Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/28/2003

PDA Test

Filed under: Fun Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

This is a test of the PDA/AvantGo method of posting. If you can read this, it works. The only problem with it is the small data-entry area.

Well, that and the fact that it doesn’t automatically reindex on the live blog, ergo, it posts, but doesn’t show up.

Have to see about automating the rebuilds…..

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2/25/2003

Teach Yourself Linux in 10 Minutes

Filed under: Linux,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Well, 10 minutes per chapter, anyway.

I just finished Teach Yourself Linux in 10 Minutes last night and was fairly impressed. Of course, it was a review of Linux for me, not a true knowlege dump, but it was a good refresher. And, it gave me some new information that I hadn’t had before. I tend to learn things on the go, as I’m trying to accomplish a goal of some kind, so sometimes, I miss things. This was certainly the case with Linux. So, since I’d gotten this book some time ago and never read it, I decided it was time to fill in some gaps.
This is pretty basic stuff, but it’s a good introduction to Linux for someone that has never really used it before. It talks the reader through the basics, starting with logging in and going all the way through printing and basic shell-scripting. It’s fairly comprehensive, for an introductory book, and each chapter is broken down into managable chunks. And, yes, each chapter takes about 10 minutes to read.

All in all a good book and worth the money.

2/23/2003

The Dam Has Burst!

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

My pond is leaking!

Well, at least, it looks like it is. It’s had some trouble holding water for a couple of weeks, but this weekend it got really bad. And, Saturday, as I was trying to fill it and find the leak, the bottom of the liner bubbled up. Yikes!
So, I played with it and tried various combonations of pumps running but, with little effect. Finally, I called our favorite pond store, Nelson Water Garden and they suggested turning off both pumps. They also suggested that it sounded like the waterfall was pumping water under the liner, which is what was making it bubble up. So, while I was on the phone with them, I priced replacement liners. The 40 year, rubber liner was much less expensive than I thought it would be, so that’s good news. Now, I actually hope that it’s the liner, not the pumps! Of course, either way I’ll be busting my butt next weekend. Luckily, we have a second pond to put the koi into while I work on the first one. I hope that I can limp this along until Saturday and not have to worry about fish from the two different ponds attacking each other.
Never a dull moment!

2/22/2003

Night Vision Cereal Toy

Filed under: Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

For just one box top….

Actually, I don’t know how many proof-of-purchase things are required, but Post cereals are having a night vision give away. I couldn’t believe it, really. I was just watching cartoons this morning and there was an ad showing kids using a simple night vision scope that fit in the palm of their hand. The ad ran something about “Now, available, details on these POST cereals….” It was amazing, when it sunk in.
I remember when night vision was terribly expensive and absolutely enormous! Monoculars were the size of video cameras and had no battery life. But, now, you can get night vision as a cereal give away!! How insane is that? Of course, it’s probably a starlight scope of some kind that magnifies ambient light, but still, the damn thing is small enough to fit in a pocket. In fact, it looked like it was hardly bigger than a Zippo lighter!

Excuse me, I have to go buy some Alpha-bits, now.

2/19/2003

Socially Unacceptable

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:31 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Why are nerds unpopular?

There was an interesting article posted to Slashdot today titled Why Are Nerds Unpopular by Paul Graham, creator of LISP. He poses some interesting opinions about why nerds, or geeks, are unpopular in high-school. I don’t agree with all of them, but he does make some very salient points. For one thing, I think that the geeks, like me, were playing a different game than the rest of the kids. At the very least, we were playing by a different set of rules. I know that I certainly was, though I understand that only in retrospect.
What I found interesting was what my concern was when reading the article. I wasn’t particularly concerned with my own trials and tribulations as a teen-ager, but how my daughter might suffer. She is, for good or ill, being taught to play by a different set of rules than most kids her age. Basically, the same rules that I was taught, and my wife learned on her own somehow. Being polite, while not being a doormat, for instance. Learning when not to speak as well as when to say something. Always being curious and not settling for the bare-minimum or status quo. All good preparation for being a succesfull adult, but poor preparation for being a teen-ager.
On the other hand, maybe we should be working toward making her an even better geek or nerd than we were. In theory, shouldn’t that make her more successful later on in life? Maybe so, but I’m not sure I can quite bring myself to put her through some of the same torment that I went through at that age. Maybe she’ll find a way to do both.

2/17/2003

I’m A Duck! Shoot Me!

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:07 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

It’s duck season!

It started Friday night, right before my parents were going to take us all out to dinner. I get a call about a server crash in Birmingham. When they reboot, the message comes up “No Operating System Found”, which, to me, sounds like a hard drive that’s gone South. So, we’ll send stuff back and work on it Tuesday. Okay, sounds good. I don’t hear any more and figure all’s well. So, based on that, I agree to go help out another company with some small things on Monday(today), after I take my parents back to the airport.
Oh, somewhere in here, we decided that no one really wanted to go tramp through the mud in Old Town Spring, so we just stayed home and ate pot roast. Yummy! I think that wife of mine is fattening me up so I can’t chase her as well!!
Anyway, I get a call this morning with people all in a panic about the server not being up and not being able to get payroll done. AAIIEEEE! So, now, I’m trying to scramble around to find out what’s going on, what happened on Friday, and who knows what. To make long story short, the old server was actually not dead, but the new server is now named the same as the old server, so they can’t exist on the same network. Which means, it’s into the office to try and restore from tape to the new server. And, in fact, that’s what’s happening as I write this entry. Unfortunately, ArcServe takes at least an hour to merge a tape back into the database, so I had to call my other site and tell them it didn’t look like I would make it out after all. Damn!
Well, at least I’m making money. Of course, I expect the second gig to get tired of this fast and not really be interested in maintaining a relationship with me, but I’ll work, and bill, as long as they’ll put up with it.

All in all, I feel rather like Daffy Duck when he’s up against Bugs Bunny. It’s network engineer season!! *sigh*

2/13/2003

Parental Units

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My parents arrive for a short stay tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to seeing them, since it’s been over a year now, but I dread finding things to do. The truth is, I’m really a homebody and have little to no idea what to do around Houston! Sad, but true.
We’re all going out to dinner Friday night, for St. Valentine’s Day, so that’s taken care of, but the rest of their stay is up for grabs. I suggested checking out Shanghai Knights, but that may, or may not, be a good idea. And my wife suggested going to Old Town Spring, which sounds like something my Mom might like. As for the rest, I guess I’ll just have to play it by ear!

2/11/2003

More CGI

Filed under: Fun Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Never enough!

Well, I wasn’t satisfied with the way the CGI script was running on Fantasist.net, so I kept working on it. Now, I have it so that it reads the stylesheet for the entire site and formats the output accordingly. Took me a bit, but I did finally get it.
Now, of course, I’m trying to adapt the script that makes proper names to CGI as well. Unfortunately, I’m not being quite as successful! Of course, I’ve just started working on this and it took me a year to get this far, so I’ll get it eventually. Just a matter of time and motivation. Not that I’ll ever really be a programmer, of course, but I do like to keep edging into new areas. Always comes in handy for surprising people.

2/7/2003

CGI Programming

Filed under: Fun Work,PERL — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

It took a year, but I did it!

Did what, you might be wondering? I finally figured out a CGI script for Fantasist.net that I’ve been working on for almost a year.
See, I love words and languages, especially foreign words and languages. In fact, I love them so much that I’ve tried to create them on several occasions, just like J.R.R. Tolkien did. But, since I’m not a trained linguist like Tolkien, I’ve always cast about for help creating the words. I want them to sound authentic, but not be actual words from an actual language. I’d hate to put together words that I thought were quite alien and unique only to find out that I’d insulted a publisher in Istanbul or Delhi! So, I searched for help with that on the web. Boy, did I find help! One of the best places, though, was Chris Pound’s Name Generation page. Chris is a linguist and has made several PERL scripts that generate new words based on input from an existing language. Finally, I could get words that were phonetically similar to an existing language that were new and unique!
But, of course, I wasn’t satisfied with that. I had to go further. What about people who couldn’t figure out PERL? I mean, it’s taken me forever to tweak things and get a good handle on the basics. What about all those potential conlangers who just aren’t up to PERL? My 11-year-old daughter, for instance, has recently gotten into conlanging. How could I make this available for her, without trying to teach her PERL? The answer, of course, is the web. So, I modified Chris’ scripts and played with data until I understood it fairly well. Then, I tried to get it up on the web. I was a miserable failure.
Until last night, that is. I started with a very basic CGI tutorial and started building upward from there until I had a simple form that would give me simple, html-friendly output. From there, it was a simple matter of tweaking the original PERL script, and an html form, until I had a good combination. And, though, I have to work out formatting and style-sheets, here it is at Fantasist.net: WordGenerator.
Enjoy!

2/5/2003

Certification Paths

Filed under: Certification,Linux — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Let the games begin!

Well, things have been going so well at work that I thought I’d start working on some certifications. I need to update my CNE to version 6, but there are some other certifications I want, too.
For instance, I’ve been lusting after my Linux+ for some time. In fact, I bought the
Linux+ Exam Cram book
some time ago and just haven’t gotten around to reading it. But, I also ordered the
Novell Netware 5.x to 6 Upgrade Exam Cram book
, the
Security+ Exam Cram 2 book
, and the
CCNA Routing and Switching Exam Cram book
. I’ve also bought the Self Test Software practice tests for these certifications.
I’ve actually been working on the CCNA on and off, but I decided that it’s time to really step up the whole professional qualification side of my resume. I’ve worked with most of these technologies for some time now, but to get past human resources, I need some kind of cert to prove it. IT is kind of weird that way. Not that I think I’m going to be looking for another job any time soon, mind, but the last time I thought that, I found myself out looking. Better to be prepared. (You’d think I’d have learned that back in the Boy Scouts!) Besides, as good as it looks over at Loomis, Fargo & Co., they still haven’t made me an offer yet, so anything can happen. If the worst happens, I’d like to be better prepared this time. And, of course, it’s fun to have an alphabet soup of certifications trailing after my name. Maybe it’s time to become a certified locksmith, too…..

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