Penultimate Day 2016

Today is December 30, 2016, the penultimate day of the year, a day I review and contemplate the events of the year and, hopefully, set goals and intentions for the coming year.

After AME lost their contract with Premier Health at the end of October last year, I had very little desire to reenter the job market so I really didn’t put much effort into looking. I did enough to collect my unemployment benefits. In late January a former AME colleague reached out and asked me if I knew anyone who might be interested in doing a short-term refresh project. I told him that I’d be interested. What I had expected to be a four to six week project, stretched into about three months. It helped me got through the interim until my retirement officially began.

The work wasn’t difficult though there were some challenges. Working the project did renew an interest in upgrading my own computers and network. Most of the upgrades were simple things like adding memory or updating operating systems.

My wife’s computer, a Dell Optiplex 780, was having a number of issues. I had planned to use the Lenovo M91p I’d purchased from AME as my own PC but decided to use it to replace her Dell. I put Windows 7 on it and brought it up to 24GB of memory. I added more memory to the Dell and used that as my Windows 7 PC. I put Mint on the Ultra Small Form Factor Optiplex and put it in the network corner. Finally, I brought my HP up to 16GB.

I had been using using my Linksys router as a wireless access point for quite a while. I thought about and researched the idea of using a Linux-based PC as an access point until I found a good deal on a refurbished D-Link access point. That’s been working quite well. I thought about setting up the Linksys router behind the AT&T gateway device as a guest WiFi on a separate network. I haven’t done it but I’m sure I will eventually unless I switch back to cable for my Internet access. If I do switch providers, I’ll set it back to defaults, turn off the wireless, and use it as my primary router.

I modified the conky script that I run on my Linux desktop to display network information only for connections that were active. Now I don’t have have separate configurations for desktop PCs and laptops. See conky modifications for details. Installation and configuration is fairly simple but I might try to write a Bash script for it.

I did do a major cleanup this year and donated my excess computers and computer parts to Project Access. I probably still have too many computers. I guess some of them still have some sentimental attachment.

Over the course of the year, there were a number of issues with hosted email. While I have resolved the issues with the host, I still haven’t resolved the problems with my email client. I’m working on getting as much moved over to my Gmail account as I can. I keep thinking about dropping the mojoreisen.com domain entirely. I’ve also been reevaluating my need for a hosted site but that’s still very much undecided. I should look at what content I have on rbromig.org and mojoreisen.com and purge some things. The blogs can be moved to WordPress.

During my brief period of employment, I took it upon myself to learn the basics of Bash scripting. I’m not nearly as proficient with them as I am with DOS batch files but I created a few useful scripts that I use regularly.

Looking to the new year, I’d like to my current computers with more up to date equipment. My HP desktop has a few little quirks and something faster with more memory would be nice. I’d like to play around with virtual machines. A better laptop would be nice too. The Dell is a bit heavy and a memory upgrade for it really isn’t very economical. If I could find a powerful enough laptop with a dock, perhaps I could eliminate the need for a desktop machine. Of course, I would need money to do these upgrades. As much as I loathe the idea of reentering the world of OPCP, I may find myself doing that, at least on a part-time basis.

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