Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Work (Page 1 of 43)

A Diligent Worker I Am

I took today off as a mental-health and personal-projects day, in advance of starting my on-call rotation tomorrow. I needed the break. Technically I need a longer break but I was so busy and stressed out and off-balance this month that I didn’t think to actually apply for time off until… yesterday.

Oh well.

I still got up with the alarm, though. Being on a pill-taking regimen sort of requires sticking to the daily routine; if I sleep through the alarm, my phone’s pill-taking reminder goes off a while later anyway. So I went through the regular start-of-day shuffle: shave, shower, etc.

While in the shower, the solution to a nagging work problem came to me. Because I am who I am, as soon as I got to my computer I confirmed the validity of the idea, then loaded up my work email and sent a message to my boss about the solution.

I get brownie points for that, right? Good. Thanks.

I Love Making Stuff Work

Most days, I’m just a fix-it man. Someone broke something, or entropy took its toll, whichever: I get the call and I (usually) find a way to fix the problem.

On rare, delightful occasions I get to actually build something, though. That’s the best.

Today at the office (as it were) I replaced the basically-defunct PHP Server Monitor setup with Uptime Kuma, which (if you install one extra piece of software) can send notifications to all kinds of things if a monitored website-or-whatever goes offline. Since our company lives in Microsoft Teams day in and day out, I set it to post alerts to a particular Teams channel. I showed the results to the VP and a couple of relevant coworkers and they’re all happy with it. Excellent!

A couple of hours of just hunkered down, putting a new thing into service, learning its ins and outs, and getting useful results at the end? Absolute heaven.

More of that, please.

A Staging Share for Automate

Three years ago, my employers left the Kaseya remote management system behind and migrated to ConnectWise Automate (formerly known as LabTech before the CW juggernaut bought it up, along with a variety of other acquisitions). While there are large benefits to being on this new system, such as not having been part of a gigantic supply-chain malware attack, we do miss a few things from the Kaseya system. Kaseya’s agent status indicators were far superior to Automate’s indicators, its agent software installed and updated far more reliably than Automate’s does, the agent software could be removed via the remote management system, and Kaseya featured a built-in staging share function.

We used the heck out of that share system, mostly for patches but also for other kinds of software deployment. We’ve just kind of gone without that functionality in the years since, but every so often we lament the loss and wonder if there’s a solution.

So this month I’ve started building one. In the stupendously unlikely event that another Automate admin is looking to do something like this, here are the building blocks I’ve put together.

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I still call this thing a journal for some reason.

Way, way, way back in the distant reaches of time, I started a site under this domain to be a don’t-call-it-a-blog. Mostly I treated it like the way I now treat Twitter & Tumblr: Brief snippets of thought punctuated by memes. Or possibly the other way ’round. Then social media became a thing and I really let this site go to waste. I also created sub-sites, and sites on other domains, and what-have-you. Look, I clearly need adult supervision because every third time I visit Hover I end up buying a domain.

I’m not here to say “I’m back” or anything so absurd as that. I’ve tried that, it never worked out. I’m just here to give a bit of catch-up on various things:

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CrashPlan does not want you to know when things work

Let’s put on a little play, in one act. To set the scene you need to know that my employers use a service called Backup Radar to track successes and failures across our suite of supported backup products. Backup Radar uses APIs to connect to some services and relies on emailed reports for others. CrashPlan is one of those others.

Until recently, CrashPlan has sent a daily summary report of successes and failures all in one message. Nice, simple, all in one place, easy to parse. Then they decided to change report formats…

Me, to CrashPlan Support: Hey, guys. I noticed the new report format. Looks snazzy, but could you re-enable reporting successful jobs? This is important to us.

CrashPlan Support: LOL No.

Me, to CPS: Do you have an API we could query instead?

CPS: Um what?

Me, to CPS: Any options at all to remedy this problem? It’s serious enough that we’re going to look at replacing your product in our offerings.

CPS: We only look forward, never back.

Me, to Backup Radar Support: Looks like CrashPlan have utterly crippled our ability to use their centralized daily summary report to track successful jobs. Got any suggestions?

Backup Radar Support: Here’s an article on how to configure the CrashPlan clients individually to send their daily reports, bypassing the useless centralized reporting situation.

Me: Well, okay. That’ll be tedious, but whatever works, thanks!

CrashPlan: Oh hey, we just updated the UI for all clients to remove the email reporting option. LOL!

Me: …sigh.

Hey, remember when CrashPlan didn’t suck? I used their services for years! I pushed for us to adopt them as the replacement for Ahsay!


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