What does Ethereal Mind mean ?

When thinking of a name for my blog, I wanted something that indicated the technical or networking nature of my writing but also reflected that it would be personal and maybe a little bit more than that. I wanted to express my thinking about the way I work, about the professional life we lead and thinking how we can improve the small worlds that we inhabit.

This is important to me since small changes can have big impacts. I want to believe that a small change in my attitude, my approach, my skills can make a difference to someone else.


“Mind” was an an obvious choice, since I am ‘speaking my mind’, it suggests that this is my personal thoughts and opinions. I find that through listening, discussing and sharing the details of our professional lives with others that I learn that we have the similar problems, cares and reasons for working.


Wiktionary defines ‘ethereal’ as:

  • Pertaining to the hypothetical upper, purer air, or to the higher regions beyond the earth or beyond the atmosphere; celestial; otherworldly; as, ethereal space; ethereal regions.
  • Consisting of ether; hence, exceedingly light or airy; tenuous; spiritlike; characterized by extreme delicacy, as form, manner, thought, etc.

I think that this is a reasonably accurate description of what Network Engineers do. I use concepts, rules, knowledge, design practice, and other mental activities in my work everyday. This knowledge is intangible, immeasurable and the results are accepted by our peers. In a real way, many perceive what we do as ‘otherworldly’ – try explaining what you do to other people .

I also enjoy the spiritual connotations. I am not a religious person, at least not in any conventional sense((a man with his eyes fixed on heaven is not looking where his feet are going — David Eddings)), but I believe that you should examine yourself, your life and the people around you. Search for ways that bring goodness to them and yourself and your life will be joyous.

A life unexamined is a life not worth living – Socrates

My personal definition is (more or less): an elevated or alternate spiritual plane where we can glimpse some truth or higher purpose. We can find insights into our own existence, environments and the people that surround us everyday if we just take the time to challenge ourselves and look at the world in a different way. This includes our professional landscapes. Think something like – “when you work in the mud all day it’s hard to remember being clean”.

Ethereal Mind

So Ethereal Mind is a mostly personal collection of blabberings about the human condition of Networks Engineers. Sometimes technical, sometimes a personal viewpoint. My personal motto when writing is “I don’t have anything to say, I’m just saying it”.

Humour – The Difference Between Network and Server Engineers

Challenging Assumptions – Autonegotiation on Ethernet – it works

Opinion – Certification Matters – Experience Less So

Technology – Bluecoat and Cisco Switches


Historically, Wireshark used to be called Ethereal, a network traffic analyzer, but Etherealmind was not chosen for this association. I don’t have any special skills in packet analysis, most of my work is at further up the OSI model.

Also, an ethereal creature, e.g., a fairy or mythical being of delicate or gentle nature – and I don’t feel very mythical…. or delicate or gentle.

Postscript – from my wife

My wife would like to suggest that Ethereal Mind could also mean “Air Head” and this is is not a bad description of me (at times).


Also, a big thanks to Scott Liddel who is the man and photographer in the photo I have used as my logo for the last five years. Thanks for his permission to use photo.

Check out his excellent photography site at http://www.scottliddell.com/