Writing ... or Just Practicing?

Random Disconnected Diatribes of a p&p Documentation Engineer

  • Blog Post: Just Collecting Dust...

    It's Edinburgh Festival time again, and as usual they voted a winning joke. One of my favorite actors and stand-up comedians, Tim Vine, won it for the second time this year with a new one-liner: "I'm thinking of selling my vacuum cleaner. It's just collecting dust." Likewise, it seems I now have a...
  • Blog Post: Do I R2, or Just 12?

    We all know that hardware failures are not unheard of events, and - like most people - I try to cover for such eventualities. Many features of my network depend on a single server running a few Hyper-V machines, and so I have a cold-swap backup server all set up and configured to take over the tasks...
  • Blog Post: My Email's Gone Cloudy

    For the past several months I've been fighting to resolve network connectivity problems, especially with the Office 2013 version of Outlook. And then, suddenly, this week all the problems went away. Without me doing anything! Those brave souls who subject their Monday morning coffee break to my rambling...
  • Blog Post: Infinity = 40

    At last our phone company has managed to drag a strand of high-speed cable across the six miles from the exchange to the green box at the end of my garden. In a flash I've been transported from the "back of beyond" into the exciting world of the "digital now" (at least, that's what it says on the publicity...
  • Blog Post: An Automatic Upgrade to Uncontrolled Access

    How could they get it so wrong? I've been very happy with all the other Netgear hardware scattered across my network, including ADSL modems, switches, and the NAS box, but I'm beginning to wonder if the WNDR 4500v2 wireless router I upgraded to last year was such a great idea. Especially when a firmware...
  • Blog Post: Re-balanced and Re-routed (a.k.a. Wanna Buy An Old Modem?)

    Maybe it's because I was a boy scout when I was young that I have this need to be prepared for every eventuality. Or maybe it's my default paranoia mode that assumes stuff will just break without warning, typically on a Friday evening. It's probably why you can't move in my office for piles of spare...
  • Blog Post: Doing the Right Thing

    So after I was castigated by Cisco's customer support people for buying from Amazon, who they class as a "grey importer", I decided to do the right thing this time. And look where it got me. I decided to upgrade my load-balancing router, and chose one that is relatively inexpensive yet has more power...
  • Blog Post: You Have To Trust Somebody...

    After spending part of the seasonal holiday break reorganizing my network and removing ISA Server, this week's task was reviewing the result to see if it fixed the problems, or if it just introduced more. And assessing what impact it has on the security and resilience of the network as a whole. I...
  • Blog Post: Deproxied

    Having run out of ideas, and given up Binging a solution for my intermittent connectivity problems around Windows 8, IE 10, and Outlook, it was time to stop playing nicely. Time instead for a day with my head in the server cabinet, a handful of network cables, some sticky labels, and decisive action...
  • Blog Post: Hotel Cablefornia

    So there's another New Year on the horizon and it's time to make some resolutions that will hopefully last for at least a few weeks into January. But at the moment I can think only one: find a new Internet provider. As previously documented in these pages, I really do try hard to deal with my business...
  • Blog Post: All I Want For Christmas...

    So I continue to battle with Windows 8.1 and Outlook 2103 on my nice big Dell workstation. Our IT support department have given up on me, saying it's obviously a problem with my own network configuration. And it looks like they are correct. It's just a shame they can't tell me what the problem is. ...
  • Blog Post: The Network Ate My Shortcuts!

    It's a bit scary when you turn on your computer and it's different from when you left it the day before. I don't mean it's a different computer (though sometimes that would be nice), but that something changed while you were in the land of nod. This happened to me last week. As I sat yawning and stretching...
  • Blog Post: Why Is There Only One Monopolies Commission?

    One of the old chestnuts you sometimes hear from disaffected and grumpy comedians is "How come there's only on Monopoly Commission?" They're not talking about the board game, but about the people who are supposed to guard us against being exploited by large corporations. And I'm going to hazard a guess...
  • Blog Post: Missing The (Access) Point...

    Let's face it, the only proper way to connect computers together is with real wire in the form of good quality Ethernet cables and switches. The current all-encompassing drive towards wireless was, I reckoned, just fad that would soon pass. At least, that's what I though a few years ago. The reality...
  • Blog Post: Electronic Misroutability

    For most of the morning Outlook has been glowering at me and reminding me that it can't connect to the server. Despite me patiently explaining that everything else that connects to the 'Net is working fine, it continued to sulk. Until suddenly an email arrived explaining that there was a major outage...
  • Blog Post: Learning to Walk Again

    This week has been an interesting combination of learning and re-acquaintance opportunities. Learning because I finally got fully switched over to Windows 8, at the same time as discovering how many parts of your body are involved in the simple act of walking. A couple of weeks ago I suffered a reoccurrence...
  • Blog Post: The Windows Server Update Service That Doesn't

    One of the great things about being a technology pessimist is that you don't suffer that sinking feeling when something doesn't work as expected. And, of course, you get to experience a nice ripple of surprised elation when stuff actually does work as it's supposed to. This week I've experienced a roughly...
  • Blog Post: No Network? Forget It

    Sometimes I think I'm the only person who takes Wi-Fi security seriously. Unlike all of my neighbors, I run my Wi-Fi access point with a hidden SSID so that nobody casually browsing the available networks will be tempted to try and connect to it. I also run it on half power, which is plenty sufficient...
  • Blog Post: UPS I Did It Again

    There's something rather disturbing about sitting on the sofa looking at a large brown water stain on the lounge ceiling while the mains electricity circuit breaker is occasionally tripping out. Somewhere in the back of your mind is the worrying thought that the two events might be connected. And that...
  • Blog Post: In Search of the Mysterious Yellow Wire

    Thankfully I don't get many desperate requests for computer-related assistance from friends and acquaintances. Maybe they're frightened I'll ask for money (I won't), or they just don't want to bother me. And those I do get are usually the common issues that - other than the requisite amount of "fiddle...
  • Blog Post: UPS Outside Your Head

    Does lateral thinking mean you need to look outside your own head instead of just accepting the most obvious solution? If so, I might as well plead guilty in terms of managing the backup power supply for my servers. Like a great many people I depend on APC UPSs to handle mains power fluctuations and...
  • Blog Post: Do I Want A Flash(ed) Router?

    It's easy to forget just how much modern devices depend on software. OK, so it's pretty obvious that your computer and phone are just paperweights without the magic ingredient of a programmer's inspiration. But you need extend your thinking to include stuff like your television, microwave, digital watch...
  • Blog Post: I Bet They Wish They'd Called It Facebooc

    Some days it would be nice if things just did what you expected. Like music coming out of your MP3 player when you press the play button, or nice brown toast coming out of the toaster after the prerequisite two minutes. Or Windows Media Center quite happily recognizing that, yes, it does have a TV tuner...
  • Blog Post: Load Unbalanced Routing

    So when you buy a load balancing router, what do you actually expect it to do? Maybe I just expected too much from it as a solution to my distinctly unbalanced connectivity requirements. But even if the outcome is typically a lack of adequate refreshment, I suppose it's nice to live in hope with a "glass...
  • Blog Post: Fully Cloud-Enabled!

    Yes, another episode in my continuing onslaught on the cloud. But this week it's a heartwarming story of intrepid adventure and final success. At last I'm fully resident in the cloud - or, to be more precise, several clouds. And I might even have saved some money as well... Over the past couple of...
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