Diary of a Network Geek

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


Cell Phone Etiquette

Filed under: Art,Better Living Through Technology,Deep Thoughts,The Tools — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I feel like the pandemic has made our use of cell phones even ruder than we used to be.

Honestly? I feel like being locked down for the better part of a year, to whatever degree we individually have been, has made us all a little less socially aware. And, yes, I include myself in that sad group. I know I’ve been both more sensitive to small social slights from others and I know I’ve been less socially sensitive to others than I was before. It’s absolutely something I need to pay attention to and work on. So, when I saw this infographic on Cell Phone Etiquette, I knew I had to share it.
Cell Phone Etiquette

To be clear, I feel like these things have ALWAYS been a problem for some people, but I also feel like these kinds of interactions have gotten even worse lately. I hope as we come back together and are more social as we get vaccinated and really start to beat this COVID-19 pandemic that we can be more socially aware. I know I plan to work harder to be more polite and civil to my fellow humans, much to my wife’s relief, I’m sure!

This post first appeared on Use Your Words!  But, the infographic appeared way before that.


No Cell Phone Zone

Filed under: Art,Fun,Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:18 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Normally, I have trouble getting a good signal in my house!

But, I can imagine wanting to create a “cell-phone free zone” in my house to free me from that itch to answer incoming calls.  Imagine a writer trying to get some peace and quiet, for instance.  Or, even someone who entertains a lot of high-tech people making a “safe haven”, of sorts, where friends don’t have to worry about being interrupted by cell phones.

Well, now, with the Painting Cell Phone Jammer, which I found via Gizmodo, you can make that no-cell zone in your house.  It comes complete with a remote, so you can turn it on and off.  All you need to do is plug it into the wall.  Oh, you may want to actually change the art, too, because the stuff it comes with is sort of, well, sucky.  But, I could live with that, I think, to get some peace from those after-hour support calls on my cell!


More on Disaster Recovery Plans

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Yeah, I’m sure this has been a lot of people’s minds lately.
I know that I’ve been more worried about this than I have been in a long time. So many things to go wrong that could stop a business. Luckily, the folks over at InformIT have a couple of guides to help us deal with this. First, there’s the general Disaster Recovery, Part I article. This implies that there will be a Part II, but, so far, Part I is all we have. It’s a good overview of all the things you’ll need to worry about when setting up a disaster recovery plan. And, it has lots of links to other sites that give more in depth information about particular flavors of disaster.
The other article over at InformIT that caught my attention on this topic was on developing a Business Continuity Emergency Communications Plan. Trust me, after all the finagling that I’ve been doing with the satellite phones and adding people to our antique phone switch in the Houston office, this is a really big deal. And, I haven’t even mentioned all the issues with cell phones from New Orleans, either. For the better part of a week, all the cells over there were down, so no one could get through via a NOLA area code, even via cell phone. Luckily, we could just add a bunch of cell phones to our account with Houston phone numbers, but that would have gone smoother if we’d had a plan.
Really, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having all this work done ahead of time. I should have made it a priority as soon as I started here, but, what with the divorce and all, it just didn’t seem like the most important thing. Luckily we’ve adapted and done well. Next time, though, next time… And, trust me, there’s always a “next time”. So, take a little advice from your Uncle Jim and start working on your Disaster Recovery Plan NOW.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
   --Lady Dorothy Nevill


Disaster Recovery Plan

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Do you have one?
Why not? In my case, it’s because I just started at this company, but I really should have gotten on this ASAP when hurricane season started. We got lucky. Everyone got out and we were able to get all our essential equipment (ie. server and associated drives) out of our New Orleans office. But, what if we hadn’t been?
I was thinking about that a lot as I ran around Thursday and Friday trying to quickly, with little notice, cobble together a network for the folks from NOLA to use. At least they’re able to bill, so we have some income and can keep some of the folks from over there employed. Not sure how long we can maintain that, but at least it’s something. I actually made them their own, isolated network with their own hub. (Yes, “hub”, not “switch”. I didn’t have any spares laying around!) We had to buy a printer and wait until some of the equipment came over from New Orleans to test everything, but I did get them working. It’s a bit of a mess, too, with cables hanging all over the three cubes that they’ve occupied, but it’s better than nothing. This way, we can keep at least some of the people who made it through employed.
It’s a little sickening to me when I think of it, but this disaster is going to make my company a lot of money. There are all kinds of things out in the Gulf that need to be repaired and, frankly, to get the oil flowing again, price isn’t much of an object. I hope we keep it from getting too out of control, though. I’m all for making money, but I’d hate to see gouging going on.
Oh, and our Iridium phones came in, though there were some parts missing. Still I managed to get them charged up and teach the two guys who needed to know, how to use them. It’s amazing to me how small they are. Not really any bigger than the old-style cell phones. The antenna, however, is gianormous! Need to do funky stuff to call to and from these bad boys, too, but I got dialing instructions off the Iridium website. All in all, very cool. Now, if we could just get past the “Emergency Calls Only” message, we’d really have something!

You know, I’m getting invaluable experience here, but I’d really rather not. I’d rather this never happened. This is going to mess up the local economy for years and years, not to mention the national economy. This disaster shut down the busiest seaport in the United States. That impact will be felt for a very long time, all over the world.
If you’re the kind that prays, now would be a good time.


What’s my job?

Filed under: Career Archive,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Apparently, you can add telecom specialist to the list.
I’ve been avoiding talking about Hurricane Katrina because: a) everyone else is talking about it, b) there’s neither anything I can add or do, and c) I didn’t have any real news anyway. Well, after yesterday, I do. We have offices over there. Notice, I wrote “have” not “had”. The facility is still standing, as far as we can tell. So, when the rest of the city settles down, we’ll be able to resume business there. In the meantime, we’re more concerned with people. Not everyone from that facility has checked in yet. I’m not sure how many are missing, but, some are. Of those who have checked in, their families all seem to be okay, but many of them have lost everything they didn’t take with them. It’s like the recent tsunami in Asia, but with a lower, thankfully much lower, death toll. But, the damage to property and business is very similar.
So, how does that make me a telecom specialist all of a sudden? Simple, actually. Our regular phone guy in house is out on vacation, so when one of the boards on our phone switch died over the weekend, they came to the computer guy to get it straightened out. Phones, computers, same thing, right? Not hardly! Thankfully, I already have some experience with telecom and high-stress troubleshooting. About the time I settle down from that fracas Monday, I start getting questions about cell phones. How to get them fast, but still on our account. So, all day Tuesday, I ran around getting that straight and getting a local cell phone for the “senior partner”. But, wait, there’s more! Yesterday, I had to get more cell phones lined up and get two Iridium satellite phones ASAP. Oh, yes, they had to be Iridium phones, not just any sat phone. Why, you ask? Because the “senior partner” is getting a new plane and wants to be able to use one of these on the plane which, you guessed it, can take only certain models. If everything goes right, which I highly doubt, we should be getting the two Iridium phones Friday morning. So, any guesses who gets to figure them out and teach everyone how to use them?
Yeah, time to update the resume with all this high-end telecom stuff I’m doing. A little more chaos thrown my direction and I’ll be all ready to be the Director of IT somewhere bigger. Anyone looking for a guy like me to head your IT department? I’m willing to consider anywhere that’s not California, New York City, or prone to hurricanes. Blizzards and tornados I can handle just fine, but I’m really not liking this hurricane business.

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