My Current Desktop 03-09-17 — Laptop Edition

Getting Back On The Horse

This is a post I need to make.

Without conscientiously realizing it, I’ve been taking the death of my father pretty hard. You’re probably wondering how I could not realize something like this. I was so busy with taking care of things after he died, that I never really had time to sit down and deal with his loss. It was only after a week or two when things started to settle down that it all started to really hit me. I sank into a depression and literally did nothing for a good week or so. A few days ago, I realized that if I didn’t start pulling up soon I would eventually sink into a deep depression that would take weeks to get out of. While I know depression is part of the normal grieving process, being bipolar means that depression usually hits me pretty hard. As my wife likes to say, “everything that happens to me is turned up to 11 compared to other people.” So knowing that, I needed to get out of my funk.

So in my effort to thwart my downward spiral, I decided to start embracing things that I find comfort and happiness in. The two things that came to mind that I embraced was technology and Star Trek. I’ve watched more Star Trek in the past week then I have in the last year. I’ve also installed Windows 10 Pro and my iMac for some gaming and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on my laptop (where I am writing this now). I’ve also been talking with Jerry about possibly resurrecting Growing Up Geek again. We both miss podcasting, but the main reason we stopped was our work schedules were not compatible anymore. I work when he is off and vise versa. But somehow, someway, we’ll figure out how to start podcasting again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still miss my dad terribly and think about him everyday. But to just allow myself to sit around and wallow in depression and sadness is not what he would want me to do. He was the definition of a workaholic. He always worked 2 jobs, and in the summer when we were growing up and his business was in full swing, he used to work 16 hour days, 5-6 days a week. The man never stopped. And with that said, I can’t stop because I feel sad. I need to keep moving, and that’s exactly what this post is — moving. No more hiding on the couch under a blanket. I’m back and I intend to keep it that way.

My Current Desktop 03-03-17 — Boot Camp Edition

I’ve recently installed Windows 10 Pro via Boot Camp on my Mac to play some games. Thought this might be a nice opportunity to do a Current Desktop post.


So there is no easy way to say this — my dad died. He died on Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 1:00pm. He died of cancer. Fuck cancer.

I wasn’t sure if I should even write a post about this since the wound is still very fresh, but I felt that some sort of post needed to be written. I’ve marked almost every significant event in my life, both good and bad, over the past 15 years on this site. I felt it would be doing him a dis-service not to mention it here.

I’m not going to go into any details about his last 48 hours, but let’s just say I spent most of it with him and it was very tough emotionally and physically. I take comfort that in the end he died at home like he wanted to and in no pain.

When I was with him during those last 48 hours, one picture kept flashing in my head. It was one of the few pictures ever taken of just the both of us. The picture just was taken at my wedding reception which was a joyous day for everyone. Here is the picture.

Yesterday while I was at my mom’s house (weird to say that now), she gave me all of his trail cameras and memory cards. Last night I sat down and started to download all of the pictures and video from those memory cards. I came across a picture of him from deer season last year that not only made me smile, but even tear up.

It was the last day of hunting we ever got to go on together. Seeing this picture last night made me think that in his own way, he was saying good-bye. He was at the place he was the happiest at, doing the one activity he looked forward to all year long. I’m not sure if he ever meant it to be a good-bye, but he always erased the memory cards after he transferred them to his laptop and this card was never erased, and he knew I would eventually download the pictures from it. I may be reading too much into this, but in my mind, this is him saying good-bye.

Serve Me

Back when I moved into this house in late 2000 there were only 2 computers in this house. (the horror!!) After a few months I wanted a way to easily transfer information between the two computers without having to use a floppy disk (oh yes!) or a CDR. Thus began my foray into home networking.

I was working as a assistant store manager at Electronics Boutique at the time, and we had a decent array of computer equipment back then. I picked up an unmanaged 5 port Linksys switch, 2 Linksys LAN cards, and a CAT-5 cable. I had no clue what to do with this stuff since my only experience with networking up to that point was with the AppleTalk network at my high school. I talked to one of my part time associates, Jerry, (not that one) and he gave me a quick tutorial since he had experience with ethernet networking. I brought the equipment home with me that day and decided to get started. Within a matter of an hour I had both computers talking to each other. Little did I know this would light a fire under my ass. Although I wouldn’t realize this for a few more years, I knew I wanted every piece of electronics in the house to be networked together.

A few years later I found myself living here on my own and licking my wounds from a 7 year relationship gone wrong. I decided to embrace my inner geek. Over the course of the next year I would amass a small lab of computers in my home. To give you an idea of what I had, here is a picture of just my computers that I had, removed from my computer room to rearrange it back in 2004.

Not only did I embrace my inner geek when it came to things at home, I also jumped in with both feet into my website. Not only was I constantly working on my site but I was doing websites for other people as well. Being the geek that I am, I decided to take one of my old computers, a Pentium II IBM Aptiva (still have it!!) and turn it into a server. I got a copy of Windows Server 2000 from my man JP, installed it and configured it over the course of a week or so. In the end I had a fully functioning DHCP, web development, file, and FTP home server. I used that for years, finally getting rid of it when I had to abandon my computer room to make way for Jackson. Since then, I have wanted to make another home server but just haven’t found a viable way to do it.

About 2 months ago I got the bug again and pulled out my old IBM Aptiva from storage. I was going to start working on recreating that server but then things started getting bad with my dad’s health and pretty much everything was put on hold. Fast forward to the beginning of this week. Things have started to stabilize regarding my dad — unfortunately not so much with his health, but with all of the paperwork that needed to be completed regarding his condition. With that said, my mind started to wander back to that server. After thinking about how much work it was going to be to get that up and running, and the reality that having a server running a 17 year old operating system probably won’t be able to handle today’s current releases of PHP and MySQL, I wanted another option. I tried around Thanksgiving to do just this with my Mac Mini but I ran into the same problem I feared with my Aptiva — the OS and machine were just too old. After mulling it over for a while, I got an idea — a Raspberry Pi. I did some research and found that the latest build of Raspbian (custom Linux distro for the Pi) can get me everything I want in a web development server in under an hour. Not only that, but I should be able to install a Plex server on there, freeing up that task from my iMac. I was sold. I ordered another Pi, power supply, heat sinks, and case yesterday afternoon from Amazon. I’m kind of an impatient kind of guy so I paid the extra $8 and did next day shipping. It’s for delivery right now. I got out a 32gb SD card yesterday and put an image of Raspbian on it, so when it arrives this afternoon, I simply have to assemble the unit, pop in the memory card, and go to work. Right now I’m like a little kid on Christmas Eve looking out the window waiting for Santa — in this case the UPS guy — to arrive. The nice thing is I am off today and I only have work until 10am tomorrow, which means I have plenty of time this weekend to get things configured exactly how I want them. I can’t wait!!

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