My Year of Certifications

Back when I got out of the U.S. Navy in 1999, I needed a job. During my time in the Navy, I received some fantastic training and developed critical skills that I now use every day in my job. Core troubleshooting skills, technology and electronics, along with preventative maintenance. All critical to a job in the tech world. The only other skill that is critical, in my mind, that can’t be taught is Creative Thinking. That skill can only be practiced, and you must have detailed knowledge of the systems to use it. Wakeup Call My first job was a Desktop Systems technician. How I got that job is ...

Communication VS Troubleshooting: A Balance

Too many times, I’ve heard the phrase, “I can’t update you right now. I’m too busy fixing the problem”. Have you ever heard that statement? Maybe you have used that statement yourself? There is a balance between “updating on a problem” and “fixing the problem”, and one does not justify excusing the other. But, it’s not an exact science either. You can have both, but the art is identifying how to do it. Keep in mind, that this is NOT to excuse you from how you handle updates to your manager. If you already have a process, obviously you have to do it. However, if you don’t, this is my advice....

Writing Good Solutions – The Short Guide

Writing Good Solutions
I have a problem.  The canooter valve has gotten stuck from a flux-capacitor overload.  Because of this, a server's warp-drive has gone critical.  We have received almost 50 calls so far that user's plasma-coils are popping.  Everyone is looking to me to fix it.  What am I to do? I do like every other great technician/engineer does.  We research.  First, let's check if we've seen this before.  Login to ticketing system.  Check.  Navigate to solutions database.  Check.  Search for "canooter valve plasma coil".  1 result: "Canooter valve frozen.  Reset the plasma coil.  Popping stopped" Oh,...

Why the stupid C15 power cord!

      It never fails. You have a failure, and it will be faster to replace now, and deal with repairing/replacement later. You have a network switch sitting in a cabinet. Maybe it was removed from an old wiring closet, or possibly set there as a hot spare to be used somewhere else. In either case, you now have a need for that switch. You rush to grab the switch, set it down on your desk or bench, and grab a system to console in and get it ready. Console port? Check. Config of the failed switch? Check. Now, let’s power her up! Wait…. What the…. C16 Po...

Robotics and IT Management

After a week of travel to Europe for work, I am winding down at a restaurant in Stockholm Arlanda Airport for a flight in the morning.  I decided to go and have one more nice meal (and some wine to help me sleep).  Okay, the wine was for taste, but the sleeping part is an added bonus.  During my dinner, I noticed some perfect english beside me (which is rare in Sweden). After introducing myself, I found out it was a group of people who just finished a week from a Robotics conference discussing papers (one PhD and 2 undergrad).  What a fantastic discussion!  Especi...

Blurp: Why I use L3 in campus/metro

So, I was just asked a very good question.  I use Layer3 uplinks in my campus and as uplinks to my datacenter.  Why?  With all the buzz of moving to a L2 environment, why would I use Layer3? Well, it's more based on momentum and past practices rather than being "up-to-date".  First, let's discuss the campus: Before spanning-tree convergence times were increased, most sites still were on the PVST+ (or just STP), which, unless tweaked, could take up to 30-50 seconds to converge.  At that time, routing protocols could converge must faster.  Hence, using L3 inte...

HP Discover Tentative Schedule

Below is my tentative schedule for HP Discover.  If you are looking for me, there is an 85% chance I'll be in the below events/sessions.  It's going to be one full week for me, if I ever get out of the airport. Some are HP Sessions, and others are coffee talks with leading experts.  I enjoy the coffee talks, but the sessions are practical usage.  I'm still waiting to get in to the HP Insight management with VMware VCenter 5.1, but that has been at capacity (both classes) for weeks.  :(  Oh well. I've been on standby all day in Nashville.  Part of it was...

Juniper Gear – Got some work to do

Juniper gear just arrived last week.  I know, I know... many of you are saying, "so what?" or "Big deal".  You might even say, "I setup and eat QFabric for breakfast".  I say, "good for you".  But for guys like me who are still learning Juniper, it's an exciting time.  Baby steps, and all. So, that's 5 Juniper 2200's.  Upgrading some wiring closets from old Cisco gear and building a better topology and speeds.  There are also 3 SRX's that will be replacing Cisco ASA's.  Well, 2 clustered, and one in a lab.   If you have been following my bl...

Looking forward to HP Discover 2013

  HP Discover is a fantastic event.  I’m not kidding!  It is absolutely remarkable! You don’t have to be an avid HP-lover to attend.  It’s not a requirement.  But the technology, information, and people at these events ARE NOT to be missed!  Not only does HP put on a massively impressive show, but I am ALWAYS geek’ing out with… well…. If I say “talented” people, I would be at a loss.  They are beyond talented, and I learn so much at this event!     Truth be told, I probably would not attend this event on my own.  I couldn’t afford ...