Diary of a Network Geek

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

1/31/2008

No, Thank You, Mr. Spammer

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — 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 Crescent

As a result of my ranking in Google, I occasionally get silly spam.

This morning, for instance, I got this e-mail:

Let me know if you’re looking to get a higher listing with search engines. I can send you the details first, just let me know how you would like to communicate.
Sincerely,
(insert marketer’s name here.)

I responded with:

Higher than what? I’m already the number one hit on Google for Network Geek. After all, how was it that you found me to try and sell to me?

No, thank you, but I enjoy doing it myself.

Sincerely,
Jim Hoffman

I mean, really, half the fun of having this site and doing this blog is that I use it to manipulate one of the biggest search engines ever!  Ah, well, maybe if he’d actually read my blog, he’d know that I made most of the money I paid my divorce lawyer back optimizing his site for the search engines and getting him connected with an URL submission service.

Silly spammers.

1/30/2008

Linux Imaging – Update

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, I figured it was about time for another hardcore geek post.

I’ve been using the Linux-based imaging solution that I detailed here and here for quite a few weeks now. Mostly, it’s been going very well.
Okay, once I figured out it was better to start with a small drive partition as my base system, from which I created the standard image, the process got easier. The thing is, it’s always easier to start with a small partition and then use tools built into the Knoppix live cd to grow the partition larger than to try and shoe-horn a big disk partition onto a small disk. And, by “easier”, I mean it’s the only way to do it. I spent quite a bit of time trying to make it work the other way, but I never did. On the other hand, starting with an image based on a 30 gigabyte or less partition then expanding it to fit a 150 gigabyte hard drive has worked just fine.
Incidentally, I used a bootable gparted cd to make that change.

Also, I had a small problem with a particular Intel motherboard chipset. Specifically, it was the Intel 965 chipset, and the problem may effect other motherboards. In short, the problem was that Knoppix didn’t see the SATA drive to mount it. If Knoppix can’t see the drive, it can’t image it or take an image from it. Luckily, there is a work around. If you’re using my method to image WindowsXP machines running the Intel 965 chipset, ensure the BIOS is set to AHCI. To do that, get into your system’s BIOS and go to Advanced > Drive configuration > Configure SATA as AHCI. Then, when booting into Knoppix, hit F2 and use the following command-line to boot:
knoppix 2 all-generic-ide pci=nommconf
This will start Knoppix in text-only mode, so you can run everything from there instead of opening up a terminal session.
After you put the image on the fresh machine, you need to ensure the BIOS is NO LONGER set to AHCI. To do that, get back into your system’s BIOS and go to Advanced > Drive configuration > Configure SATA as IDE. After reconfiguring the BIOS, you can boot into the new Windows XP clone and proceed as I’ve already described in the other posts.

Oh, one last thing on this…
I kind of cheated on reimaging machines in text mode with that Intel 965 chipset.  Because the tools I used to resize NTFS disk partitions were all GUI based and XWindows was having a problem running on those Intel 965 boards, I installed one machine from scratch and just grabbed the larger partition table and master boot record.  Then, when I made the new machines, I just used the larger partition and MBR images to get everything out of the disk.  I still used the smaller data disk partition images, but I used NTFSResize to expand the NTFS partition to fill the disk.  Worked like a charm.

Anyway, I apologize to my non-geek readers, but, hey, I am a professional network geek and I love this stuff.  I think I strutted around for a full five minutes after figuring out that set of little tricks the same afternoon.  Of course, it wasn’t long before some other stupid thing brought me right back to reality, but that couple of minutes where I was the king of the world, network geek genius extraordinaire, made it all worthwhile.

1/29/2008

Does Crime Pay?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No.

At least, not according to Bruce Schneier:

Q: All ethics aside, do you think you could make more money obtaining sensitive information about high net worth individuals and using blackmail/extortion to get money from them, instead of writing books, founding companies, etc.?

A: Basically, you’re asking if crime pays. Most of the time, it doesn’t, and the problem is the different risk characteristics. If I make a computer security mistake — in a book, for a consulting client, at BT — it’s a mistake. It might be expensive, but I learn from it and move on. As a criminal, a mistake likely means jail time — time I can’t spend earning my criminal living. For this reason, it’s hard to improve as a criminal. And this is why there are more criminal masterminds in the movies than in real life.

That has to be the best summarization of why I’m not a criminal that I’ve ever read. And, that’s not all he had to say. You can read the rest of the article at the New York Times “Freakonomics” blog.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Our dignity is not in what we do but in who we are."

1/27/2008

I accept

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:40 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I have learned to accept certain things about my life.

I accept that I will never have children of my own.
I very much wanted them and I know I would have made a good father, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. So, I’ll be Uncle Jim to all my friends’ kids. I’ll have toys at my house and be the cool, pseudo-uncle that they all love to come visit. And, until they breed, I’ll be the best uncle I can be to my own niece and nephews.

I accept that I will probably die alone.
In the end, don’t we all? I mean, even if there’s someone there with us, we really still die alone. Thanks to the same cancer treatment that sterilized me, I’ll live more than long enough to get my affairs in order, to get out of debt and pre-pay for my funeral and cremation. Hell, I may even get one of those Star Trek urns to be buried in.
I try to keep hope alive and an open mind and all that, but, really, I just have a hard time seeing myself with anyone. I have a hard time picturing anyone who’s interested in being with me. My last hope of possibly starting something with the cute, red-headed federal parole officer pretty well died last night. I overheard part of something that I shouldn’t have and it sounded an awful lot like someone saying “she” wasn’t interested in “him”. And, yes, while that doesn’t mean much, I took it as significant that the two people stopped talking when I walked up and wouldn’t explain further when I asked. I’ll grant that the world doesn’t revolve around me, but, well, sometimes it’s not my ego talking, you know? I don’t think it was in this case.
So, anyway, my point is, if not her, then who? There just isn’t anyone else even on my radar and I got so tired of the bullshit with Match.com that I canceled that last week. I don’t know. I suppose I can always hope for that miracle to happen.

I accept that I’ll never be a famous author.
Sure, I might be the number one hit on Google for Network Geek, but that’s not really fame, is it? And, is this blog even really writing? I may write fiction and even publish it, but I just don’t see myself ever being famous or winning awards. Maybe it’s just the antibiotics and blood thinners talking, but I definitely see myself living a modest life of obscurity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Hell, most people don’t get more than that and damn few get that far. At least, at the level of comfort that I enjoy. And, as I sit here typing this on a laptop with my feet propped up next to my digital camera looking at a Japanese sci-fi movie on my HDTV, I am more than aware of just how comfortable I am.

It’s a good life.
It may not be what I imagined or what I dreamed of, but it’s a damn good life and I’ve lived far better than I had any right to expect. I’m lucky, really, to be alive at all.
It really is a good life.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A hero is no braver than anyone else. A hero is only brave five minutes longer."
   --Anonymous

1/25/2008

Japanese Spirits

Filed under: Art,By Bread Alone,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not ghosts, spirits.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my new medicine really should preclude me from drinking, but when I saw this article about a Japanese single-malt whiskey distiller, I was fascinated. Check out that, and the website it appeared on, Nonjatta. It’s like Scotch, with all the same anal-retentive attention to detail, but from Japan.

1/24/2008

Men’s Health Cooking

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I love Men’s Health cooking recipes.

I got a book some weeks ago titled A Man, A Can, A Plan, A Second Helping. I meant to get the first one, but, somehow, I got the second one. It doesn’t matter, because the recipes are still great and still from Men’s Health.
The premise is simple, all the main ingredients for the recipes are things in cans that can stay on the shelf for a long time. This is the perfect cookbook for men, or women, on the go who don’t have time to go grocery shopping every single week. With this cookbook, you can plan ahead and get cans of ingredients and leave them on the shelf for weeks until you need them.

Tonight, I made my first recipe from A Man, A Can, A Plan, A Second Helping. I made Black Gold Burritos. Since this book is still available and in print, I don’t feel right listing the recipe, but, hopefully, the link to Amazon will show you what I made.
Naturally, I had a few substitutions. First, I thought I had a can of corn in the cupboard, but it turns out I had creamed corn. I drained it and used it anyway. Also, I didn’t have a full cup of red peppers, so I diced up a yellow pepper and made a cup of peppers with red and yellow combined. It turned out quite well indeed. I made three burritos to eat, and three for another time, but I ran out of wheat tortillas, so I had “stuff” left over. More than enough for two more burritos, making the eight that the recipe claims to create. Either my tortillas were smaller than theirs, or they’re making really huge portions that, somehow, don’t spill out. Mine spilled all over the plate, but Hilda seemed to like helping me clean up, so it was all good. And, take it from me, it really was ALL good! The burritos were quick, at less than an hour to prepare and cook, and very tasty!
If the original A Man, A Can, A Plan is half as good as this one, I heartily recommend them both.

1/22/2008

Cool Tools – featuring me

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Ooo, shiny...,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

My Cool Tool submission has been featured today!

About a week ago, I sent a note to Kevin Kelly who, among other things, hosts the Cool Tools blog.  I told him about ClickBook, which I use to do all kinds of crazy, geeky stuff, including make dictionaries of constructed languages (which I forgot to include in my initial submission).
And, today, he featured my submission.  How cool is that?

1/21/2008

Kiva Loans Funded

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So far, so good.

Over the weekend, I got an e-mail telling me that the two loans I made via Kiva.org funded.  So, that means that they routed the money through the local organizations and on to the people who need it for their businesses.  Obviously, it will be a while before that money gets put into use, but, at least they have access to it now.

You can track this process at my Kiva page, too:
http://www.kiva.org/lender/james5285

1/18/2008

Explore the LazyWeb

Filed under: Fun,hoosgot,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:53 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Saw this on Matt Mullenweg’s blog

LazyWeb aka Hoosgot.

1/15/2008

Number One

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,Personal,Red Herrings — 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 a First Quarter Moon

Pardon me while I toot my own horn.

As of this morning, I am the number one hit on Google for the search terms “network geek”.  Now, if I could just find a better way to make money off that than Google Adsense…

Well, it’s cool, anyway.

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