Diary of a Network Geek

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

4/7/2017

Blog Posts

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Geek Work,On Creativity,Stimulus and Production — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My creative blog posting well is dry.

So dry.
Seriously, if you count my original blog, I have been doing this blogging nonsense for almost 17 years. My first blog post went live May 4th, 2000. How crazy is that?  Back then, I hand coded every page, making the HTML myself with Microsoft Notepad.  Then, I installed Moveable Type.  That was followed by a definite upgrade to WordPress during the great licensing debacle of 2004.  So, yes, I’ve been using WordPress since version 1.2  A lot has changed since then, but I can tell you one thing that hasn’t; the terrible struggle to create new and interesting content.
My wife, The Organizing Decorator, and I were talking about this very thing recently.  She just finished moving her site to her own hosting and content management system, so that I wasn’t responsible for her site as well as all of mine, and she told me how she need to stop tweaking and tampering with it.  My response was that it was a lot easier to mess with formatting than it was to actually create content.  And, after 17 years, I’m really feeling tapped out.

So, what’s my response?  To share with you two links about generating content!
First, a post from the very brainy and entrepreneurial Growth Lab titled How to find 20+ blog ideas your audience can’t wait to read.  It’s a process, but it’s a process that will help you generate content tailored to your blog, brand, or business.
The other is How To Think Outside The Box with 200+ writing prompts by CoSchedule.  And, it’s just what it sounds like, a list of prompts with blanks to get you started on a blog post.  They’re pretty generic, but they may not all be applicable to your chosen subject matter.

Well, there you have it.  Two links that are free and useful, if not exactly “fun” for non-bloggers or content producers.
Maybe I’ll have something better for you next week.
Maybe not.  Only time will tell.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

2/24/2017

Old School Newsletters

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,The Infinite Library — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Not so old school that they’re printed, but, still, pretty old school.

I’ve always been an email sort of guy. And, I pretty much hate the modern forums. I hate having to go to a web interface and deal with all their junk and advertising. Also, as regular readers may have noticed from my blog, I’m a pretty text-heavy sort of fella. When I started in IT, fancy interfaces were the stuff of science-fiction. We did our work in the digital uranium mines via text interfaces, and we liked it!
Okay, all joking aside, my first work with computers pre-dated both Windows and the web, and maybe I never got over the simple beauty of straight, text-based information. No real fancy formatting or anything, especially in email. I still tend to view and write email messages in plain, raw text.
In any case, back in the day, the way we shared information was the old-fashioned newsletter. And, let me tell you, there were some ultra exclusive email lists that people fought to get included on. My favorites were the slightly secret UNIX security email newsletters. It felt very, very exclusive and, as they said far too often in the movie Hackers, “elite”.

Now, mostly, that time is gone. People, including me, use blog aggregators and RSS feed readers to keep up on the latest news. But, the venerable email newsletters aren’t entirely dead. As the folks at Discover write, “There is something beautiful about the personal newsletter. We love the depth and admire writers who cover niche topics in great detail. We love the intimacy of seeing these notes arriving in our inboxes directly from our favorite authors. And we love the serenity of reading every word without being interrupted by notifications. … We often wake up in the morning, eager to check if the latest issue by our favorite author has arrived, much like we used to check the mailbox for the daily newspaper or weekly magazine in the old days.” And that sums up why I like email newsletters better than anything else. It IS like a very specialized electronic newspaper emailed to me on a regular basis. Like Dave Pell’s NextDraft, which I look forward to every week day.

So, if you’re like me and enjoy information at a slightly slower pace than firehose that is the web, check this out and subscribe to some of these personally curated newsletters.
Hope to see you back next week, and, until then, enjoy your reading!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

8/26/2016

Windows 10 Tips

Filed under: Fun,MicroSoft,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

My wife and I officially upgraded our laptops this month, which means we’re now running Windows 10.

Personally, I like Windows 10. I think it’s got all the best features of Windows 7 with a minimal amount of new junk that Microsoft threw in to justify a new version, and charge for it.  Now, my wife is just happy that it’s brand new, and runs smoothly, while giving her access to her old files, thanks to our Western Digital My Cloud NAS, and is pretty.  Okay, so she may like it mostly because it’s pretty, but also fast.  I like the quick start and the fact that they haven’t made it impossible to find things, like other updates and upgrades have.  But, the thing is, I’m pretty much what you’d call a “power user”, even at home.  I don’t feel comfortable unless I can get down into the guts of the system and make it work the way I want it to work.  To do that takes a little extra effort, but, thanks to the first tip in article linked below, I have most of what I need via “God Mode”.  The rest of the tips cover everything from improving your privacy to controlling the look and feel of everything from your desktop to the menu.
It makes some really interesting reading, if you’re a geek like me, and if you use or are moving to Windows 10 at work, you can actually claim you were studying not goofing off!

Windows 10: The best hidden features, tips, and tricks

11/2/2012

Opensource Writing Tool

Filed under: Art,Fun,GUI Center,Linux,MicroSoft,NaNoWriMo,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:46 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

In honor of the first Friday of NaNoWriMo, I’m bringing you a free writing tool and not from my usual main site.

This week, I’m originating my regular Friday Fun Post from JKHoffman.com, where I hope to move most of my more creative work, instead of my regular Diary of a Network Geek.
If you’ve given serious thought to writing, you have probably heard of both National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo, and a writer’s program called Scrivener.  Personally, I’ve done most…
Read More

8/24/2012

Enough Money?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:18 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with money this month.

No, it’s not because I can’t pay my bills.  Rather, it’s about work.  Now, for the most part, I enjoy my work.  I find it challenging, but not too challenging, and interesting and the pay is pretty good.  Also?  I have a ten-minute commute.  Hard to beat that!  But, the reality is, at heart, I’m a lazy bastard.  If I could skate by without working another day in my life, I totally would do that.  For real.
The problem with that, of course, is paying all those bills.  So, how to do it?  What kind of money do I need to be able to tell the world to, essentially, and pardon my language, “Fuck off”.  (Yes, what I’m talking about is commonly referred to as “Fuck You Money”.)  So, what would that take?  I don’t need to live like a king, but, to not work, I will need to keep getting money somehow, like through investments.  But, the question is, how much will it take and what kind of investment do I have to make to keep it coming steadily enough to pay the bills?

Luckily, a smarter gentleman than I, Nilesh Trivedi, has posted an Excel spreadsheet that will help you calculate just how much you need to start with and how good your investment needs to be so that you never have to answer to another boss again.  Download that, and read his explanation, here: How Much Is Enough? : A Formula for FU Money.  (And, if  you’re like me, you’ll start by saving the money you might have spent on Microsoft Office and open that spreadsheet in LibreOffice instead!)

So, there’s a little something to think about while you wait for the weekend! Enjoy!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Everyone deserves to be happy, but not if that happiness is dependent on imprisoning or enslaving another human being."
   --Unintentionally ironic comment left on a blog

2/1/2011

LibreOffice Ready For Prime Time

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Geek Work,MicroSoft,News and Current Events — 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 Waning Crescent

Remember how I mentioned the new Microsoft Office replacement last month?
Well, it’s golden, finally.

A number of months ago, my favorite free office suite, Open Office, forked for various reasons relating to the “openness” of the open source of that project.  The forked code, or, for those of you not familiar with the terminology, the new branch of the on-going project, was called LibreOffice and drew most of the heavy-hitters development-wise from the old project.  They’ve been working quite hard and have gotten their new release out; LibreOffice 3.3.
There’s a pretty good review of what’s new and great about this latest release over at eWeek.com.  Check it out and then go download the latest version and install it for yourself.  Trust me on this.  It’s pretty great.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"One of the things that worry business men is the number of unemployed on the payroll."

11/9/2010

OpenOffice Replacement

Filed under: Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Speaking of free software…

Many of you know that I’ve long been a proponent of the spectacular free office suite, Open Office.  Well, there’ve been some shake-ups in the free software world and Oracle and the developers of Open Office have had a bit of a falling-out.  Nothing too serious, really, but enough of a difference of opinion about the future of Open Office that they forked the project.  Now, what that means to you and me is that they’ve taken the open source code to date and started their open development of it under a new name.  The new project is called “LibreOffice” and is being supported by the Document Foundation, who’s sole purpose seems to be continuing development of this fantastic office suite.
Follow that link and you can download the latest version to try for yourself.  I suggest you do because you may never buy another revision of Microsoft Office again.
Seriously.

10/20/2010

Spike it, with MS Office

Filed under: Geek Work,GUI Center,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Yeah, I know, I’m not really a huge fan of Micro$oft Office either, but, what can you do when it’s become the defacto standard?

Make the most of it!
So, back in the day, the reason I originally got into computers at all was due to writing.  I know, crazy, right?  Well, I discovered how much easier it was to edit documents without having to retype the whole thing and I was hooked.  Then, as I wrote more, I got really into moving whole sentences and paragraphs and, yes, even entire, multi-page sections of text from one part of my work to another.  It was pretty fantastic, really.  In any case, copying and moving text is one of the things that Word is really good for and there’s even a secret feature to make your editing job easier; The Spike.
With the Spike, you can copy or cut multiple sections of text and then paste them all into the same section all at once!  You can even take text from multiple documents and copy it to the Clipboard and then paste it into a new document with the Spike!  How fantastic is that?

So, go check out the link and see how to leverage all that power for yourself.
Enjoy!

10/8/2010

Microsoft Security Book…

Filed under: Art,Fun,MicroSoft,The Dark Side,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

…for teens?

Okay, so according to LifeHacker, Microsoft has released an on-line book about internet safety and security aimed at kids and teens.  It’s called “Own Your Space – Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online“.  No, seriously.  They describe it as a way to “…[h]elp teens ‘own their space’ online.”  Apparently, also meant for adults to help their “tweens” and teens “… keep up with the latest computer and online safety issues and help kids learn to avoid them.”  The book was written in “partnership” with security expert and author Linda McCarthy, who I honestly have never heard of before.

So, it’s hard to argue with the alleged intent behind this free, downloadable book, but I’m wary of anything from Microsoft that claims to be related to “security”.  On the other hand, what little I actually saw of the book was okay and had fun illustrations, so it may not be all bad.  I mean, at least it’s a starting point for parents to talk to their kids about on-line safety and security.  But, Microsoft has a long way to go to make up for Internet Explorer and holes it created in so many systems over the years.

In any case, it’s a fun looking book and you’re obviously not doing anything important or you wouldn’t be here reading my blog this Friday, so why not check it out for yourself?

6/4/2010

Fancy Jewelboxes

Filed under: Art,Fun Work,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Tired of boring CD cases for your self-produced work?

Try Jewelboxes.
They’re easy to assemble and fully customizable.  Not quite on par with the big-budget commercial printing runs that someone like Microsoft or Sony or someone like that would do, but a whole lot better than a Post-It and a Sharpie!
Seriously, they’re pretty cool, so check them out.

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