Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Let's build a wireless network and call it...

I am a woman working in information technology and I love it. First, because my office is a whole floor of IT people, there are very few women on the floor and I usually have our restroom all to myself. This makes me happy as I have a shy bladder.

Second, I like geeks. Not necessarily in a crushing sort of way, though that works too, but in a they're generally very clever and interesting and eccentric sort of way. I guess if I were a fella working in IT, I might still like working with geeks, but I imagine it wouldn't be the same. There's an interesting tension.

Something I don't like about working in IT is the focus on technical certifications. Seems like they're for non-geeks trying to turn into geeks. I get that there aren't enough of us but still. The certified wanna be geeks don't tend to have the passion for the business that you sometimes need to get through the bad days with your sense of humour intact.

A funny thing happened at work the other day. We have a wireless network that our employees use and right now it has a long encryption key and a mixed case, case sensitive SSID (network name). I run the service desk and my staff have to read out both over the phone, over and over again, to our employees who want to connect to the network. Yes our computers are deployed preconfigured to connect to the wireless network, but sometimes the settings get corrupted and they need to be removed and re-entered, and then they magically work.

A network engineer came to me to propose removing the encryption key and allowing anyone to connect, as we have implemented another, better layer of security that users hit once they connect. I asked if we could change the SSID as well, and make it something that is all upper or lowercase, as the mixed case SSID we're using now is a real pain. He said that would be fine and maybe make it easier, so we could leave the old one in place for awhile after deploying the new one. This would give people time to move from one to the other. We agreed this would be a Good Thing (tm).

I wanted to check with our security people that this was all really ok, and they said it was fine. I mentioned that in testing the engineer had used our company name as the test SSID, which I assumed would be a problem. The security director said he wasn't worried about it, and we could even broadcast the SSID now if we wanted.

I returned to the engineer and told him we were good to go and at that point we had a brief discussion of what the SSID should be. I thought about it for a minute and then realized - the network name that would be easy (enough) to spell, and that probably most of our users who take their computers home are already set up to use would be linksys. How deliciously funny would that be?

Sadly the security guy didn't approve it, though he did appreciate the humor in it.

Still not pregnant, though still not really trying. Being off the Pill sucks though - it's wreaking havoc on my skin. I forgot that half the reason I like the Pill is the tragic adult acne I have without it. I shudder to imagine what comes next vis a vis my hormones. Whee!

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