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Diary
By sL1mB0y (Wed May 10, 2006 at 10:58:13 PM EST) sky, diving, badgers (all tags)
Another day, another 7.5 hours of fire-fighting problems.

Joy



So decided to go ahead with Nagios yesterday ... was initially put off by reports from people of how hard it is to setup, but it actually wasn't ... the way the config files and templates work just clicked and am now monitoring work servers, ISP mail servers and my personal server all fine with mail notices.

Now I just need to find a cheap email->SMS gateway so I can replicate what the company's currently paying £250 a year for and we got ourselves an in-house solution :)

Sparkies reckon that tomorrow will be their last day ... here's hoping ... still got fuseboard to fit, and a fair few sockets to second-fit so we shall see.

Nice day today ... sitting here in my office watching the world go by (slowly due to the village I'm in) although the MILF's walking the school run past our house are a very welcome distraction.

Found a load of customer related e-mail that I'd lost this morning when I was trying to track down a problem with Nagios not sending e-mail alerts - note to self, do not run fetchmail and Outlook on the same POP3 server at the same time.  Best start replying to that.

A customer has asked what the best tool to plan their workflow is ... am tempted to reply to his question of Visio being suitable with "a brain?"

Sometimes I hate customers - most of them we have are alright but some ... Argh ... Give you the go ahead to do some work ... spend 2 days (of their money) on the solution only for them to decide that it doesn't actually "fit their workflow" even though they'd assured me that it did and want something that would of taken 2 hours to make leaving me free to spend time on the other "critical bugs" they have.

I'm actually really enjoying this job ... Since starting I've not even looked at the automated emails I get from CWJobs etc with jobs that match my skill set.  Plus am gaining a reputation in the company as the one who knows about VPN's, networks, monitoring, security etc.

Which will be very handy come pay-review time.

My boss discovered he's going to become a father for the first time in about 7 months time.  I anticipate this will lead to me doing more of the higher level work as well.  Which, again, is good come pay-review time.

Anyways, best get back to work - laters!!!

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Sky diving badgers | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Fire-fighting by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed May 10, 2006 at 11:41:11 PM EST

is as good a description as any other; except some people conflate fire with candles ... and oranges ... and tuna.

"reports from people of how hard it is to setup"

It's been my experience that, with regard to almost anything computerial, these are usually from the set of people denoted by C (can't [be arsed to] read), or D (don't [actually] know what they're doing), or W ("Where's the foo-king wizard?"). Not that they should be castigated; this situation buys my milk.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
Indeed by sL1mB0y (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed May 10, 2006 at 11:47:02 PM EST
I sit down to work through some changes defined in a RFC given to me by the boss ... half hour in customer having major panic because of something they've done wrong, or not understood and done anyway without asking when they know we're on the end of the phone/email.

But it pays the bills ... Have given Nagios access to fellow cow-orker/web dude so if he's happy with it we'll take it to uber-boss and try to sell him on the idea of buying credits at a email --> SMS gateway for notification.

What I like about Nagios is the ability to specify times for certain notifications so we could have text alerts out of hours only, thereby saving money.

Only problem I have is I'm the only one that seems to know/want to know how Linux/Nagios etc. works which is a down-side for if I left.

Though we are also trying to sell the boss on the idea of using Subversion instead of SourceOffSite/SourceSafe/Interdev.
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Lemmy loves you

[ Parent ]
Conception by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu May 11, 2006 at 12:43:44 AM EST

I find that problems of ignorance tend to stem from conception rather than capacity. It's not that people couldn't understand, just that their mental model is sometimes askew as, because they don't want to "waste time" reading, they reason the nature of how something operates by its external effects that they're most familiar with. It's one of the reasons many people have trouble flipping from Windows to Unix: The idea that the desktop is really just an everyday app like any other twists their conceptions to extreme if they've only ever known Windows.

On the other hand, you get "actions of necessity". Most people don't know, or don't try to, because most people don't need to; hence why we're paid. As you say, though; it comes in useful at pay review time.

I'd only meddled with 'subversion' in the past (personal tinkering, hobby projects, that kind of thing ...), but for the past eight months we've been using it seriously on a fairly major project (8,000+ revs on the main branch so far), for which I configured the server.

I know it has its detractors and it doesn't do some things well but, I have to say, as a replacement for CVS, I found it pretty damned decent and would recommend it over certain others. There are a wide range of front-end "plug-ins" and GUI tools for it too; from Eclipse, from KDE, from Windows Explorer, stand-alone apps etc., so people can use whatever they want as their personal client (I tended to use the "official" command-line client in unix and TortoiseSVN on Windows) and this prevents project-wide dogma from messing with people's personal development preferences.

The only real problem we found was that, to use it effectively, it really helps to understand it at the command-line level. We had one dev who hadn't quite got his head around the update->work->update->commit cycle and, as a consequence, they were pulling everyone else's changes but not properly commiting their own. This was then compounded by them deciding to distribute patches via email (instead of implicitly, via commit etc.). Basically: As long as the devs understand it (which, IMO. any decent dev should be able to), it works great. I prefer the distributed repository model philosophically but, as far as the centralized repository model goes, you can do a lot worse for real-world purposes than SVN.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Conception vs Capacity by sL1mB0y (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu May 11, 2006 at 01:11:41 AM EST
Yeah ... I'm of the capacity side myself (hence why I do what I do) - pretty much everything I know has been self-taught from reading everything I can on something to having a test environment, playing with something till it breaks, then fixing it.

I'm using Subversion at home at the moment to keep backups of all my work related projects/code and also My Documents on my laptop ... using the official client (TortoiseSVN) on my laptop and Subversion via WebDAV and Apache2 on the server.

The main reason we have for going to Subversion - our web dev does everything via Interdev as this allows him the check in everything changed in one go, and publishes to the test site on the main server automatically.  The problem is out main server is now a Windows 2003 x64 server, and Frontpage Extensions etc. break quite spectacularly on it.  He could move to SourceSafe but finds that clumsy when he's been working on 10+ ASP pages, plus he loses the automatic publishing on the test site.

My thinking is Subversion will handle the checking in nicely from the client side, and it handles trigger events on the server for Continuous Integration to automatically publish the new files on the server for him to test.

The only thing I need to check/test is how well subversion works via IIS (if at all) on x64 or if we can use Apache on a seperate port on x64 to run it.

All good fun :)
--
Lemmy loves you

[ Parent ]
IIRC by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu May 11, 2006 at 01:36:35 AM EST

Subversion won't run on IIS; I seem to remember it being Apache 2-only (it uses mod_dav as a prerequisite, and things like neon and Berkeley db optionally, so it uses Apache 2's specific modular hook architecture and the apache portable runtime). However, like you say, that doesn't mean you can't run Apache on Windows, or run the separate stand-alone Subversion server instead.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Any decent dev? by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu May 11, 2006 at 05:20:59 AM EST
Any dev full stop. I can't see what's anything even near tricky about using version control. I wouldn't expect everyone to maintain or script it, but using it? Not to do so is unthinkable.

[ Parent ]
Sky Diving badgers by ReverendDoctorGraves (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed May 10, 2006 at 11:41:15 PM EST
is that a new euphimism for MILF? Please to be refering to them as hot chixxxors in the future. MILF is age-ist. Would you fuck Demi Moore or Sharon Stone? You would if you're not gay. So smarten the hell up and have a lovely day.

It could be by sL1mB0y (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed May 10, 2006 at 11:43:15 PM EST
If that's what the hip kids are calling them these days :)
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Lemmy loves you
[ Parent ]
I officially proclaim by ReverendDoctorGraves (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed May 10, 2006 at 11:49:34 PM EST
that from now on MILFs are to be refered to as SKY DIVING BADGERS! Vote this story to the front page everyone! We need to tell the world!! I want to be a hip kid too!!!

[ Parent ]
Nagios isn't hard by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu May 11, 2006 at 12:06:18 AM EST
The hard part is working out what you want to monitor, at what thresholds you want alarms etc. And you'd have to do that with whatever you needed.

Possibly the people who think it is hard only understand stuff they do themselves.

Yep by sL1mB0y (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu May 11, 2006 at 01:13:00 AM EST
Most of the included configs worked out of the box for me - the only one I needed to configure specifically was the thresholds for Load on my Linux server.

Though I think I'm going to have to do something to monitor a Windows 2003 x64 server which is behind a firewall/VPN so we can keep an eye on that as well.
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Lemmy loves you

[ Parent ]
What about your own Sky Diving Badger? by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu May 11, 2006 at 12:17:24 AM EST
Sorted out problems with her yet?

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
Nope by sL1mB0y (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu May 11, 2006 at 01:16:28 AM EST
Though I am in contact with a certain non-Sky Diving ex Badger, if you see what I mean :)
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Lemmy loves you
[ Parent ]
Aaaargh by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu May 11, 2006 at 01:57:26 AM EST
Look, sL1mB0y, one of the purposes of this site is to prove that geeks do have relationships with the opposite sex and not just with their right hand. And here you are telling us about everything but the interesting bits.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Geeks? by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu May 11, 2006 at 02:04:25 AM EST
Slashdot called. It wants its bunker mentality back.

[ Parent ]
Hmm by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu May 11, 2006 at 02:13:10 AM EST
Works with computers? He's a geek. Having a rock band is just camouflage.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Everybody works with computers. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu May 11, 2006 at 02:41:02 AM EST
You're showing your age if you think that it makes you somehow different.

[ Parent ]
Geek ... Yes by sL1mB0y (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu May 11, 2006 at 03:13:02 AM EST
The fact that on my own time and server installed, configured and got working Nagios for monitoring all our servers, and wrote a small PHP script to send a SMS when a server goes down proves my geekdom.

And if you're lucky I'll mention more of the ex situation in my diary tomorrow.

Mind you're one to talk ... been a bit quite lately haven't you?
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Lemmy loves you

[ Parent ]
Quiet by anonimouse (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu May 11, 2006 at 04:46:57 AM EST
Indeedy - because MusicGirl is off the menu. Not much to talk about.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
Ah by sL1mB0y (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 11, 2006 at 06:09:20 AM EST
Well expect a diary with more details of conversations with the ex :)
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Lemmy loves you
[ Parent ]
Sky diving badgers | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback