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September 14th, 2007

Memory::Refresh

I’ve spent three days refreshing my memory, aka. computer skills, in preparation for the new job. I’m glad that my laptop was up-to-date to help with it all -- “it” being programs like chm for reading the O’Reilly volume. (That volume is invaluable.)

It’s been frustrating. Many hurdles have popped up that I thought would be trivial tasks. There’s this terse ToDo List I made but it’s not shortening. If I slowed down, it would probably help but the job starts in almost a week, so I had hoped to see more progress by now.

Here’s some of the List and their statuses. Doing this is itself an exercise of project management -- something my new boss wants. Anyways:

eMail
    virtual serving addresses is more complex than I’d expected
        involves a database and virtual user
            MySQL & vmail
    at least I understand the services better
    this was part of my interview/test, so I’ve been concentrating on it
    they’re using qmail
        handles services in a proprietary way. *ugh*
            I had it working for awhile using the O’Reilly book --
            -- so I should stick to the books and not just playing around.
    It’s sad how little documentation there is on the practical side. Most of it is theorectical,
        “this is an MTA, this is a MUA, ...” blah blah blah
    I’ve installed Postfix
        still configuring
        there’s an O’Reilly book to really learn from
    another option is exim
Monitoring
    OpenNMS is polling but not serving up reports. *argh*
        it’s configuration is via xml. *ARGH*
        basically, disgruntled = trying another program, like NetQos
    net-snmp was as simple as I had remembered; aka., several working nodes
Web
    Apache is just dandy
        virtual domains are a piece-of-cake
    Mediawiki is kid’s play
        someone hacked into mine (because I had not expected anyone to see it!)
        I like that they’re using a wiki to document their network and its utilities :)
            This is something I should do instead of writing journals about my techie things.
DNS
    ... is stupid. It so simple that I’m having to tweak things.
CentOS
    server ready
        replaced my first bad processor ... ever!
            I remember it getting very hot awhile back but thought the problem was memory/motherboard
            overheating is bad! fans are good! their server-room has separate AC -- great!
Solaris
    they don’t run it but I have this sweet Ultra, so I refreshed some old UNIX skills. *ugh* it’s not nice to users.
Wireshark
    the old ethereal is back. Honestly I never found it useful for system administration

Going forward I need to focus more on the O’Reilly authors’ explanations of what’s under the hood of all these programs. Perhaps the theory is a good thing even though I just wanted to get things running on my home playground. Like, I’m noticing how similar Postfix is to qmail, so troubleshooting eMail is actually more similar than a mere practcial approach would seem to indicate. The downside to theory is how it slows down my immediate ability to “fix” something, and that issue -- one’s inability to get things working ASAP -- is something I noticed during my interview.

So here’s to more reading at the coffee shop. :)