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Looking for Contracting Work

Last updated: 20140625-1949

Summary

I am looking for new customers, new contracts; projects focused on infrastructure, operations, process and workflows. Remote, part-time, and preferably long-term.

Systems administration, migrations and upgrades. Development and deployment of the backend systems that run on top, automated workflows that process incoming data to be fit for purpose.

See below for examples, and some background.

Examples

LAMP-based shared hosting; WordPress, custom code, the works. The care and feeding of shared systems, keeping them secure.

Custom web hosting based on NGINX/Apache, front-end caching.

Email done right; SMTP relay services (MX), submission, backend mailbox servers. POP3/IMAP. Dovecot, Courier, CommuniGate Pro, even Exchange. Exchange alternatives. NGINX as a frontend mail proxy. SPF, DMARC. Currently working on implementing DANE with Postfix.

DNS services; internal, external, split-horizon. Authoritative, caching resolvers, increasingly focused on DNSSEC deployment.

Domain registration and portfolio management. Acquisition and consolidation, interaction with registries and brokers, defensive registration, monitoring, API integration. Experience with sunrise and landrush applications for new domain names.

SSL/TLS everywhere, currently with a heavy focus on things like Perfect Forward Secrecy and HSTS.

Virtualization; started with VMware Workstation when it became available, in 1999, and later VMware GSX Server. Have been running various virtualization technologies in production for years, such as VMware, KVM, OpenVZ and LXC.

Worked with various cloud providers, such as Linode, Digital Ocean, CloudVPS, TransIP, Microsoft Azure. Dipping toes into the Amazon pool soon.

Do you support IPv6 yet? Would love to get you started!

Local area network services such as DHCP, printing, file services, monitoring and management of network hardware. Firewalls on Linux, OpenBSD etc. Caching proxies, access control and filtering, such as in educational environments.

OS X and Linux are my platforms of choice, depending on the task at hand, but I also work with Windows, *BSD and various commercial Unix flavours.

Client deployment and management; imaging, automated installation. Primarily OS X, but will take on other platforms as needed. Configuration management is an area of interest, too, currently poking at Puppet.

Python when Bash isn’t fit for purpose. Automator, a wee bit of AppleScript here and there. HTML/CSS, although it’s been a while since I did web development. Working knowledge of PHP, Perl and several other languages, generally enough for testing, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

For new projects I’d probably pick PostgreSQL over MySQL, but sometimes MySQL is just the simple, well-supported option. Experience with Filemaker, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle.

Migrations between platforms, versions, providers, from one server or service to another. Temporary infrastructure to support this, project management.

This list could go on for a while, but in the interest of attention spans and such I’ll stop here :-) Will happily discuss details however, pick up on new things!

Background

Started as a web developer in ‘95, from a design background. Built sites for national broadcasters, big brands, and so on. Did graphic design, DTP, other print work, repurposed old PC hardware into a firewall and a AppleTalk fileserver, and kind of drifted into systems administration from there.

Worked for another print/design firm, a high-end Oracle/Microsoft consulting company when Oracle on Linux was brand new, built us a datacenter, a client a multi-national VPN network, a too-early Netflix-type system, various other consulting gigs, and event support such as conferences and stadium concerts.

Another print/design firm with a heavy focus on a web-to-print workflow and large scale storage, various smaller gigs, then worked for a media company that did artist management, events, and television production.

And even though wiring up stadiums for ad-hoc internet connectivity and such is good fun, this is where I hit the wall hard, seven years ago, and burned out :-(

This forced me to be honest with myself about who I am, and in 2008 I decided to start working towards my transition, and become the woman I have always been. It’s been a long and rather rocky road since then, and what remains of my old network is pretty much tapped out in terms of available work.

Which is why I am posting this on the Internet now, reluctantly, to see if casting a wider net might yield new customers, without exposing myself too much. My transition isn’t yet complete, and I feel that linking me to a dead name is still too easy.

For actual work we’d expand to real names, of course, but for first contact I rather prefer this cloak I’ve crafted for myself.

Anyway, if you are looking for a skilled, thorough contractor with a focus on operations and a long history of tackling tough problems, introduce yourself via sindarina at gmail! :-)

Some Notes

I work remotely, from the Amsterdam area, and am mostly on Central European Time. Preferred method of communication is email, or one of the various realtime chat options. Phone is generally considered for emergencies only.

I am looking for new clients; contracting work, hosted services, not a job. No headhunters, please.

And just in case it isn’t obvious; I fall into the LGBT spectrum, and have strong opinions on gay/trans/women’s rights, diversity, equal pay, and so on. You don’t need to agree with me, but you do need to be able to be professional, and keep any disagreements on this out of the work sphere. 

~

Thanks for your time!

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#hsbw - on bitchcraft

I use the term ‘bitchcraft’ in a ‘reclaiming the word’ sense here. If this troubles you, even after reading the definition below, feel free to get in touch. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Bitchcraft in the Herworth lore refers to the art of intermingling magic and technology to achieve results not possible with either magic or technology by itself. Some will insist it is more science than art, as it heavily depends on the manipulation of refined elements typically found in industrialized society, such as metals, chemicals and refined goods such as plastics, glass, fabrics etc. There is promising research that dives into newer areas of science as well, such as biotechnology.

Bitchcraft is mostly focused on the ‘support role’; they craft the gear that is used by wizandrists, for example, as well as various tools, both hardware and software. Some practitioners prefer to focus purely on this artisan aspect of bitchcraft, while others prefer the supporting role in combat; heavy armour, repairs, logistics. Tanks and healers, basically.

In certain instances there have been bitchcrafters capable of combining the protection of purely defensive, heavy armour with short-term offensive capability that eclipses even the most powerful wizandrists, making them near-invulnerable for a limited amount of time. The few documented cases suggest that this is unique to those that cross traditional gender boundaries, and that it requires triggers that vary wildly from one person to the next. It comes at a heavy emotional cost to the source, leaving them vulnerable afterward. Further research and documentation is required.

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#hsbw - on wizandry

In case it is non-obvious, ‘wizandry’ is a wordplay on ‘misandry’. Those who practice it are called ‘wizandrists’, a term coined by @verylemonade.

A wizandrist is mostly akin to the familiar ‘mage’ role in popular literature and games. Sorcery, basically. Other parallels include the elementalist, the warlock and the like. Fire and water (frost) are the primary elements, but some will succesfully mix in earth and air. A knowledge of science is encouraged, as subjects like chemistry enhance the wizandrist’s powers. It is not required, though; some will have a natural affinity with a certain element, and they mostly require practice to control their skills.

Wizandrists are particularly effective against patriarchical constructs such as sexism and misogyny. Many have a penchant for collecting male tears, and several use these tears to enhance their performance, or speed their recovery when injured.

Their primary role is one of offense, although some sacrifice some of their offensive capability to be better at defense, or training. This does not come natural to most however, and their defense primarily focuses on their own safety. Strategically, wizandrists are best deployed in groups, preferably protected by trained allies.

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#hsbw - assorted notes #1

Putting some notes here that needs to be fleshed out later on;

Although Herworth is not strictly women-only, few men make it past its selection process. It is however very open to trans*, genderqueer and the like.

The building needs to be suitable for habitation, with individual rooms. This makes a former psychiatric hospital or something similar more suitable than an old castle, but need to be wary of possible triggers. History of the building would need to make sense, too.

Herworth has a wealthy, anonymous backer, or a group of same. It operates as a non-profit, and expects students to earn their keep. Tuition fees are required, but may be sponsored.

Herworth teaches crafts both new and old, with a focus on sustainability. It grows at least some of its food locally.

I like the seaplane as the default mode of transport, but there could also be a research sub for oceanography. Launching from an underwater cave, of course.

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"Many of my movies have strong female leads - brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man."

— Hayao Miyazaki

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#hsbw - background research for the seaplane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HU-16_Albatross

May expand more on this later, but the above seems like an interesting choice. Although the required crew complement may be a bit heavy; a two-person crew would be more reasonable for the size of the school and all that.

Of course, technology and magic could come to the rescue. Custom flight computers, robotics, stability enchantments and whatnot.

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#hsbw - setting a location

Next up; establishing a location. I originally considered putting the main location in the Belgian Ardennes, or one of the German forests like the Schwarzwald. That would sort of require a localized name, however, so I am going to skip that for now, and go with with the following;

"The Herworth School of Bitchcraft & Wizandry is located on an unnamed island off Scotland’s northwestern coast. Its remoteness is deliberate, as civilization generally does not take well to what really takes place there. Folks on neighbouring islands may tell you about unnatural weather patterns, and if you have a bit of patience and buy the old men a drink, you may hear strange tales citing everything from aliens to zombies. Some say it was heavily bombed in World War II, and that unexploded ordnance still litters its beaches. The waters surrounding the island are supposedly crawling with mines, and depending on the amount of alcohol consumed by the storyteller, there are one, several or a whole fleet of sunken German U-boats resting on the bottom, stuffed with Nazi gold.

To most of the locals, however, it is simply known as The Herworth School, a boarding school that helps troubled young women integrate into society. A noble goal, surely, and who doesn’t wish they could leave the world behind for a while? The head mistress is well respected, speaks impeccable English and Gaelic, and whenever anyone from the school visits the neighbouring towns, they are polite, pay their bills, and even if they look a bit odd at times, they just never cause any trouble. In other words, it’s good for the local economy, and people would like it to stay that way.

The only way to get to the island is by boarding the school’s old seaplane, which makes a few trips a week for supplies, parts, and the occasional new recruit. Despite its obvious age, it runs as smoothly as when it left the factory, and never seems to break down. Tourists will occasionally take pictures as it arrives, sits in the harbour or departs, but they will quickly forget what they have seen, and by the time they have a look at what’s on their camera card, those pictures will have disappeared.”

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#hsbw - Starting story snippets, some background

As I am a wee bit rusty when it comes to writing stories, I am going to try and post a few snippets first, establishing some background for the ‘Herworth School of Bitchcraft & Wizandry’, in part based on ideas by @shawnacscott and @verylemonade.

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The logo mark is my design, available under a CC BY-NC-SA license. If you want a higher resolution for things like stickers or whatnot, I can provide pixels or vector art in common formats such as TIFF, PDF, EPS and the like. Contact via Twitter, or via sindarina at gmail.

Now, since we will probably need this at some point, a disclaimer; the Herworth School of Bitchcraft & Wizandry is a fictional organisation, a parody. It is intended to have some fun by making fun of several concepts often seen in feminist discussions online, and reclaiming certain words.

That’s all it is. Anything beyond that should be considered of your own making. Should anything inadvertently cross a boundary you are uncomfortable with, however, feel free to engage in constructive criticism.

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Many of my movies have strong female leads - brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.” - Hayao Miyazaki

This, this, this!

(Source: aprettyfire, via all-studioghibli)

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catsbeaversandducks:

Frolicking in the autumn leaves, this little lion cub is having the time of her life as she excitedly plays in her enclosure.

Tiny cub Karis proved she’s not too dissimilar to human children as she threw herself into the pile of golden leaves carefully collected by her keepers, even ending up with a pile on her head.

Staff at the Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, Scotland, had been raking up the leaves to keep the attraction tidy, when Karis’s keeper Brian Reid realised that his little charge might enjoy playing in them and moved the pile into her enclosure.

Via Daily Mail

So much awesome :)