Okay, so I'm well overdue for a check-in. A lot has happened since my last post so I'll try to fill in the gaps.
First, I got a new job. In my dream field, networking. I'm now an enterprise WAN data technician working in a NOC!
Tomorrow will be my last day of nearly 2 months of training (I was hired in the 3rd week of November). I was initially trained in Facilities, which gave me some background in telephony and TDM circuits (T1, T3, etc). I'm now able to test T1s for errors, troubleshoot phone issues on PRIs and CAS lines, and refer tickets on the local loop out to carriers for resolution.
During my training in Facilities, the company transitioned to ownership by another carrier, and I believe I was likely the last employee hired under the original company. I even played a game of Foosball with the Fortune 1000 CEO on the evening of the last day he owned the company, losing by a few points, undoubtedly due to the few pints of lager I'd had by that point. :p
After about 5 weeks came the good stuff: data training. I was trained on QoS, MPLS (multilinks), VLANs and Trunking, Metro Ethernet, Multilink Frame Relay, BGP, ACLs, subnetting and more. I already have a decent understanding of the LAN side of networking so some of the stuff like Metro E was pretty easy to understand, and I already knew subnetting, ACLs and VLANs pretty well.
On top of everything I've learned, I'm also looking at a reasonable bump in pay as well, which has me preparing a proposal to Lynn as well as a reasonable likelihood of owning a house in my future, especially as my family has one that they're willing to sell me (in one of the best neighborhoods and school districts in the country!)
I've also been offered a job writing articles on smartphones for a tech blog startup, and while I've written a few articles (and will not disclose the website here just yet), I've been so busy with my new job and the holidays that I've not written enough to earn any pay.
Lastly, I also won the Christmas Grand Prize over at AndroidAndMe.com's 25-Days-Of-Tegra giveaway! I won a Transformer Prime tablet with keyboard dock, a Sonos sound system, and a Kindle Fire! The stuff hasn't come yet (and has been a daily reminder of how impatient I am) but I'm very excited to see it come. It's possible the Transformer Prime has been delayed by ASUS' announcement that they're releasing a second-edition model that will resolve some of the issues people have had with GPS and WiFi performance due to the metal back of the tablet.
In closing, I'll try to keep up on my blog, maybe post a few Cisco-oriented articles, but I expect my life is going to continue in high gear for the next several months while I continue to focus on learning everything I can about WAN networking, get a ring for my girlfriend, and work on buying the house.
After years of struggle, I'm finally seeing my goals achieved... and I couldn't be happier!