Why Blog?

“If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” — Mark Twain

In times past, when you wanted to learn a skill, you would seek out someone with experience to teach you. You would spend time apprenticing with that person, learning from their knowledge and, most importantly, their expertise. You would know not only why a thing doesn’t work but also what the consequences of ignoring that knowledge would be. Eventually, you would have learned enough to move on, practice your craft, and continue to learn and develop your skills until, one day, you would pass your knowledge on to someone new. And so the cycle would continue.

We do not see that same style of apprenticeship very often these days, and while there can be relatively little doubt that we have much more access to quality information and learning materials than at any point in human history, something has been lost. You can buy 20 books on your favorite subject and presumably learn the material contained therein, but you would still be missing the glue that holds it all together: experience. Without experience, you become what my grandfather would have called “book smart, but with no commonsense.”

Why? Because most books are focused on imparting a skill. They cover the thing itself: the how, the why, the history, perhaps, but typically nothing more. Experience typically has to be learned firsthand: by screwing it up yourself or by watching someone else screw it up. You must “hold a cat by the tail” to understand and appreciate the consequences thoroughly.

On these pages, in this blog, I hope to help contribute at least a little bit to the experience factor in your learning about computer networks. I am still on a journey myself, constantly striving to know more than I did yesterday to understand what I have learned in context. I have 27 years of professional experience in computer programming, networking, and windows and Unix system administration, and some 12 or more years in executive leadership at the helm of several large IT organizations.

Why do I think what I have to say could be valuable? Because with all my experience, and all my current studies, I still screw up on an alarmingly regular basis. I experience all manner of self-inflicted pain and a fair amount of random “character building” failures. When these things happen, I don’t shy away from the aftermath; I aim to write about it. I desire to share my experience with you so that I can contribute to the knowledge pool in whatever way I can.

I will also share tips and tricks as I find them, configurations I use in my own life, and anything else that I think someone besides me might benefit from knowing. You can also expect the occasion half-delusional rant or screed on a variety of topics. And now, back to grabbing the proverbial cat by the tail.