Monday, December 3, 2012

Emergency Preparedness & IT Part 4: Spares & Warranties

In the event of a major event, warranties will not do much for you.  They are good to have during your typical daily operations, covering part failures as needed with as little as one day turn around time, but when things go really bad you can't count on them.  As was the case with Hurricane / "Superstorm" Sandy, transportation was severely impacted and nothing was getting moved into or out of the effected region.  You need to "self warranty" as much as you can, and as much as it reasonable to.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Emergency Preparedness & IT Part 3: Documentation

Documentation is something that every IT professional should do, but it's something that none of us really do.  There's lots of reasons for this: lack of time, environment changes too fast, lack of desire.  Whatever the reason is, there's no reason good enough to not document your network.  And in emergencies, documentation is invaluable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Emergency Preparedness & IT Part 2: Remote Access

While it's a really nice feature to have on a day to day basis, having remote access to your servers and network gear during a crisis / emergency is vital.  Especially considering that you or your staff may not be able to even get into the data center.  These remote access cards or devices are typically not that expensive, and can really save your skin if it comes to it.  The more things you can do remotely, the better off you are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: CyberPower UPS

The go-to choice for most IT people has typically been APC when it comes to power equipment.  It's like the saying "No one was ever fired for buying Cisco".  A little while ago I needed a new UPS for some workstations, so I decided to reach out of my comfort zone and try a UPS from CyberPower (  I was pleasantly surprised with it, especially considering how much cheaper it's APC counterpart was.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Emergency Preparedness & IT Part 1: Power

In light of the recent Hurricane Sandy events, it may be a good time to bring up the "what if" of major catastrophes.  I'm no expert in this field, but I've done my share of recovery and preparedness planning.  I'm going to present some of the things to consider and plan for, in the event that your data center & network gets seriously damaged.  This is NOT a "preppers" article, or a "SHTF" article.  This is purely focused on networks, servers, and getting them through the "tough times of down times".  This is a multi-part series, just to make it easier to read and parse...don't want to scare anyone away with one giant article..

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Something Every Server Room Needs

So this is going to be a short and quick article while I'm working on a longer one.  There's something no server room or data center should be without, and it's not what you think: a cordless phone.  This simple item can make your life in there much easier and help for lots of reasons.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wireless Is Not Always The Answer

Everywhere we look these days, something is wireless.  It started with an infrared remote control, and now we can send vast amounts of data at incredible speeds.  The latest wireless innovation I'm taken aback by is AirFiber from Ubiquiti Networks, which allows a point to point wireless link at over 1.4Gbps for under $3000!  With all these wireless solutions around, why do we even need wires anymore?  Wires / cables should be all gone soon, right?  Wrong...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple AirPlay & Intel WiDi: Reshaping Presentations & Networks

Remember when LCD projectors came out and replaced transparencies and overhead projectors?  Presentations were reshaped in awesome ways.  These days almost anyone can afford an projector for their computer.  And when designing conference rooms and classrooms, building them into the design is becoming more and more common.  Up until recently, computers had to have a VGA, HDMI, or other cable connecting the computer to the projector.  But with wireless technology progressing, there are many solutions now that are easily implemented to avoid having to run cable.  Apple AirPlay and Intel WiDi are two of these technologies, but each is not without it's pitfalls...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Customer Service, Part 3: Delivering Help

Helping someone with a problem can be very rewarding.  That's why some people love teaching.  In an IT department, we have to help people all the time.  It's what we do.  Whether you're interacting directly with the customer, or working on a system the customer uses, you're helping someone.  In this final part of my "Customer Service Trilogy", I'm going to focus on the person interacting directly with the customer / end-user.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Customer Service, Part 2: Asking For Help

We (IT professionals) don't know everything.  There is just too much to know. The typical IT person is the "jack of many trades, master of none".  There are specialists out there though that are masters.  These are typically the people that have one job to do and one thing to take care of.  For example, the Microsoft Exchange Administrator.  You probably wouldn't want them working on the SQL database, but if there's a corrupt mailbox on the Exchange store, that's the person to talk to.  The point is, there are ways to go about asking for help, and points when you should and shouldn't ask for help.  This all sounds obvious, but a lot of us forget, get rusty, or just plain lazy with this skill...myself included.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Customer Service, Part 1: Know Your Role

This is the first in a 3 article series titled simply "Customer Service".  I know I said that the next article would be more IT related.  While this is not a technical post, it IS IT related.  And it is a key topic for those of us in the IT field.  This first part, "Know Your Role", is a sanity check for all IT professionals.  It may sound like I repeat myself by saying the same thing multiple times the same way in this article.  That's because so many people do not get this topic, and I want to make sure I drive the point home.  My point: despite what many people think, the IT department/staff is not needed at any company or organization.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Technology, For Better or For Worse...

So it's taken a while, but I'm going to start posting.  And I've decided to start off on a non-technical topic for this, a technical blog.  Before going into making posts on how to use technology, I'd like to try to get people to THINK about technology.  More specifically...what technology means for society...past and present.  Good and bad.  For better or for worse...

IT Accountability: Avoiding Murphy

Amongst technology experts, Murphy is someone we all try to avoid.  Murphy's Law states "Anything that can go wrong, will".  E...