Diary of a Network Geek

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


Happy Birthday, UNIVAC!

Filed under: Apple,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

On this day in 1951, my profession was, essentially “born”.

Today marks the anniversary of the unveiling of the UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially produced and available electronic digital computer in the United States. The first electronic computers were invented during World War II by the military. Engineers in Great Britain invented the Colossus computer to help break Nazi codes, and engineers in the United States invented the ENIAC, to help calculate the trajectories of missiles.
The ENIAC used 17,468 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints. It weighed 30 tons, was roughly 8 feet by 3 feet by 100 feet, took up 1800 square feet, and consumed 150 kW of power. The ENIAC radiated so much heat that industrial cooling fans were needed to keep its circuitry from melting down. It took two days to reprogram it for each new task.

The men who created the ENIAC decided to go into private business for themselves, and it was on this day in 1951 that they unveiled their first product, the UNIVAC I, the world’s first commercially available electronic computer. It was quite an improvement over the ENIAC, using a mere5,200 vacuum tubes, UNIVAC I weighed just 29,000 pounds (or 13 tons), consumed 125 kW, and could perform about 1,905 operations per second running on a 2.25 MHz clock, which was the fastest calculation rate in the world at the time. The Central Complex alone (i.e. the processor and memory unit) was 14 feet by 8 feet by 8.5 feet high. The complete system occupied more than 350 square feet of floor space.
The first customer to buy the UNIVAC was the United States Census Bureau, and the computer was used to predict the presidential election of 1952, after early returns began to come in. It correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win. Originally priced at $159,000, the UNIVAC I rose in price until they were between $1,250,000 and $1,500,000. A total of 46 systems were eventually built and delivered.
Thomas J. Watson, the chairman of IBM at the time, thought that computers, with all their incredibly complex vacuum tubes and circuitry, were too complicated. He famously said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” But with the invention of the microchip in 1971, all the processing power of those thousands of vacuum tubes and punch cards could suddenly be crammed into a space the size of a postage stamp. Within a decade, the first personal computers, or PCs, began to appear. Ironically, Apple made them popular and inexpensive enough for the home user and drove what we think of as the computer revolution.

But, it all started with UNIVAC. So, happy birthday, big guy. Thanks for being just delicate enough to keep me working!


Webhost Reccomendations?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, I’m not entirely happy with my webhost.

After bouncing around from place to place, I finally found a great webhost who had competitive prices and super-responsive support. Even when I had issues with some particularly unruly scripts, they worked with me and got everything working just right.  Granted, the company was run by the cousin of a friend of mine, but, stll… Unfortunately, they also sold the business to someone else who’s not quite as good as the folks I was with for so long.
Normally, I wouldn’t just jump ship, but I have a little project that I’ve been toying with and it would be a perfect test case for a new web provider. Naturally, I thought I’d ask you all, my faithful readers, before just closing my eyes and picking someone, if any of you had any suggestions. So, do you? Are there any of you who have had particularly good, or bad, experiences with any web hosting companies?
Inquiring minds want to know!

And, yes, this little “project” is also why I’ve been thinking about blogging software and search engine optimization.  Funny how all these things seem to tie together with me these days.


Blogging Software

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,News and Current Events,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Well, everyone else seems to be talking about it this week.

No, really, it feels like everywhere I turn someone’s talking about how MoveableType is going to an Opensource version and how important that is. Now, for those of you not familiar with MoveableType, it was the first really good blogging software that was freely available. Before that, bloggers basically had to write their own HTML pages and upload them one at a time. When I first had this blog, that’s how I did it and let me tell you, it sure was a tedious proceedure to suffer through for a little search engine marketing!
In any case, it wasn’t the easiest software to use or customize, but, frankly, it was the only thing going, so pretty much everyone who had a serious blog used it. Then, blogging started to get popular and a lot of other people started making blogging software and Blogger showed up, among others, to make it easier for anyone who wanted to rant about their unfair life to set up a blog. I stuck with MoveableType because I had invested so much time and trouble into getting it just right. I even kept up with the upgrades, right up until they started wanting to charge for what had been free. And change the license agreement in ways that made me very, very uncomfortable. So, I started hunting around for a replacement.
That’s when I found WordPress. Opensource, free, easy to install and configure. It was everything I wanted in blogging software. And, it was easier to write plugins for, to boot! Well, I wasn’t alone in my migration to WordPress. Lots and lots of former MoveableType folks, as well as new bloggers, moved to WordPress. They’ve always been free, had great community support, and there don’t seem to be any plans to change.

But, still, it’s nice that the new version of MoveableType will include an Opensource version. I think it’s interesting that they’re also including features that have been in WordPress for a version or two or three now, too. Kind of seems like they missed the boat on this one, doesn’t it? I wonder how many people will move back from WordPress to the new MoveableType? I doubt too many. Frankly, we’re spoiled now. I just couldn’t go back to the hassles of developing and customizing blogs on MoveableType after having it so easy on WordPress.

But, what do I know? I’ve only been blogging for seven years or more.


Search Engine Optimization Rates

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:36 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Wow, I guess I undervalued my skills to my divorce lawyer.

According to this article on AustralianIT, SEO salaries are really out the roof! I mean, sure, I did search engine optimization as a bit of fun while I was working a banckruptcy back in 2000, but I am highly ranked on Google. And, my lawyer was very pleased with the results I got him by re-optimizing his pages then getting him hooked up with a submission mill. A reasonably priced search engine submission service, that is.
Hmm, maybe, just for the fun of it, I should start a website from scratch and build it up in the search engines.  It might be a fun project.  I mean, I’ve kind of been thinking about redoing some of my web presence.  You know, consolidating websites that are related and getting rid of old, dead sites that I don’t really maintain any more.  That kind of thing.  And, I’ve been thinking about ways to sharpen my IT skills, or at least ways to keep my current skills sharp, so building a site from scratch, including fresh content, then making it a “number one” site might be just the thing.

Well, either way, it surprises me how something I do for fun can be big business.  Who knew?



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’m still here.

I’d have quoted Monty Python and the Holy Grail and written, “I’m not dead yet!”, but I notice that some folks don’t quite have the same dark sense of humor about my cancer that I do, so I thought better of it.  I’ve really gotten out of the habit of writing anything on the blog here and, I have to admit, it bothers me a bit.  Sure, I have excuses for why, not the least of which is chemotherapy, but when things are going well and I’m not actually in the hospital, I probably could write a bit more than I have.  I have been trying to read more, too.  So much time laying in bed in the hospital has almost over-dosed me on television, which is a Good Thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

I was in the clinic today, getting checked over, and then had the afternoon to relax a bit and rest.  I took that time and did just lay about and, well, read.  In fact, I finished  You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore this afternoon.  It’s a great book, even if it’s not his best, but it’s a sequal to Blood Sucking Fiends: A Love Story and you’ll be hopelessly lost if you don’t read that one first.  Hmm, maybe I’ll review those this week, if I maintain my mental and emotional stamina.  I actually feel pretty good tonight, which, of course, means that it’s about time to check into the hospital again.  And, in fact, I’ll be back in on Monday for five fun-filled days of chemotherapy.

In any case, I just wanted to put something in here so that folks knew I was alive and well and progressing the way the doctors want me to do.  There are a million other things floating about in my head, too, but as yet they’re too nebulous and unformed for me to write about.  Maybe soon.  Stay well everyone.

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