Diary of a Network Geek

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

5/31/2005

Cool Cell Phone Trick

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:40 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Not quite universal, but close.
Ever worry about your cell phone getting stolen? Well, if you have the serial number from it, you can get it turned off quickly and easily and keep the crooks from reenabling it. Here’s what to do:
First, entering the sequence * # 0 6 # on your cell phone’s keypad will produce a display showing a fifteen-digit code or serial number unique to your phone. Write that down somewhere safe.
Now, keep in mind that this doesn’t work with every phone, but, surprisingly, to me at least, it does work with most of them. Go ahead and try it yourself.
Now, shhould your cell phone be stolen, you can report its serial number to your service provider and have the phone disabled. This will prevent the thief from using your phone with a different wireless number or a different service.
Pretty cool right? Guess where I read about this… Snopes.com, the urban legend website. Interestingly enough, this “urban legend” turns out to be true. Who’d a thunk it?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
   --John Barrymore

5/30/2005

Waxing Philisophical

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Don’t laugh, it happens sometimes!
Lately, I’ve had a lot of externally generated chaos in my life. People doing things that they can morally justify in their own, strange view of the world. Imagined “crimes” I’ve committed against them making their own bad behavior somehow “justice”. It’s an interesting thought, really. But, I’m reminded of a quote:

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”
-H.G. Wells

Interesting that a science-fiction author would come up with that one, isn’t it?
So, I find myself looking at my own behavior in light of that statement. What am I jealous of? What makes me angry and cry out for justice? Frankly, nothing that I should expect justice from as the end result. Why should I expect justice? Am I somehow so morally upright, or worse, superior, that I should expect justice when others recieve none?

“Who told you life was fair?”
-William F. Hoffman, Jr. (my father)

Funny, that now, Dad should tell me that I’m about due for something good to happen to me. And, that I should be the one to remind him that, just because I’m “due” doesn’t mean that it will happen. Hey, sometimes, life just isn’t “fair”. I don’t get my way. Sometimes, I lose. Things and people are taken away from me. I’m punished for things other people did. But, none of that is an excuse for me to behave badly.

“There is no merit in discipline under ideal circumstances. I’ll have it in the face of death, or it’s useless.”
-Issac Asimov

In the end, it is my moral duty to behave in a manner consistent with my personal belief system, no matter the circumstances. It is often painful and fills my life with uncomfortable situations, but that is no excuse. I cannot change my moral compass because I hit rough seas. A new compass will still point the way and if it doesn’t, then I’m lost.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
-Job 13:15

I’ve often identified with poor, old Job. The guy got pounded at God’s acquiesence. The Enemy, which is how Satan translates from Hebrew, was given the opportunity to turn Job from God. He hit Job with everything under the Sun, but he never denounced God. Oh, just like me, he shook his fist at God and asked “Why me?!”, but he never renounced his belief. God abides, whether I choose to believe in His power or not. I only cheat myself to deny him. He sustains me through the hard times when all humans may desert me. Prayer realigns me to His presence and His purpose for me.

” From one thing, know ten thousand things. ”
-Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

So, from each “problem” I try to learn something new. About myself, about the world, or about God and His path for me. It’s not always easy and I often need help to see the lesson. That’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to my health insurance kicking back in so I can get back to seeing my therapist. We’d just gotten to a point where I was starting to learn some really interesting things about myself and then… Pop! Ah, well, from what I understand, those deep, dark secrets will still be there when I get back to seeing him. I never thought I’d feel so good about going to a therapist. Really. Of course, part of that is I’m learning how tough I am on myself. For years, I held myself to a higher standard than those around me, much to my own detriment. So, for me, learning to be gentle with myself and “ease up” on myself has been a challenge.

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.”
-Mark Twain

I try to keep that in mind as I learn to trust again. And, as I learn to be more honest, with myself and others. Honesty works both ways. First, I have to stop lying to myself, then I have to keep from lying to others. Not everyone is up to the task, and I know I wasn’t always either. But, the truth is easier than keeping track of so many lies. Much easier.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
-John 8:32

5/29/2005

Always True

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

One of my heroes from early on was Abraham Lincoln.
He overcame enourmas difficulties to achieve his life goals and bring a country divided by war together again. One of my favorite quotes from him is:

In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.

It is my guiding principle these days. But, sadly, it has not always been so. It should be, though. Is there ever a time when I should act as if there will be no consequences? No, I don’t think so. Unfortunately, it took me many years and much loss to discover that to be true. It’s a shame that I realized that so late and was never able to help anyone else important to me learn that, either.
Well, there’s always hope for them, and, of course, the future.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."
   --Abraham Lincoln

5/27/2005

Paranoia Runs Rampant on Internet

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, kidding! Who would’ve guessed?
Apparently, paranoid conspiracy-theorist type people seem to find that the Internet confirms their most paranoid fears. At least, according to this article on MindHacks, which references an article on Psychopathology, which is a professional Psychology journal, and was brought to you via Boing Boing. Apparently, now, instead of hearing J. Edgar Hoover transmitting via their fillings, the Internet and search engines now “reveal” to people suffering from paranoid dellusions just who and what is after them. It’s not clear if the “why” is revealed to them or not, but, I’m guessing that part comes before the obsessive viewing of the Internet. As I’m not paranoid, though, I can’t be sure.

Anyway, it’s Friday and the boss isn’t looking, trust me, so it’s safe to click the link.
(Am I paranoid if they really do end up being out to get me?)

5/26/2005

Puppy Envy

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I wasn’t going to write an entry this evening.
But, then my dog went and was cute. You see, I just got back from walking her, even though I’d decided not to do that this evening. It’s been hot and it looked like rain and, well, frankly, I was just tired tonight. In fact, I decided last night that it was too hot and opted out of our usual walk. But, tonight, Hilda just wouldn’t let me alone until I got up off my tired butt and took her for her walk.
First, she just paced around and whined a little. I ignored her, figuring that she wanted to chase a squirrel in the backyard. Then, she kept coming up and licking my elbow. I checked her food and water. She had both. Finally, she put her head in my lap, looked up at me and sighed through her nose. So, I asked her if she wanted to go out and she danced around by the back door until I got up and then she sat down, quivering when I got close. That was when I figured she wanted her W-A-L-K. When I asked her if that’s what she wanted, she practically squealed with delight that her stupid human had finally figured it out.
So, we went for our drag, er, walk. And, sure enough, when we got home, she was all calm and quiet. She just knew it was Thursday and time for her walk. Heck, she probably had figured out that I’d cheated her yesterday and wasn’t going to let me get away with it again! Those darn kids! Er, Dogs! She’s smart as a whip, that Hilda of mine.

You know, a walk is the least I can do for her. She’s always so happy to see me. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been away five minutes or five hours or five days. Her level of joy is constant. The only thing that troubles her is an empty food bowl and a squirrel on the patio. And, apparently, getting her walks! I wish I could set aside all my cares and be as openly, unabashedly joyful as my dog. So simple that it seems to almost be a spiritual lesson. Simple joy. Even if she’s “just” a dog, that measure of simple joy I get from her heals me a little bit every time I see it.
Yep, I envy my puppy her joy. But, as long as she shares it with me, I don’t mind.

5/24/2005

Finally!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

After months of begging, H-Town Blogs has added me.
Now, I guess, I’ll have to find out more about this strange place you people call “Houston”. So, if you see a damn Yankee carpet-bagger wandering around, don’t worry, it’s just me. No need to hide your money, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you hid your “women folk”. In fact, I might even appreciate it these days!

Tags:

Mistaken Identity

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 6:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Damn, I never really knew anyone in the mob.
At least, as far as I know… Well, yesterday, I was talking with my parents about the infamous Frank Calabrese and found out there are two of them. And, the one we knew is NOT the one from the Chicago Mafia! Apparently, this is a repeated case of mistaken identity. The Tribune accidentally ran a picture of the “safe” Calabrese in an article about the “connected” Calabrese. The “safe” Calabrese is sueing. The Tribune printed a retraction, of course, but the character damage had been done.
Sadly enough, this kind of thing goes on all the time. People run their mouths about how terrible someone is without ever really digging into the real facts, all because it’s a good story. I can’t count how many times I recounted meeting the “safe” Frank Calabrese and painted him as a dangerous gangster, when all along, he’s just been the good family man that he seemed. I hope the guy wins his libel case. People should be much more careful what they put into print about someone. Even if they share the same name!
The worst part of it all, though, is that I lose a good Chicago mob story. Well, I guess it’s time to go out and mingle with the wrong crowd!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If you can't be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape."
   --Unknown

5/23/2005

Beat Me To It, Again!

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,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 6:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Well, my idea for a Rent-A-Girlfriend has been stolen.
First, there was Prison Blues, and now this. The Chinese are “capitalizing” on the open markets there and the cultural issues that all good Chinese boys face. And, like the industrious, little vixens they are, a group of young Chinese women are renting themselves as girlfriends for the holidays. I pass no moral judgements here, after all, I was thinking the same thing! I’m only sorry that they beat me to the punch. All that nice money being spent somewhere else and not lining my pockets. Oh, the shame of it all!
Of course, when I came up with Prison Blues, I thought it was illegal to profit from prioners, because it was too much like slavery. But, the Rent-A-Girlfriend idea was clean. Clean! I tell you! Well, at least it’s happening in China. Say, Houston has a Chinatown, doesn’t it….

5/22/2005

Happy Birthday, Holmes!

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events,Things to Read — 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 a Full Moon

Actually, it’s Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle’s birthday.
But, since he is Holmes, in a way, well… Anyway, this comes from the Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of novelist and short story writer Arthur Conan Doyle, (books by this author) born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). Conan Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh where he met Doctor Joseph Bell, whose amazing deductions about the history of his patients fascinated the young student. After completing his studies, Conan Doyle served as a ship’s doctor on voyages to Greenland and West Africa, and eventually opened his own practice. In his spare moments, he began writing. Calling on his memories of Doctor Bell, Conan Doyle created a detective who used his great powers of deduction to solve crimes. The first such story, A Study in Scarlet, introduced the detective Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Doctor Watson, in 1887. All told, Conan Doyle wrote 56 Sherlock Holmes stories and four Holmes novels.

If..

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

By Rudyard Kipling.
(My apologies for the male-centric phrasology, but I make allowances for such a distinguished Brother Mason. Ladies, the sentiments expressed above all applies to you, too! )


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
   --George Elliot

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