Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/7/2014

Get Started!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

So, we’re a month into the New Year.  What have you done so far?

Last month, I posted my fun, hopefully funny, Random Resolution Generator, because, well, everyone seems to make those annual New Year’s Resolutions, but who ever follows through?  As it turns out, almost no one does.  In fact, most people don’t even start, much less follow though.  And, really, getting started is everything.

Go read that last article I just linked to, then come back.  It’s okay, I’ll wait.
Back…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
   --Henry Ford

12/13/2013

A little inspiration

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Personal,Red Herrings — 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 Waxing Gibbous

I’m not one who’s all that huge on inspirational writing or self-help books.

But, I have to admit, as I get older, I’ve learned to appreciate the more spiritual side of that particular market.

I’ve read Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl.  In fact, I was reading it when I was waiting to be diagnosed with cancer back in 2007.  It was pretty timely.  And, yes, I’ve read Napoleon Hill’s classic Think And Grow Rich, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t find…
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8/29/2013

Moveable Type Changes License

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,PERL,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:43 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

And becomes completely irrelevant.

Apparently, I missed this last month, but Six Apart is changing their license so that Movable Type will no longer have a free version.  Now, when it was Ben and Mena Trott running Six Apart, when they made a mistake with licensing, which I think they did back in 2004, you can understand and forgive.
Ben and Mena were like us, just two fellow geeks out there coding and blogging.  They came up with a great idea and everyone loved it.  But, then, money got involved and things got complicated.  They did things to make money, and, honestly, I probably would have done the exact same things.  When they first changed things to make the license more restrictive back in 2004, I was, I admit, outraged.  How could they betray us like that?  They were like us!  How could they throw this all over to just make money!  In retrospect, the question is, how could they NOT?

But, then there was WordPress.  Many of us made the jump, including me.  WordPress was a new way of doing things.  This Open Source thing was new to many of us and it was exciting!  Software that was mostly free that the community built!  People who were just like us!  Code geeks and blog geeks and graphics geeks all coming together to make cool things happen.  What could be better?  And, from my perspective, WordPress was easier to extend and develop for in many, many ways.  Also, it seemed to have fewer resource issues than the Perl-based Movable Type.  Better still, as I understood the license, WordPress would always be free and if it stopped being free, we could fork the code and make it free again.

Somewhere back in there, after the 2004 license debacle, Movable Type added an Open Source version.  They tried to get us back, but, frankly, for most of us, it was too little, too late.  After one license change like that, how could we be sure that it wouldn’t happen again?  And what about charging money to be part of the developer’s group who had access to the documentation you really needed to understand Movable Type enough to develop for it?  I know I couldn’t afford that!  Besides, as Six Apart got more and more corporate, I just felt like something else bad was coming, if not soon, then eventually.

Now this.
Well, it actually happened in July, but I just read about it on Mark Jaquith’s blog.
So, finally, after nine years, that other shoe has finally dropped.  Of course, a lot has changed in those nine years.  For one thing, I’ve gotten both married and divorced and am getting ready to be married again.  Interestingly, to me, Ben and Mena who started Six Apart have gotten divorced, too.  Ben still seems to be involved in the day-to-day development of Movable Type and related stuff, but Mena seems less involved.  I can’t imagine the toll their meteoric rise took on their relationship.  It must have gotten truly unbearable after a while.
You know, I hope they made out well.  Sure, this latest license thing is, I think, a final nail in the coffin of Movable Type, but, damnit, Movable Type also launched the blogging era in many ways, and paved the way for WordPress.  And, it was two people who started it.  Just two.  Two good people.

So, it’s sad, to me, to see how things have gone.  I’m sad to have been right about Movable Type all those years ago.  I wish they had proven me wrong.
But, with this, I think they proved me right not to trust the Movable Type license any more.  And, honestly, they taught me something about how to treat my audience and my customers.
And, yes, it makes me sad.  It’s the end of an era, of sorts.
I’m sorry to see you go, old friend.

8/6/2013

American Jobs

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:50 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I know this will sound nationalistic, and, as one UK ex-pat coworker termed it “jingoistic”, but I believe in American Jobs for American Workers.

That may not make me popular with some folks, even in IT, but, that’s okay.
Why am I on my teeny, tiny political soapbox today?  Why else?  An article on Slashdot about a US worker filing a lawsuit against Infosys, an Indian search firm, for ignoring her many, very relevant qualifications and submitting an Indian, who was less qualified, for the same job.  That’s discrimination.  And, it’s illegal.
I hope she takes them too the cleaners.

Look, I know it’s not always a popular position, but when I hear about how many people are unemployed and then I hear how we need to raise H1B1 caps and import more of our workforce, something doesn’t sound right to me.  Seriously, hire your out-of-work fellow citizens before hiring someone who’s been brought in from another country.  But, first, make sure that they’re qualified.  If, and only if, there really, truly isn’t someone from your own country who’s qualified, or who could be relatively easily trained to do that job, then, look at foreigners.
The fiscal blood-letting has got to stop sooner or later.
And, if you’re a “C”-level executive?  Maybe it’s time to think about smaller profit margins and a more reasonable salaries and bonuses.  How much is really enough?  How many have to starve just so you can have one more vacation that you spend on your cell phone anyway?

Something’s got to change.

1/1/2013

Day One

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

On this day, in 1660, arguably the most famous diarist in history, Samuel Pepys, made the first entry into his personal diary.

He kept his diary for approximately nine years, detailing everything from his personal life to the news of the day to even what he ate.  Although he clearly kept his diary purely as a personal exercise, he must have suspected that it may eventually prove interesting to future generations based on the care he took to bind it and…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Every calling is great when greatly pursued."
   --Oliver Wendell Holmes

12/24/2012

Santa’s On His Way!

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

According to the official NORAD Santa Tracker, the jolly fatman that’s keeping our economy running is on his way!

He’s been spotting in the Pacific Rim and is headed East toward India, Europe and Africa as I post this.  He’ll be here in United States and Central and South America before you know it!

Also?  On a slightly more serious note?
No matter what  your religious bent, please, join with me in celebrating the return of light to the world.  Friday was the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night, or shortest day, of the year in our current lap around the Sun.  So, every day since then has been getting a little longer, letting a bit more light back into the world.  And, I don’t know about you, but I think we could use all the light we can get in the coming year.

Be kind to each other, okay?
And, Merry Christmas, everybody!

12/12/2012

Another Birthday

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

So, today marks another lap around the Sun for me.

Honestly, I don’t hang a lot on birthdays, especially my own.  I mean, for the most part, they’re just another day.  Another marker of many in my life and, frankly, a rather arbitrary one at that.  I’m more impressed with the fact that I’ve paid a third of my mortgage than that I’m turning 44 today.  Of course, the fact that I’ve made it this far is actually sort of an…
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3/9/2012

Social Media Papers

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Soon, you’ll need a passport to enter Facebook.

No, not really.  Well, probably not, but I’m sure Zuckerberg wouldn’t mind issuing passports and currency!
Regardless, in this case, I’m talking about an art project with a social consciousness that I read about on Gizmodo; Facebook ID Cards.
Those of you who know me, know how obsessed I can become over realistic, but fake, marginalia, like stamps, currency, government documents, and, of course, identification cards just like these.  Things like passports and driver’s licenses are the ephemera of our lives that we often use to define who we are and identify us to strangers, especially those in authority.  We tend to take them for granted, but someone designed them and they serve some purpose, whether it’s to tell a police officer that we are certified to drive or Facebook’s security goons that we’re allowed to access our friendlist.
So, no, it hasn’t happened, yet, but I suspect it will one day.

And, did you notice that they astutely included a QR Code in their design?  Remember that article I linked to earlier in the week?  Might want to read that again…

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:
"The only difference between saints and sinners is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."
   --Oscar Wilde

12/12/2011

Another Lap

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:18 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, today marks another lap around the Sun for me.

Honestly, it was more or less just another day today, except that it happened to be the anniversary of the day of my birth.
I had nothing special planned and, as far as I know, angels did not weep audibly with joy to know that I had navigated another year.  Of course, the fact that I’ve made it this far is actually sort of an accomplishment, I think.  There are many who haven’t, and, God knows, I’ve had my share of near misses.  But, it’s not altogether unusual, either.  In fact, according to the actuarial tables, I should expect about another 35 years. *sigh*  Which means I’m officially “middle aged”.  (If any of my younger, female readers are interested in a cheap, empty, meaningless fling, by the way, I’m pretty sure I’m entitled to my mid-life crisis now.  In case you were wondering.)

For the most part, this has been a pretty unremarkable year, which is, actually, good.
No major emotional upheavals, no catastrophic medical drama.  Financially, I could have done better, but, then, I could have done far, far worse, too.  Several sections of my car are new, though the rest is pretty old, but feel that’s balanced by my new camera.  Actually, come to think of it, I may have more invested in camera gear than I do in my car!
Still not dating and still a little heavier than I’d like, but I don’t feel particularly lonely or unhealthy, as the case may be.
So, nothing particularly interesting to cheer about or complain about this year, which suits me just fine.
Of course, I do have a few bits of mischief planned or in the works for the coming year.  So, who knows?  Maybe next year will be more exciting than I can imagine to make up for how relatively smoothly this year has been!

And, of course, my birthday wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention all the other famous people who had the good luck to be born on this particular day. Famous people like Frank “Chairman of the Board” Sinatra, Jennifer Connelly, Bob Barker, Gustave Flaubert, who is the author of Madame Bovary, the painter Edvard Munch, and Wells Fargo founder, Henry Wells. Not to mention, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer, Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros, jazz musician Grover Washington Jr, and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.
All heady company to be sure, but for whatever reason, it tickles me the most that I share a birthday with Frank Sinatra. I guess it’s because he was such a unique and original character who really fought against and beat some long odds to become an amazingly famous, generally well thought of character. I can only hope to do the same, one day.
Also, I think it’s interesting to note that on this day in 1896 Marconi first demoed radio and, again on this day, in 1901 made his first Trans-Atlantic transmission.  (Though, of course, all right-thinking people know that Tesla was really responsible for those first advances in radio.)

So, I don’t know for sure what the coming year will bring, but I hope I’ll be in a different place than I am today.
Which is, of course, more or less what I said last year! But, this year, truly, I have no idea where I’ll end up going or doing.  I have few attachments or real responsibilities to hold me back or down, outside of those in my own head, so the field is pretty much wide open.  I’ve all but given up setting goals out load, on paper or via this blog, but I do have a few things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year, though I’ll be keeping those to myself, for now.  I really don’t know where the coming year will take me, but I’m sure it will be to places, inside and out, that I never would have suspected possible a year ago.
And, for that, I’m very thankful!
(And, yes, I am aware that the world is supposed to end next year, quite possibly on my birthday.  And, wouldn’t it be interesting if it did?!)

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