I like to travel, f*ck with technology, and partake in the occasional tropical drink.
I am also a co-host on The NBD Show podcast.
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While surfing the ForcCast.net blog I ran across this New Years Eve Idea.

Celebrate a New Hope Trench Run New Years by watching the Death Star blow up at midnight. Plus there is no Ryan Secrest, Bonus!

Viewing instructions -- see below for DVD and Blu-ray times

1. Cue up your copy of A New Hope. Start the movie and hit pause immediately. Make sure the counter reads 0:00:00. When you reach the designated time (as determined below), hit the play button. 

2. Watch the movie!

3. If you timed it right, and your media player didn't have any hiccups, the Death Star should explode at midnight exactly. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

4. Celebrate with friends, family, and beverages of your choice.

Start Times
  • Special Edition DVD: Press play at 10:02:48 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:57:12 in the movie.
  • Blu-ray Disc: Press play at 10:02:42 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:57:18 in the movie.
  • Theatrical Release: on the Bonus DVD of the special Edition DVD set press play at 10:05:45 PM. The Death Star will explode at 1:54:15 in the movie.
This was Originally posted on the ForceCast.net Blog 
Here is the Link to the Original Post
With the prevalence of cloud computing and companies growing dependencies, environments such as Amazon Web Services have become a huge points of failure.  The interdependency on web service companies and cloud infrastructure has created a complicated and confusing web.  The average Joe  knows Netflix doesn't work, but there is no way for him to find out why it doesn't work.  Some companies are proactive and do a pretty decent job updating clients on outages, but a majority of them are happy with keeping their customers in the dark.  The goal of this post is to give some helpful links that may give you some visibility into this mysterious haze they call The Cloud.

Amazon does a pretty good job here is there AWS Service Health Dashboard:
AWS Amazon Service Health Dashoard
AWS Twitter Feed

Netflix which runs almost exclusivaly on AWS:
Netflix Twitter Feed

Many other companies leverage the Amazon Cloud such as Reddit, Coursera, Flipboard, FastCompany, Foursquare, Pinterest, Airbnb, and more.

Google Apps Status, this page breaks out many of Google core services:
App Status Dashboard

Apple Services such as iCloud, iMessage, Siri, etc.:
Apple Support System Status 

 Rackspace Cloud Status:
Cloud Status

The End of Google Exchange Active Sync

Google released a blog post titled Winter Cleaning where in they layed out their road map for Exchange Active Sync (EAS), and sorry to say the road is short. Google says "Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function." Google does not hint for how long these existing free EAS devices will work, but did state they will continue to support EAS in Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. 

So where do we go from here?  Google has finished their CardDAV sync for contacts, so in association with IMAP for email and calendar they say they can "offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols." It's true I have tested their solution and it works just not as seamless as Exchange and with a much more complicated set up process. 

Here are the steps from Google's Sync site for the new set up of an IOS device. Word of warning these procedures may change so follow the link at the top of each config example for the most current Google Sync procedures.

To configure the 'Mail' app on an Apple device for access to Gmail, just follow these steps:
  1. Make sure you've enabled IMAP in your main Gmail settings
  2. Open the Settings app on your device
  3. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  4. Tap Add Account...
  5. Tap Gmail
  6. Enter your account information, being sure to use your full Gmail address, including '@gmail.com'
  7. Tap Next
  8. Tap Save
Contacts via CardDAV:
Here’s how to sync your contacts to your device:
  1. Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account...
  4. Select Other
  5. Select Add CardDAV Account
  6. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
    • Server: Enter "google.com"
    • User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    • Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled 2 Step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application specific password.)
    • Description: Enter a description of the account (e.g. Personal Contacts).
  7. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  8. Make sure that the "Contacts" option is turned to ON.
Exchange Active Sync has some benefits over the open alternatives.  The first is its speed, emails arriving into the Microsoft Exchange inbox or Google's inbox using EAS are instantly pushed to the device.  Where as IMAP uses a sudo push/short polling mechanism to trigger the action. The second is ease of set up, as you can see above there are quit a few steps to setting up your phone using open standards.  Where as Exchange Active Sync was just one set of credentials and a control screen to select what you wanted synced.

Exchange Active Sync for me has been the killer APP for my iDevices, and I hope Google can make the alternitive as reliable, speedy, and seamless as EAS.
Apple Brining Home Jobs

If you're a fan of apple or it's products you may be curious about Tim Cook.  Here is a link to a great interview with Apple's CEO Tim Cook. It's entertaining to watch Tim speak in the specific generalities that is apple, but he did drop some very interesting tidbits.  

Google sync is as robust as any enterprise solution, and I discovered one more feature that makes it even more impressive. Many of us have multiple family members that share Google calendars, but  until now I didn't know how to sync those calendars to my iPhone and iPad. Now I do!!!

To select which calendars to sync to your Apple device, follow these steps:
  • Sign in with your account and select your device from the list of devices you’ve set up for Google Sync.
  • Once you select your device you can choose from the calendars you have already set up in your Google  calendar to sync.

  • You’ll need to do this setup on each IOS devices that uses Google Sync, to show multiple calendars.
I also found this helpful link that list some of the known issues between Google sync and IOS devices.  Click Here

For everyone who has worked on a Cisco ACE you have experienced the pains of troubleshooting, especially in a long complicated config. Often you are reverse engineering from the policy-map multi-match to the r servers and probes to find all the pieces that make up the service.  We have asked people within Cisco is there a command that will show everything related to a policy-map multi-match class and the answer has always been no, until recently.  A colleague of mine was working with a Cisco TAC engineer via a webex and came across a most useful undocumented command.  Here is what the TAC engineer entered:

 show run filter policy-map multi-match class name 

ex. show run filter L4_SLB_CLASS

This returned most of the associated parts of the service i.e. class-map, load-balance, server-farm, real server etc. Sounds like a dream right? Here is the kicker, I am not sure what platforms are supported.  I know it worked on a 4710 appliance running A3 code, but I have attempted it on an ACE 20 module running A2 code and it didn't work.  So if anyone has any info about this command send me an email and if I find any more documentation I will link it to this post.
I have had the iPhone a week now and I am still amazed by the LTE speeds.  When you have full signal, this phone is blazing fast. I am a network geek and I work with a bunch network guys and our jaws hit the floor when I ran my first speedtest.

To be far we did not test it against a Verizon LTE phone, but we did test them against AT&T 4G HSPA+ and it crushed their 2Mbps down and 800k up. So far this is the best iPhone I have owned.

Final note on battery life. I have had it a week and I have noticed that compared to my iPhone 4 the battery does not last quit as long. At least that's my perception. When the phone gets low 8 or 9 percent the iPhone 4 would live on for hours.  The iPhone 5 doesn't quit have the same will for life and just keeps chugging away on that battery. To be far though I am running LTE, location, wifi, and I sill get a full day+ out of it. Really it barley noticeable to me but i did notice it.
Living where I do I have two choices, AT&T which is cool if I wasn't 3+ miles from their central office, and Comcast. So when I saw that Kansas City residents where pre registering for fiber I was a bit jealous. Gig up and down,  fiber to their homes for 70 dollars a month, or TV and Internet for $120 dollars, sign me up.  Plus I doubt they will steadily see their bills increase like Comcast tends to do.  Oh ya and no data cap....  Hopefully this is the direction we are moving playing catchup with allot of the world.  I want to see our country succeed and lead the world by example not ruin what we helped create, by censoring the internet and letting companies like Comcast do what they do.

Here is a link to Google's fiber page so you can read all about it for your self.

I stumbled across this video, it was a TED talk in 2008 about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  Since the Discovery of a Higgs like particle I thought it was a good idea to post it.  Brian Cox, OBE does a good job explaining the Higgs particle and the role it plays in the universe. 

This is the first episode of my friends new web series AREA 49. 

Good job Jason it looks great and is super funny keep it coming.
With the popularity of the iPhones and iPads, the Mac has become practically viral among technology professionals. Even without official company support many of these users have banded together to create user-support communities within their companies.  I was recently at a large network hardware company and they threw out some statistics about Mac adoption.  Only 4 years ago they began to allow staff to purchase Apple devices, and since then almost 45% of their employees run a Mac. This is with no official technical support.  So how do they make the Mac Network engineer friendly?

There are several things a Network engineer needs.
  1. Serial Terminal App - The Mac has several options including the built in terminal app.  But many of us like to have something more.  Secure CRT $99.00 - Great app kinda expensive though. There is also CoolTerm, it's free and so far so good, really clean interface and easy to use.
  2. SSH Client - Once again the built in Mac SSH app is great and some cleaver developer out there created an app to manage multiple telnet and SSH connections.  JellyfiSSH $3.99, in the Apple app store, is a really easy and intuitive way of bookmarking all those connections.
  3. TFTP Server - I haven't really explored TFTP on the mac, but I found TFTP Client $1.99, in the Apple app store.  I haven't had a chance to use it and I have to admit I love tftp32 for windows, but let me know what you find.
  4. Serial Port - Steve Job's obsession with sleek industrial design killed off the com port a long time ago. Without a com port a network engineer is practically dead in the water.  There have been some really good USB serial adapters like the Keyspan by Tripp Light USA-19H, but recently I have been on the hunt for a Bluetooth serial adapter.  After looking online, Bluetooth serial adapters range from $40 to $250 dollars.  I am not looking to spend a ton of money so, luckily, I found a great post by Chris Marget on fragmentationneeded.net. In his post he highlights the UConnect BT232B from US Converters.  He says it's a slam dunk for Mac or PC and it seems very reasonably priced at $45.00.  I can't wait to give it a try and update once I get a look at it.
  5. Text Editor -   The text editor in the Mac is as good as notepad but you may want more.  Syntax highlighting is kinda like crack for those who are look at code or configs all day.  I wanted to list a couple text editor I have found invaluable. The first is Ultra Edit a robust text editor with a ton of extras and at $59 bucks well worth it. They also provide a ton of free extras such as the Cisco IOS language pack found here.  There is also a pretty good free alternative called Text Wrangler, it is the freeware version of BBEdit which i have not used, but it to also has a Cisco IOS language pack that can be downloaded from here.
Lastly, I welcome your ideas so feel free to list any apps hardware tor tricks you have found to make the Mac the network engineers friend.

A "supermoon"or perigee-syzygy is a full moon that during its elliptical orbit passes closest to the Earth. For more cool info visit this link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermoon  We had to use the manual setting on our point and shoot camera, ISO 100  F/8 and 1/80 shutter speed.

Hands down the best Parade of the 2012 Mardi Gras for me. Of course there were lots of people but I never felt crowded. I did feel sorry for the women that were with us though, it seemed like they underestimated the porta potties by about 10 thousand people. They were overflowing before we even got to our spot. Will Ferrel was awesome though standing on the float with a cow bell in hand, everyone including our group was yelling, "More Cowbell!" and he delivered.