Diary of a Network Geek

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


Lame Posts

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:24 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Okay, so this morning’s post was lame.

Hey, it happens, you know?  Look, I’ve been posting Friday Fun Links for just over three years.  They can’t all be winners.   Sometimes, they appeal to my geekier nature.  I figure I’ve done pretty well just making sure to post something even remotely fun every Friday, rain or shine, sick or well, for three years.  Even when I was in the middle of my divorce, I managed to post something that made someone, somewhere smile.  Even if it was just me.

So, I’m sorry today’s Friday Fun Post was not my best effort.  I’ll do better next week, I promise.  And, suggestions are welcome!

Friday Fun Links

Filed under: Art,Fun,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Oh, these are strange, but good.

Here’s a link to a DefenseTech article about the CIA’s Online “Personality Test” which is supposed to open our eyes to what it’s really like to work for the CIA.  Apparently, it’s not ALL like James Bond.  Who knew?

And, in a totally different vein, this is the most disturbing wallpaper I’ve ever seen.  Look really closely at it.  Hmm, maybe for one of the guest rooms…

But, finally, for the geeks, How to Make StarTrek-style LCARS Panels.  I cannot make this stuff up!

So, go, link and enjoy.  It is, after all, Friday!  Whoops!  Now, I’m late to work!!


Cool Windows XP Tool

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,Linux,MicroSoft,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:39 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Have I got a tool for you! (Oh, that sounded wrong in all the “not-safe-for-work” ways…)

So, I had this “little problem” at work with a machine from a remote site. We don’t have high-speed connections between offices, so each office is their own Domain, right? Well, no one could remember any username/password combonations on this machine so I could sign in and fix the other problem.
Luckily, I found the “Offline NT Password and Registry Editor“.

I used the bootable cd ISO and in less time than it took to download and burn the CD, I had reset the admin password and was working. Did I mention this is a free tool?


Party Supplies

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

What to bring to a birthday party?

So, a friend of mine is having a birthday coming up and his dear, sweet, darling girl-friend is putting together a party.  Sadly, she’s an overworked grad student who is too tired to remember all the details, so, when I was being nice, polite and friendly and asked if there was anything I could do or bring, she asked me for suggestions.
I wisely deflected that with “Sadly, you have *much* more experience planning parties than I do! Besides, with my history, you never know what that kind of question is going to produce.”

Why was that wise?  Because the first three things that came to mind were pickles, a baseball bat, and clean underwear to change into for the trip to the emergency room.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If I were beautiful like you, I'd have so many friends I could hurt one and I wouldn't have to make amends."
   --Joydrop, "Beautiful Like Me"

Movement vs. Action

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,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 6:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

“Never confuse movement with action.”
–Ernest Hemingway

Funny thing, that difference between movement and action. Things change. It’s the way of the world. It happens whether I actively participate, or not, but it’s not the same as me taking action. Action implies that I’ve made a choice, a decision. Movement, simple movement, is just me drifting with the tide. Action is me setting my sails. I can set them to run with the wind or tack against them, but I have to choose which way to sail and act accordingly. I may not end up where I intend to sail, but, at least it’s movement with a purpose. If I just drift, well, then I’ve given up any hope of arriving at a destination of my choosing. It may be good, or it may be worse than where I started. Personally? I prefer the choice.

Today, I cleaned up some of my Bloglines subscriptions. I added one to William Gibson’s blog and removed two that linked to my former step-daughter’s very inactive pages. I kept them in there with the excuse that someone needed to keep up with what she was doing on the web. And someone does, but not me. That hasn’t been my job for quite some time now, so there’s not a need to keep those subscriptions alive.
I hope one day she comes to find me, to find out, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story. I honestly doubt she will, though. Either way, it’s someone else’s problem now. I did my part. I did what I could. Now, the rest is up to someone else.

God, help her.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"There's more than one way to do it"
   --Unofficial PERL Coder's Motto


Real Estate Investing

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings,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 Waxing Crescent

Anybody want to buy land in Costa Rica?

So, the other day, I was talking with this guy from church about his impending divorce. It’ll be his second, so there wasn’t much I could tell him that he didn’t already know. And, since he lives in the River Oaks area, there’s going to be a whole lot more money involved than I’ll probably ever see in my lifetime. Again, not much advice I could give him, except, of course, to remind him why one hires a lawyer for these things. I just reminded him that he didn’t need to roll over simply because he was the man and, traditionally, the woman got the lion’s share of the communal property. They’d earned that money together, each contributing their part and he was entitled to his fair share. Besides, at the moment, she actually makes more money than him, so it’s not like he’d be hurting her financially at all. Mainly, though, I “advised” him to let the lawyers haggle it out when things got ugly about the money. Again, that is why one pays for a personal shark in the first place, right?

Anyway, he was talking about investing in real estate in Central America. Specifically, in Costa Rica. Now, a lot of times when guys start in with this kind of thing, I figure it’s somebody trying to impress me, but not with him. Something about the matter-of-fact way he talks about some of this stuff and his plans for developing some of the land and making a resort just ring too true for me to feel like there’s a scam or an ulterior motive. I’ve been wrong before, of course, but, these days, I’m a fairly hardened, bitter cynic and I tend to trust my instincts when it comes to people. Sadly, when I suspect something untoward, I’m rarely wrong.
But, he knows what I do for a living and for fun. He knows, for instance, that I’ve done web design work for my divorce lawyer. And, as a check was on the way, I mentioned that again this weekend when I saw him. Also, it turns out that when you Google Houston Divorce Lawyer, my lawyer already shows up on the second page of hits. Considering that he didn’t show up in the first 20+ pages of hits before I revamped his website, I’d say we’re doing pretty well. A little more time and he’ll be on that Holy Grail of search engine optimization, the first page of Google results.
In any case, I was joking with him, the guy from church, not the lawyer, about how I was in that very unique position of actually making money back from my divorce lawyer. But, it wasn’t long before he was asking about domain names and websites and optimization. And, yes, I found myself volunteering to do a simple website for him and optimize it for the search engines. And, of course, advise him about how to find an URL submission service that would keep his ranking good and high.

And that’s when he jokingly offered to trade me a hectare of land in Costa Rica for doing a website from scratch and optimizing it for the search engines. At least, I think he was joking. I mean, he was sort of laughing about it, but… But, it would be a pretty damn good deal and I’m thinking about calling him to see if he was serious or not. Because, I’ve been looking around at it a little bit and $750 worth of land now could very quickly and easily be over $75,000 some time in the next five years.

And, I was getting ready to tell him I’d do it for nothing.

So, does anyone know about real estate investing in Costa Rica?


Another Change of Plans

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I suppose I shouldn’t be overly surprised…

So, I got up this morning and checked my e-mail, as I usually do. Here’s what I found:

I’m so so sorry, but my friend spent the night in the ER and she asked me to stay with her. I just got home and I’m very tired. Can we have dinner tonight or sometime this week?

The way things were going on this mythical date, I probably should have anticipated this, right? Now, I’m sure the story about a friend in the ER is absolutely true, but I think it’s understandable that I’m a little suspicious by this time. So, I’ve had another suggested change in plans that takes us to dinner. I wonder if this is finally what she had in mind or not? Later, will I get an e-mail suggesting a trip to Spain so we can run with the bulls? Who knows.
I responded to her, saying that I really didn’t want to do dinner for a first date and maybe we could do lunch next weekend. Somehow, at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if that doesn’t manage to work out either.

Anyone up for coffee at a book store? I’ll buy you a slice of Bavarian Death Cake


Not A Good Start

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

So, I’ve got a lunch date tomorrow…

I’ve been on Match.com for a while now, but I haven’t really persued anything since LK and I dialed back into “friend mode”. I just haven’t been all that interested. And, money has been a little tight. Well, at least before I knew that check from my lawyer was on the way. Oh, sure, there’ve been the odd profile or picture that makes me think, “Hmm, yeah, I wouldn’t mind getting to know her a whole lot better.” Or, even, “Gee, I wonder what name she’d slip and call me in a moment of passion? Todd? Scott? Barry?”
Anyway, this girl from Match “Winked” at me, so I sent a short e-mail back. E-mail went back and forth for about a week and we’ve spent the last week working out a date this weekend. It took about three or four e-mails before I could tell for sure that she wasn’t actually reading my entire e-mail to her. Not the best start. I mean, the e-mails were only five or six sentences long, so it doesn’t seem like a huge challenge to actually, you know, read the whole thing. Especially when I wasn’t wasting words and asking simple questions like, “The Guardian doesn’t open until next week, is there another movie you’d like to see? Oh, and any thing I should avoid in particular when choosing a lunch spot?”

I don’t know, maybe the fact that she only answered the second of those two questions was a clue that she didn’t really want to do a movie at all, but why not just say so?
Here’s how it went. First, I suggested an afternoon movie. Her response was that it was “a little hard to get to know someone” in a movie. Okay, valid point. I had intended to suggest getting a bite to eat after the movie, assuming everything went well. So, I said as much and suggested that we just go ahead and plan on it. She agreed and we started talking movies. Then, in the middle of one of those exchanges, she writes that she would rather get lunch before the movie, to make sure we get along before we sit through a movie together. Again, perfectly valid point of view. Except, if we went to see the movie first, we’d have at least that much to talk about afterward. Then, she doesn’t like any of the movies playing but is stuck on this one movie, The Defender, which we’ve already established doesn’t open until next week. Ultimately, I mentioned that three times in three different e-mails before we got around to considering a different movie. And, then she hits me with “so you’re set on an early movie?” And, you know, I wasn’t, really, but she agreed with me all week long that this was what we were going to do until Friday night when it became an issue.

After walking away from the computer long enough to find the humor in the entire situation, I sent her back ” Hey, since the movie thing is getting to be a challenge this weekend, why don’t we just meet for lunch tomorrow? Have a favorite place?” Which got me what I should have either asked for or offered ten half-read e-mails previously: a phone number. Naturally, when I called, I got voice-mail.
But, we finally connected and are meeting for lunch, at noon, Sunday. But, you know, I somehow doubt this is going to get very far. I mean, so far, she can’t be bothered to read an entire five sentence e-mail or just come out with what she wants to do when I ask her. Neither bode well. And, before I take any critisizm for not taking a firmer lead, I did, but she obviously didn’t want to do what I was suggesting. In spite of popular opinion to the contrary, I’m a pretty flexible guy and what we did really wasn’t that hugely important to me. If all she wanted to do was meet for lunch, that would have been fine. Instead, we danced around for a week, accomplishing little other than making me frustrated and quite doubtful. Still, I’ll go through with it because; a) I might be surprised and really enjoy her company and b) the only way to get out and meet people is to, well, get out and meet people. I’ll let you all know how it turns out.

And, I bet my faithful readers thought I was going to recap my last therapy appointment from Thursday night. Ha! Maybe some other time!


Free Wireless in Houston

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Review,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Yes, there are still some things one can get for free.

There are a lot of ways to find free wireless Internet connections in Houston. Besides using Googlemaps, there’s also the Houston CitySearch pages that list public establishments with free WiFi by category. Not to mention all the Panera Bread Company cafes that all seem to have free wireless, nation wide, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts.
(Sadly, it seems you’ll have to pay for WiFi at the airport, and not just in Houston.)
While a lot of that might not be “fun” for everyone, those of us who live in Houston can now get out this weekend and still be connected. And, for a Network Geek like me, that is fun. So, what the heck, it’s Friday, you might as well click the links and get ready for the weekend.


Check is in the Mail

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,GUI Center,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:24 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Oy!  This I’m familiar with!

So, I just got an e-mail from my lawyer.  You know, the one who did my divorce just over a year ago?   Well, some time back I did some work on their website, Affordable Houston Divorce Attorney, and fired off a bill to them.  They just got it and got things organized and a check is “in the mail”.  Naturally, things are tight all over, so I’m very familiar with this phrase, but, mainly because I say it so often!

Anyway, I was sure this was going to a black hole that I’d thrown a bunch of time into for no reward, but, suprise!  The check is in the mail!  I guess I can buy groceries and gas this month after all…

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