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Archive for July, 2008

Book ordered

So, while my computer is still down while I am waiting for replacement RAM to get here, I HAVE ordered my study kit for the first exam in my MCSE track. It should arrive by July 17th, so I’m a little anxious for it to get here so I can start. I want the first exam to be completed by September at the latest so I can start on the next one.

One piece of good news though: I thought one of my computers was fried so it’s been sitting in the closet until I felt like fixing it. Due to my predicament with my main computer down, I logged it out of the closet and booted it up. It ended up that the BIOS was just setting my clock speed wrong. I went in and corrected that and now it seems to be working fine, so I have something to work with till my main PC is back up and running. It also gives me a test machine I can use in my studying for the MCSE, which is another nice bonus.

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Computer crash

So, my computer will not boot up. After some testing, I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed it down to either the motherboard or the power supply. I’m not going to say I’m 100% certain though yet. The sucker will boot up, it sees my 2 SATA drives, then suddenly it won’t and the next time I boot up, doesn’t see the drives at all. Tried switching SATA ports, didn’t help. So this could put a little dent on my finances. The thing is that I can afford to replace just one of the parts, just have to find out which one is faulty.

Add into it, I have to get one of my fog lights fixed on my car before I get my car licensed again in August. There’s not any body damage, the light just popped out so I’m hoping that it will be low cost. May post more later.

PS – A big thank you to those commenting on here. I appreciate the feedback.

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The MCSE studying begins soon

So, determined to find out more and really sink my teeth in and commit to getting this certification, I Googled a bit and found a great site that has advice, study guides, and free practices exams. I’ve spent the last few days looking through it: mcmcse.com.

The first test I’ll be taking will be 270, which covers the Windows XP operating system. From there it will be 290, 291 (apparently referred to as The Beast /shudder). After that I get to decide whether I want to keep plugging on at the MCSE, or do I make a small detour and do an elective exam to get my MCSA first. Hmmmm. I took the practice exam for 270 at mcmcse.com and actually managed to get about 50 out of 101 questions right with zero studying. And the ones I missed, I can understand why I missed them. Next step is to order the MS Press 270 Self Paced Training Kit. From what I read from people that have taken it, the MS Press book is the one best suited to studying for the exam.

Besides that, I have been educating myself financially as well, learning the differences between capital investing and cash flow investing. Some great articles on Yahoo Finance about that. Also reading through Rule #1, a book on value investing. On my paper trading account, I have been fairly happy to see that on my watchlist, the couple that I am watching have been doing what I expected them to do. If one of them falls down to it’s lower pattern marker, I may buy 100 or so shares. The pattern has been fairly pronounced and I would sell once I hit 12-15% capital gain on the investment.

Also read some articles on technical analysis. It seems to be regarded in some circles as almost mystical investing or voodoo investing, but observing charts, I do see some of the common patterns repeating. I don’t believe I would ever bet huge just on a technical analysis without also checking the fundamentals, but it is a nice way to observe trends in the market. Also, Kirk over at thekirkreport.com uses a combination of fundamental and technical analysis and has done pretty well for himself. I don’t plan on stuffing any real money into this for a while yet. I’ve learned just enough to feel like I know something, which is a dangerous place to be when investing. Never assume.

That’s it for today. Happy 4th of July!

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Frustration

One of the things that has frustrated after graduating college a few years ago, is discovering that for my field (Information Technology), it would probably have benefited just as much if not more to have just gotten several certifications instead of going to college for 4 years.  Would have been considerably cheaper as well. Despite that, I don’t regret going to college. I think going away to college is probably one of the best things for a person. You’re removedd from your comfort zone and slowly become the person that you’re going to be. Staying at home doesn’t give quite the same feeling, as the only thing that has changed is where you go to school. Doesn’t allow for a lot of the personal growth that occurs outside that comfort zone of the home.

Back to the certifications. After doing some research into standard job responsibilities for different positions in IT, I’ve settled at this point on Systems Administrator. It includes a lot of the things that I truly enjoy about IT, without a lot of the annoyances that I endure now. For those that have never done technical support over the phone, here’s my advice: Don’t. While I have the ability to understand issues and also manage to convey how to fix them to someone who is clueless about computers, the stress level is just insane. Something about not being able to see the other person gives these people calling in for YOUR help the courage to totally blame you for anything they did to their system. Ok /rant off.

So in order to go for the job I want, I plan on getting my MCSE over the course of the next year. Systems Administrator jobs pretty much all seem to list that certification as a requirement.

So there’s one goal: obtain MCSE within one year.

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Balance

So one of the problems I see with financial management is balancing being smart with my money, while still being able to go out and have a good time. I know I need to cut uneeded expenses from my budget, but even just this summer there are so many movies coming out in the theater that I want to see. This is something I am going to have to face and resolve.

In other news after Coinstarring my loose change, I came out with 16 dollars, which is good because I had to pick up some groceries and that meant that I didn’t have to touch any of my accounts to do so. Also right now I’m trying to decide whether to kill my debts ASAP or just build capital into my accounts until I can invest and start building my income. On one hand, killing the debts would free up cash to start building more capital and would decrease my monthly payments from 3 to 1. On the other hand, if I’m throwing all this money at my debts, I don’t start building up spare capital to begin investing. Despite this, I am still leaning right now towards killing my debts. I really hate having all that debt. I think I need to avoid my natural tendency though to pay things off without saving much. I need to pay myself first, no matter how much I may lean towards the opposite. A classic symptom of the perpetually poor is the inability to realize that you need to pay yourself first or you will never get ahead.

Like I said and like I know, this is not going to be easy, but nothing worth anything ever is. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Since not everyone is doing it, it will give me an edge. Too many in my generation just look for the easy out. They want things handed to them on a platter. They think they deserve amazing things without putting in the work to get there or striving to open up an opportunity. Here’s to them: without them, my journey would be made even more difficult.

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