Taco Soup

Recently I wanted to find something I could create with hamburger that wasn’t hamburgers or spaghetti. After some hunting on line, I found Taco Soup to sound pretty tasty actually. A couple of sessions later and I had what I thought was a pretty good recipe and simple to double for larger groups (when the band is over for example 🙂 ).

  • 2 pounds of hamburger
  • 1 15oz can of sweet corn, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 package of Original El Paso taco mix
  • 1 heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to taste (medium hot; adjust as required)
  • 1 1/2 cup of water

In a medium pot, combine the corn, beans, tomatoes, package, cayenne pepper, and water and cook on medium heat.

Chop up the onion and in a frying pan, add oil (I use olive oil generally). Cook the chopped up onion for about 5 minutes, until they start to clear. Then add the hamburger. Cook the hamburger until done.

By then, the pot of ingredients should be slowly boiling. Add the hamburger and onion to the pot, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Current Home Servers

This has come up several times and I can’t always remember all the servers I have set up for one reason or another. Many times it’s just because the subject I’m on has me listing the relevant servers plus a few I remember. But I’d like to have, at least, a snapshot in time of what I have running in case it comes up again. I can just point to my blog post 🙂

The physical environment consists of:

  • Dell R710
  • 192 Gigs of Ram
  • 2 8 Core Xenon x5550 2.67 GHz CPUs
  • 2 143 Gig 10,000 RPM Drives set up as a RAID 1 (mirror)
  • 4 3 TB 7,200 RPM Drives set up as a RAID 5
  • 4 Onboard Ethernet Ports
  • 1 4 Port 1 Gigabit PCI Card
  • 1 10 Gigabit PCI Card
  • 2 2 port Fiber HBA PCI Cards
  • Dell R710
  • 288 Gigs of RAM
  • 2 6 Core Xenon X5660 2.8 GHz CPUs
  • 2 143 Gig 10,000 RPM Drives set up as a RAID 1 (mirror)
  • 4 3 TB 7,200 RPM Drives set up as a RAID 5
  • 4 Onboard Ethernet Ports
  • 1 4 Port 1 Gigabit PCI Card
  • 1 10 Gigabit PCI Card
  • 2 2 port Fiber HBA PCI Cards
  • Sun 2540 Drive Array
  • 12 3 TB Drives

I also have a couple of UPSs which have enough power to keep the servers up for 20 minutes or so while I get things shut down along with a Gigabit business switch. Since we’re on High Speed WiFi for our Internet, this is all internal networking and not intended for external use.

I’ve installed VMware vSphere on the two R710’s and through VMug (the VMware User’s Group), I purchased a vCenter license to tie them both together.

I’ve since created some 45 servers (and destroyed a lot more over time) as I install servers to test various bits I’m interested in.

First off, my development environment. This consists of my source code and CI/CD stack.

  • Home Dev – Server using rcs and my scripts to manage code. This is my personal code. This also hosts the development review of my personal web sites. Testing changes and such.
  • Work Dev – Server using rcs and my scripts to manage code. This is a duplicate of my environment at work. I use the same scripts with just a different configuration file for the environment. Like Home Dev, this hosts the development review of my work web sites.
  • Git – Server using git for my code management. I’m gradually converting my code on both Home Dev and Work Dev to using git to manage code.
  • Gitlab – Part of the CI/CD stack, this is the destination for my git projects.
  • Artifactory – The artifacts server. This holds distribution packages, docker images, and general binaries for my web sites.
  • Jenkins – The orchestration tool. When changes occur on the Gitlab site, Jenkins pushes the changes up to my Production server hosted in Miami.
  • Photos – This is my old source code and picture site. Much of this has been migrated to my Home Dev server and is on the way to my Git server and CI/CD pipeline.

Next up are the database servers used for various tasks.

  • Cassandra – Used by Jeanne to learn the database. Several of the database servers are learning tools for either Jeanne or myself.
  • MySQL Cluster (2 Servers) – Used by me to learn and document creating a cluster and to start using it for my Docker and Kubernetes sessions.
  • Postgresql – Jeanne’s learning server.
  • Postgresql – Server used by both Jira and Confluence.
  • MS-SQL – Jeanne’s Microsoft learning server.

Monitoring Servers come up next.

  • Nagios Servers (3) – Used to monitor the three environments. The first monitors my remote Miami server. The second monitors site one. And the third monitors site two.

And the Docker and Kubernetes environment

  • Docker Server – Used to learn how to create containers using Docker.
  • Control Plane – The main Kubernetes server that manages the environment and Workers
  • Workers (3) – The workers that run Docker and the Kubernetes utilities.
  • ELK – The external logging server for Kubernetes and Docker. Since Docker containers are mutable, I wanted to have an external logging source to keep track of containers that might be experiencing problems.

Next Automation servers.

  • Ansible Tower – Site 1 Ansible server that also hosts Tower.
  • Ansible – Site 2 Ansible server. Used to automatically update the servers.
  • Salt – Configuration Management tool used to keep the server configurations consistent.
  • Terraform – Server for automatic builds of VMs.

Some utility or tool servers. Used to manage the environment.

  • Sun 2540 – VM used to manage the 2540 Drive Array
  • Jumpstart – Jumping off point to manage servers.
  • Tool – Site 1 Tool server. Scripts and such for the first site.
  • Tool – Site 2 Tool server. Scripts, etc…

More general administration servers.

  • Identity Management – A central login server.
  • Syslog – The main syslog server for the environments.
  • Spacewalk – The RPM Repository for the servers. Instead of each of the 45 servers going out to pull down updates, updates are pulled here and the servers pull from the Spacewalk server.
  • Jira – Agile server for managing workflow.
  • Confluence – Wiki like server. Tied into Jira.
  • Mail – Internal Mail server. Mainly as a destination for the other servers. Keeps me from sending email out into the ether.
  • Inventory – Server that keeps track of all the servers. Configuration management essentially.
  • pfSense – Firewall and gateway to the Internet

And finally the personal servers.

  • Plex Movie Server – Hosts about 3 TB of movies I’ve ripped from my collection.
  • Plex Television Server – Hosts about 3 TB of television shows I’ve ripped from my collection.
  • Backups – Backs up the remote Miami server.
  • Samba – Back up server for all the workstations here at Home.
  • Windows XP – A workstation used to be able to continue to use my HP scanner and Sony Handycam, both which only work with XP.
  • Windows 7 – No really reason other than I can.
  • Status – My Status Management software. Not really used right now.
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Guitar Dreams

Probably a common dream for guitarists 🙂

We’re loading out to go to a gig. I ask someone to grab my stuff and we head over.

Small hole in the wall place, narrow and a little dark, large window at the front and I can see across the street a corner shop.

We’re playing but I can’t seem to get any volume. I walk up to a short/wide amp, black face and a little beat up with worn corners, turn down my guitar volume and turn up the amp, I go back and try to turn up the guitar but it’s still muted sounding. We’re playing Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name.

I can’t seem to remember how to play and I’m slow, the neck is insanely wide, almost like I’m trying to play the body of the guitar, so I have to reach around to press on the strings. I hear where I’m supposed to be but can’t seem to get there.

The guys are looking at me as if to ask, “What the fuck?”

I realize my pedal board is missing. The guy must have missed grabbing it when he grabbed my guitar. I’m playing clean but getting no volume. The guitar has knobs that add distortion but still no volume.

Okay, the owner is annoyed, the customers are annoyed and don’t want to hear Bon Jovi. Okay, Killing In The Name. I tune my guitar to drop d but without my board, I don’t have the starting flanger sound. I give it my best shot though.

What’s this though, I hit the lead in notes, *flang* *flang* *flang* but it changes to *dah* *dah* *dah-da* *dah-da* *dah* (Bon Jovi). And still a too wide neck, and no volume.

The customers are down to a handful and the guys break out an envelope with song requests, two columns typewritten, about 8 songs in each column, the owner turns up the music player. I’m looking over the guys shoulders at the songs and hoping I can get the chord changes so I can muddle along.

It’s getting dark and the shop I can see across the street has their roll down cage in place.

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State Of The Game Room – 2018

During the past year, because of my band taking off, the game room was moved from the central room to the music room and the music room moved to the central room. There’s a lot more room for the guys to play and there’s sufficient room in the game room, formerly music room, to game. Currently I have a Shadowrun group that plays every Sunday. It does seem a touch tight but we’re really sitting around the table so it’s not terrible.

Of course, moving everything was a bit of a pain but I got it done in a week and the guys helped with the bigger Kallax shelves. Generally when I get new games, they’re stuck every which way on top of shelves or on the games in the shelves. Most recently, in preparation for the game room reorganize, I picked up a few more 1×4, 2×2, and 2×4 shelves to better organize the games. It does prove to show that games will fill every available space 🙂

I also took on the task of ensuring all my games were in my inventory. I also identified that I had found the game (there are about 15 or so that I haven’t been able to find since the move) and whether or not I’d played the game. I will remind folks who goggle at the list that it just shows that I’ve played the game, not how many times I’ve played it. Seeing a few hundred plays over 50 years doesn’t seem like a lot but taking into consideration dozens if not hundreds of plays for some games will put some perspective in the data 🙂

Since I updated the inventory, I can’t give you a definitive number of new games for the year. I’ve picked Gloomhaven as a starting point for 2018 as it was released in mid January. Since Gloomhaven, I’ve added 338 items to the inventory.

List of the RPG game system purchases:

* Shadowrun – The bulk will be fill-it-in digital purchases as my gaming group started this past summer and I wanted to have all the digital stuff ready for the group (I tend to play with a laptop and iPad vs a gigantic collection of books; but the books are available if needed).
* Dungeons and Dragons.
* Paranoia – I kickstarted the new Paranoia and hit NobleKnight to fill in my collection. I’d only picked up a few Mongoose books and needed to fill things in.
* Starfinder
* Star Trek – New system that looks interesting. I may spring it on the group at a later date.
* Conan 2d20 – I’m a big fan of Conan anyway so this was a must have
* Star Wars
* Pathfinder
* Genesys

That drops the list down to 83. List of the card game purchases and updates:

* Arkham Horror the card game
* Netrunner the card game
* Clank
* DC Deck Building
* Exploding Kittens
* Joking Hazard
* Munchkin

This brings down the number of board games to 57. Of those, actual new ones (vs hitting the used game store) are:

* Arboretum
* Betrayal Legacy
* Captain Sonar
* Cave vs Cave (Caverna)
* Chicago Express
* Dragon Castle
* Forbidden Sky
* Gloomhaven
* Founders of Gloomhaven
* Sanctum of Twilight (Mansions of Madness)
* Roll for the Galaxy
* The Rise of Fenris (Scythe)
* Shadowrun Zero Day
* Spoils of War
* Colonies (Terraforming Mars)
* Prelude (Terraforming Mars)
* Rails and Sails (Ticket to Ride)
* Triplanetary (Kicktarter)
* Green Hoarde (Zombicide)

With everything else, we only got to play a few of the above games (bolded). My band had its first gig in August so we were practicing hard 🙂 I’ve also spent more time on my Shadowrun group and especially the program I created and have been frantically updating for Shadowrun 5th Edition.

Some of the Reddit Boardgaming questions answered here:

How long have you been involved in the hobby?

Since I was young so about 50 years.

What would you change about your collection if you could?

Tough question. I get games because I’ve played them with others or they’re recommended. Since it’s generally just Jeanne and me, more two player games would be optimum. The only real change would be paying more attention to the number of players for the game. The Thing is an awesome game but really needs 6 or so players for it to work.

Which games might be leaving my collection soon?

Leave? You can’t leave me. None actually. I went through a phase back in the mid 90’s where I almost sold off what I had but the company (since bought by Noble Knight) only offered me pennies on the dollar (and only a few) and I had to ship it to them killing even more so I basically just kept them while I got more into video games. Now I’m glad I kept them, if only for nostalgia.

What haven’t I played?

Well, most of the games I bought before 2006 I’ve played. I gradually picked up more games between 2006 and 2012 and then really started exploring board games. I also have a pretty large collection of RPG books mainly because I used them for ideas for my AD&Dr1 game I ran for many years. In checking my game report, as of right now:

* Board Games: Inventory: 361, Played: 156, Percentage Played: 43.21
* Card Games: Inventory: 107, Played: 46, Percentage Played: 42.99
* Role Playing Games: Inventory: 276, Played: 31, Percentage Played: 11.23

The RPG Games stats are a bit misleading as well since I generally have multiple copies of core rule books for use the table or for various editions. For instance, I have probably 25 Shadowrun core books from 1st Edition up through 5th Edition. Same with D&D. I have several DM’s Guides from 1st Edition up through 5th Edition. Both include Collectable editions (the numbered Shadowrun books for instance) and even a few books for different languages. I have a Spanish and German Shadowrun core book.

In looking at my report, including every game, module, and expansion, I have 3,005 items. This doesn’t include dice though which exceed that by at least another 1,000 🙂

What are your favorite games?

This shifts so much that it’s hard to pin down. Cosmic Encounters, Car Wars, Shadowrun, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Red Dragon Inn, Elder Sign, Eldritch Horror, Netrunner, Castles of Burgundy, Pandemic Iberia, Bunny Kingdom, DC Deck Building, the list goes on.

Favorite Boardgame of the past year?

I’d say Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails was the one we enjoyed playing the most. We introduced it to several others who have also purchased the game.

Most played boardgame?

Probably something like Cosmic Encounters outside something like Risk or Monopoly 🙂

What is your least favorite game?

That’s a tough question in that most games are somewhat fun and/or interesting. Probably the one that disappointed me most was Fragged. It’s a Doom video game set to board game and really doesn’t translate well. We played it once and decided we’d rather play the video game 🙂

I will say that we did try several of the Legendary card games and really had a hard time playing them. I particularly like Big Trouble in Little China but the Legendary game we played just killed the game itself for us and I haven’t picked up another since then.

Next boardgame purchase?

No real plans on a specific board game. I mainly look forward more to the next Shadowrun book.

On to the pictures! I have 4 5×5 Kallax shelves. Three 2×4 Kallax shelves. Two 2×2 Kallax shelves. And 5 1×4 Kallax shelves. That’s 152 Kallax squares (not all filled though). Pictures are basically 3 or 4 squares wide and two shelves high so there are a lot of pictures.

Full Gallery: Photo Gallery (Note that you can click on the pics here to see the full size pic.)

Come on in!

It is a bit narrow but it’s a game room. As long as tables and such fit, it should be good.

The top row here are some miscellaneous stuff including on the right, my Dad’s old chess set. This is the first shelf on the left as you enter the room.

Next shelf.

This is a side shelf to the second shelf. Just trying to make us of the space.

You can’t really see this shelf from the door due to the angle of the room.

One of the 2×4 + 2×2 shelves.

And the other 2×4 + 2×2 shelf.

This unit is one I might push the top shelf back a little. Lots of RPG books in this one so it’s a bit heavier than the others. That’s generally my Netrunner, Shadowrun, Arkham Horror, and Force of Will cards on the left.

And the final bookshelf. The top here also has miscellaneous stuff. Card decks I haven’t put into the above deck boxes, Cards Against Humanity, etc. On the right are a few more card decks including my Xxxenophile deck.

And behind the door, are my boxes for other miscellaneous stuff. Dice, card games, miniatures, Wings of War planes, playmats, etc.

And finally, my gaming table. Currently set up for Shadowrun. I have a second table I’m considering setting up for regular board gaming.

And that’s the list.

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Differences between Shadowrun 4th/20th Anniversary Edition and Shadowrun 5th Edition

Just documenting the differences between the two since I ran 4th for quite a few years and am starting in on 5th. I’ll likely expand things as I further gather information but at least the initial parts will be bullet points.

* Lots of price changes in gear but mainly bringing 5th to 3rd Edition levels. Lots of the 4th prices were dropped quite a bit.
* Limits have been added. This puts a cap on the total number of successes you can achieve when rolling dice. There are several however the Physical, Mental, and Social are the main ones. They’re derived from your Attributes. When you need to roll 15 dice for something, the limit is the maximum number of successes you can count regardless of the roll.
* Accuracy has been added to weapons. Accuracy is basically the same as Limits in that it dictates the maximum number of successes you can achieve.
* Spell Damage Resistance is Force – (some number) where in 4th it was (Force / 2) – (some number). The (some number) values are mostly positive where in 4th there were some positive and some negative (some numbers).
* Melee weapon Damage is Strength + (some number) vs 4th which was (Strength / 2) + (some number).
* Initiative in 4th was (Intuition + Logic) number of d6 dice. In 5th it’s (Intuition + Logic) as a base number and you roll 1d6 to increase the base.
* Cyberware and Bioware would add Initiative Passes, speed giving you an extra turn. In 5th they add extra d6 rolls to the dice pool to a maximum of 5d6. Passes are now similar to 3rd where the totals would be in place, 22, 19, 16, 13, 10, 9, 7 for the first Initiative pass, then 10 is subtracted and folks who still have positive Initiative values (12, 9, 6, 3) would go again, then 10 is subtracted and the rest (2) goes one more time.
* Hacking in 4th was attempted for User, Admin, and Security levels. In 5th you’re creating “Marks” which give you the same level of access (3 Marks max) and 4 Marks was the owner of the system.
* There are Cyberdecks in addition to Commlinks. Commlinks revert to being equivalent to smartphones with basic functionality and ‘decks have the extra common and hacking programs.
* Cyberdecks have four attributes however they’re reconfigurable on boot of the device and through a program, reconfigurable while active.
* In 4th, you’d combine a program’s rank and the appropriate commlink value to have a Dice Pool in order to complete a program task. In 5th, Programs simply provide bonuses to a separate list of actions. In 4th for example, you’d use the Data Search active skill plus the Browse program to create the dice pool and you’d need n successes to succeed. In 5th the ‘deck has attributes you’d use such as Data Processing and combine it with the Computer active skill to create the Dice Pool. The Browse program still exists but its only function is to cut the time searching the Matrix in half.
* Armor has been combined into a single stat
* There’s a “Grid Overwatch Division” (GOD) that keeps an eye on the Matrix. Using a Deck over a longer period of time can attract their attention which is a bad thing.
* Glitches have a slight change. Where it was “half of your dice pool or more”, it’s now “more than half your dice pool”. So it’s slightly harder to glitch.

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Winning White Bean Chili

Allow 1 1/2 hours to prepare unless you’re a supper chopper!
Makes about 6 large servings

* 1 large onion, chopped
* 5 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
* 1 tomatillo pepper, chopped
* 1 1/2 point of turkey breasts, chopped or turkey hamburger
* 2 4 ounce cans of chopped green chile peppers
* 3 tablespoons ground cumin
* 2 tablespoons ground coriander
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
* dash of bay leaves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or to taste)
* 4 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
* 2-3 cups of chicken broth (add as needed if the chili is too thick or there isn’t enough fluid)
* shredded Monterey Jack cheese (topper)

Directions for the crock pot

Have the crock pot out. In medium size frying pan, saute onion until soft and carmelizing. Add jalapeno, tomatillo, and garlic and saute a few minutes. Transfer to crock pot. Add a little oil to the pan, add turkey, cumin, coriander, white pepper, and cayenne and saute until the turkey turns white. Add the rest of the spices and canned chile peppers and saute a couple of minutes.

Transfer to the the crock pot.

Remove the pan from the burner and take one can of drained and rinsed beans and add it to the pan. Smash up the beans soaking up the oils and spices. Add to the crock pot. Add the rest of the beans to the crock pot and then add the broth until it’s about 1″ below the ingredients. Stir it all around until well mixed.

Cover and heat on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

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DevOps Interview

Did my interview Friday. Interesting in general. No real OS questions but questions on Kubernetes and Docker and interest in Helm. Then an actual hands on test. Configure Jenkins to upload a file from a Github site to an Amazon Web Site (AWS).

Git is a revision control software tool, github and gitlab are management sites for git. I’ve used revision control for 21 years but started poking at git last year.

Jenkins is a deployment tool. You set up a configuration that pulls code from github/gitlab when something changes and copies it up to a hosting site like a web server. I’ve used Jenkins for a couple of simple web sites I own.

I have an account for AWS but only poked at it a little. I created a Kubernetes site on Google as a learning project but that’s it.

So I spent 90 minutes on google getting this going, searching for how to upload to AWS from Jenkins, etc. I had a couple of false starts and at least one “sit back and think a minute” moment. They finally called time at 4pm with the task incomplete. I’m pretty sure I would have gotten it within a few more minutes. They had “copy directory blah up” but directory was a level down from the workspace directory.

I will say that I learned quite a bit from this test 🙂 Even for my personal sites. I used the test to rework my Jenkins process to exclude .git and use a shell command vs a plugin (less complicated).

Probably no on the job (nothing heard so far) but I took something away and need to do a little more poking.

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Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Two chicken breasts
6 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400F

Combine:

1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix it up and use it as a rub for the chicken.

Fold one slice of bacon in half and under each chicken breast. Wrap the other two around the chicken with the ends under the folded bacon on the bottom.

Put the two pieces into a non-stick frying pan with the heat on medium. You’ll flip it periodically to crisp the bacon on both the top and bottom of the chicken. The first cook should keep the bottom together for the flip.

Once the bacon is crispy/cooked, put the breasts onto a cookie sheet and slide into the oven. Cook them for approximately 15 minutes or when you insert a thermometer it hits 160F.

The main problem with breasts is people cook them too long which is why you test with a thermometer. While the juice from my chicked was a little pink, it was cooked and nice and juicy.

I also cooked some potatoes for about 30 minutes, probably overcooking them a touch but it kept the potatoes moist even for leftovers.

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Installing Container Linux on VMware

I have a VMware vCenter configuration at home. Two R710 servers connected as a cluster (VMUG subscription).

I was having a little trouble with installing CoreOS (aka Container Linux) and in general have issues due to most tutorials using Vagrant, Virtual Box, AWS, GCS, or even VMware Wrokstation. None of them are a problem honestly but I do have a bit more of an involved local setup and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of how to’s if you don’t have a VMware configuration.

Anyway, setting up CoreOS took a couple of tries but I got it done. It’s not all that hard honestly.

1. Download the CoreOS iso at https://coreos.com/releases
2. In vCenter, Create a new virtual machine.
3. Configure with 2 CPUs, 2 Gigs of RAM, and 40 Gigs of disk. It only needs 8 apparently but updates are by snapshot to new partitions so it’s nice to have space.
4. Under the virtual machine settings, VM Options, Boot Options, click the ‘Force BIOS setup’ checkbox.
5. Open a console.
6. Boot the VM.
7. You’ll be at a BIOS screen, under the VMRC menu, select the downloaded coreos iso.
8. Under boot, make sure you’re booting to CD
9. Save and boot.
10. Once it’s up and at a core@localhost prompt, you’ll need to create a password.

sudo openssl passwd -1 > cloud-config-file

11. Edit the cloud-config-file like so. The interpreter must find the first line as it is or it’ll fail:

#cloud-config
users:
  - name: 'login-name'
    passwd: 'openssl generated passwd'
    groups:
      - sudo
      - docker
hostname: hostname.domain.name

12. Install coreos by running this command:

sudo coreos-install -d /dev/sda -C stable -c cloud-config-file

13. Under VMRC, unmount the iso.
14. Reboot
15. Log in.
16. The system starts in DHCP mode if you didn’t configure it in the cloud config file. To give it a static ip, in ”’/etc/systemd/network”’, create a file called 00-ens192.network. It can be any file name but starting with numbers will order the startup if you configure other bits of the system.

[Match]
Name=[interfacename]

[Network]
DNS=[dns]
Address=[ipaddress]
Gateway=[gatewayaddress]

And done

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Presenting Homelabs To Potential Employers

A recent posting mentioned documenting your HomeLab on your Resume to show you’re going above and beyond what your job requires. Shows initiative and interest. I know when we’re looking at candidates, we want to find people who have external geeky interests like a HomeLab. In some interviews, people have been asked to diagram out their HomeLab and are dinged if they don’t have one or can’t document it on the fly.

But an alternative view was also posted in that is there a Work/Life balance. Are you taking the time to do other things outside of tech? Is tech your sole hobby?

Personally my main hobby is table top gaming. Board Games, War Games, Card Games, Dice Games, and Role Playing Games. Games. In fact, it partially got me into computers. That and I was a typesetter on a computerized typesetting machine back in 1982 or so. Typesetting up a Dungeons & Dragons character sheet got me thinking about it and then creating a Car Wars vehicle generation program in Basic got me a job. But I also tour on a Motorcycle, Ski, Snowshoe, and yes, learn new technologies with my HomeLab.

Since the mid-90’s, my home environment has consisted of at least a separate Firewall system (generally my previous desktop when I upgraded). Back in the early 00’s, I signed up for an external server hosted in Miami where I could put pictures and continue to maintain my Unix knowledge (an OpenBSD server, now a CentOS one).

A few years back I was gifted two Dell R710s that were being replaced at work. I’ve since installed vSphere to have a virtualized environment, pfSense (firewall plus) as the first Virtual server, and then a bunch of servers to isolate the things I do for fun and to learn new tech. Recently I signed up for the VMware Users Group (VMUG) and their Advantage program. This gives me access to the vCenter software and the Operations options to let me turn my two ESX servers into a cluster (and mimicking work much better). We’re moving towards a Private Cloud using vRealize technology so I have access to that too (not installed… yet).

I have a bunch of different servers, syslog, Space Walk, Samba, a couple of development servers, MySQL, several web servers, a CI/CD pipeline is being staged (Jenkins, Artifactory, Ansible, and GitLab), and I’m in the process of rebuilding my Kubernetes servers (3 Masters/3 Workers).

I’ve recently been tasked with taking ownership of the Kubernetes development process, in part due to my explorations of Kubernetes at home. I’m moving the server management scripts over to a GitLab server at work that I built. Again, in part due to me setting it up at home (I have a Revision Control System (RCS) system at home and work now and moved to git).

It’s helping me get more familiar with the new DevOps ideas plus the CI/CD pipeline tools, Orchestration with Kubernetes, and Microservices with Docker.

The question though is, should this kind of information be better documented on a resume? Should there be a HomeLab section or a Learning section, something that shows your interest, motivation, and desire even if your job doesn’t require you to use these tools?

There’s also the idea that such things be documented in a Cover Letter. You see the position, supply your resume, and then in the Cover, call out your HomeLab. It might be a better place for some positions where you’re looking at a specific job. Over the years though, I’ve seen positions where you supply only your resume to a company database which is then mined when a position opens. Tough to supply a cover for a job you don’t know about.

It’s something to think about.

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