Fun times

Well, I may have made a mistake in taking this new job that’s been keeping me from blogging. It’s not the work, the work is the fun part. Getting inside servers and figuring out what might be going wrong is kinda cool. Like a math problem or a puzzle, one that you’re being paid to solve. No, it’s the people. Some of my coworkers are bullies. [Read more…]

Oh for those heady days, before the right went completely crazy

Seems like only yesterday … It’s amazing to witness the contortions, the descent into madness, and possibly alcoholism or dementia, going down over the POW release over there to the right among the craziest theocons and the slickest maniacs. The dishonesty is so, so well documented that it’s gone beyond nauseating and turned into hilarious.

Below is another blast from the past, pure political comedy gold, from back in those ancient days lo these many weeks ago, wherein the social machinery was being pre-placed to attack anyone who stands in the way of Gilded Age 2.0: [Read more…]

Notepad++ install

So Notepad++ downloaded without a hitch, other than my super special gaming AV twigged a little until I let it through by name. Version is v6.6.3. I put the first screen that popped up below the fold for you veterans to look over. Looks like a routine recap of prior fixes. This is the one the Python page said to use and was supposedly preconfigged/defaulted correctly for those modules. BTW, project down the road: my new job has some perks. One being that getting MSFT cert is encouraged, they have labs to study, practice tests, and people who’ve taken lots of them willing to help. Is there a best cert to start with? I work mostly with the two latest EX server versions at work. I’m not sure if saying the exact names would be a DA violation or not — I’m so new at this!

But so far I like it, all that formal math seems to be helping some; at least the syntax for queries seems totally logical to me, but its definitely intimidating to some of my classmates. I actually solved a Sev A today, waited for the PTL’s to figure it out since I’m so new, but it turned out to be what I suspected. I also memorized the more useful cmdlets already and kicking around inside the servers seems to be coming to me fairly naturally … for an old guy. Thanks again for all your prior great pointers and enthusiasm! [Read more…]

Need some dev/tech advice

It just hit me this weekend: I am going to survive. My new job pays a, barely, livable wage. And for all those firms who chose younger folks over me, I gloat! In the training for my new job, there were plenty of younger people. They were sharp, they caught on fast, some had experience already and all were educated. But it turns out having a stable lifestyle and just showing up on time, alert and ready to work everyday, is still a valuable commodity. That reliability and my past experience vaulted me from confused and frightened on day one to natural class leader who devoured the material faster than it could be delivered by day ten. By the time it was over I was practically the substitute instructor. Remember this: there is great value in maturity and experience. That gives you a natural advantage, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

The labor market is also improving. One recruiter and an HR lady from jobs I was turned down for earlier this year have called me in the past few weeks asking me to re-interview. I politely told them, hell no, it’s too bad the young people you hired instead of me burned out, disappeared, quit, got sick, or partied too hard and missed too many days in the first few months, but you had your chance. I was standing right in your office, I-9 documents and resume in hand, desperate for a job, willing to work for peanuts and crumbs — I would have showed up an hour early and stayed an hour late on my own dime just to get up to speed — and you guys all fucking blew it.

But my ultimate goal is to make at least a measly ~60k, preferably more, and have an actual semblance of middle class life. A goal so low I might have laughed at it a decade or two ago. But anyway, the recession … another story. To succeed in the local tech market here in Austin, I know mastering network level stuff is important. Powershell and Active Directory are a decent start, besides, that’s part of my new job. I get paid to do learn and use them. The other thing people have told me, if the goal is to be well rounded, is to pick up the basics of at least one, modern programming language. The language I’m considering is Python. Is that as good a choice as any? The first step in the online Python course is to download Notepad++, located here. Any downsides to this?

I’m no longer lost in the forest

I should be able to get back to a more reasonable and predictable schedule in the next week or two. I’m telling you, it took real effort, no social life combined with the benefit of lots of hard math classes long ago, to be able hit the ground running and get up to speed when starting with zero network experience. But training is done, I have passed and can now, somewhat at least, manage a series of domains or directories, AKA, My Forest.

It’s just amazing how these networks have to be nursed and coddled as they often barely limp along. For the past few weeks, when I got home from what is basically a 24/7 urgent care facility for broken domains and servers that won’t sync, it was like being an off-duty, lowly resident trauma doc. The last thing I wanted to see was a working keyboard, because keyboards lead to dying hardware and broken software.

You know what really grinds my gears?

As someone who has had to occasionally beg readers for money, perhaps I should keep my mouth shut about charity requests and incessant email from politicians I’ve bent over backwards to support who, especially over the last few months, are bugging me for more and more and more money. I guess emails aren’t so bad, we can delete them in private, but it struck me tonight that it now happens in Walmart or other grocery store or box retailor every single time I shop.

I actually stopped going to Whole Foods in part because I was tired of being hit up three or four times every trip, [Read more…]

Well, that never happened before

OK, the economy must be getting better. Or maybe I’m just dealing with more organized and/or more ethical people. I thought I had a job lined up a week and a half ago, one I wanted, tablet network support for a Fortune 500 client. Definitely a useful skillset to acquire. But as luck would have it, they were trying to squeeze me in at the last moment, I was the last guy hired and the client downsized their needs at the last second, so I was out of luck.

It was disappointing. But the reason I found out what happened is the lady who recruited me actually followed up with a full explanation and an apology, sincerely in my opinion, .i.e., treated me like an actual person. Which hasn’t happened lately, for the last few years, if you didn’t get the job, you either hear nothing back at all or you get a form letter. And that’s not even the best part.

She kept track of me. Two days ago an even higher paying, better job [Read more…]

Statement by Nathan Phelps

So after two weeks of intense job searching and no posting, thinking I had a job twice only to have both fall thru for reasons beyond my control or the prospective employer’s fault for that matter, I have absolutely nothing to show for the effort. Today’s incarnation is yet another job, third one, that seems or perhaps seemed like a pretty sure deal, but they did not send me training instruction on Friday like they said they would. So now I’m in limbo, again. It’s a little frustrating, but I’ve gotten used to it.

Life could be worse. Just ask Nate Phelps, Son of Fred: [Read more…]