The Backup Song – sung to The Beatles ‘Yesterday’

Yesterday,
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
There’s not half the files there used to be.
And there’s a milestone hanging over me.
The system crashed so suddenly.
I pushed something wrong.
What it was I could not say.

Now all my data’s gone.
And I long for yesterday-ay-at-ay

Yesterday,
The need for backups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay.
Now I believe in yesterday.

Posted in IT Insanity | 3 Comments

Dear Agony

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I have nothing left to give
I have found the perfect end
You were made to make it hurt
Disappear into the dirt
Carry me to heaven’s arms
Light the way and let me go
Take the time to take my breath
I will end where I began

And I will find the enemy within
Because I can feel it crawl beneath my skin

Dear Agony
Just let go of me
Suffer slowly
Is this the way it’s got to be?
Dear Agony

Dear Agony
Just let go of me
Suffer slowly
Is this the way it’s gotta be?
Don’t bury me
Faceless enemy
I’m so sorry
Is this the way it’s gotta be?
Dear Agony

Suddenly
The lights go out
Let forever
Drag me down
I will fight for one last breath
I will fight until the end

And I will find the enemy within
Because I can feel it crawl beneath my skin

Dear Agony
Just let go of me
Suffer slowly
Is this the way it’s got to be?
Don’t bury me
Faceless enemy
I’m so sorry
Is this the way it’s got to be?
Dear Agony

Leave me alone
God let me go
I’m blue and cold
Black sky will burn
Love pull me down
Hate lift me up
Just turn it around
There’s nothing left

Somewhere far beyond this world
I feel nothing anymore

Dear Agony
Just let go of me
Suffer slowly
Is this the way it’s got to be?
Don’t bury me
Faceless enemy
I’m so sorry
Is this the way it’s got to be?
Dear Agony

I feel nothing anymore

Dear Agony, by Breaking Benjamin off their album by the same name.

Posted in Random Rants | 1 Comment

You’re a mean jerk for not Following me back!

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Quite possibly true, but not because I don’t automatically Follow back everyone who Follows me on Twitter.

Here’s the deal:

Twitter is a micro-blog/news/info feed system where an individual person can Follow people or businesses that they support or find interesting.

What it IS NOT is a Contest. You should not be out to get as many Followers as possible or get on as many Lists as possible.

If someone Follows me I am highly appreciative and flattered, believe me.

However, whom I choose to Follow back is based on the same reasons you Followed me.

I Follow people or businesses who I find interesting, or who engage me in regular conversations.

Just because someone you find to be interesting doesn’t ‘return the favor’ its not personal.

If you take it personally if someone does not Follow you back then you will be disappointed a lot on Twitter. Harsh, but true.

If I do not Follow you back and you feel I should, tell me.

Let me know that you want to have conversations and you would like me to Follow in return.

Posted in Random Rants | 4 Comments

NTLDR MISSING

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Ugh.
0430. I really should think about getting up.

[Get Up, Stay Up, with Caffiagra].

Dammit, not like I’ve slept more than 2 hours at a time in almost four years anyway.

No one has.

Between emails, pop-up ads, IMs from other friends who can’t sleep, and, god-forbid, the viruses, no one sleeps much anymore.
The headaches alone are enough to keep someone from sleeping.

[Try a free sample of AspirEdrin Today]

It is said that ‘we all live in a hell of our own creation’. Well, whoever said that had no idea. Sadly, everyone now lives in a hell of my creation.

Four years. Seems like yesterday.
It began as an innocent enough gesture.

An unemployed Computer Tech buddy of mine asked me if I knew of any open positions in the IT Department of the hospital I work at.

[Find Tech Jobs at CareerCritter.com]

Turns out I did know of a position, but it was with my department, down in the basement shop, fixing the instruments when they broke down.

Well, my buddy was a technician, good with tools, could use a soldering iron and knew how to handle a multi-meter.

He also liked to tinker with broken computers and such in his garage and fancied himself some sort of mad scientist.

So I recommended him to our HR Department.

Poor bastard. Poor world. I’m sorry, man. I had no idea.

One night, about 6 months after he started work. I came into the shop on Monday to start work and there he was.
Apparently he’d been there all weekend, tinkering on some project.

He was soldering away on some old, broken EEG machine I said he could have and he’d wired in one of those home wireless routers people use for getting on the internet.

He was laughing like he’d won the lottery and then started dancing around.

I asked him what the hell he was doing and he said “I found it! I found it!” and grabbed up that contraption he’d been working on and headed for the door.

I asked him where he was going and he said, “I’m going to become rich!”

“I’m going to become rich!” The last thing my buddy ever said to me and as it ends up, it was the last time he ever saw me.

I’d heard later that day that he had called into HR and quit his job. I tried calling him later that day without success and even stopped by his house after work. He was no where around.

About 6 months after that day, a little known computer hardware manufacturer named CybisTech held a huge press conference.

They announced that they had built a device that would truly revolutionize the computer world as we knew it. They called the technology 802.11z and the device was the NeuroCloud.

The device looked hauntingly familiar.

I found out later that day that what my buddy had accidentally stumbled upon, that fateful day in the shop, was a nothing more than a frequency.

A frequency.

Simple enough sounding discovery, right?
Well, apparently it was the frequency a wireless device can transmit on that matches a human’s brainwave patterns.

By the looks of that press release he had also found himself a buyer for his discovery.

CybisTech. Practically overnight those bastards became the single most powerful company in the world.

A world now that will never be the same, and it’s all my fault.

Well, I guess I should get this day started. I’ve got a pop-up blocker to think about and new anti-virus definition updates I have to concentrate on before I get this sad day over with.

Oh, almost forgot to tell you about my buddy. I’d said before how that day was the last day he’d ever seen me.

But it’s not the last day I had seen him.

I visit him every day.

Turns out my buddy did get rich like he wanted. Insanely rich. He had even put me down as the sole beneficiary and executor of his estate.
Well, about three months ago I received a call from his lawyers.

A maid had found my friend in his study, just sitting at his desk, staring ‘into nothing’. Pale skin, the most vacant, haunting expression you’ll ever see.

They called the ambulance and took him to the hospital.

Specialists from all over the world have checked him out and all say there is nothing they can do.

It’s called a Lobekit, at least it is now.

The Universe is a cruel place and my friend had discovered one more thing in his life.

He had become the very first person in history to catch a computer virus.

Here I sit, at his bed side, looking at another EEG machine. This one, however, has nothing but a single sentence on it’s screen.

NTLDR MISSING……

Fiction (or is it?) by Mike Rigsby

Posted in Fictional Rants, IT Insanity | 5 Comments

The True Weight of a Cloud

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So, you’ve heard of Cloud Computing. Or, maybe you haven’t.
For those who don’t know what Cloud Computing is, here is a definition, per Wikipedia:

“Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like a public utility.”

Well, just how much does a cloud actually weigh?

The Cloud consists of 100s, even 1,000s, of servers spread throughout the world. Basically it is just the Internet, taken to the next level.

“Shared resources, software and information” includes Photos, Documents, Financial Records, and Music, essentially everything that is currently stored on your Desktop PC or Notebook, including the Operating System.

All of these files would be stored ‘on the cloud’.

The long term goal of Cloud Computing would be to obsolete the current computer as we know it.

Your current computer would be replaced by an always internet connected device that, once powered on, would simply open up ‘the cloud’.

It would have no local operating system, no local file storage. It would basically be ‘a window’ into all the data stored on the cloud that is available to you.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

I mean all your Files, Favorites, Music, and Documents, all available to you. No matter where in the world you might be. Just like if you were sitting at your pc now.

Here is why I don’t think so.

“All your Files…….available to you. No matter where in the world you are.”

Yeah, you and any marginally skilled, bored high school kid who feels like hacking into them.

Think about that the next time you review your tax records from last year.

Have you ever had a computer virus on your personal pc? Well, ‘the cloud’ is just one world-wide pc. Try and imagine the impact of a single, seriously nasty virus ‘on the cloud.’

Oh, you say all the users in the world, all the country governments, everyone, all have every scrap of electronic data they use, stored on the cloud.

A virus you say? …..hmm, think about it.

A recent anti-virus software update accidentally considers a ‘core operating system file’ malicious and crashes 1000s of PCs.

Oops, sucks to be those software customers.

Consider the impact of that when the cloud is essentially a single, world-wide operating system.

A server failure in your internet based email providers server farm causes all of their customers to lose their email for a couple hours.

Multiply that by about 1,000,000 times and include the entire planet’s information flow.

Your hard drive in your current PC fails because, let’s face, hardware fails. You lose everything. All your files, photos, etc. are gone.

Now consider the cloud equivalent. A fire in a major cloud provider server farm destroys all the data for an entire country.

The 9/11 terrorist attack was the worst tragedy in U.S history. Killed over 2,000 people.

Now consider those same terrorists targeting a major cloud server farm, or two. While many server farms are essentially unmanned, so no actual innocent lives would be lost, consider the actual impact. Entire governments would be crippled, national economies destroyed.

Now just what is the ‘true weight of a cloud’? Think about it.

Posted in Computer Security Related, Random Rants | Leave a comment

Some excellent advice to lessen damage from wallet/purse theft

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Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

1. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put ‘PHOTO ID REQUIRED.’

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the ‘For’ line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

3. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that ins tead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.

4. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel.. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

Also carry a photocopy of your passport when I travel either here or abroad. We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards..

5. We have been told we should cancel our credit cardsimmediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

6. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here’s what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

7. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number.. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.

The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit..

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Posted in General Security Related | 1 Comment

Corporate Inbreeding

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Ok, let me get this straight. Maybe someone can help clear up my confusion.

At least here in the Pacific NW, Starbucks and McDonalds are saying they are competing with each other.

Why you ask? Starbucks is selling food, including breakfast sandwiches.

McDonalds is selling high quality coffee, made by Seattle’s Best, which is advertised as Starbucks’ main competitor to the general public.

You’ll never guess who the parent company of Seattle’s Best is……c’mon, try. I just mentioned them above and it’s not McDs.

Here’s a clue, rhymes with ‘Cars & Trucks.’

Oh wait! They’re all competitors! That’s right, silly me.

Today I read that Yahoo is now the default Search Engine in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution, for those who don’t know.

Oh, by the way, did you know that Yahoo is in a limited partnership with Microsoft?

Microsoft, you know. The guys who make Windows, that hated competitor to Linux?

Oh, did you also know that Bing is becoming the default Search Engine on the iPhone?

You know, the Apple iPhone? Bing is Microsoft’s new Search Engine.

Oh wait, Apple and Microsoft are also hated competitors.

O_o ??!!!! …… My head hurts.

Mike Rigsby – from Blackberry

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United We Geek!

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First off, some disclaimers for the sake of liability and not meaning to piss off anyone.

1. This blog entry is my own personal opinion. If others share that opinion, that is their right. If they disagree, that is also their right.

2. These statements are based on personal experience and a myriad of comments from others in the IT Industry that I had seen.

3. The chain stores I give reference to are very good at what they were intended to do and they deserve credit for that. However, they should stick to their original business plan and stop branching out into areas that they are not good at.

4. We all know who I’m referring to in this blog but not knowing how well this will be received, I’m avoiding naming specific companies.

Yes, I’m a coward, but a coward who doesn’t want to get slammed with a slander lawsuit.

Now for the rant.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the endless complaints and stories I hear and read online from people about how they took their failing computer to some big ‘chain store’ and the ‘Nerd Brigade’ there lobotomized their computer.

These stores do great at selling computers, but when it comes to servicing them, not so much. The poor ‘Nerd Brigade’ is a bunch of well-meaning but completely under educated kids.

Their corporate bosses are more concerned with the sale of new equipment than the support of existing equipment, so, they’re pressured to take the fastest route possible to fix any problem that comes in.

They’re given just enough training to accomplish these ‘fast food’ style “repairs” and move on to the next customer.
These places are fine for NEW computers and accessories. They ARE NOT support businesses.

If these stores were smart, they would ally themselves with small, reputable local repair shops with a solid record and direct all repair requests to them.

That shop could then direct all new purchase customers back to the big chain store. This would be a mutually beneficial partnership.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of the big ‘chain stores’ that have made their foundation selling typewriters, printers, and sundry office supplies, then moving into selling computers. Fine, but they should have stopped at SELLING computers.

These stores would be my personal first stop for things that they are good at, such as office suppliers.
For support, see my comments above, but NO, they decide that “Hey, we sell computers. So that means we can fix them too!”

This is wrong and it is misleading consumers. Companies are riding on their massive reputation for one thing, to get people to trust them for something completely different.

Then when they completely screw up the customer’s computer, oh well, they were only one customer among thousands and they really didn’t matter anyway.

To stores like these, individual consumers are disposable. You leave angry and frustrated but you’re only one of another hundred people that will come into the store that day. You don’t individually matter.

That is wrong!

Guess what you’re going to do next?

You’re going to begrudgingly call “Mike’s Corner Computer Store”, mad as hell and distrusting anything they tell you because of your previous experience with the “big chain store”.

Poor Mike is then, not only going to get the brunt of your frustration, but also have to try and repair the damage done by the previous “experts” at said ‘big chain store’.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of innocent ignorance on the part of the average consumer and the uncaring, ‘sales are the preferred goal’, ‘get them in, sell them stuff, get them out’ attitudes on the part of ‘big chain stores’ destroying the reputations of honest, highly trained, and decent small businesses.

The solution.

If you are a consumer needing computer repair, do your research! Look up directories of local REPAIR shops. These guys fix computers. It is what they do, period and a good majority of them are very good at it.

Do not automatically assume that some place that is a ‘household name’ store that sells computers can also repair them.

For my part, I also think that in this generation of Social Networking sites and applications, we as the repair professionals need to create an online directory of local shops that can be trusted to do the work properly.

This would be a national, or hell, multinational, list of all of our friends and contacts online in the IT Industry. A Twitter List, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, etc. All promoting skilled professionals who are around for consumers to take their systems to.

Nearly every average consumer takes their broken computers to the ‘big chain store’ because that is who they see on TV, etc. It is pure ignorance of the other options they have available.

We need to end that ignorance.

Posted in Random Rants | 4 Comments

Anti-Malware Botnet

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I’m sending this random thought as a Blog update since it’ll be too long winded to fit in Twitter.

My thought:

Anti-virus/Anti-spyware software is by nature, Defensive. It’s quite possible that, by the time your software activates against an attack, it’ll be too late.

I think we should start using the methods used by Malware suppliers against them.

Create Offensive Anti-virus/Anti-Malware software.

Microsoft should create an Anti-Malware Botnet. Release it via Windows Updates to all legitimately licensed PCs.

Then use idle cycles, similar to SETI at Home, to wage coordinated attacks on known malicious sources.

That is my ‘rant du jour’

Mike Rigsby

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Computer ‘Viruses’ of an entirely different sort

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Nope, this blog entry is not about what you were initially thinking. I am talking about actual viruses, or at least germs.
With all the mindless panic about H1N1 and various other bugs going on out there I figured it would be an opportune time to mention something that most computer users think very little about.

We all talk about computer viruses and take precautions to avoid them, such as anti-virus software. However, very few computer users give even a second thought to actual, physical, cleanliness of a computer.

Did you know that the average computer keyboard generally has more active germs on it than the toilet in a public bathroom? Seriously.

Now that you’ve finished remembering what the inside of that local pub bathroom looked like that you were in last night and retching, here’s a few things you can do to help keep the level of germs down on your computer.

Keyboard: Remember that lunch break you had at your desk where you dribbled mayonaise on your keyboard?
A few things to do to clean a keyboard are to use plain Isopropyl, aka Rubbing, Alcohol and some cotton swabs to clean the keys and crevices between the keys. You can also purchase Disinfectant Sprays that are safe to spray on keyboards. I would strongly recommend cleaning your keyboard no less than once a month.

I would also recommend using alcohol to wipe down personal electronics, such as cell phones an MP3 players regularly.

Office printers are also a heavily touched device, as such they are a common place for a lot of germ activity. Use rubbing alcohol to wipe down the keypad area of printers especially.

Dust: Not only will dust build-up inside your computer case potentially cause fan failure, which can lead to overheating and possibly fry your processor, it is also a major allergen. You should regularly use a can of compressed air to blow out the dust inside your computer.

ALWAYS turn off your computer and pull the power cord before blowing the dust from the inside of a computer.

Another thing you should do, which few people know about, is physically hold the fans inside your computer ‘still’ when you blow out the dust from them. Fan motors are made to spin in one direction only.
If you spray compressed air on a fan without holding the blades from moving you can actually cause the fan motor to burn out by forcing it to spin in the wrong direction.

It is also a good idea to regularly wipe down your monitor with approved screen cleaners to keep the level of dust down.

If, like me, you work in an office environment you know full well that everyone shares their seasonal sicknesses. So, these few basic steps might help keep you healthy so you can continue to work those 12-14 hour days.

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