Diary of a Network Geek

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

4/30/2005

Bit O’ Navel Gazing

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:09 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Just a little…
My therapist told me on the phone yesterday that I’m too hard on myself. That I have more control over my life than I like to think. That I have more personal power than I give myself credit for having. I suppose he’s right, and not just because he’s a therapist. Most of my friends tell me that I sell myself short. The thing is, all I remember are the mistakes I’ve made, not the successes. I see the bad choices, the wrong turns, and flithy habits. I forget that I learn something from every mistake. That wrong turns often take me to neighborhoods that have interesting lessons. And, frankly, that I have fewer flithy habits than I used to have. (And, no, I will not tell you which ones I still have trouble with. Y’all are in pixel land where you can’t see it anyway!)
I remember a “funny” saying that is sort of what drives me these days. “God, let me learn to be half the man my dog thinks I am.” There’s nothing like unconditional love and loyalty to boost a guy’s self-esteem. And, I have to admit, all the nice ladies at the vet today, who were so sweet with Hilda and I, didn’t hurt either. Funny, I never would have thought it was so unusual for a guy my age to be so concerned about his dog’s health and well-being, but they sure seemed to think so. I may just visit up there, even when we don’t have to have any “proceedures”, just to get my Hilda girl more socialized to that kind of stressful situation. She was really curious about the other dogs and wasn’t even too scardey today. Hey, it’s progress!
So, too, with my own short-comings. I’m far from perfect, but, I do have the capacity to improve myself. And, I do work at it. Not everyone agrees with my own personal estimation of progress, but, there will always be negative people who try to tear me down. In fact, I think I finally understand what my father meant when he told me “If you make it through life without at least someone disliking you, you did something wrong”. So, I guess, I’m doing stuff right. I have disagreements and flat out arguments with people. I have plenty of folks who just can’t see anything good about me because all they do is look for the bad. That’s okay, because I know their secret.
They’re not perfect, either.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."
   --Robert A. Heinlein

4/29/2005

More Cool CaseMods

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Fun Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

You know, sometimes my silly Friday Fun Links have themes.
Lately, it’s been a casemod theme. I guess, I’ve been feeling creative lately or something and the way cool casemods have caught my imagination. In any case, my freakish, albiet subconscious, obsession is your gain. This week, two links to freaky, fun casemods, both of which come to us via Gizmodo.
The first is cool because, well, it just is. I don’t quite know where this is from in the many worlds of science-fiction, but it would fit right in on almost any Kubrick set. And, you can even buy it! “It”, in this case, is the ACON 5 Limited Edition Isotope system from 3XS Systems. It looks like something right out of “2001: A Space Oddessy”.
The other casemod is a little more, well, whimsical. It’s my favorite robot, Bender from Futurama. The Bender CaseMod Project page is in some Nordic language that I don’t speak, but the pictures are cool. Still, if you’re put off by the language barrier, you can always go to the Gizmodo Bender CaseMod page and see a picture there.

And, hey, they’re all fun links, so, go ahead and click on them. It’s Friday, you deserve it!

4/28/2005

Website Attacks Up

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Great, something else for me to worry about…
According to this article on ZDNet, web defacements are server attacks were up in 2004 over attacks in 2003. And, according to this article at Reuters, it’s mainly due to school kids on vacation. Great. Just the kind of thing everyone in my position wants to hear, right? Man, that ditch-digging job sure sounds good right about now.
Of course, I’ll most likely get blamed for attacking someone’s website thanks to articles posted here on my blog, too. Why do I love this business again?

4/27/2005

The Other Boss

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,GUI Center,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,MicroSoft,Novell,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, I don’t have a girlfriend.
No, I met the “Senior Partner” from Louisiana today. Apparently, he’s done some checking up on me with former employers. He mentioned Kirby by name and talked about people in management there. Not sure who he talked to, but they seemed to have liked me okay because he said they had nice things to say. Sort of interesting, considering the somewhat dubious circumstances under which I left that job. Well, I guess I did better at not burning bridges there than I thought! Yea for me!
I’ve been doing a lot of research into moving from Windows NT to some version of Linux this week. It actually might be easier than I thought. For one thing, I’ve been looking at Novell’s Linux solutions and they have several options, all of which use a migration tool that seems workable. It’s actually a Windows server “consolidation” utility which they meant for admins to use as a way of merging several Windows servers into fewer Novell servers. It sounded a little clunky, but it was free with the software. The other option was something called LSP from DAS Technology. LSP Pro, which showed on the site as costing $500 per instance, would migrate everything for me, automatically, and also add management tools for the long term. Not a bad option and it would be an easy upgrade to RedHat. I think I could make that work, if I can convince them to spend the money.

In other, totally unrelated news, I took my dog for a walk just a few minutes ago. She was so scardey of the little, tiny dog that we met I thought she was going to wet herself. Some fierce watchdog I’ve got. Ah, well, at least she’s lovable and always happy to see me when I get home. It’s the best unconditional love I’ve gotten since I left my parent’s house. I miss my mommy sometimes. I really ought to investigate those dog parks I wrote about some time ago. I just haven’t had the time with all the chaos in my life. Ah, well, one day soon it will all calm down. I hope.

IT Black-Ops

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — 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 Waning Gibbous

No, that is not what I’m doing these days.
But, as you regular readers know, I do love computer security. So, when I saw this article on WiredNews about the U.S. Military’s l33t hacking unit, I had to blog it. There was a time when I thought I’d love to do this kind of work. Who knows, maybe I still have a chance to get in, though I think I’m a little too old for that now. And, I have to admit, I’m no where near being the kind of computer geek that they’d most likely be looking for anyway. I certainly haven’t done anything even close to illegal in years. In fact, lately, I haven’t even done much normal security work around the office! Though, that may be changing soon.
You know, this article got my juices flowing so much about hacking and security that I might just build myself a Linux security box. You know, something with NMap on it and some other tools for scanning and testing network security. I could run it against my own, personal home network and, if I can get permission, I can test the security at the office, too. It would be fun, and it might just show a little bit of initiative on my part. These days, everyone is worried about data security, or they should be, so having a methodology for testing security where I work could be a Good Thing, as Martha Stewart would say.
Well, a neat article and something to think about. Enjoy!

4/25/2005

Surviving Day One

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,GUI Center,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,Novell,Personal,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:04 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, I survived my first day at the new job.
Oh, what’s that? New job? Oh, didn’t I mention it before?
Yeah, okay, there’s a funny story behind that. Well, there’s a story behind that which involves things like lawyers and teenagers and medical insurance and divorce. Come to think of it, it’s not a very funny story at all. But, I hope that it will be one day.

Anyway, I’m the IT Manager at a new company called SeaTrax now. We make cranes. Big cranes that are based on big platforms in the ocean. It’s actually pretty cool. It’s a Windows shop, but, well, nothing’s perfect. With any luck at all, I’ll be able to convert them to either a Linux shop or a Novell shop, or both!
It was a long, hard day trying to set priorities, so when I got home, I microwaved some chicken-fried steak and gravy followed by a dessert of Krispy Kreme mini-crullers. And, I washed it all down with a Sam Adams. Yes, even the Krispy Kreme! (Hey, back off! It was a long day!) And, my sweet doggie was so happy to see me when I got home, I let her lick off my dinner plate. She loves gravy!
Anyway, all I managed to do was get a rudimentary “To Do” list put together. Actually, I even stole that idea from a faithful reader, BlueCube. But, here it is anyway. Feel free to make suggestions!

Jim’s Great Big, Enormous To Do List of Doom

Short Term
* Get specs for hardware for server upgrade
* Figure out solution for PeachTree for server upgrade
* Figure out OS for server upgrade
* Document security layout for new server
* Order enought Backup tapes for Full GFS at for every backup server
* Tape Inventory & sign out
* Tape backup courier or a whole new scheme for backupadmins
* Clean up Edirectory
* Clean up data junk on servers
* Clean up active directory

Long Term:
* Address Windows Server Updates
* Work out Tape Cleaning procedure for all backups
* Upgrade Anti-virus software and automate
* Figure out Name Changes and write up procedures
* Figure out to do with multi-user accounts
* Create New user/change form
* Write backup procedures guidelines
* Write anti-virus procedures
* Write workstation software and hardware policies and procedures
* Evaluate T1/WAN connection, price and reliability
* Come up with plan for “roaming” staff
* Create Firewall maintenance/monitoring guidelines
* Create montly network maintenance procedures
* Create shutdown scripts for server

Blue Sky:
* create monthly newsletter
* Build wishlist for end of budget
* Formulate server percentage uptime
* Clean computer room
* Clean tech room
* Setup IDS system
* Implement PDA synchornization system and standards

4/23/2005

Brent Spiner working again!

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Not sure how this slipped by me last month, but, well, here it is now.
Brent Spiner of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, and Houston native, has signed on to a new science-fiction series called “Threshold”. The series, according to this link on TVTome, is about a group of scientists, led by a female “government contingency analyst”, whatever that is, who encounters an alien lifeform. No details on what part Spiner will play, but somehow I doubt he’s the alien. Details are, of course, somewhat sketchy, but I think it’s great that Mr. Spiner is working again.
(Oh, and I got the original story from this link at TrekWeb.)

4/22/2005

German CaseMod Contest

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Wow, German engineering at its finest.
Okay this came to me via Boing Boing and I translated it via Babelfish, but here’s a cool link to the German CaseMod Contest. These are some intense cases. Everything from the all wood case, which looked like a winner to a simple collection of colored, lighted exhaust fans, this article had some really cool pictures of casemods. The best, though, was not in the article, but on the Boing Boing page that referenced the article.

Really cool stuff. I’m so inspired I might just do a casemod of my own!

4/21/2005

Adobe to buy Macromedia

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, this is a little stale, but…
WOW! According to this press release on Adobe’s website, Adobe plans to acquire Macromedia via a massive stock purchase. The plan is for them to buy all the stock at the Friday 4/15 price.
If you’re not aware of these two companies, you’ve not been paying attention. And, the implications of them becoming a single entity is, well, massive. Adobe will, quite simply, become the largest graphics and design software company ever to exist. This will mean that one company will be responsible for Acrobat, Photoshop, Flash, and Dreamweaver. Think about how many top-shelf graphics and design programs that puts under the control of one company. That’s almost frightening.

4/20/2005

Holy Spam!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A new kind of spam.
Look, I’m a Christian. Maybe not the best Christian in the world, but I try. My soul has been saved. I have taken Jesus as my personal savior. I don’t need to hear that particular message any more. Honest. So, why do I need this?

Hello Antler,

If you die today where will you go ?
This is the most important thing in life.
Without God we have nothing.
Save yourself and the ones you love:

Say, “Oh God, save my soul. I’m so sorry that I have
sinned against you, but I have come home. I will
serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. Deliver me
from all my sinful habits. Set me free! I do believe
Jesus died on Calvary for me, and I believe in His
blood, that there is power in His blood to wash away
all my sins, all my sins!” Say, “Come into my heart,
Jesus; come on in, Jesus. Come on in!”

If you meant it, He has come. If you meant it,
Jesus is yours. Start reading your Bible, pray daily
and believe that somebody’s listening; His name is Jesus.

I guess it’s better than the usual spam I get for penile enhancement or for cheating housewives or for making thousands of dollars in minutes from home.
But, still… Will anyone really convert from spam like this? Will so impersonal a message really convince anyone to find religion? How long before other faiths try this? Will I have to setup a “Buddha blocker” e-mail rule? Why, Lord, why don’t people think this stuff through before they hit send?

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