Thursday, May 24, 2007

I wonder how many blogs have the phrase "sorry I haven't updated in a while but..."? I suppose it's not neccessary for me to state that now.

Life is good. New job is awesome- it's everything I wanted in a job at a much better company then I ever imagined I'd ever work at. I had to take a minor paycut, but the lifestyle changes easily outweigh the pay differential. I love my (not-so-new-anymore) job!

I still am struggling with what direction to take this blog. I haven't taken my company's official blogging guidelines class yet, and I doubt I want to make this any sort of official blog. I think by neccessity it needs to remain my outlet for my snide remarks and observartions. But maybe not.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Guns of August

Put my notice in on Monday. As of now, one more week left here. My new job is most likely (hopefully) going to change the tone of this blog, as the company I am going to work for is nowhere near as shortstaffed as my present position, and I will not be wearing as many hats (maybe I can leave my ass hat behind?). Perhaps there will be less ranting, and more usefull blog entries on here?

Ah, the excitement and promise of changing jobs!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fun with proxies and p0rn

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? I've been busy trolling my resume around, and with the 4th of July and the rest of the debauchery that accomponies summertime, I haven't had much time to blog.

But that hasn't stopped the madness. For example, the following request I received last week:

I want to view the following website.

for some research information on copper isotope production. The website was given to me by a contact at an isotope distributor.

The firewall prevents me from going there because it apparently activates
which is a bad site.
I went to an unproxied machine and went to the URL the user was trying to get to, and what do you know? It redirects to a p0rn site. So, is this guy asking me to unblock it, knowing it redirects to a p0rn site?

So, if website activates, and you want it unblocked, you are effectively asking me to unblock the porno site

Did I get that right? I checked out and it is indeed a redirect to a porno site. If you are indeed doing research on copper isotopes, you need to realize that is not related to that research.

My user was not amused:

thank you for your ignorant remarks. This ticket can be closed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's a sign!

In the last month or so, both my boss and my helpdesk quy have quit. That's 50% of the IT department. I am giving some serious thought to joining their ranks, as former employees. The life of a free-wheeling independant consultant beckons. Oh, decisions, decisions.

When my boss quit back in March, he recommended some mouth-breather to replace him. His direct report hired him, without even bothering to vet him with me, or the rest of the IT department. When I finally did see his resume, I almost fell over: 15 years at a retailer with 65 users. Can you imagine working somewhere for 15 years in an environment that small? I guess that explains his glassy, vacant look...

Monday, April 03, 2006


I swear that sometimes, the company I work for is a cross between OFFICE SPACE, Dilbert, and an out of control daycare.

The Marketing manager-on his own initiative-sent this out to all the "senior executives" in my company via the executive distribution list. While reading this, keep in mind, this was sent by the Marketing manager-you know, the guy who orders t-shirts and golf towels with the company logo on them, and who should be kept very far away from technology decisions:

Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2006 12:00 PM
To: (COMPANY NAME REDACTED)Senior Executives
Subject: IPv6 - A Heads-Up
All -
Between now and (probably) 2008, the Internet as we know it will undergo a radical change, which will result in businesses undergoing substantial software and hardware upgrades (i.e., desktops, routers, software). Internet service providers will have to adapt also. And, amazing, new applications of Internet-based technology for both businesses and consumers will emerge. The big headline is that many businesses will be put at a competitive disadvantage if they do not adopt IPv6 and all it will enable.
IPv6 is short for "Internet Protocol Version 6". IPv6 is the "next generation" protocol designed to replace the current version Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 ("IPv4"), which has been around for 20 years. Most of today's internet uses IPv4, which has been remarkably resilient in spite of its age, but it is beginning to have problems. Most importantly, there is a growing shortage of IPv4 addresses, which are needed by all new machines added to the Internet.
IPv6, which has actually been in existance for five or more years, fixes a number of problems in IPv4, such as the limited number of available IPv4 addresses. It also adds many improvements to IPv4 in areas such as routing and network autoconfiguration. IPv6 is expected to gradually replace IPv4, with the two coexisting for a number of years during a transition period. However, the big news is that IPv6 will foster greater connectivity. Instead of today's 600 million computers connected to the Internet, there will be tens of billions of "always-on" connected devices (i.e., telephones, sensors in vehicles, cell phones, home environment controls). Everything will be person-to-person, with middlemen cut out of the communications channel. We'll all have discrete, portable IP addresses. The Internet will always be ON. Multi-media will get bi-directional and highly interactive.
The major milestones signifying IPv6 rollout are Microsoft's launch of their new Vista operating system (business version this year; consumer probably in 2007 or 2008); the Olympics in China, which will be staged entirely on an IPv6 platform (China adopted IPv6 five years ago and is far ahead of the US in infrastructure build-out), and the US Government mandate that says after 2008 the government will only purchase IPv6 compatible systems.
For more information, Google: "IPv6"

Maybe he should have Googled "CLUE" instead?

Here is another email, this one sent by the CFO of my company to all the users, er, employees (most of the "employees" in my company are either lawyers or bankers or both. This was not sent because we have a bunch of 17 year olds working here.):

Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:26 PM
To: All Employees
Subject: The use of email

I have a request. Please use email efficiently.

Several illustrations:

Write short concise emails,
Address emails to the right people (a longer distribution does not make the message more important),
Make your point very clear in a "friendly voice,"
Avoid carrying on conversations via email. For me I have lost track of the subject after the first response,
Know when to call on the phone rather than "firing off an email" and,
When you feel obligated to reply to an email that was sent to multiple recipients, think twice about using the "Reply to All" function. Many of the original recipients do not necessarily need to read your response.

Let's all increase our productivity by using (or not using) email more effectively.

If anyone is about to reply to this email, please stop and reread it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

On Mobile Email

I went to a Microsoft partner training session a week ago that offered a lab/training for hands on to the Microsoft version of untethered email.

I am not impressed.

  • Inbox synchronization is one way, as opposed to full blown sync for RIMM/BB (if you open a message on the HH, it will not show opened in your inbox)
  • Provisioning is done manually, with settings having to be entered into the handheld, either by you or the hapless user.
  • The Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP), the software part that makes it all work, is to be released by individual mobile operators, and I suspect (did not get confirmation) on a per device model basis

Essentially, it is pretty rudimentary when compared to Blackberry. The rudimentery features of the initial release of this functionality is consistent with how Microsoft introduces them, which is something along the lines of upon initial release, 30% of a feature set is implemented. It will probably take 2 or 3 more releases of this feature to get it as a winning, compettitive solution. This assumption will, in my opinion, mean that sometime in 2007 (Exchange 12/SP1 perhaps?) this may be a serious competittor to RIMM/BB.

I still find Windows Mobile devices awkward and clunky, and this still has not changed with WM5.0. Last year I bought a Blue Angel device, that had the wonderful feature that if you let the battery remain uncharged and depleted for over 72 hours, you forced to restore the entire device. OUTSTANDING! Where do I sign up to buy hundreds of these units for my "tech savvy" users, who don't know how to tie their Technology Shoelaces, so to speak? I want ALL of my users calling me, often.

The beauty of the BB solution is that it minimizes and protects you from the greatest vulnerability and risk that daunts and confounds the success of any IT solution: The User. Personally, I can't see this displacing Blackberry. What I do see this as is an attempt to broaden the number of people that can get "real-time, untethered" email.

As the Pre-req's for this are X2K03 and SP2, The MSFP, and a Windows Mobile 5.0 handheld (the cell phone/wi-fi ones are around $500/pop), I don't see this having a tremendous impact on mobile computing. Can you imagine running an International Corporation, with users with mobile devices spread across several Mobile Service providers, and trying to implement this? NOT!

I think a lot of people/companies will believe the MS Marketing Hype, believe the FUD about a blackberry shutdown, and adopt it. It will then, subsequently, become a great source of income for Consultants Who Actually Know What They Are Doing, a bane and source of further alcoholism/drug abuse, high blood pressure and elevated cholestoral levels for every day admins and support people.

Monday, January 23, 2006

64-bit fun

This past Thursday I was provisioning my first 64-bit X64 server. It's a lower-end HP DL145 that I am preparing for a branch office. I was excited about finally being able to get hands-on a 64-bit server, and loading up the 64-bit version of Server 2003.

This would also be the first production server that I will use that will have SATA instead of SCSI. I have always had a preference for SCSI drives, as the performance is simply unbeatable for a disk subsystem. I decided that for a small branch office file server, SCSI would be overkill, so I opted for the SATA version.

I have always had great experiences with HPAQ servers. I've always used Compaq servers, and when HP bought them, I stuck with my Proliants and have never been disappointed.

I was sort of surprised that the DL145 did not use the "normal" SMART START system that the rest of the Proliants use. I was a bit concerned about this, but, ok, I can live with that.

So, my first DL145, after having discovered that you cannot hardware mirror/duplex the SATA drives, I picked up a SATA RAID card to put in the server. On the DL145, there are 2 pci-x slots that ride on a mini riser card in the center rear of the server. I removed the riser card, popped out the card blank on the rear of the panel, and placed the SATA RAID card in its slot. I then replaced the riser card, and noticed a great deal of play in the riser card slots. I then booted the server to configure the RAID card. Problem was, the RAID card didn't show up, most likely due to the excess play in the riser board as it sat in its slot.

So, the next day, with the new server that replaced the one with the bad slots (I was under a time pressure to get this puppy out the door, so I exchanged it instead of repairing it), I got everything configed and loaded Server 2003, 64-bit edition.

I then got to the point where it was time to load the 64-bit drivers for the NIC and video card, and the AMD chipset and processor. Please note, 32-bit drivers are not compatible with 64-bit operating system. The HP DL145 comes with a driver disk, that includes 64-bit drivers.

Problem is, HP put them on the driver CD in a 32-bit, self extracting archive, which means that as I built the server, I couldn't extract the drivers that I needed to get the NIC to work, from the server that I was building. Which meant I had to drag my lazy ass back to my workstation to extract the drivers and then burn a CD with them, go back to the server, and finally load the drivers.

It seems to me, that if you are going to put 64-bit drivers on a driver disk, that you would compress them in a 64-bit file format. This might seem trivial on the surface, but to me it shows that someone is asleep at the switch, and not thinking about how their products are used and built. I hope that's not the case, but this is a small red flag, and I will keep a sharp look out for more.