Saturday, August 27, 2005

Working in IT again!

At last I have some employment in my profession - information technology. This past week, I worked four days at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center (SNHMC) as a Windows 2000 security consultant, installing the latest Windows 2000 Professional service pack, the latest Internet Explorer service pack, running the latest hot fixes, then installing the latest version of Symantic Anti Virus software. I personally worked on between sixty and seventy systems during the week.

Yesterday and today, and for the next few days, I will be working in the IT group at Keane State College (KSC) in Keane, NH to provide both field and help desk support for students returning to school. KSC implemented a Cisco Clean Access (CCA), "a software solution that can automatically detect, isolate, and clean infected or vulnerable devices that attempt to access your network". (ref.

Returning students are likely to have difficulty and get initially annoyed with the solution, so KSC hired ten temporary consultants to assist in getting everyone up and on the air. I worked with Freshmen students today, and I will be working with the remaining student population for the next couple of days to get securely connected to this year's network. This hardware and software solution was implemented to help reduce the instances of worm and virus attacks and isolate their accessibility to the campus network.

Both jobs have been interesting, and I am looking to leverage these experiences toward work that I plan to do in the near future.

Friday, August 19, 2005

FreeSBIE 1.1 back on my AMD 400 desktop

I have experimented with FreeSBIE before. It has a nice looking interface, and it simplifies the use and optional installation of FreeBSD software onto a desktop system. FreeSBIE 1.1 is based on FreeBSD 5.3. While strictly speaking, it is not FreeBSD, like some of the Linux distributions that begin with code from a certain base, FreeSBIE is to FreeBSD as CentOS is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

I may revisit PC-BSD to see if they have any new version. PC-BSD was advancing like mad for a while; haven't heard much about it recently, so I want to see if any more progress has been made. If so, I may put PC-BSD on the AMD, otherwise I will leave FreeSBIE on there a while longer.

Working on my AMD 400

I put Feather Linux on my AMD 400 and I reinstalled Windows XP. I did this after resizing my disk partitions to balance the size so that I could better manage updates. All done with that. Now my attention turns to new distros that may have come out. I want to see what's going on with the Mandriva distros. This release has not worked out well for me so far in Beta testing. I want to try it again and report the problems that I have been having.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Installed Mandriva 2006.0.2

Installed the Beta 2 test of Mandriva 2006.0. Having problems getting a kernel installed that works on my system. That seemed to be what was happening when I briefly tried the Beta 1 test. Will have to try again and report the problem.

Installed Lineox 4.0 Enterprise Linux

I finally installed one of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) alternatives, Lineox. Installation went very cleanly, basic operations worked well. After a while, I had two lockups occur in the latest release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6, something I have not seen on other systems. Response in Thunderbird was also sluggish, but did not appear to be hung. Will have to investigate both systems again to see if it was a one time thing caused by my network or if it was a real bug in Lineox or Firefox.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Creating CDs

I downloaded the Beta 2 release of the Mandriva 2006.0 release. Did not get a chance to test out the Beta 1 release. I also had intended to test one or two of the freely available alternatives to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), either White Box 4, CentOS 4, or Lineox 4. I tried to install White Box 4 several weeks ago but had one bad CD, haven't had a chance to go back. Have not had the chance to try out Lineox, which is the next version I have downloaded. Will try to put that on my list.

I do also have a LiveKiosk test CD that I would like to try out. I may get a chance to give it a try before Mandriva or RHEL replacements, but I do intend to come back and test out Mandriva (interested in seeing if I can spot any Joseph Cheek influences yet).

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Revamping my system

I made the first significant mistake I have made in a long time on my system about a week ago, just about the time I was becoming ill. I had been installing some systems, specifically some Live CD systems, to disk, and I was removing and adding disk partitions to modify the sizes of a few of them to better accomodate what I was planning to do.

I used fdisk for some of these activities. At one point, I added a volume label to what I thought was the eleventh disk partition. It turned out to be the twelth partition, but I did not see it in time, so I altered my twelth partition. Unfortunately, that partition contained quite a bit of Web browser context and a couple of years of Email content.

I think I will be writing that stuff to CD/RW a bit more often!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Software used this week

I usually use Libranet 3.0, which I have heavily customized, as my desktop system in my basement lab. Libranet has a great collection of software, and it is also easily updated, modified, and maintained. Another desktop Linux distribution, though, is also quite good, and for certain things, such as preconfigured browser plugins, SimplyMEPIS is somewhat easier to use. Both Libranet and SimplyMEPIS have great base software, a recent Linux kernel, an excellent collection of utilities, and the always outstanding Debian packaging and configuration tools.

Sometimes I hack up Libranet, so it is nice to have another option available to me until I have time to fix what I mess up (sometimes I mess things up on purpose, so I can study how they work and how to fix them), other times I just get too aggressive by installing bleeding edge software that breaks the way the packaging is supposed to work, and it also breaks the way some multi media content works.

SimplyMEPIS has some nice plugins that are automatically integrated into the default Web browser that work well; I have been using them a lot this week.

I have also been experimenting with Klax-KDE-3.4.2 to see how well KDE 3.4.2 is working. So far, that experiment is going very well.

Finally, I have installed or attempted to install two additional desktop systems since last week, DragonFly BSD, which I successfully installed on my old AMD 400 system (I do have to install the ports collection, though, as is, my installation is pretty minimal. I attempted to install a base level of the next Beta release of Mandriva 2006 (0.1.3). That did not work. The kernel keeps crashing. I am going to go back to make sure I picked up the correct ISO images and also check to see if there have been problems with this beta test cycle. I may have something to report to the development team if I have the right stuff installed.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I must be crazy!

I have been doing a lot of software research, but I have ended up staying up most of the night! If I get tired tomorrow or the next day, I have nobody to blame but myself! I did find quite a few interesting sites over night, including some highly opinionated and charged columns - MadCarters was one of them. I think I have read it before, but not recently.