Housekeeping & Info

First a little housekeeping - I've started my company Serion Technology, Inc. and it's been keeping me rather busy recently. I've had a few good ideas about blog topics and issues I've come across. However, I have not been able to sit down and put them down and write about anything until now. Please forgive the absence and I hope you find value in my rants and technical explorations.
Thanks for reading. -Me-
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New Business & New Employ!

People that know me are aware but I’m going to be putting it out here for everyone. I have left my previous employer CMA and have started my own company, Serion Technology, Inc.That said there is no bad blood between the two of us; I simply wanted to do more than is possible while working for others. They are great people and I wish them the best.

I incorporated Serion on September 2, 2014 to be a services company. I’m looking to build it to offer Managed Services to small and medium business and to customers that run AIX or Linux on IBM Power Systems. That said I’m starting off pretty well and believe it will continue to grow.

I’m not going to go on a rant here but I really just wanted to put this down. Additionally if you know anyone that is in a business and they complain about their computing systems - let me know!
Cheers

Adam Savage Speech

I saw this a few years back and think of it every so often – I like to re-watch it occasionally.  He has a very good delivery and I love the message.

Rambling of a Sweaty Toothed Madman

Within the last two weeks I’ve suffered some rather significant setbacks both personally and professionally. I’m still dealing with my new situations…

Professional

As I’m sure some of the people here know I am (to the best of my knowledge) still the Director of Managed Services at CMA, however the group has been split by management. I spent almost two years building a team and our management team split the group in two and gave the day to day operations and personnel management to someone else. The reason given is so that I would be freed to work on our customers and provide them with the support and planning they need.

I completely understand this from a business decision and need, however it really does feel like I’ve been “nicely” given a new position because it wasn’t working. The person that has the new responsibilities of managing my group is very skilled, detail oriented and will not fail. I honestly respect him very much and believe he and I will work together to build this to scale properly.

Logically, this is absolutely awesome and I can see where it will allow us to do more than I think we would have been able to do before. Emotionally, it feels like I’ve been shoved aside and I’ve lost my team. I’m not dealing with this part well…

Personally

An awesome friend of mine just lost their grandmother and over the years we have certainly learned to rely on one anther for the emotional sounding board, professional/career decisions (They are in IT also), general sanity check and the occasional beer.  Absolute awesome friend to have… Right as they are going through this I start going through my ordeal at work – Never a good thing. Because of everything that’s going on and family concerns they may be moving away. I really suck at long distance relationships (ask a few of my other friends that have moved away… ) and I honestly don’t want to lose this person that has honestly become a pillar of my sanity sometimes.

Another friend that I have/had and think of often – We used to be tight, however work and life has separated us. I even thought of hiring them, however the team was less than excited and I couldn’t. Unfortunately, it took me a awhile to put my finger on it. We haven’t talked since and I’m exceptionally sorry.

Resolution

I’m normally not one to just bitch and fuss and need to have some sort of a plan of action, otherwise you aren’t going to fix anything you are just bitching. There really isn’t a lot here that can be “Fixed”. I can try to improve professionally which I’m actively developing a plan for. (Classes, Reading, etc.) I can reach out to my friends a little more and try not to get wrapped up in my day to day life that ends up excluding them.

We have a lifestyle that tends to exclude people and my SO and I don’t really have any friends that we go out or hang with. This is a separate but related problem that I’m uncertain how to fix…

Life & Goals

This blog really isn’t for anyone other than myself; however if people take an interest in my life and would like to read about it, please feel free. I consider this little corner of the internet mine and a little less public than Facebook posts or tweeting to the world. Not that it’s actually any more private but it requires a small amout of effort to get here. 

As everyone knows I just got back from my sister's wedding in Mexico. It was great being with my family and work being mostly inaccessible. It did allow me to refocus on a few things that are important to me. 
Family: We never get along but when it comes down to it we are there for one another. I'm a little slow to the table but they have always had my back even if they didn't understand what I was doing or why. I need to be there for them and my kids' cousins. 
Work: I've been put in a position of leadership for what will become the cornerstone of our company. At best I'm doing an mediocre job at it. There are various reasons but when it comes down to it, I'm not able to check the box that states we've completed a job well done. I'm self imposing a 90 turnaround deadline. I'm not a technician anymore I need to manage and lead my team to properly support our customers. I need to keep the goal in mind and not deviate.
Personal:
My personal habits and health sucks. These are nothing but habits and routines to be fixed. With the exception of what is cooked at home I have control over everything else. **I need to fix it.** Nobody else can do it for me. As of today I weigh 207 and 21.9% body fat. Not horrible but it can be better, much better. Before the end of 2014 I will have completed a half marathon and will expect the body fat to be no more than 17.9%. 
If you are reading this you are either a close friend or some random internet citizen. Either way help me and hold me to these goals. 
-Me-

My Little Sister’s Wedding

 

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My family and I just got back from Playa de Carmen, Mexico to be with my little sister for her wedding. She is now wed to Mr. Ivan Rodriguez-Mesa. We all had an amazing time and had a great time meeting the family from Panama.

I’m personally not convinced that marriage is right for everyone and am actually quite cynical regarding the subject. This extends especially to members of my family and you can imagine how I would feel where is would concern my sister. While I’ve usually not been the ideal brother, I’ve always loved and when I could assisted and been protective of her.

Ivan has been a great person to her, however I’ve had limited contact to get to know him. (Building trust takes awhile for me.) My father always used to tell us as kids that if you want to know someone look at their friends and who they hang out with. Well after getting to know Ivan’s family and his closest friends, I’m completely sold and I pray they have the opportunity to build a wonderful life of love and adventure together.

So with lots of love and hope – I wish you guys the best!

Automatically Restart AIX Printers

I have an issue with printers in AIX especially if the the network connection isn’t 100% reliable or if the users tend to turn the printers off frequently. One of my customers is a emergency first responder organization so they need to be up and running as close to 100% as possible and printing is an important piece of their workflow. I created this script a lot of years ago and needed to reuse it this morning for them. It simply checks all the printers for ‘DOWN’ status and restarts them. I scheduled it in cron to execute every 5 minutes and everyone is happy.

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#!/usr/bin/ksh

while (enq -AW | grep DOWN | grep -v HOST)
do
enq -U -P `enq -AW | grep DOWN | grep -v HOST | awk {'print $1$2'} | awk 'NR>1{exit};1' | sed 's/@/:@/'`
done

Cheers

Microsoft Surface

I admit it - I love new toys and gadgets and this certainly fits into that category. My current title is “Director of Managed Services” and as such I need to go and actually talk to customers. Now, this is a new role for me coming from a technical background to one that is customer facing and actually holds the customer’s interests at heart before those of my company. I am really enjoying this and going to customer locations to discuss issues and finding solutions is a familiar role in a new and exciting setting. 

So how does Microsoft’s Surface play into this role and why it isn’t just a toy for me? Well it’s quite simple, we are a Microsoft Partner and I felt it was best to utilize a Microsoft product to show off some of the features of the table and the Windows 8 operating system. Here are the specs:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro
    *
    128GB SSD
    *
    4Gb RAM
    *
    Intel i5 Processor @ 1.7Ghz

Honestly looking at the specs it seems that it’s more of a very small form factor computer than a tablet, which is one of the problems. It’s not really a tablet… I need to be able to show off the latest and greatest available with Microsoft’s products but having a full blown computer in tablet for is cheating a little bit.

The major features that my customers are interested in are management of remote assets, security, think sales guy at Starbucks, and in some cases slow access to remote offices. The best way to start that discussion is DirectAccess, BitLocker and BranchCache two of which require the Enterprise version of the operating system. So now I need to upgrade the tablet/computer and Windows RT is completely out of the question.

I do like the fact that now I can go into a meeting and write in OneNote with the customer right there. If I’m connected to the internet it’s automatically syncing to my SharePoint site or SkyDrive. That means that if I lost my bag I would still have all my notes and data that I collected from the customer. Additionally because all my data is encrypted with BitLocker I don’t need to worry about confidential customer or business data getting somewhere is shouldn’t.

With the exception of battery life I’m so far pretty pleased with the device. I’m sure I can stretch some more life out by tweaking the power settings but I’m not quite ready to do that yet. I’m still getting used to the differences between applications that are published for the Win8 UI and the regular Win applications, OneNote is a perfect example.

I’ll certainly keep posting as this experiment plays out – Cheers!

Thomas

del.icio.us Tags: Surface,Microsoft

Reclaim Underutilized OFFSITE Volumes in TSM

I have a customer that has a reasonable size TSM environment, however the daily change rate is really low. This causes the DRM media that is sent offsite to be utilized at roughly 1-5%. Since the data doesn’t expire quickly they aren’t reclaimed and the volumes tend to sit offsite without being rotated. Using LTO5 media you can imagine that it’s a huge waste of media space.

I put this together to be run periodically either manually or via cron and allow it to run until completion. It will start with the least utilized volumes and work to the ones that are the most utilized. Of course if you use collocation or will never fill a volume to 80% you will need to change the values accordingly.

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use warnings;
my $login = "/usr/bin/dsmadmc -id=ADMINUSER -password=ADMINPASS";
my @volumes;
sub getVolumeList {
    my @tempVolumes = ();
    @tempVolumes = $login -dataonly=yes &quot;<span style="color: #8b0000">select volume_name from volumes where access='OFFSITE' and pct_utilized&gt;0 and pct_utilized&lt;80 order by pct_utilized</span>&quot;;
    foreach (@tempVolumes) {
        chomp;
        push @volumes, substr($, -9);
    }
}
getVolumeList;
foreach (@volumes) {
    print "$_\n";
    my $result = `$login -noconfirm "move data $ wait=yes`;
}

Working From Abroad (for a short time)

I have taken the opportunity while I’m here to work a bit, for good reason.

  • I am out of vacation time and need to make sure I don’t go too far negative, I don’t want to pay my employer. That would completely suck!
  • I wanted to see how difficult it would be to keep up while very far out of town.

Honestly as long as I have productive things to do and am not overwhelmed by family obligations I think it went rather well.

  • A lot of Spain and Paris is covered by Wi-Fi or it’s available in some fashion such as a hotel lobby, coffee shop, etc.
  • The cellular networks carry data so you can keep up with email when needed.
  • With a tablet with most of your applications available everything is easy to carry and use when needed.

I’m hoping to try this again soon – I have family I haven’t visited in over a year and just never seem to be able to get away. If I can take a few days and work from Ohio and do it again for a few days from Atlanta I think I may have a workable plan. Additionally I will be able to shoot some photography while I’m out and about to assist in the development of my portfolio.

The major issue I’ve seen is due to the time difference and that I will need to work on. A fair amount of my job is based on client needs and they like timely responses even if it’s the middle of the night where I am. While that wasn’t an issue on this trip I can certainly see where it could be and completely mess everything up.

Cheers