Checking in, saying ‘hi’

Hello all,

Just providing some updates as this month has been trying. A few folks have been inquiring, so I thought it warranted a blog post. :)

  • I spent the past couple of months studying for the Linux RHCE Certification for my career, and took the test almost two weeks ago. Sadly, I didn’t pass the test (90% in the first section, 53% in the second with 70% required to pass). I earned enough of a score to get a lesser RHCT certification, but I don’t like leaving things half done, so I’ve registered again for the test and have already learned a lot regarding mistakes I made and what I did wrong. I quite a lot more confident this time around going into the test next month.
    Word of advice for those who want to take and pass the exam: this is a very well-designed, hands-on test. You cannot cram for it. The goal is to prove that you are a real-life Linux systems administrator who can go into any environment and get at least basic services running, and running cleanly. That’s why it’s so respected in the industry after 10 years.1 So, if you’re going to pass the test, look at all the items in the prep guide, get a copy of RedHat or Fedora Linux, maybe a good book or two, and keep practicing until you feel genuinely confident you can perform all steps listed in the link above. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in the middle of the test and start flailing while the time runs out. Believe me, for 3.5 hours, it goes fast if you don’t know what you’re doing, so practice until it becomes comfortable. Then the test will be easy. :)
  • In addition to studying and preparing for the RHCE, I also have been caring for my wife lately who’s been hit hard with a case of strep throat. My little girl and I were hit with a cold around the same time, and at first we thought the wife caught it too, but her symptoms were somewhat different: she had a pretty intense fever, chills and lethargy, so she spent days sleeping before she developed a very intense pain in her throat. So much so, that she couldn’t talk or swallow without a great deal of pain. My wife is a tough lady and rarely gets sick, but this really hit her hard. For me, it was difficult to watch her in tears because the pain in throat was so excruciating just from swallowing saliva. Initially, strep tests failed to diagnose it, but a second test came out positive, and she’s been on antibiotics since then, which are finally working. After eating and drinking very little for days, she’s lost some weight, but is getting her appetite back. During this time, I’ve been taking care of our little one, who misses her Mommy (who has been too sick to talk or socialize with anyone), but Sunday things finally started to turn around, and she got to see Mommy a lot more.
  • For those who have been aware of my decision to pursue the minister’s assistant training at the local Jodo Shinshu temple, lately I’ve been at somewhat of a crossroads on the subject, and I have been talking with the minister about it from time to time. There are quite a few reasons right now as to why I don’t want to continue the training, some spiritual (as readers may know) and some practical, but I am not sure yet if I should quit for good or take a break for a while. I haven’t made a decision yet due to other distractions going on lately.

So, comments have been somewhat neglected, and I’ve had to pull back to three posts a week (have some good ones coming up though :) ), but I hope things will return to normal soon. Until then, thanks everyone for your patience!

1 I am also LPI Linux Certified up to level 2, but it’s been a while. I learned a lot studying at home for the LPI, which later translated into real job skills, so I do think it’s value is also self-evident. As for test format, RHCE is considerably more hands-on, but also vendor-specific. Frankly, if you can obtain both, I think you’d make a very well-rounded Linux admin. :)

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2 Comments on “Checking in, saying ‘hi’”

  1. Kyōshin says:

    Hi Doug, I’m glad that your wife is getting better – that bug sounds nasty. Sorry to hear about your exam too but I’m sure you will pass next time as you have a lot of dedication. I’ll drop you an email about the other stuff sometime this week. All the best, Kyōshin

  2. Doug says:

    Hi Kyoushin:

    Strep throat really sucks. Other folks I talked to at work describe the same excruciating pain in the throat and such, so I guess it’s worth avoiding if you can help it (i.e. good hygiene, diet, etc). As for the exam, I have (so far) managed to pass similar certification exams on the second try, and I believe I will do the same here. The key I believe is the fact I know how the test works, and have learned a lot from my mistakes. Still it’s a $800 mistake, so I hope not to make it yet again. :-0

    P.S. Thanks for the email. Will reply hopefully today.

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