Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DM Spring Break Photos

We didn't really take any photos of State College or Penn State at all. Just imagine a large college campus. The real beauty was at Three Springs Farm in Morris, PA. Here are a few of the pictures I took while there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Days 4-9

So, I got so busy I didn't post anything. Sorry about that. The rest of the week working at DiscipleMakers went really well. I felt kinda left out for a day or two because Jeremy and Noah were making progress on the wireless but I didn't have anything useful to work on. But fortunately I was assigned another project; I created a simple portal system for their open guest wireless network that forces users to agree to a terms of service before using the network. This will prevent the staff from unknowingly logging onto the wrong network, inform guests that they are using DiscipleMakers' internet connection, and log basic stats such as their MAC address and time of access in case this information needs to be looked up. Because of delayed upgrades, the server we were going to deploy this on will be replaced in the near future, so the portal will be installed on the new server, once it's in place. Unfortunately I won't get to see the end result, but it should still happen. (Provided I documented enough...hehe)

On Friday we headed up to Morris, PA (not the one you'd find on Google Maps) for the annual DM Men's Conference. The scenery was beautiful! There were mountains everywhere, and we were in just about the most rural, rustic place you can possibly imagine. Nothing but mountains and trees for miles surrounding our conference location. Plus there were horses and farm cats, and a cool Victorian mansion where we ate meals. I have pictures of all of this, which I will post here tomorrow. It's too late to transfer files now, for I have an urgent need to sleep.

Monday, March 23, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 3

Today was the first day of actual work, which was nice. We had an orientation in the morning, which was basically the systems guys explaining what Disciple Makers is, what its history is, what they do now, and specifically what systems does. Then right before lunch we got to open the Wireless-N 2.4/5 GHz wireless router they purchased and set that up. Jason (one of the systems people) and I worked on flashing the firmware with a much better open source solution than the stock firmware and then configuring it to use WPA2 Enterprise. Eventually we will want the access point to communicate with a RADIUS server on a virtual machine for staff login authentication with LDAP, but we have been having problems with getting the RADIUS server to accept connections, so for now it uses WPA2/Personal with a shared key for authentication. Tomorrow we should be able to iron out the wrinkles and get the RADIUS server working.

After dinner we went back to work and installed the new access point in the ceiling. Jason and I worked on drilling holes for a crude shelf that hangs down from the rafters in the ceiling. The ceiling tiles were too small to assemble it on the ground and then hoist it up, so we had to screw in everything in the ceiling, but it was a lot of fun. They had an existing Netgear wireless access point that they used for their unsecured guest network, so we took that and installed it on the shelf next to the new Linksys router. Noah, Tom, Brian, and Jeremy ran an extension cord and several meters of Cat6 cable to the entrance where we stuck the access points, at which point we tested the cables, plugged them in, put the ceiling tiles back, and went to the creamery to get some of the best ice cream I've had in my life. You can actually get a degree in ice cream making at Penn State apparently...

EDIT: I "accidentally" specified that we were using WPA2/Enterprise with a shared key for temporary authentication. As Jeremy has very kindly pointed out, this is not possible, and we were instead using WPA2/Personal for shared key authentication. I apologize to all the people I have offended with this grievous error.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 2

Today was quite the busy day. We started off at one of our host's houses, and then met up with everyone else at church. The church that two of our hosts attend meets at the Disciple Maker's headquarter building. They have an attendance of roughly 50 people and no formal pastor. Instead, people on the deacon board take turns leading worship and sharing messages. The sermon was really cool. It was on I Samuel 4, which I had been reading not a few days before. The rest of the day was filled with softball, ultimate frisbee, and good homecooked meals. I ate both lunch and dinner with my host, and they are a really nice couple. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them and learning some great new things from them. This evening after a short break we went to another couple's house for a Bible study. We studied Mark 9, and I was quite impressed at how much stuff there is to consider in a single chapter. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, with an early morning and a lot of work to be done!

The verse of the day is John 15:4. "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." This verse was really appropriate for today. It seems today's theme could be trusting in God and getting strength from Him instead of from my own power. I was feeling really crummy earlier today, but I specifically asked God for the strength to get me through it, and He provided it. He provided it later than I would have liked, but His timing turned out (yet again) to be perfect.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and starting the installation of the wireless system. There may be a fair bit of nerdspeak in the next update, so beware.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 1

I spent about 12 hours in the car today traveling through 4 states from Indiana to Pennsylvania, finally arriving here not too long ago. On the way here, we were stopped/crawling for a good half hour to 45 minutes until we finally passed the cause of the backup - it appeared that a semi truck crashed on the side of the road and caught fire/exploded. The trailer was completely burnt up and there was a large patch of grass that was all burnt. The cab didn't look like it fared much better. We have no idea if the driver survived or not or what exactly happened, but I'm sure someone somewhere could use your prayers.

Other than that, the drive was mostly uneventful. I learned way more about the U.S. interstate system than I ever wanted to know, but oh well. We got here and are heading to bed soon. We have church in the morning at 10, and a Bible study on Mark 9 later in the day.

Today's verse is Hebrews 11:8. "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." I feel a little like this today. Right now I find myself in State College, Pennsylvania, with no clue how I got here, or why, or what I'm even doing here. I mean, I have a decent answer to all those questions, but I'm sensing that there's something deeper behind it all. Perhaps God is at work in one of His mysterious ways that I don't quite understand yet...for now I shall just follow Him and wait and see.

DM Spring Break 2009 - Day 0

Spring break is here! And tomorrow (ahem, I mean "today") Jeremy, Noah, and I head on out to PA to work for DiscipleMakers for a week, installing an enterprise wireless system at their HQ. None of us really know what we're doing, but I probably have the least experience of the three. Nevertheless, I look forward to learning a lot, meeting new people, attending their annual men's conference, and spending several hours in the car listening to Jeremy rap pi. Should be fun.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OM Summer 2009

Today I found out that this summer I am going to South America to volunteer for Operation Mobilization! My itinerary includes Mexico City, Mexico; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Santiago, Chile; Córdoba, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; São José dos Campos, Brazil; and Atlanta, Georgia.

I will be spending a week and a half in Atlanta and then traveling by plane and bus to the other countries before coming back to the States. I'll be doing IT work, like installing software, upgrading/adding computers, fixing problems that various sites are having, etc. It'll be a very interesting experience, and a great opportunity to grow in Christ. I'm really excited to serve.

More details in the coming weeks...

Monday, March 9, 2009


There's a spider on my ceiling. Getitoff getitoff getitoff getitoff!

Also, I hate these little Asian beetles.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I still exist

So you ("you" being the 3.5 people who read my blog) may or may not have noticed that I've been pretty quiet lately. Reason: real life is getting in the way. Between school and people and contemplating life issues, there has been no time for much else. Besides, blogging has a niceness of about +15 (even lower priority than slashdot!).

SBP elections are today. What political drama...but I actually voted this time because it requires no voting fee (free is good!) and my vote might actually have a minor say (~1000 votes total => 0.1% of the votes are mine). Both candidates are pretty good this year, and it will be interesting to see who wins.

I had some excitement the other day with my compy. Once in a while a HDD cable will become loose, or something happens that causes the hard drive to stop communicating with the system. So I'll do fun stuff like "ls: command not found"--that's my cue to check the cables. After several reboots and messing with my compy's guts, I couldn't get the hard drives to show up in the BIOS, so I was left with Windows until I was able to fix it the next day. I ended up replacing the cables and blowing the dust out before they worked again.

When I booted, KDE started automatically with default settings instead of the expected Fluxbox. Oops. I load up a terminal and come to find my /home partition is not mounted, nor can it be mounted. Then I FREAKED OUT. I thought all my data could be gone, especially after fsck told me there was "an error" on the partition and exited. Fortunately, another run of fsck scanned the partition, found the corrupted data, and fixed the problem. A reboot started me up with my /home intact. The very next thing I did was to rsync my /home to my external hard drive.

Meh, time to go.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mmmm, salmonella

It never tasted so good.