Diary of a Network Geek

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


Personal Branding

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Personal branding has always been interesting to me.

Maybe it’s my degree in Marketing that drives this strange interest in market segmentation and branding, or maybe it was the obsession, and being raised by a professional salesman and marketer, that led me to get a degree in Marketing. Either way, brands and how they’re created have always interested me. Toward furthering my knowledge and understanding of how brands work, I got a book sometime back that I’m just reading now, called Wordcraft. The book is all about the process of naming “stuff” in the business world. Naturally, this touches on brands.
One realtaively new idea in branding has been the “personal brand”. The idea that an individual can brand themselves. Naturally, the most common example is usually a Hollywood star who literally is their brand. But, consider also Oprah, Martha Stewart and Michael Jordan. Well, what got me thinking about this lately is the long conversations I’ve been having with an artist friend of mine, Mark Flood(link may not be safe for work, small children or my ex-wife), while I was in the hospital getting my chemo. In a way, he has branded himself, at least in the art world. His thinking, his creativity and his work is his brand, so to speak. I think this is true for every artist, even literary artists.
Right now, I censor myself quite heavily, though you might not always know it, because this blog and website are so closely associated with my corporate professional life. In a certain sense, I have branded this site and blog. Not in a truly conscious way, but in a somewhat organic way a personal brand has emerged. So, I started thinking about branding at this level in a more directed, concerted way. Naturally, that led me to start Googling the topic. I found a number of links, but the series of posts on Blog Branding that Chris Garrett has written looked like the best to me. I haven’t read them all yet, but I plan to before I launch my next project.

Which brings me to my next related thought in this post…
This site is what I think of as my “serious, computer professional site”, which regular readers will know is really not all that serious, professional or even always computer related. Still, it’s far from the wildly creative zany, wacky, perhaps even literary website I have in mind. And, that, dear readers, is my next super-secret project. In fact, this creative project is so secret it doesn’t even have a name yet. Well, okay, it doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t finished Wordcraft yet and started the brainstorming process to create a new “brand name” for the site.  I tried doing this initially with Fantasist.net, but well, found the whole thing a bit too limiting.  I mean, not everything I write or create is fantasy, sometimes it’s science-fiction or even, gasp, modern or literary fiction.  So, I want something more, well, generically creative than that.  And, I’ve been considering consolidating or abandoning old, disused websites I’ve had and domain names I’ve controlled.  (Does anyone want to buy HavePalmWillTravel.com?)  So, moving content to the new site would bring some instant presence, without the baggage.  At least, in theory.

There are, of course, a lot of issues to work out still.
Not the least of which is a logo.  I used to rely on my ex-wife, the graphic designer, to generate most of my graphics.  Not that I ever actually got what I asked for, in spite of spending a fortune on graphics software for her.  There are several logo companies on the web that make logos cheap and, well, frankly, their work looks pretty good.  Better than what I eventually got from the ex-wife, in any case.  And, the bottom line is they produce in a timely fashion for a reasonable price.  In case you’re interested, I’m looking at using the firms listed in this old article on Wired Magazine about logo and brand creation.  The prices they list are out of date, since the article is several years old, but the information on the companies has been a great help.  I’m still thinking about it, but, I’ll probably end up doing it.  Logos are important to brands and, well, you get what you pay for.  At least, when you’re not paying in barter and to “family”.  I’ll keep you all updated on this process, either way.

So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about since I got out of the hospital last, at least, in regards to branding and blogs and such.
Oh, to protect my creative brand, I probably won’t actually link to it from here or mention it by name, though I will talk about the process as I work on it.  For those who are truly interested, e-mail me when it’s done and I’ll send you the info.  Don’t worry, I’ll announce it again when I finally get it up and running.



Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’m still here.

I’d have quoted Monty Python and the Holy Grail and written, “I’m not dead yet!”, but I notice that some folks don’t quite have the same dark sense of humor about my cancer that I do, so I thought better of it.  I’ve really gotten out of the habit of writing anything on the blog here and, I have to admit, it bothers me a bit.  Sure, I have excuses for why, not the least of which is chemotherapy, but when things are going well and I’m not actually in the hospital, I probably could write a bit more than I have.  I have been trying to read more, too.  So much time laying in bed in the hospital has almost over-dosed me on television, which is a Good Thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

I was in the clinic today, getting checked over, and then had the afternoon to relax a bit and rest.  I took that time and did just lay about and, well, read.  In fact, I finished  You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore this afternoon.  It’s a great book, even if it’s not his best, but it’s a sequal to Blood Sucking Fiends: A Love Story and you’ll be hopelessly lost if you don’t read that one first.  Hmm, maybe I’ll review those this week, if I maintain my mental and emotional stamina.  I actually feel pretty good tonight, which, of course, means that it’s about time to check into the hospital again.  And, in fact, I’ll be back in on Monday for five fun-filled days of chemotherapy.

In any case, I just wanted to put something in here so that folks knew I was alive and well and progressing the way the doctors want me to do.  There are a million other things floating about in my head, too, but as yet they’re too nebulous and unformed for me to write about.  Maybe soon.  Stay well everyone.


IT Black-Ops

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Linux,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, that is not what I’m doing these days.
But, as you regular readers know, I do love computer security. So, when I saw this article on WiredNews about the U.S. Military’s l33t hacking unit, I had to blog it. There was a time when I thought I’d love to do this kind of work. Who knows, maybe I still have a chance to get in, though I think I’m a little too old for that now. And, I have to admit, I’m no where near being the kind of computer geek that they’d most likely be looking for anyway. I certainly haven’t done anything even close to illegal in years. In fact, lately, I haven’t even done much normal security work around the office! Though, that may be changing soon.
You know, this article got my juices flowing so much about hacking and security that I might just build myself a Linux security box. You know, something with NMap on it and some other tools for scanning and testing network security. I could run it against my own, personal home network and, if I can get permission, I can test the security at the office, too. It would be fun, and it might just show a little bit of initiative on my part. These days, everyone is worried about data security, or they should be, so having a methodology for testing security where I work could be a Good Thing, as Martha Stewart would say.
Well, a neat article and something to think about. Enjoy!


Just Make It!

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Just when you thought I’d never post another fun link…

O’Reilly comes out with Make magazine, the magazine dedicated to geeks who want to make it themselves. Yep, my favorite tech/geek publisher is coming out with a new magazine in early 2005 that is dedicated to the hardware hacker in all of us. They describe their fledgling magazine as “Martha Stewart for geeks”.

Sounds like fun to me!


Independant Offshoring Study

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Gee, what a novel idea!

According to this article on the IEEE website, Today’s Engineer, an IEEE member has finally convinced the US Congress to take a somewhat more dispassionate look at the effects of outsourcing. Specifically, the House of Representatives approved a “mandatory” appropriations bill that coughs up $2 million for an “independent study of the effects of offshore outsourcing on the economy and employment” in the US. What’s frightening to me is that this hasn’t been done before. With all the hoopla on both sides, doesn’t it seem obvious to have an independant, unbiased agent of some kind look into what effects off-shoring is having? Um, DUH!?
Of course, I’m a little biased because I know a number of people who have been directly effected by the outsourcing/off-shoring trend of the past few years. Still, while I am willing to admit that it makes sense in some cases, no one has proven that it’s a “good thing”, as Martha Stewart used to say. I certainly don’t think that it’s the cure-all that so many executives seem to have thought it was for the past five years. And, they may be finally waking up to that fact, too. On the other hand, they don’t seem to have snapped to that at my old company. Yet, anyway. Well, at least some folks are starting to do something about it!
It’s an important subject, I think. Especially for our industry.

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