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Computers Are Stupid http://computersarestupid.com But you don't have to be.... Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:40:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 57242556 What Sun Microsystems meant to me http://computersarestupid.com/2017/09/11/what-sun-microsystems-meant-to-me/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/09/11/what-sun-microsystems-meant-to-me/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:22:27 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=180 Continue reading "What Sun Microsystems meant to me"]]> Greetings;

I have just read a few articles regarding Oracle finally destroying what was left of Sun Microsystems after Oracle’s purchase in 2010.

I worked at Sun since 1989, December 8th to be specific. When I joined Sun we were hiring people at a rate of 500 a month. Huge expansion, and it looked like there was no stopping Sun Microsystems at the time. Eventually the tech bubble burst, and Sun was no longer swimming in money.

For me it was an exciting experience, I had very little exposure and understanding of Unix. Sun’s operating system Solaris was based on BSD Unix (Berkley Software Distribution), and I had 6 months after I was hired to become a Certified Solaris Administrator. I did accomplish that, and it was foundational to where my career was heading (not that I knew it at the time).

I was with the company for 16 years, 13 Sun only and then 3 years with Oracle/Sun. I was very proud to be working at Sun. I learned so much about IT/Technology, High Touch Customer support/advocacy, and Knowledge Management. When we heard that Sun was looking for a company to buy them, most of us hoped for the best. IBM was the contender most of us hoped would step in and bring profitability back to Sun.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. Oracle ponied up the 7+ billion dollars, and closed the deal. I was excited, hoping that Oracle could bolster/improve Sun’s cash flow.

Then Oracle did something funny, no, not haha funny, but funny like “You shouldn’t drink or eat that because it smells funny.” It was not the time to drink the Kool Aid.

In looking back now, it was like Oracle purchased an amazing skyscraper in New York, or Chicago. Then they started some remodeling… which is completely understandable. But then someone decided to demolish the building and give the bricks and steel i-beams to scrappers.

Oracle wasted billions of dollars purchasing Sun for no reason, and then happily gutted, filleted and dumped it in the trash. No leveraging the amazing technology and talent that Sun possessed. Oracle could have done some really amazing things, but as I learned when I started working for Oracle that W.O.W. was a common acronym: Way Oracle Works. It’s like saying “it is what it is”.

Some people may say that Google is Evil incarnate, but for me real Evil is Oracle. They will continue on, and people like me will just have our good memories of a technology company that was cool, imaginative, and encouraged innovation. And we will try to forget how that all came down like a slow motion train on fire crashing into a fuel tank farm.

I feel very fortunate to be working for IBM now. Great culture, great tech and a bright future.

The Sun has finally set, I welcome a new day.

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What is the point of still using 8bit computers for fun? http://computersarestupid.com/2017/08/06/what-is-the-point-of-still-using-8bit-computers-for-fun/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/08/06/what-is-the-point-of-still-using-8bit-computers-for-fun/#respond Sun, 06 Aug 2017 18:05:30 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=166 Continue reading "What is the point of still using 8bit computers for fun?"]]> Greetings dear readers;

I have had a penchant for going back and visiting those “golden years” of personal computing, and longing to sit back down at one of my old 6502 computers (of which I have two, an Apple ][e and an Apple][c).

Or even one of my older machines that sit in my stuff bins. Fire any of those things up, and get transported back to the late 70’s early 80’s… where life was simpler (you think?) and computers were springing up all over the place.

And then you remember that it would take an unreal amount of time to do literally anything on those machines. For the Apple ][e, it doesn’t have an Apple floppy drive, and I don’t have any media that I could ‘boot up’. So if I want to run a program on it, I have to key it in… One line of basic at a time.  I do have an apple ][ basic reference manual.

But the past is dusty and old, and simply SLOW.  I remember longing for the day when computers would become faster. And as we move to my 40th High School reunion in 5 years, it’s time to put the older antique computers away in storage, or try to sell them online.

I love technology as a whole, and having to let go of the simple old stuff can be emotionally difficult. But there are always sites on the internet that will have pictures and the specifications of the machines, as well as personal stories of their use.

Here’s some links to 8-bit computing history.

Personal Computer History: The First 25 Years


And if you want to see pictures of large computers used throughout the early half of the previous century, surf to here:


But 8-bit may be experiencing some kind of comeback:


The IoT and the return of 8-bit computing

The coolest thing that takes me back to the early years, is using Linux, or Unix, or Unix-like operating systems. I totally dig using a CLI rather than GUI.

Keep on trucking!

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Happily cruising my mid-life crisis. http://computersarestupid.com/2017/08/06/happily-cruising-my-mid-life-crisis/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/08/06/happily-cruising-my-mid-life-crisis/#respond Sun, 06 Aug 2017 17:54:04 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=146 Continue reading "Happily cruising my mid-life crisis."]]> Hello dear readers,

I think I’m going through my mid-life crisis.

It isn’t really a mid-life crisis in terms of me trying to retain/regain my youth, that’s not an issue for me, that boat has sailed. My crisis is that I haven’t completed the technical projects that my mind has been proposing for many years.

I’ve made SOME progress. I have my home network wiring nearly 90% completed. I have acquired a cider block of IP addresses that I can use to put a server or what not directly onto the internet.

And the great thing is, I just took on another short term personal project.

My Eldest Son is talking about getting into Cyber Warfare in the Army. He is already a solider in the Army, which makes it infinitely easier. For his recent birthday I got him a new computer. A shiny black streamlined screamer of a machine. The Intel NUC Skull Canyon.

I’ve been spending a couple of days installing operating systems (Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS). I have installed a copy of Sun’s Virtual Box software and nearly 10 different Linux/Unix ISOs for him to use and learn with. Also the ultimate in security and pen testing; Kali Linux.

I think it’s cool my Son wants to get into my field, a very promising and growing field it is.

For myself, I have Linux+, Cloud+, and VMware VCP certifications on the horizon. So I am going to be busy, which is a great thing.

I will be documenting my progress and any observations I have.

I’m most happy when I can get 5 hours learning a new thing a week, 1 short hour a day. Be it reading or a hands-on project, that’s what makes my heart sing.

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It just occurred to me to question where I get my news from. http://computersarestupid.com/2017/07/21/it-just-occurred-to-me-to-question-where-i-get-my-news-from/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/07/21/it-just-occurred-to-me-to-question-where-i-get-my-news-from/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 21:06:43 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=141 Continue reading "It just occurred to me to question where I get my news from."]]> It’s rather sad really, if I think about it. I get most of my news via social media, sometimes a blog or online publisher, but I haven’t really read a newspaper in some time, nor have I visited old staples for news such as MSBNC, or CNN. I never really liked FOX news or their online offerings. Now I just catch information via social media (read: FACEBOOK), or occasionally from twitter, but I find the twitter notifications simply annoying.

Plus I really don’t care to read fake news or get sucked into a click bait swamp. I’m almost tempted to open a newspaper.

Rant of the day, I suppose, but will I do anything about it? It’s a mystery.

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The latest trend that I am hoping to spark. http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/21/the-latest-trend-that-i-am-hoping-to-spark/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/21/the-latest-trend-that-i-am-hoping-to-spark/#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 19:49:48 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=129 Continue reading "The latest trend that I am hoping to spark."]]> So through the years there have always been trends that I have watched, shaken my head over, and even participated in.  This time, just this once, I have come up with a pretty snazzy and neat idea that could be an upcoming trend.  Not to say I’m all that, I’m not, but my little idea is.

I really hate when I’m going to a) the doctors or b) any business that I may be doing business with, and they want my phone number and email address. Well brilliantly, my lazy mind got creative and produced this:


So I’ve got two great tastes that taste great together… (sorry couldn’t help it)

My email address contains my phone number, brilliant eh?  I chose .cloud because, well, just because.

I’m sure I’m not the first to do something like this, but I’d like to think the idea is sort of unique.

More later…



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Static IPs http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/21/static-ips/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/21/static-ips/#respond Sun, 21 May 2017 15:57:36 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=122 Continue reading "Static IPs"]]>

I have decided that I wanted to have static ips for my home network, you know so you can access services that you set up on your home computers from the inter-webs; Such as running a mail server, web server, or private cloud from your personal network.

I have AT&T U-verse for internet, it is a DSL connection, I get around 50 mb bandwidth. For about $60 a month, not bad really.

So I called up AT&T and ordered a block of IP addresses, 8 of them, 3 are used for networking purposes, so you wind up getting 5 usable addresses. Why go with Static IPs rather than dynamically assigned addresses? Well, if you have a domain (i.e. person.com) that is pointing to the dynamic address there is the possibility that you will not always have the same IP address, it changes; every time you start or restart the connected device, it may assign a different IP, so your domain that is pointed to the address will have issues because it doesn’t automagically update that information.

With a Static IP, it doesn’t change. And that is the benefit of a static IP.

So, long story longer, the AT&T tech arrived in the morning, we started to get the 2 wire modem/router reprogrammed.  Turns out, AT&T did all the reprogramming of the 2 wire remotely.  The technician didn’t need to come out, in fact when he arrived, he had no information about my static IPs. He left 40 minutes later not having to have done a single thing to make this work. It was all handled remotely. He showed me an iPad with my IPs listed, I had to take a picture of the iPad so I could have a copy of them. Great technician, really nice guy. AT&T on the other hand could have provided him with the information needed up front, or they could have just done the work remotely and not sent a technician.

Oh well, it’s configured now. I just have to figure out how to make it all work. The nice thing is it only increased my monthly bill to $65.00.

More later… same bat time, same bat channel.

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What is our purpose in the digital age? http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/10/what-is-our-purpose-in-the-digital-age/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/10/what-is-our-purpose-in-the-digital-age/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 17:10:52 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=105 Continue reading "What is our purpose in the digital age?"]]> I’ve recently thinking about my daily routine. I wake up, collect my digital devices as I get ready for work, which consist of:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13″ (for work)
  • Apple MacBook Pro 15″ (personal use)
  • Work iPhone
  • Personal iPhone
  • 8″ Windows 10 Laptop/tablet
  • Lenovo Yoga pad 3
  • Wireless media drive (128gb)
  • Wireless media stick (200gb)

And that’s just what I bring to work. What I operate at the Wagner Ranch is a crazy amount of technology.

That’s a lot of gear indeed!  I find myself like a farmer or rancher rustling the technology and ensuring that a) it’s operational and b) all their little batteries are charged up.

A cowboy wrangling technology on a server farm near

So here is my prediction: When the AI reaches the singularity, we will be safe as long as we maintain the technology and the batteries.



Sleep well!

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Death of physical media? http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/08/death-of-physical-media/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/08/death-of-physical-media/#respond Mon, 08 May 2017 21:41:40 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=96 Continue reading "Death of physical media?"]]> If you are an oldster like me, you know what vinyl records, CDs, DVDs or even 8 track tapes were.  I am sad to say that I believe that physical media is dying/falling by the way side.

When I was a child, we had vinyl records, 8 track tapes, and cassette tapes. I remember being disappointed that my cool new album had gotten a scratch on it, or I may have left a 45 in my parent’s station wagon and got all sorts of warped (but sometimes still could be played).  And as for data there were 8 1/2″ floppy disks,  5 1/4 diskettes and finally 3 1/2″ semi-rigid floppies.  Also had used/seen punch tape and punch cards.  VHS and Beta tapes, 2 track reel to reel.

Then in the 80’s came laser discs, compact audio disks, RW CD ROM, and DVD, HD DVD, and Blue Ray.

Fast forward to today, somewhere in 2017, you have new options. Not having to go to a movie rental store when you can rent the movie directly from your high definition widescreen monitor ( would say television but that is so last century, and it can also be a computer monitor, so monitor it is ). You no longer get to drive to a Blockbuster, Hollywood Video or some other small video store and walk up and down the aisles, browsing categories and judging some movies by the covers. You can buy lots of old/B movie/Direct to DVD titles at stores like Walmart; you just dig through a bin of $5 or less DVDs and sometimes, just sometimes you find a gem. Which you can then purchase, take home and rip a digital copy and put the physical copy in storage as “backup”.

So many digital things I “posses”  are living in the cloud, and what is the true definition of the cloud?









The cloud is the future and the now, but I want to eventually be my own cloud.  Personal private cloud mostly for

I guess I am old fashioned in some sense because saying goodbye to the old physical media is bittersweet. And I’m a control freak, so leaving it to someone else works for me, but I like control where I can get it.



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Automating the homestead http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/07/automating-the-homestead/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/07/automating-the-homestead/#respond Sun, 07 May 2017 18:14:45 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=86 Continue reading "Automating the homestead"]]> Yep, I have started working on home automation. So far it has been interesting and frustrating.

The frustrating part came with my brilliant idea of extending my wifi signal throughout the house so I wouldn’t have any wifi shadows or dead spots. I used Apple airport express units, wired into the network, configured to extend the wifi; Man that caused a nightmare on my wifi. I removed the airport expresses, to reconfigure and use them for different purposes in the future.

So this whole automation thing started because I’m inherently lazy and since we all live in the future I thought it would be cool to tell the computer to do “such and such” verbally and it would comply.

The first time I bought a home automation device was when I got my iPhone. Now I haven’t used it for that since I first got it, but rather in the last month. And that is only after I was using the home automation built in with Alexa. I had purchased a phillips hue bridge and a couple of light bulbs (to start) plugged in the bridge, added the lights and pretty much immediately I was able to direct Computer (Alexa) to turn them on and off.

I thought myself brilliant, but the next part of my adventure would prove me to be the lucky recipient of well designed devices that work well together simply and quickly.

I wanted to be able to control a light switch not just a single bulb.  Thus began my research.

Since I already was using Phillips Hue successfully I thought that seeing if Hue has a smart switch that is in-wall. And they do sell a smart switch. But it is like an IoT button, it communicates with the bridge to turn on or off devices associated with it. I am using the few I purchased, but I needed a different solution; a hardwired one.

Hue uses ZigBee to communicate, so I looked for ZigBee hard wired in-wall smart switches. I didn’t find any I liked, so I got a Z-Wave bridge (VeraPlus) and some GE Z-Wave smart switches.

The VeraPlus actually connects Z-Wave, ZigBee, Blue Tooth and others. It allows me to control it all from one dashboard. I haven’t delved in too much, but the front lights come on 30 min prior to sunset and get turned off at around 10:30pm.

It’s just all so neat!

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I have three women in my house! http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/02/i-have-three-women-in-my-house/ http://computersarestupid.com/2017/05/02/i-have-three-women-in-my-house/#respond Tue, 02 May 2017 20:08:51 +0000 http://computersarestupid.com/?p=80 Continue reading "I have three women in my house!"]]> Ok, so normally I would say “Big deal” because it isn’t the first time I had three ladies in the house, but this time two of the “Ladies” are digital assistants.

There is my main squeeze, Regina, the light of my life, my lovely wife, Siri and Alexa (or “Computer” which I have it’s name set to).  Now my wife and Siri have had a long and interesting relationship, which consisted of my wife requesting something from Siri, and Siri completely not getting what she wanted. And then follows the continual fight to get Siri to get it verbally rather than type a search term into google or yahoo.

And now, I have added another “Sister wife” to the mix, Alexa, whom I call computer because living in the future is rad and I love Star Trek.

I also have made the move to start getting connected lights, and most recently connected light switches.

I also picked up a new (and cheap) “laptop” by Hyundai, yep they make computers as well. It really just is a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, I had to purchase a Bluetooth mouse. It’s cute,  4 core 64 bit intel processor.

Neat, it is really designed as a windows 10 gaming machine. I almost took a version of Linux to it, Kali for the flavor.

But back to my home automation, I will be posting more as information become available.


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