Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

New Post Coming Soon: BGP

I’ve been gone a while.  Here’s what’s been up.


I am now a Network Analyst I in the Data NOC IP group.
I passed the ICND2 exam and now have my CCNA.
I have taken the ROUTE exam.
I am getting ready for the SWITCH exam.
I will be taking the JNCIS-SP exam in October.

I am working on a post regarding BGP.  Look forward to it!


JNCIS-ENT Flashcards Now Available!

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been spending some time with the Proteus Networks (twitter, website) Proteus Elite service and studying for the JNCIS very hard. I’ve also been very ill the past two weeks.

However, today, I bring you excellent news! I have created JNCIS-ENT flashcards! All questions and answers come directly from me–no other sources were used other than the Juniper FastTrack Routing and Switching guides for JNCIS-ENT.

Currently, the flashcards are available only in Microsoft Office format. I encourage you strongly to use only Microsoft Office to open this file if you wish to print them out and use them. There are some formatting discrepencies when you try to use Google Docs or Open Office/Libre Office to view this file. Later this week, I will be adding more cards, and at that time I will also make available versions that will format and print correctly when opened with Google Docs and Open Office/Libre Office.

JNCIS-ENT Flashcards

How to Trivialize a Certification in 10 Days – They’re Called Brain Dumps for a Reason

You ever know that one guy that had every certification known to man and he was still just barely brighter than a firefly? A firefly will do if you have no other source of light, but the sun and light bulbs and LEDs are a lot brighter in my book.

What Are They?

Some of you may not know what a brain dump is, or you might know it as a different name. A brain dump, simply put, is a collection of questions and answers that are lifted directly from a test. Sometimes these are provided by exam proctors who think they’re helping. Others are delivered by exam-takers who intentionally and knowingly break their NDA with a vendor. Sometimes they may be unwittingly discussed when peers are talking about their experiences. The bottom line is this: they give you the exact answers to the test.

So What?

Many people argue that they are an invaluable final preparation resource. Such claims may or may not have merit, but once again, this is cheating. Some test questions are extremely tricky and are intended to make you think. That’s the purpose of these exams: to make you think about what you’re striving for. They validate your skills. If you use a brain dump, how are you challenging yourself or validating your skills in any way? This brings us to our next point.


The proliferation of these brain dumps has, in many ways, lessened the value of all certifications in general. For those who do not use these dumps and strive to learn a vendor’s way through trial of fire, it cheapens our own worth. It makes our hard work and dedication a trivial thing compared to someone who just crammed a dump and then took the test. Yes, in the long run it will be obvious who actually knows the material and who just used a brain dump. In the short run, however, it invalidates one of the primary selling points of certification: separation of knowledge and talent.

The Result

Remember that firefly analogy I made? It wasn’t just to be cute. I have known, and will know again in the future, people who have every certification ever known to man.

How often do you think I ask these people for their expert opinions?

  • (A) Sometimes
  • (B) Purple
  • (C) Always
  • (D) lol

If you guessed (C) Always, you should probably look for crayons in your brain (a la Homer Simpson).

On a more serious note, though, these people have historically utilized brain dumps until their eyes bled (because of all of the dumping their own brains did). They didn’t actually know anything about any of the products from any of the vendors from which they held certifications. I knew one guy who had his Network+ that didn’t know what a routing protocol was and another guy with his CCNA that couldn’t tell the difference between a management IP/interface and an interface/IP meant to pass traffic–despite the fact that this information was easily available just by reading the config!

Solution Proposal

This one goes out to all of the hiring managers out there. Or to anyone involved in the hiring process, really.

If you’re going to make a certification (or “equivalent knowledge”) a requirement for a job, don’t trust what’s on the paper to make that decision.

If you require a specific certificate or equivalent knowledge, then you need to have some sort of “hands-on” test during the in-person interview that validates the skills a candidate and his certificate claim to have. If hands-on is out of the question because you can’t afford a sufficient lab or for some other reason, at least have a theory test that the candidate must answer–and in person. A test prior to submitting an application isn’t really a test–the candidate can just use the Internets! And if he can’t find it on the Internets, I guarantee you one of two things: it doesn’t exist OR the candidate will call the creator of the Internets–Al Gore himself–and ask the all-knowing personally.

If you don’t have the technical know-how to judge something like that, ask your technical lead to sit in on the interview. If you don’t have one, pick your subject matter expert. If you don’t have an SME, get one.


Look, bottom line is that brain dumps are harmful for everyone. When you use them, you’re honestly just dumping nonsense onto your test. If you don’t understand the material, why do you want to lie with a piece of paper that says you do? If you do understand the material, why cheapen yourself (and others) by cheating?


Post-Mortem Disclaimer

The views expressed here belong to me. They don’t belong to the company I work for, and they certainly don’t belong to any other being in existence. If I said it, then it’s what I feel. I’m sorry if you think that the words of an individual represent the views of a whole. You should probably go back to school for a while and learn some basic history/psychologically/math/anything.

Hacking, Anonymous, Antisec, and the Problem With Their Reasons



Anonymous and the various #Antisec groups out there always seem to claim that they’re doing something in the name of freedom.  Information should be publicly available.  We should protect those that wish to speak out against their governments.  They say that they’re hacking corporations and governments to attack oppression.


I support the freedom of information.  I’m an American, and despite the problems my country has, I am a patriot.  I believe that we should be able to express ourselves freely.  I’m against oppression of any kind, but some things aren’t oppression.  Some things are just policies. 


Maybe Bank of America, Sony, et al. don’t have the best security practices.  Does that mean that Anonymous should hack them and release the people’s personal, private information to the world?  Definitely not.  That’s unprofessional and childish.


How can you say that you’re trying to help people, that you’re carrying out retribution, if you’re exposing the personal information of the very people you claim to be fighting for?


If you’re truly fighting for freedom, for the people, for the common man, for the freedom of information–stop exposing our information to the world.  Maybe Anonymous isn’t specifically using our information, but they’re giving it to people who will.  And why?  Because they’re trying to expose a corporation or government’s incompetence?


My honest opinion is that the #Antisec groups that claim to be doing things for the people or freedom of information are either lying or extremely immature.  You can’t protect people by exposing their logins and credit card numbers.  You’re doing nothing but harm.


Here’s a suggestion.  If you truly want to do something, do something that won’t affect the innocent people who are using a service.  Contact the corporation or government privately, with proof of your deed, and if they don’t fix it, then go to the press.  But even when you go to the press, don’t release information about individual users.


If you continue to expose innocent, common users, you’re only doing it for fame or to say you can do it.  And any banner of truth or freedom that you’re trying to hide behind is a lie.  If that’s the case, how much better are you than the very governments and corporations you’re trying to expose?


Bottom line: hacking is bad.  I don’t support it.  I support freedom and believe in transparency.  If you must hack, then do so professionally and discretely.  If you truly want to follow through with the statements you make, expose and exploit the governments and corporations, not the innocent individuals who subscribe to a service.

Content Resumes Soon! – On December 26

Hey everyone. There haven’t been updates in a while, I know. I’ve been in Little Rock meeting the managers behind our data NOC. This week, I’ve been in class all day, every day. Next week is vacation and Christmas.

I’ll be back on December 26, though, so updates will resume then.


I know I haven’t been keeping to my commitments lately. Things have been extremely crazy with work, real life, studying, and the holidays. I want you to know, though, that I am not abandoning this project/blog/site. I will continue on, and the next post will be today and it will be the scheduled Question of the Week.


Welcome to Packet Talk.

Packet Talk is a log of my work, new features I find, my quest for certification, and other miscellaneous networking tidbits.

I currently work as a network analyst for a national telecommunications provider, where I monitor our network and respond to network events, escalating as necessary.

I’m studying for my JNCIA-Junos, which is scheduled for November 15, 2011.