Personal Information

Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Languages: English
Timezone: UTC-7
IRC Nick: izzyb
eMail Addresses: izzyb@planetofnix.com,

How I learned about IRCNOW

I got my start in IRCNOW through the Minetest game Exile. I joined irc.freeirc.org to join the #exile channel to ask questions about the game. I didn't know anything about IRCNOW then or the other servers in the network. jrmu came into the #exile channel one day and asked if anyone wanted to join the minutemin team.

I took him up on the invitation and started Unix101 training and fell in love with the concept right away. My skills in Linux were already advanced, so the Unix101 training I found a bit tedious but I also learned some things. I had some exposure to BSD, but hadn't actually taken much time to learn it and this seemed like a good opportunity. I think I got as far as Unix103 before jrmu offered me the fast track option which I found more to my liking. That was around January of 2022.

Since then I was offered and accepted the position of team lead for planetofnix and the responsibility of managing the host.thunderirc.net which is now known as host.planetofnix.com. Since then I have been given ownership and full control over both machines and the domain. I also contribute some of my own hardware to the effort to provide backup servers and additional resources for our part of the network.

Computer Experience

I've been involved with computers since I was a kid in the 1980s. My first computer (family computer) was a Radio Shack TSR-80 Color computer. Learned to program in Microsoft Extended Basic - back when I thought Microsoft was cool. It used cassette tapes to store programs. We eventually got a 5.25" floppy disk drive for it. The next computer we got was the Atari ST. Another great computer for its day. Had 3.5" floppy disks and eventually we got a used 20MB hard drive for it. NO, thats not a type. it was only 20MB!

Since then, I've used and supported users running Windows since 3.1, OS/2, various versions of MAC, Linux since around 1994, and some limited exposure to other Unixes like BSD and Solaris. Since joining IRCNOW, my BSD knowledge has improved, but I'm still learning. Its very different from Linux in many ways. I've used many Linux distros over the years, but am most at home on Debian based distros.

All the computers I run are Linux based and have been for as long as I can remember. My laptop still dual boots to Windows 10 just in case, but I rarely use it. Usually if I'm on a Windows Computer, its related to work and usually its a clients machine.

Server Experience

I've been running and managing servers for clients for decades. I learned about Novel and Lantastic network servers back in the day, and still manage the odd Windows server, but most of the servers I manage run Linux. Think the first Linux server I installed was for a company I worked for around 1994. They had a Novel Server provided by their vendor to manage a printer. I put my knowledge of Nevel servers to use to make it a file server for the office. The vendor took exception to this and wanted it removed so I proposed a Linux replacement running Samba. My boss accepted the proposal and ordered the Slackware CDs I requested. I built my first samba server and they became my first customer as an independent Computer/network consultant.

Since then I've managed servers for several clients over the years running Linux in one form or another. I also got into building VPN routers using the Linux Router Project, later renamed to LEAF. It booted from floppy disks on old 486 computers. These days, I build routers as virtual machines and most of my servers are Virtualisation hosts. I also work with managed switches and vlans as part of the networks I manage.

As for Linux server software, I've run file servers using samba, netatalk, and nfs. Mail servers running sendmail, qmail, and postfix. Apache web servers and a few alternatives I don't recall. Database servers using postgresql and mysql. I've run a bunch of different web services like phpGroupware, Nextcloud, Request Tracker, Wordpress, Joomla, Blogger, sqlLedger,phpBB, fudForum, etc.

My experience with BSD mostly comes form what I've learned here at IRCNOW. One of the reasons for getting involved was to extend my knowledge in Linux to include doing similar things in BSD. I'm still learning and much of it is new to me despite my past experience. Things are similar, but not the same in openbsd.

Programming Experience

I've picked up several languages over the years. Started with BASIC, then Turbo Pascal, C, C++ and Assembler. Probably wouldn't be able to code anything in any of them today. At least not without some refreshing of my knowledge. I can at least understand how to read the code and make sense of it. Helpful for debugging issues when trying to compile things. I've had lots of experience with that over the years.

Done lots of stuff in shell scripts, and DOS batch scripts over the years. I've done some stuff in php, but mostly modifying existing code. I've poked at python a little. Some javascript, and probably others I cant recall at the moment. For the most part, once you understand the basics of coding, you can at least figure out the basics of most languages.

I probably have the most experience with Perl. I've built scripts, gui apps and web apps using databases in perl. I can use sql, ccs, html, and javascript to varying degrees. I wouldn't consider myself a master of any of them, but can work with them. Much of coding involves learning the syntax of the language then the libraries available. The rest comes down to experience.

Lua is another language I've done some work in, mostly in relation to minetest mods, specifically for the game Exile.

Other Technology Experience/Knowledge

I've been using computers and technology most of my life so have played with a lot of stuff over the years. I don't have much artistic ability, but I do know some basic stuff in photoshop/gimp. I've played in Blender, and can do some basic 3D modeling. I've done some work with document layout.

I've done some basic electronics. Played with some circuit design. Played with Raspberry Pi and other embedded controllers. Not a master of any of it, but love playing when I have time and a project.

Have a bunch of network experience and knowledge relating to cabling, switches, routers, firewalls, vlans, and vpns. Played with hacking routers, phones, game consoles, etc. I've done work with installing radio and satellite Internet connections. Did a bunch of stuff relating to serial communications and modems back in the day. So much has changed over the years; I've forgotten more then I remember...

I've played with voip phone systems. Have freepbx servers running at a couple locations. Learned some specifics of asterisk and dial plans. I know how to use SIP trunks.

Technology Interested

I'm interested in almost anything technology related. Would love to build a 3d printer and a CNC machine. I'm interested in playing more with things like Raspberry Pi. Love virtualization technology. Anything network or server related. Plan9 looks interesting. Want to learn more about Tor and IPFS. Want to learn more about crypto technology.

I prefer technology that is decentralised in nature. I don't like solutions that are centrally controlled. I'm concerned about how much we are all tracked in the modern world. Want to learn, use and share information about how to be anonymous online.