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currentxp []


  • With the successful data recovery a pleasant memory, I nailed down the Cisco AWLAN Design certification.
  • Time did not permit, and instead I've been performing data recovery on two corrupted Xen VM images sitting on a corrupted ext3 file system, contained in a damaged LVM container, sitting on top of a botched up RAID3 to RAID5 conversion. A very fun challenge!
  • I just updated my CCNA, CCDA, and VCP certification and will be working on my wireless specialization as time permits.


  • I have designed and implemented several ESX/vSphere 2, 3 and 4 installations with VMotion and various types of SANs on the back end.
  • I am VCP 3 and 4 certified
  • I have set up VMware in a forensics environment to use for both data recovery, and the non destructive (zero data changes made) booting of a suspect's hard drive.
  • I maintain a pair of VMware servers in my home lab. One free VMWare server, and one ESXi 3 server attached to a IBM FC SAN.


  • I just put together an Asterisk PBX+Polycom phones VoIP system for a customer demo. It worked so well I'm going to deploy it at home. I'm trusting my wife and kid's ability to dial 911 to F/OSS software. (well F/OSS + cell phones + an emergency analog phone + good neighbors next door… still, it's a pretty slick VoIP system)
  • I recently built a F/OSS based appliance to provide the bandwidth shaping functionality of a Paketeer (er, Bluecoat now I suppose). Why pay a 5 figure pricetag when you could throttle the torrenting on your network for much less.
  • I've been using Linux since 1995.
  • I hold a RHCE certification.
  • I've worked extensively with Red Hat, SuSE, Ubuntu, and Slackware.
  • I am proficient with OpenBSD and Solaris. (and no, I don't consider either to be Linux)
  • I actively run OpenBSD at my home lab on some of the internet-facing servers.
  • I have a couple Sun Ultra 60s that I fire up from time to time with either Solaris, OpenBSD, or Debian.
  • I maintain several *nix servers on the internet doing various things like e-mail (Sendmail and Postfix), DNS (bind), voice communication (SIP, TeamSpeak, Vent), VPN (SSL, SSH, FreeSWAN, cisco (client only on Linux), and OpenVPN) and web (Apache and tomcat)
  • Even with all that, I'm a horrible web page designer. When I found wikis and PHPNuke several years ago, I moved most of my personal pages over to one of those two web technologies.


  • After several years of the 1242 being the bread-n-butter AP of choice for most of my customer's environments, we're moving on to the 1250 and 1140 series.
  • Although I spend most of my Cisco time working on either 3750, 6500 series, or Cisco wireless equipment, OSPF laden 2800/2900 series routers are starting to sneak in.
  • I have spent countless hours replacing 3500/3550 series switches with 3750 series switches in a large manufacturing environment.
  • I beat a WAAS into submission once… a couple weeks after they first came out… when it was still just another vendor's products that Cisco had rebranded. That was rough. Really rough. I understand that the WAAS has gotten a LOT better, but haven't had the opportunity to play with one since.
  • For the past several years I have spent the majority of each year maintaining and upgrading a rather large (several hundred network switches, 10's of thousands of clients) industrial network spread across many states. This particular network was designed to be 100% Cisco equipment, and it was absolutely critical that it never sustain any unscheduled downtime.
  • I have designed and installed a couple dozen Cisco wireless networks, both autonymous and LWAPP.
  • I'm very interested in Cisco's new line of access control products as rumor has it that it's a product line that Cisco developed from scratch, a refreshing tact for the industry giant best known for using acquisitions as a means of entry into a new market.

* I recently implemented the infrastructure for a VoIP 911 network encompassing several counties and two states.


  • A coworker and I presented again at an IT conference. We covered several security issues including: ARP attacks, DNS poisoning, rogue DHCP servers, USB password stealing, and bluetooth snarfing.
  • One of my focuses the past several years has been network security.
  • I give presentations at trade shows and IT conferences on the topic of wireless security and break WEP, WPA, WPA2, and LEAP live, on stage. PEAP and EAP-TLS I'll talk about breaking, but due to time constraints I've never had the opportunity to break it live. There has also been significant interest in the past couple of years in practical, day-to-day security and habits that both IT professionals and end users can form to raise their overall security status and lower the attack surface of their infrastructure.


  • I was a Windows server administrator for NT4 and 2000. Shortly after 2003 came out, I moved into more of a networking-focused role and haven't done to much with 2003 in the field. I do have a 2003 Active Directory test environment that I maintain and test against.


  • Develop and maintain embedded, real-time applications for the Iowa power industry.
  • PLC interface and ladder logic programming using Rockwell Automation software for a large international company.
  • Proficient knowledge of the following operating systems: Linux, Solaris, Windows NT,2000,XP, BeOS, Arcom Embedded Linux, HardHat embedded Linux.


  • I've worked with Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and ATAoE
  • While it does have it's place, I don't think that NAS experience is the same as SAN experience. NAS!=SAN
  • I'm running a 300gig IBM SAN at home. It's louder, has less capacity, and has a greater power draw than one of those little RAID NAS boxes, but it's a good experience and it helps heat the basement in the winter!


  • I had a chance to do a Meru wireless network deployment this year, and I must admit, they have an absolutely facinating twist on wireless network design. It piqued my curiosity enough that I took the (several) test to be a Meru certified engineer.
  • I've worked a fair bit on Extreme Networks gear, but I wouldn't admit to it in polite conversation.
  • I've been working with RF since I was 12, (Amateur Radio license) and I've worked at a radio station in a previous lifetime.
  • Every fall for the past 7 years, a group of IT people from across the state (including myself) get together and set up a 200 node network out in the middle of nowhere and then invite 200 of the most creative IT users we can find to abuse the daylights out of it. So far it's held up pretty well.
  • I've installed a pair of 6509s in a hot-fail-over configuration with redundant upstream WAN links and redundant etherchannel links downstream to the distribution stacks.
  • I've used a spectrum analyser to track down faulty microwave ovens, bluetooth headsets, cordless phones, and even wireless mice.
  • I haven't (yet) implemented RFC 1149, but if you have, please let me know and I'll buy you a steak dinner!
  • I have gotten a 2.4GHz 802.11b signal over 30 miles with standard COTS antennas and Cisco radios.
  • Contrary to what some Cisco reps may say, CallManager can be virtualized and run under VMWare, although in general it runs much better on physical hardware (and virtualized CM isn't supported by Cisco at this point).
  • Cedar Rapids does not have flood victims, we have flood survivors!
  • I have reliably bounced RF off of 5 story buildings, panel trucks (U-Haul type) and the moon!
  • I keep a 100mb hub or two handy when on service calls. Not for use as a network device, but as a poor-man's ethernet tap. hub+wireshark=fairly decent packet captures.
  • Although I do sell a notable amount of my own work, I've never quite wanted to jump into the role of an entrepreneur!
  • I was handed a couple thousand node network with zero documentation and instructions that a network outage would be a “million dollar per hour” loss, and was told that with the disappearance of the usual network engineer, it was now my responsibility to maintain and perform several major upgrades over the next several months. Upgrades were performed, outages were averted, and a permanent replacement (who I trained) was found for the position.
  • I took on a project for a large customer that is building wind generation farms. My role has been to fly out to a wind farm (think 20 or so of those HUGE 3-bladed windmills) with only the few tools that TSA will allow on an airplane, and network the controllers in all the windmills and get fiber pulled back to the nearest power substation where a we set up some Cisco equipment to create an IPSEC tunnel via a 2-way satellite link back to the corporate headquarters. (The geek factor on this is astronomical) Wind farm sites are chosen for their average wind speeds, not for their proximity to civilization, so it's not unheard of for these farms to be in remote locations. These aren't in the middle of nowhere, you have to drive to the middle nowhere, then put your rental truck/suv into 4wd and go an hour past the middle of nowhere. There is no Ingram Micro, no Best Buy, no Radio Shack… it's just you and your trusty tool bag.

…It's been a good run, and it's not done yet, by far! I really do love this work, and I really do get paid to play with other people's really expensive toys for a living!

currentxp.txt · Last modified: 2011/01/17 09:27 by ford
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