Archive for the ‘General’ category

FollowFriday: SysAdvent Calendar

4 December 2009

One of the Twitter practices that I have found helpful is FollowFriday.  I thought that this being Friday, it might be good to go a step further and post a blog entry with a slight twist.  The intent of a #followfriday post on twitter is to recommend other twitter users that you might consider following yourself.  I’d like to suggest (via This FollowFriday blog post) a blog that you might consider reading and possibly subscribing to.

For those who may not be familiar with the whole FollowFriday concept, I’ll recommend you read an article by Sharon Hayes-Tucci entitled “FollowFriday on Twitter“.  I’ll also offer this brief example (posted via my @n9kju twitter account today).

#followfriday @jordansissel and the SysAdvent Blog (

The #followfriday hashtag marks this as suggestions for others that you might consider following on Twitter.  If you visit the profile of the username(s) suggested (ie. @jordansissel) you can check to see if this is a twitter user that you might want to follow.

I’ve not seen anyone else tweet to suggest a blog for following. I want to suggest a blog that you should consider following.  Tweets are limited to 140 characters and that’s hardly enough to properly suggest the SysAdvent Calendar Blog.  But by posting this FollowFriday blog suggestion in my own blog, I overcome that limitation.

So what is this SysAdvent Calendar Blog.  Jordan Sissel created the Blog last year (2008). There have been perl advent calendars in years past. The idea was to put out one blog post each day starting Dec 1rst and then for the next 25 days.  This is just like an Advent calendar that you may have had in your house when you were growing up.  At my house, my siblings and I  took turns opening one door on the Advent caledar each day.  Last year, Jordan offered to take postings from other SysAdmins, but he ended up doing almost all the writing himself.  This year, Matt Simmons has been helping contact other SysAdmins to seek submissions for this years calendar.

Each article is written to focus on a single, somewhat-specific idea related to systems administration.  The target audience is the intermediate or senior level SysAdmin.  Having said that, I know that they hope to have at least one posting by a junior SysAdmin this year.

When you do visit the SysAdvent Blog, you will find the most recent posting listed first and older entries are sequenced below that most recent entry.  In fact, if you keep going down the list (back in time) you will find the 25 articles that made up last years inaugural version of the SysAdvent Calendar.

I think this is a really great idea.  I’ve enjoyed browsing through many of the posts from last year.  And I look forward to reading new posts as they come on-line this year.

Please let me know if you find this sort of Blog following article helpful.  I follow a quite a few and I expect several of them would be worthy of a FollowFriday Blog article.


What to expect

10 November 2009

As I start this Blog, I guess I have more than a few things to comment on. But I want to set expectations properly right up front. It is my expectation (and intention) to publish between one and three posts each week on average.  In the next couple days or maybe weeks, there may be more posts.  This blogging is still new for me, so I am riding a wave of enthusiasm right now.

My goal in writing all this is to share information about the cool stuff I have come across or to explain a confusing topic in simple terms.  Since I work at Fermilab and I work with HPC (High Performance Computing) clusters, some of the “cool stuff” may be of interest to only the geekier among those who follow this blog.  If I miss the mark and my explaination fails to make the concept clear, please leave me a comment so that I can try and correct the failed explanation.

If you have read any of my other web pages or postings, you will have figured out by now that I tend to “use lots of words”.  My goal in my writing is to explain things, sometimes teach and sometimes clarify.  I have a passion for teaching.  And when I am teaching, I want to make sure my point is made well and clearly.  I tend to err on the side of “thorough” at the expense of “to the point”.  I’m working on being more succinct and staying focused.  Constructive feedback is always appreciated and encouraged.  Feel free to send me an e-mail as opposed to more public comments where appropriate.  I want to write in a way that others want to read.

Would you like to hear more about Fermilab and/or computing for High-Energy Physics research? Or would you like more on internet services like or on-line privacy?

More later, Ken S.

Why ‘de N9KJU’?

7 November 2009

I am a ham radio operator, albeit not very active lately. My callsign is N9KJU.  I have used this callsign on occasions where I need a short, simple and/or unique username or handle that identifies me.  For example, you can find me on Twitter as @n9kju.  It seems appropriate to use the callsign as the unique part of the URL for this blog.

So what’s with the ‘de’.  Ham radio operators have passed messages for years.  We pass them as something like amateur telegrams. This started in the medium of morse code where keeping the message short is important.  More recently these messages are passed via RTTY (Radio TeleType).  One thing that is commonly done is using abbreviations as a form of shorthand.  Also, when hams communicate via morse code, they have common abreviations.  An abbreviation I have used when signing messages I delivered was “de N9KJU” which translates as ‘this is N9KJU’.

So this blog is about my thoughts, opinions and ideas.  If you visit this log over time, you will get to know a bit more about me and the way I think.  So the more you visit, the more you know.  Over time, you may come to the point where you will say “So… this is N9KJU”.

More later.  Ken S.

%d bloggers like this: