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So I was the hero at work again.

So I spent the afternoon in the Boston office which was once the Providence Journal’s Boston Bureau’s Office. Sad to see it go.

That said the boss was having trouble printing to the wifi printer. So he asked me to build a box to act as a print server. I contact my office mate and asked him to build an Ubuntu 14.04 laptop. Then I’m standing in my bosses office and I notice he’s hard wired into the network. The hard wired side gets a different IP range – all of them start with the first two octets of 192.168 but the third octet changes depending on if you’re using WiFi or wired in. The 192.168 addresses don’t route. Same with the 10.0.0.0/24 range. They’e useful for LAN stuff but when you have to transition across there needs to be a bridge somewhere between.

Reading: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

So I’m currently reading “Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet” by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon.

It’s the story of how an ARPA project known as the ARPANet became the Internet we all know and love today. I’m sort of familiar with much of the story as my I.T. career sort of started with the birth of the Internet and moved on from there.

But the one thing that jumps out in this book, it’s Bolt Beranek and Newman or BBN. I’ve been head hunted by them in the past and refused the offer. I was gainfully employed elsewhere at the time.

But the names that surface in this book, many of the same people key to Xerox PARC too. Which begat the graphical OS and all that good stuff.

The history is fascinating. The characters I share some personal traits with – such is the case of my casual dress mode vis a vis a really good salary. Or the fact that you can put me in a room and I’ll code up something worthwhile.

I’m only about a third the way through the book now but one thing stands out. AT&T of the time had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the project. Kind of funny when you consider that now the phone companies and ISP’s are all digital. It has to do with the noise on the line and error detection and correction algorithms developed back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

And I really dig knowing the history of what we take for granted today. Like I said, it’s fun discovering how many common traits I share with  the geniuses who gave us the Internet.

Something hit me the other day

I said that I can feel the inexorable pull of Massachusetts. I’m really considering relocating there, somewhere close to a commuter rail or subway. It’d make the commute MUCH shorter.

Plus the tax structure in MA is so much better than in RI. You see in MA they smartly capped their tax rates. For example – buy a car in Providence, RI that’s worth $30,000 and you’re on the hook for $1,800 the first year plus a 7% sales tax. Ut si!

In MA – say Cambridge – it’s $750. And the sales tax on the car is 6.25%. So you can see here in RI we take it on the chin. Yet we get what I consider sub par services. That I have to email or call my councilor or others is indicative of the problem. We need to move RI to be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE. But I’ll leave long before that happens.

It’s Friday People

So I survived my first week. And I am definitely going in as a take charge type.

For example, today I shot the telecom director an email that since we’re going to be wiring up another floor, it would behoove us to put two quad tap jacks in the room my officemate and I share. I laid out what we’d need for materials and it got approved and bumped up the chain. My officemate is loving that.

So I think I’ll do well in this job. I made it through a week – soon to kick back a beer or two and celebrate.

4th Day on the Job

So today I had to sit through a couple hours of Human Resources dog and pony webinar. it frosted me just a little – they kept talking about iPay, iEmployee etc. But the links flashed away faster than you could copy them.

I shot an email to HR and told them maybe they should send the links in an email with instructions. Haven’t heard anything back.

I’ve also dissected their employee handbook. Had my officemate up in arms when I was calling out the clear violations of the code of conduct that we see regularly.

I can have some real fun at this job I’m sure.

Got the Pulse Oximeter

Interesting little device. My SpO2% is 99 which is good. Pulse rate is a little on the high side but I measured it when I’d just gotten in the door from having walked about a mile.

Pulse rate is a tad high. But if I meditate on it I can bring it down below 70BPM. Interesting how that works.

And the operation of the device – it just shines a light through your finger and has a detector on the other side. That and a little bit of calculation via software derives your SpO2.

The device is really small – about the size of a hospital finger probe. And the OLED screen is gorgeous.

It’s sort of fun to be able to gauge your own body parameters.

Day Three on the New Job

So today was interesting. They’re getting me more and more exposure. Or I should say I’m getting me more and more exposure to VP’s etc.

Also recommended putting in Squid proxy. We tested it out on a spare linux box in our office and it ran flawlessly. Now running a proxy gives you two things. First it gives you control over traffic leaving the local network. So when you have over 200 Windows 7 machines going out to get updates it doesn’t swamp your connection. Second, it gives you a track of who went where.

Funny story I related – told them about a certain chief of staff who loved his big, black beautiful women and hookup sites. And then who was shopping for shoes, playing games etc. That got a reaction out of them.

Also learned how to tell if someone is a hardcore Unix/Linux and BASH shell person. Had to teach their former guru who is taking a lesser role how Ctrl-R is a way to search BASH history.

Also showed the office mate how to use ps as in ps -ef|grep apache and have it show all the spawned Apache web server PIDs or Process ID’s.

Also found an anti-virus solution for the Macintoshes in the office. It’s called ClamXAv. Now I’ve  used an older version of Clam AV on my Linux box at home. Freshclam was a bit of a bear but it seems they’ve improved the product.

So yeah – I think they’re glad I’m there.