Archive for the Uncategorized Category

I am speaking at TechMentor Orlando 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2013 by jjrinehart

I am speaking at TechMentor Orlando 2013 on Monday , 3/3, on how to pass the CCNA exam. Use the code TMSK13 to register.


Cabling: It Ain’t Sexy, But It’s Got Teeth!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by jjrinehart

In case you missed it, this is a quote from the movie The Firm.

When last we saw our heroes…oops, wrong channel, makes it sound more like the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (LOL)!

Cabling in Ethernet networks is another topic that eager student engineers can skip over, and miss out over the many lessons to be had.  In thinking back to the review of the OSI model, remember this: when troubleshooting always start with the physical layer!  In my years in the industry, I have banged my head over a problem only to discover it to be caused by a cabling issue.  On a side not, if you suspect this kind of problem, have a known good cable handy to swap out as a first step, you would be amazed at how often that helps.  In any case, there are two basic copper cables used in Ethernet LANs:

Straight Through Cable

1. Straight-Through Cable: This term describes the vast majority of Ethernet cables and patch cords (shorter cables used from patch panels to devices in a communications closet).  The “pins” on an RJ-45 jack run straight through without alteration to the pins on the jack on the other end of the cable.  Straight-through cables connect switches to workstations, IP phones, wireless access points, and routers (essentially “computers”).  Computer-to-computer, and router-to-router, an switch-to-switch connections, hosever, require a different cable.

Crossover Cable

2. Crossover Cable: Crossover cables are used in specialized situations, and used far less frequently.  These cables differ from their “cousins” in that all of the RJ-45 pins do not run straight through, but rather, the transmit and receive pairs are crossed (hence the term crossover). For router-to-router, switch-to-switch, and computer-to-computer connections, this is the cable to use.

The Exception:  As with most English grammar rules, there is an exception to this, sort of.  Most of the newer Cisco switches support a feature called Auto-MDX, meaning that the hardware can support automatic crossover when needed.  With this functionality, straight through cables are all that is needed.  That being said, I have personally encountered situations where an actual crossover cable is all that actually worked.  The moral of the story?  Know how things work, and be prepared for contingencies.  Next up will be about switches and hubs…

– Joe

VBA for Excel, Sod Removal, and other Wacky Solutions!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 31, 2010 by jjrinehart

I suppose at 46 that knowing I am a geek should be fairly self evident. I think I could probably come up with a Jeff Foxworthy-ish routine titled, “You Know You Are a Geek If”, as follows:
– If you carry a Star Trek Lunchbox (at any age)
– If you point out that the phone in (name the movie) is a Cisco 7960 IP Phone
– If you are more likely to read a textbook than a comic book
– If you mod your SmartPhone (if you don’t even know what that means you are definitely not a geek)
– If you spend any time writing blog entries entitled “You Might be a geek if…”

Okay, you get the idea. I spent most of my senior year of high school not chasing girls or going to school dances, but sitting in the computer lab writing code for a Burroughs B90 minicomputer. In my not-so-old age, however, I am finding just how much I take delight in solving problems in ususual ways. Here are a couple of examples:

1. Opportunity Tracking Spreadsheet. I tend to be scatterbrained so I use a lot of self-reminder methods to keep things straight, the latest one is an Excel spreadsheet. The purpose of the sheet is to list all of the sales opportunities I am am assigned to at work, their status, and whether it is pending or sompleted on my part. Right now it sorts all the data, puts the active ones in another sheet, and then goes on to sort them into separate tabs (one of 17) per account manager. It took me a couple of weeks in my spare time, but I still am thrilled that I figured out how to do it.

2. Sod Removal. My front lawn has been an eyesore for about a year now and my wife Brenda (aka, “Da Wiffy”) finally said that it needed to come up and be replaced with beauty bark. This past weekend three of the “men of the house” were all out trying to get the old sod up. I ended up thinking that I could take the edger and cut grooves in the lawn a couple inches deep and then pry the sod up and take it away. While it still took a lot of work, most of the sod rolled up in sections and made it all go a lot faster. Again, I was thrilled at coming up with a way to speed up the task.

I like coming up with strange and odd ways to solve problems, which works well in the whole high tech field that I work in. I have always thought of myself as sort of a “mad scientist” type of guy and the more I come up with these kinds of things the more I realize that it’s true. The formula seems to me part creativity, part intelligence, part drivenness, and part boldness. I like it, and one wonders what I will come up with next!


Something NEW!!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2009 by jjrinehart

As my latest LinkedIn update states, I am on the verge of completing my first non-fiction book…

I am no stranger to writing, I began doing that in the sixth grade as it was a cheap hobby, a constructive escape, and a way to express myself.  My teenage/adolescent years were far from ideal and it turned into a great coping mechanism as well as just plain fun.  I started writing scripts first, dealing with science fiction topics, and in fact the first story was a cheap spinoff of the “Six Million Dollar Man” for those of you who can remember the 1970’s.  After Star Wars came out, I morphed the story into a space epic, which evolved enough on its own to actually be its own story.  That started out as a 90 page short book and at my last edit it was over 110,000 words!  In that story line, I have two completed manuscripts and parts of half a dozen others, along with some stories of my childhood in an incomplete volume of its own.

In truth, however, I have been writing non-fiction for the better part of thirteen years, since I moved to Washington, in the form of bi-weekly newpaper columns in both the Federal Way News and Federal Way Mirror, the latter of which I still make submissions to.  My older daughter (Jeanna) is a superior fiction writer and I have jokingly said that after reading her work I will not sully the written word with any more contributions, in the fiction category at least.

One of the remarkable things I notice about my non-fiction style is how smoothly it flows off the pen for me, proverbially speaking.  Fiction is an art of its own and requires attention to dialogue, attention to detail, imagination, and narrative style, in order to tell the story correctly.  While I do that to a certain degree, it does not come as easily as the non-fiction material does—who knows, maybe it comes from all the years of preparing and delivering messages to congregations, or just the practice of the newspaper columns.

The book my wife and I are about to complete started out as a simple suggestion, which turned into an idea, and grew into something that took a life of its own.  This has really been an interesting experience and I look forward to the message of hope and encouragement it will bring to others.  Stay tuned  for more!