Cover letter for PHPWebHosting.com


which hosted kwynn.com from June 29 - November 25, 2010.

First, I go through PHPWH's jobs section point for point, in order:

Customer Service


I was a customer service representative (CSR) at Indus International (1997 – 1999, now Ventyx). I worked in the customer service department, but I also did everything else to maintain an industrial maintenance system—the coding, testing, installing, etc. This system ran at power plants, oil refineries, copper smelters, and gold mines.

At Indus, I was explicitly a CSR, but I've always been a CSR implicitly. I've gathered requirements from the customer for every program I've ever written, at every job I've had. I've never coded from someone else's specification. I wouldn't want to do a job where I didn't talk to the customer. It's what gives a job meaning.

General Web Building Skills


I've built a number of web applications, as you can see on my site. I also helped get “Professor H's Classes” started on your site. (Unfortunately, that site just went down permanently.) I installed password protection and phpBB and chat and did some customizations to phpBB.

Everything I've written after 2005 is in PHP (and JavaScript); it's all on my site. The real estate program uses MySQL; the original blood program did, too, but I have a simplified version posted.

I've written a few scripts in Perl. I've done just a bit of playing with Ruby. I'm interested in learning Python because both Eric S. Raymond (Cathedral and the Bazaar) and Randall Munroe of the XKCD web comic recommend it.

Advanced Skills


I got the dreaded Apache suexec working on my own Gentoo Linux system—not a trivial task. My goal was to avoid making my database password file world-readable, as is often done.

I wrote a module for Spam Assassin (for myself; it's not “out there”) with the assumption that I didn't get legitimate email from anyone outside the US. I noted that a lot of the Eastern European spam didn't change the originating time zone of the email, and I also did whois lookups and parses to identify foreign IP addresses.

I've been a database programmer for five solid years (adding up months and hours) over the past 13 years. I've used MySQL since 2005. I've done query optimizations with 100,000s of rows (I've never had access to more) that have taken processes down from 12+ hours to 1.5 hours. (That was in Oracle, but the process would be similar if not identical in MySQL.)

I've done security monitoring to the extent that I've watched the Bulgarian script kiddies uselessly hammer for hours--brute forcing--on the user "administrator" on my own Linux machine (which, naturally, didn't have a user "administrator." Braw-ha-ha!) I've similarly seen buffer overflow attempts on my web server--equally useless (although I'm not sure if it was useless because they were attacking MS-IIS rather than my Apache server or if I was using a late enough version of Apache).

More - SysAdmin Stuff I've Done

I hope you're sold already. Feel free to stop when you get bored. :)

I've built Gentoo Linux systems almost completely from scratch. At almost every point in the Gentoo Handbook, there is a choice of a hard way or easy way. I've taken almost all the hard ways. Specifically,

I've played a bit with using my own computer as a host for remote users—installing and configuring the sshd, modifying file permissions and user groups to keep them from making trouble, etc.

I configured a wireless router when a Chief Strategy Officer of an Atlanta-area IT company couldn't. (Yes, I have a witness to that story who will speak. :) ) The only problem was that the DSL modem and router had the same default IP address. I figured this out and fixed it in a few minutes.

I've generated an SSL server-side certificate with openssl and gotten HTTPS to work on my server.

I've written a number of scripts--some of which get somewhat complicated--that do backups, encrypt the backups, fetch my GMail via IMAP according to my somewhat unusual specs, etc., etc.

I think we're all bored now. Time to stop. :)


2012/08/06 - Professor Brown's links fixed. For the record, the old links were

updated Nov 29, 2010--former web host

written mid-July, 2010

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