Diary of a Network Geek

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


Naming Your Systems

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Novell,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Naming kids is easy, but naming systems is hard!

And, no, I don’t mean giving your phone a pet name.

I have gone on at length in the past about the importance of naming systems.  It’s a big, big deal, especially if you ever have to go back and change any of those names!  Granted, it’s not as bad now as it was in the old days when you had to manually update dozens, or sometimes hundreds, of host files or configuration files, but, still, it’s a pretty big deal.  So, naming systems are often a topic of discussion, especially among hardcore network geeks.  I’ve been in more than one meeting about choosing a naming scheme that devolved into name calling.
So, there are many schools of thought on this.  One group of people think that the name should be meaningful, giving location and function information.  That’s a good idea, but it often results in names like HOUNOVFILESERV001.  (And, yes, that’s actually a name I used on a server once, for a company that no longer exists.  It stands for HOUston NOVell FILESERVer number 001.)  Sure, it tells you what you need to know, but they quickly become unwieldy to type and maintain.
Another group would say to name your servers, or routers, or what have you, after any group of things that will be easy to remember, like the names of the Seven Dwarves, or characters from the Dilbert cartoon, or, even, at one place I worked, the names of the old Space Shuttle fleet.  And, while I’m not a huge fan of that for many things at a business, it can be fun to ping a Cisco router named Elvis just to get the response “Elvis is alive”.  Certainly at home, I tend to favor a more fun approach using something light-hearted, like the names of cartoon characters or mythological beings or something similar.  But, my problem is always, which set of “things” to choose?

Well, the Naming Schemes Wiki solves that particular problem.  Yes, someone has started a wiki that gathers all the different naming schemes you all can think of in one place for your viewing pleasure.  And, in spite of any protests from your significant other, you can select, at your leisure, a naming scheme to use on your network that makes you smile.  (And, stop looking at me that way!  I know I’m not the only person in the world with a home network big enough or complicated enough to warrant having to choose a naming system for it!)  The maintainer also encourages you to add your own scheme, if, somehow, it’s been missed on this site.  Or, to add to any of the existing pages if you have something to contribute.

So there you have it!  All the endless naming possibilities for your home networking project this weekend!
Y’all have fun!


18 Ways for Geeks to Make “Quick” Money

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, I know I’m starting to make a bad habit of this, but…

But, you know I’m going to do it anyway.
So, I’ve recently seen two lists of ideas for making money. One is pretty specific to computer geeks, but the other is more generic. I’ll summarize and link to them below:

First, from TechRepublic; 10 Ways for Techs to Make Extra Cash

  1. Subcontracting
  2. National Account Work
  3. Database Consulting
  4. Teaching
  5. Software Training
  6. Home Networking
  7. Telecommunications
  8. Financial Software Consulting
  9. Security System/DVR Integration
  10. Online Expert

Okay, I have a few issues with this list. First of all, several of these things would really cut into a full-time gig! I mean, if you’re already in a consulting business of some kind, then branching out might be good, but some of these really aren’t for everyone. For instance, I know I’d be a bad fit for financial software of any kind. I mean, I don’t have any real Accounting training and can barely balance my checkbook, so that doesn’t seem like a great idea, does it? And, I know plenty of people who do a lot of what I do that would have no clue about database design or phone systems. The fact that I do know these things is a fluke, really. But, when times are tough, I suppose every network geek has the potential to become a consultant.

The second list is from MSN; 8 Ways to Boost Your Income

  1. Sell Your Junk
  2. Get a Second Job
  3. Sell Your Skills
  4. Rethink your Rent
  5. Claim Unclaimed Assets
  6. Adjust Your Tax Withholding
  7. Get “Paid” to buy the stuff you already do
  8. Hit up Mom and Dad

Okay, some good ideas, but again, I have some issues with it. Some of these are the old standbys, you know? The renting out a room thing, though, is a good idea. Well, mostly. If you pick the right person. I’m a little sketchy about the finding forgotten assets thing, though. I don’t really think I have anything I’ve left behind anywhere. I’m also a little dubious about playing around with taxes too much, too. That can go wrong in a hurry, and did for me during my divorce. (Of course, I made up for that by selling her junk instead of mine!) And, frankly, buying things on a card that “pays you back” seems like a pretty dangerous choice, too. That can go wrong fast, as my massive consumer debt shows. But, the worst is that last one. Uh, sorry, but I’m not moving in with my mom and dad in the “Over 55” community they live in now. Just not an option.

So, there you are. There might be a few ideas in there, but, honestly, I doubt there’s anything all that new to anyone who worked in IT during the late 90’s after the Internet bubble burst.
I hope all my readers are doing reasonably well, in spite of the downturn. And, if you all have more or better ideas, please, leave them in the comments!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who does not appreciate kindness and compassion."
   --Dalai Lama


Home Networking and Hazards

Filed under: The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Well, I finally got my cable run. Of course, I stepped through my ceiling first. *sigh*
Everything was going okay Saturday with my cable runs. I got the pull string through and got cable feeding up into the closet in the library/server room, but then it got hung up. So, it was up into the attic I went. Well, I found the first snag and got that cleared. Then, I queued up the cables (one phone line and two network cables) to go down the other side of the topmost attic. I climbed down and start to pull it, but it got snagged again. *sigh* So, back up into the attic. The heat was so oppressive that I could hardly breathe. I was pouring sweat faster than I could drink water. I was tired from my little trip to Baton Rouge. And, I slipped. I was stepping carefully from one rafter to another and then to the one-by-six that spanned that side of the attic and my foot slipped off and through the ceiling. *sigh* Well, at least I didn’t fall *all* the way through! And, the hole did make a convenient breathing hole when I got too hot.
Anyway, I finished running those two network lines and the phone line without a hitch. Then, I used the pull string to get the next two network connections with minimal problems. I also managed to pull two network lines down to the master bedroom, though I had to finish that on Sunday because the drill needed a recharge. I used the same pull string for the two connections to our daughter’s room, but when I went to put it down the wall, I found an AC conduit blocking my way. I also had to contend with a 110v line that was a little too close to where I wanted my connection. So, I ended up drilling the hole in the top-plate on the wrong side of the stud from where I cut the hole in the drywall. *sigh* Looks like another patch job. At least this one’s not as big as the ceiling!
And, with that, I decided to stop running cables for now. I’ve got connections everywhere I need them. Truthfully, I doubt that I’ll actually use the ones in our bedroom, but it’s the idea of it. So, now I just have to punch them all down and hook up the jacks. Then, test them to make sure they work. Yahoo. After that, I’ll do up a whole section of “what I learned while running cable” for the poor saps who still think they want to do this. My advice? *Pay* someone else to do it!


Home Networking, Part 2

Filed under: The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, I ran into a little snag running cable. Literally. I managed to get through the top plate and into the wall at the right spot, but when I actually tried to pull the cable, it snagged on the roof before it even got out of the server room closet! I’ll have to get up into the nasty part of the attic to fish it around the snag. Though, I may try to push it up through with the fiberglass pull rod and see if it gets past the obstruction. Either way, I didn’t feel like getting all nasty in the attic anymore, so I was done for the night.


Home Networking

Filed under: The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, Day 1 of cable running didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped. For one thing, I found out just how wimpy my cordless drills are. But, let me start from the begining….
Saturday, after going in for some tests and passing my kidney stone, I stopped at Lowe’s for some tools and supplies. Mainly, I got drill bits and wireties and that kind of junk. But, I also got a *good* stud finder and gloves and breathing masks. Very important as I was going to be crawling around in a very dusty attic. But, by the time we got through with the rest of our day, I wasn’t up for running cable. So, Sunday afternoon, I got set up.
First, I changed into the crappiest clothes I could find. Jeans and an old, long-sleeved t-shirt. Then I got my hat on, scrunched my mask down, and pulled my gloves on. Then, I crawled up into the attic with my fiberglass pull-rods and started fishing around for an opening. No luck. So, I crawled out of the attic behind the “server room” (ie. closet) and headed up to the main attic with the other half of my pullrod. I fished it down and when I got back into the attic behind the server room, I was in luck. I pulled the rod back up some and tied the nylon cord that I planned to pull cable with to the end. Then, after thinking about it for a minute, I tied a second line to that one to setup my second long cable run. After that it was back up into the main attic to fish the pullrod up and over. I managed that and, as I bellycrawled back out, I pulled the second line with me. That should, I hope, miminize the number of trips to the dusties part of the attic. That was the last easy thing that happend,though.
At that point, I got into the attic over where our office will be and tried to fish the pullrod down. After a little manuvering, it seemed to go just fine. However, when I got down stairs and cut my first hole for the wall plate, there was no pullrod. So, I went back up into the attic and tried again. Still no luck. Well, this time I decide to cut a hole for the second wall plate that I planned on putting in, but still no luck. So, it was back up into the attic to see what was what. It was then that I discovered that I had fished the pullrod down the *outside* wall behind the brick facade. Damn. At that point I figured out that I needed to drill through the top plate of the wall so I could fish my line. That’s when I discovered that my cordless drills were just way wimpy. *sigh* And, in fact, that’s where I finally gave up for the day. I’ll go back to it tonight and see if I can finish drilling that hole. If I can, then the rest should be downhill. And, I console myself with the thought that this is the hardes of the cable runs. The work of a network geek is never done!

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