I'm not normally a big fan of quotes, but I stumbled across this one, and do not want to forget it.
“The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” ― Colin Powell
A few years ago a co-worker was given the task of installing a replacement PC in a university lab. This was a relatively routine task that he had done many times before, and basically involved swapping the new machine out for the old one. He ran into a bit of trouble when he couldn't get the new machine on the network, and after some back and forth troubleshooting realized port security had likely been enabled on the switch port to which the machine was connected. Thinking creatively, he got on Google and figured out how to change the MAC address in Windows to another to the MAC address from the old PC, and got the new machine on the network, told the user his PC was ready, and closed out the ticket.
Was this a case of great customer service getting a PC into the hands of the user right away, or a horrible idea? I can see people arguing both sides, but I'm going to go with the latter.
The tech in question probably did not want to deal with the bureaucracy of getting port security disabled, or the MAC address changed on the switch. It's also possible he didn't know who to contact, or what process to go through, and didn't want to admit it. Or, he had recently learned of the particular registry key that was changed and thought it'd be neat to try it.
The problem with a quick hack fix is that it almost always bites you later.
If someone was to plug the old PC back in to the network at another location (which often happens when old machines get sent to surplus and then get reclaimed), there will be two machines with the same MAC address on the network. This is bad.
If someone were to reload the operating system on this PC, the hack that was put in place would be lost, and they'd have no idea what changed or why networking started to fail. This could lead to hours of troubleshooting, especially since port security wasn't something that was commonly used in this building.
Worse, no one else in the IT support group knew this was done since it wasn't documented anywhere.
Lastly, this was a complicated solution to a relatively simple problem. As a rule, I try to avoid touching any knobs, buttons, dials or other configuration settings unless there is a good reason to change them. Fixing this particular problem at the source would have meant fewer configuration settings overall (a configuration option on the switch port, and then another configuration option attempting to override it locally on the PC versus having it set up correctly).
What ended up happening? About a year later, the PC in question got compromised with malware and had to be taken off the network and re-imaged. I just happened to overhear a co-worker mention how he couldn't get it back on the network and wondered if the NIC was broken. Because I have a disturbingly good memory I mentioned what I had been told about the machine when it was installed, and he got the networking group to fix the switch port.
I'm hoping to get some more blogging done in 2012. I have a few ideas waiting, but just need to take the time to write them up.
I've been struggling with trying to figure out why our new Dell Optiplex 780s can't be remotely powered on using Wake-On-Lan. In order to make this work, you need make the following changes in the BIOS:
- Internal NIC must be enabled with PXE (this was the gotcha!)
- Enable Low Power Mode should be unchecked
- Remote Wakeup needs to be set to enabled
The kicker was realizing that the Internal NIC needed to be enabled with PXE. Prior to adjusting that setting, everything looked ok, and WOL worked to wake computers from sleep, but I couldn't remotely power them on.
In order to save power, we turn try to turn off our instructional lab machines when they're not in use. Because some of our labs are open on weekends, some are open every day, and schedules change during the summer and semester breaks, we try to adjust this and keep the machines off when not in use. I have scripts that power on each room as a Windows scheduled task.
Google Maps Street View has been appearing all black instead of showing images when using Safari on my Mac Pro running Snow Leopard. I noticed the same problem with FireFox, so I figured it was a Flash problem.
I googled around a bit and found other people had the same problem, and were getting a series of unhelpful suggestions I tried upgrading to the latest Flash just in case, and it did not solve the problem. Also tried clearing Safari's cache which didn't help, but seeing as the problem was occuring in FireFox as well, I didn't have a lot of hope.
A couple of the postings suggested removing Arial fonts from ~/Library/Home/Fonts, and while this didn't make sense to me, I tried it, and it worked. My theory is these are old fonts left over from back when this machine was running 10.5 as my other Mac wasn't having this problem (nor did it have those fonts).
I just had a handful of fonts in that location, and am not really sure why they're even there or why my user needs its own set of fonts, but in case anyone else runs into this I figured I might as well post this.
I've noticed an increasing trend where both bloggers, and even some larger companies now post an entry on their web site that basically says "download this podcast" or "watch this video" to hear more about XYZ.
This is great, and there is a place for multimedia content, but at the same time I'd much rather read something. It's so much easier to quickly scan a document and get the main points, or go back and read it in detail than it is to watch a video or listen to a podcast.
At the moment Google can't search the words spoken during a video either.
So, for now, I hope people stick to posting content as text and include multimedia as an additional resource for those who want to watch it.