No Fuss Computing

Using Technology to Make Life Easier

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About No Fuss Computing

I'm Jon, an individual who has an over obsessive hobby in computers. I am the owner, developer and maintainer of this website and the domain nofusscomputing.com.

Introduction

For as long as I can remember I have been the go to guy amongst family and friends for all of their computer questions and support. My computer skills began to develop in the mid 90s (Circa Windows 3.0 / WinNT 4.0) from where I was writing batch files to achieve tasks and fixing software issues. Since then, they have expanded exponentially to include all versions and flavours of windows up to and including the current version of windows, Server Operating Systems (Windows / Linux), Network Engineering, Software Engineering, Web Engineering, Hardware Hacking and more recently Research and Development. I am not qualified in any field of computers or deem myself as certified in anyway (Maybe one day I get qualified), with that out there, I have a well developed analytical understanding of how computers work, their requirements and the needs of end users-whether that be users at home or in the enterprise environment. I can also confidently place my hand on my heart and lay claim to not being one of 'Those Guys' who knows boats.

Experience

Due to the amount of time I spend on or around computers (about 25-40hrs week sometimes more) I very rarely get an issue with a computer that I have not seen before or not know how to fix. but when these do come then I get as excited as a 5 year old with a bag of balloons and a gut full of red cordial, then I pull myself together and find a way to fix it. Below I have broken down my experiences into categories and they are:

  • Systems Engineering- Windows Desktop, for home and enterprise;
  • Windows Server (Domain Controller, DNS, DHCP, Web Server, SharePoint, Print and File Server );
  • Linux Server (Domain Controller, DNS, DHCP, Web Server, Print and File Server).
  • Web Engineering-mainly on LAMP (Linux Apache, MySQL and PHP), I can develop websites of all shapes and sizes ranging from single pages through to Dynamic database driven shopping carts. My ultimate goal is to one day create my own search engine from scratch.
  • Network Engineering-I have a full understanding of the OSI Layers and can network devices locally whether it be wired or wireless or internationally with VPNs, Point to Point or Point to Multipoint. I also enjoy hardware hacking in where I hack consumer routers to give them extra features that they would not normally have ie. PBX, Web Server, DNS Server etc.
  • Software Engineering-Mainly Visual Basic, this ties directly into my own software. I can do little things from command line programs through to network Services that run over the internet with encryption and a GUI. I can also do a little C# and C++.
  • Research and Development-Due to the average person not having the understanding, that a computer is not an appliance it's a device that requires maintenance. I began to look into ways that would improve the computer experience, while still letting the end user to the contrary, treat their computer like an appliance.

The current issues that I experienced when fixing computers was:

  • Computer slowing down,
  • Viruses,
  • Computers not updating (Windows / Software)
  • Users unaware that their privacy settings were open,
  • It's expensive to fix the most common issues,
  • Analytical tracking was being conducted on them,
  • Spouses finding out their partner looks at porn,
  • New computers having bloat ware,
  • Average user administration skills lacking or nonexistent,
  • Whoever fixes it makes it worse or even open's them up to potential security threats,
  • Shear lack of security software (Antivirus package),
  • End users don't know how to wipe their computer and install windows,
  • No easy way to centrally manage multiple computers and
  • Standardization across multiple computers within the same location (Home / Enterprise).

Software Development

In early 2010, I found a solution to rectify the above mentioned common issues. I began to develop what now is known as the SCMS (SOE Centralized Management System). The SCMS is of my own creation and it is designed to be a silent solution to deal with maintenance of a user's computer so they can continue to treat their computer as an appliance. This software is installed on the user's computer and runs in the background and is managed via a web interface. If the software detects an issue it will attempt to fix it, if for some reason, the issue can't be rectified I get notified of the issue, develop a fix and deploy the fix to the user's computer; all of this occurs without the user having to do anything out of the ordinary. This software was also designed with scalability in mind; if you were a user with 2 or 1000 computers the administrative burden of managing those computers would not increase excessively as they are all managed from the same place.

The name SCMS is sort of a recursive acronym. The First 'S' stands SOE being an abbreviation for Standard Operating System, as standardization is routine and routine is human nature; the C for Centralized which is our key concept for users who have more than one computer to look after; M for Management as this is what this software is doing on your behalf and the last 'S' is for system, as it is a combination of technologies and methods to achieve tasks, which makes it a complete system within its own right.

My Setup

I have built up a small distributed network of more than 60 hosts some local and some remote which I manage on a daily basis. Most of these devices are within my 37 Unit Rack mount cabinet (See Below) or connect to me via a VPN. All of these devices are managed by my own software and are centrally managed so the work load is not increased if a new device is added to the network.

Correct as at August 2012 My 37U 19“ Rackmount Cabinet where all of my services run from. Current hosts/Services in Tower:

  • Domain Controller
  • DNS/DHCP Servers
  • VOIP Servers
  • File Servers
  • Web Server
  • Email Server
  • Intrusion Detection with active monitoring and auto lockout/shutdown
  • Host Monitoring
  • Print Server
  • UPS (Uninterpretable Power Supply, 45 mins on battery ussage)
  • firewalls

Some Facts about the tower:

  • Power consumption: ~150w-300w @ 240VAC
  • Total HDD Space: ~27Tb
  • Total RAM: ~20Gb
  • Total CPU: never worked out
  • local network traffic usage: ~50-200gb a day

There was also one other issue that I had as well, the hobby I have is an expensive one. Essentially for me to continue doing what I enjoy, I have to raise funds for this to occur. So I decided share my skill set and infrastructure with family and friends for a small fee, that way I could maintain my services, continue working with computers and in the process, assist those with less fortunate computer skills still enjoy their computer experience.

public/about_nfc.txt · Last modified: 2014/07/15 13:31 (external edit)

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