Go ahead. Feed the monkeys.


March 19, 2016 — Micah C.

I lost control of this thing real quick.

I've opted to discontinue use of bashblog. It's convenient from bash, sure, but it is WAY too easy to corrupt it, and once it starts, it just cascades from there.

I'm not going to fix this today. To be continued.

Edit: On second thought, I totally did. Nevermind, it's easier just editing one HTML file and saying to hell with RSS. It wasn't present in the 1990's anyway.

Back to Home...

Zero Luck with Fog

March 19, 2016 — Micah C.

At my prior job, I used Clonezilla to keep our labs humming along. It wasn't easy to figure out, but once I had it put together, it worked extremely well. I distilled it to the simplest method: remove the building network uplink from the IDF. Shut all the systems off. Plug laptop in with portable HDD containing the finished images I made (Image Golf: get as much mass changes loaded onto the image without activating any apps or Windows itself so there were as few steps afterward as possible... not as easy as it looks, and there's no right answer. A zen excercise at times.) Connect laptop to building switch, set the parameters for multicast and a temporary DHCP server to run PXE. Boot the computers from the network card.

If it all went well, you'd be rewarded with a view of 30-50 computers like this...

Computer lab under the control of Clonezilla The Clonezilla Mobile Workstation. Laptop, Portable HDD, and a Ethernet cable directly into the IDF cabinet.

With FOG, I have no such luck. When I tried to install it, first, I just used whatever Linux USB Live Image I had sitting around. Apparently, that isn't allowed unless you're proficient enough to troubleshoot multiple parts of the Application layer using Build-essential packages. (If you are a Linux expert, I may be wrong about this, but it highlights why I failed at my first attempt: I don't have a deep-enough knowledge of Linux to make it work.)

Anyway, The NIC goes to PXE... and finds nothing. The client hard drive proceeds with Windows. Turns out I need to edit the DHCP Server Options to point to the FOG system. After doing that, the same result.

So, I fall back into the Installation Manual. I used Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. I installed everything to the letter of the installation manual. I got to the last steps where you boot a system into PXE and register the client to FOG... and TFTP timed out.

I read their forums, TFTP is a ridiculously simple network protocol, if it hiccups, restarting the daemon is usually enough to wake it up. And it did. So, I tried again, and iPXE started chainloading... until "default.kpxe: No such file or directory found."

And that is as far as I've got. The help online has the two milquetoast answers to "file not found": is the file actually there? (Yes, it is.) And make sure permissions are correct (chmod -R 777 /tftpboot/* ... easy enough) and that the software firewall is disabled (sudo ufw disable). Check. I get no further help past that...

I figure that FOG doesn't like the hardware involved. Nope, it's persistent. I grab another laptop, and I hit the same brick wall. It's not the hardware, it's me.

It doesn't help that I mention this to my coworkers in IT and they roll their eyes at me like I never used Linux before. "It just works. Follow the instructions, you're trying too hard." This is too hard. Trying to figure out how to get this STARTED in the first place, when I have a product I do know how to use, that can get the job done in a less-permanent way (FOG registers computers and you can boot into it to reimage at any time. The way I used Clonezilla is one-and-done: when the clone is finished, you disassemble the setup, and the computers boot on their own.) I'm just tempted to buy an external hard drive that work won't spring for and just stick to what I know.

I'm going to try it one last time next week. And that's all I got, because if it doesn't work then, I'm going to have to run Clonezilla: the following week is Spring Break, I need to fix a bunch of systems with issues, and I can't wait any longer.


March 16, 2016 — Micah C.

A little over a year after my last post, the stress got too much to bear at work. (I'm going to have to speak in vagaries for some of this, my apologies.)

I spent months that spring in 2015 closing a set of projects that would transform a rural school district into something it never seen before. But I didn't do any of the labor, it was just arranging contractors to install Structured Cabling, Dark Fiber, and OC3 to replace our ailing 10/100 network. The back and forth from management kept increasing, kept adding to my efforts to get a contract in their hands, finally there in September. I thought it was done.

Then a deluge hit. They wanted me to do EVERYTHING for them. Meeting with sales people, arranging training sessions for programs I had yet to use, repairing problems that in the past I was told wasn't my responsibility. No one helped, no one relented.

For someone who was hired to keep High School computer labs running, this job was becoming too difficult for the same amount of pay. I told them that. That was my biggest mistake: the work multiplied. There were employees who were busy who saw me at a breakneck pace and told me to relax. I couldn't. Others could gossip and rant, but I was constantly at work.

I let an outburst slip. Closed door meetings. They had a hand on an employee discipline form, but never put a pen to it as a subtle message that they weren't messing around anymore. Everything is overdue, everything is a priority, and the word "No" has been banished from my vocabulary. I then talked to an ex-employee, and it all became clear.

In a Union Job with public schools, the process to remove employees is so archaic and hard, that it is easier to dump on them until they have an episode (what you see on the news: something illegal happens, and the "bad employee" is fired for "conduct unbecoming of a employee", with the Union in full agreement), or I become their whipping boy for a indefinite amount of time when a bigger problem arises and they stop focusing on me.

It's called "the pinch".

So, I start making some calls, checking the want ads... There's a job a town away that pays less but I'd be doing the same work I did here at first. Just keep the labs running. Help figure out the weird tech. And I wouldn't be alone to work on difficult projects, because they have the payroll to get employees.

I didn't tell them until two weeks before the new job started. And I got silence back in return. No "is there something making you leave us?" Just silence. It was their intent all along that I wasn't going to stick around.

They call it "the pinch". I call it harassment, except, I don't bother with talking to an attorney. They're only as good as their next scandal. Why give karma a stimulant, when it's already at work on the place? Just let things happen naturally.

So, since 2016, I have been away from the City. This is why.

Sanity Returns to My Office

December 13, 2014 — Micah C.

After a cursory review of what a public website of Sharepoint can do, I've decided against. If it takes me 6 months of intensive training to make a single workflow after learning all of the "right" ways of setting everything up... why would I bother when I could have a PHP solution that does the exact same thing in less than 10 days and a lot less effort? (Someone half of my age could probably do it in 4 given enough caffeine.)

Besides, which is easier: setting a Document repository in SharePoint when my co-workers won't upload the files themselves and send them to me anyway, or H5AI running in a dedicated folder for the files organized in FTP with zero editing?

We have a winner.

The Coincidence

December 09, 2014 — Micah C.

Time it took me to get this site running? About 6 hours of editing in a Unix shell. And it works fine.

Time it has taken me to figure out SharePoint Online? About 48 hours and counting. It's web-based, WYSIWYG, and Microsoft's advice is "shut up and use it". Still have yet to figure out how to get it started.

It's clear I know how to do things on the web from this page alone. But I don't have an insight to draw out of that which isn't full of loaded language, fallacies, or banal comparisons that lead to nothing. Just an observation.

Okay, the blog's pretty. Now what?

December 08, 2014 — Micah C.

As this kind of work harkens back to my college days, I find myself getting into Tilde-style editing slowly but surely. Of course, there's a few caveats that I will be making on this area of mine.

  1. This blog 'breaks' the 1990's style of editing for me, as this serves as a log of what I'm doing, not a challenge. I've found a few ways to get what I want onto Squiggle City that I'd find easier using FTP (not sure if it's supported or not, if it is, I feel like a chump.) WGet is my hero on this server, as I've sent scripts and images over this way. The trick is finding a hosting server to hold it for 5-10 minutes, then server-to-server from Squiggle to an Image Service is quick as heck.
  2. The home page will be edited 100% under nano. If I can't edit it, it doesn't make it.
  3. Eventually, I will put a "banner" that unifies the pages on all of them. This way, when I make a new page, I edit one include and it appears everywhere.

Otherwise, anything goes. Let's see what I've got...

Starting over...

December 08, 2014 — Micah C.

This is my second attempt at putting a blog in this area. The first incarnation did some weird duplication, so I figured starting over would be easier at this junction than fixing it.

Remember: practice safe text.