About Me

Hi!  My name is Khan.  You can read all about me and see what I do during my day job and off hours.

I am a very proud father of 5 children and married to my lovely bride, Sarah.  This year, 2016, is our 19th wedding anniversary.  My family is extremely important to me and I really enjoy being home and a home body to boot.  I love the outdoors and Michigan has some of the very best sites and places to visit.

Family Photo at Art Prize 2014
Family Photo at Art Prize 2014
My family at Midweste Geobash 2012 with "Signal the Frog"
My family at Midwest Geobash 2012 with “Signal the Frog”

Up until October of 2011 – I was a Microsoft Technical Trainer. I worked at New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Grand Rapids for almost 14 years and absolutely loved it.  If you have taken a computer class – more than likely you may have taken it at New Horizons Computer Learning Center.  I worked with a great team of instructors.  I am a better person for my time at New Horizons.  I learned some great communication skills that apply in my everyday life everywhere and in anything I do.  Initially, when I was hired at New Horizons – we had  2 week Train the Trainer class.  They taught fantastic communication skills.  I find that I still critique every public speaker, TV, Movies, News, etc. for how they communicate verbally and non-verbally.  I have found that when attending other technical classes or webcasts – I think the instructors for New Horizons – Great Lakes are some of the best and most effective technical communicators and I mean that.

In October 2011 I was laid off from a job I loved and began a new journey in my life.  After a few months of searching I found an opportunity at CPR.  If you have worked in IT or needed the services of an IT company in the West Michigan area you have probably heard of CPR.  CPR does a lot of work especially for the SMB market (Small / Medium sized Businesses) in regards to cabling, networking, server hardware, installation, troubleshooting, and migrating, and cloud services to name a few.

Currently, I am employed at a local transportation company called Super Service LLC.  I’m the Network Engineer – hired to work on the network infrastructure, multiple Windows & Linux servers, and the IBM AS400.  I specialize in (obviously) Office 365, Exchange Server (Microsoft’s Flagship email server), Windows Server, Group Policy, DNS, Automation of Windows Installations using Microsoft’s WIM file for disks and security, troubleshooting, etc. just to name a few.

I’ve done work for businesses and individuals for nearly 20 years.  I have a small LLC that I own and manage and do side jobs during my spare time on nights and weekends.  During my previous job I worked on Office 365 for nearly 4 years and migrated thousands of user mailboxes to the “cloud”.  Office 365 uses Microsoft’s Exchange Server product which is a very natural transition from my training days when I taught many Exchange server classes.  I also create and host websites for individuals and business.  Having trained Microsoft FrontPage many years ago I started out creating websites using that.  Today, I prefer WordPress.  I’ve spent a lot of time during 2015 and 2016 learning more about WordPress, Plugins, SEO, Bing / Google Webmaster Tools, etc.  I use Office 365 for my business email account, file storage, Office Pro Plus, etc.  I also am always looking to help companies migrate their users to Office 365.  If you are thinking about migrating and would like to talk about it feel free to check out my Office 365 website.

I absolutely love what I do.  I love to help people with their computers.  I love to help people work better, easier, and more efficiently.  I love finding solutions for people allowing them to work more efficiently from anywhere at anytime.  During the course of conversation with clients or explain what I believe is happening or what actually is happening – many of my old lectures and examples still creep out to help that client have a better understanding of what is going on.  I feel it’s important for a client to be able to make an educated decision regarding the discussion at hand.

I am a huge technology geek. I love working and playing with new technology. I also have a small company that I do computer, networking, security, and internet consulting on a part-time basis.

Besides being a technology geek I also love the outdoors.  As a younger man I was in Boy Scouts and Royal Rangers.  I spent a lot of time there camping and started to really get into Wilderness Survival.  While I don’t really do much with Wilderness Survival today I still use a lot of the skills I picked up in Scouts and Rangers.  Today I love to camp, hike, backpack, kayak, and geocache.  A few years ago a buddy and myself decided to do something neither of us have ever done – backpacking – a bit to the extreme side of things too.  Every year we spend a weekend (we’ve done 5 days) on North or South Manitou Island in the Middle of Lake Michigan 15 miles west of Leland, MI.

Below you can see a photo from a few years back showing 4 of the 5 kids went along with me in addition to one of my sisters.  We were hiking towards the Perched Dunes (very rare geological occurrence – something very unique we have in the Sleeping Bear National Park) and met up with a group that sailed over from Wisconsin.  Anyway, we asked for a group photo and they obliged.  This is near the highest point on the island looking back towards the mainland which you can see if you look close in the photo.

 

Backpacking trip with my family on South Manitou Island - July 2012
Backpacking trip with my family on South Manitou Island – July 2012

Other things about me include the love of soft serve ice cream.  I love to stop a couple of times a week at McDonalds and grab a cone or the Wyoming Ice Cream Shop and get a Green Apple Flavorburst. I have been known to make several stops a day at McDonalds and even late night runs when we’re out caching too!

One thing for sure is that I love our country. Hearing the National Anthem played or sung, seeing Old Glory flying in the breeze still stirs emotion. My wife loves hearing (not really) me sing “I love America” from the Celebrate Freedom CD. I love hearing Phil Driscoll play his trumpet. I really do enjoy hearing any music arrangement with a good brass section in it.

I am a huge news and talk radio fan. I rarely listen to any music stations but love WOOD Radio here in Grand Rapids or any number of other stations while I’m out-of-town for work. In fact – if you were to check the stations programmed into the radio in my car you would find news and talk from Grand Rapids, Detroit, Kalamazoo, and even Chicago and Kentucky!  I call in regularly to make my traffic reports here in Grand Rapids as I’m traveling around the area.  I like to call myself a “Traffic Lieutenant”.

I love to read. I never have enough time to read. I love history books and a very rare novel tossed into the mix as well. For the past seven years or so I have spent 99% of the books I read on CIA/KGB espionage.  The past 3 or 4 years I’ve done a lot of reading about soldiers stories from Iraq and Afghanistan including Marcus Luttrell’s story – Lone Survivor or Chris Kyle’s book – American Sniper to name a few.  Other topics I enjoy reading about include:  The White House, the Presidency, the Cold War, and now the War on Terror.  Once in awhile I’ll throw a fiction book into the mix.  In the summer of 2012 I bought a Kindle Fire.  I love being able to take it with me and sit down wherever, relax, and read the current book in my reading list.  Another benefit of using my Kindle is that it synchronizes how far I’ve read, my notes, and highlights.  I can pick up reading where I left off using the Kindle app on my SmartPhone as well and vice versa.  One of my favorite things to do is now being able to borrow electronic books from my local library – Kent District Library.  With ebooks I don’t have to go to the library to pick up or return the book.  Plus, the digital / ebooks collection continues to grow and grow which saves me money instead of having to purchase the book.

My reading list has expanded to other books – history & an occasional fiction.  I regularly read Readers Digest as well as the Grand Rapids Press (when it was in daily printed form).  Another generation will be asking what is a newspaper…. 🙂  Favorite television programs are pretty much cop style programs like COPS (obviously), NCIS, and Criminal Minds.  Our family also found something else we watch together called, “Operation Repo”, and the kids really like that.

Family on South Manitou Island
Family on South Manitou Island

After I was laid off in 2011 or so our family made some changes to how we consume content and services.  We cut the landline.  We were paying roughly $45 monthly for the phone.  See my write up here regarding OOMA what we did to cut the landline and what we replaced it with – including saving over $2000 to date with not having a traditional landline.  We also “cut the cord” when it came to TV.  TV alone was costing us just over $100 every month.  I changed our internet service from a consumer service to a business internet.  As an IT professional I’m very aware of internet providers changing the terms of their services to only allow a certain amount of bandwidth to be consumed monthly.  One of the benefits of doing work on the side is that I have my own LLC.  That allowed me to get a business internet account with no bandwidth limits – its unlimited.  The only caveat is that it is more expensive to have faster speeds whereas the consumer counterparts that pay roughly the same price I’m paying for my business account has 50 Mbps compared to my 16 Mbps!  Perhaps I’ll do a write up about what I see happening around the country in test markets for consumer internet where they are limiting how much content you can consume monthly.  They are allowing those customers to pay an additional $30 per month to have unlimited amounts of bandwidth.

So, our family uses Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, PlayOn, Vudu, and a Plex server (which is free and easy to install and use) to stream all kinds of digital content to any connected device.

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