Christmas is coming, and I have heard the bang. It is starting to get a little noisier here, although being on the other side of the Faith hill from Manila helps. The parties have started, and here louder=more fun. Of course the later the party goes, and the more fun people have, the more fun they want it to be. In CA and in MI when there was a loud party it might mean loud (rock/dance) music and maybe loud fun having (yelling, laughing, whooping, etc.). Here, there is nothing funner (more fun) than karaoke. Yes, the loud party is that cousin who should never talk too loudly, but does, wharling into a microphone. Oh, the music is usually Pinoy love songs, or the cheesy lovesongs we all know from our Jr. High days. The strange thing is, we are used to it, and even consider doing karaoke as a group event. Only consider it, never do it.

What would you like to know about our lives? The mundane? I don’t really know who my audience is here (Hi Mom!, Hi D&H!), so if you like, you can tell me.

Status Report Computer services just lost another volunteer as Ryan Smith takes off for Davao and Cebu an his way to the US. He graduated last May, and stayed on to help out and learn a few things. He was the right and left hand of the department while he was here. I am sorry he is gone, but glad that he is moving on towards college, etc. I think he learned more than he knows he learned. Because I was gone most of the time and the manager is only part time, Ryan ended up doing an awful lot, from general tech support to some admin tasks like account management and scripting.

We have just purchased our first 2 ‘real servers’. They are both Asus AP2400R-Ts, each sport 4×36.7GB hot-plug drives in a RAID5 config, redundant NICs and power supplies, 512MB RAM, and are 2U rack mounted. This is a big step for Faith, as we try to rebuild the infrastructure to support our current and future needs. Our current servers are Compaq Deskpros modded out to bear the load of a server. That means they have extra IDE drives, tape backup and 256MB RAM. They have not really held up that well, and our one domain controller for the business domain has crashed repeatedly. Scary, no? Two software packages that we are purchasing in the next month or so require MS SQL, so I will be able to begin to learn how to manage SQL Server 2000. Brother Dave has plenty of experience, so I may need to lean a little on that. (That OK Dave?). The new software is ACCPAC, an accounting package, and something called BOS/e, a payroll system. We currently run ACCPAC, but it is the DOS version, and we are only running the GL (General Ledger), but it is tweaked to do the work of accounts receivable, and accounts payable, and everything else. It is tweaked by maintaining a HUGE chart of accounts and with external MS Access databases for data input and reporting. In between the Access and ACCPAC the data sits in .csv files. There is no direct data link between them, so all transfer of data is done manually. The business office is not trained to do it, so my guys do it. This causes a few problems, as now my guys are joined to the business office operations, and things will grind to a halt if they are not available. What the upgrade will do is give us all the modules we need to work efficiently, effectively and without dependence on computer services. And, all the data will be in SQL on our server, and we can handle backups and maintenance. Reports will be handled within ACCPAC and will use Crystal Reports. We will have very little need for external Access interfaces, and things will be far more secure. Part of our move to develop the infrastructure is increasing the number of staff. Yes, we are hiring (sort of). We are going to try to fill several staff positions, and some that could be employees or staff. The difference here is that staff positions are filled by missionaries, and employees are paid Filippinos.

Staff Needed!

Computer Technician
Troubleshoot and repair computer workstations, and advise when new equipment is needed. Responsible for relationships with service and support vendors, and repair and replacement of computer workstations on campus.

Network Engineer
Plan, implement and maintain network operations. Includes user account maintenance, server support, and structured cabling. Responsible for relationships with cabling, network equipment, server, and Internet service vendors. (Windows 2000, Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, Leased line, Terminal Services)

Database Developer
Design, implement, develop and maintain database operations. Responsible for database backups, integrity, and improvements.(MySQL, MSSQL, PHP, MS Access [plan to make obsolete])

Web Master
Design and oversee the maintenance of the Faith Academy web sites, including any Intranet site developed. (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL)

Manager
Oversee and organize daily work, manage operations budget, and provide insight into work flow improvements. Responsible for all department purchases for operations, and approves, logs and prioritizes work requests. Handles policy implementation, and recommends policy changes.

Director
Plan, oversee and direct entire department operations, including long term goals, and standards of operation. Chair the Technology Steering Committee, providing leadership for technology use at Faith Academy. Investigates and approves new technology, and is responsible for Capitol Outlay and MERF budgets.

So, if you are getting tired of sitting in the same old server room day after day, dread that drive home and are looking for a way to use your tech skills to further the Lord’s work, give us a look. This is serious, and we are looking to really get Faith Academy shipshape. Sorry, this is not a corporate ladder type situation, and you will have to be/become a missionary to be eligible. I have never been so busy and fulfilled.

All for now.