Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Busy day yesterday, spilling in to this morning. I made several changes in gear and stuff:

  • I replaced the Equinox, which has demonstrated a distressing tendency to break down. Four major (i.e., a week or more in the shop for repairs) break-downs. The last EQ Waterloo happened 236 miles from home, in Raleigh, NC. After the dealer fixed it, the ‘check engine’ light came on and subsequently went back off twice. Not happy driving a vehicle I don’t feel like I can trust. So the new ride is a 2014 Honda Accord, my first ‘ferrin’ car. It’s newer, gets better mileage, and has all the bells and whistles I wanted (power-everything, bluetooth connectivity to my phone, cruise, backup cam, and (bonus!) tinted windows. Ironically, one of the songs I heard on the radio while puzzling my way through configuring the bluetooth connection was Changes by David Bowie, thus inspiring this post’s title.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    I also replaced my phone. I was up for upgrade and the Samsung Note II that I thought I’d never get rid of had begun to show signs of its age. Slow, slow, slow. Plus, the camera has always sucked. I stuck with Samsung, though, and got a Note 4. I really like it, but it’s going to take me days to get it configured the way I like. I don’t know if I’m going to root it or not, but I’m content. Getting the phone also resulted in a strange, deja vu sensation, where I had just come from the car dealer and all that paperwork, then segued straight into another round of paperwork and payments. All good, though! I’m kind of locked in to Samsung, not that I really mind. Apparently, my Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch will only connect to other Samsung products. This strikes me as weird, but it is what it is, as they say.
  • Finally (yesterday) I replaced my five-year-old router with something a little more contemporary. I’ve been trying to configure the thing to allow VPN and remote desktop connections between my work machine and my home network without success. Trying to decipher Asus’ ‘almost-English’ instructions gave me a headache. So I opted for a Netgear Nighthawk X6 (AC3200) Tri-Band WiFi Router. It’s a beast of a box with six antennae
    Netgear Nighthawk X6 WiFi Router
    that supports 2.4 GHz and two bands of 5GHz (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11 a/n/ac). Though my important machines are hard-wired into the network, the home entertainment machines aren’t, so we ought to see some improved performance. It gave me a little grief in installation, because it assumed I have a dynamic IP, so I had to configure it manually. Which necessitated rehooking the Asus up so I could access the settings (netmask, default gateway, and DNS1 & DNS2, that I’d forgotten over time). After that, it was a cinch.
  • So, finally, this morning, I upgraded the RAM in my new PC from the 16GB that Dell sent me to the 32GB that I had asked for. I’ll hand it to Dell, though. Even though they screwed up my order, they did provide me with a machine that was a snap to upgrade. One screw to crack the case, then 10 minutes to pop out the old RAM (another shot at Dell: 4x4GB sticks instead of 2X8GB. Thanks a lot!) and pop in the new. So now the new machine has some added horsepower and the open case PC gets an unanticipated memory upgrade from 4 GB to 16GB. Win-win, I guess.

In other news, I added a social media plugin to my WordPress installation, if you didn’t notice. I don’t know how it’s going to work, but thought it’d be fun to experiment with. Most of my ‘visitors’ are bots anyway, but what the heck — it’s a ‘social media world’ out there these days. Might as well experiment.

I’ve got to get some school work done today. I need to do a video for my Sysadmin class about the Amazon Web Service interface for our lab Tuesday. I haven’t mentioned it here, but I attended a seminar last week in Atlanta that was hosted by Amazon (AWSome Day Atlanta). I really learned a lot, and hope to bring some of that into the classroom. The cloud is only going to grow. I think that it’ll be very beneficial for my students to be able to include familiarity with AWS on their resumes. Plus, it’s fun! So, there’s that. And I’m still behind on grading, though that’s all I did Friday. I made a lot of progress, but the semester’s end is nigh, and I have to line those ducks up.

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