Things I Have Learned as Network Administrator

Hi. I’m Sean.

I’m a Network Administrator for a really great company.

It’s full of a lot of nice people to work with that are willing to put up with my "eccentricities".

I’d like to share a few things I learned on the job. Since I just passed my probationary review and DIDN’T get fired I guess I’m doing things right. I thought I’d pass along a few bits of information to help others along.

When you suggest as a joke, that a virus might have gotten loose; Nobody will laugh. Especially not the Corporate Risk division.

Project Managers are fun to tease. They get angry when you change the colours on their GANTT charts. They move fast. They can break things. Don’t mess with their GANTT charts.

Developers like to be creative. They don’t like restrictions. Hint. Locking them down to ‘guest’ access is NOT productive. Or profitable. They cringe when you DENY them direct remote access to servers. Note. A standard Dell keyboard CAN fit inside your left nostril. Don’t ask how I know this.

Just because it LOOKS like a Cat5e network run does not mean it IS a Cat5e network run. Always have a tester and line bug. It will pay for itself 1000 times over.

When you explain to an angry mob of support staff that you will not take their requests to fix their disconnected network terminals UNTIL they submit it FROM their dead network terminals; There will be a lynching.

You should NEVER use your tongue to test for a live POE jack. Ooops.

Always open new equipment (ESPECIALLY NEW LAPTOPS!) In a secluded location. Staff can smell new fresh hardware a mile away. They pounce on it like jackals. Virgin keyboards are particularly susceptible to the culling.

When you’re alone in your cubicle keep your feet off the ground. If users don’t see your feet they sometimes continue along past your cubicle. It is also an excellent defense against any stray Grues wandering about the office floor. Or snakes. But not rhinos.

If the Systems Administrator would like to borrow your tools from time to time be nice. He may buy you beer and or lunch from time to time.

Note as well, you have been granted magic powers. Items WILL self-repair with JUST YOUR presence. Use this power wisely. Do not use it to try and get free soda from the vending machine.

Certain people get ‘VETO power’ past the Service Desk system. Not right but that just IS. Suggesting to your boss or the CIO that you will not be dealing with the Offline Mail Server until they submit a ticket does not "work out". Suggesting further that adjusting the screen background picture for the cute receptionist is of a slightly HIGHER priority than this will get you moved to a basement cubicle. Without your stapler.

Sometimes Developers and Infrastructure are on opposing sides. However combines they can out drink the entire office.

When you do an "All Nighter" (not IF) a few things of importance. A cup of coffee is good. A pot of coffee is great. Eating a bag of coffee beans will make you Ugon Lord of the Underworld! Notch it back to just a pot.

Lan cable is surprisingly strong and resilient and when bolted down properly can support a typical human. It however is not quite up to "spec" after and rarely if EVER can support your typical Network Administrator.

Do not ever ask your boss about the "Emergency stash" of Tequila and beer in the back storage room. It is not yours for the asking or taking. But it COULD be "yours for the shaking"

The Cisco god is your friend. Do not anger him. The Cisco god is your friend. Do not anger him. The Cisco god is your friend. Do not anger him. The….

Datacentres look really cool lit up at night with the lights out. They don’t look so nice when you hang stockings all over the cabinets or lay cookies on the Catalyst switches. Santa Claus will not drop down inside through your 10 meg SDSL pipeline.

Teasing your boss about coming in late will get you delegated to the task of pooper scooping the co-op students room. Don’t tease the boss.

A single Unmaintained Photocopier can contain enough dust to block out the zone. Or thoroughly coat one Network Administrator.

All praise the Cisco god. All praise the Cisco god. All praise the Cisco god. All praise the Cisco god. All…..

Tech Support will lie sometimes. Sometimes they won’t. You will COMPLETELY lack the ability to reach through the handset and strangle them. Please don’t bother ruining a good handset trying.

Don’t EVER question the thought process behind equipment purchases. The person you are asking was more than likely behind them.

When the entire IT Team is a fan of "24" don’t ever suggest or remind them that Kiefer Sutherland was in "Lost Boys" or "Stand by Me". They don’t like to remember "those days".

DON’T LET THE DEVELOPERS EXTEND THE ACTIVE DIRECTORY SCHEMA NO MATTER HOW "Cool" IT SOUNDS!

At the Christmas Party, that is not an appropriate time to go "AC/DC" and sing "Highway to Powershell". You can’t sing. You can’t dance. And the secretarial pool has no clue what Powershell is.

A single keyboard can contain over 14,837 poppy seeds. I know. I counted.

Ants looks very much like Poppy seeds. They just don’t taste like them. I know. I tried.

A single $5 MP3 player can short out the Power Supply in a $2000 PC. Possibly other things. A $10 Glue gun can prevent this. A HERF gun at entrance to the office can also "take care of any stray MP3 players.

Surprising Developers with a new Network, Security structure, Operating System and Restrictions will meet with "resistance"

Do not go about office doing the "Mission:IMPOSSIBLE" them and.skulking against the walls. You will get more than a few looks.

Yelling out "I have friends at Microsoft so you better treat me right!" Counter productive. Threatening to sick Steve Ballmer on everybody was not such a good plan either.

A free copy of the Metro Yellowpages is a better monitor support stand than the $100 Ergonomic one. Don’t ask me. Ask the legal department.

Nobody EVER reads the big displayed message that says "TONER OUT" or checks the Paper Tray or even looks to see if the printer is on BEFORE coming to your desk (without a support ticket) screaming for help.

Sometimes things don’t make sense. If it works when you’re done with it, sometimes you shouldn’t ask "Why"

Right about when you go "Tom Cruise" and replay "Risky Business" in the middle of the office floor on a Sunday is right about when the VP will walk in.

Changing the email notification sound on your desktop to the exact sound for your boss’ ring tone for his girlfriend/wife will irritate him to death. You make the call on that one.

A Dell Desktop dropped from a Rack in Pharmacy will separate EXACTLY like it was made from "Legos". It will however not re-assemble quite as easily. Don’t try for warranty.

Don’t drink anything "Green" at the Christmas party. You are not "Scotty" from Star Trek. If he can’t handle it you certainly can’t.

Standing in the middle of the Office brandishing a 15ft LAN cable like "Indiana Jones" does not impress anybody.

Do not break into a song and dance number during an Audit to "break the ice". Especially not "Thriller". Do not follow Auditors about the office slobbering like Igor "Yesssss Masssterrr…"

You can make yourself look productive while playing "Pirates" on "Facebook". Just look very concerned and concentrated when you do it. And DON’T FLINCH when challenged that it isn’t "work related". Stick to your story.

Be careful what you say on "Twitter". Santa Claus is wa
tching. So is your boss.

Writing a love letter to Steve Ballmer might be fun. Even enjoyable. It may somehow find itself sent to "ALL". A moustache, sunglasses and a Mullet will help in the needed disguise.

Your CIO will find your personal website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN account. Just leave it at that. Don’t ask further.

Co-op students can be sent on Entertaining tasks like searching for Lost "Tokens" from a Token Ring Network or "Dropped Packets" that fell out of the network wires. You can scare them away from the Datacentre by explaining about the Grue that lives in there.

If you think you can spend all day long applying to jobs at Microsoft, you can’t. If think you should, don’t. If you think the boss will have a sense of humor about it, he won’t.

Whatever can happen, will, it will always happen when you least expect it and least desire it. GET OVER IT!

When the lights in the office shutdown automatically late at night, you can terminate LAN drops by laptop or Smartphone light.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Powershell Wizard

I got bitten by the music bug. Every chance I get to really USE Powershell it just get’s me in “the Mood”.  So now,sung to “Pinball Wizard” by “the Who” I present to you

http://landofsilly.mypodcast.com/2009/01/PowerShell-Wizard-177292.html

Powershell Wizard

Ever since I was a young guy,
I fell in love with the machine
From Commodores to Inspirons and all those in between
But I’m so blown away
I fainted and I fell
It’s a Blinking llttle cursor
And they call it PowerShell!

He’s loaded up his DotNet
He’s doing Import-CSV
Loading up the users
Quest commandlets that are free
Re-arranging all the data
In just 5 lines as well
I’m done without even trying
All thanks to Powershell!

He’s a Powershell Guru
Watch his fingers fly
He’s a Powershell Guru
Just an ordinary guy

Why do you think he loves it
I’ll tell ya
What makes him just drool

Doesn’t need a mouse and Gui,
just a keyboard and a screen. 
It’s got direct interaction
to the system and the machine.
No flashy pretty distractions
He’s so focused you can tell
The bad smelling Admin
He sure loves Powershell!

With five minutes work, I collected all my pay
Then I sat down and played Rock Band 2 all day

It’s a component that’s in Vista
And Server 2008
Scripting all your systems
Helps you integrate
Works with so many others
Clears up Admin Hell
Get off your butt and use it and
ROCK ON WITH POWERSHELL!

http://landofsilly.mypodcast.com/2009/01/PowerShell-Wizard-177292.html

Quietly Influencing – Without Actually Trying

Go figure this one.  It’s interesting to see this happen.

I’m Influencing quietly without intending.

Two simple stickers on my tiny Net book.

Powershell and the Vista Springboard.  Stuck on the back.  For no other reason than this is the first laptop I bought in a long time.  First I could afford for a while.

$300 to get a little 8gb internal drive special.  A tiny but powerful
Intel Atom inside. 1 gig of ram for it’s brain.

The Acer Aspire One.

I’m getting looks.  Impressed looks.

“How does Vista run on that?”

“Hey that’s pretty cool!”

They’re eyes light even more when they see it’s Windows 7.

People are impressed.

“So did you ‘lite’ it? (Referring to stripping it’s core by removing lesser and in some cases unneeded components)

Nope.  Stock.

Not comments of “Vista sucks” or negative statements are coming at me. True genuine interest.

And even more interest when they see the Aero interface from Windows 7 running on here.

I never thought it possible.  To do something you found genuinely a) interesting and b) a little out of desperation and getting some of the most positive feedback about a Microsoft product.

I think sometimes smaller is better.  Anybody can throw an O/S on a Macbook or Nice Dell.   Any O/S can fit on those things.  

But people are almost shocked into amazement when they see Vista or Windows 7 fitting on such a small device.

In all fairness the install time was long.   And honestly I would like to see some things cleaned up (IE: the cached install media on the drive, relocate the Hibernation file, an alternate location for my system restore data).

But it works nice.  It’s very quiet due to a Solid state drive internal (even only 8 gig). It responds very well.  The battery averages about three hours but goes to sleep immediately.    I find I get the day out of this device.  I’ve got VPN and remote desktop for the office. 

I’ve got POWERSHELL!

So I sit here quietly on the subway and train.  Quietly enjoy this little powerbox with the something everybody said shouldn’t fit on here.

And quietly influencing away.