Diary of a Network Geek

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


SysAdmin Software For Your Budget

Filed under: Life Goals,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver,News and Current Events,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 Waning Gibbous

Everyone’s IT budgets are shrinking this year, and probably next year, too.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been through a down-turn in the economy. And, every single time, no matter what the industry I’m in, IT and software purchases are some of the first casualties. Unless you work in an industry that is really deep into software and systems, it can be really hard to sell a software purchase to upper management, even under the best of circumstances. SO, now, with things as tight as they are, it can be almost impossible. One of the reasons I almost never worry about being unemployed for long is that I’m blessed with a reputation of doing more with less. I’m the kind of guy that will use PowerShell and batch files to build middleware. And, I’m absolutely the sort of geek who’s willing to put in some effort to use free, open source software to fill a need when a budget gets tight. So, since I’ve mostly been posting new content at my other blog, I thought I’d share something appropriate to Diary of a Network Geek, the first blog I ever started.
I’ve had this link for a couple of months at least, but there’s been a lot going on lately, so I haven’t shared it, until now. This week, I’m suggesting you take a look at Awesome Sysadmin, a curated list of amazingly awesome open source sysadmin resources, which is a fork of the older Awesome Sysadmin, a curated list of amazingly awesome open source sysadmin resources inspired by Awesome PHP. (I know, those names are confusingly redundant and vague.) I have to admit that I’ve only used a few things off these lists, but Clonezilla and NAGIOS were both solid tools for me when I had a shoestring budget and had to get stuff done. In fact, I still use Clonezilla because, frankly, it works so well. We use it to image Windows 10 machines without any issue. Laptops or desktops, either one works fine. So, if you’re in the network plumber business, as I refer to system administration, these lists are a great place to “shop” for free, open source software that can help you add another tool to your digital tool bag. And, yes, they may take a little extra time to set up and configure or may require reading some documentation, but that will just help you sharpen your skills.

And, with all the money you save on software, you can afford to donate to causes that support a United States of America that is truly free and equal for all of her citizens, like the ACLU or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or some other civil rights cause that scratches your political itch. Not everyone may be willing to risk their life or incarceration to protest injustice, but a monetary donation can help support those people who are fighting that fight.
Or, if you still can’t afford a straight donation, we can support more minority businesses. There’s a great list of resources for Black freelancers at Freelancers Union that include lists of Black businesses we can support.

And, of course, we can continue to educate ourselves, because it is OUR responsibility to educate ourselves as to the condition of our fellow citizens, not theirs. If you’re not sure where to start, this list from the Chicago Public Library can help. We can read books from lists like that and continue to educate ourselves because this is an issue that we can’t ignore anymore, no matter who you are or what you do for a living.


Happy Independence Day

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

On this day in 1776, more than 230 years ago, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.

It is a national holiday here in the States, in case that wasn’t clear to my non-US readers. I think, though, that a lot of people here have forgotten just why the day is so important. Oh, sure, it’s nice to have a day off. In fact, I’m enjoying it now, having gotten up late and not planning an overly taxing day. But, the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is about a lot more than hot dogs, BBQ, fireworks, parades, and apple pie.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
(You can read more at Wikipedia.)

These words, these ideas, are the basis of all the rest of our government. Oh, to be sure, these principals have not always been applied well or without bias, but the are what underlie all our political striving in this country. We are far from perfect, and certainly there are things wrong with our government, but it is still, I think, the best, most free, form of government we have. It’s something our forefathers fought and died to create for us. It’s something that many have fought and died for since then. I think it’s important to remember that. There was a time in our history, which only spans a little over 230 years, that Americans fought and died for their freedom, our freedom.

I think we all need to consider that as things like the Patriot Act and the pseudo-security invoked with claims of protecting us from terrorism. I’ve heard all the arguments, too, how people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, how we must do anything within our power, no matter how heinous, to prevent further acts of terror. I’ve seen my fellow Americans dehumanize detainees in Guantanamo Bay based on their religion of choice or the region of their birth. Gentle readers, there is no excuse, no justification, for the erosion of our civil liberties. There is no argument strong enough to convince me that erasing hundreds of years of good work, sacrifice, and service that so many have given so that I can do something as simple as write a blog, take pictures of public spaces, or attend the religious institution of my choice. That, my friends, is what our founding fathers were securing for us on this day in 1776, these freedoms that we so take for granted.

So, enjoy your hot dogs, have a slice of apple pie, watch that parade and admire those amazing fireworks. But, let’s not forget that today is more than the Fourth of July, remember that today is Independence Day.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The only difference between saints and sinners is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."
   --Oscar Wilde

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