Work Stuff

This summer is going to be a busy one

Wow it’s almost July.  I am working on getting things ready at the house for the 4th of July picnic.  After that picnic I have to get into La Vigna Picnic mode.

My uncle and I are meeting on Monday for a quick breakfast and picnic planning.  We have some new ideas for this year for the kids that should make things fun and exciting.  I am looking forward to this years picnic more than usual since we have a few more people helping with the planning and work this year.  I am still going to run the 50/50 and the seed spitting contest. I love seeing my family and hanging out and just taking it easy.

In the last few weeks I have been made the committee chair of the LOPSA Education Committee.  We are in the middle of getting the training schedule and trainers together for OLF and OLFu.  I also LOPSA-button 1stepped up and volunteered for one of the empty board seats on the LOPSA board.  Last night I had my first board meeting.  I have gotten the feel of how things work on the call and got some ideas that I need to flesh out to help fix some of the issues that are plaguing LOPSA.  It also looks like I will be going to a face to face board meeting in August.

As well as the picnic and LOPSA, work, LUG/IP, LOPSA-NJ and PICC I have been working on a new web site with my friend John LeMasney.  It’s going to be a food based web site that will explore the making, buying, cooking and eating of the food of Central New Jersey. We want to be the premier destination for those interested in Central New Jersey food.  I hope to go live in the next few weeks.  We are looking for writers who have a passion for food in Central New Jersey. So if you want to write for us send me an example of your writing and a little bit about yourself to

So some family news Avery is now a senior in high school and has her drivers license. This is great I don’t have to drive her all over the place to her friends and dance or back to school, the down side is I don’t get to spend as much time with my daughter.  Otherwise every thing is going great and I am looking forward to a hot humid summer.

Cool picture and the need for a small good camera


So this morning I had to take some photos for work for a proposal. I had to use my bosses camera, a Canon A2000 IS. It was easy to use and had a good size LCD display and the pictures came out well (because we all know it’s all about the camera, not the photographer). The one thing I didn’t like about it was that the SD card was in the battery compartment on the bottom of the camera, so I dropped the batteries out when I need to take the card out. I took this photo of the stuff on one of the admins desk. It turned out real well and the color was great and it just looked good.

I have a Pentax digital SLR that I got as barter payment for a mail server build job I did. I love taking pictures with it, but the problem with it’s to big and not easy to just carry around and have with me in my bag to take a quick shot when one presents itself. I try to take my daughters camera out with me once in a while but she doesn’t like to give it up without a fight. So the next time I have a little extra money I am thinking of getting a Cannon PowerShot SD1100 IS. I like that they are small, light and have a quick write speed. Now my birthday is right around the corner on the 19th, so if one of you fine readers want to get me one as a present that would be great.

Till next time…..

What a long strange trip it’s been

So last month on October 16th I celebrated the bingeing of my 9th year at Arora and Assoicates, P.C.. When I say I celebrated I mean I went to my boss and told him that I was starting my the year and he said the same thing he says every year..”wow it’s been that long!”

So looking back at the 8 years that I have been at Arora I have realized that I have taken the company to new heights on the technology scale. When I started we had 2 offices. The one in Lawrenceville and a New York City office. The Lawrenceville office had an IDSL line that went down every few days. The New York office was sharing a 56K modem for the whole office. The e-mail server was hosted with the ISP and was unable to handle the small load the company was putting on it.

In 4 months after I started the IDSL line went down for a which time I was able to talk the powers to be to go with a full T-1 line with the argument that the only time a T-1 goes down is when some person with a backhoe cuts a fiber line somewhere in the US. After the T-1 was installed in Lawrenceville I moved the mail server in house and rebuilt the network.

As the years moved on I have installed bigger faster and louder servers. We now have over 8Tb of space total in the Lawrenceville office. We have expanded the company from 2 offices to 5 offices all connected by VPN. All the offices now have full T-1s. There are more advances that were made in all the offices but there is so little time to list them all.

At the bingeing of this month we moved the Lawrenceville office to a bigger brand new space. We had over 46207 ft (8.75 Miles) of data cable installed with over 276 data ports installed. This was a new build so we put in as many drops as we could while the walls were open. We got rid of our old 3COM switches for brand new Cisco switches. With the new office also came with a new server room with the proper cooling and security.

So as I sit in my new cube…yes I took a cube instead of an office because the more space I have the messier I become so I took a cube tucked in a corner and out of the high traffic areas…I can’t help to think of what is in store for me in the next 9 years at Arora….

I know I look forward to keeping the company on the cutting edge of technologie.

What was I thinking?

So yesterday was Friday the 13th……and I stupidly reboot the main server at work in the morning. I broke 2 of my rules…1. Never touch Production boxes on a Friday. 2. Never ever do anything in the production environment on Friday the 13th. I knew I had to reboot the server so I could work on some new software that I installed the day before so I got up early, logged in remotely and restarted the server. While it was “rebooting” I jumped in the shower and figured I would do the tweaking of the new software when I got out and head to work a little later. Got out of the shower and tried to log back into the server… go. Tried pining it still no response….so I got ready nice and fast and headed to work….did I mention it was 5 am… to work and found the server in a continual reboot cycle. It would get to the screen to logging and then reboot. I just stood there for about 3 cycles saying every swear word I could think of…

I decided to first do a parallel install of the OS and see if I could get to the registry of the bad install and get the new software uninstalled…After I got the new install done I jumped into the registry of the bad install and found it totally messed up. So that idea had gone nowhere and cost me about 40 min. Now this server is the server that has all the work data for the company..every drawing, memo and documentation of all our current and past jobs so I had to get this server back up and running so I didn’t have managers yelling at me that their people weren’t working and the projects weren’t getting done.

I checked the RAID container that holds all the data and saw it was okay. So I sat down figured that the only data needed from the OS RAID container was the databases for the NetBackup software. So I copied the whole backup software folder to the data RAID. I then started a fresh install of the OS. While that was going on I jumped on to the phone with Veritas to find out what files/directories to put back once I got the server back up and the backup software installed. I ended up talking to Simon in London who was a great help. I found that I was unable to call England from my phone system. So when I hadn’t called Simon back when I told him I would he called me directly and I told him my calling problems and let him know that I wasn’t done with the OS install so he said he would call me back in an hour. Once I got all the drivers and software installed and files copied back Simon called right in time to walk me through a test and to see if all my metadata for all my back up…yea it was….and the backups went through last night.

So after many reboots and share setups the server was back up and running with a fresh OS install and all the data was safe and sound and I didn’t lose all my backup information.

The lesson learned – never touch anything on a Friday especially Friday the 13th 😉

I think I work to much….

I came in on New Years Eve day and ripped all the patch cables out of the switch and patch panel rack. It was a mess as you can see from the pictures I took that can be found here. I have been color coding all the patch cable in the office. Red for Internet connections out side the Firewall, Orange for connection in the DMZ, Green for all server connections on the LAN and Blue for all work stations and printers on the LAN. So my goal was…if it was gray it had to go…. It took me about 2 hours to pull the cables out and move the switches apart for better air flow and re-cable. After I restarted the switches I have now realized that we will be needing new switches next year. The fans are starting to go.

Merry Christmas

It seems like just the other day I was wishing you all a Merry Christmas. Yesterday was spent doing some last minute shopping and then ended up at work for a few hours. Then headed out for dinner with Avery, Carolyn and my sister-in-law at the Chines Buffet. Yes, I ended up at work on Christmas eve…I decided to get the server room network cabling redone. I used 3 different colors red for Public network(Internet) nics, Orange for the DMZ nics and Green for the LAN NICs/servers. I had to get this done, I was stepping on network cables that were lying on the floor. I also got the KVM wires cleaned up and put an IP KVM on my 2007 wishlist the KVM wires I have now are too bulky and too hard to get routed the way I wanted them.

Well, I have to go and start cooking Christmas breakfast and then start dinner after opening the gifts with the family…… 🙂


Christmas party and new monitor

Saturday was my companies Holiday party. A good time is had by all that go, the down side being I have to wear a suit and tie, it confuses the users though so it makes it worth it. This year I was celebrating being with the company for 5 years. At this company you get $500 for 5 years of service, $1000 for 10 years and so on. So this year I got my money which I just spent on a DELL UltraSharp 2005FPW 20.1-inch Wide Aspect Flat Panel LCD Monitor for my office at home. I have been using a 19″ monitor that is slowly going bad and it has a big scratch in the middle of the glass. I have been looking at these monitors for a while but the price has been to high. But they dropped to bellow $500 dollars with a 25% special and free shipping so I couldn’t resist….Now if I could only get my company to buy me one of these.

Wow it’s been a busy time since Thanksgiving

Well as you can see I actually wrote a book review. I read a lot of tech books but “Time Management for System Administrators” really has helped me. I am one of those people who say yea I will remember to do that thing you want me to do but I forget or get distracted and forget to do it. So I figured I needed to write the review so others can be swayed to buy and read the book.

I have been working on getting RT up and running at work so I can go live with it on Jan. 2nd. It took me some time to get the auth part of it talking to our Active Directory/LDAP server. I found this site was a big help with this overlay it is working great. Now I can have my users send an E-mail to RT and it will generate a work ticket that they can track to see the progress of the problem resolution. I also got NAGIOS back up and running monitoring my servers and routers in all the offices.

At home Avery and I got the front of the house decorated and the tree into the house last weekend. Carolyn got the tree decorated this week and it looks real good. I will get some pictures up later once I get the digital camera working again. I still haven’t gotten my Christmas shopping started for Carolyn and Avery, I plan to go on Sunday and get it all done and not have to worry about it during the week. Carolyn took care of getting my folks and everyone else’s gifts that we are giving out this year..not that we are giving a lot we are on a tight budget this year but we are trying to get something for everyone in the family.

Proposed Replacement Mail/FTP/WEB Server for work 2

Next year I am going to move everyone off of POP3 to IMAP for incoming mail. I want to keep everyone’s mail up on the server instead of on there desktop machine. This will give me a better back up plan for employee mail. It would also be one less thing I would have to move off there machine when I upgrade them and one less thing for them to lose if there hard drive goes south on there desktops.

So here are the specs for the new server:
OS: Linux CentOS.
Services: Qmail, Courier-imap, Apache, MySQL, ProFTP
Case: Chenbro 3U RM31212T-C-650R 650W Redundant (2+1) 12 HDD Tray SATA
Mother Board: Tyan Thunder K8SE
CPU : AMD Opteron Dual-Core 270 2 GHz – Socket 940 – L2 2 MB x 2
Memory: 512 MB – DIMM 184-pin – DDR – 266 MHz / PC2100 – CL2.5 – 2.5 V – registered – ECC x 4
Raid Controller: 3ware Escalade 9500S-8MI
HD Drives: Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 – ST3250823AS 250 GB – internal – 3.5″ – SATA-150 – 22-position plug – 7200 rpm – buffer: 8 MB x 7

I will be doing hardware Raid 5 off the 3ware card using 5 of the drives for data, that will give me 1TB of space and the other 2 drives I will do Raid 1 for the Os off the raid card on the mother board. With 2 Gigs of Memory this machine should scream.

Let me know what you think…..

New Blog Client and NY office temp server

I have been trying to find a a good client to use for my blogging. What the client needed to do was be compatible with Movable Type and have a good spell checker because I can’t spell worth a darn. It also need to be able to do good imaging importing to the web log. I have used Zempt for a while but it wasn’t updated enough and the cool feature of importing what I was listening to in winamp didn’t work for the newest version of winamp. So I have tried a few others but they either were to simple or they didn’t work well with Movable Type. I just down loaded w.bloggar v4.00 and it seems pretty good and was easy to set up.

Spent most of yesterday at work trying to get a temp server set up for the NY office so I can upgrade there main server to Windows 2003, but when I upgraded the temp server to primary PDC for the NY domain it didn’t reboot I was unable to reconnect to it to keep working. I have to wait till someone shows up on Monday at the office to hit the rest button. One of the many problems of working on remote servers…the motherboard in the temp server doesn’t seem to like Windows NT 4.0. But it seems to like Linux and Server 2003 fine never seem to have a problem with either of those Os at all. I need to get this office finished so I can get the temp server back so I can get it set up to be the temp firewall at the corp office so I can up grade that to CentOS 3 and the new version of Checkpoint firewall software.

Since the server didn’t come back I was able to take some time to get the printing issues I was having with samba and cups on the Linux server that I have on the Active Directory network. It ended up being the samba spool was nonexistent. That is what happens when I don’t pay attention when I compile form source and not install from RPM.