Tuesday
Nov232010

Overwhelming myself, yet again

I'm doing it again, getting way to ahead of myself. Looking up loads of information on security, PHP, Apache, Cassandra. Way, way ahead of myself.

I did just speak with the admissions councilor from Regis. FAFSA is in, transcripts are on their way, application is mostly done. All I have left is send a resume and complete the admissions essay. Here is what I have to address in a minimum of three typewritten pages in appropriate essay format:


  • What do you expect to learn and achieve in the MSIA program?

 


  • Discuss the kind of position you anticipate having five years after you earn this degree.

 


  • What experiences have you had that form the foundation for these career goals?

 


  • How will the MSIA degree enhance your career plans?


I'm sending my resume momentarily. Essay, I'll work on today. Might not be done for a few days, though.

I'm on Chapter 16 of the A+ book. Page 687. Read some more of that today. I was looking at signing up for the exam, but it'll cost more than $300 to take both parts. Might be what I ask for as a Christmas gift.

Also, I'm preparing to swap my office and my bedroom. My condo is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath. Of course when I moved in I made the master bedroom MY bedroom. Second bedroom became something of an office - put up shelves and a desk. I spend a lot more time in my office/man cave/fortress of solitude/geek den than my bedroom, and I've been wanting to get the office set up with more desk space, a little more shelving and also put in a couch. There's this master plan I want to do and some of my friends are interested to start up some kind of podcast. Haven't fully fleshed it out, but I wanted to get a couch and rig up a makeshift recording studio.

I'm thinking this little room is much too small, so swap them. Master bedroom has more wall space, more space in general, a big closet good for storing electronics. Plus I have like 4 or 5 old computers I was thinking about rigging up some kind of a networking/security/virus/hacking testbed so additional space would be great.

Not to mention I've been having a bout of insomnia once again, and I'm thinking a smaller room might be easier to keep quiet, climate control, make it dark. I won't have a TV in the bedroom, and I"m hoping that will help.

Well, right now I'm going to try to get Dragon Naturally Speaking installed, possibly work on this essay and get some reading done. This Ronald Jenkees Radio station I made in Pandora is working quite nicely to help me get stuff done.

 

- frost

Wednesday
Nov172010

Oh, Wordpress

I'm starting to wonder if I made a mistake going with Wordpress. Yesterday I installed a new theme, and I like the theme, but right now the picture isn't a picture of me and the header/logo is the name of the theme. I was looking for a long time yesterday trying to figure out where Wordpress stored the image files so I could look at replacing them. I eventually gave up.

I had to work today and it kept nagging me, and I figured it out but here's where I may have made a mistake.

TLDR; The files were ON my web host under public_html, wp-content, themes, [name of theme], images.

I signed up for Blue Host after reading this Lifehacker post and since I knew I would put off actually putting up a website if I had to do it myself and Blue Host offered to set up software for me. I recognized Wordpress and decided to go for it. It did it automatically and I've never used Wordpress before so I assumed everything was managed within the Wordpress dashboard. Also I'm trying to just figure things out on my own as I go right now, though I may try to do more reading moving forward so I'm not just wandering blindly.

Up next I'm going to work on more customization and making it look and feel more like me.

I'm also trying to focus on the Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML book and I'm going to maybe start building something from scratch.

Which means I need to figure how how to make it a separate page, add a link to the blog to get there, and maybe create a menu system so I can show progress as I go. I'm not sure what specifically I want to accomplish, so right now it's just kind of learning and implementing.

 

- frost

Friday
Nov122010

Here we go

This is something I should have started a while ago, but I'm a fantastic procrastinator.

First a little background. I'm 24 and graduated spring 2008 with a bachelors in economics. I was lucky enough to find a job before the economy was completely wrecked. I'm a stock broker at a call center on an inbound line at a major brokerage firm. Since we're not talking about my current job, let's just say after a couple years I realized finance is not for me.

I've always been fascinated by computers and technology. I remember when my dad got Windows 3.1 upgrade discs, how excited I was to help him install it and check it out. Or the time he gave me his old laptop with a black and white screen - which had been cracked when he was travelling. Once I could write some simple code in Basic, I learned how to build websites right as HTML4 was being standardized (I wonder how many of my terrible websites with frames, all formatting coded in HTML still exist today).

And then I stopped.

I'm not sure if it was just going to high school, or getting older, or maybe I was too young, the time was too early and it was too difficult to get learning materials (the internet barely existed) that I just couldn't really grasp how exactly it all worked, but I became the hobbyist. I didn't own a desktop computer for 8+ years - one laptop at a time. I was always a little more savvy than the average person, but never up to par with 'tech' people.

In college I got really into Halo 2, eventually got an Xbox 360 and started really getting into gaming. I would listen to a lot of video game podcasts and was always up to date on the latest gaming news. This went on for a few years, even after graduating, but my interest started to wane. I wasn't happy in my job and I'd been trying to figure out how to do something in finance I would find interesting. For a while I was trying to connect video games to finance, maybe as an analyst. The more I tried to rationalize a financial career path, the less interested I became. I even went so far as to sign up, study for and take the Level 1 CFA exam last June. I studied a lot, but the more I studied the more I realized a career in finance just wasn't for me. I was distracted and my main news feeds and podcasts slowly switched from primarily video games to everything technology. I started looking for information on programming, hardware, networking, security. I decided to build a rig (I'll talk about that more later) and have been messing around with networking, web design, and a little of everything.

I even applied for a tech job at work. It's a big firm, lots of technology, of course they have a big IT department. The job I applied for was something like Desktop Systems Associate. If something goes wrong with my computer, normally I call IT and get someone in one of two centers in different states. They remote in and usually fix the problem. If they can't fix the problem, or we're doing a  hardware refresh, swap, maintenance, whatever, someone has to physically be there. So I was hoping to do that.

Not much, I know, but I was just trying to get my foot in the door.

I thought the interview went well and considering I have no formal background in computing I do a lot of 'tech support' for friends and family. Also I tinker a lot. I was able to answer his questions, etc. etc. but the job went to someone else who had a degree or certs or experience or something. He suggested I "look into the Microsoft certification for desktop support to see if it is something you want to pursue as this would make you more marketable."

I looked into some MS certs, and all the certs frankly. I was trying to decide what I really wanted to do, what I would want to pursue. Desktop support, networking, coding, web design, security. I started pulling all sorts of material. CompTIA A+ study guide, beginning programming in Python and C++. Refreshing myself on HTML became re-learning because it's been so long and so much is different. CSS didn't exist when I learned this. I wanted to get information on security and networking, wireless technologies and mobile devices. Too much too quickly and I ended up feeling overwhelmed and barely got anything done for a while.

A few weeks ago I felt inspired, refreshed, ready to go. I actually have an idea of where I want to end up and how to get there.


I think the web and the cloud really is the future so I'm interested in internet security. I think this will also be a growing segment of the IT sector, so a good place to be. With that in mind, here's what else:


  • HTML/5, CSS/3, PHP, SQL, Javascript, etc. etc. are going to be extremely important, so I'm devoting resources to that (and this is a big part of that aspect)

  • CompTIA A+ - I've already read most of the book, it seems pretty easy and would at least give me a better chance of getting ANY IT role. I'm also going to look at other certificates to add once I finish this one (Network+, Security+, CCNA, MS certs)


What is this site for. It's to help keep me accountable. Accountable to do some writing (which is something I don't do enough anymore) and to keep moving forward, do what I need to do. It's so I can practice some of this stuff I'm trying to learn. I decided to just buy some hosting, set up something that can be easy to start but would allow me to really try some of this web stuff. Wordpress seemed to fit the bill. I've already found I don't know enough to do a lot of specific customization (maybe I should have used Squarespace) but does provide incentive to learn.

This site is also for anyone out there like me. For anyone trying to get into the technology field a little... I don't want to say late, because I don't think it's too late. But every day there are more kids graduating with a degree in computer science or engineering who may or may not know more than the enthusiast, but they do have a little piece of paper that 'proves' how much they know, and I just have stuff I try at home.

I'm going to try to do at minimum weekly updates, but if I update more frequently each one will be shorter I think.

You can check for updates at reddit.com/r/archaicfrost

I'll try to write about general progress, specific things I learn or find are interesting. I'll try to write about any updates/changes I make to the website itself. I think I'm going to try to be technical and educational, explain things as I go. I'll talk about what I'm using or reading or watching or whatever. I'll try to tag things to keep them together and try to keep separate categories in separate posts.

So... here we go.

 

- frost

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