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Archive for July, 2011

Second Floor And Broken…

Well, it’s been a month, now, since this has been placed out on to the back porch; on the second floor. I’ve been seeing this ever since it was put there as this building sides our work parking lot and my space is right where I took this photo. It will be interesting to see how long it stays there… 🙂

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OK, I’m writing this blog entry a couple of days early. You know why? Because it is days like the past two that makes me look forward to retirement.

I’m getting older and I do not want to be. Mentally I’m still around 20 or so, but physically… well, let’s just say I’m getting up there. The past two days have been quite hectic. We had a client that purchased three large MF’D’s and they were all delivered yesterday morning. They had to be put on the network, have them configured for “scanning” and “fax received forwarding” in addition to the print drivers being installed on about 30 plus PC’s and laptops.

Being a one man shop, it has taken me two days to do this install. Not only had to set them up and configure them but I also had to put print drivers and scan shortcuts of two of the three machines, depending on which location I was in (upstairs or down), on each of the PC’s and laptops. Printing had to be performed first and then scanning shortcuts were next in addition to creating shortcuts to the “fax received forwarding” folder for two of the MFD’s on all of the PC’s and laptops.

This all had to be done during regular working hours while the employees were at their workstations. Programs had to be left open and I needed to wait until they were finished what they were doing before I could get on and install each configuration on the PC’s and laptops, and this had to done in 5 minutes time per machine.

Just imagine keeping track of three IP addresses, one for each of the MFD’s, and installing the print drivers and scan shortcuts for the correct IP address of the MFD on each machine and doing so for the correct two MFD’s depending on which part of the building I was in. Talk about “brain buzz”.

In short, I’m finished. It is 4:00 PM as I write this and I just got back from there about 30 minutes ago.

Now I’ve come to find out that they are returning one MFD for a different model and moving the other two to different locations. When that is done, on the same day, I will need to be there to correct and change and settings that need to be done in order to make sure all MFD’s are setup and configured correctly and to make sure all 30 plus employees will be able to “print”, use the “scan to file” feature and to have the ability to utilize the “fax received forward” folder as need requires.

Retirement cannot come soon enough. This is one thing I will not miss. One MFD at a time is OK, but to have this many to do, on my own with no help, and to complete the install on time in the time limit set by the client and our sales department is beginning to be just too much.

Ummmm, I wonder if I can speed up the clock that is running the “Countdown To Retirement”?

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Who says that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?

Well, I don’t go “woof” and I’m not a dog, but even an ol’ man can learn something new. This past week I’ve been brushing up on one network troubleshooting technique and learning a new printing technique.

Wireshark is a great little program. Basically it is a packet sniffer. What that means is that I can sit at my desk and pretty much watch network traffic with this little program. I can see who’s doing what and even where on the internet they may be going. However, even though I can watch what’s going on, I basically use this program for finding where problems might be on the network.

If there are connectivity problems, I can trace communications and maybe find where they may fail. If someone is trying to access a web page and can’t get through I can see where the connection might be failing. I can even see if someone, inadvertently of course, has gone to maybe Facebook or Twitter or some place where they would never of their own accord visit on purpose…

It does take a while to learn the ins and outs of this program and you can use color coding for doing so. Hey! Maybe I can combine my weekly “Countdown To Retirement” post with the weekly photo challenge of “colorful”. I’ll see with what I can come up before finishing this post.

Anyway, Wireshark is a free program that can do a lot in troubleshooting network problems and it is something that I highly recommend, not only for in-house network problems, but also for troubleshooting connectivity problems with MFD’s out in the field. All you need there is a Network Hub to put in line between your laptop, the MFD in question and the clients network. At that point you can follow network communications between the MFD and the network clients to see where the bottleneck or breakdown might be. It is fun to use.

The other trick I’ve been learning, and it is one that has been around for a while but I’ve never used, is Internet Printing, or IPP. What IPP allows you to do, when setup correctly, is to be able to sit at one location and be able to print to another location. For instance, say you are in the main office in the city and you have several branch offices out in the “burbs”. With IPP printing you can print from you computer in the main office to one of the MFD’s out in one of the branch offices. No email is needed and it saves on faxes as well.

The reason I’m brushing up on this now is that one of our clients is interested in something like this and if I can make it work they will purchase a few more of our MFD’s for use at the branch locations. I’m not a salesman and I don’t receive any commissions but it would be fun to be able to do something like this at least once before retiring. I’ll give it my best shot… 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Colorful

Click on the image for a larger view

Each color means something different and I won’t go into what the meanings are. This is just to show how Wireshark looks as I communicate with WordPress on-line, while I’m doing my post for the week. For an I.T. person like myself, this is about as colorful as my work gets… 🙂

P.S. I had to go back and put a blur on the laptop’s screen image as there were some minor secure info that could be seen rather easily. Please excuse the look but it does give you an idea of how colorful Wireshark can be… 🙂

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If you want it good and tasty,

darkened and pink,

the heat must be there

even if rare.

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Ever notice that when you try to write a word that you don’t use that much you have to stop and think about it?

What is scary is when you do write a word that you don’t use that often and you write it out as if you’ve been doing it day in and day out. Well, that didn’t happen this time. I had to go and look up “retrospection” to make sure I had it right…

In looking back to where I once was and contemplating on what the future might hold I’ve become somewhat melancholic. See? Just look at the big words that I’m using. That’s not me. That is why I am so disquieted.

The problem is, for the most part, I really like my work. Especially when I get to go out and work with our clients. It is really great to see their faces light up when you install some new equipment and it meets or even surpasses their expectations of what they perceived would happen. It just gives me a delightful sense of satisfaction of a job well done. That is what I am going to miss the most when I do retire.

So, what do I do? On one hand I’m really looking forward to retiring, to be able to have the time to do more of the activities that I like outside work, like my photography. On the other hand, it would also be great to keep on doing the work that I’m presently doing even if only on a part-time basis. This is why I’m so down-hearted today. I’m coming to a cross-roads and I don’t know in which direction to go or which lane to take.

In retrospect I’ve done well, and my clients have let me known that in so many ways. Yes, I will miss my work and, yes, I’m looking forward to retirement. The question is, do I want to do both?

Stay tuned…

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Working in Information Technology has its benefits. It also means being questioned as to what you actually do. Here’s the story.

This week for example I’ve been working with some I.T. people from the state of WV. We’ve been installing MFD’s at various locations and we’ve had a chance to do some talking about our work; as I.T. people usually do. One thing we agree upon is that no one really knows exactly what we do. That also leads us into the photo challenge for this week. It fits perfectly.

When things do go wrong the “computer” person, or the “help” desk, gets a call about it and we go out and fix it. That’s when we are seen and at that time we are either the hero for fixing the problem or we are the problem because we didn’t set things up correctly the first time in order to keep the user from having this problem. Happens all the time.

However, when we are not out, being seen by the other employees, we are usually sitting behind closed doors doing who knows what? They can’t see us back there. They only know that we are there because we answer the phone whenever someone has a problem and they call us.

In the meantime, all we do, so I’ve been told, is that we sit at our desks, if we are lucky to have one, or at our workbench, again, doing who knows what to all those boxes, screens and software, and not doing anything worthwhile in generating any money for the company.

In their opinion we do little to nothing and we cost the company money.

To answer this, I’ve placed my desk in our server room where there are no windows and where everyone can see me every time they walk by. They can see my workbench, the servers and the back of my inbox where I’ve placed a carefully written out piece of wisdom for all to see every time they look my way. It is also in the photo for the “Weekly Photo Challenge” for this week of “Old Fashioned”.

Here’s the photo, and in it you will see what I’ve posted on the back of the inbox. It explains very simply what it is about the importance of having me on the payroll. I think it will work for everyone who works in Information Technology… 🙂

Ol’ Fashioned Way

Click on the image to get a larger view & to read the sign better

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Coming Storm

Click on the photo for a larger image…

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