Diary of a Network Geek

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

8/29/2014

Cryptolocker Rescue

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:10 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This ought to make me look like a hero at my new gig.  Again.

On a whim, I searched for a CryptoLocker decrypter this afternoon, because the old place I worked at and the new place I currently work at were both hit by a CryptoLocker virus.  Now, at the old place, we mostly had everything backed up.  At the new place, not quite so much.  I mean, everything is backed up now, but it wasn’t before I got here and they got hit with the virus.
In any case, I had a couple of files I wanted to get into that were hit with the virus.  So, naturally, I went to search for something to help.  Because, you know, it’s been a while and maybe someone had come up with a solution, right?
Well, as it turns out, they have.  FireEye, who I’m familiar with and Fox IT have setup a free service at Decryptolocker that will let you download a decryption program and upload an encrypted file, which they will use to generate a decrypt key that they send you via email.  When you get that, you follow their super simple instructions to decrypt your file.  It’s a command-line utility, but, hey, it works.

And, yes, I’ve tried it.  It took all of ten minutes to get the email with the key and then I was able to decrypt any of the effected files that I tried it on.
This restores my faith in humanity just a little!

7/4/2014

Shooting Fireworks

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Happy Independence Day!

For those of you outside the U.S., today is the day we celebrate our independence as a nation by barbecuing and carousing and having parades and, most of all, by firing fireworks.  All across the country, there will be fireworks displays, both large and small, and there will be photographers at everyone one of them with tons of gear trying to capture that feeling in an image.  My personal suggestion is to just go and enjoy the show,…
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5/27/2014

Keeping Windows XP Alive

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Geek Work,MicroSoft,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver,News and Current Events,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:49 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

First, let me say that I don’t endorse this as a way to avoid upgrading.

Second, let me fully affirm that this is completely awesome!  And, as someone who maintains a Windows XP virtual machine to run some older software for my camera, I am thrilled to have this option, for as long as it lasts.
The hack is pretty simple, basically just adding a small entry to the Registry.  First published by Wayne Williams at BetaNews a day ago, it’s been all over the internet today.  I did it earlier on an old machine at work and it worked great.  Your results may vary.  The steps are simple and in that linked article, but I’ve included the 32-bit version of the registry file that you can just download and import to your machine or virtual machine.

Use at your own risk!
And upgrade as soon as possible!
(Here’s the link to the REG file.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Never tell your girlfriend that her diet's not working."

4/4/2014

2048

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, not the year the world will end. I’m not that kind of crackpot.

No, in this case, I’m referring to the incredibly simple, but addictive game; 2048.
The premise is simple; just double the value of tiles until you reach 2048.  The tiles start out with either a two or a four on them and you just slide the tiles until they collide with another tile of the same value, then they add themselves together, doubling their value.  So two tiles…
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1/3/2014

Creative Resolutions

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, I don’t mean New Year’s Resolutions that are “creative”.

Rather, I’m talking about making some New Year’s Resolutions regarding creative output.
I’ll be honest, this year hasn’t been my most productive, creatively.  But, to be fair, I did get married and merge my life with another person’s and that did take a lot of time and no small amount of effort, for both of us.  I think marriage is a pretty good excuse for not being as productively creative as one…
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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.

7/26/2013

Happy Sysadmin Day!

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:04 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yeesh!  Can you believe I was so busy this year, I almost didn’t notice?!

No, seriously, I was so busy running around at the office and trying to get my lovely fiance’s website squared away that I totally missed that today was Sysadmin Day!
So, here are a couple of things for you to read, especially if you’re NOT a system administrator.  First there’s a link to Ten Things NOT to Say to a Sysadmin.  Trust me, I’ve heard all of these things, many of them just in this week alone, and they all make me grind my teeth!

And, then an XKCD that captures just what it feels like to be an overworked, under-appreciated system administrator:

The weird sense of duty really good sysadmins have can border on the sociopathic, but it's nice to know that it stands between the forces of darkness and your cat blog's servers.

XKCD always knows what I’m thinking! http://xkcd.com/705/

So, if you haven’t yet, do something nice for your system admin. They really will appreciate it!

1/1/2013

Year in Review

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:16 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not a long, melancholy post reviewing the past year’s emotional highs and lows.
Just a link to an autogenerated infographic summing up this blog’s traffic for 2012.
Enjoy!

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!

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