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August 2005 Archives

A while back I recommend BlastWave as a great source of pre-built binaries for Solaris. Their service has saved me huge amounts of time.

Sadly, they are running low on funds. It's expensive to keep a high-profile web site like this up and running. Corporate donors are particularly needed.

I just donated $50. I hope you consider donating to them too. Otherwise, in less than 48 hours, they may have to shut down.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Technical Tips

Katrina and the waves

Hurricane Katrina is wrecking havoc and our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.

While technical concerns are minicule compared to people's homes and families, reading this Slashdot article reminded me of the fact that I have done business with two different companies that have NOCs in Florida. In both cases I asked my contact, "Do you really think it's a good idea to have a NOC in a place that has so many environmental disasters?" and both times I was assured that this would never, could never, possibly ever be a problem.

In one of those cases involved my (then) own employer. It was a company large enough that I was in a different division and had no real influence on their decisions, and I was probably talking to the wrong person anyway. Alas, this seems to be my week for saying "I told you so."

For all of you that haven't yet built a data center, let me quote from Chapter 17 on building a data center:

Selecting a town and a building is typically out of the hands of the system administration staff. However, if the data center is to serve a worldwide or significant geographic area, and it will be located in an area that is prone to earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, lightning storms, tornados, ice storms or other natural disasters that may cause damage to the data center, or loss of power or communications, you must prepare for these eventualities.

And for those of you that are in Katrina's path, I hope you keep safe and dry!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Ideas

A friend proposed this delemma:

Company has about 20 domains registered that are "parked" (owned but never used). They are combinations and permutations of product names that were considered but not used, or were selected but are more like internal code names that might be mentioned in PowerPoint presentations but aren't really products.

When they were registered it was presented as the most important thing in the world to get them registered. It wasted about half a day total when you consider the time I spent registering them, paying the bills, and all the communication back and forth about which were available or not.

Now it's time to renew them. If I do nothing they will expire and there is very little risk that anyone will ever notice. If I ask the right people, it will waste another half a day of my time debating their value and then renewing them, processing the bills, etc. If I let them expire and then try to get props for saving money, I run the risk of rubbing someone the wrong way for not asking permission.

The company is currently putting a big emphasis on not wasting money. So if I demonstrate that I saved $100 that would put be in a good light. However, it will cost the company more than $100 in my salary to find out if I have permission to not renew them.

What do you think he should do?

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Poll or Question

Berch on Food visited Switzerland and ran into Christine and Eliot!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Misc

Two little known Mac OS X commands available from the Unix shell ("Terminal") are pbpaste and pbcopy. They are used for retrieving and sending text to the paste buffer. pbpaste outputs the cut&paste buffer to stdout. phbcopy reads stdin and puts it into the cut&paste buffer.

The more I use these commands the more new ways I find to use them. Read on.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Mac OS X

You may have heard a rumor that I'm working on a book called "The Art of Time Management for System Administrators." However, have you heard the big suprise? We've licensed cartoons from User Friendly for the book.

Now I just have to find someone to write the forward. Suggestions?

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management


David Blank-Edelman, chair of LISA2005 has created a blog so you can follow what it takes to create a conference. Check out LISA Conference Blog

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Conferences

System administrators often find themselves over-extended, skipping vacations, and so on. I often find myself coaching people on ways to set limits, have fruitful and relaxing vacations, and so on.

Someone recently forwarded me this link which talks about the difference between US and EU attitudes about work.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management