My 9/11 Story

On the morning of September 11th 2001, I woke up in my room at the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in downtown Atlanta GA. I was in town working at the Networld+Interop Trade Show being held at the Georgia World Congress Center, next door to the CNN Center in Atlanta. I went through my normal early morning routine, nothing unusual, then went on my walk from the hotel, down the street, and across the Olympic Park Plaza, to the GWCC. Everything was weirdly quiet, but I did not thing anything of it at the time. Once I got down to the show floor, everyone was clustered around the two giant tv screens that we were using at the center of the trade show floor, watching CNN cover the news that the first plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. You could hear a pin drop in a room full of people. A few minutes after I arrived, the second plane hit the south tower. People started talking and speculating. Being ex-USAF, I knew right away what I was looking at on TV.

Someone mentioned that the Westin Hotel (where I was staying) would be a perfect target since CNN had transmit/receive antennas on their roof, and that would take CNN off the air and scare America. Everyone was in shock and terrified to leave the building. I heard afterwards that a few people just got up, walked out to their vehicles, and started driving away from Atlanta. I actually had a rental car, so I was lucky. I remember that some rental car companies started charging thousands of dollars a day for rentals. The Atlanta airport shut down that morning and thousands of people were stranded there. I actually went back to the Westin, and managed to call my wife in Phoenix Arizona (where we lived at the time) to tell her I was safe, and that my plan was to head home as soon as possible. I packed my bag, stuck a FedEx shipment label on it, and dropped it off at the front desk to be shipped to my home eventually. Then I went back to the GWCC to work.

The show organizers and an army of volunteers started a massive coordination effort to get everyone involved in the show back to their homes. I remember that they rented some city buses and some RV's (don't remember from where), and started mapping out routes across the country where the vehicles would stop to drop off people. Everyone took down their trade show gear, packed it all up, and prepared everything for shipping back to wherever it came from. Then people started heading out in their assigned vehicles. I didn't depart until Thursday the 13th. I left with two IT guys from San Francisco. Our plan was to drive non-stop from Atlanta to Phoenix, drop me off, and then they were going to take the rental car to San Francisco, and eventually drop it off at a local branch of the car rental company. I think we took I-20 most of the way across the US, and switched to I-10 in Texas, then on to Phoenix. We drove around 27 hours, with the three of us taking turns driving, sleeping, or keeping the driver awake. Once we made it to Phoenix, I offered to let the guys stay in my guest room for the night before their 12-ish hour drive to San Francisco, but they declined because they wanted to get home as soon as possible. So I feed them, and sent them on their way. I never heard from either of them again.

The biggest thing that week that seemed to terrify people the most (where I was), was the sense of fear of the unknown. Not knowing what was going to happen next, or where the next target was, or how widespread the terrorist activities would be. I was just glad my job didn't require me to travel to New York that week, or this would have been a vastly different story. I was very lucky.

In an odd twist of fate, earlier that year (I think in the spring of 2001) I had been speaking to a recruiter about a job opportunity for a Linux Engineer to work for an insurance company that had their offices in tower 1 of the World Trade Center in New York. I turned down the job because I didn't feel I could afford to live in New York at the time, and wanted to stay in Phoenix. Lucky me.

Voting and the upcoming elections

I recently had a very interesting conversation with some young people, all high school graduates, all intelligent humans. They asked some very interesting questions.

Everything you wanted to know about voter registration can be found here: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

Q: If I register to vote Republican, do I have to vote for the Republican candidate?
A: No. Once you register to vote, since your vote is made secretly, you can vote for whomever you want. Registering with a particular party listed on your registration allows you to vote in the Primary for that party. Registering with no party affiliation means you cannot vote in the primaries, but you can still vote in the regular elections. 

Q: I heard I cannot vote by absentee ballot where I live. 
A: Every state has absentee voting. https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

Q: Can I even vote?
A: At a minimum, you must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to be eligible to vote.

Q: Why bother? All these politicians are stupid. 
A: What is something that you really care about? Find a politician that also cares about that. Vote for them. 

Q: All politicians are evil. Can I just vote for the lesser of two evils?
A: Yes, but you are still voting for evil. 

👉 https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote

Do your own research!     

Explore the candidates’ websites to see where they allegedly stand on your hot-button issues.

If one of the candidates is an incumbent in the House of Representatives or Senate, go to Congress.gov and research their voting records, find out what issues they concentrate on, and how to contact them.

Attend campaign events, including town halls (or participate in them  by phone or online) and informal coffees and other stops the candidates might be making in your community. Local party offices, public libraries and other community organizations usually have information on such events.

Find the campaign office and call or drop in. Candidates want your vote. Make them work for it. Ask to speak to the candidate or her or his representative and get your questions answered about the issues that matter to you.

Check the candidates’ answers on important issues. Factcheck.org, which is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, keeps track of candidates’ statements and claims. Cross reference their facts with other sites to find conflicting information. 

Do a Google search for “[your congressional district] debates.”

Try this site:  https://ballotpedia.org/

Or this one: https://www.people-press.org/









RHEL 8 is now Generally Available

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 is now GA!

Here are some things to consider:

RHEL8 uses the dnf command instead of yum with an identical syntax (yum is an alias for dnf).

The  Btrfs file system, once in technical preview, is no longer available.

Most of the system scripts are still written in the Python language, however version 3.6 will replace Python 2.7.  More details here:  https://developers.redhat.com/blog/2018/11/14/python-in-rhel-8/

LDAP: The OpenLDAP package is no longer available. You'll have to use the 389 LDAP server or something else.

You cannot remove NetworkManager from your configuration. This was already the case with the Gnome graphical environment in RHEL 7.5.

KDE is removed from the desktop. KDE is deprecated according to the RHEL 7.6 release notes.

A new mechanism called application stream is introduced. More details are available here: https://developers.redhat.com/blog/2018/11/15/rhel8-introducing-appstreams/
Many videos and articles about RHEL8 and RHEL8 Beta have been released:
The writing is on the wall...

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released their newest product: Amazon Linux 2

Find out all about it here: Amazon Linux 2


April Fools Day is Canceled!

For the first time in many years, I will not be playing any pranks on April Fools Day. I cannot come up with anything that can compete with all the craziness that is already happening in the real world. 

BASH Cheatsheet/Reference

There is an excellent BASH cheatsheet/reference available online here: Click HERE

This reference was made for Vim 8.0: Click HERE
I Am A: True Neutral Human Ranger (7th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-11

Dexterity-10

Constitution-11

Intelligence-13

Wisdom-12

Charisma-12


Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what
seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to
good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of
conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of
good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than
evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or
universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves
philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and
dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most
balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it
means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a
dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.



Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short
generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse
as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles,
fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Class:
Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their
home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack
the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills
and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against
and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who
live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to
the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of
certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that
he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and
like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score
should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.


Find out What Kind
of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?
, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

CompTIA Linux+ CE

Got my CompTIA Linux+ CE Tests (2) done, which fulfills the requirements for two more WGU Classes! Now I have completed 6/18 classes. One third of the way to graduation!

More Certs!

Two more certifications added to my collection. Why did I get these entry-level certifications? Because I am now a full-time student at Western Governors University! Some of the classes that are required for my bachelors degree program use industry standard certification exams as their final exam. So I will eventually end up with both a list of certifications, and a Bachelor of Science, Cloud and Systems Administration degree from an accredited university!

For more information on what can be accomplished at WGU, visit their website at http://www.wgu.edu