Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/14/2012

From The Heart

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:01 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Today, for reasons that are mostly attributable to the evil machinations of greeting card companies, we are expected to engage in a conspicuous display of romantic passion.  People mistakenly call it “love”, but, in my experience, love often has little to do with what we celebrate on this strange, little holiday.  We put so much pressure on each other, and ourselves, to be in the right kind of loving, romantic, passionate relationship that, frankly, it’s almost guaranteed that things will go horribly wrong.  And, yet we continue with it anyway.

For years, I was single on St. Valentine’s Day, and wished beyond all reason to be in a relationship with someone, anyone, with whom I might share the day.  Then, of course, I was and the event couldn’t possibly live up to any of the expectations I had set up for the holiday, my partner, nor myself.  It seemed to me that with every passing year, whatever I did was less and less appreciated.  More fault was found with how I tried to make the day special for her, until that last year, my ex-wife was actually complaining about the roses I’d saved my lunch money, literally skipped lunches out with the people at the office, to pay for to continue what I’d hoped was a tradition.  For ten years, I bought her at least a dozen red roses, usually, a dozen red and a dozen white, carefully requesting that they not include baby’s breath, because she was allergic to it, only to have her complain that the flowers I’d been so proud of getting in spite of financial difficulty, were aggravating her allergies and always had.  For ten years, she let me buy those flowers and complained about them, often behind my back, and let me think I was doing a good thing.  All for “love”.

Well, I can’t speak for my ex-wife, but I don’t think I knew what love really was when we were together.
In church, Sunday, of course, they read First Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-7, which are “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Now, I doubt that Paul was talking about romantic, passionate love in this letter, since he wasn’t particularly in favor of marriage, among other things, but, still, it’s often invoked as the kind of love we should have for a partner.
It’s certainly an ideal I strive for these days, on that rare occasion that I find myself involved with someone of the fairer sex.  But, it’s also how I simply try to treat everyone, regardless of how they feel about me.  Of course, some days I do that better than others, but it’s a goal for all days, not just this artificial, high-pressure holiday that was seemingly invented to make so many feel so inadequate.

And, I have to admit, my feelings about this holiday aren’t aided by my interest in history, especially Chicago history.  You see, I think of this day as the anniversary of when a fellow Chicagoan, Al Capone, rounded up seven of his closest buddies and gunned them down in the back alleys of the South Side of Chicago. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre! It was on this day, in 1929, that the rivalry between Bugs Moran and Al Capone reached its violent and bloody peak, leaving seven, bloody corpses in its wake, along with damaging both Moran’s North Side Gang and, ultimately, bringing so much attention to Capone from the FBI that it effectively ended his criminal career, as well.
Truly, a turning point in the criminal history of Chicago.

So, you all go out and have your romantic dinners and make cow-eyes at your object of desire, but, have yourself an extra bloody steak and remember how they used to celebrate this romantic holiday on the South Side in the old days.  And, remember, your relationship isn’t measured by how well or poorly things go today, but how you treat each other the other 364 days of the year.

 


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Girls are like pianos. When they're not upright, they're grand."

8/9/2011

Cyber Pearl Harbor?

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Dark Side,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:41 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Really?  Are they bringing this one out again?

I’ve heard about the dangers of “cyber war” almost since I got started in this business twenty years ago.  Essentially, since the internet existed, people have been claiming that dangerous hackers are going to take over our infrastructure from within.  Sound familiar?  Like, oh, say, the Red Threat of the Cold War?
It’s pretty easy to get IT guys like me whipped into a frenzy about this.  Back in the day, Winn Schwartau wrote THE go-to book on the subject, Information Warfare, and in that book he talked about a so-called “Cyber Pearl Harbor” that ushered in a new era of digital warfare.  Well, now, it seems, ZDNet is reporting that we may have already had our so-called Cyber Pearl Harbor.  According to security researchers at McAfee, and elsewhere, several targets, including the United States, have been under a five year sustained cyber attack and they went on to speculate that a “state actor” was likely behind the attacks.  A security consultant at Sophos pointed out that fingers are usually pointed in China’s direction when government-funded and supported cyber attacks are discussed.  And, I have to admit, based on the other forms of espionage, especially industrial espionage, that we’ve seen from them over the years, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were using the Internet to attack various sites remotely in an attempt to get restricted information of various kinds.

But, is this a “Pearl Harbor”-like event?  I mean, really?
Do you see people rallying around this issue?  Are hackers joining the U.S. Military to defend our cyber borders?  If they are, it’s one of the best kept secrets in the world right now.  Seriously.
Pearl Harbor was a galvanizing event in our history.  That one event is what got us off the fence and into World War II, as a nation.  Honestly, I don’t see that happening here, or anywhere that high-level computer tech is the focal point of the debate.  We may rely on that tech to get our jobs done or to entertain us, but, really, most people don’t have any idea of the security work that goes on behind the scenes.  This is an invisible war, if it even can be called that.
Again, I think it’s a new form of Cold War.  It’s a battle waged in the shadows against an all but invisible enemy.  It won’t be fought like a conventional war of any kind, much less like World War II.  And, if the cyber war is an apt metaphor at all, then it’s a war we’re already fighting.

Oh, and as for the Chinese, well, they’ve already used their influence as a global market to get a partial retraction from those fine folks at McAfee, who are now claiming that there is no definitive link to any “state actor” of any kind, much less China.  Of course, I’ve only seen the back-peddling on a single, English-language, but Chinese supported, news site.  Still, that, my friends, is the view of the new global economy and the real war.  Big governments will start to throw their weight around and corporations will “adjust” their position on the truth to tap the market and access their bottom line.  Of course, that’s nothing new, either.  China’s been doing that for years.  Only now, they may be the biggest market still available in the entire world.
Looks like we all better start learning Mandarin!


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