Looking For Networking

I’ve been playing a lot of BattleField 2 the last couple of days, since discovering the 1.5 patch. It’s a whole lot of fun, and while I’ve had a lot of fun playing random strangers online, I’m looking for some more local people to LAN with. If you know anyone in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area of Virginia who plays Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 2, a relevant mod for any of these, or any of the games in Command and Conquer’s First Decade, leave me a comment and we’ll look into hooking up.

I’m not looking for competition gaming, what I’d like is a group of cool people who happen to enjoy playing games. It’d be really nice to find some of my friends were secret LANners, but I’m not sure I see that happening 😉


This is partly to test WordPress’s new Blog-by-email. We’ll see how it works.

Yesterday I received a phone call from Rackspace, with a variation of that dreaded message. “We’ve decided to move forward with other candidates.”

I felt kinda like some of the people on Millionaire must feel when they’ve been going for the million dollars, and got the answer wrong and going home with $25,000.

Let me explain. What I had were two options, I could work at Rackspace for ~$45k/yr doing something I would really enjoy or I could work at a camp doing something I would also enjoy for the summer making ~$150/wk. I had 2 really great interviews at Rackspace, even they said the second one went really well, but apparently not good enough.

I’m trying to keep positive, I’m still applying for 2-3 jobs including one at JMU, and working at camp will still pay all our bills (and let us catch up on the ones we’re having to skip this month) along with Kelly’s summer job. I’ll just have to start applying again as summer comes to a close.

I’m particularly looking for IT work within VA, and I don’t mind commuting up to 2 hours each way in order to take a job worth anywhere from $30k up (So from the DC Metro area down to Blacksburgish, and out to Richmond. I’m in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area right now). I intend to relocate if the job is at the outer reaches of that range along with my wife and puppy. I have reliable transport, and while I have no formal computing qualifications I have professional and personal experience with PHP/MySQL, computer hardware testing, computer software installation and general computer troubleshooting and problem solving. I’ve worked on a service desk (Level 1 and 2) for a 5000 user organization supporting Novell Netware and Active Directory (on the same network) as well as Alcatel based PBX systems. I’ve also been administrating Linux servers for several years. I’m happy to take an entry-level position (Helpdesk, Desktop support, etc), though I’d like a company with good promotion paths that will allow me to progress beyond, as I’d like to move into server administration, and possibly network administration also.

So while I continue to look for work, if you or someone/an organization you know is looking for an IT worker, let me know about them, or let them know about me!


Yesterday afternoon I had a phone interview with 3 members of Rackspace staff based in Herndon, VA. It went very well, I was pleased with how I answered the questions and they seemed to like me as well. I was invited to an onsite interview, and it has been scheduled for Monday morning at 10am.

Basically the job involves building servers from specified parts, testing and installing operating systems using automated processes, and some diagnostic work on running systems.

We’re planning on going to the DMV tomorrow so I can sit for a full drivers license, and I need to read up and make sure I know what to expect. We’ve been working on a small list of things that we can pay for or start saving for already, including paying off the smaller loans and the well over-limit credit card, as well as cell phones and looking for a second vehicle. As summer begins to come to a close we’ll begin looking at houses, and it would be really nice to look into some additional furniture in the not-too-distant future.

We’ll also be able to save a huge amount (expecting in the vicinity of $5-10,000) to start a savings account to use for moving costs and such. So I’m fairly hopeful that I will get the position, though I haven’t made any purchases or done anything silly as yet..

In other slightly worse news, I had to tell a client this morning that her computer was irreparable. I feel particularly bad for her because it is her primary source of income (she uses it to scan and print her artwork for selling in multiples) and has small income also. I agreed to waive all my fees (I’d quoted $30) and that if she could afford $45 for a new computer I’d install all the software as well as restoring the backup I’d taken of her PC. I found a P4 1.8 for $50 on eBay and have bought it, it’s much faster than her P3 800, and has an XP Pro license (vs. the Millennium license she had, with XP Home installed). Hopefully I can have it to her by the end of next week. I’ll also get to scalp her old PC for useful parts (not much. Hard disk goes to the new PC, as will at least the CD-RW. I’ll get memory, video card, 10/100 ethernet and a sound card, and a PSU..?)

Here’s hoping things get better for her in that respect, and that everything else works out for me!

My New Wishlist

So, my wishlist has changed. I’d always passed off rackmount equipment for being too expensive compared to the equivelent tower cases etc. Seems it’s not as costly as I had imagined.

It will cost me approximately $3000 USD to acheive a setup similar to the one seen left. Talked to Kelly about it, and she supports it. (I think mostly because it is so clean and tidy!)

This is where it gets geeky:

A 4U case to house a new Windows based quadcore PC. Several gig of RAM and a 400GB hard disk, primarily will be used for audio and video editing, as well as gaming.

A 2U case to house most of the current PC (Athlon 3200+) with upgraded RAM and new hard disks. This will run Linux and function as a webserver, IRC server, and in-house file/print server.

A 1U case to house a new VIA-based firewall. Running an 80GB hard disk to store the cache for a transparent proxy, log files, and other more dynamic information. Primary operating system information will be on a read-only compact flash card.

2U will be taken with a rackmount UPS (probably APC, whatever is worthwhile but cheap at the time).

A 1U network switch, 10/100/1000Mbps, probably 16port (don’t need that many, but it’s as small as I can find rackmounted). Also a 1U patchpanel for the network, 24 port.

That accounts for 11U of rack-mounted storage. I would probably get a 16U case, to allow for future additions – possibly seperating the server into the two internal and external functions for security, or implementing a PABX (using asterisk) for internal house phones and such.

The $3000 budget also allows for 3 identical 20″ Widescreen 2ms LCD screens, 2 of which would attach to the Windows PC, the third would be KVM’d to the firewall and server (because I know I’ll need a monitor and keyboard for them at some point, and dragging things around isn’t ideal or tidy), as well as being available to plug into my laptop(s), or when repairing computers for friends etc.

This will leave me with a P4 3GHz server (still missing parts), a Celeron 2.4GHz desktop PC, a P3 866 smallform PC, and an empty ATX case. It’ll also leave me with 4 external drives (after purchasing 2 external cases for the drives presently in the 866 and the Athlon) – 2x 320GB and 2x 160GB – more than enough for good mobile storage.

I’ll likely upgrade the CPU in the celeron to the highest P4 it will take, add some RAM and give it use as a media PC, patched to the server for storage. I’d also like to rebuild in the then-empty ATX case a PC intended for mobile use, but a little gruntier than most laptops. Whether used for on-site video editing, or for media projection etc – this is not accounted for in the upgrades.

The $3000 covers:

  1. 1U, 2U and 4U cases for the PC, Server and Firewall/Router/Gateway
  2. New motherboards and CPU’s for PC and Firewall/Router/Gateway
  3. Hard disks for PC, Server, Firewall/Router/Gateway
  4. Memory for PC, Server, Firewall/Router/Gateway
  5. Compact Flash card and IDE2CF converter
  6. Graphics card for PC
  7. TV card for PC (to move to media center)
  8. Rack-mounted UPS
  9. Gigabit switch and patch panel
  10. Rack-mounting rails for cases
  11. Power supplies for un-PSU’d cases
  12. LCD Monitors
  13. 16U Rack-mount cabinet