Diary of a Network Geek

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

1/25/2019

Phishing Quiz

Filed under: Fun,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

No, that’s not a typo.

This month, I’ve been dealing with a higher than normal amount of phishing emails at work. For those of you not in IT, those are the emails you get that have links which look like legitimate links, say to your bank, but that actually redirect you to a compromised website that collects your username and password for a hacker’s later use. They’re worse than regular spam email, but not quite virus payloads. Either way, they cause me no end of grief. Normally, I don’t have a hard time spotting them, but even I have to admit, these cyber crooks have gotten really clever lately.
So, this week I’m bringing you something rather more important and educational than it is strictly “fun”. Still, if you bear with me, and follow the link, you’ll be helping yourself and endearing yourself to your IT Department. Trust me.
The link is to Google’s phishing quiz and it’s meant to both test your knowledge and skill at avoiding phishing emails. As an IT professional, I can tell you, it’s harder than it looks. Honest. The first time I ran through the quiz, I missed three of the eight questions, though, one was a “false-positive”, which means I was leaning more toward safety by the end of the quiz. In any case, after you answer each question, the site takes you through what was wrong, or right, about each email.

So, yeah, not the most traditionally “fun” thing for a Friday, but it is a kind of game, so I’m going to count it!
And, with any luck at all, by this coming Friday, I may be finally able to reveal one of the things that’s been keeping me from writing up better stuff for you on Friday’s the past month or so.

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

9/7/2018

Burner Email Addresses

Filed under: Red Herrings,The Day Job — 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 Crescent

Because having a disposable email means having privacy.

I hate spam. I mean, I really hate spam and spammers with a passion. As a system administrator, which is what I really am no matter what fancy title I may currently have, I can tell you that dealing with spam is the single most time-consuming and irritating thing about having an email server. The last time I checked, spam accounted for something like 75% of all email communication. The problem is, a lot of the time, to get the one thing you want from a site, you are forced to sign up for an email newsletter that you don’t really want. Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually like email newsletters. I subscribe to several and I’m even working on setting up one of my own. But, for those times you really just want the one “free” download a site is offering and don’t have any intention of coming back, what are you to do? Or, what if you’re not even sure that it’s a legitimate download or website? Maybe you’re afraid that a hacker has set up a site just to collect personal information, what then?
Well, then, you use nBox by notif.me to setup a free, anonymous and private “burner” email for any site you want to sign up for. You can then choose how and when you’re notified when they send something out. You can even delete the addresses you’ve used for sites you don’t want to be bothered with any more and *poof* they’re all gone, all at once.
And, yes, it’s free. How? Well, it’s free because it’s notif.me’s way of advertising and getting the word out about their service.
So, why not try it and take control of your email notifications this fine Friday?

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

6/1/2018

DIY Abstract Backgrounds

Filed under: Art,Fun — 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

I love free web gadgets.

Also, I have all kinds of devices that can have background images. Everything from iPhones to computers can, though are not required to, show a background image of some kind. Yes, they all ship with a varying number of default background images. And, of course, I’ve featured many places to get more, and cooler, background images here before. But, this week, I’ve got something a little different. Today, my Friday Fun link for you is Cool Backgrounds by Moe Amaya, where he brings together five different tools for creating, or finding, cool background images.
I’ll take them in reverse order. First, he links to Unsplash, which hosts totally free photos for your projects, all of which are pretty awesome. He also has “Gradient Topograhy”, which creates semi-custom color-field patters that are very much like stylized topographical maps. He’s also hosting, and linking to, CSS Gradient, which gently blends two colors into a single, beautiful image, along with the required code to make it happen. Then he’s got the much more animated, and complicated, Particles, that creates a moving, changing display of points, connecting lines and color, also with the code to make it all happen. And, finally, the increasingly familiar geometric shapes and colors of Trianglify. And, the last three, which are the first three on the site, also have the links to the original sites, so you can get even more options and variations to customize to your heart’s content.

It’s a short week, and we all know less gets done in short weeks, so you might as well go over and check it out. Surely one of these will have something you can, or want, to use in an upcoming project.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

5/11/2018

Collected Freebies

Filed under: Fun,Fun and Games — 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 Crescent

You all know how I love free stuff.

And, those of you poor souls who have been coming to this blog, week after week, also know that I am as lazy as I can possibly manage to be. Toward that end, I do my absolute best to share only the best links stolen from other sites, prettied up and reposted here for your internet browsing pleasure. So, when Lifehacker share the post “Download Free Stuff From Reddit’s Favorite Websites”, you can’t be surprised that I’m sharing it with you this week. These sites are mostly legal, always free, and cover suggestions from free books to music to games to apps and more. Collected by redditor howtoadvanced, and distilled to just the best by the fine folks at Lifehacker, and now, linked to by me.
Enjoy.

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

12/8/2017

Scam The Scammers

Filed under: Fun,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

In the Christmas spirit of giving, give the scammers a headache.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I seem to get twice the number of scam and spam email that I normally get. It’s pretty terrible. I mean, most of the year, it’s bad enough, but we are all extra busy this time of year and have even less time than normal to deal with these bottom-feeders of cyberspace. I’m NOT an advocate of the infamous “hack back” strategy, even for well-heeled corporate IT departments that can staff skilled anti-hackers, but the idea of an artificially intelligent email bot that annoys and harasses email scammers is a little different. For one thing, it’s just annoying email. For another, it’s automated.
All you have to do is forward the scam email to me@rescam.org and let the games begin. The Re:scam email bot will reply to the scammer and tie them up with an almost endless stream of questions and “personal” anecdotes so the scammers are kept busy and, yes, tortured just a little bit. And, they’ll forward you the email conversations afterward, for your amusement.
No, it’s not nice, but, let’s face it, these email spammers aren’t exactly on Santa’s “Nice List”, if you know what I mean.

So, head over to Boiing Boing and read about the Re:scam email bot and enjoy your Christmas shopping!

This post originally appeared at Use Your Words!

8/11/2017

Trippy GIFs

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:01 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

And, yes, that’s pronounced like the peanut butter by all right-minded geeks.

Because that’s how the creator said it! Okay, that’s all a joke, because he didn’t actually care that much about how anyone said it, according to an interview I read. Though, I suspect he might appreciate having gotten royalties on the file format. The really big deal about GIFs, in case you were really bored on a Friday and looking for an internet history lesson, is that the specification included provisions for animation. So, basically, these little guys were the first way we really shared video on the internet, back when the internet was CompuServe and other “walled garden” sites.

Flash forward to today, though, and artists have done some spectacular things with the format, like wavegrower and his amazing animated GIFs. Go take a look and just prepare to waste your entire day being mezmerized by the beauty of his psychadelic moving images.
Stunning. Seriously, just stunning.
And, a pretty fun way to waste time on a Friday when you’re reading blogs instead of working.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

1/30/2015

Out Of Ideas

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 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’m completely out of fucking ideas this week.

Good thing I found this post on Lifehacker from 2012 that will tell me what the fuck to do!
Of course, since they’re a big, mainstream site, they shy away from the cursing, but I figure the keywords won’t hurt my site’s rankings, so I’m just going for it.  Their article was titled Seven Helpful Sites That Tell You What The F**K To Do.
They’ve got everything from The Fucking Weather to What The Fuck…
Read More

10/24/2014

Free eMagazines

Filed under: Art,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:31 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I don’t have much for you this week.

Seriously, it’s been a long, tiring week and I’m kind of burned out, but I have to work part of the weekend, too, so I’m afraid this week isn’t great.   Basically, I’ve just got one thing, but at least it’s free.
If you like to read, especially magazines, and don’t mind reading online or via an app, then check out Issuu, the free digital publishing platform.  Yes, it’s basically a news stand in digital…
Read More

2/10/2012

The Best 404 Pages

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Not all 404 pages are created equal.

Most of us will never see a 404 page.  In fact, if things are going well on your website, 404 pages shouldn’t normally come up.  (For those of you not familiar a 404 page is the error page you get on a website when the page you’re looking for is missing or can’t be found.)  In the old days, 404 pages were pretty much blank, outside of the error message itself.  They were meant for developers to troubleshoot and debug their websites, really.  They were a kind of place-holder page and, at best, an irritant to the average internet browser.
But, as the web grew up and became more sophisticated, so have 404 pages.  On many sites, they’ve become a kind of “Easter egg“, offering a look at the wit and sense of humor of the site designers and programmers.  What was an annoyance has become a fun bit of art!

Clearly, not even all “fun” 404 pages are created equal, so here are the best 404 Pages according to Gizmodo, one of the premiere gadget and technology blogs.  My favorite is the one they feature first, which strikes me as especially funny, considering my frustrations with Match.com lately.  There are some really good ones there, some more fun and some more useful than others, but all worth another look.  And, even though I know these are Gizmodo’s favorites, there are plenty of good ones that haven’t been listed here.  If you have any, please, leave a link in the comments!

And, hey, why not go check out that gallery today?  It is, after all, Friday, and surely you’ve earned some slack time by now!

12/2/2011

HTML For Babies

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

No, seriously!

Okay, so as we approach Christmas, I tend to think of gifts for people and I’ll no doubt post about them.  Okay, so, mostly, these are things I wouldn’t mind getting, but, still, I have good taste, so you’ll enjoy them, too.
So, clearly, you can tell that I’m no web designer from the way this site looks, right?  Well, believe it or not, I used to code all the pages for this site in HTML, by hand, using nothing more than a text editor!  Okay, all you design people can stop laughing at me now, thanks.
Anyway, when I saw this book, HTML for Babies, I was delighted!  Finally, I can start training my two-year-old godson to code compliant HTML so that he’s ready to take over managing my websites by the time he’s in Middle School!  You think I’m kidding?  Then hit the link and you’ll see that, no, I’m serious.  This is a book filled with properly coded HTML and simple, positive messages perfect for any toddler learning to read.  It really is baby’s first HTML training manual!

So, go ahead and start your geek young!  The perfect stocking stuffer for your budding web developer!
(You can also buy it directly from Amazon here: )

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