Diary of a Network Geek

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

9/6/2019

Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music

Filed under: Fun,music — 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 a First Quarter Moon

A semi-visual guide to electronic music history.

I know sometimes when I share things on Friday, I’m a little late to the party. This week is no exception to that, but since this made the rounds a couple weeks ago, and the zeitgeist has a short memory in social media, I’m just going to share it again anyway. Seriously, you may have missed it when it came around, or already forgotten it, but this site is really good.
The quest to find new music has been something I pursue periodically. When I was in school, I wasn’t all that into music, really. I mean, I hung out with music majors in college, but that generally meant listening to jazz or someone from music history, not something contemporary. But, I read something once about how people get stuck in a musical genre or time-period and never expand their regular listening past that focus at some point in their lives. It sounded to me like a prescription for dying inside and becoming an old man before my time. So, vowing to cheat death, at least when it came to my inner child’s musical tastes, I’ve always sought out new music. And, by that I mean, music that’s new to me. That quest has led me down many a dark, internet alley in search of something new to groove to and resulted in a music collection that ranges from ABBA to Rob Zombie to Mongolian hard rock to hymns on the ukulele to, well, you get the idea. It’s pretty varied. But, I’m still always looking for more.
That brought me to Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music. It is just what the title says; Ishkur’s very personal guide to electronic music. But, let me tell you, it’s fabulous. First of all, it’s got a great interface that shows you how he breaks out the genres and the time-periods they were in. But, if you zoom in and click on a segment, it starts playing Ishkur’s, again, very personal, choice for the “best” of that genre in that year. When it starts playing, the information is displayed at the bottom of the browser, for your information and education. And, if you click the circled “i” icon, you can get a real education about the genre you’re listening to at the moment.
Whether you’re looking for new music or not, it’s definitely worth a look.
And, it’s a great way to warm up for your weekend!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

8/30/2019

Life Calculations

Filed under: Fun,Truth and Consequences — 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 a New Moon

Just what is the cost of wasting time on Facebook?

One of the things that really impressed me in my college Economics classes was the idea of “opportunity cost”. Now, thanks to my ruthlessly practical upbringing and my father’s background in business and economics, I knew full well what “opportunity costs” were well before I got to college. I don’t think he ever called it that, but I grasped the concept early on. In fact, as I reflect at the theoretical half-way point of my life, preparing for my official mid-life crisis, it occurs to me that the greatest losses in my life are not financial or material, but lost opportunities and lost time. Really, for me at least, those two things are intimately linked. Every lost opportunity was lost due to me wasting time in some way. Of course, that’s a pretty ephemeral thing to try and quantify. It’s a little like trying to prove a negative event, which, if you haven’t attempted to do, trust me, is quite a challenge.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to find Everyday Life Calculators on the OMNI Calculator website. Here, finally, I could measure things like the cost of social media in real, measurable terms of money not earned and books not read, among other things, when I was wasting time on the social media du jour. (Which for me, lately has been Instagram, and Pinterest. Don’t judge! You’re wasting time reading my blog!)
So, now, before you spend all weekend getting jealous of the curated lives you see on Instagram or Facebook, calculate how many books you can read instead. Or how many calories you can burn at the gym. Or how much practice time you can get in on the ukulele. Yikes!
See you next week, when I’ll hopefully have something more motivating and less shaming for you to play with.
Enjoy your weekend!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

12/16/2016

Social Fixer

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun — 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

Fix your social media.

I know my post for the past couple of weeks have been pretty random, but, hey, it’s the end of the year and I’ve been cleaning out old links.
I’ve noticed since I’ve been mostly off of Facebook this year, I’ve been more relaxed.  My stress about the election, I think, has been considerably less than most of the people I know.  This can’t be a coincidence.  In fact, I’m sure they’re related.  Facebook, for the most part, adds nothing to my life.  There’s always been too much there for me to keep up with anyway, not to mention all the rage-inducing exchanges I’ve had with people who seem incapable of listening to reason or forming a cogent argument about anything.
Still, I understand the addiction.  It’s hard to turn away from that flow of apparent social interaction once you get hooked.  And, of course, there are legitimate reasons to connect there, like the movie groups my wife belongs to on Facebook.  So, how do you avoid all the cruft that makes you crazy?  Well, if you’re a Firefox (or Chrome) user, there’s a fix for that: Social Fixer.

Social Fixer is a free Greasemonkey script that let’s you hide sponsored posts, advertising, political posts, pages you don’t want to see and more.  Yes, you have to install the Greasemonky add-on first, but other than that, it’s pretty straight forward.  And, it’s the personal project of a regular guy who had the same frustrations as you and I, so you don’t have to worry about more corporate sponsors and greed ruining the fun.  And, if you’d like, you can make donations, but it’s not a requirement to use the tool.

So make your social media great again and clean up your Facebook with Social Fixer!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

4/15/2016

Security In A Box

Filed under: Geek Work,Red Herrings,The Dark Side,The Tools — 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 Waxing Gibbous

First of all, you should know I’m talking about computer security, not home security.

Secondly, know that “in a box” really means something more like “all in one place”.
I’m suggesting this site this week because security is on my mind.  Not only in a corporate sense, but in a personal sense.  In a professional setting, I’ve brushed up against something that could conceivably heighten scrutiny of my own personal foot-print on the internet.  And, I’ve had a particular address from a particular Eastern European country banging against on of my WordPress installations pretty hard this past week.  All of which added up to me checking my collected links for a security themed site I could share with you all.
The site is called Security In A Box and it’s a collection of tips, advice and links to programs meant to help keep you safe on the internet.  Their advice covers everything from creating good passwords to staying safe on social media.  And, they have group-specific suggestions for special interest groups who might have an additional level of scrutiny, either by other special interest groups or governments.  It’s quite a good site for everyone, of course, but of special interest to anyone who might find themselves at the sharp end of one of the many sharpened sticks running loose on the internet without keepers.

So, stay safe this weekend and enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts!

1/23/2015

Keeping It Clean

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,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 Waxing Crescent

Of course, I’m talking about your reputation on-line.

Look, I’m a little pressed for time this week, so I’m going to get right down to it.  On-line, where no one knows all that much about you, really, reputation is everything.  Two weeks ago, I had a link for you with information about beating a polygraph, in case you got caught doing things that embarrassed you.  This week, I’ve got a link to an article by Jack Wallen at TechRepublic with reviews…
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12/6/2013

A Month of Photographic Ideas

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — 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 Waxing Crescent

It’s never too late to get inspired!

I know that I’ve missed almost a full week of December, but, well, I don’t think it’s too late to share a month-long photo challenge.
Daniela Bowker, over at Photocritic.org, shared a 30 Day Photo Challenge she found via Twitter a couple of days ago, and I thought I’d kick off this month’s Friday links by passing it along.  The idea originally comes from the folks behind the Twitter account @Just_Go_Do_It and is a different…
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3/30/2012

Social Media Monster

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I love me some infographics!

No, seriously, infographics are fun.
Now, I’m not a guy who has to track and record and quantify every aspect of his life.  I know people like that, but I’m not really one of them.  On the other hand, I am one of those guys who likes to look at log files and statistics and trends.  It’s kind of a contradiction, I’ll admit, but, well, there it is.    And, I’ll tell you what else, I’m very aware of all the information, all the data points, that I leave behind as a consequence of being on the internet, especially on social media sites, like Facebook.  So, have you ever wondered, like I have, what that data, that information, looks like?
Well, wonder no more!  Now, you, too, can get your very own Facebook Monster infographic!
All you have to do is go to the site, sign into Facebook via their application, and let the app go to work.  The result will be a personalized, fun, funny, monster-based, Facebook-driven infographic of your very own.  I’d share mine, but, well, I’ll be honest, my social media data-footprint kind of sucks for this particular application.  I’m just too low-profile, frankly, to generate a good example data set.

But, hey, this is about you and your data, not me and mine.  So, it’s Friday and you’re slacking anyway, you might as well hit the link and see how your social data looks.  And, y’all have a great weekend!

7/16/2010

Write a Better Bio

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:55 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Think of all the social media bios you’ve written in the last five years.

I bet they all suck.
Well, maybe that’s just mine.  But, there’s no reason you can’t make a better one!  Check out How To Write A Killer Bio by Marci Alboher.  She has some great suggestions.  Then, just get creative!

6/3/2010

Finding Jobs with SEO

Filed under: Career Archive,Certification,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Search engine marketing for job search?

Sure, why not?
I mean, that is why I started this blog ten years ago.  I guess I’m a little ahead of the curve, though, because Channel Insider just recently ran a story listing 17 tips for using SEO and social media to get the IT job you really want.  Mostly, they’re good tips, too, though for anyone who’s internet savvy at all, they’re also mostly common sense.  In fact, I think most real, good search engine optimization is just plain common sense.  Granted, I may be biased because of what I do and how I spend my free time, but, still, it’s not rocket science, you know?

I’ll grant you, this blog has wandered away from my original purpose a bit, but I still talk about technology and some of the things I do at work.  Initially, I started do this so I could drop buzzwords on my page, like “networking” and Certified Novell Engineer”, with normal language to lure in the search engines.  It was easy, really, all I had to do was bore people with detailed descriptions of the IT stuff I did all week long.  Then, because that gets boring fast, I started to occasionally pepper those entries with more colorful personal anecdotes.  Not too colorful, though!

One of the best tips is, to me, one of the most obvious, too.
Be careful what you post.  People seem to quickly forget that the search engines find everything.  Every drunken picture you post or every off-color joke or skeevy thing you share on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else eventually will get traced back to you.  Count on it.  So, be careful to share only the important information and just the details that relate to the image you want to project to get that job.  Treat the whole exercise as an extended digital job interview and put your best foot forward.

Oh, also?  Be honest.  Don’t over-share, but don’t lie either.  The other thing you can count on is that every lie you tell on-line will eventually be found out.

Other than that, though, the real secret is to just provide good content that people want to read.  That, by its very nature, will include all the SEO keywords that you’ll need and give you all the right kinds of links, and, most importantly of all, the right kinds of readers.
Trust me.  I’m telling you this as a guy who once got a call from another city from someone looking for a Novell consultant and was hoping I could help.  Why?  Because I was the number one hit for CNE on Google and they could get to me, but they couldn’t find similar help from Novell themselves.  So, yeah, I do know what I’m talking about and it really does work.  Just do the foot-work, and be patient while the rest happens.  It will.
Trust me.

2/4/2009

Internet Safe For Kids!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, mostly and only from adults.

You know all the scary stuff the media has been telling us about on-line predators and how they’re all out to get our kids? Turns out, it’s not as true as the sensationalist, bottom-feeding media would have us believe. In a story at the New York Times, via Slashdot, they discuss a report done by an independent group who took a closer look at those claims about the endless waves of Very Bad People who were just lurking on social media sites to steal our children and it turns out they were mostly over-blown. Oh, to be sure, such things happen and those people do exist, but the study indicated that those children who were at risk on-line were at risk period. In other words, the Internet was just a facilitator, not a root cause.

Also, the study found that kids were more likely to have trouble with other kids. Cyber-bullying, and bullying in the real world, was found to be a much, much bigger problem and far more pervasive.

The thing is, though, it’s much easier to take the low road and whip everyone into a frenzy over a problem like child molesters running free on the Internet than it is to take responsibility for our own kids and how they treat others.


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