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Net Know-how with Dave Kearns

Dave Kearns introduces his new searchNetworking column, "a slightly skewed, irreverent look at the network."


By Dave Kearns

A slightly skewed, irreverent look at the network.

Welcome to my new home on the Net! "Net Know-how with Dave Kearns" will be coming to you here on searchNetworking to give you a different perspective on the news. Before I was a writer, I was a network administrator and an IT manager. That experience spanned the time from 2400-baud CarbonCopy sessions, to T-3 interactive web management. I know what you're going through; I've been there.

One thing you won't see in this space is a "balanced view." I'm not writing news stories, so my opinions, preferences, and biases are going to be easy to spot. I hope they are also your opinions, preferences and biases -- but I'm sure we will also have a disagreement from time to time.

What will I be writing about? The network, of course, but also the vendors, the users, your management, the technologies -- anything interesting that remotely falls into the network manager's domain. Here are some issues I would have covered over the past month or two:

  • How did Nortel manage to lose $19 BILLION in a quarter? That's only 91 days -- over $200 million per day! Shouldn't someone have noticed?
  • The US Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Microsoft was an anti-competitive monopoly. According to Bill Gates, this was a victory for the Redmondites. Just like Pearl Harbor was a victory for the US!
  • My first network server had 512 kbytes of RAM and 10 meg of disk space. The last one I installed commercially had 512 meg of RAM and 60 gig of disk space. Today, my desktop machine has 512 meg of RAM, 40 gig of disk -- and its underpowered. Where will it end, when will the hardware handle all of the software we throw at it?
  • Are "Smart tags" the stupidest idea since "push" technology, or just another tip of the marketing iceberg?
  • Peer-to-peer networking: Is there anyway to turn this newly re-discovered phenomenon into a plus for your network, or should you simply find it and root it out?
  • Why isn't there any "open source" hardware?

Now don't get the idea that I'm always negative, that I drip sarcasm and that I revel in telling the emperor that he's naked. That's all true, but -- from time to time -- I'll mellow out and actually say something good about someone or something. Perhaps a piece of software that makes your life easier, or a hardware appliance that works the way it?s advertised. I'll also spotlight some of the "good guys" in the networking industry -- people who are working hard to develop products you want and need (as opposed to those working hard to convince you that you want and need their products).

There'll even be time, on occasion, to look at some of the off-beat people and projects in our industry who perfectly illustrate the old saying that there's a fine line between genius and ? whatever's on the other side of genius.

I also expect you to be more than a passive reader. I want to hear what you've got to say about my opinion and -- even more important -- what you'd like to see in this space. I'm sure there are things you'd like to say, but corporate policy keeps your sharp tongue in check. Maybe it?s about your own company, or a vendor you use or someone else you've noticed. Maybe you want anonymity or, alternatively, you want your name in 16-point bold type. Either way, I'll try to accommodate you.

So let me know what your thoughts are by posting a comment in the Net Know-how with Dave Kearns Forum. I'll respond to you there, and other readers will be able to add their two cents, as well.

I hope it will be fun and informative, maybe a bit controversial -- but always interesting.

Post your feedback and suggestions for Dave at

Read more about Dave at his bio page.
This was last published in July 2001

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