Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Monday, 12 December 2011
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
I went to a student fault, all our kit was working, so started looking at the cabling.
A bit of background: some of our newest student accommodation is not owned by the University, but by an external company. The company owns the building and everything in it. They have told us they are responsible for anything physical in the buildings. The network settings is our responsibility; the sockets, wiring etc. is theirs.
Despite this, when a student gets in touch with them to report a problem (usually physical damage) it gets sent from them to us. As a favour (or just to get students working quicker - they can take weeks to fix a broken socket) we have been fixing broken sockets and damaged cables because it is easier than bounces emails and calls around the help desks. Also, when they do attempt to fix it we normally need to go back and fix it again as they are not too good at terminating sockets.
This fault in particular was showing a problem 6 meters from the room. Too close to be the cab. We traced the cable to a riser where, upon opening it, we discovered another socket for the room... that was dripping wet!
The contacts were going green they were that wet so it was obvious we had found the problem. I cleaned the contacts up with a screwdriver as a temporary fix for the student to get them working for now, then went to report it to the owners.
All we got from them was a load of drivel about how it's a network problem... and there is nothing they can do... and they don't think it is their responsibility. That it should be down to us to sort it out.
I am sorry?
Your building - physical? check
Your cabling - physical? check
Water leak - physical problem? check
Damaged socket - physical problem? check
Damaged cabling - physical problem? check
The university network is up and running, the problem is at their end. The students are paying their rent to a company for a service that the company does not deliver.
We should have just checked the switch was up and left it to them.
Except the student would be without a network connection, and we wouldn't do that to them.
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Finally done for the weekend.
Went in at 7am this Saturday morning to swap out all the 2950 switches and the 3550 aggregator to be replaced by PoE (Cisco 3750s) in Print and Design.
It was absolutely filthy down there in the basement, which the picture doesn't do justice.
The need for this to be done is due to the fact that the departments phones (and the fibre feed) come from an area that had now been condemned. As we can't currently get an more analogue or digital lines into the building, or make any changes from the PN, we have had to move them to IP telephony.
Configuring the new phones was not made any easier by somebody turning off the power to the building with the voice gateway in without informing IT.
We also found a table of graphic designers all getting their network connection from a mini hub hiden under the desk. So before they can all have an IP phone we need to put some some extra sockets in as power requirements of the phones means only one phone will work off one switch port, and for the time being the mini hub is fed from the phone.
The analogue lines for a credit card machine and fax is provided by an ATA.
The VLANs have been configured and the trunk from the hub. So, hopefully, when the power comes back on the phones will get their IP addresses and config files, and all will be working Monday morning...
Apologies, the Blogger app on my phone does not seem to be allowing picture uploads. I will tweet a pic.
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
AV Comparatives: Mobile Security Review (38 page PDF)
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
I loved Star Wars.
Now I have a son of my own. I was looking forward to the day I would be able to show these to him. Although the originals, as I saw them, are now un-showable as we no longer have a VHS player and with every re-release and re-issue comes some more changes (Wiki Changes).
This I am in two minds about. On one hand, these films meant something to us, they were special the way they were, the constant fiddling renders each edition out of date as soon as you have watched it and what is with the crappy music and the Noooooooo and Gredo shooting first? -This school of thought has also been expressed in music here.
On the other hand these films belong to George Lucas so shouldn't he be able to do whatever he wants with them? Making them look less crappy on our HD televisions is a good thing right? Maybe one day he will decide to take the scissors (not literally, as it is all digital nowadays) to The Phantom Menace and with any luck edit out half of that rubbish.
No, the real thing that is annoying me with Star Wars, after going back and watching them now the whole 6-part saga is available, is how they don't make sense.
Lucas was supposed to have written the whole saga in 1975. If this is the case then how do you explain the following?:
1. Incest. You are not telling me during Empire he knew they were brother and sister and allowed THAT kiss. Which leads me to conclude he made it all up as he went along.
2. Nobody recognises C-3PO and R2D2. Come on, they are at every major event in the galaxy.
3. If Vader could sense Luke, why couldn't he sense Leia? The Force not work on chicks?
4. How can Leia remember her real mother when she died in child birth? Just ignore the facts and again make it up as we go along.
2. Stormtroopers are supposed to be so precise yet can't hit a barn door when they are on screen.
2.b ...and don't check behind locked doors.
3. Chewbacca and Yoda know each other and are friends. Come on, how few individuals are there in this galaxy and why then couldn't Chewie explain everything to Luke?
It is not just the originals, even though they are the ones which hurt the most. The newer prequels are also not imune to annoying me.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
People (users) have consistently underestimated what we do in an IT department throughout the various places I have worked. "I need some software on every computer for my lesson in 5 minutes" and "can we have some laptops getting in for this afternoon" were the sorts of requests I heard often.
Another such request happened this afternoon. There was an email exchange between one of my colleagues and a member of staff about getting some wireless installed for a conference of 40 people next week. I was told this afternoon that the conference would now take place tomorrow morning and everyone will need wireless access.
So that left me with just a few hours this afternoon to:
Configure a Power over Ethernet switch or arrange power into the rooms/ceiling voids.
Configure switches for trunking wireless VLAN traffic.
Configure Access Points and setup correct security and keys.
Setup on Cisco WCS.
Run cables into areas the access points where needed, possibly using temporary trunking or finding a way to keep the cables out of the way and using hazard tape/strips to prevent tripping.
Finding a way to fix the access points temporarily so as not to damage the facilities but also prevent them being damaged or stolen.
Test they work with 'guest' keys and cover areas required.
Not to mention all the other jobs that were in for this afternoon, and that, because of the short notice, I had to do it by myself.
... and then staff just assume you just plugged it in and it worked.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Friday, 22 April 2011
If you use Supportworks for your helpdesk software you may have come across a problem recently. It is where you cannot write an email unless you switch from HTML to plain text, and even then if you are replying the body of the previous email is missing.
We noticed this happened after the huge amount of Windows updates lately and managed to pin it down to Internet Explorer 9. Removing IE9 fixes the problem and Hornbill say this problem will be fixed in the next release. Until then roll-back Internet Explorer and your problem will be fixed.
Also, in case you missed it, Linux is 20 this year (link), Firefox 5 is scheduled for 21st June, Firefox 6 is scheduled for 16th August (link) and Teachers TV is being got rid of by the Department For Education (link) on 29th April.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
This evening I will be attending a troubleshooting Windows 7 for advanced users seminar. I will post the interesting points and comments here and on the site twitter feed (www.twitter.com/cbites - sorry about the lack of hyperlinks but I am blogging from the Blogger appp for android which lacks some functionality).
*Excuse the writing too, it is going up at speed.
Just met a writer of Microsoft books, it is weird talking to people in real life that you follow on Twitter (even recognised him from his Twitter picture).
No Microsoft jackets or free copies this time, but FREE OFFICE PENS!
Cool, we get a free ebook too.
Started off talking about users. The problem steps recorder is a handy tool left over from the beta after the glowing reviews testers gave it (type psr into the search box). It takes screenshots of what the user does, annotates and provides system info that can all be saved in a file.
The system file checker is a handy tool but if you have installed a service pack sfc will not work with the original disc and you must slipstream the service pack using something like RTSe7enLite (rt7lite.com).
Talking about the bootrec command and the uses of BCDEdit (exporting and importing boot files) to fix a PC that won't boot.
Then went on to talk about driver problems. In device manager there is the option of going to view then show hidden devices as there are a lot of hidden drivers that could be causing problems.
In advanced boot options can disable auto restart on BSOD so you can see the error. 3 things useful to read on BSOD: the error name, stop error name and service/device name.
Power utilities: can attach tasks to events to create pop up alerts or send emails when a particular error occurs in event viewer.
WEVTUTIL: useful, can output system info as a file.
Talked a little about Windows 8. Could have a second ISO file when installing with WinPE to image an OS from inside the OS.
Then a discussion about manufacturers not shipping Windows discs with new computers/laptops and the problems it causes. One guy with Vista 'won' a copy of Windows 7.
Short but sweet, time to catch the train.
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Me: I see you are upgrading customers to ADSL2+, my exchange is already upgraded to 21CN and ADSL2+ can I be upgraded please? Thanks.
ISP Agent 1: Can't upgrade you to 21CN, kind regards.
Me: Sorry? Do you mean I will never be upgraded or just not in this current rollout?
ISP Agent 2: Sorry, the previous agent gave duff information you are already on ADSL2+. Please don't hesitate to get back in touch if you require further assistance.
Me: Thanks for getting back to me. I checked my router modulation and it is currently G.992.1 and I believe it should be G.992.5 for ADSL2+ and also the maximum line limit is 8mb rather than 20mb. Can you confirm the router modulation and any settings that may need to change to enable ADSL2+?
ISP Agent 3: I am afraid you have again been mis-informed. You are still on the up-to 8mb service. I will ask our provisioning team to place the order.
What is annoying is that most people would have given up or believed what they were told by the first or second helpdesk agent. It is only because I have some understanding of what I am doing that I bothered to log in to the router and check the settings and had some idea of what I was looking for. For the general ISP customer they would have believed what they were told by the 'experts' and stayed on the old service whilst paying top prices.
Friday, 1 April 2011
Friday, 18 March 2011
I have been surveying and patching up some fibres this morning in order to dual-feed our cabinets from the VSS (Cisco 6509) rather than from individual hubs (Cisco 3750-G) around campus. We have two VSS feeds from two server centres so if one route goes down the traffic routes the other way and nobody notices (in theory).
Friday, 25 February 2011
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
*iceberg is the name of the Linux based High Performance Computing Cluster at the University. Its mission is to meet the intensive computing requirements of research projects and provide 'cloud computing' capabilities within the campus.
Just a few things I thought was interesting, see how it compares to other educational institutions.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
We are continuing to roll out IP telephony to departments and one of the teaching hospitals will be set-up tomorrow (82 handsets).