Something new every day

Wow, over a year between blog posts. I really need to stay on top of this whole “blogging” thing. I guess that’s why I’m not an internet millionaire :)

I’ve just completed an update of the Cisco ICND1 and ICND2 courses for Infinite Skills (linked here) and they should be available soon for purchase. These are updated with the new exam topics that Cisco released just 2 months ago. I’m also starting on the Microsoft 70-331 SharePoint 2013 exam training for VTC and hopefully it will be available by the end of the summer.

Also, at work I’m diving headlong into Hyper-V virtualization on Server 2012, and installing System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (which I’ll have to move to a physical machine after installing it in a VM first). So if anyone knows how to pull off that move, chime in (although nearly every comment I get on this blog is spam, so I don’t expect any :) )

All this while planning and executing a datacenter relocation across 1,200 miles, and keeping track of my day-to-day network admin tasks and helpdesk tickets. Busy, busy, busy.

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Greg’s teleworking mini-rant

So someone posted a job opening on a mailing list I’m on. Pretty much near the top of the job requirements was the line:

Remote working arrangements will not be considered.

I have wondered for the longest time…why? Why are most companies so dead-set against teleworking? I can understand if you have a job where a physical presence is required – after all it’s difficult to stack boxes or cook steaks over the internet. But for technical positions (which this was) why the reluctance to allow individuals to telework? Not only is it a good deal for the employee (reduced commute costs, more relaxed work environment, fewer distractions [if done correctly]) but there is a benefit to the company as well (not having to provide a workspace for said employee, which lowers real estate, electrical, heating/cooling costs).

My belief is that it stems from a 19th century management belief of, “If I can’t see you, you’re not working.” Especially in technical (read: salaried) fields, this is no longer the case – you should judge employee performance based on whether or not they complete their assigned tasks in the timeframe required to keep the business moving forward, not whether or not they punch a 40-hour-a-week clock.

Also, the fact that it’s somehow acceptable to excise an entire department and send it three states away is a “good thing”, but that an employee working at his home office across town is a “bad thing” really makes no sense.

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All the internet you can handle

So, for those that might not know, we homeschool our children. We are blessed that my wife can stay at home with the kids and do this for them. This presents some unique challenges, not the least of which is technology. We subscribe to an online service called Monarch from the nice folks at Alpha Omega Publications. They both have an entry-level laptop that they use for school and other internet access.

You see, I have a soon-to-be teenage daughter, that is addicted to Facebook. (She’s addicted to anime too, but that’s a different post entirely :) ) The issue comes in with web filtering – if we let her, she would be content to simply browse Facebook all day, until the wee hours of the morning. Between that, and all the rampant perversion on the internet at large, giving her an unfiltered internet connection would be most unadvised. Being the resident network geek, it falls to me to prevent this.

So far, I have a fairly complex (for a home) network setup. Of course it’s complex, considering what I do for a living :) I have a LinkSys WRT-54G running the custom DD-WRT firmware, that allows me to advertise multiple SSIDs and separate the traffic from each SSID into it’s own VLAN. The kids are associated with their special SSID and their traffic is separated into their own VLAN. This traffic is then pumped through a pfSense firewall for traffic filtering. This gives a fair amount of flexibility in the content filtering that goes on.

Just a peek into the wild world of homeschooling in the information age.

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Happy New Year!

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Happy new year to anyone that might have stumbled across this blog. In the coming year, I hope to get a little more socially engaged. I’ve got a lot going on, personally and professionally, so one of my “to do items” for the year is to better use the time I’ve been given. I guess that’s what happens when you get older :)

I’ll also be starting a Cisco Certification blog/forum, to chronicle the neato-nifty-keen things I learn as I get my CCNP RS and CCNP Voice.

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Chapter 1: In Which Greg applies for the position of NetFlix CEO

I’m sure that subscribers (both current and former) of NetFlix have been following the saga of the company’s declining subscriber base, and the foibles of the current CEO, Reed Hastings.  Given the quarterly earnings and subscriber report for Q3 2011, it seems that a shakeup at the company is imminent, and I wanted to be first in line.  So, today I submitted my resume for the position of CEO.

Now, let’s be frank: am I qualified to be CEO of *anything*, let alone a multi-million (billion?) dollar corporation?  Ha… NO!  I fully admit this is a lark, just to see if I get any kind of reaction at all.  I bet you one whole internet I don’t hear anything back at all, other than the auto-responder that replied to the e-mail.  But it makes for a fun little post for both readers of my blog (Hi, Mom!!).

Below is my email to


I would like to formally submit my resume for consideration for the position of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.


I realize this may come as a bit of a surprise, especially considering that you are most likely not even soliciting applicants for the position, and if you were, it most certainly would not be listed on your public job site for just anyone to apply.  However, it can come as no surprise that NetFlix has lost market share over the past 6 months.  Especially hard-hitting is the loss of nearly a million subscribers over the past three months – and there is no indication that the subscription loss will abate anytime soon.


I believe this can be directly attributed to the actions of Reed Hastings.  While we as subscribers can understand that negotiating the rights for more content can be costly, Mr. Hastings’ intimation that most people can absorb the cost of the increase be cutting out a latte every month is borderline insulting. While price increases are a necessity in this modern economy, it can definitely be presented in more palatable terms.  Add to that the recent mis-step regarding splitting the company into two distinct halves, and it would appear that Mr. Hastings does not fully use the advice that his advisers give.


Now this is not to say that Mr. Hastings is not a visionary in many ways.  He foresaw (correctly) that brick-and-mortar DVD rental was a fading trend, and positioned NetFlix to move into the rental-by-mail business – a move that not only scooped up customers from Blockbuster and the like, but also tapped into an under-served rural market that most national chains had forgotten about long ago.  Likewise, his move to internet streaming well before that was a marketable buzzword was nothing short of revolutionary.
However, for all of his visionary steps in bringing the company where it is, NetFlix’s declining market share and subsequently declining stock price demands management change, if the company wishes to be seen  as customer-focused going forward.  It is with this in mind that I respectfully submit my resume.
I thank you for your time.
Gregory B. Dickinson
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Battle of the Browsers

So, I’ve always been a Firefox fan.  Ever since version 1, I’ve always tried to keep up with the latest version – came for the tabbed browsing, stayed for the addons.  However it’s been my experience that here lately the browser has gotten slower and slower – which saddens me.  It’s kind of like watching the family dog getting older and slower, until you finally have to do the inevitable and take her into the bet for “that visit”.

And sadly, that’s where I’m at, now.  Count me in as one of the disaffected users now that Firefox has gone to their turbo-version-numbering system.  It seems to have gotten slower and slower over the last few builds.  So as soon as I can get all my XMarks bookmarks into Chrome 14, looks like I’ll be switching.

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