Diary for herman

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Older diary entries for herman (starting at number 23):

13 Nov 2002  »

Joel's Take on Abstractions

For its references to TCP, IP, ASP.NET, and so on, I recommend reading The Law of Leaky Abstractions.

12 Nov 2002  »

Networking Problems

My workstation (and the course web site) had some networking problems today. The problem with the course web site was easy to fix: the power was off while the computer guys were recabling. But my own machine failed in mysterious ways, showing extremely slow networking. Eventually I tracked it down (after many hours of trying different theories) to damaged software modules. Of course I had a backup, and restoring a library appears to have fixed the problem. I really did use the standard set of tools that I describe in class (ping, netstat, etc) to help me solve the problem.

4 Nov 2002  »

Blog Defined

William Safire--columnist for the Sunday New York Times Magazine--explains blogging and defines the word ``blog":

``Blog is a shortening of Web log. It is a Web site belonging to some average but opinionated Joe or Josie who keeps what used to be called a ''commonplace book'' -- a collection of clippings, musings and other things like journal entries that strike one's fancy or titillate one's curiosity. What makes this online daybook different from the commonplace book is that this form of personal noodling or diary-writing is on the Internet, with links that take the reader around the world in pursuit of more about a topic.''

4 Nov 2002  »

Chat and Instant Messaging

I see that IETF has a proposal for instant messaging. Lookup XMPP and Jabber via search engines (I had to use a cached copy from Google, as important pages must have recently moved).

31 Oct 2002  »


I'm devoting a little time to getting the lab machines in B1C ready for projects - if any have advanced to the point to doing testing in the lab. Actually, quite a bit of useful things are available now, if one knows how to use them. For instance, you can use tcpdump and sniff packets, which is useful for low-level debugging. Intrusion detection sometimes works at this low level. Also, I have installed NS, the network simulator, on several machines.

But the harder part is to install hardware needed by projects. Some students will need to test multimedia, meaning that at least soundboards are required. None of the machines have soundboards now, but it's not a big deal to get sound cards. Typically they can be had for $15 or less for a basic model. The only difficulty is to find one that will work well with Linux (some of them don't). So I'm researching sound cards today.

24 Oct 2002  »

Notes from Afar

I'm at a conference, many time zones away from Iowa. I've been grading exams, but it is difficult. I discovered that some answers could be judged "correct" from one point of view, so even though the answer differs from what is intended, it should get full credit. In other cases, it seems unfair to give close to full credit to very approximate, sketchy answers -- unfair to the students who got it fully right. So it will take some extra work to score things fairly.

I see a few new diary entries, but not so many as I had hoped for. We'll see if the next few days bring any new ones.

18 Oct 2002  »

Diary Solicitations

I just sent individual emails (not Spam!) to everyone in class, inviting more diary reporting and encouraging more specifics on the project plans. (Two students, tvich and sskillma I did not email, because I have no email addresses for them; also Martin Pomije has no account yet.)

11 Oct 2002  »

Competition Network Administration

A friend who works as a network administrator sent me a description of a contest. This is a real event! See the rules of this contest here (if that doesn't work, I made a textfile copy: topgun.txt).

7 Oct 2002  »

Chapter 8

Reading Chapter 8 is a struggle: it is so boring. The authors almost apologize for this, but they are correct to state that network administration is important. I will need to supplement the slides to explain that network administration is not nearly as boring as the textbook would have one believe.

1 Oct 2002 (updated 1 Oct 2002)  »

New Types of "Security" Attacks

The Internet is now used for commerce, online services, media distribution, and community support. This opens up some new ways that hackers can misuse some online services on the net. Udi Manber, chief scientist at yahoo tells of some of these in this interesting interview: manber.txt

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