Tag Archives: network

What Cisco Doesn’t Want You to Know – ADTRAN’s Router Performance Results


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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine.

I had the opportunity to speak with the Director of Marketing for ADTRAN over the weekend. If you’ve not heard of them, you definitely need to pay attention. Independent tests have shown that when it comes to router performance, ADTRAN actually outperforms Cisco.

There was a whitepaper done by a gentleman who used to set up test methodologies. ADTRAN routers were run through a series of tests against Cisco routers. In short, three tests were done. One was Internet security. In that test ADTRAN outperformed the Cisco ISR g2 router by about a 285% increase in performance. You would think that routers in the similar price range would work about the same. However, that isn’t the case. The ADTRAN hardware is simply built better.

ADTRAN feels the tests prove they excel in three areas: operating system, patents in technology which allows data to move through the box quickly and their focus on small to medium markets. They’re making sure that they are offering a very robust feature set to address the needs of those market areas. You don’t want to pay for features you’ll never use – yet still leave room for future growth.

ADTRAN started about twenty-five years ago, and has a Cinderella story. They started by building one type of hardware out of an actual garage. The company grew out of that and now has two separate divisions.

Some of my audience is comprised of young geeks, but they don’t always know where to begin. The qualities that a company such as ADTRAN looks for includes the ability to do more than one thing. Don’t only focus on engineering… look at things such as marketing or management, as well.

What type of router are you using?

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Find New Friends with Invisible Note

For those of you who may not already have enough friends and connections, DreamHost has come up with a new way of meeting people: Invisible Note. If you’re lonely and looking for a completely random person to connect with, this may be the service for you. There’s no stress that comes along with meeting face-to-face, nothing to get dressed up for, and no hands to shake.

When you visit the Invisible Note Web site, you will make up a random email address, consisting of whatever_you_choose_here@invisiblenote.com. That email will sit in the database waiting for the next person who chooses the same email address to come along. You’ll then be connected with each other. After all, if you chose the same words for an email address, you MUST be compatible, right?

The caveat, of course, is that your real email addresses will be exchanged once you’re matched up with someone. Might I suggest you create a free email solely for this purpose, such as with Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail? You can create something new and make it NOT identify with the real you in any way until such time as you are (maybe?) comfortable enough to share that information with your new pen pal.

I’m not sure, folks. On paper, this may sound like a fun and interesting research project. It seems more like a stalker-case waiting to happen to me, though. What are your thoughts? Will you try out Invisible Note for yourself?

Find People to Follow on Twitter

Twitter is rolling out a new feature today called “Suggestions for You.” The aim is simple: to help you find and connect with more people who share your interests. The algorithms being used will suggest people that you may find you have something in common with. The suggestions are based on several factors including those you already follow… and the people they, in turn, follow.

Twitter is trying to make it simple. Your suggestions will show up on the main page, as well as in the Find People section. You can choose to follow them with just one click, or ignore the suggestion completely. If you ignore it, the algorithm promises to try not to suggest that user again. I’m actually glad they don’t guarantee it – nothing is perfect. I’d rather be told the truth, thanks much.

You’ll also see recommendations each time you view someone’s profile. Twitter feels that if you’re interested in the person whose page you’re checking out, you may just be interested in the other accounts, as well.

The service states that all of the features will be available for developer use. They’ll be launching an API soon so that third parties can provide the same types of suggestion features in their desktop, mobile and web applications.

All of this is geared towards helping you to connect with a wider audience. As stated on their blog: “Now, go find somebody new to follow. You never know what you might discover.”

The Future of Ning Communities

A startling announcement came today from the Ning network. Only one month after appointing a new CEO, the company has major reorganization plans in the works. In addition to laying off approximately 40% of its staff, the company is killing off all free accounts. Free account users will have the option to either change over to a premium membership, or move their network to another platform entirely.

As I read this news, I breathed a sigh of relief that both Geeks and Gnomedex are hosted on premium Ning accounts already. As of today, we have more than 27,000 members, 14,000 blog posts, 19,000 forum threads and countless photos and videos that all of you have contributed. That is a LOT of information sharing, folks.

In his message to staff members, CEO Jason Rosenthal stated in part that “So, we are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. We will judge ourselves by our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale. And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy.

They want to make us extremely happy? That’s excellent news for our community. There are several things that we hope to see in the very near future. These are very basic things that will help our little slice of Ning continue to thrive. One of the most important things we need to see is a better way to control members. Currently, we have the ability to freeze or ban a member posting spam or other unwanted information. However, there is no way to ban a user by IP address. This is a HUGE problem.

Several times in the past few weeks, our site (along with many other Ning sites) was bombarded by a porn spam bot attack. We’re talking hundreds of posts being made in under an hour. Every single “member” came from the exact same IP address. Whoever was behind the attack knew full well that Ning doesn’t ban by IP. If they did, this attack would have been stopped in a matter of seconds… instead of taking over an hour.

There are several other smaller details that we would like to see worked on by the Ning team. I am happy to talk with them at any point in time in order to help contribute feedback and ideas. For the most part, I am happy with Ning and the features we have (although, half of what makes it a functional community are the “hacks” that had to be put in place). There is always room for improvement, though.

Then again, Ning has never really understood how communities work – and their platform strategy only reflects the lack of insight from the top down.

One large concern I have is the fact that many of our members have free Ning networks of their own. Most of them will not likely have the resources to convert their account to a premium one. What’s to happen to their communities?

Well, unless developers and designers put their collective heads together… Ning communities will remain stranded on a mostly-closed platform. There are ways to export Ning network data, but no translation tool to take those relationships elsewhere. What about a tool to import a Ning community into a WordPress 3.0 / BuddyPress installation?

Heck, I’d host a WordPress hackathon at my house over the weekend for the start of that – would there be any developers and designers interested. I live in the Seattle area, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t work remotely with capable individuals.

Inevitably, we’ll have community hosting set up under Lockergnome’s Premium Services. Signing up now will get you a domain name, WordPress installation and hosting, includes many popular plugins, and Free / Premium themes. Packages start at only $12.77 per month (which includes the domain registration), and there are no contracts. You can cancel anytime you like. This is classic WordPress at the moment, but I’m making moves to go into full WPMU / BuddyPress / WordPress 3.0 hosting.

Sometimes, you get what you pay for – which is to say that freeloaders should probably stop whining.

Network Monitoring Software Review

While this blog post was sponsored by one of our community partners, SolarWinds, the opinions are 100% editorially-controlled. Comments are welcome.

For years (according to him), Matt has been recommending one of the best network monitoring tools he’s ever reviewed: IPMonitor. Today, he’s helped me by sharing his personal top reasons as to why he recommends it over other options.

“Is the network up?”

This is something on the minds of most IT managers throughout the day (and night). Assuming they’re using a product like IPMonitor, then odds are in the IT manager’s favor that they would be “in the know” instantly… should network availability change for some reason.

So, really – why IPMonitor?

  1. Dead simple single installation. Rather than needing to install a bundle of applications just to keep the network in check, install IPMonitor and be done with it. Keep it simple.
  2. Easy device discovery. Rather than needing manually add every single device in your network and then hoping the provided list is up to date, just let IPMonitor do the heavy lifting for you.
  3. Install it once and then forget it. No need to install IPMonitor on every single computer. It’s running on the server of your choice – that’s all that is needed. One install does it all.
  4. Smart monitors. One of the best features is being able to set up Smart Monitor to keep an eye on specific aspects of your network – such as DNS, FTP, Web, SQL Server, etc.. More often than not, the monitors can even take corrective action to ensure that the entire network doesn’t melt down.
  5. NOC Dashboard. Without a doubt, it is the NOC Dashboard that makes IPMonitor one of the greatest options for me. Being able to stay in tune with what is going on at a glance is simply fantastic.

As anyone in IT knows: talk is cheap, and backing it up with a demonstration is needed. SolarWinds, once again, offers a 21-day free trial to get your feet wet with what IPMonitor has to offer you and your organization.

Thanks again to Matt for helping craft this post – and to SolarWinds for continuing to support our community endeavors.

How to Optimize Network Management

This post was sponsored by LANsurveyor. We’ve worked with the folks at SolarWinds many times in the past. They have excellent products to help you keep your network running in tip-top shape (as their own community will attest).

LANsurveyor is used by network engineers worldwide to map their networks in mere minutes. According to SolarWinds Head Geek, “getting to know” your network is the first thing you should do when managing any network – and the best way to do this is to discover, map and document it and everything connected to it.

If you’re a network engineer, you are responsible for making sure business-critical network processes are up and running and don’t have a lot of time on your hands to spend cataloging everything on the network. LANsurveyor does the work for you. From automatically discovering your LAN or WAN to producing an easy-to-view, interactive network diagram that can be printed, saved as image or exported to Microsoft Visio, this tool’s got you covered. But this isn’t a one-hit wonder. LANsurveyor adds value beyond the initial discovery of your network. It tracks changes on the network in real-time, creates hardware and program inventory reports and more.

Gone are the days of keeping track of devices connected to your network by manually entering them into a spreadsheet. Who has the time for that? Better yet… who has the desire to be on “network inventory” duty? You can use LANsurveyor to do the dirty work for you! It will automatically keep track of everything, freeing you up to work on more business-critical projects.

Just like with all SolarWinds products, you can try LANsurveyor free for 30 days. If you purchase before November 30th, you will receive a 50% discount! Make sure you use coupon code PLS504QC when ordering to receive the discount.

Make your life as the IT guy a little bit easier using LANsurveyor.

What is Community?


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Not long ago, I had the opportunity to speak at WordCamp. My topic was “Community is already there, inside everyone”. This is something that I am passionate about. Much of my life is devoted to my community, and to the communities of others I choose to interact with.

I have been online for so many years, that I remember when the “Internet” as we know it now began. Seeing an old friend in the audience made me realize that that is what community is all about – getting to know people. The Internet is not so much a series of cables and wires as it is a connection between people.

I remember the first time I sat down in front of a computer to email someone, back in 1992. I sent an email to a person sitting not ten feet away from me. I knew at that moment that my life had just changed forever. It thrills me every day to wake up and check my email. It’s the connections that I make with people from all around the world that still amazes me to this day.

Community is already inside of you. There’s this idea of a Venn diagram out there. These are diagrams that show all hypothetically possible logical relations between a finite collection of people or things. You have these circles, and in between they cross over. I like coffee, and I also live in Seattle. And there are other people who also live in Seattle and like coffee. I also use Mac OS X. How many other people have these same interests?

At that point where everything kind of crosses over is where you find me. It’s who and what I am. I am this person – a walking Venn diagram. We all are. We’re multi-faceted. You carry these things wherever you go. That is community. It’s inside of you, and that’s why you can go from one website to a million others. It’s the experience that it helps you have.

It really bothers me when someone approaches me and informs me that they are going to create a new community, and it’s going to go “viral”. Do they really think all of this will just happen?! It doesn’t work that way, sorry to tell them.

Back in the day, I would connect with people using newsgroups and BBS’. I subscribed to lists of things to do online. It was a piece of text that was the definitive resource of what you could do on the Internet. You could only go to certain places to be able to communicate back then. It’s not that way anymore. Instead of community existing in one little pocket – it’s everywhere!

Community requires tools that can’t be built. It kills me when someone says they built a blog and no one came. Well duh! A blog is just a tool… and if you think a blog is a community, then you too are a tool! Community exists in one place – in your heart. Without that, what is community. Without passion, without connections, without a feeling of belonging – what is there? You cannot build heart. It’s either there, or it’s not. You know you have a community when it takes care of its own.

Without heart, it’s just a set of tools. Anyone can go out right now and set up a website with any number of features. There are tons of tools out there. It’s not the topic or idea that makes what you do valuable – it never is. The tools are a commodity – but you are not. You’re unique. You have your own set of morals, ideals and beliefs. You have your own heart. YOU are the asset to the community you are in, not the other way around.

A community grows its own leaders. The strong voices will be the ones who emerge as the leaders of what you are growing. Even if you don’t agree with them at all times, encourage them. Use your voice and exercise it. Make those connections. Before you know it, you’ll be a leader of sorts, whether you set out to be or not.

Community is the antithesis of ego. Community is inside of you – but it’s not about you. It’s about other’s experiences with you. The strongest voices inside of a community are devoid of ego. The first thing on their mind isn’t themselves.

Community is everywhere, and it starts inside of you.

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How to Email Web Pages to Yourself


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Let’s say you want to go to a website to see what’s new. You may not be able to access the site, due to content filtering. If you sign up with this free service, you can receive emails containing the contents of the web page you wanted to visit. WebToMail is a free service where you can receive web pages by e-mail. It’s simple and very easy.

All you have to do is send an email to send@webtomail.co.cc. In the subject line, put the URL of the website you want to get email updates from. In only a couple of minutes, you’ll receive an email with the HTML contents from that particular page!

This service is not just free, and easy-to-use. It’s a great way to keep yourself updated on what’s happening on your favorite sites without actually having to visit the sites.

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Who Are You on Twitter?

Who Are You on Twitter?

http://twitter.com/chrispirillo – I was quite surprised to fire up a Web browser and check out my “Twitter Grade” (which I’m sure doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still an interesting statistic to know – considering just how many people are using Twitter these days).

Turns out, I’m in the Twitter Elite – outranking everybody else. I have no idea how the hell that happened, but I’m in some good company there.

Then again, I consider everybody on Twitter a part of the elite – one person’s tweet is equal to another’s (despite what some might claim). Just because you have more or less followers than me doesn’t make you any more or less important than you already are.

Twitter is instant gratification, instant validation, and a chance for you to tell the world what you’re thinking… before you’ve had a chance to think about it. Then again, maybe it’s more like an exclamation of feelings before you’ve felt them?

What is Twitter to you? Is it anything? Are you there? Is it a fad – like this blogging thing? Will Twitter be around in 10 years? Will you?

Oh, too many questions – but I dare not pose them directly ON Twitter, lest I be lashed with the 140 character limit. Beh.

So, you can follow me if you choose to follow – I’ll auto-follow back, because that’s how I wish to use Twitter.

It’s a firehose of information and emotion – a digital microcosm of life itself.

Does Computer Crime Affect You?

Geek!This is Blake P’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

When someone uses the Internet to connect to a computer remotely without the other computer owner’s permission, they have just taken part in a new crime wave. Computers have become the new weapon of choice for those choosing to commit crime today. Computers can be used to open attacks on single computers, or entire networks. To address this crisis, it is necessary to look at the human factors involved. We know that this is a serious issue for businesses around the world and the public alike, but it is almost impossible to state exactly how much computer crime exists.

Some computer crime can remain undiscovered for lengthy periods of time. Many computer crimes may never be reported. If your computer is connected to the Internet, it is a target for criminals wanting to access your personal information and use it for their own purposes. The stealing of private e-mail addresses is another example that can have dangerous repercussions. More and more of our important information is stored, transferred, and processed on computers via the Internet.

The same interconnection between millions of computers that allows you to send e-mail across the world with the press of a button also allows computer criminals to do their dirty work. They wish to gain access to your financial information, and collect email addresses to spam. There are people out there trying every day to get past your security features. The cost of their crimes to businesses is huge. Computer crimes are growing and becoming a serious problem for businesses, the public, and government. Law enforcement agencies rush to keep up with growing computer technology and growing rates of computer-based crime.

As the use of computers has risen over the past twenty years, so has the use of this technology involved in crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, terrorism, theft, larceny, extortion, malicious mischief, espionage and sabotage. Most of the focus in the news today relating to computer crime deals with crimes committed using a computer… and crimes where a computer or a network is the object. The previous type includes crimes such as storing records of fraud, producing false identification. Crimes where computers are the targets can result in damage or change to the computer system.

Many times, officials cannot be sure what information was accessed during the computer attack. These two types of computer crimes are increasingly the computer crime of choice by most computer hackers. When you browse the Internet in the privacy of your own home, that information is not as private as you think because search engines track your every move. Every site that you visit, download, or post messages to is monitored. Privacy is a value, which is most appreciated once it is lost. It is important that we are aware of what is at risk and what our rights are. The Internet is one of the most common tools used to commit computer hacking.

The computer is here to stay. Computers are everywhere. We need not fall victim to computer crime. First, we must acknowledge its existence then do something about the problem. We need to take steps to detect and prevent computer crime.