Diary of a Network Geek

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

8/19/2016

More, Hey Siri!

Filed under: Fun,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 Waning Gibbous

So no more map posts this month, but some good stuff anyway.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post titled Hey Siri, which had all kinds of tips and tricks to using Siri, the personal assistant on the iPhone.
I’m back with more.  In fact, I think this very well may be the definitive guide to what you can get Siri to do or answer for you.
Everything from posting on Twitter to getting directions to converting miles into meters.  Siri can do a lot of amazing things for you and all via voice command.  We live in an age of miracles.  And, over at Hey, Siri! What can you do for me?, they’ve collected pretty much everything you can think of in one, searchable, website for you.  It’s nothing short of miraculous.
Want to know how many seconds are in twenty-three years?  Just say, “Hey, Siri, convert twenty-three years to seconds” and you’ll know.
Want to know how many days until Christmas?  Just say, “Hey, Siri, how many days until Christmas” and she’ll tell you.
Want to add milk to the grocery list? All the commands you need are at Hey, Siri! What can you do for me?
Seriously, they’ve got everything you might want to do. Go look!  But, I’m not responsible for your co-workers getting annoyed at you talking to Siri all day.  That’s on you.

And, again, for those of you who don’t have Siri, you can still enjoy Shit Siri Says, which is funny no matter who you are!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words.

5/22/2015

Roll Your Own

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Ooo, shiny...,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

Three words that strike fear into the heart of many a wise system administrator.

And not a few other sorts of smart people, too!
In this case, though, I’m talking about rolling your own WordPress theme.  This is one of those many, many projects that I’ve wanted to get to on that ever-elusive “one day” when I have spare time.  It’s also something I want to ultimately do for FindMyPhotographer.com, which I quietly rolled live a week ago.  I won’t make it…
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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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5/17/2013

Draft – Version Control For Writers

Filed under: Fun Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I am a geek.

This may be self-evident based on the fact that I work in IT and maintain several websites including two blogs, but the implications of that may not be clear.
In software development, of which I have done very, very little, there’s a concept called “version control”.  In brief, it’s about keeping track of the latest revision of your written source code, so that you can revert, if necessary, to an older version for part of the code, when…
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10/12/2011

Talker’s Block

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, you may notice a bit more output here.

Frankly, some of it may be of questionable quality.  That’s as planned, to be honest.
See, I’ve suffered from a kind of writer’s block.  Not only here, in what I think of as my public, non-fiction world, but in my creative world, too.  The photography has helped that, but, not in the way or quite as much as I had hoped.  But, recently, several things that I’ve been reading and paying attention to all sort of came together to send me a message:

JUST WRITE!

I tend to worship the written word, mainly because I love it so much.  But, as a result, I have all kinds of really terrible ideas about how those words get written, or at least, how I should write them.  The net effect, of course, is that nothing gets written, as long-time readers here have no doubt noticed.
Then, I read “Talker’s Block” on Seth Godin’s blog.
The idea, in brief, is that no one really gets up in the morning worrying so much about what they’re going to say that they voluntarily remove themselves from all conversation until they can think of the “right” thing to say.  (I suppose the case might be made that people who are autistic do that, but I don’t think they actually worry about it.  It’s just something they do.)  No, his argument was that we get up in the morning and go about our business and talk, mostly without considering it much, because that’s what we do all the time.

Now, apply that to writing and the answer to getting over writer’s block is to write.  All the time.  Even poorly.  Just write and keep writing.
So, that’s what I’m doing.  And, I hope the end result will be that you see more output here.
Don’t worry, though, I won’t send all my posts through Twitter and Facebook and all that.  Some will come through, just not all.  And, I suspect that, for a while, they’ll keep coming through, for search engine placement purposes and marketing and the like.  But, they’ll taper off eventually.

Thanks for your attention.
You can go back to whatever internet gewgaw was wasting your time before me.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If someone keeps having things go wrong, try out the assumption that it's because that someone wants them to go wrong."
   --George Scithers

6/3/2011

James Joyce Condensed for Twitter?

Filed under: Art,Fiction,Fun,Red Herrings,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Can someone “reimagine” Ulysses in 140 character bursts?

You James Joyce fans know that June 16th is “Bloomsday“.  The day that Joyce famously detailed in his epic novel [amazon_link id=”1617203475″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ulysses[/amazon_link].  Well, one fan is planning to reformat and reinterpret that famous novel via Twitter this coming Bloomsday.  She’s looking for volunteers to help with the effort, so if you’re interested, hit the article and follow the link there to her project site.  Or, if you just want to follow the action yourself, follow the @11ysses Twitter account before 8:00am (Dublin time) June 16th and see how well they make this happen.  It could be an interesting effort, or a total train wreck.  There’s no telling really.

But, I have to admit, I wonder about this.
The novel is, as you may be aware, a long, challenging literary experiment, of sorts.  And, it’s as famously challenging to read as it must have been to write.  So, I wonder, is dumbing down a classic like that to 140 character intervals really so fantastic?  I should mention that I’ve never actually read the book, though I occasionally feel the urge to attempt it, like some kind of pseudo-intellectual daredevil, attempting to jump a cultural canyon.  So, I wonder, will this project make it more accessible to the unwashed masses, like me?  Or, will it marginalize the work more than modern society already has?
Or will any significant portion of the modern world even notice?
(And, should any of that matter at all?)

5/27/2011

What to Tweet?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:41 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Are you on Twitter?

Most of you who read this blog probably get here via Facebook or Twitter these days.  Yes, I am one of those attention whores that has their Twitter setup to post status updates to Facebook when we tweet.  And, I’ve taken that a step further by setting my blog to tweet when I have released a new post.
But, sometimes, I just tweet regular, random stuff, just like every other attention whore on Twitter!  I may not tweet photos of what I’ve eaten for breakfast, but, occasionally, I tweet something that’s intended to be funny or insightful.  So, in any case, I know what it’s like to try and keep those tweets fresh and interesting.  And, I know, it’s not easy!  So, you’ll be relieved to know that there IS help!  Help in the form of the website “Yes, that can be my next tweet!

The web-app will look at your Twitter feed and use programattic magic to analyze patterns to your tweets and mash them together to suggest similar tweets.  Then, of course, you can send them right to your hordes of faithful Twitter followers who are just waiting for your next brilliant tweet about how the stupid traffic made your yummy fast-food breakfast cold!  Or whatever.  No judgement.  (Well, maybe a little.)

1/25/2011

Dealing With Death

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:14 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not the idea, but the actual event.

Two stories ran recently about dealing with the parts of us left behind after death.
First a story about a “better” coffin that screws into the ground.  Okay, I’ll grant you, this is less serious than morbidly amusing to me.  Still, I do like the idea of having a low-cost disposal method for what I’ll leave behind once I “shuffle off this mortal coil”.  That it screws into the ground, just tickled me.
And, for anyone keeping track, I’d just as soon be cremated and scattered to the Four Winds where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan just outside the Loop.  Seriously.

The second two were a little more serious.  Two stories about social media applications dealing with the accounts of the dead and, more recently, one from the New York Times Magazine, online, of course.
Back before everyone was on the web all the time, I used to have an envelope that was labeled “Open upon my death or disappearance”.  Seriously!  I used to keep it tucked under my keyboard.  I had one at work, too, for those folks, though that was in a safe.  In each envelope was a series of usernames and passwords for people to use to get access to my accounts should I go missing, or should something happen to me that left me incapacitated or dead.  I’m honestly not sure if anyone knew about the one under my keyboard, but I figured it would have turned up when someone cleaned up after me.  So, basically, I was giving someone who survived me access to my e-mail and other, similar accounts.
I got rid of that sometime shortly before the divorce, for some obvious reasons.

Now, though, there are so many accounts and websites and blogs and such that I’m not sure I could easily list them all.  And, frankly, who would bother to pay for my website?  Who would care enough to maintain an archive of this blog, for instance?  I don’t have a huge readership, though you are a pretty loyal lot, so I don’t expect anyone to really want to preserve what I have here.
How many of you have though about what will happen to your blogs and websites and so on when you die?  What about if you were to die suddenly from, oh, say, cancer?  What then?  If I went missing for a month, would anyone notice here?
Well, for WordPress blogs, there’s a plugin called Next Of Kin that might help, a little.  You can set it to post some message to your blog if you fail to login to your blog for a set amount of time.  And, just to be sure, it will send you a reminder or warning e-mail to check and make sure that you haven’t just forgotten to visit your blog.  It’s far from enough to take care of all of your digital needs after death, but it is a pretty good start!

So, what have you all got setup in case of your untimely death?  Does anyone know your passwords?  Have you given anyone instructions on what to post to Facebook or Twitter after you’ve gone?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity."
   --Albert Einstein

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.

5/14/2010

Power Twitter

Filed under: Fun Work,Linux,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I have a power problem.

Well, to be more precise, my office has a power problem.
Though, maybe it’s more accurate to call it a “power inconvenience” than anything else.  We make great, big, huge cranes.  These cranes take a lot of power, so when we’re testing them, our building suffers from huge power fluctuations.

So, what to do?  Well, possibly, setup a script on my Linux monitoring server to Twitter the power status of the big UPS in my office.  How?  Well with this tutorial on YourWarrantyIsVoid.com, that’s how.
(Okay, confession time…  This has been sitting in my queue so long that not only have I scrapped the Linux monitoring server, to be rebuilt at a future date, and the actual power problem has been resolved, too.  But, it was a good idea, so I’m going to share it anyway.  Enjoy!)

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