Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Retired but very much alive!

There is a saying, "Grow or Die." Well, I have been working on the internet, managing web servers and developing web sites for the past several years. It has been satisfying and I have been able to help out some businesses, individuals and organizations; however, there is so much more that I am interested in and a disciplined approach is appropriate. is back to school for awhile. Straight west of our Washington home in the Maple Leaf community within Seattle, less than a mile as the crow flies, is the North Seattle Community College. They have a special program that I call "the old guy program" designed for people in my age bracket to continue their education at a reduced tuition. We have to wait for a week after normal students complete their enrollment to make sure there will be space. Do you know of any advanced computer/IT classes that are bulging at the seams? So waiting was no problem.

Of the four IT faculty members only two are teaching this quarter; one fellow took a high-paying industry job and another is off enjoying the benefits of a fellowship elsewhere. The result is that the most reasonable course of study is UNIX networking or UNIX networking or UNIX networking in a LINUX environment. Well that is what I chose. My particular course is IT 140 -- UNIX Scripts for Network Administrators covering primarily Bash and Perl scripting for Linux.

Our old Honeywell mainframe for the Office of Public Instruction used a version of UNIX called Level 6. They called it a minicomputer, but it had enough computing power to keep track of the state's public schools--students, teachers, transportation, federal grants and all the other financial issues. Public schools are the largest single item in the state budget and we passed out all that money very efficiently. We had COBOL, FORTRAN, a great database language and a great script editor. To begin with in the 1970's this was a room-sized computer but we upgraded to rack-mounted hardware with hard drives that were only the size of washing machines; the disks were removable too. Well, I was only a user on this system so I had no cause to study the system administration for it.

Now with free versions of LINUX readily available and with LINUX providing most of the horse power to drive the INTERNET, it is time to pick up some of those system skills...
Stay tuned.

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