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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 03, 2006

The Wolf Returns

Oh...I have been such a bad, bad blogger... I can't believe it's been that long since an update to this site.

Well...now I have a new job (not new to me anymore) and the commute is really eating into my time. It's about a one hour drive, but in traffic it can take up to 2 1/2 hours! This means that I'm actually putting in a 12 hour day (including the commute).

I'm working on a very large global network - which is very different from consulting individual problems for large global networks. One of the necessities of the environment is that no matter when you try to work on something, it's always 'during normal business hours' somewhere in the company. This means you are 'allowed' to perform risky configs or anything that requires a reboot ONLY during the Maintenance Window (a few hours every other Saturday). Once again, that translates into less Wolfie time.

But "it's all good" because I'm being exposed to a number of 'new' environments and tasks. I'm getting to focus on a lot of 'high end' equipment and protocols. This is going to be very helpful when I finally get to sit for the CCIE exam... And yes, I have actually started studying for that. Of course it's going to take about a year of studying to be ready for it, but you have to start somewhere. I'm currently reading the CCIE LAN Switching book. It's going deeper than I expected into switching (after skimming it when it arrived) and I'm learning some really good information. I always wondered why CatOS wasn't just CatOS and the same on all CatOS switches. Now I know - it's because that line comes from 3 different 'absorbed' companies... I don't know why, but that helps me remember other stuff for some odd reason. I guess because now it 'makes sense' so when I encounter differences, I don't get frustrated and push that info to the side - but remember it because it now has a reason to be different.

One of the books I've recently finished is Content Networking Fundamentals. One of the things at my new job (that I haven't encountered before) requires an understanding of CSS. No, not Cascading Style Sheets (that would be easy for me), but Content Services Switches. These are the load balancing devices that are used in very large environments to preposition content and direct clients to the 'best' server (or caching engine) so that response time is improved. In some ways this and other things (in large environments) seem like you're working on the embroidery for the shirts of the angels dancing on the heads of pins. But I do realize that when you look at things and then apply it on a massive scale, being off by a hair in the beginning can put you off by a mile at the end...

But one to always have an eye on security... I'd also like to mention this:
Hackers Invited to Beat Microsoft
After suffering embarrassing security exploits over the past several years, Microsoft Corp. is trying a new tactic: inviting some of the world's best-known computer experts to try to poke holes in Vista, the next generation of its Windows operating system.

Microsoft made a test version of Vista available to about 3,000 security professionals Thursday as it detailed the steps it has taken to fortify the product against attacks that can compromise bank account numbers and other sensitive information.


I'm very impressed that Microsoft would take that much of a gamble. Perhaps they saw how skitterish businesses were about the security problems and felt they needed to make such a bet to improve their image? Hopefully they prepared for it. I'm sure they did. Gates isn't one to take a risk without the cards being well in his favor.

And also in the news:

AOL to slash 5,000 jobs!

Online giant expects to cut more than a quarter of its work force as part of its restructuring plan.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- AOL said Thursday that about 5,000 workers will probably be let go within six months as the company moves away from its old dial-up Internet access business in a bid to win more advertising dollars online.

The news came a day after AOL announced what was widely expected: that it was going to offer many of its services for free to broadband customers.

Executives at AOL are hoping the changes will reignite growth as AOL seeks to move from a subscription-based business to one that taps the rapid growth in online advertising.

As part of the restructuring, AOL expects to cut as much as $1 billion in costs next year, executives said.

Under the plan, AOL will give away e-mail, software and other Web services for free to high-speed Internet users as it tries to attract more users to its Web site and more advertisers.


I guess they're realizing that they can't compete in the 'access' arena, but also realize that there are a number of users that want and need their 'specialized content'... So they're eliminating the expense of upgrading their infrastructure and access points and focusing on 'value-added services' to generate advertising revenue. What concerns me is the effect of this layoff on the job market. Perhaps it will be minimal - depending on what types of positions get axed? Not much of a call for 'Dial-up' specialists anymore, is there? And most of them will have extensive backgrounds in AOL-proprietary software. Not like a bunch of MCSEs or CCNPs are getting laid off, so maybe I might not notice it... [Whistling while walking past the graveyard.]

Posted by BlueWolf on August 3, 2006 09:52 PM