Diary of a Network Geek

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


Self Searching

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:24 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I highly reccomend checking yourself on Google.
Why? Because your next employer may be Googling you, that’s why. At least, according to this article on the New York Times, that’s what’s been happening.  I certainly know that I’ve been found on Google on more than one occasion.  Not only by employers, but also by potential dates and, well, obviously, dates.  This blog did, after all, start as a marketing scheme, a way to get the search engines to find me and catalog me.  It worked.  Very well, in fact, as this page has a Googlerank of Five out of Ten.  And, if you Google Linux Resume, I’m the second hit.  If you Google CNE Resume, I’m the first two hits.  If you Google Jim Hoffman, I’m the sixth hit.  So, I think about what I say here, and how I say it, because I know people might actually read it.  People I might care about and people who’s opinion matters to me or can effect my life.  And, I’m told that in the dating world, it’s more and more common to Google potential dates to see what mischief they’ve been up to on the web.  Obviously, one never knows what might turn up.

This is a special concern for bloggers, of course, who put themselves “out there” on a regular basis.  Do you want a potential employer reading that last rant?  Or about your after-hours antics?  Or about the slacking you do at work to post to your blog instead?  All things to think about.  So, what do you find when you Google yourself?  If you don’t know yet, maybe you should try it and see what turns up.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There is no try. Do or do not."


Interesting Opportunity

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — 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

Hmm, another strange, twist of fate.
So, my lawyer’s office calls to update me on the status of my divorce yesterday, right? (We go to court to get everything signed and stamped by the judge on August 12, by the way.) And then the nice law clerk says that my attorney wants to talk to me about the “web stuff”. Right away, I’m confused. I’m thinking she means the potentially libelous and defamatory statements that my almost ex-wife has made and continues to make on her website, but, since she has an incestuous readership of about five, including herself and her new, er, whatever he is, I pretty well discount her tripe as anything I need to concern myself with at all. So, in my confusion, I simply ask “Web stuff”? And the law clerk tells me that my attorney wants to hire me to optimize his website for the search engines and submit him! Is that a hoot, or what? Not only is this guy about the least expensive divorce lawyer in Houston, but now he’s giving me the chance to earn some of that fee back by playing SEO with his website! I love this town!
Ironically, my attorney, Gary Hinchman, is from Indiana, which is one of the reasons I went with him. I knew that if I could trust anyone, it would be a Midwesterner. One damn Yankee carpet-bagger wouldn’t cheat another, right? Actually, all joking aside, his office has been pretty good taking care of me. Sure, they’ve been hard to reach on occasion, but, his flat fee structure has been real nice and easy to use. And, of course, economical, to boot! So, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do there, since I don’t really do consulting anymore, but the chance to make a little money back from my lawyer is almost too good to pass up!


Free Association

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Or, the interconnectedness of all blogs.
I did something sort of interesting the other day. I was checking on my Bloglines subscriptions and I checked the “Related Feeds” of several of my current subscriptions. The connections were interesting to say the least. On a couple of personal blogs of various people I know, I got a bunch of foregin language blogs in languages that they don’t speak. On my own, I was expecting to get a bunch of technical blogs, which I did get, but I also got several about survivors of abuse. How strange. To the best of my knowledge, I am not an abuse survivor, though I allow for the possibility of incredibly repressed memories, and I’ve only written about spousal abuse once, possibly twice. So, I started doing this for other feeds. The connections were both strange and thought provoking. And, I subscribed to several of them, for possible inclusion to my list of blog links on either of my active websites. (HavePalmWillTravel is so, so inactive, it hardly even shows up in search engines anymore.)
So, if you have any interest in the subliminal messages sent to you by God, or the Jungian Collective Unconscious, or whatever, sign up for a Bloglines account and subscribe to a couple of your favorite blogs. Then, check to see what other feeds are “related”. For even more fun, subscribe to your own blog and see what’s related. Or, if you’re feeling lazy, subscribe to the Network Geek via Bloglines and see what turns up as a “related feed” to my blog. If you’ve been reading me, you’ll be surprised.


Paranoia Runs Rampant on Internet

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, kidding! Who would’ve guessed?
Apparently, paranoid conspiracy-theorist type people seem to find that the Internet confirms their most paranoid fears. At least, according to this article on MindHacks, which references an article on Psychopathology, which is a professional Psychology journal, and was brought to you via Boing Boing. Apparently, now, instead of hearing J. Edgar Hoover transmitting via their fillings, the Internet and search engines now “reveal” to people suffering from paranoid dellusions just who and what is after them. It’s not clear if the “why” is revealed to them or not, but, I’m guessing that part comes before the obsessive viewing of the Internet. As I’m not paranoid, though, I can’t be sure.

Anyway, it’s Friday and the boss isn’t looking, trust me, so it’s safe to click the link.
(Am I paranoid if they really do end up being out to get me?)


Why blog?

Filed under: Art,Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,PERL,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Hmm, that’s a good quesiton….
A friend asked me why I blog the other day and it really got me thinking. Why do I blog?

Well, the reasons have changed over the years. Originally, I started “blogging” to chronicle my search for a job here in Houston. Well, it was also a way to try and drive traffic to my website so that the search engines would find my resume. That was almost five years ago, back before there was such a thing as blogging software. In the early days, I hand-coded every page and uploaded it. As one might imagine, I tried to make every “post” count back then. It was a real hassle! But, I kept posting things about my work. Often, I found myself out on the road doing strange things or going odd places for my work and I wrote about it. I tried to focus on the technical side of things, but every so often, I would throw in something strange about my personal life, like getting married.
Then, back in September of 2002, I heard about Moveable Type, which was the first really good blogging application. It ran on PERL and MySQL, which were things I wanted to learn, so it seemed like a good choice. And, it was. I was able to post more often and more easily than ever before. And, I was out of work, again, so I moved from work war stories back to the seemingly endless search for work. It was the Summer after Enron and IT work was hard to come by, so I started posting more and more about my own personal thoughts, hopes and dreams. The blog started to become much more personal. It was a place to vent my frustrations, though I did so carefully as I was ever mindful that a future employer might read my postings.
Somewhere in there, I also started my other blog on Fantasist.net. There I posted things that were purely fun for me. Nothing but cool science and fantasy stuff, some of my fiction and poetry, and just plain cool or weird things. It was there that I originally started posting my “Fun Friday” links. That carried over here and I’ve done my best to maintain that to this day.
Now, I’ve upgraded to WordPress and blogging couldn’t be easier or more fun. I’m still carefull about what I post. I have a fairly varied audience, some of which include family that might be under the age of 18, so I do my best to be intelligent without being insulting to too many people. I do my best to keep the profanity and “adult material” to a minimum, too, for the same reasons.

So, why do I keep posting? Well, I can always use the traffic, even if I am the #1 hit for “CNE Resume” on Google. But, mainly, it gives me a place to think out loud when no one is around for me to talk to about things. Blogging let’s me share my thoughts and dreams and, sometimes, fears with a larger world. A larger world that often responds with surprising kindness and sympathy, I might add. It’s my way of reaching out to fellow geeks who are stuggling with their own careers or lives and offer a bit of hope that they’re not alone.
Also, it’s a way for me to create a bit of immortality. To feel like a part of me will go on beyond my own limited life. To get my words and thoughts out into a larger world so that I might be remembered and understood.
So, why do you all read my blog? And, if you keep one, why do you blog?


On Being Unemployed

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:59 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Being out of work sucks.

I could just about end this entry there, but that would be cheating. Thankfully, I am employed now, but I haven’t been for all that long, so I remember how bad it sucks to be out of work.
I remember when I first got into IT. I was sure that I’d never have to worry about being employed again. Wrong! But, then, at the time, I never would have expected to move to Houston. And, I never would have expected that a company like Enron would go bankrupt. Not to mention the fact that the mere concept of HP and Compaq “merging” was so far from being a possibility that it was inconcievable. But, the only constant is that things change. And change they did.
So, last year at this time, I was out of work and I didn’t know when I’d get hired. I figured that it would be no sooner than mid-January, because that’s when most everyone gets their new budget. Wrong again. It took almost an entire year for me to get a new job. Now, I’ll admit that part of that is my fault. I’ve got my Novell certification, but I never really wanted to get my Micro$oft certification. Guess what everyone was hiring this year? Yeah, primarily MCSEs (that’s MicroSoft Certified Systems Engineers, to you, buddy!). And that left me high and dry for most of the year. But, eventually, a Novell shop went looking and found me. Of course, even they are converting to Windows 2000, so I’m going to end up getting my MCSE after all. At least, the next time I’m out of work, I’ll be able to use that to my advantage.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not going to rely on either certification to get me a gig. No, sir, I’ve learned my lesson. Marketing is going to get me a job. Yep, that’s right. Marketing is the key. Marketing is the answer.
Marketing myself is what I mean, of course. Why else would I set up a blog like this? I get to use all the nice keywords and technical terms that keep me listed high in the search engines. Yep, I can write about being a CNE, then explain that CNE mean Certified NetWare Engineer. Buzzwords. Ah, I love the sound of buzzwords. Every MicroSoft and Windows reference cranks me up a notch. Each time I link to Novell’s website, I improve my search ranking. And, the last time I checked, it was working. If I do a search for CNE Resume on Google, I find myself as the number one hit. Sweet!
So, keep hitting those links, children. Keep Uncle Jim’s website ranked high. make sure the nice recruiters can see me, so that the next time I’m over loaded with free time and not enough paying work, they can fix that. Ah, the power of technology….

Now, back to work for me, before I’m unemployed again.

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