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 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 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 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.


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.


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


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.

Once more unto the breach

Oh hai there. Long time no see. I’ve been a bit busy. And a little sick of late. I’ve been hi twice in the past month by a nasty cold, and had been dealing with a toothache for about 2 months until i finally got it taken care of a week ago. School is just hitting the busy period at the end of semester, with assignments due and of semester exams.

In other news, as you may have noticed, I finally found the time to update the website. It now has a fully customized layout and look, built entirely on WordPress – no HTML here aside form whats inside the PHP files that now make up the site. I don’t know nearly enough PHP to have built the whole thing from scratch myself, so I used the GeneratePress theme as a base then heavily customized it to get the look and feel that I wanted. And no I won’t be distributing this theme as it has a lot of things hard-coded into the CSS and PHP files that shouldn’t be and therefore wouldn’t work for anyone else by me. I will however be trying my hand at making a theme from scratch later in the year once I have learned some PHP in Dynamic Web next semester, I’m really looking forward to that!

I also reinstalled the entire web server, and have now set WordPress up to be a multi-site network. I mostly did this do that I could host a second blog for my eCommerce assessment, but it also allowed me to tidy up a few things on the back-end, and I am going to leave it as is. This means that I could easily start hosting other peoples blogs, if I could convince them to pay me for it. I may one day set up a second blog for myself and keep my gaming posts separate from my non gaming posts (such as this one)

I am planning to redo my CV during the break between semesters. My current one is horribly out of date and needs to be redone from scratch. It was last update probably almost ten years ago, and was created about fifteen years ago. I doubt anything on there is still relevant. I’m hoping to find someone to help me with it. Once it’s updated, I plan to start looking for some part time work, there are enough local IT companies that I should be able to find something, hopefully that pays decently.

I also need to write a proper About Us page for the website, and add a services page with the services I can offer (now including web-hosting) and the price I am going to be charging. The Home page also needs to have some proper content to replace the placeholder text that it has had since I first started creating the site last year. And finally I would like to set the footer to always be at the bottom of the screen, or below all the content, which ever is lower (I have already begun work on this).

Last, but certainly not least, I am at some point going to get someone to make me up a proper set of logos for the site to replace the ones I sketched in an old maths book (one of which you can see at the top of the page). If you wish to donate some of your time and skills to help out, please drop me a line, you’ll get full credit for your work and my eternal thanks.

That about wraps up this update. Hopefully the next one won’t be so far away. In the mean time, I have assignments to finish!

AFK – RL Intervenes

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much. RL has decided it wants my attention so I am busy dealing with assignments, exams and some personal matters. No ETA on when i will be back to posting regularly. Work on the site has also been stalled adn their is no ETA on when that will resume, probably when school slows down again.