Diary of a Network Geek

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

2/23/2018

Free Entertainment

Filed under: Fun,music — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Free is relative, but a lot of entertainment can be relatively free.

Regular visitors to my blog will know that I love free things. I’m also very much like an ancient Roman in that I love nothing more than laying on a couch while eating and being entertained. Yes, it’s decadent and primitive of me, but, well, there it is. The problem with all that, of course, is that if I’m being lazy, I probably can’t afford to pay for a lot of entertainment. Thankfully, the internet has solved that problem for me!
Specifically, Gizmodo’s guide to How To Find The Best Free Movies and Music On The Web will show you, and me, where to find free entertainment. They have links to the old favorites like PBS and the Internet Archive, but they have other sources that are more obscure. Or, they have suggestions that may be familiar, but not the first thing you think of as a source, like listening to music via YouTube, which I know I’ve done.

In any case, the guide is free and so are the sources they list and since you’re not working this Friday afternoon, you may want to see what they have available to amuse you.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

2/16/2018

Hacker Games

Filed under: Fun,Fun and Games,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Sounds like a good title for a book!

Except it’s not.
In my day job, I’m a professional geek. And, what I mean by that is that I work with computers for money. It seems like the vast majority of the guys my age who got into computers professionally did so because they were inspired by the movie War Games. Not me, though. I fell into it a little sideways and my interest in the computer security angle of my work came from Sneakers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Martin Bishop? A computer geek that looks like Robert Redford and could swing sleeping with Mary McDonnell? Seriously, sign me up!
The reality is, of course, a little less sexy. Trust me. No one who looked like Robert Redford was walking around DEFCON. Though, to be fair, I did learn to pick locks sitting next to a very nice and more than moderately attractive young woman. Who, incidentally, learned lock picking faster than any guy at the table.
In any case, times have changed since the early 90’s and all the harmless exploration I did when I first got into IT is mostly illegal now. Though, I’ll never forget helping an international guest at the Hyatt Regency Chicago get remote access to her VMS and find the program she needed to run. She had authorization, of course, but no idea how to find what she needed and I was blind in a VMS system for the first time. When I get her into her program, I think she clapped and then hugged me. It was cool! And FUN! But, opportunities like that are few and far between. And, there are plenty of places that won’t hire someone who has a criminal record. So, how do you recreate that experience without risking jail time?
Wargames by OverTheWire. These fine hackers have put together more than a dozen “games” meant to test your skill at electronic breaking and entering. And, honestly, a little bit more. Each game let’s you connect to it, most often with SSH via its own, dedicated SSH port, and then let’s you go after the rest. I haven’t had the chance to do much here yet, honestly, but the OverTheWire gang suggests you start with Bandit, which is aimed at absolute beginners and consists of 27 “levels”. Each “level” gives you information to “beat” the next “level”. It sounds like fun, but, then again, I am a pretty hardcore computer geek.

So, there you go! It’s a free introduction to computer security in game form. The perfect Friday diversion for the aspiring network geek or hacker!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words, my ironically non-computer-geeky blog!

2/9/2018

Escape the Planet

Filed under: Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

No, not for real, just in a browser-based game.

I’ve often said that if things are as bad on this beautiful, blue marble as the news would have us believe, then we should throw all our resources into getting off it and founding a colony somewhere else. Like Mars, for instance. As it turns out, I’m not the only one to think that way, but for some reason, people take Elon Musk more seriously than me when he says it. Be that as it may, I still have often dreamed of being one of those brave travelers who fling themselves into the starry night and try to begin civilization again on some distant world, under the light of an alien sun. Sadly, I suspect that I’ll die long before interplanetary colonization really gets going, much less interstellar travel.
Still, the subject has been a rich mine for writers and game creators alike, which brings me to the Friday Fun Link I have to share with you; Seedship. It’s a simple, text-based game of interstellar exploration and colonization you can play right in your browser! Just follow that link and you can take the part of a ship’s artificial intelligence, helping colonists find a suitable home and survive long enough to make a life there.
It’s pretty simple game-play, but I have to admit, it is kind of fun. And, of course, it’s a quiet way to spend a couple minutes of your Friday having some fun.

Try it out and “escape the planet”, at least for a few minutes at lunch!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.  Why not check it out?

2/2/2018

Work – Fatherland – Order

Filed under: About The Author,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

My own political leanings often surprise me.

I should start by saying that I don’t think of myself as a particularly political person in any sense of the word. Sure, I have some very strong opinions about some things, but I mostly keep that kind of thing to myself because I hate the idea of becoming a bore. And, I think I’m a terrifically boring person, though my wife and friends assure me that is not the case. In fact, recently when I pumped out a bunch of messages about the net neutrality changes and the fight in the House and Senate to repeal that very, very bad FCC decision, at least one friend was so surprised he had to ask me about it. Which gave me the opportunity to educate him. It was nice.
But, what the title of this post refers to is the results of the quiz I took at PolitiScales. The quiz is meant to measure where you fall on 8 axes, including the one we think of most; Progressive vs. Conservative. I was surprised to find out that I was only 31% Conservative, but 57% Progressive. More stunning to me was that I rated 57% Regulationist vs. 17% “Laissez-faire” and 52% Nationalist vs. 31% Internationalist. The other axes include; Constructivist vs. Essentialist, Communism vs. Capitalism, Ecology vs. Productivist, Revolutionist vs. Reformist and Rehabilitative Justice vs. Punitive Justice. Again, it was a little eye-opening to me as I’d always thought of myself as both more conservative and global than they measured me as being. Of course, this is just one relatively short quiz and my thoughts on all this are more complicated than they can easily measure with a multiple choice questionnaire. Still, I encourage you all to take the quiz and see how you feel about it. And, maybe, give a little thought to your political life before the mid-term elections later this year.

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.


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