Additional Wisdom

3:05:05 PM B: almost sounds like you need a service to do it right, or at least some taskbar doohicky 3:05:19 PM J1: doohickeys are clearly the answer 3:05:34 PM J2: oh without question 3:05:42 PM I'm more partial to thingamajigs 3:05:54 PM J2: Whenever I can, I try to implement my solutions with a doohickey design pattern 3:06:56 PM J2: jayoung, doohickeys are the way of the future; thingamajigs are alright, but if you want to maintain the highest level of compatibility, start migrating to doohickeys ASAP 3:07:28 PM J1: yeah, thingamajigs lack API/ABI compat

The creation of the Jabber ChatRoom is my proudest accomplishment the whole year.

Norton AV and Wisdom from the Jabber ChatRoom

2:43:55 PM Norton AV 10 for the Macintosh is still a pile of not very pleasant stuff 2:44:35 PM for a forced "security" piece of software, you'd really expect a much better engineered product 2:44:49 PM 1145 lines written to the console log during liveupdate 2:45:51 PM [peer]: my personal favorite item of hatred is the scan on mount thingy 2:46:49 PM no, no, what's worse (at least pre 10, don't know about 10 yet) - is the fact that NAV+the Finder (another pile of not very pleasant stuff) won't let go of usb memory keys when you want to eject them 2:46:55 PM at least that's my theory 2:47:10 PM I can't eject squat with NAV liveprotect running without killing the Finder

Obviously, I have a few issues with Norton AntiVirus. I’ll never run it at home, ever.


I’ve put in the wiki my answer to the oft-asked question by incoming students – “Which is better, a Macintosh or PC?” (actually asked within the context of “Are there drawbacks to choosing a Macintosh?”, which results in an answer coming from a slightly different direction).

Remind me…

…to learn how to use Screen effectively.

So that Network events without times associated with them that occur during your script execution that has to be done after hours won’t kill you scripts.

Rule #1 of System Administration: when writing error checking in your scripts, never think to yourself – “by jove, I think I have it! All that could cause me a problem now is a network interruption”. Because you’ll get a network interruption.

That, and saying “by jove” is passe.

[update] It didn’t have a time on it on Monday :-).


Monday’s rambling fiasco did turn up one good thing, I finally made a post detailing some of the “walk the talk” efforts that I’ve been leading with regard to communication from my own team. I talk a lot about communication, but here’s what we are actually doing

From the email:

  1. Billy [Beaudoin] has mentioned this before, but we are running an IM systems for IT staff in Engineering and elsewhere. This lets the computing staff IM each other directly, and participate in public “chat rooms” with both full-time and part-time staff. It’s turned out to be a great resource, even despite some really bad jokes in the chat rooms. If you want a jabber account, it’s open to any IT staff member on campus. Mail me, Billy Beaudoin, or Josh Thompson.

  1. For almost two months now, the ITECS/Systems staff has been publishing our weekly Activity Notes (sans security/personnel related issues). This a raw braindump of what we are doing, and what’s going in the group.


for more information

  1. In March, we published our group’s priorities/practices and a draft list (not yet updated or finalized, and rather vague in places) of possible projects. An outline of this is on the web at:

The Keynote-based presentation is not on the web because it included movie snippets from “Field of Dreams” and “Contact”.

  1. ITECS/Systems staff regularly publish updates at the VCL project site:

About what’s going on with the project and the work being done.

(see: in particular)

I’m still trying to get the Project Leadership to use that site to publish information about the vision for VCL, and capture the ideas in weblog and/or wiki form there that they communicate around campus. Getting people to write is a challenge ;-). But I still have hopes that more of those kinds of pieces of information can be published there. Imagine for a moment the opportunity of students and faculty coming to the VCL site to make reservations, or to find help, and then being able to explore the design and project documents that provide a deeper picture of the service. (Yes, I know, there I go again).

  1. In response to a blogs/publications discussion on the TLTR list – we brought up a vhost: “” which is running a copy of the same PHP-based tool we use for a few other sites. This site is “postable” by anyone with a UnityID. It has gained any legs yet, but it’s a potential space for posting and sharing computing and computing use information.

My new worst sentence ever

From a thread on a campus mailing list.


If I feel, in my professional judgment, that the question is going to be misinterpreted or answered incorrectly or caught in a support loop with the helpdesk because there are mitigating circumstances that we are aware of, but is hard for a campus wide helpdesk having to answer (by necessity) in a generic fashion to understand, then we aren’t going through the helpdesk, or sending users to it.

Good Grief. I am a blathering idiot at times.

Casey Stengel, eat your heart out.

Though after today, this quote is fitting:

The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided. – Casey Stengel

[Followup] I ended up apologizing for the ramblings on the list, comparing myself to subject of life in MacBeth’s soliloquy – “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” Only, I attributed the soliloquy to Hamlet. Which led in turn to another followup and correction. Some weeks it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.


Billy already mentioned this but it deserved repeating.

If you have anything to do with Windows Support, you should be reading Mark Russinovich’s Sysinternals weblog.

And if it’s over your head (and parts at least are likely going to be) – then dig into the article and figure out what it is saying. Articles like the Explorer Registry Polling and Mark’s troubleshooting process give you a glimpse of how components are tied together in Windows.

While I (thankfully) don’t have a daily frustration with Windows and Windows programming anymore (now that I’m becoming a manager with a macintosh) – Mark and Bryce’s work at Sysinternals was instrumental in helping me understand more about Windows architecture – which in turn helped me write things like the infamous NCSUGINA, and more, understand how to troubleshoot Windows and Windows applications as a system administrator – much better than I ever would have just dealing with things at the surface/observational levels.

You’re cheating yourself and the folks you support if you don’t learn about some of these details. Heck, I still read it and I don’t plan on (personally) using Windows as a system admin ever again, except to check websites under IE.