Category Archives: Geek Stuff

Amazon Suggested Items…You’re Kidding Me, Right?

I’m sure you’ve noticed when buying stuff on Amazon that they will provide “suggestions” of related items commonly purchased…just to help you out…right? Ha! Yeah…right. Well I was recently purchasing an item on Amazon and this was their recommended “Frequently Purchased Together” list of products…

Makes sense to me...

Makes sense to me…

So according to Amazon, they must have a lot of customers that need to purchase ear plugs, gift cards, and a Fire HD 7…all at the same time. Yeah…right…and I have some real good land I want to sell you in the north east part of Florida. I guess I can’t blame Amazon for trying, but really…can’t your complex (and powerful) computer algorithms do a better job than this?

In case you are wondering…I didn’t bite.

RFC 1925 – Still Relevant After 19 Years

If you really need to dig into the protocols, then RFC’s (Request for Comment) are where you need to go. These “papers” are what defines protocols and other technologies, and are used extensively by engineers and computer scientists to properly program these technologies. As an example, if you need details about OSPF, then you could refer to RFC 2328 (for OSPFv2) and RFC 5340 (for OSPFv3). You will end up knowing way more about OSPF than you really want.

Now, as time marches on, technologies tend to get old and are replaced. And new RFC’s are written to define the latest technologies. However, if you have a few minutes, here is an RFC that should remain relevant for many years to come…and it was written in 1996…

The Twelve Networking Truths – RFC 1925

My favorite is 7a!  Enjoy!!

New Horizons – The Little Ship that Could

If you are any kind of geek or into astronomy…(and I’m both!!)….then today was a great day!!

New Horizons image of Pluto from a couple of days before flyby (Image Credit: NASA)

New Horizons image of Pluto from a couple of days before flyby (Image Credit: NASA/APL/SwRI)

The NASA probe New Horizons had it’s close encounter with Pluto, flying by the planet at a distance of only 7750 miles, and collecting a ton of data! And it survived the flyby just fine I might add. All this data though, will take about 16 months to fully transmit back to Earth…the probe is so far away from us that the data communications rate is only about 1 Kb per second. It will take about 45 minutes to transmit just one picture back to Earth. Incredible!!

Check out this story from NBC for a general update. For a really good technical story on how New Horizons transmits the data, check this out (note…it was written back in January).

Congratulations to NASA and the team at John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory!! Job well done!!

The SR-72 — This is SO Cool…

My favorite plane is the Lockheed SR-71…the fastest air-breathing plane ever developed. It could travel above Mach 3+ (2,200+ MPH), and at an altitude of 80,000 feet. During high school and early college, I lived near Plant 42 (in Palmdale, California), where Lockheed had a maintenance facility for the SR-71. Seeing the SR-71 in flight was a common occurrence, and one I will never forget. Sometimes I would sit near the end of the runway, and watch/listen to it thunder overhead while it did touch & goes. Life did not get any better than that. The SR-71 was fully retired in 1998.

SR-71 in flight (USAF - public domain)

SR-71 in flight (USAF – public domain)

Now there is news of a new “spy” plane which is in development by Lockheed Martin and Areojet Rocketdyne…the SR-72. Take a look at an article published by Popular Science in their June 2015 issue…in it they report on the SR-72 and related details, which may or may not be accurate. But who cares at this time…I just can’t wait to see it!!

Novell NetWare – Another Blast From the Past

Yes, I’m still cleaning up my LAB (and office). In addition to the Bay Networks surprise “find” which I posted about yesterday, I found this today…

Novell GroupWise Installation Disks

Novell GroupWise Installation Disks

Ahhhh…Novell…my first love (with apologies to my wife Debbie). My very first job was as a NetWare Administrator, managing NetWare 3.12 servers and the related network devices (UB Networks hubs and Bay Networks routers). What a powerful and solid combination of hardware and software. You may have heard stories of NetWare servers with an uptime of years…yes, those stories are true, I can attest to it. Windows NT servers had uptimes of perhaps a week or two…and I can attest to that too. NetWare was light years ahead of Microsoft. In fact, I am not exaggerating when I say that Novell (and NetWare) ENABLED the PC revolution. PC’s and businesses had a central storage to share files and manage printing and backups, and GroupWise gave the users email and calendaring functionality.  And all of this was decades ago!!

So, why is Windows Server everywhere and Novell is history? One word…marketing. Novell marketed their products to us geeks…the people that operated the servers and networks. Microsoft marketed to the suits…the managers and VP’s of IT. So…of those two groups, who controlled the budgets? Yup…it was not us geeks, that’s for sure. Of course, it didn’t help that Novell couldn’t market their way out of a paper bag. But that’s another story.

Summary:  Novell rocked. Their products rocked. Their support rocked. Their people rocked.

And I proudly say that I used to be a Novell CNE.

Bay Networks – It’s Been A Long Time

I stayed home today, working on my LAB and cleaning up a lot of junk. I came across this…

My attendance "cert" for the Advanced IP class

My attendance “cert” for the Advanced IP class

Wow…this was a long time ago, and I still remember the class and the instructor (great instructors will do that…thank you Johan Van Besouw). This was back when Bay Networks was relatively young…it was a merger between Wellfleet Communications (routers) and SynOptics Communications (Ethernet products). They had some great stuff, and their hardware just worked. Over those early years of my career, I installed many Bay routers and hubs, and some of their early switches. I do remember that router configuration was a bit problematic at times due to their Site Manager software, which we fondly referred to as  “Site Mangler”.

At the time I was working for a non-profit company in the San Francisco Bay area, and one of our projects was bringing the Internet into schools all over the Silicon Valley. I spent months installing T1 circuits at various schools, and upgrading their networks (if they even had one) with new Bay equipment. I remember many school principles would just look at me, and ask “So now what?”, after I got the Internet working….too funny, they just didn’t know what to do with it.

In the late 90’s, Bay Networks was purchased by Nortel. Around that time, I was at another company, and was looking at what direction to go for my network hardware needs….Bay or Cisco? I could not get a call back from Nortel…none of my old contacts were around, and the new reps were either too swamped or too clueless. It was an easy decision. About three months later, after my Cisco upgrades were almost completed, I finally got a callback from Nortel. It was a very short phone call.

And that, my friends, is why most of you have never heard of Bay Networks. And that is unfortunate.

The Force is With J. J. Abrams

I know, my next post was supposed to be a continuation on DIG and troubleshooting DNS, but something MUCH more important has come up. Yes…the newest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was just released yesterday!! And it seems that J. J. Abrams is doing a great job on developing the story-line, which really left off way back in 1983 with episode VI, Return of the Jedi. This movie should make for a great December when it comes out!!

“The Force is strong in my family…”

You Just Have to Love Google and Their Humor

You have to admit that Google has a great sense of humor, especially on April Fools day. Go to the following website:  (Update: The link no longer works…it was just for April 1st.)  Too funny!!! Here I searched on Cisco…

Google being funny again!!

Google being funny again!!

And here is another one by Google….very funny:  Google Smartbox

As big and sometimes scary as Google is (they REALLY do know all and see all), I do like their sense of humor.