Diary of a Network Geek

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


More IT Career Links

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Maybe I shouldn’t post after work as much…

You know, people might start to get the idea that I’m looking for work, even though I’m not. I guess it’s just that time of year when all the IT people change jobs, so everyone starts talking about career stuff.
Well, whatever, here are two more links to news/blog stories about tech resumes and researching a prospective employer from TechRepublic.com.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious."

Geek Tools

Filed under: Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,Linux,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Two things for two different kinds of geeks.

Back when I was a one-man IT shop the first time, I read a book called “Time Management for Dummies“. I know, I know, one of those damn Dummies books, but it really wasn’t bad. The best thing it taught me was about ToDo lists and how to manage one and prioritize it and all that. Well, over the years, I’ve used a lot of different software to try and manage my various ToDo lists. Mostly, I used Lotus Organizer and synched it to my cranky, old PalmIII. (That was back before I had the New, Improved, cranky, old PalmIIIc!) But, it was always a hassle to deal with formating and I never could quite get all the little bells and whistles just the way I wanted. Then, I found ToDoTxt.org
It’s a shell script to manage a simple, text-based to do list.
You can run it via Cygwin, or even as part of your user profile on, oh, say, a Linux server. And, you can add in code to automate the insertion of future events that you don’t want to worry about for several days, weeks or months. In fact, there’s a bunch of extra code and even a little user community that’s sprung up around this super cool shell script.

Anyway, I thought it might appeal to the truly “hardcore” geeks who still read this blog the way it appealed to me.

Now, for that other thing…
It’s a book for bloggers. I figure if you’re reading this blog and you aren’t one of the aforementioned hardcore geeks, then you’re still a blog-geek. Now, sooner or later, all of us who write blogs have an embarassing, little “problem” called Writer’s Block. And we prattle on about whatever silly thing comes into our head, like, say a todo list organizer. Well, I haven’t gotten the book myself, but it sure sounds like it might just help us with those sad, lonely times when we can’t think of anything more interesting to write about than the sandwich we had for lunch. It’s No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. And, based on the table of contents, I might just pick it up!


A Few Very Random Thoughts

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Definately in a better mood this morning.

I think every bachelor should have a dog.  They help you clean up small food spills quickly and offer unconditional love.  Not sure which is more important or useful.
If you’re a bachelor in need of a dog, adopt one from a shelter.  In Houston, try my favorite “no-kill” shelter, H.O.P.E.

I hate giant, flying cockroaches.  Insects larger than three inches shouldn’t be allowed to fly.  The fact that they do may be used in theological discussions as proof that the end times are near.  The fact that so many of them seem to exist in the greater Houston Metropolitan Area would seem to indicate that, not only is the end of the world near, but going to start here.

I think an adopted dog is more grateful than a fru-fru dog from a fancy breeder.  At least, it makes me feel better to think I gave at least one a better life than she’d have gotten otherwise.

I don’t believe all those “rapture” bumper stickers.  I think anyone who’s quite so sure they’re going to be part of the rapture is under-estimating the requirements.  Also, they’re not familiar with the history of the rapture concept.

The best thing about being able to drink coffee again is that I haven’t been this regular in months.  And, I’m awake to notice it.

I must be doing well at work, because my boss has seen me work so many small miracles that he now has unrealistic expectations of what I can do in a single day.  Very unrealistic expectations.

I must be recovering from the effects of chemotherapy, because I have stubble in the middle of the week for the first time since losing my hair.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Nobody has ever expected me to be President."
   --Abraham Lincoln


7 Steps

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Seven Steps to a Sharper IT resume.

I always think about stuff like this after a hard day at work.


Free VMWare

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, this is probably old news to everyone by now, but since everyone is talking about the VMWare IPO, I figured it was a good time to bring it up.
In case you geek readers out there haven’t see this, you can still download the VMWare server for Linux for free. TechRepublic has an entire article about downloading and installing VMWare. (Yeah, yeah, okay, it’s a beta version, but from everything I hear, it’s good to go.) Now, I’ve used the full, very expensive, version of this and it pretty much rocks. If you absolutely must run Windows server in an otherwise Linux envrionment, this would be the way I would choose to do it.

If you’re absolutely married to Windows and want to try VMWare, you can either download the server version or the “player“.   Now, the thing to keep in mind is that the player will run virtual machines that were created with the full product, but, as far as I can tell, won’t create its own virtual machine.  So, if you don’t already have virtual machine files somewhere, you’ll have to Google for them.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something to play with on this, but don’t feel like Googling for a good virtual machine? Why not try the free Mono VMWare image from Novell?


Cletus has left the building!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:47 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My lymphoma is in remission!

Well, I still have to go back for a PET scan to confirm that what’s left of Cletus is “metabolically inert”, but, based on the last PET scan, that’s a mere formality.  There are some other details I have to work out, like the blood clots, the medical bills that insurance didn’t cover and my lack of eyebrows, but at least I’m alive to deal with them all. I’ll have some minor physical issues for a while still, which is to be expected.  And, of course, I’ll have to go back to the clinic regularly to check and make sure that Cletus hasn’t left behind any mystery offspring (you know how he gets at the family picnic!).  So, all in all, it was good news today.  It’ll be better news after they schedule my PET scan next week and I get the results of that, but the doctor was pleased with her work.  Do you think I should tell her it was really God who did the work, or just let her bask in the glow?

So, barring any surprises next week, I’m on the mend.  I can eat all the things I used to eat and, finally, I can have a cup of coffee in the morning again.  Real coffee.  Go juice.  (Can you tell I’ve missed my coffee?)  And, soon, I can start exercising again, too, though that may take longer than I’d like due to the blood clots.
No word on when I’ll have hair and eyebrows again, but I look forward to that, too.

And, finally, just let me say a great big “thank you” to everyone who’s been praying for me and driving me to and from the clinic and watching Hilda and, well, generally just looking out for me when I couldn’t look out for myself.  You all are the miracle that kept me alive.  Gifts from God that kept me going, every step of the way.  Please, don’t forget that.  Every day, every one of you all is a walking miracle that inspires and strengthens in ways that you can’t even know.

Hunting Pirates

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

No, real, live ocean-going pirates.

Here’s a story that sounds almost made up, except it’s real: The Pirate Hunters on Smithsonian.com.


WiFi Security

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,Novell,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:45 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, the lack thereof.

Okay, so, those of you who know me and my professional career know that security is near and dear to my heart.  Now, I’m no hacker or even a full time security professional, but I’m very, very aware of security and how important it is.  In my last post, I mentioned how much I love having so much wifi connectivity and how nice it was when I was in the hospital to have that easy access.  Well, that’s still true, but I also know how open and insecure that wireless connection is.
This year at DefCon, there was a very popular demo that showed just how easy it was to get information off a wireless connection and exploit it.  In fact, some poor attendee, who should have known better, got his Gmail account hacked, in public, because he didn’t secure his connection properly.  And, earlier this year, some German security experts went on at length about how insecure the WEP protocol is and why that shouldn’t be your only line of defense on wireless networks.

Now, as much as I enjoy my wifi, I’ve also been very vocal about how insecure wifi networks are, by their very nature, for years.  In fact, I got into a rather heated “discussion” with a co-worker and our mutual manager about that at a former job.  Somehow, neither of these gentlemen quite understood how throwing packets out all over, where anyone could snoop them, was an inherently insecure system, even if you used advanced encryption.  Encryption, as the hackers say, is meant to be broken, and sooner or later, it always is.  Again, this is all just logic and reason, but, in a world where anyone who manages a website and a handfull of PCs can call himself a Director of IT, the practical application of logic and reason is a rare thing indeed.
So, enjoy those free wifi connections at your favorite coffee house, but, keep in mind how easy it is for a hacker, or even a script kiddie, to pull vital information off that wide open connection.

(And, if you’re going to DefCon, check out their “Be Prepared” guide, or the DefCon survival guide at the Register.)

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong."
   --Warren Buffet

Guerrilla WiFi

Filed under: Fun Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Probably not what you think…

I love wifi. Since spending so much time in the hospital with a laptop and relying on the free wifi that MD Anderson has for their patients, I’ve come to truly love that ubiquitous, wireless connection. Only it’s not really all that ubiquitous, unless you want to pay. Often, quite a bit. Some folks are working to change that.
According to this article on ScientificAmerican.com, there’s a little company called Meraki Networks that’s trying to change the way people get access to wireless networks. At least, they’re trying to change part of it. They offer dirt cheap wireless routers that network together to share whatever Internet resources they have, collectively, with whoever connects. It’s not quite free and it’s not quite ubiquitous, but, it is a start.

Anyway, it’s worth clicking the link and reading the article.


A Funny Thing Happened…

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

On the way home from the clinic.

So, I’ve been “away” for a bit.
Almost two weeks ago, I went into the clinic for what I thought would be a relatively routine check up. And, really, it was. Unfortunately, my blood work showed me having very low counts in every category, so they sent me for an immediate transfusion. I got a unit of platelettes and two units of whole blood. Now, that might sound like there was big trouble, but, honestly, based on my last set of blood work, I was kind of expecting to have that happen. Sadly, what I was not planning on was getting a fever high enough to get checked into the hospital, which is what happened.

So, I spent about a week in the hospital, even though my tempurature was normal after three days, because my white blood cell count was low. That’s bad because those white blood cells are what fight off infection. What’s worse is that I felt fine, even though I missed my best friend’s wedding, in which I was supposed to be the best man.
I came close to going against doctor’s orders and checking myself out of the hospital long enough for the wedding, then checking back in. It was only when the doctor hinted that might cause problems with my insurance company that I decided against it.
The bride and groom, however, brought the wedding to me. They came over, with the Matron of Honor, and another groomsman that the groom and I have known for years, forced me at cake-point to dress up in my tux and took pictures. One of the nurses took pictures of all of us together, as well. I’m told that these will be included in the wedding pictures by the photographers. To say that I was touched by this gesture is the understatement of the century. Words cannot begin to express the depth of feeling I have for those folks who would go so far out of their way to share that special day with me. But, for the record, the chemotherapy took my eyelashes and I get things in my eye all the time now and I was not so moved I was crying. In case anyone was wondering.

I finally got out Monday and was back getting scanned Friday. I’ll get the results this coming Thursday when I see the doctor. I’m hoping that the news I get is that I’m done with chemotherapy and on the mend, but we’ll see.
And, of course, I’ll keep you posted.

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