Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/22/2016

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Our streaming-only television plans may have failed, but I’ve been enjoying the Amazon Prime membership we got for it.

There’s a part of me that’s a little terrified of Amazon, because that much power in the hands of one commercial organization is scary, but there’s another part of me that really likes the incredible variety of products they sell at amazing prices. So, while I do shop there, taking as much advantage of our Prime subscription as possible, I still think I’m right to be a little suspicious of them and vigilant. For instance, I think it’s better if I can comparison shop and make sure that Amazon really does have the best price. That’s not always easy to do. But, a new-ish set of tools on a website called CamelCamelCamel.com can help. Among other things, they have trackers that help you find the best price and watch for price drops, not to mention tools that show you the price history of a particular item. And, they have a browser add-in called The Camelizer that help you do all that right from your favorite browser. If you sign up for a free account, you can set up notifications for price changes or even set a target price notification so you can snag what your heart desires at the best price possible.
And, if you have the problem my wife and I always seem to have, and need to fill in just a couple dollars worth of something to get the free shipping, there’s the handy website FillerItem. All you need to do is hit the site, put in your minimum dollar amount and FillerItem will serve up a list of things from Amazon that will tip you over the limit. It’s pretty clever.

So, there you go, some tools to help your conspicuous consumption this weekend.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

7/15/2016

Evernote Add-Ons

Filed under: Fun,Red Herrings,The Tools — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’ve become a huge Evernote fan since I started using it for the Getting Things Done a couple months ago.

And, as I find more and more things I can do through Evernote to keep me organized and efficient, I find I love it more and more. I’ve been focused on templates recently, both finding them and making them myself. But, as it turns out there are all kinds of add-ons for Evernote, too. Here are two.
First, for those of us who want to keep a map of the area around an appointment, or some other entry we may want to put into Evernote, there’s MapClipper, which will let you take a small slice of Google maps and save it into your Evernote notebook. And, if you’ve paid for one of the better-than-free subscriptions for Evernote, you can save these maps off-line, too, which can come in handy sometimes.
Then, if you want to improve your mind, but only in short, condensed bits, there’s Blinkist, which will give you non-fiction books summarized into a fifteen-minute executive summary right into your Evernote notebook. The free subscription gives you one condensed book per day, which they choose for you, but if you upgrade to one of the paid versions you can pick books and get more than one per day. I’m not a big fan of executive summaries, but for certain business or trendy books, I might prefer it.

So, there you are, two free add-ons for Evernote to make your life even better!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

7/8/2016

What Theme Is That WordPress Running?

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Okay, so this may not matter to a lot of my readers who aren’t designers, programmers or WordPress enthusiasts.

But, it does matter to me.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a site and wanted to know what they were running.  Most of the time, I just go over to Netcraft and check to see what kind of server and content management system they’re running.  But, sometimes, when I see that they’re running WordPress, I often want to know more, like what theme the site is running or what plugins it’s using.  The problem is, while I can usually look at the code and see what theme they’re running, it’s almost impossible to get any of the plugins, too.
Well, the other night while looking for something else, I found the WordPress Theme Detector, which can tell me all of that information and a little more.  It’s a free service and all you need to do is put in the URL of the site you’re curious about to get the 411.

That ought to kill a little time while you drop your favorite blogs in there to see what they’re running!
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

7/1/2016

Fireworks Photography

Filed under: Fun,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Seems like I end up posting about this every year. Almost like a tradition.

For those of you outside the U.S., Monday is the day we celebrate our independence as a nation by barbecuing and carousing and having parades and, most of all, by firing fireworks. All across the country this weekend, there will be fireworks displays, both large and small, and there will be photographers at every one of them with tons of gear trying to capture that exuberant feeling of freedom in an image. My personal suggestion is to just go and enjoy the show, but, if you absolutely must take photographs, check out the links below for tips before you go!

First, and always one of my favorites, are the annual Ten Tips for Photographing Fireworks from Photofocus. For most of us, these are the tips that matter most.
But, also, check out How To Photograph Fireworks at Digital Photography School. They also have ten tips, but their tips are slightly different, so definitely worth a look.
And, finally, you can never go wrong with Fireworks Photography Tips from National Geographic. Even if you are burned out on fireworks photography tips after the first two links, it’s worth following this link for the inspirational photography, if nothing else!
Or, if you’d rather just watch a video tutorial, Photofocus has updated their regular guide into a How To Shoot Fireworks video on YouTube.

Just remember, being polite to those around you while you’re trying to setup your shots will go a long way to improving everyone’s enjoyment of the spectacle. Just because you have a camera doesn’t make your viewing experience more important than anyone else’s. And, of course, be safe! Don’t get so worried about getting a good photograph that you let someone sneak up and steal your camera gear in the dark or that hot ashes from the fireworks land on your gear, or you! Safety first!
But, most of all, enjoy the Independence Day holiday and festivities and appreciate the fact that, no matter how much the NSA listens to your phone calls, we still live in a free and glorious country!
And, most of all, have a Happy Independence Day!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

6/24/2016

Submarine Google View

Filed under: Fun,Marginalia and Notes from the Editor,Personal,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Those who know me best, know my obsession with submarines.

I have loved submarines, especially the World War II era subs, since I was a kid growing up in Chicago and going to the Museum of Science and Industry.  There I would always want to make sure and tour the famous U505; a German U-Boat that was captured intact and towed through the Great Lakes to her final resting place in Chicago.  I’ve probably been through the U-505 more than a dozen times.  It’s incredible.
If I’m ever in a city where I can tour a submarine, I do my best to make it a priority.  For instance, the last time I was in San Francisco, I made sure to see the USS Pampanito, a retired U.S.N. submarine.  Similar in many ways to the German boats, but not quite as cramped.
I’ve read a number of books about World War II submarines, as well as modern subs, from both the Allies and the Axis.  I’ve never been aboard a Japanese submarine or a British submarine, but, now, thanks to the magic power of Google, we can take a virtual tour of one.  The HMS Ocelot has been pretty completely mapped by Google and you can get a really good look at what she was like.  Nothing replaces actually being in one, but this is about the next best thing.

Besides, it’s Friday and you’re probably avoiding work like most everyone else is, so why not have some educational fun and do a virtual tour of a piece of history!?
Enjoy and have a great weekend!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

6/17/2016

Uncle Walt’s Health Tips for Men

Filed under: Fun,Personal Care,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Seriously, health tips from Walt Whitman himself.

I think about health a lot, because I’m overweight.  My cardiologist would like me to lose at least 20 pounds, preferably more.  He just doesn’t quite buy that my wife, being a good Southern woman, expresses her love for me through food.  And, she really loves me.  Seriously.
I also tend to be a traditionalist, though, so when I saw that old Walt Whitman had written a 13-installment series of articles giving men of his day health advice, well, you can imagine how I became quite interested.  Maybe, finally, I’d have someone who was on my side for why I didn’t have time to lose the weight!  And why bacon can be served at every meal!

Sadly, it was not so.  Mr. Leaves of Grass himself said just what my cardiologist did; get up and walk.  Yeah.  And, he suggests walking outside, in the fresh air, and everything.
I feel betrayed.
You can read all his advice, which, I might add, is perfectly good for women for the most part, too, if you just follow this link over to the University of Iowa archives.  It’s actually a pretty good series of articles and, while he doesn’t say much about bacon, he does suggest that there’s nothing wrong with eating beef.  So I have that much.

Anyway, it’s Friday and you might as well read what else he has to say.
Enjoy your weekend!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

6/10/2016

Lunch Read

Filed under: Fun,Marginalia and Notes from the Editor,The Infinite Library — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

More self-education at lunch.

This is a little less work oriented than last week and certainly less technical, but it’s still the same idea. It’s an email newsletter, which seem to be gaining a bit in popularity again.  In this case, it’s a curated email, sent weekly, filled with content that the site owners claim will broaden your perspective called The Lunch Read.  I don’t know about that, but it does have videos, articles and music that you might not have heard yet, all sent to you, regularly.  You can read more about it at About: The Lunch Read.  And, if you’re not quite sold yet, even though it’s free, you can see recent past newsletters they’ve sent out at The Lunch Read Leftovers.  Judging from that content, it’s not a bad newsletter.

Besides, it’s Friday, and if  you’re reading this, you’re not working anyway.  Might as well sign up and see what it’s all about!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

6/3/2016

SysAdmin Screencasts

Filed under: Fun,Geek Work,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver,The Day Job,The Tools — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Not my usual Friday Fun, but great for system administrators trying to get ahead.

And, not too bad for power users trying to figure out some of what the professional system administrators are talking about when they’re trying to talk over your head.
What I’ve got for you this week, gentle readers, are “bite-sized” system administrator screencasts.  What that translates to are relatively short screencasts, usually 20 minutes or less, on professional computing topics ranging from using Ansible to implementing Docker to writing incident reports to project planning.  So, pretty much, a series of short, hyper-focused courses that you can sneak in during your lunch hour at your desk.  How awesome is that?

Okay, so only awesome if you’re a professional computer geek like me, but, still, if you are, it’s pretty awesome.  Also?  Free.  So, yeah, free professional development you can squeak in on your lunch hour.  All in all, not a bad deal.
But, hey, it’s Friday, so bookmark that and start your self-education program on Monday, okay?

5/27/2016

Remember the Galactic Warfighters

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, with Memorial Day coming up, I was sort of thinking in a military mode this week for a link to share.

Some time back, I saw an article about Matthew Callahan on IO9.com.  Mr. Callahan is a combat correspondent with the U. S. Marines, and you can see some of his combat photography at that first link.  I know Memorial Day is meant to remind us of those who gave their lives in military service so that we can enjoy our freedom, but I still like to thank those who served and are still serving, too.  I can’t imagine what Mr. Callahan has seen, and possibly photographed, in combat and I respect him for what he does for a living.  It’s hard enough to be a photographer, but I can’t imagine how hard it is to take photos while getting shot at and wearing full battle rattle.
But, all that aside, what I really want to share is his side project, Galactic Warfighters.  Mr. Callahan uses his experience and expertise gained from actual combat photography to create the most incredible and imaginative tableaus of science-fiction combat using Star Wars figures that you’ve ever seen.  Seriously, this is art at a level you rarely get to see.  Go, look.  You’ll be stunned at the level of realism he gets with his little toys and some know-how.

And, this weekend, don’t forget those who serve, who served and who paid the ultimate price for our way of life.

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

5/20/2016

Science Fiction Short Films

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Also, they’re free.

In 2015, Sploid, a sub-site of Gizmodo, had a short film festival. Just to be clear, that’s a festival of short films. There were 21 films, many of which include some actors you may recognize. All the films were creative and, frankly, pretty amazing.
And, let’s face it, it’s Friday and you’re reading this blog, which means you weren’t doing any actual work anyway, so you might as well head over to YouTube and watch all of them. They are, after all, short films, so it won’t take too terribly long.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this week, because I’ve been a bit sick and didn’t have a chance to get anything better together.
But, I think this will be good enough.
Enjoy, and I’ll see you back here next week!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

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