Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/26/2005

Why I Don’t Hack

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, here’s a good reason to sit and think before hacking.
Or, even just taking a quick look at anything that you find you “accidentally” have access to and probably shouldn’t. I read a short story on AustralianIT.com about a guy who deleted e-mail sent to his former lover by her new beau. Apparently, he set up her e-mail address and knew the password, so he used it. I guess she wasn’t quite smart enough to change it while she was still using it to contact her new guy. Of course, the kicker was that she was seeing the “new” guy while still with the e-mail “hacker”. I can imagine how that must have felt. Probably pissed the poor guy off pretty bad. But, that’s still no excuse to lose your head!
Security work is often about maintaining a clear head when emotions or pressure are running high. Sometimes, both. I understand about keeping a clear head under pressure. Heck, everyone in this industry does. We’re usually under pressure, frankly, but freaking out doesn’t make it any better! In any case, if the guy had just printed the e-mail, or just read them, he probably would have gotten away with it. After all, who would’ve known? How would they have known? But, he lost his temper and, out of spite, deleted the e-mails that he found offensive. And got caught.
He got off lightly, though, mainly due to the fact that he got over the girl in question and moved on with his life. And, he pleaded guilty. In other words, he fessed up to what he’d done and how it was wrong. He got a suspended sentence. So, as long as he keeps his nose clean, he’s free and clear. Fair enough. But, there’s a lesson there for all of us who have that kind of access to other people’s accounts. Be careful and be smart.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why."
   --Bernard Baruch

2/25/2005

Sushi Pillows!

Filed under: Art,Fun — 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 Waning Gibbous

Just when you thought it was safe!
Yep, this is the final sushi link for a while, at least. While I’m sure you all are getting tired of the sushi links, this was just too good to pass up. This site, The Original Sushi Pillow, has the perfect cushions for a post sushi party nap. They have several nigiri sushi pillow, including salmon and shrimp, and a whole mess of sushi roll pillows. I have to say that these pictures look really good! You can actually buy them, too, via an eBay store.

Way cool, and the perfect Friday Fun Link to end this series of sushi links.

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2/23/2005

Review: The Science of Breath

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:04 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I re-read the Science of Breath last week.
For a skinny, little book it sure is packed full of information. Those yogis really pay a lot of attention to the details of everyday physical life. We all breath, but how often do we actually contemplate our breathing? The Science of Breath asks us to do just that. What’s more, it offers the most correct way of breathing for maximum health and benefit. It also gives the yoga student breathing exercises that help revitalize, reinvigorate and recharge themselves on many different levels. I re-read the book to refamiliarize myself with those breathing exercises which, over the years, I have found extremely helpfull in times of stress. As one might imagine, they are very meditative in nature and I found them quite relaxing.
This little, 90-page book is now a bit of a challenge to get, but well worth the effort. (Oh, and don’t be fooled by the other books of the same title. The one to get is the one by Yogi Ramacharaka.)

2/22/2005

A Personal Update

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,Novell,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:06 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Okay, so I’m almost done coughing up a lung.
Yeah, I’ve been sick this week, but not in the usual way. I’m not sure if it was a sinus infection or the flu or what, but horrible wracking cough is finally dwindling. I’m sure it was not helped by the long hours, or extra days, I was putting in at work. The good news is, though, that I mainly got my problems worked out and I’m starting to feel better. And, I now know more about Linux boot loaders and Novell’s ZENWorks Workstation Imaging solution than I thought possible. I feel like Dr. McCoy in that episode of Star Trek “Spock’s Brain” where he has an entire civilization’s medical knowlege dumed into his head. (Yes, I’ve had the same bug-eyed stare, too!) But, whatever, I got it more or less done. Now, we get to test. Yea! Incidentally, I don’t reccomend pushing yourself as hard as I do. I don’t plan on living to be as old a man as my peers. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Okay, so, maybe I’m not burning twice as bright, but I’m burning faster than I ought to be. Eh, what the Hell, I figure I’m losing the last years where I’m drooling on myself and don’t remember my own name anyway.
Oh, and for those of you who were interested, no, I don’t actually expect to get my Hilda back. That was just my way of expressing how crazy my week was. It felt like anything could happen! But, as always, I pray for the best and plan for the worst. Though, I am keeping an eye on what seems to be Hilda’s sister. Sometimes, volunteering at H.O.P.E. has its advantages!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed."
   --Cavett Robert

2/21/2005

Hunter S. Thompson Dead

Filed under: Art,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 7:03 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Apparently, from suicide.
I have to admit, I’ve never read any of Dr. Thompson’s books, but I have read some of his other writing in magazines and was suitably impressed. Also, it didn’t hurt that he was a good friend of Warren Zevon, who I admire greatly. Dr. Thompson, father of “gonzo journalism”, was the basis for another of my favorite characters, Doonesbury’s Uncle Duke. He was an icon of Americana that simply cannot be replaced.
This article at MSNBC.com has details, scant though they may be, regarding his death. No word on a suicide note, but his death was caused by an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
You may not agree with his politics or his journalistic style, but you cannot deny the profound influence he had on the publishing landscape of the 20th century. Good luck on the other side, Doc.

How To Be Homeless

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — 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 Waxing Gibbous

Well, this is a little too timely…
But, it could come in handy, so, for all you out of work computer geeks out there, here is the Survival Guide to Homelessness. It’s a blog done to promote a book that is all about surviving on the street. Though, the blog gives plenty of good advice. In fact, it brought home for me just how important getting my tire fixed really was! I had no idea how important a car could be if you’re homeless.

Okay, okay, I’m probably not ever going to be actually homeless, but it is something I’ve had nightmares about since moving down to Texas from Chicago. I mean, I didn’t really know anyone when I moved to Houston, so I was almost all on my own. I left all my family behind and almost all my friends, too. It was scary as Hell. Well, the worst has happened, or is happening, and I’m still making it by, with a little help from my friends. Some new, some old, but all friends that I’ve come to rely on. Thanks youse guys!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"No matter what goes wrong, there is always someone who knew it would."

2/20/2005

Life of a Professional Geek

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,Novell,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Ah, the old days…
Yes, this past week or two sure has felt like the old days. Long, long hours that are appreciated only by a select few. Coming home to an empty house. Being at work late on a Saturday night. Yep, it sure seems like old times. The joys of being a Professional Network Geek. Well, at least I solved my little “issue” and, with the help of an equally dedicated co-worker, I have just a bit of testing to do tomorrow and we should be good to go for the mini-rollout.
In a nutshell, my last problem was getting the LILO information to update on the Linux-based ZENWorks Imaging partition on the local drive. Everytime I would get the damn thing installed, then added an image to the disk, the menu that let the user go into the recovery mode (ie. the Linux partition) would go away. So, after chasing my tail for a week, while sick as a dog, incidentally, I finally noticed something in the documentation that indicated a particular order to do things. Yes, once I read the “fine” manual, it was clear that I had to first enable the ZENWorks partition, then apply the updated LILO config that gave the user a boot option menu. Since I know that “once is luck, but twice is skill”, I tested this on a desktop and a laptop and a second time on a second desktop. All three worked like a charm. Yea! Now, I can go back to my regular 45 hour work week. And, maybe, I’ll get a little rest and get over being sick.
Just as soon as I finish the laundry and ironing and pay my bills and go grocery shopping.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.”
– Robert Frost

2/18/2005

Dessert Sushi

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 Waxing Gibbous

See? I told you there’d be more sushi links!
This time it’s really only sushi in spirit, but still, it looks like sushi. I actually have links to three different sites. First, there’s the bOing Boing article about “Twinkie sushi”, which actually has several links to candy “sushi”, as well. Then, also via bOing Boing, there are two chocolate “sushi” links. First, Suedy’s Koo-Ki Sushi, which has some really good looking faux sushi. I mean, the pictures really look like the real thing. Second, there’s the simply named Chocolate Sushi, which pretty much says it all!

Hmm, yummy! The perfect set of Fun links for a Friday!

2/16/2005

Eating My Own Dogfood

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

That’s just an expression!
Oh, for Pete’s sake, it really is just an old Marketing expression that means, “use our own product”. In my case, I should take my own advice. I was reading something I posted on someone else’s blog some time back, where I was telling her “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” Good advice, and I should take it.
Things have not been going quite so well. After my heroic efforts last week, everything fell apart on Monday. I had to start all over, yet again. Well, that was a Bad Thing and it resulted in The Talk. I think it was meant as a pep-talk, but any time the phrase “it won’t mean your job. Yet.” gets thrown around, I’m anything but encouraged. Look, I know I haven’t been performing to my fullest capacity, but I thought I was doing better than that!
I just wish I knew where I was going to live month to month. I figure I’m going to have to sell the house for the money, no matter what happens thanks to almost $35k of credit card debt from my year out of work. (Or, as I call it, My Year From Hell. Though, that may become this year!) Ironically, when I lost that job, I was about a year from being debt-free, except for the mortgage. Now, well, now, I don’t see how I can survive without declaring bankruptcy.
My therapist said that the unconditional love of the animals at H.O.P.E. is probably a Good Thing and that I should continue to do that. I wish I knew what my living situation was going to be so I could decide about adopting a dog. I’m not even sure that I won’t get my Hildagard back at this point! I don’t know much of anything about my future. Frankly, that scares me. I don’t even know enough about what’s coming to try and plan anything.
I’m coming down with a cold. Again. And, I’m working late, again, on the stupid images.
Oh, and I got a flat tire this morning without a spare in the trunk.
So, do I tie a figure-eight knot or a monkey’s paw? Which is easier to hold onto at the end of my rope? (Donations and/or ad clicks welcome.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
   --Susan Ertz

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2/15/2005

SCO Scolded

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events — 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 a First Quarter Moon

Man, I should work for the Chicago Sun Times.
Well, thanks to an article, or entry, or whatever, over at Slashdot last week, I have a new post about SCO. Been a long time since we’ve heard much about them, hasn’t it? Well, there’s a reason. According to this summation of a News.com story on Slashdot, a judge was very critical of SCO’s alleged “proof” that they had copyrights being infringed upon by the OpenSource Linux. To quote the quote they quoted, “… it is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO’s alleged copyrights through IBM’s Linux activities”. Yeah! So there! Of course, those of us who have been following this case at all already knew that SCO’s case was thin at best, but still, it’s nice to know the judge hearing the case agrees with us. I, at least, take comfort in the fact that I can spot blindingly obvious legal facts when I see them.
Damn, I should’ve gone to law school.

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