Computers

I have been interested and tinkering around with computers from an early age.  The first OS I remember using was MS-DOS 5.0.  Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows I used.

Hardware, OSes, Software

You will find me learning about operating systems and hardware most of the time.  WindowsDebian Linux variants, CPUs, GPUs, Hard Drives, RAID, cooling systems, and network equipment.  I use virtualization alot for testing and sandboxing.

On the software side, I am a huge fan of Free and Open Source Software.   These programs tend to be written by serious enthusiasts or a community of contributors.  I was first exposed to Open Source with the Linksys WRT54GL router.  Open Source firmware for these devices transformed them into enterprise grade devices.

I was using Media Center hardware long before it became popular to use them in HTPCs.  Web server technology became an interest when I started developing websites.  I’ve used both LAMP & WIMP server stacks.

Security

Couple years ago, I found myself interested in the techniques and methods used by hackers and work done by security researchers.  I follow Brian Kreb’s blog and Steve Gibson’s podcast (see “podcasts” below).  One thing I want to learn is pen testing systems.

Currently

Many of my computer interests crossover to Ham Radio.  I used a Raspberry Pi micro-computer to make a D-STAR “DVAP Pi” hotspot.

_NE-R820T-3I’m loving the $20 RTL2832U Software Defined Radio (or RTL-SDR) dongles.  By far my favorite thing to do with them is monitor digital trunked radio systems.  There is something new with these all the time.

Podcasts

I keep up with tech mostly by watching podcasts.  Here are the ones I normally catch.

TWiT…it features roundtable discussions and debates surrounding current technology news and reviews, with a particular focus on consumer electronics and the Internet…
I usually catch:
Ham Nation.  (Check my Ham Nation page as I am one of the After Show Net Controllers!)
Security Now.
This Week in Enterprise Tech.

Hak5 – Put together by a band of IT ninjas, security professionals and hardcore gamers, Hak5 isn’t your typical tech show. Hak5 is a cocktail mix of comedy, technolust, hacks, DIY mods, homebrew, forensics, and network security.  My ubergeek show for Linux stuff, hacking, and security.

Favorite programs

Audio editing: Audacity.
Audio playback: Foobar2000.
Browser: Firefox.
CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning: ImgBurn.
DVR: NPVR.
File compression: 7-Zip.
File encryption: VeraCrypt.
File integrity checking: HashTab.
FTP/SFTP: FileZilla.
Graphics editor: Paint.Net.
Operating system (primary): Windows 7.
PDF reader: Sumatra PDF.
Router firmware: Tomato by Shibby.
(MP3) Tag editing: MP3Tag.
SSH client: Putty.
Text editor: VIM on Linux.  Notepad++ on Windows.
Virtualization: VirtualBox.
Video playback: Media Player Classic and Video LAN.
VPN: OpenVPN.

Computer history

I’ve built every desktop system I’ve ever owned.  Here is a quick history of what I remember the last configuration to be.

386.  170 & 212 MB HDD.

Celeron 333.

Celeron 800.  768 MB RAM.  DVD-ROM, CD-RW, Iomega Internal Zip 100.  Creative Audigy.  WinTV-GO-FM.

Pentium 4 Hyper Threaded.  2 GB RAM.  80 & 250 GB HDD.  DVD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-RW, Iomega Internal ZIP 100.  Creative Audigy 2.  Hauppauge PVR-350.

Pentium Core i7 Sandybridge 2600K.  8 GB RAM.  2x 650 GB & 2x 1 TB HDD – RAID 1.  DVD-RW.  Asus NVidia GTX 460.  Asus Xonar DX.  Hauppauge PVR-1850.

Ham radio and tech.