27 October 2011

Missing 1st Snow

I'm depressed to be missing the first snow in New England for the first time in 3 years. All this weather channel coverage has me aching for the ski slopes.

21 September 2011

McDonalds Rant

I ordered a large iced coffee along with oatmeal at the drive through this morning. I was not prompted to tell the server what I wanted in my coffee, but I made sure to tell her milk and 3 spenda after she asked if my order was complete.

When I received my order at the window, I asked the server if there was milk in my coffee. It was almost white in color. She did not speak English fluently and had to ask her manager to clarify. When I asked her manager if there was milk and splenda in my coffee, as I had done previously, she seemed puzzled. It was not until I rephrased my question, "Does this have cream in it" that I was told yes. I again asked for Milk and was told, "You need to order milk 'back there' and pay a dollah." When I tried to explain to her that I only needed a splash of milk in my coffee she picked up a kids milk and shook it at me in the window saying "you need to order and pay for that".

There are two things wrong with this. First, for those of us who are lactose intolerant/reactive and who do not like black coffee, a splash of soy, or skim, or the most readily available option, milk, is preferred. Generally milk is a standard option, not to mention favored by the millions of Americans who are trying to watch their caloric intake and diet. The Second issue I have with this experience is the customer service. I understand that the drive through is fast paced, especially in the morning. However, make an attempt to help the customer. Don't make the only option driving around the building and ordering a separate milk for the same price!

I'm not loving it!

05 November 2010

Everyday Time

I know its basic to most system administrators, but if your clock is always wrong, or your just fastidious about accuracy, you may appreciate this. The previous IT provider missed these simple steps. Follow the link after the quote for the original article.

Synching to an External Time Source

If you want to ensure that the clocks on your machines are more accurate in terms of absolute (and not just relative) time, you can sync the PDC Emulator in your forest root domain to one of the reliable time servers available on the Internet. This is a good idea if your company is a large enterprise with sites spanning several countries, or if your organization has two or more forests linked by forest trusts. The procedure for doing this on a PDC Emulator running Windows Server 2003 in the forest root domain is as follows. Open Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and configure the following registry entries:


This registry entry determines which peers W32Time will accept synchronization from. Change this REG_SZ value from NT5DS to NTP so the PDC Emulator synchronizes from the list of reliable time servers specified in the NtpServer registry entry described below.


This registry entry controls whether the local computer is marked as a reliable time server (which is only possible if the previous registry entry is set to NTP as described above). Change this REG_DWORD value from 10 to 5 here.


This registry entry specifies a space-delimited list of stratum 1 time servers from which the local computer can obtain reliable time stamps. The list may consist of one or more DNS names or IP addresses (if DNS names are used then you must append ,0x1 to the end of each DNS name). For example, to synchronize the PDC Emulator in your forest root domain with tock.usno.navy.mil, an open-access SNTP time server run by the United States Naval Observatory, change the value of the NtpServer registry entry from time.windows.com,0x1 to tock.usno.navy.mil,0x1 here. Alternatively, you can specify the IP address of this time server, which is instead.

Now stop and restart the Windows Time service using the following commands:

net stop w32time

net start w32time

It may take an hour or so for the PDC Emulator to fully synchronize with the external time server because of the nature of the polling method W32Time uses. Depending on the latency of your Internet connection, the accuracy of the CMOS clock on your forest root PDC Emulator may be within a second or two of UTC. If you need more accurate time however, you can purchase a hardware time source like an atomic clock and connect it to your PDC emulator.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to wait for time convergence to occur between your stratum 2 time server (your forest root PDC Emulator) and the external stratum 1 time server, you can run the following command on your PDC Emulator:

w32tm /resync /rediscover

There are additional registry settings you can configure to ensure external time synchronization operates effectively, see this article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for details.


16 September 2010

Cisco VLANs

I had a customer who was confused on what constituted tagged and untagged on a Cisco switch. I tried to explain it to him, but I could see that he was not quite grasping it. After doing some research, I found this great description and thought I would re-post Cisco Home Community user gv's post for anyone else that is fuzzy on Cisco nomenclature.

Generally, do not use General mode. In most cases it is not necessary. Use access mode and trunk mode and nothing else. If you think you must use General mode you probably have an issue with your network design. For instance, you can configure a port to be untagged member of multiple VLANs although this is in most cases not what you want and will create very confusing situations.

Access mode is for client devices, like normal desktops, printers, etc, An access mode port only sends and accepts untagged frames. The association of the traffic on this port to a VLAN happens through configuration on the switch. An access mode port in VLAN 5 belongs to VLAN 5 and no other VLAN. It will only send and receive traffic on VLAN 5.

Trunk mode uses tagged and untagged frames. The fact that it uses 802.1q tagged frames implies that it is connected to a device which is capable of dealing with 802.1q frames. Managed VLAN switches are one example. But very often Ethernet cards in server machines can be configured for 802.1q as well, i.e. you can run a trunk mode port to a server connecting it directly into multiple VLANs.

You can specify which VLANs are carried on a trunk mode port and which not. Thus you are also able to exclude some VLANs from a trunk port. Using tagging the switch sends 802.1q tagged frames for all VLANs on which it is tagged member. The "tag" contains the number of the VLAN to which this particular frame belongs to. Due to that, the receiving side is able to correctly assign each received frame to the correct VLAN. If the switch send a VLAN 5 tagged frame through a trunk port the receiving side knows that this frame belongs to VLAN 5 and thus can forward it correctly to the next hop maintaining separation of VLANs etc.

The untagged VLAN on a trunk port is the "default" native VLAN for all frames on a trunk port which are send or received untagged. All untagged frames only belong to this native VLAN. If you configured both ends of the trunk connection identically that both ends use the same VLAN for each frame received and send, tagged or untagged. It is highly recommended that the configuration on both ends of a trunk connection is identical, i.e. the native VLAN is the same and both ends use the same set of tagged VLANs or accept any possible tagged VLAN.

As mentioned before, General mode is more flexible in that you can choose any native VLAN you want or even multiple untagged VLANs. However, this is usually not what you want. For instance, if you configure a general mode port to be untagged member of VLANs 2 and 3 the switch will send any frame from VLAN 2 or VLAN 3 untagged through the general mode port. The receiver on the other side is not able to distinguish which VLAN the frame belongs to: it could be VLAN 2 or VLAN 3.

Some people think they could use general mode to connect a "shared" device to multiple VLANs. This again, is not true. The problem is the reverse direction, i.e. untagged frames received on the general mode port. You have to configure a single VLAN on the general port for all untagged frames. Otherwise the switch would not know exactly to which VLAN it should assign an untagged frame received. Thus, although you can send the frames for multiple VLANs untagged through a general mode port you can only receive untagged frames for a single VLAN on that same port.

Just another reason why I like Extreme Networks gear better.

Good luck to everyone out there.


14 January 2010

Loon Mtn

Skiing was AMAZING last weekend! Can't wait to go again this weekend, Still undecided on where to go. Currently in the running are Sunday River (178 miles), Mad River Glen (158 miles) or Sunapee (102 miles).

Post up reviews if you have any.

I'll try and get some pictures up from last weeks trip ASAP.

09 January 2010

Classic Mashup

Ok, I found this randomly and loved it! Check it out.

Great tunes, classic video.

Taken down as of 9/21/2011 but here it is elsewhere:

16 May 2009

To live in LAla land...

Ok, so while seeing BioDiesel was great last night (live Drum & Bass), it did not quite live up to the T-Mobile party that was put on out at Paramount studios. Yes, I think that BioDiesel was more musically adept at a live performance than either of these bands (crazy to think), it still would have been amazing to see Weezer and Blink live. Check out the vids while you still can: