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BlueWolf's Howl

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October 17, 2010

Overdue update

Oh how time flies. I've been studying and learning, but haven't been updating the blog. To catch up - that sickness that I spoke of in my last post (along with some strong encouragement from my family) resulted in my quitting smoking. You know that commercial with the guy sitting on the bench saying "cigarette, cigarette, cigarette......SHARK!" - that's me. But, I made it through so far. It's been since the end of March and so far, so miserable good.

The lab I had mentioned worked well for me - for a while. Once we transitioned to the new company, we were moved. But the lab reorganization completed too. So I moved my equipment back into the lab (now racked again) and again patched it into my new cube area. So while I'm doing that and a bunch of other stuff... the clock ran out. It has been over 18 months since I passed the CCIE R/S Written Exam. I have not tested for the lab. Therefore I have to retake the written exam to be eligilble for the lab again. Oh joy. I'm not too hard on myself for that one - after all, I did manage to persue and complete a CCSP track in the meanwhile.

The Nexus switches are in and are part of our network. Everybody hovered around them when they were new, we got training from an authorized Cisco partner, and we had cake and ice cream over it. Now they're just chugging along - no big deal. The adventure I went on with that was with informIT - when I ordered the book. I pre-ordered the book while starting to read it on Safari. Then we took the class (of course we got workbooks with it). Then the book was available for order. I checked my old email. I never got a confirmation email saying that I had a pre-order, but I thought I remembered ordering it. So I waited a few months. Still no book. Hey...I guess I didn't pre-order it. I couldn't find any indication anywhere that I had done so.... So I ordered and received the book. About a month afterward, they charged my account and shipped the book. Now I guess nobody ever told them that a book on PREORDER before it's available is ordered because someone wants it when it first comes out....not a few months later. Not to mention a process to know that the preorder was received / pending or even a method to cancel if you already have the book in your hands....

At least I know I won't do that again. One of the BEST benefits of the transition is that we have an Advanced Services account with Cisco. Ah - so here's where I make you really jealous. ; ) That means that we have access to the Cisco Technical Knowledge Library (TKL). I have access to all the Cisco Press books in (locked) PDF format. You may as well have just poured money in my lap. That's a few hundred dollars that I don't need to spend on books - on top of the hassle of carrying them around or getting rid of them when I'm done or they become obsolete. Between that and my Library subscription to Safari (the 'reward' I gave myself for not smoking), I have all my digital reading covered. So I expect my 2011 stats to be pretty solid.

Speaking of stats - no, I didn't put the 2010 stats on the page in lemon juice. I've been reading, but not completing again. But since I have to retake the written and I have a bunch of books on my to-do list, I'll be at least better than my worst stats (that's my goal for the end of the year).

Another reason why I haven't been updating the blog... I created a new one. It's my CCIE study blog - where I have my study notes for the written and lab - without any of the personal stuff that this blog holds. I know, I know, this blog is nowhere near a Lifetime movie channel saga but I wanted something a bit less personal, more professional, and linked to my LinkedIn account. Of course, the non-Cisco stuff ends up here too whereas that one is all about the CCIE R/S exam.

Speaking of learning non-Cisco stuff... The new position has also brought with it a bunch of new toys! I've been going through all the OPNET training for ACE Live - which is software that pulls stats out of trace files and helps you analyze them better and faster. I also now have access to the VitalNet and Mazu stats - along with the CNC (Cisco Network Collector) and an Anue device. It seems like every week there's something new to explore. Not that I've never been exposed to Network tools before - just that each place has their own set of tools. On top of that, I've been without access to ANY tools - so what I did know is either obsolete or now fuzzy.

So now that I've updated, it's time to get back to the books. Normally, that helps me to keep the blog updated - since I usually blog when I update my stats. Enjoy!

Posted by BlueWolf on October 17, 2010 10:26 AM