Diary of a Network Geek

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


Why so quiet?

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

And so personal?

Well, it’s actually safer being personal right now than it is talking about my work. See, I’m still a contractor and I’m hoping to go permanent, which means that I need to be a little carefully when it comes to what I publish on the web. One of the other contractors from Momentum just accepted a permanent position yesterday, so I hope the offer will be coming soon, but, until then I’m playing it safe. I’ve seen plenty of stories about people who have lost their jobs because of things they wrote in their blogs. So, since I need the work pretty bad right now, I’m being fairly circumspect.
And, to be honest, there really aren’t that many problems at my new gig. At least, not compared to the last place. That DamnedBoatPlace really didn’t know up from down. They had budget to spend on IT, but managers that didn’t seem to know how or where to spend it. Come to think of it, they didn’t seem to know how to use their human resources, either. And don’t let me get started on the whole “IT fundamentals” issues that they just didn’t get. So, so sad.
In any case, once I change over to a full-time employee, I’ll start complaining about my fellow IT workers here at Loomis Fargo. But, until then, you’ll just have to wait.


Bloggers Through History

Filed under: Art — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Back when the only medium was paper!

So many of us are now used to the idea of on-line journals that I think we often forget where it all started. Here’s one place: The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys was a prolific journaler who not only recorded his own interesting life, but also discussed events of the day. This website, http://www.pepysdiary.com/, presents his nine-volume journal in a contemporary format; a blog. This is great inspiration for my own experimental fiction idea of creating a journal of a fiction character via a blog. Way, way, cool.
The creator of the blog, Phil Gyford, was interviewed by the BBC in an article titled “Why I turned the Pepys Diary into a Web Log“. It’s a fairly interesting read and a great introduction to who Pepys was and why he matters. Way, cool, again.
It’s nice to know that great minds think alike, but it does kind of stink to realize that my idea isn’t quite as original as I had thought.
It is sort of cool to see what a person can do with free tools and a little imagination, though. I wonder how long it takes for him to try and make money off it?


Niche Markets

Filed under: Geek Work — 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 Waxing Crescent

Having problems with heat in your server room?

Okay, so I’m not going to suggest this for the office, but maybe that server room at home is a little warm. Here’s just the thing, Computer Exhaust Systems. I honestly didn’t go looking for this, but now that I found it, I have to admit that it’s kind of cool. (Oh, sorry, no pun intended!) In fact, I can see how it might help in my own server closet. That room gets pretty damn hot in the summer. And, it’s nice and toasty in the winter, too! Personally, I’d probably modify this to connect up to a single wall connection and just splice in any additional PCs, but it’s an interesting idea. At least the heat wouldn’t build up in the room itself. Of course, my wife most likely won’t go for it. If for no other reason that it’s just so goofy!
Anyway, if anyone has seen this work, I’d love to know about it!


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.



Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:59 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Should I add plumbing to my resume?

I’m so proud of myself, I almost feel like I should!
Yesterday morning, after dropping my wife and daughter off to start their adventure visting relatives in Brownsville, I started my own little plumbing adventure.
It all started several months ago, when our bathroom sink had a bit of a leak. Well, to be more accurate, our hot water wouldn’t turn all the way off. So, we had to use the shutoff valve underneath the sink. That was okay, as far as it goes, but when I went to get into the faucet valve to replace a washer, I couldn’t get it off. And I tried everything to get that sucker off, too. I tried three different kinds of wrenches and pliers before buying a RoboGrip, locking plier and even that wouldn’t do it! But, by this time, I had pretty well stripped the brass nut and it looked grim. So, since I was out of work and couldn’t afford a plumber if I screwed things up, I quit messing with it and we continued to use the shutoff valve under the sink.
Fast forward to about two months ago when even the shutoff valve wasn’t stopping the slow leak. It started as a slow, but steady drip and got worse. About three weeks ago, the drip had become a trickle. And two weeks ago, the “trickle” was so loud that we’d shut the door to the bathroom so we could hear the TV over it! So, I finally decided that I needed to do something about it. I figured that with my wife and daughter out of town any mess I made or chaos I caused would be undisturbed. Besides, they’d have been complaining about it if I were there. Or worse yet, one of them would have wanted to help! Besides, since the shutoff valve under the sink wasn’t working, I was going to have to turn off the hot water for the entire house.
Well, I tore into the faucet handle trying to get the valve out again with yet another set of wrenches, but it was no good. I called my Dad, who had retired some years back and worked in a hardware store to keep himself busy, and asked for some advice. After a few minutes of trying to describe what I was seeing, it rapidly became apparent that I was not going to get that valve assembly out without professional help. But, that was when Dad gave me the best advice ever. “Why not just replace the whole faucet? It’d be cheaper than a plumber.” After a minute of excited discussion and inspection of the connections under the sink, I’d decided to give it a go.
About 45 minutes later, I had the old faucet out, had sketched a rough template of the holes on the top of the sink and was on my way to Home Depot. I hunted up the vanity fixtures and found a likely faucet that seemed to fit my sink and aesthetic requirements, which were minimal. In short, I thought I had a faucet that wouldn’t horrify my wife. So, it was back home to figure out how to install the new faucet.
The brand was one I didn’t know, Pegasus, but it went in pretty well. The only strange thing was getting the rod that worked the stopper hooked up. I finally figured out that the last owner had to saw off the extra on one piece of that assembly, so it was off to the garage for the hacksaw. Then, I got the water hooked up and tested the cold water. It worked. Now, for the moment of truth, I turned the hot water on for the whole house again. No leaks yet. I turned the shutoff valve for the hot water all the way open. Still no leaks. Then, glory of glories, I turned on the hot water at the faucet and let it run. I nearly wept with joy. It worked. A final test of the stopper and viola! I had a working sink again.
I called my Dad again quick and told him the proud news. I could do plumbing in my own house! Then my Dad said, “And you were even finished before noon” with what sounded like genuine admiration in his voice. I was so pleased with myself that I could have just plotzed.

So, should I put plumbing on my resume now? Well, maybe not yet. I still have to replace our garbage disposal in the kitchen. Maybe next month. Or the month after that. When I’m feeling brave again.

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