A New beginning - 11/29/2023

Welcome to Klyphside! This is my little corner of the internet to share some of my achievements, insights, and opinions. My goal is to not utilize this as a sort of portfolio/journal, something that can contain who I am into a tangible space. I have gone through quite an enlightening experience the last few years, and would like to share what brought me to where I am. 

For those that don't know me, my name is Kaden, or Klyphs. I am 24 years old, and live in Utah, USA. I am a video game enthusiast, passionate reader, and tinkerer at heart. I spend my free time working on 3D Printers and servers, reading whatever has piqued my interest at the moment, or playing a new game. If I'm not doing one of those things, I am spending time with my friends, family, or dog, Addy. 

From the day I graduated high-school, I have been invested in a Sales career. Looking back now, it isn't really what I wanted out of life, but its the path I chose and I don't regret the journey I have been on. I started in car sales, dabbled in door to door, and ended up where I am now, selling semi-trucks. One constant has followed me throughout my career and it narrows down to this: I always thought that the next step would be better, or make me feel more accomplished, or at the very least make me enough money to justify the constant crippling dread I felt. But over the years, I have figured out that it doesn't matter what you do every day, its how it makes you feel that makes the difference. 

The saying "If you love what you'll do, you'll never work a day in your life," comes to mind, but I don't think that statement really encapsulates the true meaning. Loving what you do can mean so many different things depending on your perspective, and to me love means there is no boundary not worth overcoming to keep that person or thing within your life. I would never be able to apply that personal definition to a job or career, so I never felt the truth of that statement. Now, however, I understand it isn't about the actual logical definition. It's about that feeling you get when you've fought through the task. I used to feel that way about sales, at least in part. Closing a deal was euphoric, but it wasn't about the actual WORK, it was about the reward. Unfortunately, I have lost a love for the reward, so work isn't giving me that feeling of accomplishment anymore. 

I lost that feeling around 3 years ago now, and since then have been on a journey to discover why. I have tried hobby after hobby in a hope to find enough satisfaction in my life to make work feel less like a burden, and for a while it worked. But it was always a fleeting feeling, until I got my first server. I thought it would be good to finally get something good for hosting multiplayer game servers, such as Minecraft and Valheim. Additionally, I liked the idea of setting up Pihole, because advertisements are invading every crevice of technology now. So, I went on the hunt for a small rack and a simple server. 

I stumbled across a local business trying to get rid of a server rack with a phone system still attached to it. So I loaded it up in my brother-in-law's truck and packed it all home. All in all, I got a 42u rack with 2 servers and the phone system from them. The phone system ended up in recycling (since it was very old), and the servers ended up being a couple old Poweredge servers. The one worth keeping was a i110 Tower server with 8GB of ram, perfect for what I needed. I upgraded the ram to 32GB, downloaded Unraid, and set it up as a little NAS with 4x1TB HDD's. Nothing fancy, but enough to mess around with. After getting the NAS setup, I set off on trying to get Pihole to work. For those that don't know, Pihole is a URL Filtering software, and it is very effecting at blocking ads. The best part is it is very hard to detect because it doesn't "block" the ad, it simply sends the, into a black hole where it will never resolve. 

It was a fight to get that it working as intended. Getting it setup was easy enough, but my CenturyLink C4000XG did not like me trying to pass the DNS Upstream through the Pihole server. I never did really figure out what *exactly* was wrong with it, but by offloading the DHCP server to Pihole, rather than having the router itself handing it, I was able to get it to finally work... and it felt AMAZING. It was a feeling I hadn't felt in a very, very long time: A true feeling of genuine accomplishment. I was hooked.

This was around a year ago. Since then, I have upgraded to a 45u server rack (the one I got originally was short depth and not square), and own an R320, R640, and an M1000e with 12 M610 and 4 M620s. On top of that, I now run my network off a Palo Alto 3050, which has been quite the learning curve. I'll admit, it is a bit over-kill for a homelab setup, but it has been an incredible learning experience. I run a couple game servers, a Mattermost instance for an esports team, and a few other software that make my day to day better. My goal at the moment is to get Home Assistant running, and upgrading as much of my house to smart home equipment as I can.

Running a homelab has taught me 2 things. 1) Network Engineering and software deployment is extremely frustrating and time consuming. One checkbox marked wrong, one string missing a letter, one fat finger in an IP is enough to make the entire network disintegrate. My M1000e for example, single-handedly took my entire network offline because one of the Chassis Controllers wasn't updated. 2) I love every second of it. It has been the most frustrating, yet rewarding, thing I have ever decided to learn. I am still a long distance from considering myself proficient in networking, but it is a road that I enjoy being on. No matter the obstacle set in front of me, I chip away at it bit by bit until I can finally move past it. 

So, that's all well and good, but now what? I found something I love, and I know with every fiber of myself that it is a career field I belong in. Well, I am going back to school! It has been almost 4 years since I last took a class of some sort, but I'm excited and determined to get through this degree plan as fast as I can. I'm attending Western Governor's University, which is work at your own pace. I start Friday, and am really excited about the classes I am taking. I am mostly excited to fill the gaps in my knowledge that have accumulated from me being self-educated. It will be an arduous path for sure, but one I have no doubt will change my life.