Diary of a Network Geek

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

10/29/2004

Disturbing Auctions

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Oh, man, I really should sell that chewed pencil!

Okay, in a follow-up to last week’s Fun Friday link, here’s Disturbing Auctions. It is, you guessed it, strange and disturbing things people have bid for and “won” online. Some of this stuff is just freakish beyond belief! Hatching monkeys? Dead frogs playing golf? A pregnant keychain? Coins in a toilet seat?

I cannot make this stuff up, folks. You’ve got to see it to believe it. Let the clicker beware! (Oh, go ahead, it’s Friday!)

10/28/2004

mkCDrec Linux Restores

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:17 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

This is interesting.

Okay, I downloaded this little program some time ago and loaded it up at work on my experimental kernel machine. See, I foul things up so terribly that I occasionally need to reload the server. Well, rather than sitting around and doing an install all day, I thought a recovery CD, or CDs, would be a better answer. So, I tried it.
First off, mkCDrec is easy to install. Just download it, make yourself root, or root-like, and extract it. It’s that easy. Then, go to the mkcdrec directory and run “make”. That’s it! You’ll get a menu that will pop up and ask you a couple of options and you might want to change the default paths, but otherwise, that’s all there is to it.
Restoring is just a little bit more complicated, but not much. Basically, you boot off the first recovery disk and run /etc/recovery/start-restore.sh. After that, the restore script asks you a couple of questions and goes to work! When it finishes with the first disk, it prompts you for the next. My system took three CDs and less than 45 minutes to restore, which beats a fresh install any day.
Did I mention that this was free software? Oh, the author asks for donations, but for all intents and purposes, it’s free. Pretty damn cool.

Oh, I also noticed that my darling wife has taken me off her “Worthy Blogs” list. Not sure when that happened, but I’d suspect that my link went away between one and three weeks ago. I guess I’m just not worthy! Story of my life. This blog gets an average of 1300 hits per day, but I’m still not worthy. Maybe if I post the next winning lottery numbers….

10/27/2004

Kernel Panic!

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Now, that’s my kind of error message!

Okay, I finally got a document that has all the details on how Novell builds their bootable ZENWorks CDs. More Linux work for me! Yea! So, this week, I’ve been building a Linux server and learning about updating/recompiling the kernel. As you can tell from the title of this entry, I haven’t been too successful. But, I’m getting there! I’m really headed into unknown waters at this point, but they’re the most fun. Never know what’s going to happen next.
I’m really becoming quite a Linux expert now, whether I like it or not. Luckily, I like it. Linux is fun, to me, even if it is a bit confusing and challenging sometimes. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out what’s wrong and fixing it, or making a work-around. It’s not exactlly rocket science, after all. Now, I just have to figure out what I did wrong that caused the kernel panic. And, now, why my “mkinitrd” is returning an error about an MPT device. But, at least I have a clue where to look, thanks to the error message, and I have a hope of solving the problem. If only my personal life were so simple and straight-forward…

Ah, well, back to the ol’ uranium mines!

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10/22/2004

SPAM Humor

Filed under: Art,Fun,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, I know this is going to make me a target, but…

Aw, hell, some things are just worth it! My wife, aka Babydoll, found this site somewhere and it’s just too funny. It’s called Spamusement and it’s simple, but effective, humor. If you’ve ever read the crazy titles on e-mail SPAM and thought, “WTF?”, then you’ll love this site. The titles of these cartoons all come from those spam headers, but they sort of finish the thought in an unusual way. It’s perfect for a Friday. So, look over your shoulder to make sure no one’s watching and then check it out. You’ll laugh yourself hoarse!

10/19/2004

VMWare on Linux

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell,PERL — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Oh, this is cool.

Okay, so I’ve been doing a lot of work on Linux lately. Not only for the bootable ZENWorks imaging system, but just plain Linux stuff.
Last week, I set up a Red Hat AS2.1 machine for use as an FTP server, but, just as I was starting this for the folks who need it inhouse, they start talking about needing a Windows 2000 server to run some specialized print server for eMatrix, which is what the FTP server was for. So, my boss suggests that we use VMWare for Linux. Brilliant! Of course, most people are running VMWare on a Win32 machine and emulating Linux, but we think outside the box. No problem, I get it all installed and running, though the first time I ran the VMWare PERL script that set up the program, it failed. No reason for it to fail, as far as I could tell, because it ran the second time. Great, so I get it all installed an running and let the boss know. Then, he asks me, so what are we going to manage this machine with? Er…. VNC, I guess.
Right, so I get that setup on the Windows machine in VMWare without a hitch. Getting it installed on Red Hat wasn’t a problem, but getting it running…. Well, thankfully, I finally figured out that the Real VNC website has the answer on a page called Native X display Support. The only thing is I need to edit XF86Config-4 instead of XF86Config. No problem! Now the VNC server autostarts. And the boss asks me if I can get the VMWare session to automatically launch at reboot. Er…. Well, I can see what Google turns up!
What I eventually came up with was a shell script I called “xvmstart” that was as follows:

#!/bin/sh
# Written by JKH on 10-13-04
. /usr/bin/vmware -x /vmcfg/Windows2000Server/Windows2000Server.vmx

(Where vmcfg is where you stored your configurations for the virtual machines. Oh, and if the last line wraps around, that should be a three line script.)
I saved that file in /root/.kde/Autostart and rebooted. As soon as I logged in, BAM! VMWare loaded like a charm. So, now, I had to make this badboy autologin… Er, back to Google.
I finally found a forum that told me I had to edit /usr/share/config/kdm/kdmrc to set AutoLoginEnable=true and AutoLoginUser=skippy (or, whatever you want to autologin as). KerPlow! A fully automated solution brought to you by Linux, Google, VMWare, VNC, and me, the Network Geek.

I love my job!

10/18/2004

Google Print?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Yes, Google Print.

“What does it all mean, Mr. Network Geek, sir?” you ask? Well, your Uncle Jim will tell you. It means that Google is scanning every book they can get their hands on and entering them into a great big database so you can search them. Of course, when you find what you’re looking for in that book, they’ll offer up links to on-line retailers where you can buy said book, but that’s to be expected, isn’t it? What it also means is that you can make sure that any book you want to buy has what you’re looking for actually in it before you buy it from Amazon.com
or wherever. Speaking as someone that’s bought books he later regreted spending money on, this could be a very, very cool thing.

10/15/2004

An Outdoor Handheld

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Palm — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Ok, it’s not actually a Palm device, but…

It is pretty cool. “It” is a handheld called “node” which is ruggedized for the outdoors. And, you can run either Windows CE or Linux on it, so it’s not all bad. Frankly, I’m surprised that Palm hasn’t come up with something like this yet. It’s a genius idea. The device itself comes with GPS built in, not to mention wireless networking and, of course, a full-color touch-screen. But, the best part is, the entire thing is waterproof! Totally cool! There’s a memory expansion port of somekind, but no word on any additional devices that can be added on, so to speak. Still, this is a giant leap forward for handheld computing. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes and what Palm’s response will be, if any.

10/14/2004

An FAQ on FAQs

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

No, really, I’m not kidding.

Actually, this is kind of work related, but geek related and fun, too. One of the down-sides to my job is writing documentation, so when I saw that O’Reilly had published an FAQ on FAQs, I had to go look. The article is by Sean Michael Kerner, who I’ve never heard of before, and is quite well written. Of course, it’s not quite what I thought it was at first. This is not an article about how to write FAQs, but rather a review of tools to maintain them. Frankly, I’d always thought that was done by hand and simple counting, but apparently there’s more to it than that. Who’da’ thunk it? Well, apparently, O’Reilly did.

A good article and an easy read for a Geek on a Thursday.

10/13/2004

Iraqi Blog

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

My wife sent me this on Sunday.

It took several days to read it and not be overcome with emotion. The blog is called The Mesopotamian and it’s written by an Iraqi. Of course, I suppose it could be faked, but it just has so much intimate knowlege of what’s happening there that I don’t think it is. It’s a very, very personal blog that has so many concrete, personal details of daily life that I don’t see how it could be faked.
The post that moved me, and, I think, my wife, was called “Listen America”. It talks about how gratefull so many Iraqis really are that America saved them from Saddam. Much of what we’re told by the media doesn’t seem to be quite true, but the story that all Iraqis want us gone, right now, is the worst. Sure, they want to govern their own country, but they seem immensely grateful that we’ve helped them. Weapons of mass destruction don’t seem to be a big issue for them. Certainly, not as big an issue as it is for us. Something to think about.
I’m glad that we were able to do some good there, no matter what our other motives might have been. Go, read The Mesopotamian. I think it might really make a difference in how you see politics today.

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10/12/2004

Interview with Chris Schlaeger from Novell/SUSE

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,Novell,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

A follow up to yesterday’s entry.

Okay, so, if you follow Slashdot, you’ve seen this, but I thought it was worth reposting. Of course, part of that is because I’m just a little bit of a Novell zealot. To put it mildly.
I thought the article was interesting. I especially liked the way that Mr. Schlaeger emphasized the idea that Novell was really supporting Linux, KDE and OpenSource. It’s really the way of the future with IT and computers in general. I have a friend that used to work for Microsoft and is now totally hooked on Netware, Linux, and Mozilla. All it took was a little push from your friendly, neighborhood technology pusher (i.e. ME!) and the rest was as easy as blue-screening a Windows server.
In any case, the interview over at KDE.org is worth reading if you have anything invested in Linux of any flavor, Novell, or KDE. I hope it’s a continuing trend for both Linux and Novell.

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