Nerrick.com

System Administration

Ad-Blocking Proxy for Home

I was up the other night and browsing the web and I had a really annoying ad pop up on a page I was trying to read. I have used the various plugins for Chrome and Firefox that block ads …

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I was up the other night and browsing the web and I had a really annoying ad pop up on a page I was trying to read. I have used the various plugins for Chrome and Firefox that block ads yet a lot of sites detect them and force you to whitelist them. I was then struck by the idea of finding if there was some sort of proxy type of app that would work.

I used to have a really cool application called AdSubtract that installed on your system and then set itself up as a local proxy that was capable of stripping ads off of web pages. I was curious to see if there was some sort of newer application that had this same functionality.

This is where I stumbled across pi-hole. ( https://pi-hole.net/ ) This really sparked my interest and I found it will install and run on Linux, I quickly spun up a new Linux VM on my server and began tinkering away. I got pi-hole installed in about 20-30 minutes. Once it was running I set its IP Address as the DNS for one of my test desktop VM’s and the internet just became a whole new wonderful experience.

Now the network engineer in me began wondering how I could deploy this in various configurations both at home and if it would be capable of running on a Small Business network or even in the Enterprise. Now I am having fun tinkering in my test lab with a new toy.

  Posted by Admin on December 16, 2018

AutoCAD License Server Status

So I recently deployed AutoCAD 2017 Mechanical and set it up utilizing network licensing. I was looking for a way to query the license server to get the number of licenses that are currently in use so that I could …

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So I recently deployed AutoCAD 2017 Mechanical and set it up utilizing network licensing. I was looking for a way to query the license server to get the number of licenses that are currently in use so that I could create a status board that showed this information as close to real-time as I could get it.

The first this I did was run the command line against the license server to see how many licenses are checked out.

lmutil lmstat -a -c @localhost

This will give you a bunch of information returned to the command line so I took it a bit further and had it pumped out to a text file for reference.

lmutil lmstat -a -c @localhost > C:\LicenseStatus.csv

This gave me all the information that I wanted in terms of the amount of licenses that had been checked out. This also told me who the users were as well as their computer names.

pushd “c:\Autodesk\Network License Manager”
lmutil lmstat -a -c @localhost > c:\acstatus.csv

  Posted by Jason Snodgrass on June 14, 2016

Cool Email Archiving Tool

So as I was reading  one of the many tech articles I   tend to read I heard about this utility called MailStore and how it can archive your emails so you never loose them. I visited the website http://www.mailstore.com and …

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So as I was reading  one of the many tech articles I   tend to read I heard about this utility called MailStore and how it can archive your emails so you never loose them. I visited the website http://www.mailstore.com and I found that they have a home version that is not only free, but there is a portable version as well. I decided to download it and give it a try. I was impressed that I could essentially back up my Gmail account and then browse the messages in an offline archive. I then tested this against my Hotmail account as well as an Outlook.com account. I now have localized searchable archives that I can look through even while offline. I am impressed with the product so I thought I would share it with the world. The direct link to download the Home version is listed below. I hope you enjoy it and find it as useful as I did.

http://www.mailstore.com/en/mailstore-home-email-archiving.aspx

  Posted by Jason Snodgrass on January 14, 2015

Demanding Users

Having worked in IT for almost 17 years now, it amazes me how users act in the workplace. Currently working at a company in the manufacturing industry everyone is all about processes and streamlining them. There is a process for …

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Having worked in IT for almost 17 years now, it amazes me how users act in the workplace. Currently working at a company in the manufacturing industry everyone is all about processes and streamlining them. There is a process for everything and the users all seem to abide by them all except where IT is involved. Having a well-documented process for seeking assistance appears to be a waste of time. Support processes have been streamlined yet users are not willing to follow the process or rules.

Having to work in a cubicle and be the only person on site to handle the complex projects and implementations as well as the day to day operations is impossible. Nothing makes implementing that new file server easier than the user thinks that they will get an immediate response by yelling at you from their cubicle 20 feet away.

Working in an office and having the door closed is no easy feat either, nothing like the constant barrage of “Can you do…” and “Do you think…” as your door flies open unexpectedly. Lock the door you say, it’s like my cat at home scratching at the door while I am in the shower of a morning, only the cat is much cuter in its actions.

I have had users in my career literally send me an e-mail and then get up from their desk walk across the office and then approach my desk and ask the fated “Did you get my e-mail?” question. Most organizations I have worked for have some sort of ticketing system for tracking issues. This is to document support requests so they are not lost in a shuffle of emails, and or paper on one’s desk. It also allows for IT to see where the frequent issues are and begin looking at the bigger picture of such items like a switch going bad or network cabling that has been chewed by rats.

Having gone through the training required to obtain my Six Sigma Green Belt only makes me appreciate the ticket tracking system all that much more. This is the data that is used to look for trends and then take the appropriate corrective actions. I feel that all users should have to go through this training which not only better their problem-solving skills on the job but will also let them see why the ticketing system is so important to IT.

It’s also really amazing that in today’s day and age users can’t even figure out how to change their password when it comes time. I mean how hard is it really to enter your current password and then pick a new one and enter it twice? I had a recent incident with a user that could not get the new password to match twice this receiving an error message. The users response to this was “It’s not working!”, yet there screen clearly stated that the new password that they entered did not match the two fields that they typed it into.

The whole “It’s not working!” just eats me up. I love the tickets titled “HELP!” with no other indication of what might be wrong. I had a crystal ball, but it stopped working and I had to take it in for repairs, so pardon me for being at a slight disadvantage and not able to read your mind. It’s like the time I had a user email me and tell me the famous “It’s not working, please fix.” to which I promptly replied, “What is it that is not working?” only to have “I can’t import.” sent back as the response /facepalm.  I asked the user if they could be a bit more specific as there are close to 101 applications in use that are capable of doing the said “Import” function they had mentioned. At this point, I get back a snotty response and yet they said then needed to get this said “Import” done by 3:30 pm. It was about this time I gave up and worked on other things.

  Posted by Jason Snodgrass on December 17, 2014

Mail Server Quandry

I am in a mail server bind and the question is; to Exchange or not to Exchange.

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I am in a mail server bind and the question is; to Exchange or not to Exchange.

  Posted by Jason Snodgrass on February 5, 2009