Open Letter to Kansas City Chiefs Fans…

Open Letter to the Kansas City Chiefs Fans of the National Football League

-by Matt Raio

Why do fans watch a team year after year? Only to come to the end of a particular season and find themselves filled with doubt and embarrassment. As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs it was crushing to see the team outed by the Indianapolis Colts back in the Wild Card playoff game in 2014 when the main points taken from THAT game are:

  1. Chiefs were leading at the half 31 to 10. (a 21 point difference).

  2. Andrew Luck threw a ball to himself and jumped into the end zone for an unplanned touch down.

  3. 5 Chiefs starters fell to injury at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts.

Last night’s game with the Chiefs versus the Tennessee Titans looked eerily familiar. At some point during the broadcast, Jon Gruden could not recall a time where a quarterback threw to himself to score a touchdown. He was talking about Mariota’s awful throw to a Chief that deflected the pass, only to catch it himself and score the first touchdown for the Titans.

As I watched it over the replay I realized there definitely is a ‘football’ god. But one that smiles on a team other than the Chiefs. The symmetry between that game in 2014 and last night’s game against Tennesse is so familiar and enlightening. I was NOT surprised the Chiefs lost in Arrowhead by 1 point.

In 2014, the Chiefs lost by 1 point as well.

I felt cheated and told myself I would not watch football again. However the NFL has tried every year since, to make drastic changes to the play calling since. I get suckered in again watching…hoping the Chiefs will get back to the playoffs and redeem themselves. In last nights game, I believe the heart was in the Chiefs…but the officiating was completely off. To avoid any MORE controversy with the ‘third team’ the officiating… NFL’s answer THIS time is to take different refs who don’t usually work together to do the officiating at Arrowhead stadium…

seems legit.

Only, once again, the system by which the refs find themselves are pointless reviews and questionable “fumble/no fumble” calls that will once again somehow break against the Chiefs.

With very little information for the public and the fan base to go on, it seems by watching the televised show, you tacitly agree to follow whatever the ruling is meted out either on the field, booth or “ref central”. Even now, Mike Peireia (former NFL ref turned commentator) tweeted and stated the calls were particularly bad for this last game.

Lets just summarize the points discussed here:

  1. Poor officiating

  2. Game plans going awry. Immaculate passes from the quarterback to himself. Which happened in 2014 as well as last night.

  3. Intentional injuries to players (Kelce in this game…Jamaal Charles in 2014).

  4. Fumble/no fumble (unnecessary whistle blowing to kill the play dead).

After summarizing these points which actually happened in one game and comparing that against another wild card playoff game with the same team (KC CHIEFS) we now see a very clear picture here.

In 2014, the Superbowl winner is…the New England Patriots.

http://www.nfl.com/schedules/2014/POST

As we round out the 2017 post season, it comes as NO surprise that the New England Patriots are still on top despite these ‘precautionary’ elements in the NFL:

  1. Draft selection (parity rule).

  2. Season schedules

It is clear, to make other teams in second markets (like Denver and Kansas City) have a hope to be competitive. We can see a team in a sub-prime market (both in terms of viewership and merchandising), would depend on these two aspects provided by the NFL to be relevant and competitive.

If the NFL is considered the “professional” grade of American Football then tell me please how these things can happen at the “professional” level:

How a Tennessee Titan can intentionally hit helmet to helmet a key player on the Chiefs (Kelce) and force him into concussion protocol. It’s clearly a desperate move on Tennessee’s part that is reminiscent of the “Kobra Kai” mentality. If you can’t beat someone…then ‘sweep the leg’. This is an ongoing problem with the NFL that has not been suitably addressed. That kind of hit is what tarnishes the sport and the remedy is to eject a player of KC’s choosing. No ifs ands or butts. What’s the point of having parity when down the line, in a critical game, your star player can easily collide helmet to helmet or hit at the knees. The Titan’s game plan is “we can’t keep up with Kelce, so we’ll just take him out of the game.”

In 2014, 5 players (yes, 5) of the starting KC Chiefs were injured by an inferior defense (Colts) found in Indianapolis. This “leveling” of the playing field is a deep sore spot that I feel turns off fans from even watching. But to the NFL’s credit, they did try to implement some oversight after that particular game.

In another aspect, the parity has failed the NFL on so many levels when New England can out maneuver the intent of the rules set by the NFL. When a team can do a “last minute” trade for a player who knows the playbooks of another team in the likelihood that New England will compete with that same team {Steelers}. I call that an obvious manipulation. If you’re a New England fan, I’m sure that won’t bother your conscience…but to the rest of the teams, that’s just ‘buying’ your way to another SB ring.

What happens with a sport that becomes SO popular and lucrative, that teams resort to poor sportsmanship and “Belichekian” orchestrations? I’m not vilainizing Mr. Belichek, but he’s part of an organization known “to manipulate the ‘fringes’ of the NFL rules!” Whether you like it or not, your legacy is already confirmed…your style of coaching is equally infamous.

In conclusion, if you are true fan of the sport of American Football, I heartily recommend the following:

  1. Start watching the CFL.

  2. Refuse to watch another game in the post season (including Super Bowls) until the NFL stops throwing ‘more refs’ at the problem and dramatically vote on fixing obvious ‘adjustments’ and ‘desperation moves’ that an inferior team may employ. That and prevent New England from manipulating the NFL anymore. New England is the heart of this conspiracy and they have circumvented the entire parity rule as well as “buying” players either in signing them LATE in the season or be the recipient of ‘the football god’ who takes out key players on key teams you DONT want to face in the AFL Championship game. The ONLY team that benefits on all fronts is New England and it’s New England that will take down the NFL viewership.

Decentralizing learning tools and implement rapid training programs.

After I reviewed the Cisco Packet Tracer Mobile and hearing the announcement that CCIEs can put themselves on a new “Continuing Education Program”, I am encouraged by this methodology in keeping pace with new technology and making these training programs accessible to working professionals.

But it shouldn’t stop there. High School students who are serious about advancing a career in technology should ALSO be apart of this structure. Syncing learning tools like Cisco Packet Tracer Mobile to very specific goals, and then building them out in a rapid “level up” environment, feeds encouragement in a students quest for learning networking skills for life.

If Cisco Network Academy takes their modules, breaks them up and introduces a lab at the end where a student immediately applies what they learned, they can then “level” up and collect skills like searching for “coins” or “easter eggs”. When all objectives are found, they move onto the next tool set which would be another platform like GNS3.

By breaking up the traditional way of learning (by semester), it’s broken down to functional skill sets. This mirrors closer to real operations where professionals need to update their skill sets and their resume doesn’t read like a twitter feed gone horribly wrong, but could state the following:

Obtained 50 skill sets in troubleshooting OSPF.

Mastered fundamental networking concepts (346 skill sets) from the Cisco Network Academy. Click here to see all completed skill evaluations and lab work here: (insert web page).

No longer is there a need to go to a traditional university for a four year program when an employer can evaluate the labs and white papers of the applicant and make a decision based on tangible values as opposed to playing the ‘interview game’.

You took the time to learn these valuable skills, you get a shot at doing what you love.

I think structuring the learning experience like this will allow us to keep up with supporting new innovations at the same pace of the new releases that are projected to come out at a rate of 72 hours as opposed to the old notion of 18 months.

By decentralizing tools and implementing rapid training programs in very small, manageable skill sets, we are then more prepared to handle the future of tech.

If you have heard of the 80/20 rule, then it wouldn’t be hard to understand the 600,000/6,000/60 rule. Basically, out of 600,000 clickers on an online community, there is really 60 who are active, contribute and help others. Those 60 should be encouraged to use this type of training. Those are the ones I look for in my network and are worth the time to mentor. Mentor those 60 and you can mentor 600,000 at the same time. If you read this within 24 hours, you are in the 60.

The Packet Tracer Mobile App

Packet Tracer Mobile

First off, I am not necessarily a “GNS3 Champion” although I am a figurative “Tony Hawk” with the blasted software. But to be honest, I haven’t found that piece of software that is the new ‘king of the hill’ other than GNS3.

Having said that, I was poking around the Google Play store and I saw a Packet Tracer Mobile app. I’m thinking “Wow! This is a great concept!”

I immediately started downloading and goofing with the GUI on my Samsung Note 5.
As far as the space…it’s real clean. Grabbing a couple of routers and connecting them is a snap.

When we get to the part of where you enter basic commands in the interface…it’s very easy to ‘fat finger’ commands (and I do that already with a full size keyboard). So I think integrating a full size keyboard to enter commands would be better than using ‘thumbs’ if I’m going to spend an hour building a topology.

But I still see potential to download pre-configured Packet Tracer files and follow along with an instructor. There is real power for a student to use their android, download a packet tracer file from an instructor and mess with the routers as the instructor goes over the details or plants “missing configurations” in the topology for the student to find. So I think with a bit of work with the user interface for the keyboard and the ability to quickly share Packet Tracer files among themselves via Bluetooth would be a nice add.

Otherwise a good start and I look forward to those improvements in the future.

UPDATE: 6/16/2017

After I was finished with Clash of Clans, I decided to focus more on the actual controls within this app. I missed the command completion option on the right hand side. Essentially, you don’t need a keyboard, because it lists the possible commands after you choose “enable” and “configure” and “terminal”. The list of commands are in a flyout window to the right which actually makes entering commands EASIER than if I had to manually type them in. So that’s a big plus.

Also, in the top left hand corner of the app is a place to load a pre-configured file. Shocking things like simulated WIRELESS and other topologies that are in-line with the newer IPv6 modules and the GRE tunnels are excellent places to start for students who don’t know how to build out from scratch a network topology.

Having pre-defined, easy to configure routers and switches based off the 1800 series is a perfect entry level for students and I think for starters, the Packet Tracer Mobile App is even BETTER than it’s predecessor and is far more intuitive than GNS3 ever was back in 2006.

I still think Bluetooth should be enabled to swap the .pkt files BUT I am sure there is a community out there that already has a place to share them anyway. KUDOS to CISCO for really thinking about an entry level student or someone new to engineering. I have no problems suggesting this app as the first to learn Cisco equipment.

Wario Woods Master!

I know this is WAY off base for this venue. But I was reading a great book I picked up about HACKING and that book goes into a story about the first group of HACKERS. It went something like this:

There was a group of miniature train enthusiasts. One day, an old telephone system was discarded and replaced by a newer system. The story doesn’t tell you whether some of the members in the group were already engineers, nor do they give a precise date as to when this story took place, but the book cited certain computer systems that seemed dated to the 60s. At any rate, one of them had the bright idea to reuse the old discarded telephone system to improve the signal calling of all the trains. Apparently, the current system was mediocre and using an old telephone switching device for the purpose of what is not intended was considered the ‘first hacking group’.

Such a loose and sweeping definition of a HACKER was not MY definition. Because I have been re-purposing processes and devices for quite sometime, but I never considered myself a hacker.

Then that day, I accepted that I too may be one of those old miniature train enthusiasts. For I have many projects. My tendency is I engage in them and then my time is obsessing with one project (for example, GNS3 is one of them that I “repurposed”). My Default Topology expanded GNS3 in ways not conceived by Jeremy.  And the world has not grasped all the things I can do with it.

The other project I had is my Wario Woods journey. But first a little backstory:

Wario Woods came out in 1994. Although I didn’t even blink when it came out, years later I found my wife and I had nothing to do one day and we decided to rent the game. I HATED it. The way the puzzle game progresses, it became maddening to me how anyone can even BEAT this.

Although popular in Japan, there wasn’t a real blog or corner of the Internet to find a hack code (like the famous Konami code) for this game. I played this game with my wife off and on since it was redistributed through the Nintendo Wii. Between my wife and I, we developed techniques to advance to the next level.

After taking turns, I realized what she was good at. She was good at setting up ‘chains’ of explosions which would prevent Wario from taking over the level and causing the ceiling called a “Thwomp” from coming down and killing you. Her reasoning is sound. “If we can continue the chain reactions, we won’t have to see Wario and therefore, we will win the level”.

Problem is, she is not quick enough to do the setup before Wario comes in and wreaks havoc. Her right hand was mangled from a freak accident where the doctor from St. Josephs hospital in Burbank, CA literally twisted her spine as she came out.

Now my skill set is different. I have exceptional eye-hand coordination. For the first 60 levels, I can out pace Wario whether he shows up on screen or not. Therefore, “brute force” is effective up to a point. But around 65, I start dying because I can’t keep up even with my finger speed. The other thing I realized is my ability to see 5 items in a row or diagonal and I applied my finger speed to align the critters. When that happens, as soon as you explode those items of the same color, you get a hidden diamond. That diamond when paired with a bomb/critter or some combination, will eliminate ALL of the same type.

I realized after playing Wario Woods off an on for 20 years, I finally had a workable plan to beat this maddening game.

1.) Deploy a game strategy of “First and Second Perspectives”. There is an entire discussion on what that is as it relates to business processes and resolving cyclic issues in networking. I would be in the First position interacting with Wario Woods due to my finger speed.

2.) My wife would sit in the “Second Perspective” watching me play Wario Woods. With this perspective, she can watch me clear animals and create space in the harder levels and formulate “chains”. At times she would calmly say ‘pause’…other times she would SHOUT in my ear. Either way, it was effective. I would pause the game and she would lay out how to setup a chain. If I was fast enough, we could pull it off and there was a 90 percent chance of beating the level.

Between her view and my view, I would decide to pause the game and deploy her strategy. At times, I would see a “5er” and would find the hidden diamond to eliminate the type of critter.

At this point, it was a matter of training my mind of the priorities:

  1. Clear away enough space at the top to stack chains or 5ers.
  2. In the early part of the game, do chains first to keep Wario away.
  3. About halfway through the critters, you will have 1 or 2 dominate colors.
  4. Create a “5er” and eliminate 1 color.
  5. When Wario comes on the screen…”stay alive” by finding diagonal 3 of a kind. That combo reduces or raises the ceiling from falling on you.
  6. When Wario leaves, continue to do 5ers or use finger speed to eliminate the remaining critters.

If you did a GOOD job, you get coins which get cashed into continues. I like that because you can mess up in a placement of a bomb or critter and you have a pool of up to 9 continues on any existing, single game.

Coupled with the fact that the Ninendo Wii saves your game at any point is an added bonus. If you played this game on the original NES and you tried to pause your game or turn it off, you loose your exact place. With the Wii, you can take a break for months or years and you can pick up right where you left off.

The last added feature is the PAUSE button. By allowing your mind to take a break without the noise and agonizing pace of Wario, you have total control over the environment that I’m sure the developers didn’t anticipate. The simple PAUSE button was my way of hacking this awesome game.

Here the developers of this game (who I wish to find out and thank) was a wonderful game both from the perspective that I spent time with my wife and had a lot of laughs working through these puzzles. The second thing is finding out what happens when you truly get to the end of this game.

Google results show someone will post that they ‘beat’ the game at level 99. That’s partially true. After you beat level 99, you get the last animated segment where Wario basically messes up and tries to fly away. I was actually content with that ending for some time. Years really.

But when I started playing it again a few months ago…I got to that level “without dying”. When THAT happens, level 100 is unlocked! This level came AFTER the classic NINTENDO license screen comes up. At that time, I had 9 credits so I said to my wife, “hey, let’s see how far we can go”…

2 months of playing off an on and we got to level 200. I Googled online and as far as I know, no one has gotten to 200. Furthermore, one site said it basically ‘goes on forever’.

Last night, I found out it is not true. When a person gets to level 256. (An interesting 8 bit reference), the game doesn’t end, but it actually repeats ONLY level 256. My wife was watching and talking to me for a half hour as I feverishly continue to the next level and it was “too familiar”. When she told me what’s going on…I didn’t believe it. I beat the level 2 more times and I confirmed it. For 40 minutes, I was playing level 256.

We have FINALLY and definitively come to the end of Wario Woods. I think Nintendo and the creator of Wario Woods, would be pleased to know, that game is STILL giving joy and challenges 23 years later! Bravo!

At that moment last night (May 4th), I realized I’ve been hacking stuff for quite a while now. But it was never malicious or to cause problems for others. And if Hacking entails innovation and loving the art of reason and logic…then I accept that is part of who I am. I also am proud of my wife. Despite her nerve palsy, she figured out how to use her heart instead of her busted hand to play a game through me.

Wario Woods Master.png

 

Mini-CCNA-GNS3 rig

First off, I want to thank all you who are visiting this site. It feels good to share the experiences and quite frankly the fun of networking in this new virtual world /within/ a virtual world.

As I was cleaning out my storage room, I found an old “Acer Aspire One” netbook. These “widdle” guys have the following specs:

  • 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor.
  • 1GB DDR2 533MHz.
  • Windows XP Home SP3.
  • 8.9″ 1024 x 600 WSVGA glossy LED backlit display.
  • 120GB 2.5″ 5400RPM Hitachi Hard Drive (with SDHC storage expansion slot)
  • 802.11b/g Atheros Wireless.
  • 3-Cell 23Wh battery.
  • Size: 9.75″ x 6.625″ x 1.28″

So the challenge is this. Can I get a CCNA grade topology running on such a small netbook?

The answer is…yes! But here are the caveats.

1. Don’t expect this to be able to handle anything but 1 single image. You can use the same image over and over again in GNS3, but you then have to consider the operating system.

2. I chose Lubuntu for it’s lightweight footprint on such a limited hard drive.

3. I chose VIM to load as a text editor and for coding.

 

After the installation, the Acer didn’t come up gracefully. I was missing my mouse pointer and my wifi adapter just tanked. So there was an intermediary step of using a network cable and then plugging it into my home wifi/switch/router combo.

After you do a sudo apt-get update it took a very, very, very long time before all the updates were applied.

On the reboot, everything worked out great. I also had to add the ethernet bridge adapter so that I can route traffic to the internet off of the ethernet card.

Now that the wifi adapter works, I can surf the web that way and when I want to get my little router inside gns3 running, I can connect the ethernet cable since the bridge is actually bound to only that interface.

Finally, there is the discussion of what version of gns3. Naturally, for such a small netbook, I downloaded what was already in the Ubuntu Software Center. That version is 0.8.7 and will do the trick for a basic “Branch Topology” consisting of 1 router, 1 switch and 1 client machine in virtualbox.

To wrap up…you can get a decent “Mini-CCNA-GNS3” build loaded onto an old Acer with 1 GB of RAM. I think this build will work for kids who want to learn networking and don’t have the money for the full blown Republic of Gamers laptop I used all the time.

Now with a full blown server, I can run my own metro network…or I can work on this “mini” setup and get to an IOS just as well.

mini-ccna

The Case of the Disappearance of the Cisco IOU images (and other changes)…

A while back (January 2016), I found myself yet again at another cross roads. The path with GNS3 was gone and I had to make a decision with all this stuff I learned.

1.) Try to apply it with another startup (like VIRL, EVE or Vagrant).

2.) Look for work that is stable and steady and worthwhile.

3.) Give up.

Instead, I decided to look for better work that is stable and needed my skill sets. But I never forgot the love I had with teaching. So I put all these projects on the back burner.

Now we are into 2017 (1 year later) and I started to pick up where I left off. Only there was something VERY different.

First of all, where did all those posts about the beloved Cisco IOU images go? They disappeared on the usual pages I haunt. I also revisited some sites where there used to be full blown HOW-TOs on how to integrate the leaked image from Cisco. At this point there seems to be a bit of mystery and intrigue. Where did all those pages go?

My relationship with Cisco has always been amicable. The irony was I was to feature ALL types of images from ALL vendors, but time and time again, I get requests for the following:

1.) The IOU image. How to install it into GNS3 etc. etc.

2.) The ASA 8.4.2 image

3.) Cisco Nexus 7000 (.d1) image.

4.) Other images (Arista, Cumulus and OpenVSwitch with Quagga).

Did the boogeyman (the legal department of Cisco) “get” to all those sites? I can only wonder. If anything, it’s futile when all one had to do was to locate the python script that enables all those copies of the IOS on Unix images to work. However, there is a need to have an option out there. An option that prevents the wayward learner from getting into trouble with who I affectionatly call “pencil neck desk jockeys” or PNDJs.

Oh, I’d be happy to make my case that Cisco has somehow violated some Anti-Trust laws in the way the wordy license agreements prevent the use for ‘training’ and ‘evaluation’. And I find it MOST timely the allegations that Cisco is in bed with the US Government. I recall not three years ago, Huawei was accused of working with the Chinese government. But perhaps that is a battle for another day.

Since I love training, I’m going to mention briefly where I left off last year with GNS3 and give some updates to the Windows Host Environment. That has changed SIGNIFICANTLY. Why does Microsoft lie and say they are ‘patching’ something when clearly the patch was really to limit an otherwise wonderful product? The KM Loopback adapter was wonderful! It allowed me to route all traffic out my host laptop. Now the updated version only allows SOME of the ports…such a pity.

In the gaming world, when there is an unfair advantage (from the perspective of the developer), a power or skill set in game will be reduced; thereby minimizing the custom work a player came up with. That has been called NERFING. In other words, Microsoft nerfed the Loopback adapter I used to exploit GNS3’s connection out my host machine. I am very angry at that change because effectively a Windows user didn’t have to use Bridge connections like in MAC and UNIX systems. It’s such a crying shame to ruin a perfectly good Loopback adapter. But the beauty here is I have an alternative. USE LINUX!

I will re-apply a new “coat of paint” on the tried and true “Default Topology.” We will be running the EXACT same Branch topologies I developed using a Cisco IOS and instead  using Cumulus and Arista images as well as incorporate Juniper and Extreme performing the exact SAME functions.

That way, new CCNA aspirants can consider working for companies that on the one hand, offer you the promise of a better life and don’t shut the door of opportunity due to lack of funds or unnecessary license issues. My conscience says to give an option and endorse THAT as opposed to fight battles with Cisco and Microsoft that no one is going to win. Everyone’s brand will suffer in this process. So switching and routing companies that want experienced professionals need to back a Linux version of their VM so that any Red Hat or other certified Linux user can just use a Cumulus vm or an Arista one. Voila! You have a new certification track that rivals Cisco and circumvents all issues with Cisco/Microsoft.

At least, that’s what I recommend for someone getting started in the networking business. I am preparing you for the Software Defined Networks and you won’t have to ‘relearn’ new skills. But for those in the space, you will adapt very well because I will use old school terms and techniques.

Will I ever get to the bottom of the “Case of the Disappearance of the Cisco IOU?”

At this point, I don’t know…and don’t care.

UPDATE: 11/10/2017 –

I had some time to mess with the Microsoft Loopback Adapter on Windows 10. I decided to troubleshoot the VERSION of the loopback adapter.

  1. After disabling the driver signature in windows 10 AND forcing a driver update on the Microsoft KM Loopback adapter to use a MUCH older version, I decided the issue is NOT the loopback adapter, but the SHARING of the wifi network adapter to the Loopback Adapter.
  2. What this means is, the ONLY way to restore my ability to route all traffic out my laptop is to do the following:
    1. Grab an older Windows 7 Ultimate.
    2. Load GNS3 1.4 off of a Google dork “intitle.index.of: “parent directory” gns3 1.4″
    3. Download the GNS 1.4 into the Win 7 vm machine.
    4. Test the loopback adapter as it is shared with the network adapter in the vm…

As you can see, it worked the first time!

Microsoft Loopback issues

As you can see, for many Windows user who wanted to do all the stuff I did a couple of years ago, you will now have to revert to an older version of Windows where the SHARING is not nerfed and you can route your traffic unencumbered.

Cheers!