Diary of a Network Geek

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


Not So Quick Update

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:41 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Scanned and sushi-ed.

So, I survived my PET scan just fine today. Actually, I had a chest x-ray and some blood drawn, too, but those were minor compared to the PET scan. I prefer that, though, to the CAT scan. Something about all that barium really messes up my insides for a couple of days. In fact, when I told my oncologist that, she agreed to stick with the PET scans, unless they showed something to be worried about so that I didn’t have to deal with the indigestion and, um, other attendant problems that came with the CAT.
In any case, I won’t get the results of that for a week.
Afterward, my driver of the moment, J., and I went to a sushi joint. It was a place on Kirby called Azuma. It was pretty good and not too expensive, even if we did get the lunch specials, with a little extra. It had a nice, relaxing atmosphere and the sushi was really top-notch.
And, I’ve been meaning to mention that I had sushi with an old friend from back East a couple of weeks ago, too. He’s a consultant doing work for highly-confidential clients. It’s something he takes pretty seriously, which is a good thing, but, as a result, he couldn’t tell me that he was in town until he was, well, in town. So it was a really nice surprise and I ran down to his hotel to pick him up for dinner. We went to a different sushi place, which is why I thought of it again. That time, it was Shimako‘s on Westheimer. Also a very good place for sushi. He paid, though, so I have no idea about the prices.
I’ve been pretty lucky with my friends over the years. Somehow, I manage to find the most loyal, giving people who weather some of the strangest, most uncomfortable times with me. I’m honestly not sure how that works, but, well, I’m just going to accept it and be grateful.

Speaking of being grateful, I had a lot to be grateful for this weekend.
First of all, I came into a little money unexpectedly.  Not enough to dig me out of debt completely, but enough to pay one, lingering, medical bill that I’ve been ignoring with enough left over to do some charity stuff and pay cash for Christmas.  It was a very, very pleasant surprise, though, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first.
In any case, that got me so pumped up that I managed to motivate myself to get something like eight boxes of my ex-wife’s books out of the house.  Even better, I took them to the local Half-Price Books, so I actually got $60 for them.  Not bad, especially for books I really didn’t want in the house any more.  After the first of the year, I’ll have a couple more boxes sorted and ready to get rid of, so I’ll head back.  Now, sadly, I admit, I spent that cash on books for myself.  Still, I figure, books that I like are a good trade for books I don’t.

Now, the funny thing is, one large box of books was, um, rather, ah, “adult”.  So, I warned the nice lady who was going to sort them and make me an offer.  I didn’t want her to accidentally expose any kids to those books and scar them for life.  But, to ease us past the social awkwardness of that moment, I joked that they’d scarred enough lives already.  That got a little laugh and a bit of curiosity on her part.
When she called me back to tell me how much they’d give me, she assured me that I didn’t have anything in there that they hadn’t seen before.  Now, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration, I knew that there probably wasn’t much in there that would shock her.  But, I laughed and shrugged and said, “Well, you know, ex-wife…”
She laughed and smiled and said, “Yeah, I know, ex-husband.”
And she was kind of cute, in a butch way, and had some nice tattoos, so…  Well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to bringing the next batch of books which are somewhat less, ah, exciting than this last batch.

But, I was still so charged up from what I managed in the morning, that I got my laundry done and folded and put away.  And, I managed to get the wireless card working in an old, spare laptop, so it’s going to become a Christmas present for my red-neck nephew.  He’ll be excited, because he can sit in the coffee shop in the little, rural town where he lives and use their free wifi.  Yes, a coffee shop with free wireless in a town of less than 4,000.  Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
And, then I got the rest of my Christmas shopping done.  My siblings and their families will be getting something from Bell’s Farm, as usual.  I like sending Texas fruit to the poor folks up North for a couple of reasons.  First, because fruit is so expensive up there this time of year.  And, also, because I had an uncle in Florida who used to send fruit every year, too, and I liked the idea of carrying on the tradition.  Though, I have to admit, he sent fruit to more people than I do!

Anyway, it was a great weekend and I got tons and tons of stuff done.  I did so much that I already have plans for a similar weekend coming up!  Though, next weekend will be devoted to photography and web design and stuff for the Super Secret Creative Project of Doom.  And, possibly working on a map and some background material for a setting idea I have for fiction.  I hope making it more solid, more real, will help me come up with ideas for stories.  We’ll see.  Oh, and I’ll write another post later in the week about my planned charity with a portion of my unexpected bounty.
Until then, though, keep your holiday spirits bright!


Solar-Powered WiFi

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:53 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Soaking up the rays!

Hey, two great tastes that taste great together!
My regular readers will know that I love WiFi, even if security can be an issue, but they may not know how much I love solar power. Now, there’s a company in Florida that’s combining WiFi access points with solar power. Granted, it’s to overcome some limitations in their copper cable network, but, still, I think it’s a totally cool idea.


That “Special” Time

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, I’m not talking about “that time of the month”.

It’s hurricane season again. Yeah, already. I mention this because a fairly heavy tropical storm has already started up and is smacking Florida around. So, if you haven’t started thinking about how you’re going to survive this year’s hurricane season, you better start.

First of all, let’s talk business, okay? Do you have a plan yet? Better get one quick. Really quick, at this point. What are you going to do if your business gets hit? Where are you going to set up shop while you get your damaged location fixed? Who’s going to staff that temporary location? What about your data? Who’s in charge of protecting it and getting it to a secure location in the event of a disaster?
Don’t know the answer to these questions? Better figure them out in a hurry. Oh, don’t think it’ll happen to you? Check this story on Computer Business Review Online. A lot of those folks didn’t think it would happen to them, either.
Need help with the questions? Oh, yeah, those few, little questions I fired off are just the start. This article on Continuity Central has all those and a whole bunch more that will keep you awake at night until you answer them. It won’t write the plan for you, but it sure will let you know where the holes are in your disaster recovery plan.
Still need help? I recommend checking out SunGuard. I’ve used them, professionally, before and they’re very good at this sort of thing. Very good.
Now, what about you and your family? Considered that yet?
I remember last year when Katrina hit, followed by Rita. It was a disaster with a capital D. People were panicking and running. Gas stations ran out of gas. Grocery stores ran out of canned food and bottled water and batteries. You couldn’t buy a generator at any price. It was a real nightmare. And that was just a close call. Imagine what it would have been like if Rita had actually hit us here in Houston. Right.
So, now is the time to lay in that canned food and the water purification tablets and the batteries and candles and … Well, there’s a lot of stuff, isn’t there? Luckily, there are a lot of different lists and guides to preparing for a hurricane. All you have to do is start now, while it’s still easy. I’ve found links to do-it-yourself hurricane survival kits at Southcom, Hurricaneville, and the Tampa Bay Government website. Also, if you have pets, check out the Pet Survival Kit at the Tampa website. I like the Hurricaneville one because it’s a downloadable PDF file that includes pretty good advice about hurricanes in general and not just what stuff to get to make it through one. It offers practical advice and has good general information about tropical storms and hurricanes.

Personally, I prefer to use solar and dynamo power over batteries when I can and I have that stuff I got last year. I still need to get more canned food and, maybe, some MREs. Never did get that shotgun, either. Not to mention the gas cans or the first-aid kit. I did get a book on First Aid for Dogs though, just in case. And, maybe it’s time to get a couple decorative oil lamps, too…
Excuse me while I exorcise the latent survivalist in me. I know it seems crazy now, but when I’m sitting pretty after the next hurricane, all you Houston readers will be stopping by for coffee, since I’ll be the only one with any!
Seriously, though, folks, it’s never too early to start planning.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."


Idiot vs. Hero

Filed under: Career Archive,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:16 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

It’s a fine line between idiot and hero.
I’ve crossed that line. To the hero side, you weisenheimers! Notice that I’ve been a little quiet on what I’ve been doing at work since I got back from Florida? Well, that’s because things have gone horribly wrong. The whole idea of having a single base ZENWorks for Desktops Imaging installation of Windows XP just didn’t work out the way we’d planned. It was taking too long to make the “addon” images to customize everything for the individual models. And, every little, tiny change Dell made in the chipset was making the addon images fail, too. So, about two weeks ago, I was told we were abandoning that line of thought and going with what I originally suggested, namely, an image per model. And, that I had until Monday the 14th to get it all working.
Well, I got it pretty well there until Monday a fatal flaw was found. With the Dynamic Local User option enabled, when we installed Groupwise as one user, none of the other users could access it. Not even the local administrator of the machine! WTF!? So, I rebuilt the image, twice, each time making sure that all the updates were included. No go. Then I tried every variation of installing the Novell Client and the ZEN for Desktops clients. Same thing. As soon as I hit the network, in any way, only the user that installed Groupwise could access it, or the directory it was installed in. After almost a week of this, you can image how stupid I was starting to feel! Though, no one else could come up with an answer for why this was happening, either…
Well, this evening, at about 6:00pm, I found it. The answer was in the Local Security Policies. The setting was unser Security Options, Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts. It was set to “Guest only: local users authenticate as Guest.”, but should needed to be set to “Classic: local users authenticate as themselves.” As soon as I changed that, BAM! It was all working just like it was supposed to work. I tested it twice and got out before something else went wrong!
So, yes, it was a fine line between idiot and hero, but by the end of my very long working day, I was the hero. Again. Yea, me!


On the Road, Again!

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events,Novell,On The Road — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Well, I’m off to Panama City, Florida today.
It’ll be a week in sunny Florida, but I’ll be in the server room banging away at a keyboard and a mouse. I’ll be upgrading a Novell server there, along with “The Messiah”. (You know, I really need to get a picture of Mike so you all can see what I mean. He’s an athiest that looks like the classic portrait of Jesus. It’s trippy!)
So, since this is the first time I’ll be travelling with Oceaneering, I’m not sure how often I’llb e able to post, if at all. There’s a Fun Friday link all queued up, but other than that, I’ll have to post when I get back, I suspect.
See you next week!
(And, yes, I have someone watching the house, so don’t get any ideas!)


Cruel and Unusual

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

While I was looking for something totally unrelated, I came across the following news story:

“Marjorie Nighbert, a 76-year-old Florida woman, was hospitalized in 1996 after a stroke. Before her hospital admission, she signed an advance directive that no “heroic measures” should be employed to save her life. On the basis of that directive and at the request of her family, the hospital denied her requests for food and water … Until her death more than 10 days later, Nighbert was restrained in her bed to prevent her raiding other patients’ food trays.”

The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, January 13, 1997, page 23.

This is truly the most horrific and cruel thing I have read in years. Since when were “food and water” considered heroic measures? Why didn’t the family do something? At what point did denying her food and water seem like a reasonable thing to do? How could a doctor, having taken the Hippocratic Oath, allow such brutality to occur?
Is it any wonder why law makers want to protect us from ourselves? We hold ourselves as an enlightened society, superior to the rest of the world, but things like this go on here still. I’m simply stunned.

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