My Latest Alexa Skill – Ohio Counties


Ohio Counties
Ohio Counties Alexa Skill

My latest Alexa skill is called “Ohio Counties.”  I created it because I am always curious where another Ohioan is from when I see their car.  In the old days Ohio license plates had a county name on them.  Now, Ohio license plates only list a county number.

This skill allows you to ask Alexa (assuming you have Alexa enabled in your car) about that county number.  You will get a response that tells you:

1. The name of the county
2. The County Seat of that county
3. The general location – such as “North West Ohio”

Enable it by saying “Alexa, enable Ohio Counties.”

To use it, say “Alexa, ask Ohio Counties what is county 81”
or “Alexa, ask Ohio Counties where is Van Wert County”

Hope you get some use of it.


IP Subnetting Tutorial

Let’s first look at the classes of IP addresses:



You will need to know these classes for a lot of certification tests such as Network + or CCNA.

To examine how IP addresses work, you can liken them to telephone numbers.  Granted they don’t work exactly the same, there are similarities.  IP addresses have a Network portion and a Host portion (a host is any device on the network that has an address, PCs, printer, servers, etc.).  Think of telephone numbers as having a network portion and a host portion.  There is a Country Code, an Area Code, an Exchange and then the final four digits that relate to a single telephone at the end of the line.

The telephone company uses the network portion of the telephone number (country code, area code, exchange) to ROUTE the call to a particular telephone.  Likewise, routers use the network portion of an IP address to route packets to the network that contains the host you are trying to connect to.

It is pretty easy to determine the network portion on a telephone number; but what about an IP address?  That is where the subnet mask comes in.  No, the mask doesn’t hide anything.  The mask is what draws the line between the network and host portions of the IP address.  With an IP address, that line can move.

Looking at a class A address, we see that by default the subnet mask is or 11111111.00000000.00000000.00000000 in binary.  This can also be noted as /8 because there are 8 bits turned on in the mask.  The first octet (the area between the periods in an IP address are called octets because there are 8 bits) tells us that the first octet of the IP address will be the network portion of the address.  The remaining octets of the mask are 0s, so the rest of the address is available for hosts.

Some Math
With a class A address there are 7 bits available for network addresses (the first bit reserved).  A basic formula to determine the number of networks available is 2n-2.  The “n” is the number of bits we have to work with.  So, 27=128, then subtract 2 and we have 126 networks available.  But why do we subtract 2?  You cannot use the 0 network or the 127 network.  We use the same formula when subnetting and subtract 2 for another reason as outlined in the subnetting page.


Why WordPress?


Now on WordPress

On previous versions of this site Joomla was my CMS of choice. I was able to quickly build it.  But getting it to look good was quite a challenge.  The answer to this, of course, is templates.  That’s where the frustration begins.
Finding templates for Joomla! is quite trying.  You first start out with a search for free templates.  You get plenty of hits for “free templates.”
But here is the typical experience; you are required to sign up / create an account.  you get it, they provide something for free, they get to spam you- understood.  But here’s the kicker, most times I get to the checkout page and see that free is actually $30 or more.  This happened to me most of the time.  So, I verified my email, am signed up for spam, and don’t have  template to use…
But there are templates that really are free, but how do you use them?  I can’t find the documentation.
Maybe it is my fault for not finding and studying the documentation, but I found that with WordPress I could easily figure out how to use it, and the templates.  Most templates and plug-ins come with instructions and are easy to set up.  So, here we are with WordPress.