CCIE Pursuit Blog

December 2, 2008

Status Update: Back From The Dead

Where I’m at? Two turntables and a micro….damn you Beck!

It’s been a bit since I last updated the blog.  I’ve been busy as hell the last few weeks.  We’re approaching an end-of-the-year “change freeze” at work.  For a little over a month, no changes can be made without [insert favorite deity here]’s direct approval.  That’s great except that during the weeks right before the change goes into affect we get slammed because everyone is trying to install everything that they can before the change freeze begins.  We’ve also lost some staff and they have not been replaced so we’re taking on their work.  Our stock is in the crapper and the US is in a recession (since December of last year it seems).  Needless to say, work has not been fun.

On the home front, I’ve been catching up on projects that were on hold during the summer due to my studies.  Winter is now here and that means a bunch of home projects.  School is in full effect, so I have to make sure my son spends more time studying than watching Cartoon Network and playing Lego Star Wars (not an easy task).  There are also my kids’ sports and other extracurricular activities that I need to support/attend.  Throw some holidays into the mix and you’ve got an even bigger time-suck.

Did I mention that winter is here?  I fucking hate winter.  I love Minnesota, but only for 9 months a year.  I had thought that by now that I would be used to winter, but that’s not happening.  It’s a cold, dead, miserable season and it bums me out to no end.

I haven’t really been able to get good traction on my studies.  For the last few weeks I simply haven’t had the time to do much studying.  I’m still setting aside weekends for my studies, but even good chunks of those have been eaten up by on-call and other issues.  I’m losing my knowledge in some technologies.  I have done two complete labs since my failed lab attempt.  I have been working on technology-based labs, but my CLI sessions have been few and far between.

I’ve also been pulled in a number of different directions with my studies.  My boss is really stressing “convergence”.  Which, to him, means that we need to learn voice technologies.  Not how to troubleshoot existing voice implementations in our network, but rather learning generalized, low-level voice technologies.  To placate the boss man, I have been studying for the CVOICE exam.  I plan to take either that exam or the CCNA-Voice exam sometime before the end of the year.

The good news is that the worst is over.  The freeze change starts next Monday so work will quiet down.  I’m (mostly) caught up on my home projects.  I should have time available once again to jump into my studies.  I have to sit down and create a study plan and stick to it.

I recently installed Dynamips (via GNS3) on a laptop running Ubuntu.  It’s duo-core 1.5Mhz (I think) CPU with 2 gigs of RAM.  I was able to get the full IE topology running.  I now have the Dynamips Workbooks from IE as well.  Everything was rocking until I got to the BGP section of the lab.  My CPU(s) maxed out and I was seeing EIGRP neighbors randomly dropping.  I mucked about with different idlepc settings, but I couldn’t get the CPU load to drop.  I was disappointed because I really want to use Dynamips so that I have a virtual rack available at any time.  So I bought myself a Christmas gift: 

Combo w/ Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4GHz – 1066FSB – 8MB Cache)
  Asus P5N73-AM
  Basic Fan / Heatsink
  White Thermal Compound – 1 Use Packet
  4GB – PC2-6400 (DDR2-800)
  (Dual Channel Memory Kit)
  Okia 600 Watt Power Supply (Dual Core Certified)

It cost just over $300 and should arrive this Thursday.  Of course right after I ordered this I found a tutorial on how to run Dynamips across multiple boxes.  Oh well, I need/deserve a new box anyways.  🙂

This will give me a box to run a full IE Dynamips topology on so that I can lab during any free time I get at home.  I’ll still be using my rack at work during weekends as well as occasionally renting rack time, but this should help me maximize my free moments.

Anyhoo…I’m back on the CCIE train and I will be blogging more frequently going forward.


  1. Welcome back… to your own blog.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — December 2, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  2. Your Back! I check for updates everyday!

    Comment by D Y — December 2, 2008 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  3. Same here! I have an RSS Feed to your blog and was disappointed by the lack of activity :(…glad to see some posting lol.

    Comment by Jeff Cartier — December 3, 2008 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  4. Hey man…I’m a Michigander so I feel your winter pain. On the other hand, at least in winter I am more motivated to stay inside and work on my rack instead of going out anywhere

    Comment by Joe A — December 3, 2008 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

  5. Good to see some activity from your side 🙂 🙂 🙂 .

    Comment by Dara — December 4, 2008 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  6. wow, nice PC setup i must say.

    My Pc setup is

    Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.4GHz – 1066FSB – 8MB Cache)
    2GB RAM
    64bit window Xp( trying to learn ubuntu 8.10 and see how that will work for me cos i read a post that said with ubuntu one can run like 19 routers at low cpu)

    i would love to follow ur success with dynamips.

    i also bought 2 3550 switches( i will love to know how u succeed in connection ur live switches to dynamips.

    well incase u need Quad PCI card , i will recommend Adaptec ANA64044( they are cool and i just bought two to enable me have 8-PCI slot on my desktop)

    hoping to hear from you again

    Comment by Nwachonky — December 4, 2008 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  7. sorry i meant to say Adaptec ANA62044

    Comment by Nwachonky — December 4, 2008 @ 11:56 am | Reply

  8. I’m just curious where you got your pc for that price. Looks like a monster deal to me.

    Comment by TL — December 18, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Reply

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