Diary of a Network Geek

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


Say Hello to Brian

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is mid-afternoon or 3:35 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Brian Rothenberg of Wilco Computer Products is my new hero.

So, I’ve been having this issue at work with a FAX machine and a phone network. We’ve been wrestling with this for about six weeks. The problem, in a nutshell, is that the FAX machine we have is not playing well with the phone network since we joined our two PRIs together with some network equipment to “steal” unused bandwidth from the phone network for the data network. Mostly, it worked great. Mostly.
The problem is our FAX machine hasn’t been properly negotiating the connection speed with some older FAX machines since we added the VOIP component to our data/phone network. The result? I get yelled at on a regular basis because I can’t make a miracle happen.

My service provider told me that the solution is to make the default receive baud rate 14,400 instead of 33,600. That’s great, but I searched for days to find instructions for how to do it to no avail. I even got the people who supplied the FAX machine to us out to try and figure it out, but they came up empty.
Enter Brian. Brian Rothenberg called me looking to sell me computer equipment or printer supplies or, yes, FAX supplies. But, it turns out, he sells the devices, too. What mattered more to me, though, was that he took the time to go hunt down the super-secret service hot-line phone number for the manufacturer of the FAX machine that was giving me issues. Then, he called them and got the procedure on how to make the change and e-mailed it to me. Problem solved.
The next time I need a printer serviced, I’m calling Brian.

So, you know what? If you need someone in the Greater Houston Area that sells office equipment and supplies and goes the proverbial extra mile? Go to http://www.wilcocomputerproducts.com/ and ask for Brian. Tell him I sent you.
Thanks, Brian.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Sanity is a one trick pony -- all you have is rational thought. But when you're good and loony, the sky's the limit!
   --from "The Tick"

Version Control, for writers?

Filed under: Apple,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,MicroSoft — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

What an interesting idea…

So, as many of my long-time readers know, I tend to straddle two worlds. By day, I’m a highly proficient, one-man, network-ninja death squad, but, by night, I’m a frustrated, hopeful writer who’s always looking for high-tech reasons to procrastinate. I think I may have found a project that bridges these two worlds in an article titled Subversion for Writers.

Subversion is a version control system which is primarily used by software developers to, well, track the version of their programming code. But, code is just specially formated text with very specific syntax and a really boring plot, so there’s no reason at all to not use it to track versions of a story or novel. And, in fact, that’s just what the author, Rachel Greenham, is proposing. I think it would be especially useful for novelists, since you could keep track of all the possible plot deviations and revert back to an earlier branch if things started to “go wrong”. In any case, it’s worth a look, even if you don’t use Linux or OS X, which is what she uses. (In fact, if you’d like to use Windows to do this, LifeHacker, who linked to her article, has a post with links to Windows clients for Subversion.)

Well, anyway, if you write a lot and are a geek like me and have some time to waste, it’s worth looking into, at the very least.

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