Diary of a Network Geek

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

7/31/2005

A Bit of Christian Thought

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:23 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I don’t normally talk about this stuff.
As you long-time readers know, I identify as a Christian, though a poor one at best. Despite that, though, I rarely talk about theology much. I’m a little fuzzy on most of that to begin with, so trying to espouse a view in that area is, well, somewhat tricky. Still, when someone pointed me to this article on Christian Teachings, I have to admit that I found it interesting. Lies and lying have often fascinated me, more so lately. I’ve often been amazed at individual’s ability to tell bold-face lies and expect them to be believed. Even more amazing to me are the people who believe them. I think the secret lies in the lier believing their own lie. Certainly, the above linked article would support that concept.
I know I haven’t always told the truth, but I sure do my best these days. I try not to be too hard on myself for my own past. God knows, there are plenty of people who are willing to beat me up for my past misdeeds without me helping them. But, I try to remember that spiritual progress, not perfection, is the path I try to take. It’s the seeking for God and a better way to live my life that matters, not the ways I fall short of that ideal. Though, if I keep falling short the same ways over and over in consistent patterns, that is something I need to look at and fix. For instance, having a string of failed marriages would say more about me than about the people I married. But, so far, I’m doing pretty well, all things considered.
I’m far from perfect, but I am working at it and consistently getting better.

Non-Fiction Crime Drama

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:39 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I decided on The Napoleon of Crime : The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief.
I read the prolog of this little beauty some time ago, but when I re-read it today, I was hooked. I have to admit I have a certain dark fascination with the criminal element of every stripe. I want to know what makes them tick, how they make their choices and what their lives are like as a result. Of course, the fact that Adam Worth was the model for perhaps the most famous criminal of all time sort of weighed in this book’s favor. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with who the “Napoleon of Crime” was in literature, review your Arthur Conan Doyle.) Also, the fact that this guy was at his peak about the time that my paternal grandmother was born didn’t hurt either.
Anyway, it’s a bit of interesting history and may prove useful in my sad attempts at writing sometime in the future.

7/30/2005

Harry Potter Personality & Review

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

It’s a quiz on Beliefnet of all places!
When I took the “What’s your Potter Personality“, I was, at my best Albus Dumbledore. Obviously, I was pleased with that result, since I often think of myself as the Old Wizard, who makes things happen that other people don’t quite get. Well, with computers, anyway. Unfortunately, at my worst, I’m closest to Luna Lovegood. Luckily, I don’t believe in crazy conspiracy theories, so I must be more Dumbledore than Lovegood. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!
Well, either way, it was a fun quiz.

So, this is my roundabout way of saying I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince yesterday. I liked it. Honestly, I’m surprised that this series grabbed me the way it did. Originally, I started reading it to give me more to talk to my step-daughter about, but then I got all caught up in the very complicated, multi-layered plot. It’s quite well done. Now, how do I talk about this without revealing any significant plot points…
I know it may have been too obvious, but I thought the Half-Blood Prince of the title was Voldemort right up until the real answer was revealed. It was, I have to admit, a bit of a surprise. And, frankly, with all the reading I’ve done over the years, I’m not often surprised by a plot twist. The other thing that seemed, well, a bit off to me was who Harry hooked up with in the book. Though, in a way, it does make sense, and I almost expect a wedding in the next book, if everyone involved survives. Speaking of survival, I’m not convinced that the character who died will remain dead in the final book. He’s too important. Personally, I think he’ll be reborn, in some way, into something that will be significant in killing Voldemort. And, I think Fudge will end up being the Minister of Magic again, after the dust clears.
Yeah, that’s about all I can say without giving anything away. It’s a good book and a good series. Of course, it is important to remember that this is really children’s literature that has wider appeal. For a kid’s series, it has a horribly complicated plot and mesh of sub-plots. Not to mention the unusually deep characterization and sophistication of the fantasy elements of this created world. I’ll have to reaquire the first five books and re-read the entire series before book seven comes out. (Yes, they’re that good!)

Now, I just have to pick the next book to read. Hmm, should it be The Napoleon of Crime : The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief or Linux Server Security, or I Heard You Paint Houses : Frank \”The Irishman\” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa, or Linux Firewalls (2nd Edition), or Jesus in Blue Jeans : A Practical Guide to Everyday Spirituality, or Cities of the Red Night : A Novel. So much to read and so little time.

7/29/2005

Friday Night Odds and Ends

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Oh, lots of junk.
Yes, I queued this up at lunchtime to hit this evening. There were just a bunch of things I didn’t think my faithful readers could make it through the weekend without knowing.

First, there’s the Cisco bug. This bug should actually be fixed, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the latest IOS update on your router or you could have a problem here. And, as the security researcher mentioned in the linked article, the thing you have to wonder is, what other bugs have they missed?

Second, if you’re looking at a lonely weekend, again, take heart, soon you’ll have a freakishly realistic Japanese android to keep you company. I doubt she’s anatomically correct, so you can’t carry on a digital “affair” with her, but I’m sure some enterprising geek who’s trying to avoid his wife, his girlfriend, or both, will find a way to make that mod happen. Personally, I think she looks too much like Yoko Ono, but that’s me.

Thirdly, Brooke Burke has split with her husband. Now’s your chance, boys. Get in there while she’s looking to rebound. It’ll be a short, intense relationship, but if you’re lucky it’ll be purely sexual and over before you have to talk to her much. (Personally, I’d prefer Diane Lane, but I doubt she’d leave a young stud like Josh Brolin any time soon! Oh, and her movie, Must Love Dogs, starts today… *sigh*)

A bit of Daily Wisdom from the Dalai Lama:

Many of our troubles are man-made, created by our own ignorance and greed and irresponsible actions.

And, finally, I’m not sure what the sudden interest is, but the last two days my stats suddenly doubled the daily average for the past two months. Hmm, I wonder what I wrote that set off which obsessed stalker…. Well, no matter. The more the merrier!

Well, that’s enough to get you through the rough parts of your weekend. Or to make them.
Have a great one!

Sysadmin Day

Filed under: Career Archive,Certification,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Today is System Administrators Appreciation Day.
Today is a day set aside to give thanks that either: a) someone else manages your servers, or b) you have servers to manage. It’s not an official holiday, yet, but, much like “Administrative Professionals” Day (aka Secretaries Day), it’s a day to think about the “little people” that make your job possible. This is the sixth annual System Administrators Appreciation Day and, to date, no one has done a damn thing for me. I’m so unloved.
Actually, that pretty well sums up my life in IT. I’m the glue that holds the network together and virtually no one knows, notices, or understands what I do. Well, at least I have this small and hollow comfort that someone, somewhere cares enough to setup a webpage dedicated to guys like me.
Thanks.

It’s Friday and your sysadmin has kept the network running long enough for you to read this, so you might as well click on the link and get him something nice for next year! (If your wallet is feeling up to it and you want to show me how much you appreciate my work, you can get me something from my ThinkGeek Wishlist. Hey, a guy can dream!)

7/28/2005

I’ve Been Cheating

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,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 5:49 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I admit it.
I’ve been cheating. I know the unspoken rules, and I’ve been breaking them. Not only that, but I’m fairly unrepentant, too. Which rules? Blogging rules! When I get into a writing mood, I write up all kinds of generic, Andy Rooney-ish entries and save them for when I’m too busy, too tired or just plain too lazy to write something good, but want to post anyway. I know that it goes against the unspoken bloggers code or whatever, but I do it anyway. Hey, I look at it this way, when I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll. I should take advantage of it while it’s happening because, as any of you writers out there know, real inspiration hits so very seldom that I can’t afford to waste it. I bring this up because a couple of posts slipped through without quite enough editing and I said a little more when I wrote the post originall than I would have written today. So, if I offended anyone or touched a nerve, it really wasn’t intentional and I apologize.
Anyway, I’ve been breaking the rules for weeks and weeks, but, since none of you seem to have noticed, so I’m going to keep doing it. Nyah! :-P
(Incidentally, WordPess has a whole lot of “smileys” that I don’t normally use, but I’m learning!)

7/27/2005

Stupid Spammers

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

The only thing I hate worse than spammers are stupid spammers.
Does anyone test their code besides me anymore? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gotten what are obvious spam e-mails filled with variables that were never correctly processed. It’s ridiculous!
On another note, I would like to take a moment to send the blog comment spammers the following message:
Yes, I like my site design, too. I’m glad it helped you with your homework, but I can’t imagine what you’d be studying that anything I’ve written could possibly have helped you with. I will keep posting similar information, not because you like it, but because, well, it’s part of what I do for hobbies. I’m glad you liked it so much you’ll tell all your friends, but, if you don’t mind, let’s not include the spammers. And, while I’m very happy that you find my site “a refreshing change” from the majority of sites you have visited, not to mention how excited you are by the “potential of the internet as a resource” and, presumably, my site in particular, I’m almost sorry that I have restored your enthusiasm. I mean, as a spammer, I don’t think I want you to be enthusiastic. But, you are welcome and I’m glad you think my “efforts to share insights” will “help the world become a better place.”

Sometime, I’ll have to take the same time to thank all the nice folks who send me unsolicited e-mail, too. Though, I have to admit, I’m not sure how I feel about them offering me discounts on breast augmentation…

7/26/2005

Spoiled Doggies

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Guilty as charged!
According to this article on MSNBC, Americans spoil their pets. Well, no kidding! Most days my dog eats better than the average person below the poverty line in the United States, not to mention the world. I have toys for her and special treats to help keep her breath clean. These days, I let her sleep pretty much anywhere she feels like it, but I had a “luxury” bed for her, until she got so frustrated at being locked up all day that she tore it apart. I used to make special, home-baked treats for her, and when I have the time, I’ll start doing that again, too. I have a special safety-harness for her to wear when we go for rides in the car. Yep, she’s pretty well taken care of. And, I have to admit, I refer to myself as her “Daddy” and to her as my “Little, Brown Girl”. But, I haven’t started making her clothes yet. Yet.
Actually, I think that’s about the most mean-spirited thing you can do to a poor, defenseless doggie, to force them to wear “coture”. Though, I have to admit, my bitch would look good in one of those leather jackets. Nah, I’d rather Hilda just be a dog. Just like kids should be allowed to be kids and not grow up too fast by taking care of themselves, dogs should just be dogs, not anything more or less.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go share my breakfast with my plain, old, brown dog.

7/25/2005

Mini-Review: Novell’s SLES 9

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft,Novell,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

That’s Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 for the acronym impaired.
Well, I’m evaluating flavors of Linux to replace our antique Windows NT server, in my copious spare time, at work. Of course, my first choice was to go to Novell’s site and download the free demo of SLES 9. It took the better part of a day and night to download the ISOs and burn them, but, again, I did that in the background.
First of all, the install was quite simple and found even the junky, old hardware that I scrounged together for a test machine. Though, I have to admit that I found it rather annoying that I only used three of the six CDs I burned to do the install. And, I only used the third of those because I was installing a SAMBA server to minimize my client-side changes. (Yes, I know to block all SAMBA traffic out to the ‘net. Thanks for worrying about me though.) If I get the time, I’ll go back and try to figure out what was on those last three disks. I figure it was documenation and source-code, mainly, but that’s only a slightly educated guess.
Now, I’ve never actually used SUSE before, so it was a little new to me. Bascially, it’s standard Linux and X-Windows, but what’s installed by default and the assorted management programs are a little different than what I’ve gotten used to on RedHat. But, once I got the hang of YaST, it wasn’t a problem. In fact, reconfiguring the server via YaST was how I got the SAMBA server installed, configured and running. I should point out that I did this all without the benefit of reading any documenation and it still only took me about five minutes. Very easy to use, even for a relativel newbie.
Mostly, it’s what I’ve come to expect from the modern distributions of Linux. It was easy to install, simple to configure, and pretty to look at while doing both. Oh, and on the old PII with 512Meg of RAM, it ran really well. Nice and smooth. I was able to connect to the SAMBA server, map a drive and copy a file without any issues or having to set it up as a PDC or BDC (that’s Primary Domain Controller and Backup Domain Controller, again for the acronym impaired). I haven’t done any security testing against it, but it’s tucked safely behind our new firewall, so I’m not too worried.
The one thing I noticed that I really liked was the fact that you had to enter a password to reboot the machine. In RedHat, at least the RedHat AS 2.1 I used, anyone who had physical access to the server could simply click the reboot button and it would. With SLES 9, after clicking that button, I was prompted for a password. Only after I supplied the root password did the machine actually reboot. Nice feature, that.

So, over all, nothing spectacular, but a good, solid offering from the newest Novell group, SUSE.

7/24/2005

Review: The Art of Forgiving

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fiction,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I finished Art of Forgiving last week.
As a rather poor Christian, who’s trying to do better, I thought that this book might help me forgive some of the people in my life that, well, have done me wrong. Really, there haven’t been that many folks who didn’t give me just what I deserve, but there have been a few that I think went quite above and beyond even “an eye for an eye”, if you know what I mean. And, I know from personal experience, if I don’t learn to forgive them and move on with my life, that resentment will eat me alive. So, in an effort to be true to both my religious beliefs and my own personal integrity, I read this book.
First of all, I was quite relieved to see that the author, who is Christian, did not equate forgiving with being used again. Just because I forgive someone doesn’t mean I should let them walk all over me again and again. That damages one of God’s children, namely myself, and that wouldn’t be right.
Secondly, the author didn’t think I have to particularly like the person to forgive them, either. That’s a little more complicated, but significant. I’ll try to explain here, but it’s probably best to read the book, too. See, I can love someone as a precious child of God, but still not particularly want to spend a lot of “quality time” with them. I can forgive them the wrong they do me, trying in my flawed, human way to emulate Jesus, and still recognize that being with them would not be very conducive to my continued mental health. I forgive them what they do, not who they are.
It’s hard for me to sum up this book and its message this morning, but I really enjoyed reading it and getting some new perspective on forgiving. It has been a challenge to me these last few months, but I’m getting better, one step at a time.

Oh, and I finally picked up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this weekend, too. I know I was trying to be all cool about it, but I read the first ten pages in the parking lot. God, how embarrassing is that!? So much for my high-minded literary pretensions!

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