Stories by Ron Nutter

Twenty ways to survive a layoff

On February 20, IT manager and columnist Ron Nutter was called into his boss's office and told he was being let go -- that day. Once the initial shock wore off, Nutter launched an aggressive search for employment in the US area of Kansas City. Over the next 76 days, Nutter applied for 85 jobs, and had 16 interviews before landing a new position. He chronicled the job search in a daily blog. Now that he has had some time to reflect on the experience, Nutter offers these 20 tips for surviving a layoff.

Disinfecting a spyware-riddled PC

What do I do if I suspect someone is controlling my PC? When my IP address has been changed without my knowledge? My boot-up process is getting harder unless I unplug the Ethernet cable and the CPU is at 100 per cent every time I open any program. There is also a new connection to the Internet that is between my connection and the net I know was not there a month ago. When I try to register my e-mail address the programs say it's invalid and does not match whatever it has to compare it to.-- Teresa Hurst.

SMB - Getting home wireless to work

I have a laptop that I have tried connecting to my new home cable network. Everything is connected but I can not even see my router on my laptop. HELP!! This is frustrating because a few weeks ago I had it on the road and it worked fine on the hotel's wireless and it worked fine on the company's wireless, but I cannot get it to work at home. Can you please give me some suggestions?-- Kevin Patterson

Taking the next career step

I just finished a post grad. certificate in Wireless communications and also, hold a CCNA certificate. Based on the current job market, what do you suggest my career path should be? Should I go further for CCNP or would a certification in wireless be a better choice?

Building a wireless network

Reader Arun Sandeep asks: "I want to setup a wireless LAN in an area of about 500 square meters. I will need to be able to connect to about 200 computers (desktop/laptop). I would like the network to have connection so that all the computers can get connect to the Internet. To get this done, how many access points should i have? Is it possible to share folders/drives on the network? Will I be able to connect to the local server and access a local database on the server?"

Blocking ports on switches

As our network continues to grow, we are trying have standards as to reserving certain port numbers for access points, certain ones for printers, etc. Another challenge is to prevent ports from being used without proper authorization. Just to make things really interesting, a previous administrator bought some Cisco switches used and never got any maintenance agreements on them, so I am not allowed to replace them until a significant of ports have gone bad. Is there a way that all of these ideas can be accommodated into one manageable solution? -- Via the Internet

Getting up to speed with VoIP

One reader asks: "My company is expecting to make the move to VoIP in the next year or so. I would like to learn some basics before the move is made and hopefully be able to ask the rights questions as the selection is made. Without hocking the family jewels, is there a way that I can build some experience?"

Connecting a building to the campus LAN

One reader asks: "I have been asked to connect a building to our network that isn't currently connected. While this building, albeit a small one, is a stone's throw from two other buildings, the decision was made when the fiber backbone was installed between the building to not include this building because it was due to be torn down in the near future. That was several years ago and before my time but the building still exists. I have now been asked by a department head to provide costs estimates for connecting connecting the building to the network. After consulting the drawings for the fiber backbone, there is conduit running to the building but only phone lines were run to the building. Only a couple of people are expected to be in this building at any given time. What will be the best option for connecting this building to the network?"

Access rule vs. firewalls

A reader asks: "In light of the recent viruses/worms that have shown up on our network, the administrator in charge of our two Unix servers wants to restrict access as to who can get to the servers via what protocols, but he doesn't want to put that overhead on his servers. Our group has been talking about access lists on the Cisco router vs. putting up a second firewall in front of just the Unix servers. Which would be the best way to go?"

How many firewalls do I need?

A reader writes: "All the news about the worm currently making the rounds got me thinking about adding a secondfirewall internally to protect really critical servers. I'm not sure the benefit would offset the cost. Is this something I should implement?"

Life After 45: Getting Certified

I am 45 years old with an accounting degree and medical research lab experience. I can see that networking is where the future is and would like to get trained as a Novell Inc. CNE, MasterCNE or MCSE. I live in Utah, would like to stay around here, and intend to go the home study route. What is your advice?

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