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The Lone Geek Blog

One geek in a sea of nerds.

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Hobbies

I am here to describe what it is that I do.

Electronic Repair

My hobby is in computers and electronics. I enjoy working on the hardware bits of computers, putting things where they belong. From simple computers built for web browsing or MS Office to gaming rigs costing well over 2 grand, the only limitation, funds. I can build a computer from the ground up and enjoy doing it. I also repair computers that have fallen ill to age or dust and fix em up good as new. If the age of a computer makes it worth more to fix it then it would be to build a new one then that is what I do. Old hardware gets demoted to lesser tasks while newer, faster machines replace it. Old hardware can still do the job for home file/backup servers and the like.

I also fix laptops and tablets, however, those are not as easily fixed, physically. Any kind of physical damage will depend on where I can source replacements. Hardware is limited to hard drives, ram, optical drives, removable wifi/bluetooth cards, and the screen. What can be replaced depends on the laptop itself. The most I can do with tablets and phones is fix whatever might be wrong with the software.

Most electronics are not always repairable by users or technicians, they tend to be replaced if something major breaks. I do install electronics for friends and family. TVs, DVD Players, A/V Receivers, Media PCs, Media Streaming Devices, etc.

The field of electronics is so diverse that I like sticking with computers and entertainment systems. Portable devices fall to the wayside, it’s not to say I won’t fix them, I just don’t have an interest in them. :)

Electronic Engineering

I like to solder stuff too. Usually just small stuff and it can be quite relaxing. Like, I put together a digital clock I got off ebay and one of these 3 Volt Step-up Converters. My server’s fan controller. Sometimes the odd cable or wire and many other things I can’t remember to mention. The biggest soldering task I did was attach open lugs to 4AWG CCA Cable for a car amp, that required a fire spitting butane torch to melt the 60/40 0.032” rosin-core solder that was probably not meant for the task but only thing I had. The wire was much bigger than my 40w electric iron could handle so fire was needed to quickly heat up the cable and lug for the solder to flow where it needed to go. That was fun.

Web Development

My experience in web development takes a back road to everything else. I’ve never been able to start a web page from scratch and have it look decent so I prefer using an already established framework or template to start with then styling that to fit what I like.

This blog uses a program called Octopress. It allows me to generate web pages from markdown files, written in plain text but formatted in a certain way. It uses some ruby cobbled together by the guy behind Octopress and uses Jekyll for the generator, I modified the theme and added some custom bits to his code. CSS is built with SASS and javascript is well, javascript. I don’t rely on javascript to make the site work, about the only thing that does is the sidebar with the » button.

I like this because it helps me put together a simple but useful page and have it look halfway decent without requiring a full on web server to build the page every time someone visits it and is far more secure than relying on 3rd-party scripts like wordpress to run a website. Simple but effective. :)

At this time, the public version my site lives on a DigitalOcean VM with CloudFlare providing DNS and CDN with Google Domains providing the domain. :) The source lives on a few Git Servers (Gitlab, My local Gitlab, and BitBucket) and I develop on a local VM in my Lab Server. I’ve talked about the Lab Server a few times. ;) I go into more detail here.

Virtualization

As part of my tech adventures, I run virtual machines. This site is developed and hosted in two separate VMs, not that it really matters but it’s cool to me. I posted about my home server in a few posts. The Server, Lab Environment, Automating Windows Installs

My server lets me run dozens of them at once. Just whatever idea I get or come across some software to try, I can spin up a VM and give it a whirl. :) It would be cool to add another server to play with clustering. One day. One day I shall. :)

Most of my VMs run Ubuntu Server 16.04 or 18.04, mainly cause I enjoy using it and it works for me. If the software calls for something else then I’ll run that.


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