Week 7: Time for a break

Week Seven is finished and now it’s time to take a break, though not too much of a break as there are assessments to be completed and handed in after the holidays.

Monday – Systems Administration

A pretty relaxed start to the week with re-installation and documentation of the virtual server continuing. Still a bit of progress to be made, but that will be taken care of during the holidays. Then on Monday afternoon I received a phone call. Thursday, 10:30am. Internship Interview. First step is complete, now it’s time to crank things up a notch and nail the interview.

So Wednesday will be spent doing some prep work for Thursdays interview and trying to relaxing and not stress about it. We’ll see if I can succeed at that.

Tuesday – Professional Practice and Network Design

Time for what is my most hated of assessments, a mock interview role play assessment in front of the whole class, while being filmed and interviewed by two top local and national IT sector professionals and a recruiting specialist. We had Mason Parker from PN Personnel; Pat Debnay, IT Manager for Fujitsu NZ; and Mark Smith, the National Manager of Spark Digital.

After a short presentation from the interviewing panel, it was straight into business. I was the fifth person to step forward for my interview which was incredibly daunting, with not just the three person interview panel and the lecturer, but the whole class watching. It turns out that I managed to not fuck it up and I got an A for the assessment. Which made me feel a lot more confident going into Thursdays interview at Computercare, but more on that later.

I chose to stick around until the end and head to Network Design late, after having talked to my Network Design lecturer on Monday morning to see if I would miss anything if I did. Unfortunately, the interview panelists were not able to stick around for long as they all had places to be so I didn’t really get a chance to talk to them, although several of us were able to have a quick chat to Mark Smith.

Thursday – Internship Interview

Time for the weeks main event! With the interview taking place just a couple hundred meters from my school, I parked up in one of the campus parking lots to take advantage of the cheap parking ($1 for four hours or $2 for a whole day compared to $1 an hour in the council parks on the street), then grabbed a hot chocolate from the cafe across the road from school before slowly walking down the road. I sat down on a bench about halfway there to kill some time and calm my nerves a bit before heading inside with about 5-10 minutes to go before the scheduled interview time.

I won’t bore you with the details of the actual interview, but I think it went well. I will know by the end of next week if I got it or not so will post an update here. After the interview, I had a short technical quiz and application form to fill out. I didn’t do nearly as well on the quiz as I would have liked but they seemed pleased with my result.

Friday – Advanced Database Concepts

To finish out the week and term, it was time for one last trip to Advanced Database Concepts. We were giving our first assignment for the paper this week. Due to the stress of the interview assessment and then an actual interview, I was feeling mentally drained and exhausted so I skipped out of class early after the lecturer was finished going over the assignment.

Usually on a Friday night I get together with some friends and play some board games but not this week as I was just too mentally drained. So now it’s time to rest for a few days before getting stuck into my Systems Administration and Advanced Database Concepts assignments, both of which are due the first week back.

Week 6: 404 – Clever Title Not Found

Almost at the halfway point for the semester and things are starting to heat up! Except the weather, that’s starting to turn to shit as we approach winter. And there is only one more week to go before the term break.

Monday – Systems Administration

As always, first up this week was Systems Administration on Monday morning. An uneventful start to the week with the only thing of note that happened was we were given our first assignment – documenting our server install. Which I knew was coming and means I have to reinstall everything from scratch as I have had a few issues with it. But I will be documenting everything as I go. Due to needing to reinstall my virtual machine, it was a short class as there was no point in sticking around and starting it so I headed home and spent some quality time with my girlfriend.

I sent it my CV and cover letter for the internship I am applying for for my Industry Project next semester, should find out some time this week if and when I have an interview for it.

Tuesday – Professional Practice and Network Design

New lecturer for Professional Practice started this week. She has taken to it like a duck to water, although it probably helped that she had essentially already taught the same paper but for a non IT course, so it’s not very difficult to change and adapt to the IT focused version.

We had some group activities aimed at preparing us for our mock interviews next week as well as a PowerPoint presentation detailing what to wear and do and what not to wear and do. We should also get our results back for the CV and cover letter assignment in the next couple of days, so by the time you are ready this, I will already have my first result for the semester! (Keep reading to find out how I did!)

Then I had Network Design. A very good and informative class even though I didn’t get much done. I found out that the big assignment that is worth 50% of the papers grade isn’t actually due until June 24, not May 22 as the assignment handout we were given said, so that’s a bit of a relief as I can take my time with it a bit more now and stress about it.

Wednesday and Thursday

Wednesday morning I got my result back for my CV and Cover Letter assignment. B. A bit disappointed and some of the feedback is frustrating as we weren’t told some of the things I lost marks for. Then I started rebuilding my Systems Administration virtual server, documenting things as I went, so now I have a good start to the documentation assignment. Then on Thursday I had a play around with Frenzy, so I’m almost ready to get started on my Network Design assignment. I also spent some time on both Wednesday and Thursday learning Laravel.

Jeffery Way from Laracasts.com is an amazing teacher and able to explain things nice and clearly without dumbing them down too much. The example code he provides as part of his tutorials is also very nice and easy to follow. Be sure to check him out if you want to learn web design, I believe he also has some videos on YouTube on general web design stuff.

Friday – Advanced Database Concepts

To finish off the week, it was off to Advanced Database Concepts for what is starting to become my favorite class this semester. I had planned to stay late after class in order to make sure I got everything done as I still had to finish off last weeks work, which ended up taking me a further hour, but I actually found this weeks work quite easy and was able to get it completed a lot quicker than i thought I would, so was walking out of class on schedule at 3pm.

I took the opportunity to go and have a chat with my Professional Practice lecturer and discuss my CV and cover letter assignment. I managed to get an extra half a mark out of it! Not that it changed my grade. I got a lot off good feedback from her that wasn’t included in the feedback that was returned with the marked assignment. Overall I’m much happier with my mark after having talked to my lecturer about it. Talking to my lecturer about my marks is something that I find helps as I am often able to get additional feedback about where I went wrong.

Weeks 4 and 5: Sullivan’s Return!

A munch more interesting two weeks than the previous two. And my cat was found and returned home! Trying something different with the headings this time, drop me a comment and let me know what you think!

Monday – System Administration

Monday started off with heading into class early to get some more work down and avoid falling behind. I’m still not fully up to date, but I’m only about an hour or two behind. I know have my server virtual machine set up as a domain controller and my client machine joined to the domain. Next step is working on writing some GPO’s for software deploment, and setting up some organizational units and user groups, then writing scripts for automating user account creation. Then I’ll be fully up to date. I’m going to head into class early again after the Easter break to get this done.

Monday afternoon, I worked on my assignment for Professional Practice in between doing housework while watching TV. Got it submitted nice and early at about 8pm, with several hours to go before the 11:55pm deadline.

Tuesday – Professional Practice and Network Design

This weeks Professional Practice class was focused the upcoming mock interview assessment and on the project we are required to source this semester and then complete next semester as part of the Industry Project paper. All the details were explained to us and then our lecturer informed us that he was moving to a different position at the university, and would not be teaching the paper after the end of the month. We were also introduced to our new lecturer, then handed an information pack to hand to potential project sponsors. I’ve got a fun couple of weeks ahead as I hunt down a project.

Network Design this week was spent going over the the first assignment we have. Not very interesting but it’s worth 50% of our grade. I’ll be getting stuck into it after the Easter break. We have the option of working on it either individually or paired up with someone else, I’m not sure yet whether I’ll do it on my own, or with someone else, I put my name down on the paired side, but don’t yet have someone to work with, so we will have to see what happens.

And that was the end of classes and the start of a NINE day weekend, with Easter meaning no class on Friday, Monday or Tuesday

Wednesday and Thursday

Most of these two days was spent working on writing a cover letter and re-writing my CV to apply for an internship for my industry project. I have just a couple of small formatting issues to sort out and then I will be sending them in.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Friday was a day of rest, nothing interesting happened, although Speedway Friday night was really good, with demolition derby teams racing. Saturday was spent doing housework and moving my main gaming rig to my office, which now gives me a proper battle station setup with dual monitors. Then it was off to speedway again on Saturday night for more demolition derby tams racing along with Sprintcars and Midgets, another very entertaining night of racing!

Sunday was then spent preparing my main rig to for a full system reinstall, all my files have been backed up and saved. Monday was another rest day, with a bit more work on the CV and cover letter.

Tuesday

The day started out nice and relaxed and only got better as I received a message from my mother informing me that my missing cat was no longer missing. He had been found the week before in Kairanga and was returned to my parents house on Tuesday morning. Then in the afternoon it was off Fielding for some afternoon tea.

Then I decided to delay reinstalling everything on my desktop so I could teach myself to build a custom image that would have a bunch of programs that I want to have installed by default, it should also allow me to set the start menu how I want it, and won’t have any bloatware from OEM’s

Wednesday

I almost abandoned my plan to create my image as the hoops I’m having to jump through were starting to annoy me. Instead I delayed my plans until the weekend, after I’ve grabbed an ISO from one of my class mates in class on Friday. Also on Wednesday, the first of two auctions I posted to get rid of some of my old computer parts and bring in a little extra cash finished. Thirteen assorted sticks of DDR and DDR2 RAM sold for $13.50. Second auction is for six Intel CPU’s, that will be finished on Saturday morning.

Thursday

Thursday dawned cold and a bit chilly, winter is coming.

Friday – Advanced Database Concepts

First and only class for the week was Advanced Database Concepts on Friday afternoon. Things are starting to get really fun and interesting, and are increasingly becoming about finding the answers and code we need on our own, with less and less being given to us. I’ve also started learning Lavavel in my space time, in addition to restarting my project to build my own Windows image, now that I have all the files I need.

That’s it for now, see you next week!

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.

BICT 3: Revenge of the Classes

Right, it’s been a while so it’s time for an update. I have just started back at school for the year and boy has it been an interesting start.

Lets back up a few days to Thursday. What was supposed to be a simple 20-40 minute job of confirming my enrollment and classes for the year, then getting my ID card ended up with me leaving campus after an hour and a half and in a shitty mood. I discovered that I had a scheduling clash because one of the papers I thought I was doing in semester two wasn’t an option and I had to either take it semester one or drop it, which meant I had to drop a class and pick up something else. I ended up dropping Software Engineering and picking up Network Design instead, so now I have two hours of class on Mondays mornings and Fridays afternoons, and four hours on Tuesday afternoons.

Today I had my first class for the year, Systems Administration. It was mostly good. Didn’t get much done due to it being the first day of the semester but I got my login for the hardware and software labs all sorted and started setting up my profile. Unfortunately I didn’t get much actual work done and after getting home to finish what I started i discovered that i didn’t copy all the files I need for my virtual machine to my USB flash drive, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon when I’ll be in the hardware lab again for Network Services.

Aside from school starting back, I have spent a good chunk of my summer break building a new website from scratch, you can check it out at devtest.threefivetwo.me. I’m planning on rebuilding how everything is setup on the back end at some point, to make it a bit easier to manage, but want to get settled back into school first, and it might end up getting delayed until next summer after I have finished my industry project, which I will be starting to source shortly.

Once I decide on how I want to organize the back end, I will be looking to integrate WordPress into my new site, the site itself will be entirely self built using the simplemvc framework with WordPress only providing the blog functionality, everything else I will code myself. I will also be redesigning the look of the site, I want to make it look less “cartoonish” and more professional, then I will build a new custom theme for the blog to match the look of the new site

I’m also hoping I get a phone call or text this afternoon or tomorrow morning to tell me my Compute Stick has arrived, so I can start getting the set up while everyone is at school and work. It’s going to be used almost entirely for streaming and watching TV/Movies (and maybe a little web browsing).

And finally, I want to try to get back into blogging more, so I’m going to try to post once a week with an update of how school is going. These posts will probably be published on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings. I also still have a couple of old fictions posts that I still haven’t republished here, so I’ll look at getting those up as part of a Throwback Thursday feature. There probably won’t be much new fiction published here for the time being as I’m not currently playing Eve Online, and I have a couple of fictions posts still sitting in my drafts folder because I’m just not happy with how they flow.

That’s it for today, look for another post on Thursday with some old fiction in it and then this weekend for a recap of how this week has been.

Fare Thee Well, Sweet Domain

The last 6 months have been rather interesting for me. School is going well and I now have a regular client who I am helping build a WordPress site and am hosting it for them. I’ve also been picking up a bit of extra tech support work via word of mouth.

I have also been working on rebuilding the sites theme, which is now live on the site. There are still a few bugs I need to sort out (the fiction sub menu when hovering on the blog menu item being the most obvious and user facing one). Then I have some back end server work to do to stop the database from falling over under load, and implement caching which will help with that.

Sadly, other circumstances have conspired against me and I will be unable to renew my sites domain name. It expires on the 12th, and after that, the URL will go no where. The site will remain available via IP address however I most likely won’t be posting again until I can get the domain name back. My hosting will be fine as that is handled separately and I still have credit with Digital Ocean.

EDIT 2015.10.08: An Eleventh hour reprieve! Thanks to my amazing girlfriend I am have been able to renew the domain. So stay tuned over the coming months for more posts and updates to the site

I can’t quit you

As some of you may have guessed after my most recent piece of fiction, I have left Aideron Robotics and am now back in my own corp, 3523 Industries. While I enjoyed Faction Warfare, and especially flying with the awesome folks in Aideron, I haven’t played much in the last 18 months. My subscription ran out in May of last year but prior to that I hadn’t really logged in much since about January of the same year as I had started back at school in February and so didn’t have much time to play. During the year I managed to get a girlfriend and move out of my parents home, which also meant I now had even less time to play, not that I could afford to.

In early December, I got 10 days of game time in an email reactivation offer, at which point I discovered our shitty internet was too shitty for me to play EVE. I logged in a little bit, by tethering my computer to my phone, but the connection was still not the best. It did however allow me to hang out with my corpmates and do some inventory management tasks. I also joined a fleet and got a couple of kills (and a loss or two). I also bought a PLEX. Then at Christmas, my amazing girlfriend bought be a six month subscription.

Sadly life kept me busy enough throughout January and early February that I didn’t much time to play. But in February I was finally able to purchase EVE: The Second Decade Collectors Edition and EVE:Source (I still have the 60 day new account code if anyone wants to buy it (for ISK) for an alt account or a friend). I love my Rifter USB hub. Then at the end of February it was back to school again. Now that the semester has ended, I now have time to play. Right as my subscription is due to run out again.

With my subscription running out, and not being able to do much of PVPing, I reluctantly made the decision to leave Aideron Robotics. My intention was to let my subscription lapse and just be another former player observing from the sidelines for a while, until I could afford to re-activate my subscription and I had the time to play. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Recent live events got me wanting to play again, if only to take part in the live events.

Then I found a PLEX that was probably left over from the stash of items I got from the Second Decade Collectors Edition. My fate was sealed and I now have a month to make enough ISK to buy another PLEX. I’ll be doing some mining, running some missions and I’m going to get into some exploration. I’m also going to get some planetary colonies running. I have three weeks before I have to be back at school and my play time becomes limited again. The more ISK I can save up during that time, the better my chance of keeping my subscription active. I’m also hoping to blog more, with the goal of getting added to the list of Fansites and the free account that comes with it. Then I’ll be able to focus my ISK/RL subscription costs on my alt account.

EVE is a fickle mistress. Who knows what the future will hold. I look forward to finding out and hope you will all join me on the journey that is ahead of me. Long may it continue.