Friday, July 22, 2011

Spammy LinkedIn connection requests

I'm about to cancel my LinkedIn account because of the large number of spammy LinkedIn connection requests I've been receiving over the past week.  I've been getting four or five a day from people I don't know, claiming to be C-level execs at companies I've never heard of.  Grrr.  The problem is exacerbated by the LinkedIn interface which makes you click several times before you can report such requests as spam.  Judging from Richi Jennings blog at Computerworld, I'm not alone.  LinkedIn:  Wake up and take care of this before you lose you membership!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I can't believe I sat and watched this entire video, a la Rube Goldberg

Many of my students and friends have heard me talk about Rube Goldberg, the 20th century, Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist who drew complicated machines to perform simple tasks.  I just watched this video by the band OK Go of such a device.  It's "This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine Version" from their new album, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky".  (Actually, I'm not at all surprised I watched the entire video!)

Sometimes, I think we apply Rube Goldberg designs to our networks.  The resulting complexity makes them maintenance and security nightmares.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I love teaching Linux and Cisco classes

I just finished teaching my Linux server class today here in Seattle.  We had a small group, so I was able to customize the class on the fly to meet the students particular areas of interest.  One of the things that I love about teaching is watching students go from frustration to a sense of accomplishment when the "light bulb comes on".  For example, I've written a student hands-on exercise on NFS that not only teaches how to configure NFS, but also gives the students real world, hands-on experience in finding and understanding built-in scripts such as the service scripts on RedHat systems.  (My class is based on CentOS, a RedHat-based distro.)  It's fun to see students get excited about learning new things.  That happened several times today and every time it happens, it's a real joy for me to watch.  It also gives me more ideas of videos to create for our YouTube channel, so, like they say on TV, stay tuned.  (I don't mean to gush...I'm just pretty excited about today's class.  Can you tell?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Moving my ColdFusion site to a new server

I've been swamped for the past few weeks moving, which is a ColdFusion site, to a new server.  I'd been with my previous provider for seven years.  Over the last couple of years they started having problems delivering things as promised, so I decided to make a switch.  I spent a lot of time looking around for the perfect provider.  Among the criteria:  Linux server (I'm not down on Windows, I just know Linux much better than Windows.), good support since I don't know CFML very well, full root access including both SSH and the ColdFusion administrator.  I tried several, but ultimately settled on Vivio Technologies, thanks to a recommendation by Ryan Stiles at the Nebraska ColdFusion Users Group.  Also, because I'm a small business person and expenses are an issue, I chose Railo instead of ColdFusion.  So far, I've been very happy with all of my decisions.  Railo has performed flawlessly (and it seems fast), Vivio was a great choice for hosting the site.  Their VPSs are easy to set up and use and their support up to this point has been amazing.  So far so good.  Now, my CFML journey has begun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scavenging energy from the air with antennas printed by ink jet printers

I think one of the coolest aspects of technology is miniaturization.  Great examples include modern portable music players of today such as iPods compared to portable record players of 50 years ago or modern smart phones compared to the original, bulky bag phones of 30 years ago.  Now, researcher Manos Tentzeris at the Georgia Institute of Technology has created antennas printed by ink jet printers capable of harvesting ambient energy from the environment such as that produced by broadcast stations or wireless access points.  Here's an interview with Tenzeris conducted for Smart Planet by Christina Hernandez.