Monthly Archives: April 2007

Interviewing

Interview Tips: April 2007

When you are interviewing don’t pull your computer out and take notes on it.  Sure it sounds silly, but it’s still something that you should probably not do.  Why?  I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll try and get back to you on that…

Business

When is Competition Bad?

In many organizations, competition can spawn productivity.  Many institutions tend to therefore pit business units or even single employees against one another to see who can sell more, work more or be more efficient.  However, competition can turn ugly.  One of the best things you can do to keep this from happening is put in place as part of your competition a number that spurs teamwork.  Teamwork should always be a metric, but it’s hard to quantify in many cases.  But just look to football (as with many of my analogies) to see a good way to factor teamwork into someone’s “stats”.  In football, an individual metric of, let’s say a defensive lineman or linebacker, can be the number of sacks they get.  If two guys get a sack together then they are credited that sack as .5.  In basketball, you can have an assist credited to you.  In baseball a starting pitcher is credited with wins and a clean-up pitcher is credited with saves.  So foster competition but also build a metric for teamwork and see productivity increase even more…

Business Travel

Telecommuting vs. Creativity

When you’re looking to measure output of telecommuters, creativity can’t be forgotten about.  Remember that part of the quality of output that an employee can have is manifested in the creativity they bring to the job.  Creativity isn’t just relegated to fields like advertising either.  In IT, some of the best network designs come from creatively inclined folks.

Network Infrastructure personal

New UPS

I just picked up one of those Geek Squad branded UPSs.  It’s nice.  The USB interface was picked right up by my Mac.  I then swapped it into my XP box and loaded up the software that it came with.  It’s flashy and gives me all the stats for the UPS.  I’ll miss my old APC UPS, but this one is way, way better, both in ratings and hopefully in the fact that it doesn’t kill any of my boxes when it blows…  It doesn’t have a network interface though, so I have it going into a FreeBSD box.  If the box detects a power outage on the UPS then it SSH’s into all my other *nix boxen and sets off scripts to power them down.  The Windows box gets no love here.  But then, it barely gets used any more and will likely get converted to a VM soon anyway…

personal Unix

Goodby Sparc

My Sparc 20 has been with me through many other relationships.  She never got jealous of my other machines and she never once let me down.  Her 9GB external hard drive enclosure and her Solaris OS were always there for me, and before she was mine she hosted one of the top 1,000 web sites in the country (of course, that’s back when a whole site could fit on a whopping 9GB external enclosure).  She was my “old-reliable”.  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  There’s a chance that she would have lasted forever if I had her plugged into a better UPS.  It wasn’t her fault really, it was environmental factors that caused her demise.  She will be sorely missed.  In fact, she’s been replaced with an OpenSolaris VMware guest OS on a bigger box that houses other OSen.  The VM has the same name that she did…

Business On the Road

Telecommuting vs. Those That Don't Telecommute

Telecommuting is seen to many as a workplace sort of nirvana.  However, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be all the time.  The lost “water cooler” aspect of working from home, the sometimes missing collaboration and the social withdrawal can all be negatives to telecommuting.  But as more and more people from a specific business unit start to telecommute the people left in the office become more and more dissatisfied.  It doesn’t help when those who telecommute rub in that they don’t have to drive an hour each way to work any more or that they’re sitting there in their underwear working.  So keep in mind to be considerate to those who aren’t working remotely when you discuss it.

Network Infrastructure

Internap Flash Video

http://internap.com/product/technology/fcp/files/INTERNAP.swf

Cooking Uncategorized

Charles' Pork Chops

Put one to two pounds of pork chops into a marinade that consists of 1 cup of oil, 2 cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of salt.  Marinade for 2 hours.  Put 1 can of Guinness into a baking dish.  Place your pork chops into the dish.  Bake at 350 for one hour (or until the internal temperature hits 160, whichever comes first).  Drain out the remaining Guinness and serve.

Cooking

Cooking: Sweet and Sassy Brussels Sprouts

Here’s my recipe for brussels sprouts.  I know you don’t like them, but just try this before you write them off…

First, soak your brussels sprouts in cold water for about an hour.  Then, cut them in half and pull off all those nasty dark leaves.  Next, saute up about 4 tablespoons of butter.  Toss the green meanies in there and saute on medium until you can just put a fork through them.  Important, don’t over cook these things.  Remove from heat and top them off with just a little brown sugar.  Serve hot.

Windows XP

Windows: Local Policies

From Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP there are two utilities that can be used to create policy lists.  The first is Group Policy Object Editor, gpedit.msc.  The second is secpol.msc.  For the purposes of this document we will use gpedit.msc as it provides most of what is available in secpol and far more granular policies for workstation control.  To open GPO Editor click on start then click run and then type gpedit.msc.  Now you will be looking at two sections, Computer Configuration and User Configuration.  Computer Configuration controls global settings such as password policies and Log on Locally.  For the most part these can typically be left as-is. 

The User Configuration will show a folder called Administrative Templates.  Open this and you will see Windows Components, which are Windows XP applications, such as Terminal Services (RDC), Windows Media Player, Windows Update, Windows Explorer, etc.  An example of setting these policies is to use the Windows Media/Playback/Prevent Codec Download policy to prevent the downloads of Windows Media Player Codecs.  Start Menu and Taskbar can be used to configure settings in the start menu and task bar (seems pretty straight forward, right?).  For example, you can use the Remove Run Menu from Start Menu to configure the system not to show a run dialog box in the Start Menu.  Some other items you can do here include locking the taskbar, showing users the classic Start Menu, disable history of recently opened documents or remove Run/My Pictures/My Music/My Network Places/Favorites from the start menu.