Steam Link and Controller

I recently got some free time to finally hook up my Steam Link and Steam Controllers to my TV.  I bought them many so my friend's kids would be able to play a lot of the PC games they constantly like to ask and bug me about playing own my desktop.  I can easily say that the Steam Link system by itself was one of the best purchases of 2015 for myself and it works so fluidly with all the games in my Steam account.  Additionally, having two steam controllers makes games like Mortal Kombat X a lot of fun for two people to play at the same time on a TV rather then being cramped on a 24 inch monitor in a 10x10 office room (about the size of my current office in my house).

So what I really like about the Steam Link hardware itself is that it is able to full stream my desktop's whole computer, including all 5 of my monitors directly to my TV without any lag or issues.  The other nice feature is that it gives me the ability to blast my music through my TV which is located right outside of my kitchen area so now I do not have to worry about creating a project with one of my Banana Pis (Raspberry Pi knock off that is most powerful).  Furthermore, the Steam Link will work with other games not directly in the Steam system such as Diablo 3 although you really have to setup some of the controls if you want to use the controller with such a game and unfortunately it will still only be single player.  However, the Steam Link accepts and works fully with a keyboard and mouse which is the other part of the setup that I enjoy because I can go work on projects and other items straight from my couch instead of being in my office all the time having to work on things.  Additionally, the multiple monitor scrolling functionality of the Steam Link system is extremely smooth and fluid, you can tell you jump screens but it loads in a split second without any lag or delay and makes it very nice to scroll through a computer that has five (5) monitors setup on it (much like my home office setup).

Overall, if you are looking for a streaming systems for your games and your home desktop to your TV I suggest investing the $49.99 into the Steam Link, it is well built piece of hardware.  Furthermore, just recently Valve (makers of Steam Link) opened the system up to include the SDK so people can make their own applications and modifications to the system: https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steamlink-sdk and if you are interested in buying one here is the direct link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/353380/


Finding an IT Job - Information and Advice

Many times throughout the years people have asked me how I got into the Information Technology (IT) field and how I have worked my way to where I currently am with my current career.  The easiest way to explain it is that I was very lucky with some jobs and other I tried my hardest and was able to move up in the company and keep building on my current experience.  While it seems easy to just throw yourself into the job market you really want to find something that you are going to enjoy doing and I have been lucky that technology, computers and IT is both my job and hobby and that I have a major passion for it.  But I did not magically get my jobs over night it was a lot of work to get to where I am and below I am going to explain some places and methods I used to get interviews and jobs to help expand my knowledge, experience and career path.


Linkedin is a great resource for searching jobs both locally in your area but also across other states and areas of interest that you may want to see what type of jobs are being offered.  One of the key aspects of Linkedin's site is that you can build a very simple resume online for people to find you by.  A lot of the job interview offers I received were from recruiters through the website because a lot of my resume which was posted through Linkedin matched what their clients were specifically looking for.  Furthermore, Linkedin is good to make connections with people at other companies and be endorse for your skill sets that you have.  Personally I think the endorsement functionality should be taken with a grain of salt because anyone can endorse anyone for anything they put and not really have a clue if they know it, but it is still there as a functional way of listing skill sets you have and people you connect with can validate it if they want.  The only warning I have with Linkedin is to be careful who you accept as a "connection," on the site because you are releasing a lot of your information on the site, additionally make sure you set your privacy controls on the site to help secure your information.  Overall, Linkedin is a great site that rolls up many of the "career specific" job searching sites into one large professional social networking system.

One note with Linkedin is that while many jobs have the ability to apply for them directly through the site, reading a lot of information and talking to recruiters it is better to apply directly at the company's site because it shows that you are willing to spend the time to read the job description and apply the full application.  Using Linkedin's job application apply method shows that the person apply might be lazy and give the company a judgmental opinion of the applicant already.  Again, sometimes the job only accepts Linkedin's job applications which then applying through Linkedin is totally acceptable and won't hinder the opinion on your application.

Monster/Dice/Career Build/Etc

Sites like Monster, Dice, Career Builder and others have been around for many years offer closely the same set of informational job posting as each site normally is utilized by recruiters and companies to find candidates for job posting.  I personally am not a fan of Monster or Career Builder anymore, earlier in my career they were good for finding jobs and generally see what companies were hiring and then going directly to the company's site and hopefully being able to apply directly there.  Dice I think offer a bit better service in that, last I checked, it was more gear towards the Information Technology field and those types of jobs.  Additionally, it seems like I would generally get a response from companies that posted on Dice a lot sooner than I ever saw or heard anything from Monster or Career Builder, not to say those sites do not work I just found more success with Dice over my years in my career.  Additionally, all these sites are great to setup a profile and put your resume up on the site for recruiters and companies to search for you, again remember do not include personal information on resumes you upload online to public job sites like this, save that information for when the company asks for it directly or bring a copy of it with you to the interview!

USA Jobs/Government Jobs

If you are specifically looking to jump into the world of government jobs or public agency jobs both these site are going to be the place you want to look:

www.usajobs.com and www.governmentjobs.com

These two sites are specifically dedicated to public agency, government, state, federal, city, etc type of jobs.  These are also very highly sought after jobs so having really good experience and knowledge will help you get the interview and make it past the HR firewall that many of these companies employ to weed out the junk resumes and applications that they most likely get on a daily basis.

Company's Website

This has been my number one success at getting interviews and getting jobs in both the past and present.  Most medium to large companies will have a career section that you can see current open jobs and apply directly at the company.  This is personally the best route to go because you can then attempt to call the company and verify that they received your application and many times it will show the company that you are very interested in the job and possibly have them look at your resume and application shortly after calling them.

Career Fair/Interviewing-Hiring Event

Recently I have been noticing more company's having career fairs to be able to get applicants to come in, apply and interview on the spot.  I highly recommend if you are looking for a job check out company's websites and see if they are having a career fair, interview/hiring event coming up and signing up for it.  The best advice I can give is dress your best (suit up if you have one), bring a good amount of resumes to hand out, bring information like transcripts is useful also if you are close to completing college (many companies feel that a degree is greater than or equal to experience now a days; I have a different opinion for another time).  The great thing about career fairs and company events is that many times you'll be able to interview right there on the spot and then have a high chance of getting a letter of interest from the company which could lead to your future career job.


If you are lucky like me you will get a chance to work for a company in which your boss becomes your mentor, friend and business partner over your career.  If you have friend's that work at jobs that are looking to hire an IT person and you can do the work that they review this is a great way to get a chance at getting an interview and possibly a job.  Maybe your family works for a large company and they know the human resource people and could speak to them on your behalf after you applied through the application system, it can never hurt depending on the company's rules.  Friends, family members and network contacts are great ways to be able to get into a company and move your way up in it or get experience to get a bigger better paying job.


Windows 10 - DNS and NIC Nightmares

Today I was faced with a random issue that I have run into many times before, my Outlook refusing to connect to my remote Exchange server system.  This is a common issue that I have run into many times over different versions of Exchange and Outlook and normally it is pretty easy to fix.  This time, unfortunately it was not one of those quick and easy fixes that I normally like. Unfortunately this turned into an hour of frustration that ended on a positive not but still without the problem fixed (unfortunately).

The first normal step to figuring out why Outlook refuses to talk to my Exchange server using Outlook Anywhere is normally to make sure my DNS settings and functionality are working.  This is where the first problem was found that my DNS functionality of using nslookup did not want to connect.  During the process of trying to use nslookup I was thrown the error of "Unknown Server."  Now this can happen from time to time due to bad configuration of DNS or DNS a server being non-functional but it seems that all my problems started to happen right after Windows 10 got installed.  Long story short on this my friend suggested to uninstall my network interface controllers (NICs) from the computer and reinstall them.  Simple troubleshooting method you would think that people skip over from time to time right?  NO, this turned into 45 minutes of trying to get my network drivers to reinstall properly and show up on the computer, unfortunately nothing I did worked.  However, I did a system restore back to a previous earlier time this morning when I was uninstalling old software from my computer and magically my network started working again.  With the network starting to work again nslookup and DNS started to kick in fully and fixed itself; sometimes computers are just magical beast that want to work when they feel like it.  However, in the long run this still did not solve or resolve any of my Outlook Anywhere connectivity issues.

Morale of the story:  Don't let your friend's suggest to uninstall your NIC driveres on a brand new operating system without knowing if you can properly reinstall them!