Diary of a Network Geek

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


Disaster Level

Filed under: Geek Work,The Dark Side,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:25 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

For data disasters, not hurricanes and such.
Although, I suppose one could result in the other. Still, the article on TechRepublic is about a system for categorizing systems disasters. Five levels to help you decide appropriate responses, ending in total loss that might result from, of course, hurricanes and the like. Yes, as much as I’d like to ignore them, they are a very genuine concern here in the Gulf Coast. And, now, in this brief “off-season”, is when people who manage data should be planning for them. Now. Not two days before they hit. Or, a day after. Plan now for data loss due to hackers, or virus infections, or failing hardware. Not after the loss of data. The article is a good start on what to think about when planning.
Now, I have to go find the rest of my server so I can start ignoreing all that.


Another Reader Warning

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:41 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the blogosphere….
Some of you may remember my reader warning from November, when my ex-wife was following me to other blogs and leaving strange comments there, as messages to, well, to someone. Guess what, folks? Yeah, she’s still out there and still obsessive-compulsive, apparently. In the past week, I got e-mail from two or three people who asked about my ex-wife, her location and her IP address. Yes, as far as I know, she’s still in Phoenix, Arizona, or thereabouts. Yes, if you have an IP address from that area that seems to, well, show up a lot in your logs, that’s probably her. Now, she seems to be concealing her IP address at my website, or I haven’t been looking for her in my logs very hard, or both, but she doesn’t seem to be smart enough to do that on the other blogs she’s haunting. Honestly, considering that our divorce was final five months ago, you’d think she’d be able to let go by now, wouldn’t you? I can’t imagine what she’s interested in with me anymore. I haven’t been to her blog in months, but she seems to still be very interested in mine. And, sadly, in people who comment on my blog, so, well, be warned that if you do comment on this blog, she will most likely follow you to your blog and, possibly, comment. Until she does, comment that is, just enjoy the extra hits. Feel free to contact me for more details. If you’d like, leave a comment marked PRIVATE: and I won’t let it roll live to the blog.

Again, sorry about this, but, well, these things happen. At least you know now. What a world…
Update: Well, thanks to my intrepid readers, I have more details on the strange goings on. Apparently, the IP address is associated with her new husband’s company. To limit any potential liability, I choose not to reveal the name or IP address publicly, but will provide the information on request. So, now, I’m not sure which of them is more obsessive-compulsive and can’t let go. Or, which is the worst option. Again, my apologies to anyone who’s been adversely effected by this strangeness.


A Busy Weekend

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Linux,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I just had my last cigarette.
I sat outside with a cup of coffee and smoked my last cigarette just now. I’m about to leave and get my hair cut, for which I am woefully overdue, and I’ll stop on the way to get gum. Lots and lots of gum, to help me curb the oral craving for a smoke. (That’s item number two on my list of Resolutions, BTW.) Considering the amount of work I’m about to immerse myself into with the server install and conversion, it might not be the best week to stop smoking, but, well, I have to stop sometime.
Last night, I ran out with some friends to a noodle shop that I haven’t tried before. Of course, that meant I over-ate. Again. I always do that in noodle shops, which is going to make Resolution Number Nine a bit more challengeing, but, still, it was good. So, I won’t eat lunch today to make up for it. Tonight, I’ll head out to dinner with folks from church, since I’ve paid all my bills and still have money in my pocket.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll do my Driver’s Safety course via OnDemand, thanks to WheelsInMotion. While all that’s going on, I’m also doing laundry. And, actually, I have a load in right now.
Oh, I also went to Borders last night. I picked up a couple of books my head-shrink reccomended to me, to be added to the ever growing pile of Books To Be Read. As well as getting a book I ordered on Syraic. (That’s a language related to Aramaic, which is probably the language that Jesus spoke. Probably.) Not to mention a couple of magazines on Linux, including one that had a wall chart of handy Linux commands and Open SuSE install CDs. I love that OpenSource stuff! And, I got a couple of CDs, too. Three from the “Local Talent” section, which I’ll review when I listen to them, a collection from The Brian Setzer Orchestra and one from some folks called “Bowling for Soup”, just because they seemed interesting!
Well, I have a lot to do yet today, so, off I go!


Windows Neanderthal Edition

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,MicroSoft,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Windoze NT
Considering what I’m working on this week, it seemed appropriate.
Windows NT had its time. It was good at what it did. It had its place. That place was the early 90’s, not in the twenty-first century. So, while I get ready to gut this server setup I’ve been saddled with and replace it with a shiny, new Linux-based Novell server, contemplate this: Windows Neanderthal Edition.
It’s funny. Laugh. Laugh, damn you, laugh!

Oh, who am I kidding? Go out and have a drink tonight, it’s Friday! Then, laugh.
Update: Next week, more Geek Pickup Lines!

Tags: ,


Making Lemonade

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:55 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

So, some things went well today, and others, not so much.
Virtually all my hardware arrived yesterday and I was able to start getting things setup. Which was good, but not everything went according to plan. For instance, my giant terabyte external drive array is still on a UPS truck somewhere in the greater Houston area. Or so the UPS tracking website tells me. Then, there’s the Novell Open Enterprise Server/SuSE Linux CDs that won’t be arriving. Why? Well, both the salesman and I were surprised to discover that they don’t send the media anymore. Now, it’s a download, which is what they’re doing even as we speak.
Also, there was the left side panel on the half-height rack from Dell that wouldn’t stay on. Any guesses why? Because the underage, third-world welder was overworked that week and the welds on the hooks at the bottom of the panel were extremely substandard and popped. Of course, I could have taken it out to the guys in the shop to get them to weld it quick, but that’s not the point. Dell sold me a fully functional rack that should have had all its parts together. They didn’t send that, so, now, they’re sending a replacement door. I figure it’ll arrive about the time that missing drive array does.
Now, here’s the lemons to lemonade part…
The great, big UPS that was shown on the quote as simply being 120 volts, which should be standard wall power, turned out to have a funky, 30 amp, round, grounded plug. So, I had to con one of the electricians we have on staff to help me out. Turns out he’s going to run a completely new 30 amp circuit just for the server. Which, as you old server monkies know, is just precisely what we should have anyway. Of course, I knew they wouldn’t want to hassle with it, so I totally ignored that and, well, sometimes, God likes me and sends me just enough lemons to make a whole, yummy pitcher of lemonade. Just like today.

So, in short, I’ve had worse days. The server is almost ready to go and the boss still thinks I walk on water. All in all, not bad at all.


Hardware and Software

Filed under: Apple,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:47 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, this is not a euphimistic post.
My new server hardware arrived today. The whole thing, including the half-height rack with the pullout monitor and keyboard. I was also surprised to find that I’d been smart enough to get a server-grade UPS. I thought I’d forgotten that, but, luckily, when I started getting these quotes so many months ago, I’d been smart enough to get that added in. Yea for Jim’s hind-brain-server-ordering-autopilot! Yea!
So, tomorrow, it’s jeans a day early so I can run the cables through the dropped ceiling to where the rack will live. And, it’ll be taking everything out of boxes and getting it into the rack and configured. If I’m lucky, my software will arrive tomorrow. At least, it would be nice to have my Novell Open Enterprise Server and SuSE Linux to install. The backup software, from Syncsort, and the network attached storage devices that I’ll be backing up to would be nice, but they’re not as important as the operating system. I hope, for obvious reasons.
After that’s done, all I have to do is figure out how to migrate everything from the cranky, old Windows NT install and still have all the Windows XP machines and Apples talking to the server. No problem.

I hope.


Why I Eschew Subtlety

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 6:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Since everyone else is quoting from movies this month…
Here’s a little something from one of my all-time favorites, Roxanne:

[Roxanne Kowalski is walking behind a hedge because she is nude]
Roxanne Kowalski: Nobody had a coat?
C.D. Bales: I thought you said you didn’t want a coat…
Roxanne Kowalski: Why would I not want a coat?
C.D. Bales: You said you didn’t want a coat!
Roxanne Kowalski: I was being ironic.
C.D. Bales: Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony’s not really a, a high priority. We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.

And, that, in a nutshell, is why I’m not subtle. There’s just not enough of a market for it, really. No one else seems to be buying. Oh, I used to try, but I often just ended up being obtuse or obscure. And, what did it get me? Not much, I’ll tell you that. Not much.
Let’s be honest here, okay? Subtlety is over-rated as a form of communication. Subtlety is confusing and frustrating. Subtlety rarely gets the point accross. And, subtlety almost never gets the job done. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no “hard-charger” who goes full-speed ahead and damn the torpedoes, but I do tend to take things straight on. Frankly, that gets frustrating, too, since so many people seem to expect subtlety. The other problem I have, of course, is that I do okay going head-on with most things, but when it comes to people, I’m rather like a bull in a china shop. Sometimes, I get what I’m after, but, oh, the cost!
And, honestly, while everyone claims they want to communicate in straight-forward, direct ways, hardly anyone seems to actually do that. I’ll give two examples of a similar event that will compare and contrast this silly dichotomy quite well.
A couple of months ago, I “met” someone online who seemed quite interesting and was devastatingly beautiful. By all appearances, she was unencumbered, so I asked her out. She thanked me and politely declined, siteing several reasons, not the least of which was the whole stigma of meeting someone online. Fair enough. Question asked and honestly answered. No hard feelings, no fuss, no muss.
Fast forward a couple weeks. Same situation, but different devestating beauty. I ask the question and get put off. And put off. E-mails go unanswered for weeks, or forever. Finally, after much silliness, I get the hint and leave it alone. I think I stopped just short of being the idiot that Angel With An Attitude described in her post about a similar situation. Just barely, but still… And, besides, I was too old for her. Definately not her type at all. You know, all calm and fairly stable and quiet and, well, sort of boring. Not the sort of guy the girls I’m interested in like at all. Like a moth to the flame, I am.

In any case, I find it much, much easier to simply be honest and direct. It cuts down on wasted time. Sure, I don’t always manage it, but, still, it’s better. (Uh, that’s “better” not “bitter”. I might have been frustrated by the response the second gal gave me, but I understand it, so I’m not bitter.) And, that’s what I try to do. Not everyone likes the questions being asked, but as a guy I used to know in college said, “Hey, if you want to know the answer, you’ve got to ask the question.”

Incidentally, this quote is also from that movie and scene:

I, uh, notice you don’t have any tattoos. I think that’s a wise choice. I don’t think Jackie Onassis would’ve gone as far if she’d have had an anchor on her arm.

Too true. I dig a cool tattoo on a lady, but an anchor on the arm does not cut it!
So, finally, a little Advice from your Uncle Jim? Just ask the question. If they’re uncomfortable with that, well, there’s your answer, eh?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries."
   --James Michener

Loompanics Going Out of Business

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:56 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

This probably won’t mean much to most of my readers.
Loompanics was THE underground book publisher and the best source for The Anarchist Cookbook, before Amazon.com, of course. They had everything from alternative energy to conspiracy theory to guerrilla warfare to, well, you name the counter-culture and they had resources for it. This is where I first got a copy of How to Start Your Own Country, among other unconventional books. These folks were, well, “interesting” doesn’t cover it. I mean, a book catalog that has a section called “Heresy/Weird Ideas”? It doesn’t get much more interesting than that! And, now, they’re going out of business. At least there is some good news: almost everything they have in inventory is 50% off. So, here’s your chance to get that freaky, counter-culture “how-to” book you’ve always wanted, save some money, and participate in a little history.
Go ahead, the government isn’t watching you so closely that you can’t at least browse their on-line catalog, so hit the link: Loompanics.
(As a side note, while looking through their books, I was shocked to learn that I already owned all their good lock-smithing/picking books, and I have yet to even try to pick a lock! Ah, the wages of a misspent youth…)



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:33 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Okay, so a couple of odd things…
First, as you regular readers know, I’m a bit of a frustrated writer. I have tried all sorts of tricks to get myself writing again, outside the blog, that is. I’ve dug up writing exercises from years past. I tried being more “arty” in this blog. I even tried starting a blog just for my writing, though that devolved into something else alltogether. In fact, I tried everything short of just disciplining myself to sit and write. In any case, one of my many experiments was a blog written from a fictional character’s point of view. That didn’t work, so I tried reusing that blog for some other experiments. I called it, after the re-start, Journal of a Madman. Sadly, some one saw this, I assume via a search engine, and thought it was real. Apparently, it was this one entry that disturbed him most: Demon Voices. I just thought was odd and interesting. UPDATE: Please understand that this is a work of fiction. It was an exploration of what I thought insanity might look like from the inside. If I have disturbed anyone with this, I apologize. I have not heard voices of any kind, ever, nor have I ever been treated for or diagnosed with any kind of psychotic disorder.
Second, there was this Nonsequitur comic that Doc sent me. My head-shrink will love it. I, however, will neither confirm nor deny the veracity of this comic and its message.
Thirdly, I went to see my minister at Mercy Street. I did this in preparation for joining the church. Or, actually, moving my membership from the church I attended when I was a kid down here. Apparently, they keep you on the books forever, so all this time, I’ve been a member of a church I haven’t visited in almost 20 years. Go figure. But, that wasn’t the strange thing. The strange thing was how much I was like this minister. And, apparently, as I was talking about my ex-wife with him, explaining, in part, why I’d stayed away from church for so long, I said, “We mistook intensity for intimacy.” I kept waiting for him to use that in his sermon, but it never quite came out. In any case, this is the first step in my completeing number eight on my list of resolutions.
And, there was some other stuff, too, but I’m still figuring that out, so I probably won’t post about it just yet. (I will say, though, that it resulted in neither scars nor tattoos nor criminal charges. In case you were wondering.)

Homeless Pets

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

I used to volunteer for H.O.P.E.
But, foolishly, I thought I’d have more time, not less, after the divorce was over, so I stopped making it a habit. The end result is that I haven’t been there to help out in months. I’m an official, paid member and everything, but, I had really intended to actually help out at the adoption center. Well, I’ve always been good at compartmentalizing guilt, so I did that very thing and forgot about it. So, yesterday, I’m running errands and swing by PetSmart, where H.O.P.E. does their adoptions from, off 290, to pickup some food for my Hilda. Hilda was a rescue dog that we got at H.O.P.E.. In fact, that was why I started volunteering there, because, at the time I’d lost Hilda, I was keeping an eye out for a replacement pup. Now, I come into contact with these folks for the first time in months.
Okay, here’s the thing… Back when “I” was “we” and “we” got Hilda, there was another dog I connected with named Sage. He was a good dog, though at the time, he had sort of a bad reputation, being, essentially, a Pit-mix. But, click that link and you’ll see that he’s a beautiful dog. And, at least to me, friendly as all get out. In fact, as memory serves, he did better with the women-folk than guys, but he and I got along really well. Unfortunately, he had issues. For one, he liked cats. Apparently, the thought they were quite tasty. Sadly, we had two cats at the time and picked up a third. Besides that little hiccup, my ex-wife was terrified of him. She’d been bitten by a dog, according to her, as a kid and had physical and mental scars. In fact, it was a fight to get my submissive, sweet-tempered Hilda! (I’m not sure how much of her story was true, though, since she apparently lied on a regular basis to get her way. If only I’d realized that sooner… Ah, well.)
Anyway, when I went in yesterday, Sage, was still there, three years later, looking for a permanent home. So, here I am, the ex is long gone, so that obstacle is removed. I got Hilda back because she allegedly killed one of the poor, sickly, geriatric cats that my ex dragged with her out to Phoenix. Personally, I think it was something else, because the story I got doesn’t mesh with how a dog would kill a cat, and, frankly, I don’t trust those two to ever do anything but lie. Still, the upshot is, I won’t take the risk of having cats with her, so that removes another “obstacle” to adopting Sage. Now, the question becomes, how would my darling, spoiled, little girl take to having another dog in the house? She seems to enjoy other dogs, after she gets to know them. But, I worry about how well she’d take it. And, I’m going to have to do some travelling for work here shortly, so I’m not entriely sure I want to add a dog to my house until after that time. Lots of variables to consider, but, well, I can’t help it. I’m seriously thinking about adopting a brother for Hilda.

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