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!

Following on..

Following on from yesterdays modelling talk, last night I opened up the Bachmann Spectrum loco I have again. I’d opened it shortly after receiving it when I bought it to see how it looked inside and the prospects of putting a DCC chip in it. I was slightly dismayed to learn it had a solid split chassis, and little space to put a chip, not forgoing the solid metal chassis being almost impossible to isolate the wiring.

I opened it again today to have another look, and having taken it even more apart I learned two things. Firstly, it’s not as bad as it looked. there may be space to place a chip if I try hard enough. Secondly, I can isolate the motor in one of two ways – either by isolating the pickups on the wheels from the chassis, or by isolating the motor from the chassis. Both are fairly easy (could probably be done with just electrical tape), although after looking at the condition of the pickups, they may be the better option. I could also isolate both and leave the chassis neutral. The problem then is placement of the chip itself, as there isn’t a lot of space (at all) to work with. Possibly taped to the chassis directly above the motor. There is also a small space at the back that it might fit into.

When I actually put a DCC decoder in, I’ll write a more comprehensive guide as to what I’ve done.

I still need to figure out how to open the Walthers loco, and then I can work on how to put a chip in that too. It’s a 4 axle, so I’m not so worried about that one (I like 6-axle locos ;-))

I also fixed my father-in-law’s reading glasses last night. This resulted in a small burn on my thumb from touching too-hot solder… my mistake..

Mail yesterday involved a capo for my guitars, and a desoldering tool. Now I can begin working on the laptop again.. Will update later!