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About the Author

painting-of-fireworks-2My name is Carl Rinker.

Here are my professional references:

Certified Public Accountant (CPA, Active Illinois license)
Microsoft: MCSA – Windows Server 2012
Microsoft: MCSA – Windows 7 Enterprise Desktop Support
CompTIA: Network+ (2012-2015)

BS Economics: Illinois State University

Before passing the CPA exam I worked as an independent computer consultant, system designer and application developer / programmer. I’ve always liked accounting, but decided long ago that designing and writing systems was a lot more fun than using them. The CPA exam was really an afterthought later in life. Illinois, and many other states, consider consulting and certain other non-auditing related experience acceptable to meet the CPA experience requirement.

My primary platform long ago was an ancient computer known as the AS/400 using RPGIV and variants. Most kids today have not heard of this technology. This is old stuff. The AS/400 now has another name and is still in use at a smattering of locations. At one time it was the best development platform in the world. Then Microsoft discovered the GUI and perfected the network and the AS/400 started to decline in popularity. I also did a fair amount of work using Microsoft Access/VBA, CA-Clipper, and on the System/36 in RPGII. I think Microsoft Access is still around. Today, I’m mostly retired.

My specialty was designing and writing new accounting systems. Much of what I wrote would still look pretty good if migrated to current technology. Systems are systems. Accounting is accounting. Technology comes and goes.

I designed and wrote multiple labor reporting systems that integrated with manufacturing systems, job accounting systems, and various inventory accounting systems. Some specialty programming included a stockholder accounting system, a statistical processing control system, an advertising allowance system, and more. My first real accomplishment long ago was a set of programs on the System/36 that could price, job cost, and calculate a bill of material for several models of air cylinders (standards and specials) – allowing engineers and the order entry system to instantly create a fixed bill out of a universe of infinite possibilities (Cylinders have variable diameter, variable length, and multiple available options, all of which affect the bill of material, price, and standard cost. Bills of material were calculated on the spot based on the specs entered, not copied from a list or nested list, as is routine.). The S/36 had a small program workspace, adding to the challenge (64K max executable). The need for systems like these still exist, only the means of delivering them has changed.

I decided to write this on line book (starting circa 2012 – 2013) to share my experiences. Only a couple of years earlier, I was limping by on 1.44Mbit DSL (on a good day) and was almost clueless about the internet except as an ordinary user. Simply by upgrading my home internet to Comcast cable 25Mbit (now 150/20), the world changed. Having a much faster internet connection and virtually no download cap knocked down doors that has been cracked open only a little. My imagination took off. The land-line was dropped in favor of voip and Ooma. I digitized my music (110GB), added a 2nd router as a 5GHz bridge for serving DLNA based entertainment and streaming video off the internet, and became obsessed with understanding TCP/IP to the point of getting a Network+ certificate and a couple of MCSA certifications from Microsoft. (The Network+ certificate is active for three years and requires significant expense to renew. Since it is an entry level certificate, I decided to let it expire in late 2015.)

In 2015 I upgraded the home network significantly. It’s now more wired than wireless. The full downstairs is wired with cat6. I did it myself. Thank you YouTube. Several rooms have multiple outlets. A router I built using a Supermicro fanless motherboard and an Intel J1900 processor hosts pfSense. It protects the network using snort and pfBlockerNG. DNSBL, a pfBlockerNG feature, does a masterful job of ad blocking and malware site blocking at the router level. pfSense also provides almost stupid simple OpenVPN server creation and user support. A spare laptop works as a media server / PLEX server / Playon desktop server.

Comcast still provides excellent internet access – the speeds keep getting faster and the price per Mbit keeps going down –  and some used lifetime Tivo equipment provides low cost Comcast TV services (it’s a big savings to own your equipment). A smart TV,  some smart devices, and the above-mentioned spare laptop add internet TV. I’m still using Ooma but see less of a need for a landline, even one as inexpensive as this. An aging QNAP NAS continues to work well.

At this time (late 2017) a used Netgear R7000 provides a wireless access point. A Netgear R6400 offers client bridge services to an upstairs room. An Asus RT-AC66U-B1 provides client bridge duties to another room upstairs. An Asus TM-AC1900 that was up-converted into an Asus RT-AC68 is used for this and that from time to time. Both Asus routers host Merlin’s alternate Asus firmware because it offers a couple of useful tweaks that stock Asus firmware does not. The Netgear routers run stock Netgear firmware.

I live in Northern Illinois, far northwest of Chicago. Drop me an email if you live nearby. Tell me about your network or the fantastic accounting system you designed. My other interests are economics, fraud, finance, and home cooking. I would probably write an economics blog if there weren’t 100,000 other ones already out there.

I may be contacted at advancedhomeserver at gmail dot com.

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2 Comments on “About the Author”

  1. Aloha Carl Rinker…
    Mahalo for Your Aloha!

    I think I met you in Chicago a long time way back.
    I’m not Hawaiian…
    but, I do have the Hawaiian Aloha Spirit…

    I was looking for details regarding ssl stuff because I must encrypt all of my websites and email server… And I discovered your Advanced Home Server….

    I have not yet read your stuff yet… But I’m getting ready to read your story.

    May the good gods be with you. ALOHA! Bill Reynolds in Florida Today…

    • Carl Rinker says:

      Thanks. I hope it’s helpful. I don’t remember you … do you remember where we crossed paths? A long time ago in the Chicago area sounds about right.

      I haven’t added to this in a while, but most is still current. Ask in the comments if you need anything.


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