Diary of a Network Geek

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

11/25/2011

Leftovers

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I love leftovers.

I typically have a small group at my house for Thanksgiving and yet still cook an enormous amount of food.  I’ll generally munch those leftovers through Christmas.  People tell me that it’s probably not good for me and that I’ll get food poisoning or whatever.  So, you know, I started to wonder; how long are leftovers good?

Well, if you’ve wondered that very thing along with me, wonder no more.
Instead, go to this article at StillTasty.com about how to store your Thanksgiving leftovers.  (Hopefully, you haven’t made an terrible errors already and refrigerated anything you weren’t sure about.)
So, now you know how long you can enjoy that leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast!
Also, I hope all my readers had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

11/18/2011

Geek’s Guide to New York

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,On The Road,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I seem to be fixated on New York this month!

There are a lot of geeky landmarks in New York City.  From movies like Ghostbusters to comic books like the Fantastic Four to movies about comic books, there are a lot of references made to the Big Apple.  If you’re a geek and plan on being a tourist in New York, wouldn’t you like to hit these hot spots and revisit your favorite geek moments?  Or just take a photo of yourself where your favorite geek event, movie, etc. actually happened or was filmed?
Now, with the aid of the Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York City, you can.  (Though, personally, I prefer the term “geek” to “nerd” for a number of reasons, at least one of which should be obvious!)  Brought to you via Slashfilm, the Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York City has a map, showing you just where all those cool or famous or geeky things are to be found, including, yes, the building used for the Ghostbuster’s HQ as well as the building used for the Fantastic Four’s HQ, and many others.

I’ve never really done any “geek tourism”, but, after seeing this, I may start!
Anyway, it’s Friday and you’re not doing any work anyway, so you might as well check it out and plan your next vacation!
Have a great weekend!

11/15/2011

Some Linux Distros to Know

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Geek Work,Linux,Novell — 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 Gibbous

There are a lot of Linux distributions.

No, really, I mean there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Linux distributions out there.
Frankly, it can get a little overwhelming sometimes.  But, I think about them and what they all are and what they do.  I think about them because it’s my job, and because I’m always thinking about what’s coming next in the IT industry.  So, what Linux installs do I think about?  Funny you should ask….
I think about Android.  Yeah, that’s right, the operating system that runs those Droid phones is a kind of Linux.  That’s kind of amazing to me, really, but there it is.  And, I think about it because Android seems to be on more and more devices these days.  Everything from phones to tablets to who knows what next in the consumer market.  But, I try to pay attention to Android because so many people at my office have Android based phones and they all expect me to help them figure their phones out.
I think about Fedora, which is the open source version of Red Hat, which enjoyed pretty good market penetration when they first got going.  They’ve got a lot more competition today, but, still it’s in an IT professional’s best interests to be at least familiar with Fedora.
That goes for openSUSE, too.  openSUSE was bought out by Novell some time ago, so there’s no telling where it’s going to end up with all the buying and selling around Novell’s bits and pieces these days, but it’s still a pretty heavily installed Linux distribution.  My brief experience with it was good, though, I have to admit, that was on older hardware for a personal project, not a corporate gig.
If you’re an Oracle shop, you’ll probably know about Oracle Linux, which is basically Red Hat Linux after Oracle has made modifications to it.  Oh, and jacked the price up.  Still, if you work with Oracle a lot, it’s probably worth looking into.
Eweek recently ran a slidwshow about these, and several other, versions of Linux under the title 10 Linux Distros Every IT Manager Should Know.  Obviously, I agree with some of their listing, but clearly not all.  And, I think they left some off.

For instance, what about the live CD editions?
Two I think anyone in IT should know are Ubuntu and Knoppix.  Knoppix has been around a longer, but Ubuntu has a slicker interface and, I think, is a little better at detecting hardware than Knoppix.  Also, you can install Ubuntu from the live CD media, if you would like, and plenty of people do run it as a desktop.  The real plus is that there’s a pretty healthy community around these two installations, especially Ubuntu.  So, if you need help with either one, there are a lot of resources on the internet to answer your questions.
I use these two all the time to recover data of damaged installs of Windows.  I even used one to build a PC imaging system before I started using Clonezilla, which is also, incidentally, based on Linux.

If you’re worried about security, Linux can help with that, too.
For quite some time, the National Security Agency has sponsored SELinux, which is a pretty secure, hardened version of Linux.  They designed it to be reasonably secure right as a default, since an insecure default install is usually where security problems start.  Of course, you may not trust the NSA.  And, while this is “sponsored” by them, it’s not actually an official US Government Linux install.
For that, you have to go to the US Airforce.  Their Lightweight Portable Security distro is the first official US Linux distribution.  I haven’t actually tried it myself, but ZDNet has a pretty good review of it.

So, as you can see, if you haven’t looked into Linux much before, there are a lot of things to investigate.  And, as a computer professional, I DO recommend that you check out at least some flavor of Linux.  It’s so prevalent and so flexible and handy to have that if you haven’t bumped into it yet, you will.  So before you need to know it, investigate it some on your own.  You’ll be glad you did.
(And, I’m sure every seasoned IT pro has their favorite distro, like Debian, but there are too many to list them all.  If you have opinions about any, please, leave comments!)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
   --Abraham Lincoln

11/11/2011

Pros You Should Know

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not geek professionals, in this case.

Normally, I don’t blatantly promote other people who aren’t either ultra-cool geeks or paying me money, but, in this case, I’ll make an exception.
I’m really into photography.  I wasn’t always, but the December after I finished chemotherapy, I bought my first digital SLR camera.  It cost what I thought of as a small fortune, but it was worth it.  Shortly after that, I took a couple of seminars.  One from the ever popular Joe McNally and another one by a guy named Syl Arena.  The class I took eventually became the book The Speedliter’s Handbook and is pretty much THE book to have for someone shooting with Canon Speedlites.  The class, and book, were fantastic.  Syl was a genius teacher and a really nice, patient guy, too.
Well, he’s the inaugural “pro” on the Pros You Should Know feature at the Borrowlenses.com blog.  It’s worth checking out, not just for him, but for the rest of their blog, too.

And, if you’re not into photography, I apologize for not having something for you this week.  If you ARE, though, trust me and go read up on Syl Arena.  It’s worth it!

11/10/2011

Hard Drive Prices

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:36 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Looks like they’re about to go up.

And, if what I’m reading in the media is any indication, by quite a lot.
I know I mentioned this a couple weeks ago, but the tech media seems to just be really catching on to this.  The folks over at ExtremeTech, who are really into their hardware, have a great article about what’s going on with drive prices.  And, perhaps more importantly, what they think is going to happen to drive prices.  In short, it’s not good.
Seagate is expecting shortages in their supply chain for “several quarters”, and that, of course, translates to a higher demand.  And, for all of  you who slept through your basic Economics course in school, higher demand on a limited supply results in higher prices.

Of course, this is all due to the terrible flooding in Thailand, where key components are made for a number of electronic systems.  I’d expect that shortly after Christmas, a number of things will go up in price.  Anything that relies on a drive for a key component, like PCs or laptops or network attached storage, will clearly cost more.  But, I expect a lot of different cameras and similar electronics to go up in price, too.
This is the downside of a global economy.  And, it’s also why we should be concerned with the welfare of our fellow humans on the far side of the globe.  We’re all interconnected, now more than ever.  I hate to equate such an enormous disaster with our creature comforts and the price of consumer goods, but, well, it’s the only way some people can get their mind around how important it all is.
The world is so interconnected now, what happens in any one country, no matter how small, has far reaching effects on the entire world.

11/9/2011

A Personal Wiki

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Like Wikipedia, but on the micro scale.

It may surprise some readers here that I’m a geek in my professional life.  (Okay, so it may not have surprised many readers, but, still…)  And, as such, I tend to use computers in a lot of my daily life, including my creative life.  One tool that I’ve been experimenting with a bit is tiny, low-overhead wikis, sort of like a tiny, personal Wikipedia, only it’s on my desktop and not publicly available via…
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(Incidentally, this is a great way to setup pretty painless documentation for a small IT department.  And, in fact, I’ve started doing just that!)

11/4/2011

Secret Dining

Filed under: Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, this isn’t a post about eating disorders!

Rather, it’s a post about secret places to eat in New York City!
I have to admit, I’ve always been fascinated by people lining up to get into places so secret that they have no name or no sign over the door.   Maybe it’s having grown up in Chicago with a grandmother who was actually around when speakeasies were up and running that’s made this so interesting to me.  Maybe it was just being a geeky kid who was always on the outside.  Maybe, it was the idea that my great-grandfather was friends with Bath-house John Kenzie and Hinky Dink Kenna, two of Chicago’s most notorious aldermen and crooks, who ran a “pool hall” with a secret room.  In any case, places like that fascinate me and the idea that they might exist in New York RIGHT NOW is almost irresistible to me!

So, tell me, New York readers, have you ever tried one of these “Secret Eateries” in New York City?
Inquiring minds want to know!


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