounds scary as hell if you ask me. We are still waiting to hear when they will want to do the surgery. Some time around 2:00PM they will be calling her and giving her a time. She was warned that the surgery could be as early as 7:00AM, which would require her to be at the hospital for prepping no later than 5:00AM. Egad. We are hoping for a later morning, early afternoon time slot. I'm not sure how happy the babysitter (my mother) will be watching our kids before dawn. But hey, you gotta get these things done early enough that the doctor can squeeze in nine holes of golf, right? :-)

The Book
I have to confess to you all, that I have done nothing with my book in several weeks now. I lost a little steam writing it, and went on a haitus. In all my studying for exams, I changed my focus a little bit. Basically, I need money. The book 'might' make me a few dollars. The exams I am taking are certain to improve my wealth. I planned on taking breaks away from studying to write a bit, but it just hasn't happened. I also planned on doing some research when I could (wardriving). But my laptop (her name is Audrey) has been a real pain in my ass. My battery sunk down to nothing (again) and refused to charge. I am happy to report that after taking the battery down to zero, and resetting everything, that my battery is again charging. It made it up to 16 percent so far, and it's still going up. Hooray.

In the meantime I may put together what I have and release it in some way, shape, or form. I don't want to keep this material from people for an extended period of time because the wireless market is changing. I feel that if I wait too long to devulge some of this great information, it may be worthless. Kind of like writing a book on "hacking the ARPANET in 2003". ;-)

And now, I will study some more. You should too. Go learn something, take some tests, and be cool like me. Right.

Current Mood: Getting nervous again.
Musical Inspiration: None, but I do have my headphones. I should play something.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Preparing For The Fourth
As we approach the 4th of July, we have been preparing for a big party. The wife and I both wanted to stay home this year for the fourth, so we decided to hold a party at our house. I think Rotary has probably been preparing for the party for at least a week now cleaning, shopping, and getting things ready.

Today I decided I had better get the lawn in shape, since we would be trying to hold the party outside. I mowed the lawn, but I could barely see what I was mowing because our lawn is dead. This hot weather has just destroyed my lawn.

After a mowing, and a break out of the sun I sat down and started examining my car. I recieved my muffler and accessories for my Bug, and this was as good a time as any to do the job. Getting the old exhaust off was suprisingly easy. None of the rusted old bolts gave me any trouble, and I had the old muffler off in less than an hour. Putting the new exhaust in was a chore. I could see pretty quickly that things were not lining up. I had bought the "cheap" muffler from the auto parts shop in California. And it was noticabley cheap. It was such poor quality, that it barely matched up to the car. I examined the situation and shared it with my wife. We agreed that the only way that muffler was going to go on, was if I drilled out a small area to make it fit. And so I spent the next few horus trying to make it work, only to find that if I could get one area to fit, another would need the same work done to it.

And so, off the muffler came. And on with the old. I really hated putting that rusted old piece of shit BACK on the car. Especially knowing I would have to go buy another muffler now of better quality, and do this job all over again. Grrrr.

Battles Ahead
As we near the holiday, we also near my wifes knee surgery. Rob came over last night and introduced us to his new girlfriend, and he also showed us his knee scars. I was pretty shocked. With the surgery they are doing, it is supposed to leave very small scars. Rob looks like his knee was reassembled by Dr. Frankenstein. I'm sure it just made Rotary even more nervous about her surgery Friday. At any rate, Robs girlfriend, Fran, seemed really nice. She played with my kids, and pet me dogs, and seemed really happy doing so. I can see that Rob enjoys her company, and hopefully we can all hang out again sometime soon. Rob had to rush her home and put her to bed, so she could fly to New York at 5:00AM.

On an unrelated note, I am scheduled to take my Windows XP exam (70-270) on Wednesday morning. I think I am probably aptly prepared to take this exam, but I continue to study anyway. The fact that this will be the easiest exam I take for my MCSE certification makes me nervous. If I fail it, I will no doubt look like a moron.

And now, I think I will go crash. I'm beat. One more thing though. Do you remember Kirk Cameron from the show Growing Pains? Well, he wants to save your soul.

Rob sent me some strange web page about "the baby Jesus" and I saw that rotating banner advertisement at the bottom. That's pretty damn funny. "Hi kids, it's me ... TV's Kirk Cameron ... you and your loved ones will spend eternity in hell!".

Current Mood: Tired
Musical Inspiration: Who Will Save Your Soul - Jewel (kidding of course)