Field and Project Work

Its been a busy couple of weeks, involving supporting the company at a major trade show in England and on the back of that then, its nice to be at a good stage within the major part of a project I am carrying out – a company wide email migration from Hybrid to true cloud based environment with O365.

Planning and implementing a project on this size while ensuring theres no  downtime is daunting thats for sure, but actually taking the time to plan the majority of the work properly has meant that out of just under 300 accounts, all bar one is migrated over at this point now, with minimal fuss or issues, Phase one completion is looming tomorrow with one account to go on getting the mailbox aspect to the cloud.

Next comes a week of sorting out all the stuff using the server as a relay internally to use accounts and authentication, followed by a left period before pulling the hybrid environment out of operation and switching to pure cloud based email.

All in all its been a fun and interesting couple of weeks so far and high tempo which is always good.

Decisions, Decisions…

Since passing the CCNA, after initially being relieved and elated to pass it, I have been wondering as to what next and where do I go from here, initial thoughts were to have a break from it, but on the other hand I think its time to look to the next certification I aim for within networking and buy a book again and start trawling the web for videos.

So far I seem to be leaning towards Cloud, Wireless or Design, though cloud is a large undertaking with two exams, similar to the CCNA it seems, although it does align with my work a fair bit.

Mission Accomplished – CCNA Completed

Absolutely chuffed to be blogging after what seems like a long break, I have basically been concentrating on the ICND2 for the last month and getting my CCNA completed, finally passing it today after nearly a year plugging away at it with self study, with a lot of help from one of my friend’s who’s already plugging away at higher cisco certifications and working in industry with them on a day to day basis (something I didn’t have access to in my previous role) and also thanks to my loving wife in releasing me from the nightly care of the children and their bedtime routine to allow me to get work done before tiredness puts a stop to learning for me.

Its still the most enjoyable and daunting IT thing I have done in years as it something outside my comfort zone, I got my ICND1 in April on the first try scraping it and not knowing what to expect, this time around though I managed to fail my first attempt at the exam after basically double guessing myself and letting doubt set in when working through it, so it proves that it can happen to anyone at any age (I’m 36)

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This time around though I let it stand when it came to answers, worked methodically through the questions and kept my nerve to pass, without altering answers on a whim, it was quite an elated feeling seeing the pass at the end, it returned on my investment in a small lab gear no end and many many hours of setting up semi complex networks on Packet Tracer to get it up and running the various switch technologies.

Especially as this is now the third professional IT qualification/accreditations that I have picked up within the last 12 months.

Whip is cracked – round 2

I took the same step again for my ICND2 and booked a date for the exam to whip me towards the CCNA, fair play my wife was the one who started cracking the whip to get this done, its made a bit worse for this one as the clock is ticking until they retire the examination announced about a month after I sat ICND1, so I have a window of three months before it effectively retires the exam and I have to start from scratch on the new material, so a crack couple of months study ahead.

I have a bit of a better help this time around, because of the switch of jobs I now have the opportunity to actually access and use Cisco switching in my day to day role, its something thats no longer locked off from my usage in my current job which was the frustrating case previously, so I am getting real first hand experiences finally of setting up VLANs on a network and CLI practice.

Hopefully it will help me pull into shape and get it sorted out in time.

Warcraft Movie – Genuinely underwhelming

As an ex-player, I looked forward to seeing the rich lore behind the game making the jump to the big screen, potentially it makes for some truly epic filmography if done right.

Release date came and went and I finally see the film, I came out thinking that I can’t say I really enjoyed the film all that much, which is a genuine shame and disappointment, the premise is there for greatness within the games universe, but overall I felt at best it was very rushed to get released and seemingly lacking in any decent character development and backstory or covering the gaps in the history for the characters in front of us.

Guldan had a long backstory that was missing and the titan’s and their servants were missing.

It was very jumpy in places playing a little hard and fast with the lore from its universe changing the canon for some key points that happened, its easy for me to criticise being probably targeted as a rabid fanboy here, though I would argue differently because it lost the flow of the story telling, also some characters engineered in made very little impact – the addition of Lothar’s son was one such character who was a little pointless.

One final criticism for me, despite the fact I come from a WoW background and I am extensively up on the lore, it didn’t take any time to explain anything though to people from the non-gaming backgrounds.

Overall I would say about 4 or 5 out of 10 at best, which is deeply disappointing for my expectations here.

Epic times ahead

Its been a busy few weeks for us, so I haven’t got around to updating in a while, first and foremost I have an exciting new job in the offing, its a private sector based job and I am stepping away from local government employment for the second time in my career.  Something I am relishing with my career plan and the new challenges it will bring.

I also passed the 100-101 Cisco exam I had been studying for, which has given me the first half of my CCNA so I am now Cisco CCENT certified to cap off an excellent couple of weeks, following an intense period of revision and study in the run up to the exam.  It was extremely rewarding the feeling of passing it and it was not an easy undertaking as a self study topic and trying to cover everything, but I have it down now to hopefully help me turn it into a full CCNA within the next 3/4 months with a  bit of effort on my part.ccent_network_sm

Onwards and upwards now to 200-101 now for the full CCNA and finish my notice period heading to my new role.

 

Countdown to CCENT Exam

I made a leap and booked my ICND1 exam last week, a good friend of mine suggested a while back to get the date booked and give myself a target, so I have done that and have a little under a month to prepare now, I have a few CBT Nuggets videos to finish off with some practical labs on ACLs/NAT and IPv6 and the rest of the course guide book to get through (currently a third of the way through it)

Its given me focus I will give it that and I have also invested in a month of VCE Exam Simulator to get to grips with the question format, I wasn’t far off 50% on my first bash at an exam on there, which isn’t too bad considering theres topic areas which I just don’t have under my belt yet.

Interesting and scary three weeks ahead now 🙂

iOS 9 iPad mini woes

I have realised since the last iOS9 update that both mine and the wife’s iPad Mini (version 1) have both been crawling along horribly slowly and crashing out largely because of adverts on the devices when web browsing on the device.

It happens on Safari and Chrome and its made equally frustrating by the fact that Apple appear to be putting the device out to a legacy footing now, as its an older 32 bit device and apparently you can’t get adblocking software for the non-64 bit devices from my web searching relating to it, which may help the experience.

It seems a new iPad will have to be gotten for me and the wife at some point in the year when it becomes super unbearable, I am betting the next update to iOS9 here now.

Paternity Leave Ending….

Sitting here at the moment, enjoying the last few days of my paternity leave, the little ones are both keeping the wife and I busy, the eldest has decided that he won’t sleep in his room now, as his sister is in with us in her cot, so its extra fun being woken when he decides to join us through the night and she’s feeding every two hours like clockwork.

Everyone as I type this is sleeping soundly around me as I am still a light sleeper wide awake as usual.

I dread the return to work a little (though not the actual place, people or job itself) and have been contemplating going into business for myself part time on top of it offering IT support locally for the end/home user and small business and I have even been looking at Domain names and LTD company registration and everything which is involved with setting up a small business getting basically stuck with the dreaded procrastination rather than settling down and cracking on with the CCNA work, so its time to knuckle down again and get on with ICND1 booking and getting through the Odom tome that accompanies it.

Exciting Times

Changes

Well, the newborn is here and her brother has really taken to her, he doesn’t like her sleeping much when he’s about and likes to control the wife and I in relation to who gets to cuddle his beloved little sister, which is quite adorable, she’s fun and remarkably quiet unlike her brother before her, who was always great at making his presence known to us.

Christmas

Christmas has been joyful this year because of this addition to our family, though our house seems to resemble a wing of Toys’r’us now with the grandparents spoiling them completely and I also had a lovely present of the Apple Watch Sport, which means that I have pretty much fully embraced apple at this point as I type this on my trusty rMBP.  I had the present a little early so I got to use it in my last few days of work before breaking up for paternity leave and christmas and I found it was noticeable straightaway how I no longer missed calls when I did not register the phones vibrations from time to time in my pocket, the haptic feedback on the wrist is excellent, though it cannot fix the fact that signal is still awful on EE at work, though I am seeing if our firewall team can allow for WiFi calling to remedy that problem once and for all for me there now we have site wide WiFi up and running.

CCNA

I have also resolved to sort out my ICND1 exam with absolute priority in the new year now, it’s the only way I will effectively change my working situation to better ends for my family, barring a lottery win in the meantime, I have watched the majority of the CBTNuggets videos now to be happy enough with that content, next step is to get through the ebook of the official CCNA material, a friend suggested that I book the exam to get myself prioritised to work towards it with major effort, which isn’t a bad idea either and I now only wait for the local Pearson centre to come back online when available to see if I can schedule it to have something to aim for.