Silicon Patch Work Journal

Journal For Week of December 18, 2000

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Monday December 18, 2000

Oh my tummy hurts. Too much good Italian food at the department Christmas lunch.

What I had written for this post is covered plus, a lot more by Matt Beland. So why not just go here and read what he has to say.

I sent the following to Matt, to out line an additional point:

Hi Matt

One thing you missed which I feel is very important, is that the help desk people must communicate with each other. In a good physical environment, the help desk people are in ear shot of each other. This way if a tech gets a call/trouble ticket on a particular problem they have never seen, they can mute their phone and ask quickly if anyone has seen problem x before. Hopefully some one can give an answer in short order, the info can then be passed onto the end user. This way knowledge is shared and builds team work. Also the need for a trouble ticket to bounce araound is eliminated.

This does not work in all envirionments and not all managers will like it. But where resources are low, and you need to grow the competance of the low end techs it helps alot. I have seen this method take a help desk with very lop sided skill sets, become a well rounded, effective team.

John


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Tuesday December 19, 2000

Finally was able to make time to work on the production Linux server at work today. I had to try 4 different NICs before I could get one to work. I don't think the problem was linux, but most likely the hardware. Par for the course I guess when cobling together a server out of an old Pentium 90 with and odd ball mother board.


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Wednesday December 20, 2000

Last night if found a few computers at work running the NetBEUI protocol. I removed the protocol from those PC's which has made a marked difference in network traffic. I like it now that I can look at the monitoring software and not see the switch port for a server swamped my needless network chatter.

I copied the Samba configuration file off my test Linux machine onto the production unit. I didn't have much time to do any testing but it looks like the transplanted file is working with only a minor glitch. The glitch is that for some odd reason the Samba share shows up in the wrong workgroup when I browse the network from WinNT

A consultant is coming in tomorrow to finish setting up the software on a new PC I am setting up to manage the telephone system. The first time I setup the software on the new PC I learned that the software is designed so it can be run off a network. So after a discussion with my boss, I am going to setup the software on the Novell server. I'll still setup the new PC so I can gradually ween the phone system admin person off the idea of having a dedicated PC for telco work. I also like that with things running off the network I can backup the software and data which will be helpful when things go wrong.


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Thursday December 21, 2000

Today was a brush fire type of day. You know, jumping from fire to fire. Started off with a vinyl saw not being able to read data off the network, moved onto several printing problems, email client failures, viruses, phone system software install failures, time keeping software data file problems, and likely a few things I have forgotten.

Oh did I fall into the deep end! The jetdirect card in one of the admin department printer went all wonky today so I used this as an opportunity to cleanup the naming convention for the printer objects and install an external print server. Everything was working fine, test print jobs worked as they should. Then the brick dropped, they could not print cheques out of the financial program. After some head scratching and question of people I found that the print jobs for cheques are routed to the printer from the report queue not the client on the users PC. So I had to shut down the PCs that run the queues, change the redirector for print jobs to the new printer setup, fire every thing up again and then get them to try printing cheques again. The first set of cheques went through OK, the second set didn't process properly. A peek at queues showed that the one processing the cheques was hung up on a file. I got it to retry processing and everything went through with a little manual intervention.


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Friday December 22, 2000

The office was mostly empty today, but still lots to do as more viruses struck, some people hit for the second time this week. I made up a mailing list so I could notify people about virus issues, especially the w32.kriz virus which can strike on the 25th.

I made the rounds this afternoon to make sure all the PCs are shut off so I don't have any surprises next week when I return to work after the holidays.

Near the end of my rounds I came upon the maintenance crew indulging in some Christmas cheer. I joined in long enough to have a beer and hear one guys wife tell the dirtiest joke I have ever heard. I can never remember jokes I hear, lets just say that the joke included Christmas decorations, when a husband and wife dream about on a Christmas tree.

The Grinch who Delivered Christmas dropped a Christmas package off at the door tonight. The look on the delivery guys face would have made small children cry.

Looks like I maybe pulling delivery duty for a buddy. His step kids are with there father here in Calgary, who has managed to lose his job and drivers license. So since I was thinking of going to his parents for Christmas dinner, his sister has asked if I could give the boys a lift. I may have to change my travel itinerary a bit to accommodate the kids, but it is do able. Did I mention it is an 8 hour trip on the highway to get supper! What do you do with two young boys on a long highway trip to a little Saskatchewan village? They won't like my tapes, and I'll likely hate theirs. I could hog tie them, toss them in the box of the truck, and let hypothermia do the rest, or maybe they'll sleep for the entire trip.


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Saturday December 23, 2000

It's a cold clear frosty morning despite what the weather man predicted. Rather pretty though with the sun light glistening of the frost laden trees.

For Canuks looking for computer books I highly recommend Copperfields. I placed my second order with them this week and had some problems with their web site. I sent them an email inquiring if they were experiencing technical problems and they shipped me the book. In short good service, great selection of books, payment in Canadian dollars. Oh the book was Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia by David L. Farquhar.

I received a statement in the mail listing my lifetime contributions to the Canada Pension Plan to which paying into is compulsory and handled by the payroll department where ever you happen to work. Also included is the amount that would be paid out monthly when I retire. The payout is ridiculous, people are expected to live their retirement years off of this. I think I just found extra incentive to keep up, and try and increase my RRSP contributions.


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Sunday December 24, 2000

Well no chauffeur duty for me, so I can travel on my own strange idiotic schedule. What the means is to sleep the day away with a few waking minutes to do laundry and such. Then in the wee hours of Christmas morning I'll hit the trail.

I have already set up the new hard drive I am giving my friends for Christmas. Ya I know, a hard drive seems like an odd gift to give to a family, but they can really use it. The drive in their computer only has a few free megs of disk space since they changed to a new farm financial package.


Copyright 1999, 2000 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved

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