Blogging in the New Year

Happy New Year’s Everybody! While it most definitely had its high points 2013 over all was a bit challenging for me. So with that said and a liberal dose of optimism I have to say that I am looking forward to what 2014 will put before us. While I’m sure the employer will have me start outlining some goals to work towards there, I’d like to share some personal goals I’ve thought of for 2014.

Enhance my scripting skills. Namely this means powershell, python, and esxcli with the end goal being to start performing greater automation throughout the enterprise. For years I’ve got by with some decent use of vbscript to do the basics on the Windows side of the shop because that’s where most of the need was. As our needs have started shifting towards the virtualization side and with the coming wave of Software Defined Networking (SDN) it’s about time I start learning something new.

Become VCP5 certified. Last year ended up being a pretty Cisco centric year for me from an educational standpoint with me reupping my CCNA and adding a CCNA Voice to the mix, not to mention attending Cisco Live. This year I want to build upon the VCA-Datacenter I gained recently and finally get around to doing the VCP 5 Datacenter exam. I’m still not a big fan of Vmware’s enforced class policy for certfication, but as I’ve already taken the Install, Configure and Manage vSphere 4 class this means all I have to take is the What’s New in vSphere 5.5 course.

Blog More on the Macro. One good thing about 2013 is I did what for me was a lot of blogging, mostly at I think in total I posted about 15-20 times last year and in the process I managed to start blogging for myself again, something I haven’t done in years. This year while I’ll still do some of the straight how to pieces that I did quite a bit of last year I want to use this medium to help myself find new ways of thinking and get out of my comfort zone, so expect to see more posts like this in the new year.

Attend a major IT conference again. Last year I had the great experience of attending Cisco Live in Orlando, Florida. It is always a good thing to be able to immerse yourself in situations where you can expand your knowledge and this was that ability on a grand scale. While I don’t know if it will be Cisco Live again this year, most likely it will be Vmworld, I definitely want to make this a yearly thing rather than an outlier.

Refocus on health (start running again!) For the past couple of years I’ve done what I consider to be a great job of focusing on my health and I have seen some pretty darn good outcomes, with any measure I can think of showing positive trends. For the past 6 months or so I’ve seen this focus wan as other things in life have done an excellent job of getting in the way, but this is something I want/need to change. I’m going to get back in the habit or running 3 or 4 times a week. Further look for a post in the near future regarding some of the mobile technologies I’ve found to be really helpful in managing your weight and overall health.

Provide greater training to fellow coworkers. This would be mostly to get more utilization out of already in place systems and greater efficiency out of staff. From our perspective this would mean less call IT, more doing. There are many ways you can describe my employer, but the way I tend to think of it is as a smaller medium size business with an enterprise point of view when it comes to technology. Over the course of the last few years we’ve made some great strides in putting new technology in place to increase the ability of our staff to collaborate and some have really caught on, others not so much. In a lot of these cases I think the lack of use comes from a general lack of understanding of how it works and I hope to rectify that this year.

Well that seems like plenty of list as it is so I’m going to go ahead and stop there. How about you? What goals do you have for this year? Let me know either in the comments below or on twitter @k00laidIT.


Raising a Woman in STEM

My daughter is 19 months old and already has a pretty good idea of what to do with an iPhone and iPad.  As a technical person myself I have great hope that my daughter will pursue a future in a STEM (short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related career; not because I want to her to follow in Dear Old Dad’s footsteps, but because I see the promise it holds for a life of learning and prosperity.  Driving into work this morning I was listening to a report on NPR regarding a recent study at the University of Texas found that girls are more likely to take Physics in High School and follow a more STEM related path when they grow up with a presence of women working in STEM.  While there are IT and engineering folks around, there is not a strong technology related community in my area, especially females, which got me to thinking about how can I help to get my daughter interested in such things? What can we as her parents do to make technology a potential path in her mind?

At home we try to do things that get her involved with technology even now.  We have family spread all over so she usually has a Facetime or Skype video call at least every couple of days, but we haven’t got into the games yet.  Looking at pictures on the iPad is a favorite activity as well.  While not necessarily tech, we abide by the old adage of “thou shalt read to thy child,” something that is a fact of nature in any of the STEM fields.

Going forward I’ve been looking at is the various summer camp options as she gets a bit older.  Locally (Huntington/ Charleston, WV area) I’ve been able to find the NASA Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA and Lego Robotics at Marshall University starting as early as age 5 but I’d love to find something in the 2-4 year old space.

At the educational level Marshall University offers a STEM focused preschool, but 35 minutes each way may be a bit much for pre-K on a daily basis.  After that we live in an area with an excellent school system but I don’t really see any options for focused education until the college level

That said, I’m opening it up to you.  What options have you found or what do you do with your child that’s tech related?  I’m mostly posting this in search of advice of others.  Feel free to comment here or hit me up on twitter @k00laidIT.