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This page describes my work space to give you an idea about the type of work that can be done here. I am not adverse to acquiring and integrating new hardware or learning new technology if it sounds challenging and fun.
This page describes my work area and suggests the type of jobs that can be done here. I am not adverse to acquiring and integrating new hardware or learning new technology.
Rosedale Software Consulting is a one-man sole proprietorship registered by me in the state of Maryland. Since retirement I have done some occasional consulting, mostly at home and mostly to help out friends who needed assistance to meet deadlines, etc. My résumé page describes my educational and work experience prior to my retirement in 1996.This page describes my work area, the hardware that is available, the major software packages available, and an indication of what each is used for. A separate project page elaborates on what I do with it
If you have a one-shot, limited scope task that matches any of these capabilities that you want to "outsource" (yes, I know it is a dirty word in some circles,) please use the form below to describe what you want done and give me a way to contact you. I will get back to you quickly to let you know whether I think I can help you or not and we can go from there.
At this time I am limited in my ability to travel because my daughter, who lives with me, has a rare and incurable form of cancer. She is a patient in a research program at the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute and is on full Social Security disability. I need to be available on short notice to take her to medical appointments or call 911. Telecommuting will generally not be a problem; frequent, distant, or lengthy travel to a client’s site could be. I cannot accept tasking with very short or tight deadlines because of this. My daughter's illness will always take priority over everything else.
Also, I don't work with people who lack a sense of humor because I don't have to.
This "vision statement," like the "mission statement" that follows it, are among the stupidest, most meaningless, bits of fluff that have evolved in recent years from the pontifications of self-styled and totally clueless so-called management "gurus." Their main use is to make work for incompetent wanna-be suits who have no other purpose in the corporate structure than to add to the size of the empire being built by equally incompetent but higher level suits who measure their own stature by the number of organization chart climbing monkeys who are below themselves in the corporate structure.
Life is fun compared with the alternative, challenges make life even more fun, and computers are fun. I mean to have fun!
While I was an undergraduate there was a joke floating around about a classified ad by a college student that read, "Lazy, indolent college student seeks part-time work to while away idle hours." I have no idea whether it was true or just an urban legend. But I'm not so sure that it doesn't describe me now....
Recent research indicates that keeping your mind active is a good way to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Preventing Alzheimer's by accepting challenges and having fun!
I have lived in my house for 15½ years. My basement was dry for 12 years. Then hurricane Isabella (October, 2003) stressed the external basement entrance, which had been deteriorating anyway. Some water found it's way in, and it damaged the tile floor. I had a mason repair the cement block work at the entrance and there has been no leakage since. I tore almost everything else out of the basement, upgraded the laundry area, completely replaced and rebuilt the bookshelves and storage areas, put two thick coats of DryLok on the cement block walls (four layers on the cement joints,) painted everything in brighter colors, and added a lot of lighting. Then I had a contractor install indoor/outdoor carpeting on all the floors.
I finished this work in April of 2004 around the time my daughter had to move in with me. I moved my office and computers out of what became her room to the basement. I added desks, chairs, several folding leg tables, and other office furniture. In July, 2004 I upgraded all my computers and added new printers and other hardware, and I have continued to add to the system ever since. All of the computers are protected by UPS. I am planning to add a new WINDOWS Vista computer with a dual-core CPU later this year after Vista has had a chance to stabilize and SP-1 has been released.
I built six programmer modules (basically bookshelves without bases) during the summer of 2006: one for each of the 3 workstations, one for each of the 2 desks, and one for the print center. You will see some of these in the photos below. They provide a lot more room for keeping peripherals and reference book within easy reach of the work stations. They also keep the "rat's nest" of wires out from underfoot.
I installed an Ethernet Cat 5e intranet years ago when I had a dial-up ISP in order to share Internet connectivity with my son whose computer was in the basement. This system has grown in time so that now I have DSL with RJ-45 outlets in my living room and all of the upstairs bedrooms, as well as an extensive system connecting all of the computers in the basement. At present there are six computers in the basement, one in my daughter's room, and five printers on print servers on the intranet. Every computer can print from any of the printers. The intranet can accommodate a total of 50 nodes.
The security of the hard-wired intranet should be obvious: this is not a "hot spot." No one can park in the vicinity of my house and read our traffic or send messages through our system. We detected no less than three wireless networks in the neighborhood when we were configuring a laptop recently.
I am connected to the Internet via a DSL modem. The signal from the modem goes into a router that has Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) and from there it can be accessed by all of the computers on the intranet. SPI routers will permit a packet from the Internet through only if the site it originates from has previously been contacted by a computer on the system. Packets there not requested by a computer on the system are sent to the big bit-bucket in the sky.
Work Station 1
There are two custom-built computers at this work station connected by a KVM switch. Computer 1 has Debian LINUX installed on it. I am presently taking a UNIX/LINUX SysAdmin certificate course (O'Reilly/University of Illinois) in order to convert as much of my operation to LINUX as possible, and perhaps eventually to running an Apache server. The obvious reason is obvious: LINUX is far more secure than WINDOWS. Work involving this computer or LINUX is not an option at this time.
Computer 2 is used for communications (Thunderbird) and Web browsing (Firefox.) It is also used as a backup file server for the rest of the computers in the center. All of the backup hard drives are external and are physically switched on and off when they are not in active use. They are turned on only when I am actually doing backups; otherwise they are off.
There are two scanners attached to the Computer 2. One scanner has an automatic document feeder. This computer has OmniPage 15 OCR software installed, and can be used for converting paper documents into text in a variety of formats. The second scanner is a high-resolution scanner that can be used for converting 35mm slides into JPEG or TIFF files that can be printed as 8 × 10 color pictures.
Work Station 2
This workstation also has two computers connected by a KVM switch. Computer 3 has the latest versions (CS2) of Photoshop and Illustrator and a digitizing tablet. No one would ever make the mistake of calling me an artist, but I know the ins and outs of both of these programs and I can do a lot with them. One client, a graphics artist, drew a series of cartoons that I converted to AI files using Illustrator.
I also have Microsoft Office Pro 2003, Office FrontPage 2003, and OmniPage Pro 15 on this computer. I use WORD for all of my snail-mail correspondence. I have done some consulting work involving EXCEL and PUBLISHER. As a former programmer, I can code macros for the Office products.
Computer 4 is mainly used for media duplication. Connected to this computer are a Numark T-1 turntable that can play both 78 and 33 RPM records, a cassette deck, a Sony VHS/DVD combo player, and a sound mixing board. Analog signals from these sources are fed in through a Creative Audigy 2 Platinum board. Diamond Cut Six, a digital signal reprocessing program, brings an impressive array of signal processing tools to the table that are used to clean up the digitized music files.
I have also installed Adobe Production Studio Premiere CS2 on computer 4 in anticipation of converting my old VHS tapes to DVD. It also has a TV card that can be used to record TV programs.
Work Station 3
This is my daughter's workstation. She is part of a team that designs and maintains a game on the Internet, has done some Web site construction for charitable groups, and also supports various volunteer groups such as Perverted Justice, etc. Because she is on full Social Security disability, she is not allowed to work for pay, but she is a valuable resource when I have questions in certain areas.
She has three computers on the intranet. One is used exclusively for online games, since games are often targeted by crackers. In case a virus or worse gets by our security, there is no personal data on this machine. One of the other computers is a standard WINDOWS box and the other one has Debian LINUX on it. She has already completed the UNIX/LINUX SysAdmin course and has her certificate.
Five printers are connected to the intranet by print servers so they can be accessed by any computer. Five printers? Well, that's a consequence of feature proliferation. Originally there was one laser and one inkjet printer. This laser printer still works well, so it remains in use today. The second laser printer was acquired because it prints on two sides of the paper (duplex.) The original color printer was replaced by one that had a higher resolution and is also a duplex printer. Next was a color printer for photographs that prints out to the edge of the paper. And finally, I acquired a printer that prints inkjet images on special CD's for my music project.
Additional Work Area
This space is available for tasks that need to be spread out for a while. It is also used as a workbench for minor computer surgery, such as adding or replacing circuit boards and internal hard drives. It is convenient for annual computer maintenance such as blowing out dust with compressed air or reseating boards.
All of my computers are partitioned into C:\, D:\, E:\, ..., etc. drives. The C:\ drives are used only for installed software. The D:\ drives contain disk images of all application CD's, all downloaded software and upgrades, and a text file to keep records of installation key codes and other information needed to re-install everything on the C:\ drive. All data is kept on the E:\, F:, etc. drives. All e-mail files and personal financial records are backed up daily to removable ZIP drives and stored off-line. Everything except the C:\ drive is backed up weekly to the external drives on computer 2, which, as noted above, is kept off-line by powering down these drives except for when they are being used for backup.
I use the backup program provided with WINDOWS because it is ready to go as soon as the operating system has been installed. Granted it doesn't compress the backup data, but storage is relatively cheap now and continues to get cheaper as time goes by. I recently installed 1 terabyte of external hard drive storage for under $500.
I scan weekly with several anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. I have only infrequently found spyware and never a virus. I don't do blogs or bulletin boards. Spam is my biggest problem, but even that only takes me a few minutes each day. It is easily recognizable and I delete it on the server before it ever gets to my system.
In a worst-case scenario where everything is wiped, I can re-install WINDOWS from the original CD. You have to access the Internet in order to activate the program anyway, after which it would be foolish to not run the update program and install all the latest updates. If necessary, I can install Partition Magic and repartition all hard drives. Then I can restore all of my data from backup. The re-installation of applications from the disk images on D:\ is faster than from the original CD's. I don't have to hunt for the original CD's and all of the installation codes I need are in the text file.
Computers 3 and 4 have never had to be reinstalled since I got them in July of 2004. Computer 2 has an Intel chip architecture known as Prescott that has a known incompatibility problem with WINDOWS XP SP2; I have to install a fix before installing the SP2 upgrade. I have had to reinstall WINDOWS and applications twice when the system locked up and I suspect that this incompatibility may have been the cause. These two problems were limited to the C:\ drive only and it was not even necessary to restore any data from backup.
In the box below, please provide a description of the task you need help with and also provide a means for me to get in touch with you. Thank you.
Page last updated 26 February 2007