UBUNTU

I have to hand it to UBUNTU for coming out with a decent operating environment.

I am ever the pessimist but take it lightly.

1. When it finished installing the screen was dimmed all of the way off.
2. Had to run a bunch of terminal commands to edit 2 separate config files just so windows networking would work.
3. Huge security issue, the firewall is off by default and you have to install a gui to manage it when you figure out how to get the firewall turned on unless you want to do everything via a command prompt (terminal session).
4. So I turned on the firewall, made the appropriate adjustments for windows file sharing – terminal style. This however broke the printer. A problem for another time. The day is old.

All in all it is power for the course. Still a tech junkies OS. UBUNTU is much smoother than it ever was. UBUNTU One is a platform where you have a single log in for every device to access your stuff. It uses cloud storage. Ubuntu also has a music store. The combination of these two features has me Jazzed. They also are now including STEAM for all of your gaming aspirations.

Right off the bat it works better. For instance, it boots fast. I had email, facebook, printer, background, and remote desktop set up in 5 minutes. Its stock with lots of tech so I could ftp, ftps, sftp, telnet, ping, etc.

I am not an amazing Linux guy. I know enough to really customize a solution. I could not write a module for it. Most of the UBUNTU world is geared toward avoiding that step. They have built in the UBUNTU Software Center. Ubuntu is open source. So if you have coding skill you can write something to work with it (and everyone does) you do and add it to the millions of other applications out there for UBUNTU. The point is, if there is something you can think of that you want UBUNTU to do it probably already exists. You hit the Ubuntu software center and search for something in the general arena. Pick what you like and click install. It takes care of everything else. You might have to type your password.

The feature I find most useful is the search function. You click a button and type something. Remote finds remote desktop. Word finds a word processor. You get the idea. True its new but with ease of use with the search function it will be simple to get moving. Did I mention UBUNTU is free? I have it loaded on a very new Laptop running a core i5, lots of ram, camera, cd burner, Bluetooth. Somehow, they figured out the hardware independence and everything just works. So I guess the point is – easy. The installer also set up a dual boot so I can revert back to my crusty windows anytime I like. Bill Gates eat your heart out.

Check it out some time.  http://www.ubuntu.com

Drafting Division

One of my business customers called today with a printer issue. It simply was not working. The printer was located in the drafting department. These guys are some of the highest paid in the company because their work generates bids on work that enterprise customers of the company will hopefully accept.

I try to keep network configurations as simple as possible. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid – applies most of the time. If you don’t run as simple as you can there is always something else to break and the more complex it is the harder it is to fix it.  Downtime equals bad PR!

When I was first introduced to the drafting department the company was moving onto Panda Managed Office Protection. The drafting guru is very particular. He is a super type A individual which is important if your a drafter.  He was running AVAST and SPYBOT Search and Destroy and MCAFFEE and .. and .. and .. and … at  a time I was working on the corporate antivirus solution. His computer was not accessible to me and I was trying to get access. I had seen how his security software was set up and was gently trying to explain that if one solution from panda were installed, removing all others, his performance and security would be greatly improved. The product runs mostly in the cloud and can be managed from anywhere. It is very efficient and powerful.  It was a tense moment when he rejected the idea for me. I respected his choice and view and moved on.

Previously the drafting person had only his own needs to worry about. This Guru’s workload had increased a great deal. He needed to take on some help. The company called inquiring on how to set up a secure network just for the drafting department. The company as a whole is running off of a Cisco RV016 multi wan vpn router with multi-homing and a good firewall that allows you to set up very specific traffic rules. It is a really cool and very affordable piece of equipment that I could have used to provide the solution they wanted. It has the ability to separate the drafting department from the rest of the company and even put them on a separate sub-net.  But it was also very important that I give the guru something physical to place his trust in because virtual network security measures cant be seen or quantified. Its a pretty big deal for someone like that to be able to see the protection. It is a a peace of mind thing. He wanted to make sure no one from the company could access his computer except for members of his department. I took a wireless router the office manager had in a closet and placed it in the drafting office. The uplink on wireless router grabs a dynamic IP on the existing corporate network.  I configured its lan interface to provide a unique private network subnet that is far different from the norm.

The drafting office is surrounded by equipment. There are plotters and printers all over the place. Some of them have network interfaces and some do not. Since the Guru had always used USB connections to the printers I just shared all of them from his computer and mapped them for the other user.  This has worked well for quite some time.  It is a very simple solution.  But today the Xerox Phaser Solid Media Printer was not working.

I spoke with them over the phone and had them check that it was not operating in offline mode. It had been. However, changing the device to an online status had no effect.  They quickly set up an appointment. I went out and discovered that the USB interface was partially blown on the printer. It did not allow the connecting computer to properly detect the model. I plugged the Phaser into the network and mapped directly to it from both computers. Problem solved.

It was good to be able to go out and see the drafting team. I was very happy to be able to help them and I look forward to the next time.

Midnight Tech