June 11, 2010:

Spotted on highway 520 near Bellevue, WA. Where do postal trucks go when they are sick or dying?

June 11, 2010:

Spotted on highway 520 near Bellevue, WA. Where do postal trucks go when they are sick or dying?

Also why is it raining so hard in June? We have a reputation for rain in the Seattle area, but this is taking it too far!

April 24, 2010:

At LinuxfestNW in Bellingham, WA - I’m sitting in the LOPSA booth where I volunteered for an hour or so. Here’s a 360° Photosynth from roughly the same spot. Things weren’t very busy; the show was winding down.

ITcookbook

I’ve got a new project going, and it’s called ITcookbook.


I’ve got a collaborator this time (Jeff Palmer, an accomplished BSD admin), who will kick me in the pants and incite me to, you know ……

November 14, 2009: ITcookbook

Over the past few years, since my adminfoo.net site died horribly and was later resurrected as a Blogger site, my post activity has been … sporadic at best. That’s changing, starting now.

I’ve got a new project going, and it’s called ITcookbook.

I’ve got a collaborator this time (Jeff Palmer, an accomplished BSD admin), who will kick me in the pants and incite me to, you know … write! He’s no slouch in the writing department, and he’ll be bringing his own unique skills and viewpoints to the table.

We’re both pretty excited about this project. In it, we’re going to be building and growing a complete IT infrastructure, with full documentation of how we accomplish every little step along the way. In text, screenshots … and video. Our goal is to serve up plenty of ready-to-use complete step-by-step recipes handy to any IT practitioner out there, at any experience level. We’ll be showing successes and failures. We will be hammering hard on things like documentation, and tools, and communication with the boss, and how to make good decisions about the foundations and growth of your IT infrastructure.

I will be bringing lots of my old content from here and other places into the ITcookbook project. I’ll be updating a lot of that old stuff to fit with the changes that have happened over the years. Jeff will be bringing his *nix experience to the table, because the IT infrastructure we build will not be Windows-only.

We invite you to come take a look!

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Don't be afraid of DNS Scavenging. Just be patient.
Fabulous Adventures...

Eric Lippert thinks of memory as a disk store with a fast ram cache. It’s not as dumb as you think.

June 24, 2009: Thanks, Jeff & Joel!

On the Stackoverflow podcast, which I actually do follow sporadically (because it’s awesome!), Joel Spolsky found one of my answers at the serverfault.com website (again, awesome site), and singled it out for praise.

Jeff Atwood and Joel then proceed to discuss. You can tune into StackOverflow Podcast #59 and hear my little moment of unpronounceable fame starting around 58:50 and proceeding for the next 5 minutes or so (the rest of the podcast is also fascinating). Jeff and Joel: it rhymes with “ducks”!

Because they also discussed this blog, I guess I’ll have to come out of hibernation and post more here.

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All About Windows Shutdown

Mysterious shutdown delays? This (welcome!) paper explains the process.

October 11, 2008: New twist in rackmount networking

vertical network patch panel!Here is a nifty thing I found at RackSolutions.com  - a vertical rackmount patch panel! Optionally you can put a vertical powerstrip right next to it.

The 44U, 88-port assembly, without the vertical powerstrip, goes for $199. And listen up: it is not prewired. In fact it does not even come with the keystone jacks pictured here. You buy those separately, patch and label them yourself (or have your cabling people do it).

I’d love to see this stuff up close. It looks to me like it can only mount on the outside of an open 4-post rack, but there may be a way to fit it inside enclosures (which have metal sides and doors front and back); it is hard to tell from the information and pictures shown.

Depending on your racks, need for KVM, and use of cable management arms, this would make for a sweet looking and easy-to-manage setup, I think.

Also: RackSolutions.com has a very nice writeup on various rackmount details - hole placement and shape, various cable arms and shelving options, open vs closed racks, portable and wallmount racks, and so on. If you’re new to racking, I heartily recommend at least skimming this document, which is no-nonsense and completely free of sales pressure. A very welcome presentation of the minutia of infrastructure racks.

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Screen resolutions

This graphic makes sense out of all those screen resolution acronyms (VGA, XGA, WXGA, etc)

October 10, 2008: My minor fame

Over on my anemic little Zoho wiki, I have this page of WMIC Snippets. In case you did not know, WMIC is a very handy commandline/scripting tool for querying all sorts of things about a Windows computer. But I will let that page tell its own story about WMIC.

Lately I have been getting a number of comments and email complimenting me on the page, and I found out why: someone linked it from this Wikipedia page about WMI. Neato. Now I am a teeny-tiny little footnote in the world’s encyclopedia!

Also, I have been enjoying answering the questions people send me. If you have a Windows scripting question, feel free to send it, via the ‘quux’ links at the bottom of the wiki pages.

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ERRORLEVEL is not %ERRORLEVEL%

Raymond Chen straightens that out for us!

October 2, 2008: Google’s Chrome: observations

I have been using Google’s new Chrome web browser since its release, which was a month ago today. So it’s time to put together a few thoughts!

Let me start off by saying, I am not a Firefox person. I haven’t put much thought into the reasons for this; it’s just a personal preference of mine. So this article will compare Chrome to IE7, which I have been using since it came out, and more recently, IE8 beta 2, which I started using on the day it released.

Things I like about Chrome:

  • Chrome does sometimes hang, but usually for less than a minute, and it always recovers. By comparison, IE7/8 hung on me about every other day, and quite often never did fully recover.
  • Chrome usually closes nearly instantly. IE can sometimes take several minutes to close.
  • Chrome new tabs open instantly. I have seen IE take 15 seconds or more to open a new tab.
  • Pages seem to load faster in most cases. Not all cases though! I still find myself waiting on a page-load - usually because the banner advertisement has not yet loaded.
  • I’ve really come to enjoy Chrome’s single address bar. I type searches into it directly, and it is very fast to suggest sites and autocomplete words I am typing - often successfully.

The speed and stability of Chrome have kept me using it as my main browser for the past 30 days. I do have some gripes, listed below, but I have found that speed and stability are more important (to me) than I previously thought they were! Even with the long list of gripes I am about to list, I still prefer Chrome, and use it as my primary browser. I only open IE for the occasional task (like writing this post) that Chrome doesn’t yet handle as well as I like.

Things I am unhappy about (in Chrome):

  • Scrolling is sometimes broken. if I click in the whitespace of the scrollbar, intending to scroll down one screen, it often keeps scrolling down until I move the cursor out of that scrollbar. This can be really annoying!
  • Video clips often do not work correctly. They often do not play at all, or play only a few seconds and then stop. I have seen this happen in several video applets - YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
  • Chrome does not always create a new process for each tab. Sometimes two or more tabs share the same process, as shown here:
    image
    Chrome’s task Manager, showing two tabs in one process.
  • I really miss the ‘quick tabs’ view from IE7/8. Very often I have a lot of tabs open, and I loved using the thumbnail view in IE7/8 to see them all, and close the ones I no longer need. Chrome does have a list view of all open tabs (press Shift + Esc to open Chrome’s task manager, a small snippet of which is shown above), but it is not as handy as IE7/8’s quick tabs. It is clear that Chrome has the code to do this, because you get a similar thumbnail view when you open a new tab - but the thumbnails are of ‘most visited’ sites, not currently open sites.
    IE quick tabs Chrome's 'new tab' page
      IE quicktabs                                            Chrome new tab
  • Chrome doesn’t always render edit controls well. For instance, here on Tumblr, when I edit or create a post, I see the following:
    Chrome-edit controls
    Chrome (above) gives only a few buttons

    image
    IE (above) showing all of the edit control buttons on Tumblr 
     
  • Chrome loses my cookies whenever I restart it. This can be very annoying on sites like Techmeme or PopUrls, where preferences are saved in cookies, and those preferences define the way the sites act for me. I have to reset my preferences to sites like this every time I restart Chrome!
  • When you shutdown Chrome, it saves all open tabs, and brings them back next time Chrome is opened. So far so good, right? But what I want is the ability to save tab-sets as favorites; Chrome has no way to do this.
  • Even after a month, I want the page reload icon at the right side of the address bar; not on the left where Chrome places it. I still find myself mousing to the upper right, then correcting for upper left.
  • Chrome’s file download strategy is weird, counterintuitive,  and sometimes broken. Many downloads open a new, blank page, where the download will appear as an icon in a footer at the bottom of the page. I must then click on this download to open it (such downloads are often PDFs). I must also click a little ‘x’ at the right side of the footer to close that footer. If I close the the blank tab-with-footer before using that ‘x’ to remove the footer, this footer then remains in some or all of my other tabs, and cannot be removed. Some unspecified amount of time later, the footer disappears on its own.

There you have it: a short list of really important Chrome advantages, and a much longer list of Chrome drawbacks. Yet still I prefer Chrome for most of my daily web browsing. I hope the Google folks are aware of these drawbacks, and working on them!

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