Diary of a Network Geek

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

6/30/2005

Traffic Dropoff

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,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 Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Wow, my traffic sure hit a spike in March!
And, it’s been dropping off ever since. Hmm, I wonder who’s not obsessively stalking my website these days? Or is it that I don’t talk enough about popular subjects, like Strom Thurman. Yeah, can you believe that’s still my number one search term? You’d think that “lucy liu porn” or “mariska hargitay porn” would do it more often, like over at Fantasist.net. Go figure! Well, I’m sure when the divorce is over and I’m feeling a little more talky about strange and personal things, traffic will pick up. Not to mention when I finally start dating again! Hmm, I could test future date’s “geek cred” by seeing how impressed they are with my Googlerank. (I’m still the number one hit for “CNE resume” on Google.) What’s a guy got to do to get webstalkers? Never mind, don’t answer that!

Well, time enough for all that. And, of course, I am more than my traffic stats.

6/28/2005

Return to Sender

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,The Dark Side — 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 Waning Gibbous

Address unknown!
Not only is that a great Elvis tune, but also the new plan that Microsoft is trying to force down our throats. At least, according to this article on CNet News.com. And, when I say “force”, I do mean force. According to the article, not only is Microsoft’s Sender ID a not fully adopted “standard”, but it’s also not quite ready for prime time. Seems that there are some issues with it and that’s one of the reason it hasn’t been adopted as readily as Redmond would like. Also, according to the article “Sometime around November, Hotmail and MSN will flag as potential spam those messages that do not have the tag to verify the sender”. So, it’s not catastrophic, but it has the potential for trouble. I mean, do we really need Microsoft, the company most notoriously bad at security in the entire computer software industry, setting an e-mail security standard? I don’t think so.
Well, let’s hope this one withers on the vine. But, if it doesn’t, be sure to check those “spam” e-mails before deleting them. Some may be ones you want to keep!

6/27/2005

Hard Choices

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 Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I had to do a hard thing yesterday.
I had to tell someone that I’d grown very close to that I needed space. Someone on whom I had come to depend for emotional support. Someone who got deeper into my heart than I realized until right when I was telling them I needed to talk to them less. It was terrible for me because this person gave me things I’d never gotten in other relationships. In spite of being told horrible lies and half-truths about me and having no way to verify the veracity of these claims other than my word, this person believed me and took my side. The openness and caring and straight-up validation I got from this relationship is more than I ever hoped to get from anyone.
All of which, of course, is why it was hard to create the distance I needed to be sane again. I wanted to take care of this friend. I wanted to keep them safe and protect them from what I percieved as bad decisions. I wanted to live their life for them. So, I had to detach and put a little healthy space there so I could let them be who they are and not get caught up in wanting them to be how I thought they needed to be. Frankly, when I broke that news, it felt like kicking puppies or drowning kittens, which is about the worst thing I can think of doing or feeling.
I cried a lot afterward. And, then I started calling friends. I made lots of calls, even though I had to leave messages everywhere. People eventually started calling me back. But, they’d already learned what I was just figuring out.
They couldn’t help me. I just had to feel the feelings I wanted to avoid.
Man, that sucks.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Being right means never having to say you're sorry."
   --Vernor Vinge

6/26/2005

Sad and Touching

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 just before lunchtime or 11:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I find the strangest things on the internet.
Don’t ask me how I got to this person’s blog, because I have no idea anymore. But, in any case, I found a blog called “Forever Confused” with a post called “Desperation“. I’m not completely sure why, but that post really got to me. Not only did I find it sad and somewhat tragic, but, in a strange way, a relief, too.
I’ve been accused of a lot of crazy stuff in the past year or so and it’s been hard, at times, for me to sort out the real from the unreal. I start to question my own motives. I start to see things through other people’s eyes and wonder if I’m not more like the way they seem to see me than the way I see myself. Of course, my friends tell me that I’m closer to my own image of who I am, but they’ve never lived with me. Then, I see a post like this… I look at that continum of behavior within what is broadly described as “domestic violence” and compare it to how I acted in my past relationships. And, I breathed a sigh of relief. Oh, I’m far from perfect and I could be more of a “partner” or “helpmate” than I have been, but I’m not as bad as all that. I’m not the craven, depraved, head-case that I’d almost started to believe I could be. Though, I do still look forward to being able to see a therapist again. The simple fact that I can let others influence me and my opinion of myself to the degree that I do is evidence that I could “benefit” from therapy. Boy, howdy!
Still, I felt my heart go out to this person. She’s in a bad place. She’s hurting because of who she’s with and what’s going on. I’m sure there’s more to the story than she shows in her blog, but, isn’t that always the case? And, what’s worse, sight unseen, only from the pain I read in a fairly anonymous blog, I still found myself wanting to rescue her. It must be something hard-wired into a man’s brain. “Must be white knight! Must rescue Princess!” Like some kind of chivalric zombie. (“Brains! Brains!”) Ah, more evidence that I need my head examined. (“Brains! Brains!” ;)) But, of course, I’m not alone there. The other day I was talking to a friend and he saw that pattern right away, because he’d done the same thing! So, I guess it’s common. Ah, well, average once again. I wonder how many women use that as a way to get guys? “Oh, poor me! Help me!” And suddenly, the poor, penile pigeon is saddling up his testosterone horse to ride off and rescue some self-styled princess.
You know, maybe next time around I’ll look for someone who’s not quite so in need of being saved. Yeah, that’s the ticket.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it."
   --Monta Crane

6/25/2005

India-based Identity Theft

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 Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:26 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I have complained about off-shoring recently.
So, I guess it’s about time to start that again. There are three articles about an identiy theft originating at a call center in India this week; one at the BBC, one at the Register, and one at AustralianIT. It’s all the same story though. Allegedly, an employee of a call center in India was selling credit card information. Now, that’s bad. But, what’s worse is the lack of accountability to the victims. How many of these were non-Indian credit card numbers? Most, I’d imagine. But, where is the alleged crook going to be tried and, if found guilty, punished? India. What recourse do the companies and victims have? Little.
Now, is it still worth it to let American workers go without jobs because it’s “cheaper” to farm this out to call centers overseas? Look closely at all the costs involved here, folks. Frankly, I’d rther take a chance with the rural poor here in the States somewhere, anywhere, rather than risk my credit card information with ANY foreginer. I’m not biased in this. I don’t care if it’s France, India, Russia, or where ever. If my financial data is being sent overseas without my consent, there’s a problem. I know what the laws are that govern that here in the USA and I trust those laws. More or less. I don’t even understand the legal system in India, much less the actual laws.

It’s time to think about bringing business back to the hungry workers here in the USA, Corporate America. Sure, we have our problems, but we still take better care of our own people than we can trust anyone else to do.
Thank you. I feel better now.

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6/24/2005

Walltop

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:58 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Not a laptop, or a desktop, but…
A computer for your wall, ergo a “walltop“. An interesting conversion or update of the simple digital picture frame, this do-it-yourself project is the first of its kind that I’ve seen. The article literally takes you through cannibalizing a laptop for insertion into a regular picture frame which can then be hung on the wall. Of course, it’s displayed without a charger cord dangling from it, but I’d imagine you’d end up with it plugged in most of the time. Still, the possibilities for digital and interactive art are impressive. Also, this particular DIY article keeps the touch-pad mouse as part of the installation, so there could potentially be some actual interactivity.
Hmm, I think I have an old laptop around that I might be willing to sacrifice for this….

Yikes! I guess I’m getting to be even more of a hardcore geek as I get older! Still, a walltop computer could be fun. Aw, why not click the link and check it out? It’s Friday and you know you’re looking for a good, indoor, project this weekend!

6/23/2005

Bathroom Reading

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:32 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Have you ever noticed what bathroom reading a host has?
I’ve often thought that someone’s bathroom reading was quite an interesting look into their psyche. Until just recently, I had a copy of Describing Morphosyntax : A Guide for Field Linguists next to the throne, but discovered that there was nothing short enough to read during my pitstop. So, I swapped that out for The Incredible Book of Vatican Facts and Papal Curiosities: A Treasury of Trivia, which is now out of date due to the new Pope being in place. I also have a copy of The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases which is an interesting collaborative fantasy fiction piece. And, of course, there are assorted tool and home furnishing catalogs, as well as the “Hobbit” issue of Scientific American and some obscure martial arts magazines. It’s a pretty eclectic grouping that, I think, accurately reflects the level of dilletante-ness. (Yes, I had to look that up the first time I was being accused of it by an old boss. Turns out, to me, it’s a bit of a compliment!)
So, now, when you have visitors coming over, have fun with this and throw down strange things in the bathroom. If Prison Life Magazine were still around, I’d reccomend that one to throw folks off. It always kept people on the airplanes at bay. Obscure magazines are best, of course, because people rarely have time to hunt them down to find out more. Also, foregin language newspapers have potential, too. Not to mention assorted phrasebooks. (Personally, I favor Southeast Asian languages or Basque for this, but your interests may vary.) Then, watch what happens after people use your bathroom during a party. The looks you get will be worth the little extra effort!

Oh, and thank you to the faithful reader who noticed I didn’t properly edit a timestamp. There was a post meant for next week Friday that showed up a little early. Whoops! And, now you know my secret. I queue the Friday Fun posts in advance. Often, weeks in advance. Guilty as charged!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If someone keeps having things go wrong, try out the assumption that it's because that someone wants them to go wrong."
   --George Scithers

6/21/2005

Musical Baton

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Gah!
I’m not good at these kinds of things, but the dear, sweet Coco in Tokyo has passed me the musical baton, so I’ll do my best.
* Total volume of music files on my computer: 181 songs, 650Megabytes, but it’s all legal!
Mostly it’s Warren Zevon, Sting, Elvis Costello, and Chris Isaak.

* Last CD I bought: Was actually, either “American Idiot” by Green Day or “Love Music Angel Baby” by Gwen Stefani.

* Song playing right now: “Baby Plays Around” by Elvis Costello

* Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

1. “Allison” by Elvis Costello
2. “Fortress Around Your Heart” by Sting
3. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton
4. “Ordinary Day” by Vanessa Carlton
5. “Rinse” by Vanessa Carlton

At the moment, the CD player in my car is acting up, so I’m not listening to a lot of music that I normally do. And, I recognize how “tragically unhip” I am, especially when it comes to music, so I’m trying to branch out and discover new stuff. So far, I’m not getting very far! But, I’m slowly creeping up to modern pop music. Now, if I can just get over my terrible fascination with Culturcide… I know the lead man for them, even though that kind of loud punk music isn’t my normal style. Still, I think it lends me “street cred” that their front man burned me a pirate copy of their German bootleg album. Right? That has to count for something…

Now, three suckers to pass the baton to…:

Mark at Clear Lake Reflections
Laurie at A Thousand Thoughts
Bleucube at, er, Bleucube

6/20/2005

Puppy Love

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,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

Doesn\'t anyone love me?Just about breaks your heart, doesn’t it?
That’s the look I get every morning when I leave for work. Makes it really hard to leave, but it does give me an incentive to come back again. Funny, though, that I get more of that from a dog than I did from anyone else. She’s smarter than a lot of people I know, too.
For instance, she’s taught herself pig latin. No, really! The other day, I told her that we weren’t going to go for our “alkway” and she sat down, looking at me expectantly, just like when we’re getting ready to go for our walk. So, instead, I told her we were going for a ride in the car. After I got the leash on her and walked through the gate, she went right to the car. She still wanted me to lift her in, but she knew just what I meant.
She knows what “raisin” means, too. I eat raisin bran, of one kind or another, quite a bit. And, when I do, I always feed Hilda a raisin. So, now, in the morning, if she’s got her nose pressed against the glass watching for tree-rodent interlopers in our yard, I ask her if she wants her raisin. She always comes over and sits down like I make her do for her treats. Then, she gently takes it out of my fingers with her little, soft, black, puppy lips and happily chews it up.
She’s a good dog, and, somedays, that’s the best a guy can hope for.

6/17/2005

Roll Your Own

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:46 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Linux Distro, that is.
What else would I have meant, you children of the “Summer of Love”? Yeah, like anyone besides me reading this has any idea what the “Summer of Love” was.
Anyway, for those of you who are geeks and not flower-children, or, at least, those who are both, if you’ve ever dreamed of having your very own Linux distribution floating around out there, now you have help. From Big Blue, ironically. No, really! IBM has a page called How to Build Your Own Linux Distribution.
This is a little better than the infamous Linux From Scratch, and, in fact, includes links to that very site. But, it also has some thoughts about what to put into a distro and why. It’s a starting point at most, but I think the article presents a fairly good first look at what you need to consider before trying to “roll your own”.

Now, put the “doobie” down and spark up your mind instead of melting it. Go forth and spread the the word: Linux!
Hey, if you’re a network geek like me, this is your idea of Friday Fun! (Man, I need to get out more…)

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