Diary of a Network Geek

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


The Coldest War of All

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Our nation’s finest tracking holiday spirit.

As I usually do at this time of year, I’m reminding you of where to find Santa and, more specifically, how to track his progress.
During the Cold War, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, more popularly known as “NORAD”, stood between us and what we were sure was complete destruction at the hands of the Soviets. What with the recent tensions vis-a-vis Russia, China, and North Korea, NORAD may find itself busier than ever in the coming year, but, until then, thankfully, they can fall back on my favorite tradition; tracking Santa. It started with a wrong number and an accidental connection, but a gentle soul in a high-pressure job spread a little Christmas cheer once a long, long time ago. The story got around and before you can say “Who’s violating my air space?”, everyone was misappropriating government resources to make kids happy. Before long, it was fully sanctioned and, if I say so myself, an entirely proper use of my tax dollars. In any case, now, whether you’re young or old, or whether you have children or not, you can have fun tracking Santa with the Official NORAD Santa Tracker!  Besides, it’s about time for the Federal Government to bring us a little holiday cheer, don’t you think?
I’ll post again on Friday, but, until then, have a very merry Christmas!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.


To Tell The Truth

Filed under: Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, we’re a week into the New Year.  Have you done anything you want to keep secret?

Hey, no judgement here!  Believe me, there are plenty of things that I would just as soon forget as ever talk about again!  Nothing, of course, illegal, or anything that would keep me from getting a security clearance, as far as I know, but things I’d rather not discuss in a public forum.  Thankfully, I’ve never had to apply for anything that required a test…
Read More


Government Seeks $1.4 Million in H1-B back pay!

Filed under: Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Long time readers will know how I feel about the H1-B visa issue.

Look, in the IT business, the H1-B visa program is well known for the rampant abuse and the undercutting of salaries for American workers.
For you who are new to the blog, here’s the basic run-down.  I think American workers should get jobs, of all kinds, not just tech jobs, before we import workers.  But, we should import skilled workers who will pay taxes before we send those jobs off-shore.  The reason I don’t like the H1-B visa program in particular is because I know for a fact that it was used to unfairly, and apparently illegally, undercut American workers and put them out on the street in favor of grossly underpaid imports.

Well, in a small bit of good news there, eWeek is reporting that the Federal government is going after $1.4 million in wages that H1-B visa holders were cheated out of via Peri Software Solutions.  For those of us in the industry, I don’t think it’s any surprise that these folks had offices in India and had cheated 163 Indian IT people out of more than $1.4 million dollars in fair pay.  Pay, incidentally, that they would have paid taxes on to the U.S.

While I think this is a great step, I can’t help but wonder, how many more companies like this are there who haven’t been caught or prosecuted?  How many people have been unfairly abused this way?  How many jobs were lost?  How long will it take to do something and fix this broken system?


Let’s Keep American Techs Working in America

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:24 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’m going to say this even though someone will no doubt call me a racist in the comments.

Oh, don’t think it won’t happen, because it did once already the last time the job market got tough. Here’s the thing, at times like this, when the entire world’s economy is bad, I think American companies should put American citizens, and legal residents, first, and in that order. Let’s not send jobs overseas just now. And, let’s not import any more foreign guest workers. Look, I know plenty of people who came over on H1B visas and that’s all well and good, but everyone in IT knows that this system gets abused regularly as a way to undercut the local IT people and keep them from earning a living wage. We all know that it happens and I’m sure any tech out there can site multiple sources for it. So, when I see articles about how Indian IT groups are worried about the H1B reforms currently being debated, I can’t help but wonder why they think U.S companies should put their workers’ needs above U.S. workers’ needs. Shouldn’t we take care of our own? I sure remember growing up being taught that we take care of our own neighbors before we worry about people some where far, far away. We make sure that no one we can reach is going hungry before we start looking in other cities, states and countries for people who need our help, too. Things are tough all over, but they’re tough right here. So, let’s take care of that first, then worry about our distant neighbors on the other side of the world.

Does that make sense to anyone else? Or am I wrong here? Should India and China give us work for their countries? Should we do tech support for Mumbai?

And, I’m not just saying this out of some jingoistic, hyper-conservative, knee-jerk reaction to globalism, either.  I promise you.  There are a lot of reasons I’m against this, not just the high level of unemployment.  There are also a lot of abuses of this system.  In fact, there have been so many abuses of the H1B1 system in the high-tech industry that the Federal Government is investigating and prosecuting the case.  So, this whole trend of either importing foreign workers or sending work overseas just doesn’t cut it for me.  First, we need to take care of our own, then reach out to the tired, hungry and poor of other countries.

So, what do you all think?


Tin-Foil Hat Brigade

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Fun,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 5:34 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Do they really help?
Tin-foil hats, I mean. I’ve had some small experience dealing with nuts who are convinced everyone is plotting against them, so questions like this are very important to me. In fact, I’ve often wondered if wearing one would have improved that poor soul’s disposition and mental health. Probably not, but one can dream. And, I have to admit, it usually seems that the members of the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade actually hear more voices than the average schizophrenic. Well, there might just be a reason for that, according to this paper by an MIT researcher.
He found that tin-foil hats actually seem to improve reception of certain frequencies that just happen to be reserved for use by the Federal Government. Is it a vast, sweeping plot? Just an amazing coincidence? Well, if you ask a member of the TFHB, they’ll say it’s a conspiracy. Of course, most paranoids will also be convinced that any evidence contrary to their delusion is just proof that the person offering such “proof” is part of said plot.
My advice? Take off the shiny hat and try eating some protein for a change. The cult programming will wear off eventually.

Update: After writing this and posting it, I read my e-mail and saw that today is the anniversary of the Jonestown mass suicide. This topic suddenly became sadly appropriate.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A hero is no braver than anyone else. A hero is only brave five minutes longer."


Security, E-Mail and Blogs

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:12 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

“The question isn’t ‘Am I paranoid?’, but ‘Am I paranoid enough?'”
Ever heard that before? If you’ve dealt with computer security, it should be your damn mantra. But, too, if you just use the internet to send e-mail or blog, you should think about it. Why? Well, are you sure that all your e-mail is safe? And, do you know who reads your blog? If you wouldn’t want to say something in front of your mother or child, you might not want to put it up for the entire world to see. Also, did you know you can get fired for blogging? Yep, not only is there the famous Heather at dooce.com, but also the Delta Airlines incident and there’s this story on Register.com about two, unrelated incidents of people being fired for blogging. It’s even gone so far that Blogger has guidelines on “how not to get fired because of your blog“.
But, back to e-mail. I can remember on many occasions rebuilding e-mail files so that we could find out who sent what to whom and when they sent it. At least one time, I had to rebuild an entire e-mail server and system to replicate data that was taken by a U.S. Government agent. (No, not the IRS, thankfully, just the FBI and EPA. The IRS agents are really tough, from what I hear, when it comes to data collection.) Oh, but don’t think that simply deleting the mail is enough. No, siree, there are plenty of ways to get that back. For one thing, many internet enabled systems have a cache that can be poked and prodded back into a mail database. Or, perhaps someone forgot to delete their sent mail. Sometimes that’s even better because it will capture not only the outgoing mail, but part of the e-mail to which the “target” is replying. That’s two birds with one stone, there! Oh, and don’t think that a wireless device will protect you either. According to this story on Slashdot, even the messages sent Blackberry-to-Blackberry can be retrieved by your employer.

Of course, this works in reverse, as well. I often send copies of my work e-mail to my home account so that I have “backup” in case something goes tragically wrong with the work e-mail, I still have a copy to print out and present to a nice judge. Never know when that’s going to come in handy. Believe me, I’ve seen strange stuff when it comes to lawyers and e-mail. Don’t forget, I’ve worked through at least two sales and one bankruptcy. Trust me on this one, it’s nice to know you have proof of what you promised people!
And, if you want something to “vanish” you’d best get to know all about any purge functions you have available to you or look into getting a PGP-based “eraser”. Better yet, if you plan on defrauding the Federal Government, don’t talk about it in an e-mail to anyone. Hell, just don’t talk about it at all. Better yet, just be honest and pay your taxes like the rest of us.

Remember, in the end, the best thing is to just not do anything that you’d get fined for or do time for later. Barring that, don’t make a damn record of it where some vengeful prick might get their hands on it. And, above all, be careful who you cross. (Yeah, this is the sort of thing I think about on airplanes and sitting in hotels after working on new servers all day long. It is my entire life these days.)

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If I'd known I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself!"
   --George Burns

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.