Category: Work

April 8, 2016

Gross Performance

This is the least sleep I’ve managed on a work day, while still making it to work, in quite a long time. Things didn’t really go according to plan for the most part. I did make a purchase last night, the Asus VG248QE gaming monitor. I’d been watching this growing arena of 144Hz monitors with some interest; I knew the science was there for a noticeable improvement over your standard 60Hz or 75Hz display.

Even knowing the science was there, I was not prepared for how dramatic a difference it would be with the right games. The big ones that let the GTX 970 show out was NBA 2K16 and X3: Albion Prelude. There’s a smoothness that I’ve quite literally never seen before in a PC game. And for all the shit people give these 144Hz displays for being washed-out looking, for a TN display it looks incredible even when making full use of the high refresh rate. My plan is to also get a 27-inch (60Hz) IPS display and see how I like it. I’m starting to think I might just want to get another of these, because at some point in the future I’ll have the desk space to run 3 of them and get that sweet triple-monitor gaming experience. It’s an enticing proposition.

DangItBobby was well-received, I do like the /r/sysadmin community and how it leans towards being helpful when it’s sensible to do so. A lot of places have the chance to be helpful and the culture of the place means it’s just shitposting instead.

I’m left with not much to do today, I need to do a little technical writing, some additional instructions to the end-users for something we rolled out. I think I’m going to write a soft-skills piece for and /r/sysadmin … (More) “Gross Performance”

April 7, 2016

That script ain’t right

So I have a code offering today, which I’m calling DangItBobby.ps1. It lets you remotely disable the NIC of a computer given only the username that is logged in. In essence, when in the middle of a ransomware infection, and you see that the owner of all the files is changing to Bobby, you run the script and provide credentials of a local admin account. Then you tell it you’re looking for Bobby, it’ll check AD to make sure that’s a valid account, then check with WMI to see if there’s an explorer.exe process running under Bobby’s context on each computer, which you can narrow down with the first few characters of what the workstation might be. If they’re logged into multiple workstations it’ll let you choose which one to work with. Then it’ll give you a list of NICs and a little information about each one, and let you choose which one to disable.

I hope I don’t need to tell you to be careful running this.… (More) “That script ain’t right”

April 5, 2016

The more you know, the less you say.

Pleased to report that Windows 10 hasn’t reduced the Surface Pro 3 to smoldering rubble. In fact, it’s quite a happy upgrade so far. The Verizon USB card seems much happier in 10 than it did in 8.1, and the applications all came over flawlessly so far, quite a feat considering it went all the way from NT6 to NT10. (That’s nerd sarcasm, by the way.)

I was mildly amused by being notified that I’d earned some money from Amazon Affiliates. That would be from my I Miss Grantland project, which runs ad-free and has a page where you can buy books on Amazon from writers featured on the site. The site has been up for about 3 months and has managed something like 104,000 hits. Out of those, about 132 hits were to said book page, representing about 7,000 clickable links. 88 clicks were made (a ~1.3% clickthrough rate) and 7 items were ordered, representing Amazon cutting me a check for almost four dollars. It’s seriously a good thing that the whole thing is automatic and able to run on my shared hosting account, so my only expense is the domain renewal.

It’s not hard to understand why so many sites are fucking littered with ads. All that said, I still run an ad-blocker. Not because I feel people shouldn’t get paid for creating content, but because the current system is a mess and more than a little insecure. E.g., malvertising. It’s one of the great unsolved puzzles of the Web. For a long time, Flash was the enabler of the worst offenders. Now it might be JavaScript. A simple, if regressive, solution would be to standardize on text-based ads, with the use of a 1px transparent image for basic tracking for per-impression based ads. Image-based ads … (More) “The more you know, the less you say.”

April 5, 2016


Well, I feel quite a bit better today. I don’t know if I was fighting some kind of illness yesterday or just didn’t get enough sleep, or perhaps the anticholinergic wore me out, but I spent most of yesterday in an exhausted fog. Felt rather useless at work to say the least. I’d have started to really worry about myself if I had to miss today, not because I might be sick, but because that would mean I’d missed every other Tuesday for the last 8 weeks, and that’s suspicious.

After some discussion on my fears, however unlikely it may be, that we would buy a house and then I would not be retained at work, I think we’re going to hold off on the whole process until the probationary period is over around Thanksgiving. It also lets us keep saving up money which is wise, if we can do it for a year it’s probably going to put us in a position to pay off the credit card debt, maybe pay off Diana’s car, and put us in better shape overall.

There was also some discussion on future plans involving spending money, and how I was a little put out that while I’m bringing in a lot of money, I’ve been really good in not spending it because the house was coming quickly. However, there were still projects coming up that didn’t involve me getting to buy those things that I want. I’m oversimplifying but to Diana’s credit, she heard me out and understood. So she wants me to get the list together of the stuff I’ve had in mind to upgrade.

I’ve been wanting to get back to other forms of media creation, in particular either a podcast, a radio show, or a screencast. My concern is the … (More) “BTYBTL6?”

April 1, 2016

High-Speed Rustbucket

It’s a thoroughly nasty rain/mist/drizzle combo outside, a weather pattern more suited to Kentucky teenage depression in October than April in the desert. The music shuffle today has given an equally somber song to set the mood.

We’ve made it about 10 miles north and it’s turned to snow. I’m altogether not looking forward to what this has turned into when we get to Santa Fe County. In like a lion, out like a lamb? Not quite. The fog pattern is an unusual one, I’ve got what I estimate to be 15 miles of visibility except for Albuquerque which looks to be positively covered in fog, a cloud ending abruptly at the foothills of Sandia Peak and about a thousand feet tall. It looks for all the world like someone poured a giant bucket of dry ice on the city.




I’m mostly at peace going into today, I busted my ass yesterday and today is Read-Only Friday. I’m not looking to be a hero today, being a hero is not making anyone work this weekend. I can work in the lab, I can do documentation, I can follow up on quotes, I can do my weekly review, I can plan new security initiatives, there’s a lot of stuff to be done that doesn’t involve poking production systems.

I’m surprisingly awake today. I think it’s a combination of “yay friday”, realizing I had slept in and had to rush, and more upbeat music. I think I’ll start doing this a little more often, the embedding of songs as I’m listening to them. only updates when I get home and run iTunes, which isn’t terribly often, and I like the look of them.

I’m considering a redesign of the blog, nothing major, but widening the main column a bit, … (More) “High-Speed Rustbucket”

March 31, 2016

RIP Tickets

The goal today was to knock down my tickets by half. I thought I remembered having 13 to tackle, so seven done today was the goal. It turns out I only started with 11, but three more were added today. End result is the same, seven was the number to hit. I did not get seven.

I got ten. Of the remaining four, two are wrapping up testing before going to change management, one is waiting on customer confirmation, and one was on hold as the customer was out until tomorrow.

I will say, it makes the day fly by. This is the second day in a row I seriously considered staying late to finish up just one more thing, but it’s harder to justify when there’s no overtime pay. But I needed this, needed the pressure and the expectations. It feels good to remember there’s that extra gear of productivity available, that I can do solid work on short notice. It feels good to be fully engaged, to bring my mind to bear on a problem and tear the problem down. It makes me feel in rare form. Is it sustainable? I have no idea. It’s usually not needed for long periods of time. If I had to guess, it might just be sustainable. I don’t feel burned out, I feel invigorated. But that’s not really the point of a lot of sysadmin jobs. There doesn’t need to be 110% effort and focus around the clock, there are times when that mental recharge period is necessary.

In any case, I feel like I’m earning my pay. Part of the reason I was selected for this job was the generalist background; since the position needs to know Linux, Windows, and networking, and also be able to communicate and collaborate with … (More) “RIP Tickets”

March 30, 2016

Tempo can catch these hands.

As it turns out, I was well within my rights to be apprehensive about today. It wasn’t just because it was crazy busy, it was more the urgency of the matters at hand to fix, with regularly interspersed meetings that could honestly be done some other time when my hair isn’t on fire.

Oh, Meraki can catch these hands too. I’ve got a new access point deployed at the opposite end of the state, configured identically to other working networks. People can associate with it, and get to the internet. I can see it from the cloud dashboard and even run packet captures on it. But the AP won’t sync with Meraki’s fucking cloud to get config changes. There’s nothing in the way here! A client on the Meraki can get to the same IP that the AP says it cannot. There’s a part of me that would really like to bring the Cisco rep in, bring the Meraki AP in, and set the AP on fire in front of the guy. Then go Ubiquiti for wireless.

Pain in the ass.

I think what really bothers me about it is that this wasn’t on my horizon of “things that could absolutely wrong,” as Meraki APs have pretty much always been plug-and-play devices, or very nearly. What I was worried about today going in, was a stream of tickets related to a LOB application called Tempo. Out of 13 tickets in my queue right now, 11 are related to LOB applications. Why are they in my fucking queue, you might ask? Because they aren’t working, and they’re accessed via Terminal Server. QED. End-user can’t print? Server problem. Application installed locally to the workstation and acting up? Server…problem..? No. Coming to a consensus on who gets what problem this decades-old pile of … (More) “Tempo can catch these hands.”

March 30, 2016

Mother Nature is on some bullshit today.

There’s no good reason for it to be snowing this late into March. Not in New Mexico. It is rather tranquil, watching a bunch of snow-covered roofs zip by to the strings of See You On The Other Side.

This morning I’m trying WriteMonkey, which they affectionately call ‘Zenware.’ There’s plenty to play with from a customization standpoint. But somehow these distraction-free workspaces seem to always use way more RAM than they have any reason to. It’s using 100MB of RAM just for gray text on a black background, a word count, and the clock. It has a little button that randomly picks the color scheme. It’s kind of fun, until you get yellow on hot pink and your eyeballs fall out.

I’m a little pensive this morning. I’m concerned about how shorthanded things will be today. I wonder if I gave someone good advice yesterday, I was certainly trying to. My mind is generally sort of scattered, and that’s usually a good indication that I need to do a weekly review outside of my normal schedule of Fridays at 2:30. Come to think of it, it was a half-day on Friday so I missed it last week. I won’t want to feel this scattered all the way to Friday, so it’s something to be done rather early today.

I need to do better with GTD in general, I’ve fallen out of that capturing habit. It’s not for a lack of ability or resources, just lack of effort. It needs a little refocusing every now and then. Once you stop habitually capturing everything, it stops being effective as a tool to enable a clear mind, a mind like water.

The theme lately in writing has been accountability, and there’s not a significant difference between holding myself accountable at work versus … (More) “Mother Nature is on some bullshit today.”

March 28, 2016

He must’ve been awfully bad at golf.

Last week, from a professional standpoint, is hard to describe without using the word “cluster.” I would probably take a mulligan on it. It’s part of why there weren’t any posts from me last week. I think I know where it all went wrong, too. Around this time last week, I forgot my thermos, you see. My thermos serves double duty as morning life-giver and lunchtime Ramen Water Measuring Apparatus. So I’m already fucked up from a lack of coffee, and I decide to go hit up the local food truck for eight bucks rather than the ramen I already have and paid a quarter for. Anyway, get home, end up with nasty food poisoning, stomach’s cramping like mad, whole nine yards.

Then we’re in bed, and we hear the dog barf, not hard since he sleeps beside the bed about a foot from my ear. I’m trying very hard not to throw up in the first place, dog isn’t helping, Diana goes and cleans it up. In the middle of cleaning it up, she knocks over a glass in the kitchen. I hear it roll to the edge of the table, then fall off. This thing detonates. It absolutely pulverized, a jet of glass about six feet in every direction. It’s after midnight at this point. I have to hold barf-dog while Diana makes an attempt at getting the glass out of the bedroom carpet. A lint roller is quite good at it, it turns out. It’s after 1 at this point, I’m still feeling very ill and need to be up in four hours, Diana is pretty much done. We decide to both take a sick day. And I don’t regret it, it was the right choice. I’m just bummed that I’m totally out of sick leave … (More) “He must’ve been awfully bad at golf.”

January 27, 2013

Resolving VMs not getting a DHCP address from a DHCP server VM.

I’ve been slacking in keeping the blog updated, I’ve started several new projects and work has gone from 25-30 hour weeks to constant 40s. I’ve taken some time for self-enrichment by setting up a PowerEdge Server as a virtualized test lab using Hyper-V Manager and SCVMM 2012 on Server 2008 R2. I am trying to get away from using Small Business Server and actually work on breaking out the server services to dedicated virtual servers. The first one, by necessity of wanting to use workstations in a real-life use case, was a DHCP server on a Server 2003 R2 Standard VM.

WARNING: I am a pre-MCSA know-nothing with regards to virtualization. My first time messing with Hyper-V was about two weeks ago, so if this is common sense to most of you, that’s why.

It appeared to be functioning properly, but I had a problem. If my workstation VM’s NIC was pointing to an External virtual network, it would not get a lease. If I set the IP statically, it could surf the Web and do all the stuff it needed, but if I set it to get a dynamic IP it would never contact the DHCP server. If I set it to an Internal virtual network, it would get a lease, but couldn’t get online. If I added a 2nd NIC and made one Internal and one External, I was no better off as I still had to set the External IP statically.

The issue lies in how the virtual NICs work in relation to the hierarchy of virtualization. When you create an External vNIC, it unbinds everything from the physical NIC but the VM NIC platform, and creates a new NIC on the Hyper-V server. This is important, because that External vNIC is what determines the connectivity of … (More) “Resolving VMs not getting a DHCP address from a DHCP server VM.”