Various for 5 Jan 2014

I bought a new router… an Asus RT-N66R. I’m pretty happy with it save for its inability to establish site-to-site VPNs. I’m still researching it, but I should be able to flash a third party firmware and get those features. Otherwise this thing is pretty awesome. It replaced my RV-08 and my venerated WRT54G running DD-WRT and has improved network stability immensely. If you’re in the market, I recommend it. You don’t need the new AC standard. Hell, until yesterday I was still running 802.11g without much issue.

I’m listening to a new Aesthetic Perfection single: the Skold remix of Big Bad Wolf. I first heard it on RSA‘s Best of 2013 episode. If you dig on EBM, synthpop, et cetera and you aren’t listening to this podcast, you must be living under a rock. Interesting note… this is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) podcast on the Internet… going strong since 1998! I’ve personally been listening since at least 2008. I say this every year, but I swear I’m going to donate some cash to the show this year. I’ve gotten at least $500-worth of entertainment from the show… Todd deserves at least a few ten spots if not a hundred spot.

The holidays are over. I hosted my mom and step-dad for Thanksgiving, Jennifer’s parents for Christmas, and my friends Matt and Chris on separate trips. Throw in a New Year’s Eve party with 15 people, too… and put together the squadron’s Christmas party which had over 80 people in attendance. It’s been a rough six weeks or so. Jennifer’s cooking was delicious, the guests were fantastic and I gained a lot of experience in party planning, but I’m glad it’s over. It’s back to a normal, slower-paced and less stressful lifestyle. Better food, more exercise and so on.

We didn’t really do gifts this year. It was nice. Instead of stressing trying to find stuff I think family and friends would enjoy, we simply did the Christmas card thing and contributed to my squadron’s “adoption” of a struggling Alamogordo family. They needed sheets and beds, a vacuum, shoes for the kids, toys and a litany of other things. My squadron came together and took care of the vast majority of those things. Some people even cooked them a full-up Christmas dinner. I really dug doing that and anticipate I’ll be participating in the program again next year. Save yourselves the hassle and social pressure in December 2014… adopt a family. (It’s also cheaper!)

During these last six weeks I wrapped up a Master’s class on databases, too… CS 669 Database Design and Implementation. Aside from bettering my knowledge of SQL, relational algebra and so on, I used Oracle 11g and thus learned how to install, configure and manage it. It’s a powerful database system, but holy hell is it a bitch to administer. Give me MySQL any day. Using the InnoDB storage engine you can get damn near all of the same functionality of Oracle and that’s good enough for the projects I work on. I start my next class in 10 days, this time CS 695 Enterprise Information Security. Once that one is complete, I’ll be halfway to completion which I expect this coming December.

And that’s that. There’s plenty of smaller bits I could write about, but it’s late and time to go to bed. ‘Til next time…

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