Diary of a Network Geek

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

1/31/2012

Essential Tools for System Admins

Filed under: Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

There are more free sysadmin tools for Windows than you can shake a memory stick at these days.

But, here are a few of the better collections of them.
First, from Infoworld, 15 “Essential” Open Source Tools for Windows Admins.  I’m not sure I’d say these are all essential, but they are a pretty good start.  I can only vouch for three of them on this list; Wireshark, Nmap, and ClamWin Antivirus.  Though I’m familiar with them from the Linux/Unix world, these are the Windows equivalents and they work just fine.  Old network geeks will recognize Wireshark and Nmap as a reliable packet sniffer and a security vulnerability scan tool, respectively.  You may not be as familiar with ClamWin.  It’s based on the ClamAV engine, which in its Linux boot-disk incarnation, has saved my bacon more than once!  There are a couple inventory tools in this list I plan on looking more closely at, not to mention the add-on for Nmap they talk about.  Good stuff and worth checking out!

Secondly, from TechRepublic, there’s Five Free Windows Registry Cleaners.  Again, I’ve only used two of these five; CCleaner and Wise Registry Cleaner.  CCleaner does everything I generally need in regards to shoring up old, creaky registries, but I’m always looking for new tools.  The version of Wise Registry Cleaner I used was an older one, but it worked well enough.  And, it does have the nice feature of being able to backup and restore older versions of your registry.  Believe me, that can come in handy sometimes!

Thirdly, also from TechRepublic, Five Microsoft Tools to help with Server Management.  Of these five, again, I’ve only used one; dcdiag.  Naturally, it’s the only command-line tool in the bunch.  Though, I hear Microsoft has been talking about going back to a command-line, terminal interface for their server products.  I’m a little leary of any security utility that is based on a wizard, but I have to admit, at least it’s something that might encourage Windows sysadmins to do some work at securing their servers more.  And, I have to admit, I wish I had known more about the file server migration wizard a few years ago.  It sure would have helped me more than once!

And, finally, the venerable, but ultimately useful, More Sysinternals for Windows Admins.  Now, these I’ve used quite a bit!  At least, some of them.  All the disk usage utilities have been super helpful over the years in determining who has been sucking up all the drive space on my servers!  And I’ve used PsInfo to attempt to gather information in various attempts to inventory my various networks.  And, these days, everyone will need the RootKitRevealer sooner or later.  Sadly, almost everyone has been, or will be, effected by a rootkit virus of some kind.  It seems inevitable.

So, there you go, system administrators.  There’s my gift to you in the form of links to tools to do your jobs, faster, easier and more efficiently.  Enjoy!

1/27/2012

Hacker Typer

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes — 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 Waxing Crescent

You ever wonder how hackers in the movies type code so fast?

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but when I see programmers cranking out code on a TV series or a movie, I always wonder how they’re typing so much so fast.  And, I’ll be honest, I wonder how accurate their code really is.  So, I’m sure most people don’t really care about all that, but just assume all computer people bang away on the keyboard to churn out code.  Hey, they probably don’t even notice what keys we hit at all!
Well, I’ve finally found out how Hollywood simulates what they think coding is like!  It’s a site called Hacker Typer!

You go, open up the application, which looks like an old-school terminal, and just start banging on the keyboard.  It literally does not matter what keys you hit!  And, the app does all the work, producing line after line of what looks like decent, usable code.  I actually have no idea if that code will do anything or not, but it looks good, and, in Hollywood, that’s all that matters.
So, what the heck, it’s Friday.  Go hit that site and pretend to be a hacker!

1/20/2012

Pioneer One – Crowdfunded Sci-Fi

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I love science-fiction.

I love sci-fi in pretty much all its forms, but I have to admit, I especially like science-fiction television and movies.  And, these days, as Hollywood produces more and more of the same stuff over and over, unwilling to take risks, I find myself loving sci-fi television more.
Now, with cameras and equipment as reasonably priced as they are, it’s possible for small, independent film-makers to roll their own media, in both film and television.  Combine that kind of low-budget, but high-level of passion for production, with all the different ways people are funding their favorite projects and, well, what you’ve got is Pioneer One.

Now, I have to admit, I haven’t shelled out the money for it just yet, but go check out the trailer and tell me if you aren’t at least a little intrigued by what you see.  I know I was.  Kind of looks like the X-Files, but crossed with Operation Blue Book.  Seems like it might lead somewhere.
Oh, and they must be doing okay, because they’ve got six episodes now, so someone is coughing up the money to keep this worth pursuing for them.

In any case, it’s Friday, so why not at least check out the trailer?  You won’t be sorry!

1/13/2012

Techno is the Word

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 5:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

And the word is techno.

My musical tastes are varied and variable.  There is no telling what trend or style will suddenly catch my fancy and become my obsession.  Really.  Of course, my musical tastes are also tragically unhip, I’ve been told, by more than one of my music loving friends.  And, I’m rarely in step with anything current or any hot trend.  So, believe me when I tell you that I haven’t seriously listened to any techno in years.  Honest.
But, recently, thanks to Boing Boing, I found an interesting techno project: Techno is the Word.

It’s pretty straight forward, really, go to the site, then enter a word and let it generate the techno.
The site prefers Chrome or a recent build of Webkit installed, but as a way to kill time and annoy your music snob co-workers on a Friday, it can’t be beat.  I recommend just installing Chrome.  It’s worth it!  Besides, you may find you enjoy the browser even after you get tired of the techno.
Enjoy the generated music and your weekend!

1/6/2012

Free Installers

Filed under: 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 5:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Let’s start the year slow.

So, I’m sure a lot of you got new PCs or laptops, or upgraded your old ones, this holiday season.  Maybe it was a Christmas gift.  Maybe a Christmas gift to yourself.  Maybe you just took advantage of the post-holiday sales.  Whatever it was or how ever you got it, you probably are feeling the pain of reinstalling all those “essential” programs that you use on a regular basis.  Things like Firefox and Mozilla or Chrome and Skype or Winamp or Flash or .Net or iTunes or LibreOffice or any number of similar little things.  You’ll be feeling the pain of having to go to all those individual websites to collect the various install files to run.

Well, I have the solution to the problem you didn’t realize you had.  It’s a little site called “Ninite” and they call themselves “…the fastest way to install, reinstall or upgrade free software”.
You go to the site, check the different bits of software and click the “Get Installer” button and the site will serve up a downloadable installer file that will install the free software you checked on the form.  You run the file and your software gets installed.  That simple.  Oh, and the basic service itself is free.
Now, if you want to maintain that free software and keep it updated, they have a very reasonable service for that, too.  For the personal edition for a single computer, it’s just $9.99 a year, at the moment, but, of course, that may change.

Both the free and pay services are available for Windows or Linux, which I think is pretty damn extra cool.

Anyway, there’s your first fun/cool/useful link for the new year.  I think it bridges the fun, the free and the very geeky stuff that this blog is, I hope, known and appreciated for sharing.
Happy New Year everyone!


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