Computers

From an early age, I’ve been exposed to electronics and picked up an interest in them. Mostly playing games on the Commodore 64 and VIC-20, we acquired an IBM PC 286 somewhere around my 2nd grade. I was hooked and haven’t left the computer since.  The first OS I remember using was MS-DOS 5.0.  Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows and also used GeoWorks Pro.

Played around with hardware and consulted on integrations through college.  Programming was mostly centered around web sites. Started to use Linux in college on my own and as part of a system’s integration lab requirement for class.  Undergrad degree was information system management.

Hardware, OSes, Software

You will find me learning about something I find interesting at the moment. Those are usually: operating systems (Windows, Debian Linux variants, Fedora Linux), hardware (CPU, Hard Drives, RAID), and networking (Routers, NAS, VPN, Wireless, SD-WAN) most of the time. I use virtualization often 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 using Tomato and DD-WRT firmware.  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.

In the last couple years, I’ve made the switch primarily to the Fedora Linux operating system from Windows.  Windows 7 was, by far, the best operating system produced by Microsoft.  Then they produced Windows 8 and 10.  While, with alot of work and addons, the terrible pieces of Windows 10 could be removed, quashed, or curbed, power users were no longer their market.  I made the switch to Fedora.

Security

Couple years ago, I found myself interested, as a user and programmer, in the work done by security researchers to uncover issues with computing devices and how the might be used by bad actors.

I follow Brian Kreb’s blog, Security Now with Steve Gibson and the Sans Institute’s StomCast podcasts.  One thing I want to learn more about it is how-to pen test.

Work

My part time job in high school afforded me the opportunity to work on the office computers doing troubleshooting, upgrades, and consulting on new purchases.  Did additional website work pioneering the usage of PDF documents and streaming audio.

My internship, I worked on two teams.  The first configuring software and hardware for new users including mobile devices, relocating PC equipment for department moves or job changes, and hardware or software changes.  The second team was the break-fix to the first.

Out of college, landed a job doing second level support.  Supporting all aspects of the system hardware, software, network, and supporting systems including development and testing.

Following that, development and third level support for merchandise management and supporting systems.

Currently, supporting security integrations.

Currently

Many of my computer interests crossover to Ham Radio.  This is currently what I spend most of my time doing.

Favorite programs

Audio editing: Audacity
Audio playback: Foobar2000
Browser: Firefox
CD/DVD/Blu-ray burning: ImgBurn
DVR & Media Center: NPVR, Plex
File compression: 7-Zip
File encryption: VeraCrypt
File integrity checking: HashTab
FTP/SFTP: WinSCP
Graphics editor: Paint.Net
Operating systems: Windows 7, Fedora Linux (Cinnamon Spin).
PDF reader: Sumatra PDF
Router firmware: pfSense and FreshTomato
(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 build 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.