Diary of a Network Geek

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

1/31/2005

We screen for felons…

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 in the early morning or 7:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, this should be a warning sign.
So, I’m looking at my e-mail on the web the other day and I saw an ad for a dating service called True.com. What caught my eye was not that it was a on-line dating service, there are plenty of those, but it was the statement that they screen for felons and married people. Huh? You mean that’s an actual problem? Obviously I’m fairly niave when it comes to the “modern” dating scene, because I hadn’t thought about being concern that someone placing an ad was a felon. (Yes, the married thing had, in fact, occured to me, but, considering my current situation, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, eh?) Well, it’s enough of an issue that MSNBC actually had an article about it.

I don’t think I want to date anyone via the internet any time soon, after all, you never know who you’re going to meet online. It could turn out to be someone like, well, ME! It’s scary out there!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Forewarned, forearmed; being prepared is half the victory."
   --Miguel de Cervantes

1/30/2005

Doggy Thoughts

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:18 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain was never more right. It’s one of the reasons I love my dog so much. And, of course, one of the reasons I miss her so. At least she was loyal. Whatever you say about dogs, at least they’re more loyal and trustworthy than the average person. I’ll get another dog eventually, just because I can’t stand being without one anymore. I went for years without having one, but now that I’ve had one for a bit, I miss her terribly. I was watching a movie where a little kid’s dog got killed earlier and it made me all weepy. I never thought I’d get all sniffly about a dog again. God, I miss Hildegard.
Well, there’s nothing I can do about that now. She’s gone. I try to think of her as dead. It’s easier than imagining her lonely and ignored most of the time. A flesh-and-blood toy. So, I’ve started volunteering at H.O.P.E. That’s where Hilda was rescued from originally. I’m still up in the air regarding my living situation. In fact, I probably won’t know for months how that’s going to work out. So, taking that into consideration, I’m not willing to adopt another dog. (And, yes, I secretly hope that Hilda will find her way back to me. Though, that would take a miracle beyond my comprehension at this point.) It let’s me see dogs and visit with them. And, cats, too. I never thought I’d miss cats, but I so miss that little hellion, Hyacinth, and her brothers, Gladstone and Belvedere. Volunteering will tide me over until I can take on my own pet responsibility and, H.O.P.E. is a cause I believe in. They’re a no-kill shelter, which I really appreciate. After all, it’s not the poor dog’s fault that her owner is too careless to poerly fulfill her needs. Why should that be a death sentence? Right, it shouldn’t. It’s not the animal’s fault that her owner didn’t treat her right or let her run free. So, I believe in H.O.P.E. and rescuing dogs from dire straights.
In a way, I’m lucky. I get to rescue another dog. I look forward to it!

1/29/2005

Flight from Hell

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,Novell,On The Road — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:34 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, I’m home again.
I got in last night around 10:00pm, which, after a stop at the store for milk, got me home around 11:15pm. I was supposed to get in three hours earlier, but, well, getting back to Houston from Panama City was rather like Orpheus returning from Hades. In fact, the entire trip became Hell when we ended up staying up until 3:30am Wednesday night to get the server changed over. That was about 6-8 hours later than planned due to a wierd problem with DNS on the Netware 6.5 server and a couple of gigabytes of new data that had to be copied to the new server. Apparently, someone felt the need to backup a bunch of MPEGs, many of a dubious nature. I believe that many of the movies in question got deleted, but it still messed up our plans.
The rest of the trip was okay, but colored by the lack of sleep that Wednesday night. I feel like my soul is only now catching up to the rest of my body. Someone once described jet lag as the time it takes for your soul to catch up to your body. That, of course, is based on the idea that air-travel moves your body faster than your soul can keep up and the gap while the two resync is why you feel all wonky after air travel. I’ll buy it.
Anyway, much to my relief, nothing was wrong with the house when I returned. Everything was in its little place and all was well with my little world. Though, I would have been happier if my dog had been there to greet me. Ah, well, perhaps there’ll be another dog one day.
Oh, speaking of “one day” I have pictures, but I’ll post them next week sometime. Right now, I’m still readjusting to my soul having arrived sometime after my bags.

1/28/2005

Sushi Disks

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yes, finally! Sashimi storage for the masses!
Okay, for those of you who are part of the Network Geek Inner Circle (that’s like the Committee of 300, but smaller and more focused), you know how I love sushi. It’s damn expensive so I can’t afford to eat it very often, but I do enjoy it. So, for those of you in the know, I present the ultimate Network Geek storage device: Sushi USB Drives. Yes, they’re not “real” fish, but they look frighteningly realistic and, well, yummy.

Oh, I think I need sushi this weekend…. While I hunt that down, y’all go click on that link and have a great Friday!

1/26/2005

Life of a Road Warrior

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,On The Road,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is late at night or 11:25 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

God, I remember this…
I used to do this all the time, before I “settled down”. Oddly enough, I almost miss it. Sure, I miss being home in my comfortable bed, eating lower-fat food and doing my “regular” routine, but it’s a change. I’m out here like some kind of hired gun, out to scare off the rustlers and make the unruly ranch hands shape up. Well, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but I’m sort of out in the corporate wilderness carving out a settlement of IT civilization. I’ve missed that bit.
You know what else I miss? Those damn, “side-car” trackballs for laptops. These stupid touchpad things are just not positioned right for my big hands. (Yes, ladies, I said BIG HANDS. You know what they say about the size a Network Geek’s hands…)
I do have to keep reminding myself that flirting with the cute, young waitresses is not appropriate behavior, though. I’d forgotten about that aspect of being single and travelling, even if I’m not legally single. Yet. And, that copier saleslady had the deepest, darkest pools of night for eyes that I could have just stared into for hours. (“Sure, 20k copies per month. Whatever you say….”) But, I’m sure that was just business, too, even if she did write her cell phone on her card for me. I’m sure she does that for all the IT guys that she’s selling copier leases to. Yeah, that’s the ticket. And, I’m sure it was a sign that my fortune from lunch at the Chinese buffet was “Guard yourself against evil temptations”!
Big meals on the company dime, coffee that someone else made with a smile, and a line of appreciative end users who are oh, so happy to see someone, anyone, from corporate who will fix their computer for them. Yeah, I miss home, but not that much.

Oh, yeah, I have a digital camera from the company so, after I get home and figure out the software, I’ll have pictures to post of our new facility. The manufacturing floor is incredible! We’re doing stuff with deep-sea umbilicals that virtually no one else in the US, possibly the world, can manage. It’s cool working for a kick-ass company again.

1/25/2005

Security, E-Mail and Blogs

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:12 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

“The question isn’t ‘Am I paranoid?’, but ‘Am I paranoid enough?'”
Ever heard that before? If you’ve dealt with computer security, it should be your damn mantra. But, too, if you just use the internet to send e-mail or blog, you should think about it. Why? Well, are you sure that all your e-mail is safe? And, do you know who reads your blog? If you wouldn’t want to say something in front of your mother or child, you might not want to put it up for the entire world to see. Also, did you know you can get fired for blogging? Yep, not only is there the famous Heather at dooce.com, but also the Delta Airlines incident and there’s this story on Register.com about two, unrelated incidents of people being fired for blogging. It’s even gone so far that Blogger has guidelines on “how not to get fired because of your blog“.
But, back to e-mail. I can remember on many occasions rebuilding e-mail files so that we could find out who sent what to whom and when they sent it. At least one time, I had to rebuild an entire e-mail server and system to replicate data that was taken by a U.S. Government agent. (No, not the IRS, thankfully, just the FBI and EPA. The IRS agents are really tough, from what I hear, when it comes to data collection.) Oh, but don’t think that simply deleting the mail is enough. No, siree, there are plenty of ways to get that back. For one thing, many internet enabled systems have a cache that can be poked and prodded back into a mail database. Or, perhaps someone forgot to delete their sent mail. Sometimes that’s even better because it will capture not only the outgoing mail, but part of the e-mail to which the “target” is replying. That’s two birds with one stone, there! Oh, and don’t think that a wireless device will protect you either. According to this story on Slashdot, even the messages sent Blackberry-to-Blackberry can be retrieved by your employer.

Of course, this works in reverse, as well. I often send copies of my work e-mail to my home account so that I have “backup” in case something goes tragically wrong with the work e-mail, I still have a copy to print out and present to a nice judge. Never know when that’s going to come in handy. Believe me, I’ve seen strange stuff when it comes to lawyers and e-mail. Don’t forget, I’ve worked through at least two sales and one bankruptcy. Trust me on this one, it’s nice to know you have proof of what you promised people!
And, if you want something to “vanish” you’d best get to know all about any purge functions you have available to you or look into getting a PGP-based “eraser”. Better yet, if you plan on defrauding the Federal Government, don’t talk about it in an e-mail to anyone. Hell, just don’t talk about it at all. Better yet, just be honest and pay your taxes like the rest of us.

Remember, in the end, the best thing is to just not do anything that you’d get fined for or do time for later. Barring that, don’t make a damn record of it where some vengeful prick might get their hands on it. And, above all, be careful who you cross. (Yeah, this is the sort of thing I think about on airplanes and sitting in hotels after working on new servers all day long. It is my entire life these days.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world."
   --John le Carre

1/24/2005

On the Road, Again!

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events,Novell,On The Road — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Well, I’m off to Panama City, Florida today.
It’ll be a week in sunny Florida, but I’ll be in the server room banging away at a keyboard and a mouse. I’ll be upgrading a Novell server there, along with “The Messiah”. (You know, I really need to get a picture of Mike so you all can see what I mean. He’s an athiest that looks like the classic portrait of Jesus. It’s trippy!)
So, since this is the first time I’ll be travelling with Oceaneering, I’m not sure how often I’llb e able to post, if at all. There’s a Fun Friday link all queued up, but other than that, I’ll have to post when I get back, I suspect.
See you next week!
(And, yes, I have someone watching the house, so don’t get any ideas!)

1/22/2005

Free Porn Alternatives!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, so it occurred to me that there had to be a better way.
Yeah, sure, I could talk about the evils of free porn until I’m blue in the face. I could even rant about how terrible it is to manipulate searchengines. Instead, I’m going to try and do it. Again.
Yes, again. I did it once back in 2000/2001 to get my site ranked so highly on Google for the search terms “CNE resume” that it was the number one hit. I did all sorts of crazy things, not the least of which was start this blog, incidentally. One thing I did was look at both the Google Zeitgeist and the Yahoo Buzz Index and try to use those terms in my site. So, for instance, according to Google’s Zeitgeist, I should talk about: how I felt about the Golden Globes and who won; the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day; what Teri Hatcher was wearing at the Golden Globes; who Teri Polo is and what she wore at the Golden Globes; what NASA has thrown into space lately; what “naughtiness” Prince Harry has been up to over in the UK; detailed specs on the iPod Shuffle; the super-model antics of Naomi Campbell; the fact that Mariska Hargitay also won a Golden Globe; and how the movie “Elektra” was doing in the box office. As you can see, that first hit, the Golden Globe Awards, was a really popular one, since it was repeated in, or was effected by, several later searches.
Last week, I should have been talking about: Amber Frey, the adulterous whore who was banging Scott Peterson; the terrible damage done by the tsunami in India; how terrible it is that Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-synching; Delta Airlines for some reason; the Weather Channel coverage of that tsunami in India; Heidi Klum, because it’s always a good time to talk about Ms. Klum (and she got married to Seal); NFL player Randy Moss, presumably because he sprained his ankle; the Orange Bowl, because it’s still football season; the fact that Brad Pitt is single again; and all the cool concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show. Crazy stuff, right?

Well, according to Yahoo Buzz Index, I should have talked about some very different things this week. If I wanted to get Yahoo hits, I should have talked about: OJ Simpson’s daughter, Sydney Simpson, getting arrested; Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter, for obvious, pornographic reasons; those nuts over at Jibjab, who made another hit animation; Enter Location, because, uh, people were travelling a lot?; actress Elisabeth Harnois, possibly for the Golden Globes again?; O.J. Simpson, because his daughter got arrested, of course; the fact that Julian Ozanne got married to Gillian Anderson and no one knows who he is, but everyone knows her from the X-files; anything and everything about actress Lucy Liu, just because, she’s Lucy Liu; the Tennesse-based music and arts festival, Bonnaroo; “How We Do” almost anything, from the sound of it; eating “Breakfast and Brunch”? Or is that more travelling stuff?; how cheap Costco Wholesale pricing is; soap-opera star Annie Parisse, most likely because she moved on to something better; the fact that Japan had another big earthquake; and Jimjab.com, which is most likely a mistake for “jibjab.com”.

Wow, those are totally different things, aren’t they? Are people who use those two different searchengines that different? Have I been losing out by optimizing for Google?
Oh, I don’t know, but I think I’m going to go have a bit of a lay-down. This whole experience has been exhausting.
(And, yes, I’ve posted this same thing on my other blog, the Fantasist’s Scroll, for the same reason as the last post.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If I'd known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself!"
   --George Burns

Free Porn Magic

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:41 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

WHAT?!?
What the devil am I doing talking about free porn on this very non-adult blog? Simple, talking about free porn is the fastest way to get hits. Sad, but true. In fact, John Dvorak has written an article about this called Free Porn Magic For You.
I used to think that the Internet had improved with age, that we’d finally gotten past all the free porn, or “pron” if you’re one of the hip, out-of-work webdesigners from the 90’s, and had moved on to something more meaningful. I guess I was wrong. If you read the article, you’ll see that what holds true from the earlier days of the Internet still, sadly, holds true today. People are looking for free porn on the Internet. Now, the hits I generally get via searches on Google, and company, aren’t filled with porn terms, movies, or “performers”, so I’m not really expecting a lot of traffic boost, but, well, it can’t hurt. Can it? You know, I’m already starting to feel a bit slimy with all that. And, yes, I admit that I have actually searched for that sort of thing in the past. The distant past. But, I don’t do that anymore. Why? Because, the pornography industry is a generally degrading, dehumanizing industry that devalues human interaction and relationships. Not, it’s not illegal, but, it is, in my opinion, immoral. I’m doing my best not to be immoral anymore. (Hey, for a guy with a degree in Marketing, that can be a challenge!) So, is it immoral to use porn in the title of a post to simply boost ratings? Maybe so. Well, I never said I was perfect! This whole “better person” thing is new to me. (See previous reference to Marketing degree.) Internet advertising is hell.
So, how else can I boost ratings on this site? For pity’s sake, I know hundreds of people hit this site on a daily and weekly basis, but I have only six sad, lonely Bloglines subscribers. Just six. Did I mention that Bloglines is a free service? And they have nice, FREE tools that let you keep up with your favorite blogs? (Aw, c’mon, subscribe to the Diary of a Network Geek with Bloglines!) Oh, I suppose I could always just produce more content here. Yeah, that might work, too. But, well, I’d rather go with the sure thing. So, for those of you who are websurfers that got here looking for free porn, I apologize. I was just using you to drive my stats up. I hope you don’t hate me too much. And, I promise to respect you in the morning. Honest.
(Okay, yeah, I have this whole post, in condensed format, on my other blog, the Fantasist’s Scroll, too. Hey, it’s hard to generate this content stuff. So, I “recycled” the post, sue me!)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed."
   --Kate Halverson

1/21/2005

Hey, I know them!

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, I admit that I’ve been blogging as an escape.
Cut me some slack, allright? I’ve got a lot of crap to escape right now. So, anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of blog reading and I saw that a new XML site syndication standard has been developed, and adopted, that’s supposed to be really sweet. Really, the fact that two aggregators have allready adopted it speaks quite highly of the new standard, I think. But, what really got me was the fact that I know the guys who did it! Yeah, I know these two XML developers who have just released the hot new standard for site syndication.
Sean B. Palmer and Christopher Schmidt, the developers, are guys that play on an interactive world-creation game that I’m a part of called the Ghyll Encyclopedia. How cool is that. I feel like I’m somebody now. Er, well, at least, I know somebody. Anyway, it’s cool.

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