I’m Geordy Rostad and this is my tech blog. I’ve been into computers and electronics literally all my life starting from when I received my Mattel Aquarius for Christmas when I was five. That computer only had 3 games available so I popped open the manual and started programming in basic since that proved to be more interesting. When I was twelve or so, I worked weekends for my friend’s dad building PC compatible clones. That was back in the glory days of BBSes and before the days of Computer City, CompUSA and all the other big box stores that cheapened the art.
When I was a senior in high school a friend got me a job doind board level diagnosis and repair on CRT-based computer monitors. Of course that was a time when they were still $400 for a decent 15″ screen so it was worth the $100-$150 we would charge for most repairs. That business was partnered with one that build DEC Alpha clones. Before long I was building those along with honing my electronic skills. In those days, a DEC Alpha would cost $15k+ but we were able to buy motherboards with CPUs from Digital for $5,000 and deliver whole systems as cheaply as $7,000 depending on the configuaration. While the profit margin was huge by today’s standards, it wasn’t as big as it would appear since we had to use more expensive components such as ECC ram and scsi hard drives. The operating systems were also a large expense. When I started building alpha clones we had Windows NT, DEC Unix and the ever-obscure OpenVMS. Believe me when I say there was nothing open about OpenVMS. By the time I built my last alpha clone, Redhat Linux 4.2 was by far the most popular OS we were shipping. Around the same time Compaq aquired Digital and pretty much put an end to the alpha architecture within 6 months time.
By that time I had already moved to a new job with another company. My position was essentially being the entire tech department in a 3-man show. I built alpha clones, normal pc clones, administrated the network(and someone else’s network who was co-located with us) and acted as tech support answering confused and angry phone calls.
During my time at that job we were approached by a company who manufactured 1gb network hardware. This was shortly before the standard we know today as gigabit Ethernet. This technology was called Giganet. It had no IP stack so a standard 10/100 card was required as a communication channel. With this new technology we started building Beowulf clusters for universities and other scientific reaearchers. This job was working out great until the market started changing. We weren’t able to build clones cheap enough with our limited buying power. Luckily during this time I met and befriended my next boss.
2000 was a good time to be in tech. I was hired for a healthy sum to join up with a dot com to run the tech support department. At the time I was hired, there was no actual product shipped or even spec’d out. We had a visionary who had ideas for several network appliances based on Redhat 5.2 and several other open source applications. One appliance would be a web server. Another would be a mail server. Then there was the DNS server and so on and so on. Since I didn’t have any product to support and I had a team of 3-4 people under my direct lead, we were tasked with other things. The company moved into a larger location to enable our expansion so we had to build a large network to support the operations. We also would test out open source applications to see if they could be integrated into our products and I spent a lot of time stripping unessential packages from Redhat to save drive space and make them run more efficiently.
As we came closer to a shippable product, it was decided that there would be an LCD interface that would enable sys admins to set up the box’s IP address and a couple of other settings allowing them to then connect to the web interface to finish on-site configuration. My team was tossed a stack of Perl books and tasked with writing the software to allow that LCD to perform those tasks. I was also asked for input and testing on our custom case designs. The cases were 1u and 2u rack mount servers that came in bright colors to designate which tasks they performed.
I was happy being a jack of many trades for this company but then 9/11 hit and all of the venture capital money for startups dried up overnight. We had just begun shipping product but our angel investors decided to pullback and take a loss. That company closed it’s doors in March of 2002 and I turned to a different career path for a while, real estate.
In real estate, I’ve integrated a surprising amount of tech in my business model. From WordPress blogs to social media and RSS feeds, real estate is becoming more tech oriented every day. I’ve started this website to share my projects and interest with the tech community and anyone else who shares the same passion.