Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Crazy day

So yesterday was a deployment date for a program used by the entire organization, about 500 computers. The program itself had been tested by the IS group prior to me writing the install package... they should have given me the info and allowed me to create the install package, THEN test with THAT package, but whatever, they tend to do their own little thing then come rushing to us last minute to get something done.

So I had about two weeks to put together the install package. Enough time, but not really enough time to come up with a proper test nor to think up every possible scenario. I can test all I want in a VM, and the few machines not in use by users, but this environment is a HUGE MESS to begin with. We are not allowed to perform any type of updates or anything to the computers, and there are so many proprietary apps on select PCs it's sickening. Basically not one computer is the same so results vary on a per computer basis, when doing a deployment.

So yesterday things were quiet as most people probably did not reboot.

Today, it was like opening the floodgates of Hell. Helpdesk was getting flooded with calls because the program had this weird issue where when you open it, it just closes right away along with other problems. I was working on trying to figure out WTF it was doing this. Being a proprietary app itself, there was no documentation or anything to refer to. Obviously, closed source too, so can't look there. Basically not much help available. It's not like you can Google for an answer with an app that is this proprietary.

We later on figured out that the app requires the folder to be world writable so I wrote a separate script that I can push to change the NTFS permissions with CACLS.

Found a page with some undocumented features which allows to set group permissions (the documentation only mentions users)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/162786

Being under pressure, my first attempt at writing a script to push a fix had a typo which caused bigger problems, but I quickly found and fixed it, and within an hour or so everything was golden.

The IT manager, who is a real asshole, barged in with his typical asshole look on his face and wanted an explanation for everything. That guy will ensure to take a bad day, and turn it into your worse nightmare.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend yard work and stuff

Was nice this weekend, got some stuff done, such as trimming my pine tree...



Also used a jackhammer for my first time... Did not get much time so decided to rent it for a week when I'm off, will be cheaper as this will probably take a couple days.





Oh Yeahhhhhhh

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The solution to not enough power outlets

Ever find yourself not having enough power outlets? With a UPS setup you want certain things protected (such as the pc and monitors) and certain things not (such as a printer). That means you have at least two power bars. Some things such as your speakers or phone charger take up like 3 outlets. Next thing you know you are daisy chaining power bars.



What a mess!

The solution? A DIY 16 outlet power bar rated for a total of 30 amps! Nevermind the fact that you can run a mini data center off this, it's just really cool looking and you should hopefully not run out of outlets.



More details here

Randomness about Linux

I've always liked Linux for it's superior robustness especially when it comes to automation. Compared to Windows it is so easy to automate tasks as everything is command line friendly and usually natively command line. GUI stuff simply calls command line applets. There are lot of high end tools such as rsync for backups, and bash scripting for advanced conditional based automated scripting, which is far superior than Windows batch files. Powershell is an improvement by Microsoft, but it is an add-on, so to me that does not count. You can't write a powershell script, send it to a friend, and have them execute it, or use it as a login script. The PC wont have the program installed.

Today, I decided to convert my Open Filer box to a straight Linux box, to manage the raids manually. While Open Filer is pretty good, I found it lacked certain things such as being able to grow raid 5 arrays from the GUI. I found myself in the command line half the time doing stuff the GUI could not do. Figured I may as well do it all from command line. I may also use the box for something else. Debating on DHCP. Speaking of which, ever do a HA setup in Windows for DHCP? Pure nightmare and just overall tedious. Linux is so much easier.

This is another great thing about Linux. Being open source, anyone can take it, modify it (such as make a distribution like Open Filer) and redistribute it. Heck if I wanted to I could probably add that functionality in Open Filer and redistribute it. There's no copyright, no patents, none of that crap. You are free to do what you want and nobody is going to penalize you for it. This opens tons of doors when it comes to custom solid solutions.

Some people are highly against Linux in corporate environments "Because it's free and there's no support" (which is false, plenty of distros that come with optional support). Yet, lot of corporate systems are actually based on it! VMware ESX/i just as an example. Lot of embedded devices are also based on it. The reason they do this is because they can. Try that with Windows. It will be cumbersome, and have licensing issues.

Linux FTW.