Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/30/2004

SysAdmin Day!

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Happy SysAdmin Day!

For those of you who don’t know, today is System Administrator Appreciation Day. In fact, it’s the 5th annual SysAdmin Day. I have yet to get appreciated on SysAdmin Appreciation Day, but I keep hoping.
If you’d like to appreciate me, you can get me something from my ThinkGeek WishList. Or, if you’d like to appreciate your own very, special SysAdmin, you can check out their SysAdmin Day Gift Suggestions. Hey, it’s never too late!

7/29/2004

Slaving over hot BOOTLOADERS

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

My eyes are practically crossed!

I’ve been going around and around with the Novell ZENWorks Imaging boot CD Linux partition trying to get it to boot a laptop via a USB CD-ROM for the past two days! I guess the good news is that I’ve made progress.
For those of you who care, but don’t know, the ZENWorks imaging boot.iso was built with ISOLINUX/SYSLINUX, which are pretty close to the same thing. I know because I’ve practically rebuilt the whole damn Linux disk image it uses when it loads! So far, I’ve added the menuing system that I worked on last week and added support for the USB drives on a Dell laptop into two of the Novell default menu items. Oh, and I also set it to pull DHCP settings when it boots off the USB drives, too. I’ve been testing that on a Lexar Media 256 MB USB JumpDrive, BTW. And we made that happen with ISOLINUX. When I get it all worked out, I’ll burn a CD and we’ll make sure it runs from there, too. It’s been a real challenge, but it’s pretty cool to have a real technical challenge to work on for a change. Sometimes it’s frustrating since I’m doing this on my own laptop and that means I don’t have a regular system yet, but I figure that it’s “motivation”!

Anyway, when I get it all done, I’ll post all the scripts so that other folks and use them if they want.
Oh, yeah, I also installed Mozilla earlier this week. I “upgraded” my Netscape and found that I couldn’t send or reply to e-mail anymore! Damn! So, I went to the “source” so to speak and, so far, it’s been great. Mozilla is what Netscape is based on and you can’t hardly tell the difference, at least in the UI. (Which is a fancy way of saying that I like it and I’m very comfortable using it.) I highly reccomend it to you, especially if you’re looking for an IE replacement!!

Tags: , ,

7/27/2004

Review: Learning the Bash Shell

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’ve been doing a lot of reading!

Though, I have to admit that I haven’t actually read Learning the Bash Shell, I have used it quite a bit in the last week working out my menuing solution. Of course, I know that I can never go too far wrong with an O’Reilly book, but still this one was worth it’s weight in gold this past week.
Okay, so I know I’ve been going on and on about this, but still, it really is a great solution. I had to write a script that was easily updateable, simple for the end user and could be dynamic enough to serve an entire world-wide distribution. I came up with the basic menu and the script to TFTP it over from a remote location with help from Google. But, then we needed to parse an IP address without using anything more than GREP and native tools (i.e. no SED or AWK). How to do it? Pattern matching that I learned from this book. Then, we had to read in the date, without access to the DATE command! How’d I do it? Again, parsing information using pattern matching I learned in the book. Oh, and a bunch of other things, that I also read in this book.
So, in short, though I may not actually read the whole thing through, I will use this sucker as a reference for quite some time.

7/26/2004

Review: Sams Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, Third Edition

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Okay, I read this some time ago, but I’m finally getting to review it!

Well, since there’s been some question about the future of MovableType, the blog engine I’m currently using, I started looking at other blogs. I discovered that most of them were done in PHP, so, I decided I needed to read up on PHP. Toward that end, I got Sams Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, Third Edition. Wow, what a book! First of all, it was not only a great introduction to PHP, but it was a good primer on the basics of programming. Now, a lot of that part was review for me, but it was a good review. Second, the only “bad” thing I can say about the book was that by the end, I was in way over my head. And, honestly, that wasn’t all that bad, really, but it might be intimidating for someone new to this kind of book. And, in the end, I think this was a really great book for me to have read to get a good, overall picture of PHP. It went further than I needed, but it covered everything I was worried about.
In short, if you’re looking for a good introduction to PHP programming, this is an excellent choice!

Tags:

7/23/2004

A little background…

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

for your computer!

Hey, it’s Friday, did you expect something big and weighty? Not from me, gentle reader! So, instead, why not go download a background for your desktop? My wife has some over at Babydoll.org, which is her graphics site. Then, too, there’s always Digital Blasphemy. Or, if you’d like something new, try Visual Paradox. And, finally, if that’s not enough, Wizards of the Coast has a desktop wallpaper archive of all their stuff, including D&D and d20 Modern. There’s some cool stuff there.

Next week, I plan to have several book reviews, since I’ve been reading so much, but for now, it’s Friday! So, go have fun with the wallpaper!

7/22/2004

Linux File Systems

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I never thought they’d come in handy with Netware!

But, they sure have this week. I’ve been working on a project at my new job that centers around ZENWorks. See, we have a whole bunch of companies now, and they all have their own idea of how to run their portion of the network. Well, we’re trying to get it all unified under one vision, namely ours. Toward that end, we’re establishing a standard, of sorts, for workstation imaging. But, we want to stay flexible with it. As I wrote on Tuesday, we’ve got a fairly good menu system worked out with bash shell scripts and yesterday I figured out how to make the default ZENWorks Imaging Bootable CD TFTP the menu script over from the ZENWorks for Desktops server and load it. (The menu itself runs the standard commands for imaging, but strings several images together into one menu item.) And, from the title of this entry, you can guess where I did all that work. Yep, on a Linux workstation.
Thanks to ZENWorks CoolSolutions and this article, I was able to figure out how to uncompress the Linux image, mount it as a filesystem, change it, and put it all back. I used a shareware ISO editor to change the boot.iso to include the new image and the settings.txt file. Then, we burned that and, ka-pow! We’ve got a solution. I’m refining it today, but it works well enough now, in my opinion.

Man, I love my new job! Novell and Linux together make a great team!

7/20/2004

Where does the time go?

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:15 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Wherever it goes, it goes too fast!

I guess I should have anticipated being so overwhelmed by my new job, but I didn’t. I mean, I really, really love it, but I’m so tired now. I guess part of it is the stress of adapting to a new environment and digging all those old Novell skills out for use. Of course, that’s one of the nice things, too.
In the past week, I’ve learned a whole bunch about ZENWorks for Server and ZENWorks for Desktops, since that’s what we’re focusing on right now. We’ve got to get the desktop images worked out for the remote sites. And, we have to test the system I developed for letting the monkies in the field to roll the images out with a minimum of thinking. So, how did I do that, you ask? Well, gentle reader, I learned shell script. I found the basic source for a menu system on the web and tailored that to our needs. I got a little help from my co-worker on syntax for the ZENWorks portion, and I still have to test the TID I found on integrating it into the PXE boot system, but, the way I have it set up, it’s very easily updateable from a central location. See, I made a shell script that TFTPs the most current menu to the local machine then loads it. That way, we can send a very static disk image to Dell and our users in the field can simply choose their machine type from a menu to get the latest image! It’s pretty damn good for my first two weeks!
So, anyway, even though I’m tired and I work in a closet, I’m really digging this new job.

More soon. I promise!

Tags: ,

7/16/2004

Hello Kitty Robot

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Oh, God, now my wife will want one….

Those wacky Japanese are at it again! They’ve created a Hello Kitty Robot. It’s aimed at women in their 30′s, which is my wife’s demographic, no matter what she tells you. The robot will “recognize up to 10 human faces through a built-in camera. It “communicates” with people by using expressions out of 20,000 memorized patterns of conversation while expressing its “emotions” by moving its head and arms”.

This is surely a sign of the end times. God help us all!

7/15/2004

Storage Room B

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,Linux,Novell,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I work in a closet off the server room.

No, really, I do. I’m actually liking the new job, except for the fact that we don’t have offices yet. So, in reality, I’m sharing a storage closet off the server room with someone else. Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but it’s starting to get a little tedious. I don’t even have my own office phone yet!
In all fairness, though, my new boss is working to get us both our own offices, but there aren’t any available near the rest of our group. So, soon, I hope, I’ll be better off than Melvin from Office Space. In the mean time, though, I actually am having a good time. So far, in the past two weeks, I’ve learned about Zenworks for Dekstops and Servers, both 6.5, and about shell scripting.
We’re working on getting an image down for the new sites that we’re going to be in charge of rolling out, but it’s going to take more than one image. Also, we need to have it set up so that local IT staff can reimage machines with a minimum of fuss or muss. So, we hit on the idea of making a text menu in a shell script that gives them choices on what image to apply. Between the two of us, we worked out a nifty little menu system. Now, we just have to figure out how to modify the standard Zenworks for Desktops imaging parition so that it TFTPs the most current menu from a server and runs it. Shouldn’t be too much trouble, now that I’m getting the hang of shell scripting. Not much different than batch files, really. And, a lot more fun that just being a backup monkey!

So, in short, even though I may work out of a storage closet at the moment, I really, really like my new job.

7/14/2004

CIOs Not Happy With Outsourcing

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I’m telling you, I can’t make this stuff up!

Seriously, according to this article on AustralianIT, CIOs in Australia are less than happy with the results of outsourcing. And, though it’s no surprise to me, CIOs in the US are even less happy! According to the article, roughtly one-third of the Australian CIOs were unhappy, but fully 50% of the US CIOs were unhappy with their decision to outsource! (I hope my former employers are reading this!)

So, I hope that executives start to think more before the send jobs off-shore. Cheaper isn’t always better!

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress