Diary of a Network Geek

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

11/29/2003

Damn Spammers

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I knew that new anti-spam bill was too good to be true!

And, according to what Ed over at Gripelog has to say, it is!
First off, the bill doesn’t even really limit spam! All it does is require legit spammers to follow certain really, really loose and lightweight rules. For instance, they are required to give you a valid opt-out and a valid address. Aren’t they already obligated to do that?! And, which of them does? What’s more, I still have to deal with the incoming spam!
Second, the bill has no real teeth. Violaters can’t be sued! So, what do we do when they violate the potential law? Give ‘em dirty looks!?
Third, and this, to me, is the most damning evidence that something is deeply flawed with the bill, the spammers like it! They talk it up on their own little on-line newspaper, right here. C’mon, Sentators, the idea here is to piss these people off! They’re supposed to be mad because you’ve hamstrung them. If they’re not mad, that means that I can still get spam in my Inbox!!

Well, maybe this will die and someone will come up with a better bill. Hmm, maybe I should get into politics….

11/28/2003

It’s good work if you can get it

Filed under: Art,Fun,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Not quite the “ultimate” geek job, but it would still be fun.

Being an official LegoLand Master Builder, that is. According to this article on Wired News, LegoLand California is looking for a Master Model Builder. The person filling the position will be the seventh on staff and needs a creative mind. They seem to prefer an art background, but it doesn’t seem like a really hard and fast requirement. In fact, the hardest “requirement” sounded like building a sphere out of cubic Legos. I can see in my head how that would look, but I’m not sure I could actually make it happen.
Anyway, I thought this would be a fun article for all you folks out looking for work still. God knows, there’s still a lot of IT folks out looking for jobs. Good luck, everyone, and hang in there. The market really is starting to turn around. Hang tough, and follow up on every lead that might, possibly lead to any kind of interview. I’m pulling for you!

11/26/2003

Dell moves Call Center back to US

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Now, we’re getting somewhere!

According to this story in the Houston Chronicle, Dell has heard their customer’s demands for service and moved a corporate support call center back to the US from India. Apparently, business cutomers were complaining that it was too hard to understand the Indian service operators and that they weren’t really helpful. Of course, that’s been the joke about phone support helpdesks in general for years. They follow a script and if they can’t find the answer in their database, you’re out of luck. But, the overseas phone support desks were the worst. Not only were they not helpful, but they were hard to understand most of the time, too!
So, this is what can happen when consumers vote with their hard-earned money. We, as consumers, can make a change in the way companies do business! And, in the process, help make jobs for American workers.
Victory!

11/25/2003

Web threatened by patent?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — 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 Waxing Crescent

I have my doubts.

But, according to this article on AustralianIT, that’s just what the W3C is argueing. Apparently, there’s a one-man company called Eolas who won a $521 million law-suit against Microsoft for allegedly infringing a patent covering technology that “allows interactive applications – plug-ins and applets – to be embedded in web pages”. Now, that’s not the entire web, but it’s a big slice of what Microsoft pushed over the years. Even this blog doesn’t fall under that category, I don’t think, because the programs that run it aren’t actually embedded in the web page itself. Frankly, that’s one of the reasons that I’ve been working on PERL lately. It’s not tied to one particular company or browser. Hey, it’s not tied to a browser at all!
What astounds me about this case, though, is that Tim Berners-Lee, the “inventor” of the web is going to bat for Micro$oft! He says the patent is invalid due to “prior art”. He goes on to say that any redesign of IE “will render millions of web pages and many products of independent software developers incompatible with Microsoft’s product”. My thought is, “so what”? People Micro$oft is NOT the Internet! They’re not even the Web! And most of these “plug-ins” that would be effected are just junk that slows me down anyway. I don’t want streaming sound or video to my PC, thanks. Just the words. Just the ideas. For that, I don’t need Micro$oft’s restrictive product.
In any case, Micro$oft is obviously going to appeal. It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

11/24/2003

Keep your Cell Phone number!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Starting today you can keep your cell number when you change plans.

At least, in some metropolitan areas. The rest follow on May 24th. Unfortunately, the article on Wired News doesn’t say which areas start getting this option today. Still, it’s nice to know. I know that I have hesitated to change plans because of the hassle of getting my new number to everyone. I mean, I have a lot of people who contact me via my cell phone. Not least of which is my wife and recruiters!
I wonder how long it will take before we’re assigned phone numbers at birth, like Social Security numbers…

11/23/2003

Seeking the Way

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,PERL,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I’m trying…

Okay, so I have some really bad Internet habits. It seems like I’m always on the ‘Net, one way or another. Well, I thought that rather than waste time pursuing the empty consumerism that popular media crams down our throats everywhere we turn, I’d try to find a couple of spiritual resources on the ‘Net. Stuff that could help me stay focused on living right and being closer to God and my family.
Well, I found a lot of hoakum. And, a lot of rabid conservitives that had really stifling views. But, I also found BeliefNet. Now, sure, there are some pretty conservative views here, but they’re not the only ones. And, even the conservative philosophies are presented in a gentle, welcoming way. There are numerous opportunities for interaction and they have plenty of chat and discussion features. Sign-up is free. And, you don’t even have to sign up to read the articles. I reccomend taking the Belief-O-Matic Quiz, which is quite interesting, despite its name. (For instance, it told me that I was much more in line with Jewish belief than Christian belief, which I find to be true.)
In any case, it was nice to see that the Internet has more than just advertisements for pornography, cheap medicine and “get rich quick” scams. I’ve been thinking about adding to the positive stuff myself with a PERL script that mails inspirations and meditations to folks. Anyone interested?

11/21/2003

Peanut Butter is Good for you!

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, really, it’s true!

Of course, I’ve been saying this for years, but now, according to this article on MSNHealth, scientists agree with me! So, now, almost all of my favorites are good for me. Last week, it was caffeine, now it’s peanut butter. Life is getting better!!

11/20/2003

Exchange Server Flaw

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Why did it take over a week for me to find this?

I guess Micro$oft is keeping it mum, but there’s a pretty major security issue with their Exchange versions 5.5 and 2000. It seems that if any guest accounts are left open, they can be exploited by spammers. Usually, a guest account is set up as a default mailstop for anything that doesn’t have anywhere else to go. But, spammers can use these accounts to send out their own e-mail with their own agenda. There’s an article about it on CNet News.
But the thing that disturbs me about this is that they seem to have known about this for sometime. They just didn’t feel the need to publisize it very much. Kind of ironic for a company that’s offering a “bounty” for the virus writer that came up with Slammer and the like. It’s also hard to believe that they’re really getting behind the whole idea of tightening security on their products when they let something like this slip! Ah, well, what can you expect from a company run by a college drop-out with a police record?

11/19/2003

Gateway to offer SUSE Linux Servers

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Does that mean, Novell servers?

When I read this news story on Forbes.com about how Gateway is going to be selling servers with SUSE Linux on them, it struck me as odd. First of all, Novell just announced that they were going to buy SUSE just a couple of weeks ago. Second, Gateway selling servers? Well, okay. I don’t think I’ve ever run one, but their PCs are okay. Third, just as everyone else seems to be dropping Linux support, SUSE and Gateway are just starting to push it.
Okay, so, I’m no pundit, but this seems a little strange to me. I mean, these guys aren’t neccessarily “top of the line” in the industry, but they’re not light-weights, either! I can’t put my finger on it, but there has to be something going on here that I’m missing. Is there some kind of behind-the-scenes deal going on? Did Novell know about this deal before they made their move? Did Novell orchestrate this deal? And, what the devil will it all mean to the industry? Will it mean anything? I don’t know, but I’ll be watching this as it develops!!

11/18/2003

Yet another Linux Distro?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — 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 Crescent

When are there going to be too many Linux distributions?

Not yet, apparently. According to this article on Wired News, Bruce Perens, an open-source “guru”, is backing a new Linux distro, called, UserLinux. Apparently, with Red Hat getting out of the user desktop business, Mr. Perens thinks there’s a real need for a good desktop distro. He, along with a number of Linux zealots, have been saying that Linux is making in-roads on the desktop for quite some time. But, so far, they have a dismally small percentage of the market.
Personally, I don’t think Linux will get anywhere with the general public until someone starts making real, consumer-grade applications for Linux. I thought we were getting somewhere when Corel released WordPerfect for Linux, but that was a dismal failure. Of course, it seems like just about everything Corel has done turns into a dismal failure. Except for, maybe, their drawing programs. In any case, until people can run Quicken and TurboTax and Print Shop and other programs like them on Linux, and get support for all of it, Linux will stay a server and geek tool. Now, I like Linux, but even I don’t run it as a desktop at home. I’m one of those people that need Quicken and TurboTax, though I can do with out PrintShop. And, I have other applications that only seem to be developed for Windows. So, I play with Linux and use it at work, but not for a desktop. Still I wish them luck. I’d sure like to see something compete with Windows!

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