December 2004 Archives

Thanking the messenger

I used to think that, as manager, it was my job to announce bad news ("server B is down, and it ain't gonna be up for a while. This may cause the company to miss a big deadline. Oops.") as well as good news ("Server B is repaired, the company can start doing business again").

However I've recently realized that its better sometimes if I let other people announce the good news. And it may not be the reasons you expect.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

Don't forget DHCP

One of my first published papers was about IP renumbering. It described changing literally thousands of machines. I've since spoken on the topic many times. People often come up to me and relate their IP renumbering stories.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

The right answer

An iMac at work broke and AppleCare gave us the choice of bringing it to one of three places in the local area, or the local AppleStore. Since one of those choices was the CompUSA around the block from us, my co-worker brought it there. And waited. And waited. And was told they were waiting for the part. We called the Apple store who said that they could do most repairs in 24 hours. The question was, "How do we get it back?"

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Best of Blog

Executive Voice

I need to build a WAN between many sites that are currently only minimally connected. Ad hoc solutions eventually grow and need to be replaced by unified "big" solutions.

On Tuesday I made a round of phone calls to some Major Networking Companies that I might be able to use for this purpose. Since I'm a new customer I usually spoke with a person that took my info and promised someone would call me back within 24 hours. By Friday I hadn't gotten any calls back.

Friday I repeated all my phone calls, this time using a fake voice. My normal voice is, well, a bit "young sounding." I'm Director of IT Services. I decided the right voice would be sort of a mix of Walter Cronkite and Statler (one of the old guy hecklers from The Muppet Show).

This time all my calls were returned promptly.

I now call this my "executive voice" and will be deploying it as much as possible.

This has got to be the absolute dumbest thing in the world.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

Brian McConnell writes an interesting argument on why Silicon Valley should go into the renewable energy business. It makes sense to me. For the last two years I've been ranting about the fact that most of the arguments against solar are from the Carter years when digital watches were new and computing technology as we now think of it was virtually non-existent. The lack of "control systems" and such that held back solar can't be nearly as complicated as what friends have done with X10 devices. Read the article. It will open your eyes.

Even without banking on major breakthroughs, it should be possible to substantially reduce costs. For example, a 50 percent reduction in design and installation costs (due largely to simplified components, not exotic new technologies) would reduce total project costs by 15 percent or more, even if production efficiency remains unchanged. Factor in reasonable assumptions about improvements in production efficiency, say 10 percent per year, and it will be possible to reduce overall per-unit costs by 50 percent in five years, more than enough to tip the balance in favor of solar electricity in many markets, especially if energy prices continue to creep upward.

Read the article here.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

USER interface

[ Note: Tom's being sarcastic. ]

When web browsers were new you had to enter the whole URL... "http://www.everythingsysadmin.com"... you couldn't leave off the "http://". Geeks gave a large outcry when web browsers started adding the "http://" for you. Then, heaven forbid, people could leave off the "www." or even the ".com". Oh dear! The outcry even rose louder when you could type in a single word and the browser would try to add a ".com" at the end if it knew the domain existed.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

I'm trying to purchase an IP-KVM. Actually, I want to purchase five. These things aren't cheap, so when I tell a salesperson I need five their eyes usually light up with dollar signs.

However, as everyone that knows me knows, nothing in my life is easy.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli