A series of cat 5 and cat 6 wires attached to a switch.
A series of cat 5 and cat 6 wires attached to a switch.
Photo by Jordan Harrison on Unsplash

In my previous article, I discussed the motivation and why behind why I’m starting a homelab. If you’re curious for a bit more context, I highly recommend you read that article before continuing on. I’ll still be here when you’re done.

https://dallasblowers.medium.com/why-im-starting-a-homelab-as-an-aspiring-data-analyst-8aad39914f61

Well, now that you’re caught up or brave enough to plod on, let’s get to the first order of business — setting up storage!


A computer with several smaller ones inside representing various services.
A computer with several smaller ones inside representing various services.
A good way to think about a homelab (IC)

To say that trying to break into a data-based career is overwhelming is a massive understatement. The vast amount of acronyms, technologies, and skills required feels like diving into an ocean at night without a headlamp. Although there are a ton of helpful (and high quality) tutorials online, it can feel impossible to know where to begin.

Combine the confusion of where to begin, with the fear of breaking something in production at my current job, and I was feeling a bit hopeless.

I want to become one of the best data analysts around. I love stories and mathematics (as…


Photo: Thomas William on Unsplash

Learning is fun.

Wait, give me a chance before you go. I’m sure many of us have less than fond memories of “learning” while at school. If this was the only time you learned I completely forgive you for thinking of learning as drudgery.

I’m thankful friends introduced me to subjects not covered in school which required me to figure out how to learn on my own. By doing this, I discovered a life-long hobby with endless potential — as a bonus, it may also help keep my brain healthier for longer.

Cognitive calibrations aside, I’ve discovered my passion to…


Photo: Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Being a beginner in a new skill is hard. We often feel overwhelmed at how much we still have to learn. Especially if we haven’t properly broken down our skill into subskills, it can seem we’re attempting to summit Everest without any gear.

When I want to learn a new skill, it’s usually because I’ve watched all the cool stuff someone better than me…


Photo: Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

“Most work is boring, but focusing is incredibly meditative.”

-Adam Savage

There’s a dirty little secret about work that very few people acknowledge — all jobs have tedious parts at least some of the time.

The notion of the dream job has become so popular that sometimes we forget that work is, well work. If we go into work expecting it all to be fun, sunshine, and rainbows we’ll be disappointed. It turns out, regardless of our occupation, many of our tasks will be tedious. …


“Everything you possess of skill, and wealth, and handicraft, wasn’t it first merely a thought and a quest?”

Rumi Jalalu’l-Din

I’ve fallen in love with the ethos of craftsmanship. From a young age, I was surrounded by master craftspeople. Some examples include the nearby Amish communities, master woodworkers, and teachers who expanded my understanding of the world and what was possible.

Although people usually consider craftsmanship reserved to skills which usually fall under fine arts (e.g. blacksmithing, woodworking, leatherworking, etc.) it really belongs to any keenly refined skill. …


Photo: Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

Exhausted, demoralized, and wanting to stop a small voice cries out to us. “Take a break, you deserve it and have worked hard.” The small voice is our desire to rest. It’s a tricky voice because we rarely hear this voice when we’re fully engaged and energized.

Instead, rest calls to us when we’re at our weakest. If we’re trying to improve ourselves and push beyond our limits, exhaustion is inevitable. Sometimes, we need to rest. Often, we need to dig deep, double down, and press ahead.

Procrastination is a powerful adversary. It’s the master of rationalizations, justifications, and changing…


Photo: Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

-Robin Williams

Creativity and madness can be closely linked. Vincent Van Gogh’s life is a prime example of this interconnected nature. He was viewed as a drunkard, insane, and altogether a blight on many people’s lives.

People argued that his works were proof of his insanity, especially when combined with his behavior. Although people of the time weren’t able to appreciate his work, he preserved. Vincent kept creating because he had to, it was a part of who he was and how he understood his experience.

Thankfully for…


Photo: Vincent Nicolas on Unsplash

“Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not.”

-Uncle Iroh

Navigating life is difficult. As we start out our own journey, we realize that we’ve been given a map with no legend and no compass. It is our responsibility to fill out the map as we go through life.

Invariably, we have to make choices as we explore the world around us. Some choices will be good, more of them will be bad. A decent chunk of our bad choices will lead us to suffer. When we first encounter suffering we will feel pain and hesitation.

We’ve…


Photo: Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

“It was bitter work, but the results were worth it.”

-Avatar Roku

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of skilled craftspeople. They are experts of making something absolutely beautiful out of simple material.

It’s clear that they’ve developed and honed a very specific set of valuable skills. Although craftsman may invoke images of woodworkers, bladesmiths, or similar professionals, I think there are more craftsmen then we often think.

I would consider a mathematician deriving an elegant proof, an organizer uniting a divided community, or an inventor finalizing a world-altering invention in the same light.

It’s often easier to see…

Dallas Blowers

I’m a nonprofit professional who’s deeply passionate about effective learning, self improvement, and chasing my curiosity wherever it leads.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store