Wanted: Old hardware

Do you have an old computer lying around? Then I might have some good news for you! I’m looking to get my hands on some old components, specifically I’m after hard drives, DDR3 RAM, WiFi cards and graphics/video cards. I also wouldn’t say no to a sound card.

If you have a complete system lying around collecting dust and live in the Manawatu, contact us via one of the methods on our contact us page and we will see about coming and disposing of it for you. We may also be able to help if you have a widescreen LCD monitor that you no longer use (No CRT’s) but please talk to us first as monitors carry a cost to dispose of properly, so if we can’t re-purpose or repair it, then it will be of no use to us. This also applies to laptops.

Weeks 2 and 3: Revenge of the Classes

Another two weeks completed! Some of these will be a bit light on details, and I didn’t get them written up on the day as my cat went missing on Monday.

Week Two

Monday

Monday did not start of well as there were no car parks at campus when I got there so I had to park down the road at a friends house and make the 5 minute walk to class, this meant that I didn’t get there as early as I hoped so wasn’t able to go and ask the lecturer to let me into the hardware lab early like I had planned. I also still didn’t have access to all my papers on Moodle, so I fired off an email to one of the lecturers before I left for class to hopefully get it sorted.

Once in class I got to work on my virtual machines and discovered an issue to the Windows 10 product key I had gotten from Dreamspark, so I fired off another email to another lecturer to see if I can get that resolved. Then I continued with setting up my virtual server as a domain controller and got that mostly ready, with the remainder to be completed later in the week.

Then my cat went missing. Nearly 3 weeks later and he still hasn’t been found. Posts have been made to several Facebook groups and pages and fliers have been handed to most of the vets around town and several businesses.

Tuesday

Went to class Tuesday afternoon. Left my second class early because I couldn’t really concentrate due to my cat going missing, and there wasn’t anything happening anyway, so I didn’t get behind.

Wednesday and Thursday

Nothing of note happened on these two days. I spent some time making a flier for my missing cat and searching the neighborhood looking for him.

Friday

Advanced database concepts was much more productive this week, as I had all my Moodle access sorted out and was able to actually spend the entire lesson working. Finished the lesson slightly behind as I was still catching up from the first week.

Week Three

Not much happened this week. I got caught up in Advanced databases and got my home office finally set up, So I now have a proper machine to use as my dev/work machine, complete with dual monitors.

Week 1: (Compute) Sticking it to the man

So week one is now done and dusted. Being the first week, there wasn’t much of note happening in class. All four classes spent about twenty to thirty minutes introducing the paper, detailing the content that will be covered and going over what our assessments for the semester will be.

Monday

Monday morning I had System Administration. Most of this was spent getting to know the new setup down in the hardware lab. Over the holidays the PC’s were upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and a new domain was setup for them, which has an actual external domain tied to it now rather than just an internal one and I’m looking forward to the possibilities that it enables.

As I already have Windows 10 on several PC’s at home I was already familiar with it so was able to instead spend fifteen or so minutes personalizing my settings and getting it looking the way I like. Once that was done, it was time to start getting my virtual machines’s setup. Windows Server 2012 for the server and Windows 10 for the client. I only got part way through the install for the server before I had to leave as it was taking a very long time for some reason, and I ended up starting it from scratch (but we will get to that later).

Tuesday

Tuesday was a double whammy, with two classes scheduled in the afternoon. First up was Professional Practice, one of two compulsory papers this year, with the second one being the Industry Project in semester two. The purpose of this paper is to help prepare us for entering the workforce at the end on the degree and to get us ready for the Industry Project that we undertake in semester two, which we are required to source as part of this paper.

In addition to the customary paper introduction we also got introduced to a new attendance tracking app that our lecturers will have access to, making it easier see who is showing up to classes and who isn’t. After a twenty minute or so outline of the paper, we wasted no time and got straight into the content for the day. First up for this paper is learning how to write a Curriculum Vitae (Resume) and cover letter when applying for jobs.

This is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while (I think I even mentioned in a past post or two that I intended to update my CV!) and after roughly six years of not making any changes to my CV, I have now updated it and cut a bunch of content that is almost certainly not relevant. Next week in class we will be split into small groups to critique each others CV’s and provide (hopefully) helpful suggestions for improving them.

We finished early so after a nice thirty minute break it was back to the hardware lab for my second class of the day, Network Services. Being that this was also in the hardware lab I was able to skip over the intro to the lab and get straight to setting up more virtual machines. Remember early when I said I had to start from scratch? That’s because I discovered when I got home on Monday that I hadn’t copied all the files i needed for my virtual machine to my flash drive. So with that screw up, I had to start all over again.

So I did. I created a new virtual machine for Network Services, this one is also a server running Windows Server 2012, so after it was installed and an administrator account was created, I shut it down and cloned it to create a new machine for Systems Administration. After that was down I set about transferring both of my two new virtual servers to my flash drive and by the time that was done it was again time to head out for the day.

Wednesday

My first day off since starting back at school this year! Not that it counts much as I only had two hours of class on Monday morning and four hours on Tuesday afternoon. Still, I had planned a day of watching TV in between taking care of some housework and chores. All of that went out the window when I popped in to see if my new toy had arrived while out and about and was told it hadn’t arrived but to stick around as the courier was due in any minute.

Sure enough, within five minutes the courier arrived and one of the staff started checking the packages that had been dropped off. After some issues with the EFTPOS machine, which were suitably solved by turning it off and back on again (is there anything that trick can’t fix? I’ve solved problems with my car by disconnecting the battery for five minutes), I got payment all squared again and was off home with my shiny new Intel Compute Stick (Is the pun in the title funny now?).

Setting it up was a breeze, although my TV doesn’t allow me to have it plugged in directly, so thanks Intel for the included HDMI extension cable. Though I would prefer it to be a couple of centimeters longer, but I digress. With the stick plugged into the TV and the power supply connected, I plugged in the dongle for the wireless keyboard and mouse that I bought at Christmas in anticipation to this purchase, though at the time I got them I hadn’t planned to get a Compute Stick as I was still in the process of planning things out.

Then i plugged in the external hard drive we use for storing our media files and went through the few short setup steps. I opted not to use a Microsoft account with the stick as I don’t see any benefit when the sticks purpose if to sit behind the TV and play media files. With setup done, I proceeded to remove any pre-installed apps that I didn’t need, and was impressed by how few there were, aside from Intel drivers and utilities, there was just a handfull of Windows 10 apps that come pre-installed by default.

I’ll post more about how it is preforming once I can given it a proper stress testing, but so far it it mostly coping well, playing 720p and 1080p movies with ease and even streaming from Youtube in 1080p was smooth once I let it buffer a little bit to account for New Zealand’s crappy internet. There is one issue with the external hard drive that I need to sort out but that might take a bit of work to pin down exactly what is causing the issue.

Thursday

Another day, another day at home. In between doing house work and dicking around on the internet, I had a play around with the Compute Stick. Tweaked a few settings to automate a few things like virus scanning and disk cleanup. Aside from that I spent some time looking into a content management system called AsgardCMS that I am looking at as one of several options to replace WordPress. Thursday evening I found a hard drive that i thought I had lost so will probably spend some time this weekend reinstalling my server

Friday

My final class for the week was Advanced Database Concepts and this should be a relatively easy one. Once my Moodle access is sorted (As I’m typing this some of my papers have started showing up, and I’ve spoken to one of my lecturers and been informed that a script is sue to run tonight or tomorrow that will give me access to the rest.). Due to not having access to any of my papers on Moodle I didn’t get any work done before I had to leave for the day. First week is now over and I have survived. Will probably have a busy weekend ahead as I do a bit of catch up work that I missed due to not having access to Moodle all week.

Closing thoughts

Oh, and just to make you all hate me just a little bit, I have discovered that I will have a NINE day weekend at Easter. With no classes on the Wednesday and Thursday before and after, and with Easter Friday and Easter Monday being public holidays, and Easter Tuesday being a holiday at my school all making an extra long weekend.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll be slacking off, as by that point I should be quite busy with Assignments and other school work. I’ll also probably be in the middle of sourcing my industry project for next semester as well. I have a couple of ideas and will start to follow up on them next week once I have gotten a few things sorted out at home.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the format of the post! Do you like the way I have things broken down by day, or would you rather I break it down by class? Or something else entirely? Should I have stuff like what happened on my days off, or should they have their own posts? And fun fact, I wrote this over several days, not wanting to leave the whole thing until the end of the week. I think that made it easier to get my thoughts down.