Wow! I just realized this is 9-11, as I had to put a date on this post since I forgot it. On “9-11” I listened in disbelief to the radio talking about a plane crashing into the Twin Towers right after my kids got on the bus, headed for country school. I went ahead and went with a neighbor to get some Shetland sheep in Great Falls, MT. And, did I ever feel like crap leaving my family behind for a couple days at a time that felt like the end of the world!

Been thinking of posting for a few days, but feel like I need a big new-to-me type project to post about. I have completed some small web apps for my husband and a friend similar to ones I have done in the past. I need to finish a discussion app for CNA class. I have more ideas for the CNA class, too, but I have not got to it! Grrrrh!

Though I am not where I want to be for a variety of reasons, one being that the stupid skin cancer on my nose again has needed daily treatments (2-4/day) for about 3-4 months now (not to mention the time they took up for 3-4 months last fall, and those eat up a HUGE chunk of every day. I see the light at the end of the tunnel on that, though, and am gradually retrieveing some time to work on IT play! Halelujah!

With Cisco changing their whole testing framework on top of the fact that I am not necessarily looking for any type full-time employment, I have just decided to just be well self-educated in networking with devops and security emphasis along with being able to program both front and back end. This education is never-ending and hard to keep up with, but I do not think too much about that so as not to feel overwhelmed and forever not knowing enough to make IT a profession for me. Being a professional in any field is as much about knowing how to find the informational resources you need when you need them as it is about having all there is to know and perform filed away in your brain some place, but it is even more so the case with IT. I could not even grasp that I was (am) an RN after I passed my Boards way back when, so it is no wonder I do not feel like a real “programmer” or “network engineer”, nor do I think I know when I will.

I have had the guts to fix some things on our home network on the router and the router. Now, mind you I always messed with that and was the “IT” person in my last marriage because there was nobody else in the house who even wanted or would think of tackling it. I am newly married almost a year now after relocating here a year or so prior to that, and I finally jumped in on fixing things here. That makes not a lot of sense because I have learned more in the last year than I was ever properly educated in networking. Anyway, it felt good to “fix”or “better” things here; I knew what I needed to check and where I needed to verify/refresh/supplement my recollections, and thanks to google and I little persistence is pretty easy.

Packet Tracer Image

I decided to post about Cisco Packet Tracer. It is such an awesome tool! I have a Cisco lab, too, and I have had both of these set-ups for a year, but with little time to play with them. I have played with GNS3 more, and to my recollection, I had to do some research to figure out how to keep that one from hogging CPU. I have not had that issue yet with Packet Tracer, so hopefully… Anyway, this tool is probably enough to get someone going in networking without a physical lab. I believe it does a great job of giving as real life as possible experience in working with network devices in addition to configuring. One interacts with the app: turns devices on and off, cables them, chooses/swaps out NIC cards via a zoom-in, true-to-life, view of the device. Actually, it likely gives more than a start, ie higher level of networking than entry-level CCNA.

It is not easy to simultaneously work on networking AND programming skills (not to mention keep up with nursing CEUs), BUT I enjoy both, they fit together nicely, and it seems being able to do both is the new wave anyway! Though I have not been the primary “bread-winner” most of my adult (the married portion of it, anyway) life, my Daddy taught me to be always prepared to do be the “bread-winner”, in needed, in a job I want (hopefully). Mostly, I just love learning, doing, and making progress!