Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Very little is free...

...certainly not two brand new iPhone 4S's.

Yet another email in this morning from somebody who says:

"if X and Y are out of contract why is it we have to buy a new handset, why are the new ones not provided free as part of the continuing contract - I don't understand why I need to generate an order including VAT for £1056 for 2 handsets?"

This is because you have asked for two new top of the range smartphones! The university pays for your calls but who do you think pays for the handsets? If you just want to use it for university business calls we can get you a Nokia free of charge. You want two 64GB iPhone 4S's to keep? Then these are the public sector prices we have available.

Alternatively you could keep the iPhone 3GS's you currently have and continue to use them as there is nothing wrong with them! They work perfectly for WORK.

This has been a theme lately, that also includes people demanding the Samsung Galaxy SIII, as they don't want an 'obsolete' (their word) phone.

I am getting sick of staff thinking they can have whatever they want for free.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Intermittent Student Issue

I blogged a while ago (here) about some problems in our student residences. I thought I would provide some pictures of a fault when went to this week.

The student was reporting intermittent network connectivity issues but when we tried to find problem we couldn't replicate the issues she was having... until the flat upstairs turned their water on.

It turns out that there was a leak and this was filling the riser, where some stupid architect thought it would be a good idea to have sockets, with water.

The socket and cable was dripping and, as you can see from the pictures, black, rusty and full of water.

Informing the building owners, apparently this is a common issue.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Moving offices

This weekend I spent troubleshooting and setting up the wireless access points in our new building.

Someone took a picture of me working hard (yes I know the cabinet is a mess, it is temporary)

We are moving offices this week and next and, despite this move being our own department, everything was still being done last minute. The switches have not yet arrived even though the staff have, hence the mess in the cab above. When they do arrive and we have put them in it should look more like this:

I spent the weekend getting the wireless working, which had to be done for Monday morning.

We have deployed 15 x 1142 Cisco access points giving blanket coverage to all areas and, hopefully, the rear exterior of the building where people will be spending break times and having events in the summer months.

One of the major considerations was to be able to have enough access points for the number of users. We have over 150 staff and being an IT department it is expected that they will have a number of devices. Hopefully the wireless network will hold up to these demands and those of the near future.

A hiccup occurred yesterday where a number of access points did not come up. After various tests on the switch port, the access points, the sockets and the cabling, it seems we have a large number of faulty patch leads that provide no or intermittent connectivity. From the cable tests it appears like we have thousands that will have to go back. Highlighting the importance of not scrimping on quality when it comes to cables.

We also had a problem with a faulty connection into the patch panel. We could not find the problem but chopping it back and replacing it finally brought the connection up. What was meant to be a job for a few hours ended up taking a lot of the weekend. Especially having to get ladders to get into the ceilings on every floor.

A big thanks for our VPN connection, as I managed to do a few hours work from home so I was able to spend some time with the family while setting things up remotely.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

First install of new switches

We have a number of new building projects currently on at the minute. One of which involved medical staff moving to what used to be our History buildings and, as the switches we have used in the past are now reaching their EOL, we have been pressed into deciding upon a new model to roll out across the campus. The model will also be replacing our older non-PoE switches as part of an upgrade project that will hopefully enable us to have wireless and IP telephony everywhere along with saving on power costs.

The model we chose, after seriously considering switching to blades, was the Cisco 2960S, that comes in both 24 and 48 port models. They will, for the first time, be providing Gigabit to desktop.

We have chosen to start using 0.6m and 0.4m patch cables (as shown above) as we have had problems with 2 and 3 meter cables slipping down over the years and causing damage and excess weight on the ports and sockets.

We have also chosen to purchase some longer stacking cables to enable us to have cable management and patch panels between the switches, when in the past the patch panels have been at the top and switches at the bottom of the cabinets, with little to no cable management in place.

I will tweet and blog any good and bad experiences I find that are worth sharing.

Run Apps from Google Drive

So, it has been just over a week since I started with Google Drive and I have come across an interesting tip.

If you go to the Chrome Web Store there is a collection of applications that will run from and save to your Google Drive:

So far the list isn't too big, but there are some handy tools, like LucidChart which I have been using in place of Microsoft Visio.

Another bonus was that because I purchased some extra storage for Picasa a while ago I now have 30GB to use across Google, including Drive.

What are the benefits of Drive you have found? Or have you decided not to use it and why?

Send to Dropbox

I have just created a shortcut on my right-click menu to enable me to have 'Send to my Dropbox' as an option on Windows. It is a nice easy tip which most of you may already know but I thought I would share it in case you don't. So here it is:

Go to run and enter the following: %APPDATA%/Microsoft/Windows/SendTo

Then simply copy a link in to here for your Dropbox folder.

Now when you right-click a file or folder you have the option of 'Send to my Dropbox'.

This will also work for Google Drive, or whatever syncing storage service you use.