first two reviews of Network Flow Analysis

In the time between when a book is released and when the first reviews appear, authors experience a variety of symptoms ranging from unease to outright panic.  “Did I miss something obvious?”  “Did I really screw up?”  “Am I the laughingstock of the tech industry?”  Web pages can be fixed, but printed books are immutable; any errors are immortalized.  Over the years, I’ve gotten the symptoms down to an ongoing gentle nausea.

Thankfully, the first two reviews on Network Flow Analysis are out.

I sent Justin at DragonFly BSD Digest a review copy of NFA, and he not only read the book, he’s planning to implement it at work.  I’d call that a thumbs up.

Then there’s a review from Dad of Divas.  DofD reviews lots of stuff on his blog, mostly stuff that he receives as a promotion.  The odd thing is, I have no idea how he got a copy of the book.  The lesson?  The publishing publicity machine is mysterious and inexplicable, even to those of us trapped inside it.

But, having read the reviews, my lingering dread and nausea is gone.  Thanks, folks.

Not Interesting

What, it’s been more than a week since I posted?  That’s easily explained:  I’m not doing anything interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m busy.  Project Albatross (my current personal writing project) is coming along nicely, at 25,000 words out of approximately 80,000.  But blogging about work that is unlikely to be published is downright narcissistic.  For those of you waiting for me to pump out a new technical book, I can tell you that my goal is to have PA complete before World Fantasy 2010, so I have two projects to sell instead of one, thus doubling my chances of further prostituting myself to the media industry getting an agent for my non-nonfiction and selling same to a publisher.  The new nonfiction should start rolling shortly thereafter.

In the day job, I’m debugging Cacti 0.8.7f.  Not interesting.

I’m also configuring OpenNebula.  Not interesting.

Installing Drupal?  Not interesting.

I’m planning to work on an interesting FreeBSD-based project soon, but I’m not allowed to discuss it in public.  When I can, when I finish, if I finish, I will.  But today, not interesting.

Debugging OpenSolaris NFS?  Most of my debugging hints are taken from other people’s blogs.  I’m keeping notes, mind you, and in the event that I learn something interesting, I’ll post it.  But mostly:  not interesting.

LDAP?  Surely I have some LDAP pain to share?  Nope.  Once you get through the initial torment, expanding LDAP is rote.  Not interesting.

Personal life?  I’m not going to blog about that, unless something truly spectacular happens.

My life is basically boring.  Your attention and time are valuable.  I wish to not waste it.  If you’re spending your time reading this blog, chances are I value your time more highly than you do.  I highly recommend using a RSS reader, so you’ll get notified when I have a new post.

But, in an effort to provide useful content this week, I highly recommend Janet Fitch’s article on 10 Writing Tips That Can Help Almost Anyone.  Most of these “10 tips” lists are as a waste of space, but this particular one isn’t.  If you write for any purpose, read it.  If you expect me to read your work, follow it.

Here’s hoping I do something interesting soon.

review copies sent out, NFA a best-seller

I’m back from Toronto.  Now that I’m caught up on deleting spam, I’ve been able to get to the post office.  All of the free review books are now in the hands of the post office.

As I write this, somehow Network Flow Analysis is Amazon’s #4 best-seller in the category “Production, Operation, and Management.”  Amazon’s classification algorithms appear to be smoking some good stuff, but hey, it’s a best-seller list, so I’ll take it.

Can’t give the danged books away…

I’ve gone through the comments on my offer to give away review copies of my new book, and to my surprise found that several people I’d like to give books won’t be getting them… because I can’t contact them.

Leaving a comment that presents you as an intelligent, capable reviewer is great.  I appreciate that.  But if I can’t contact you, if I can’t write you and ask for your address, then I can’t send you a book.  Some people left Web addresses.  Fine, I can look there and get your contact information… if it’s on the page, or if you have a contact form, or something.  A few people have nice blogs, but no apparent contact form.  If your blog is not in English, and didn’t have something that looked like a contact or an email address, I looked at the front page source code to find a mailto: link.  That worked in some cases.

I’ve emailed people I can email, to get their snail mail addresses, so I can ship the review copies I have.  If you posted a thoughtful, insightful comment, but didn’t leave me a way to contact you… sorry.  Books will be shipped out next Tuesday or Wednesday, after my Toronto trip.  And if you ever get to Toronto, check out Mysteriously Yours.

rancid and cvsweb

Rancid, or a similar program, is a necessity in network management.  You can find a decent rancid tutorial at http://www.joe-ma.co.za/page.php?9, so I’m not going to flog that dead horse.  I can’t expect my coworkers to learn either CVS or Subversion, however.  They want a pretty Web interface, or they won’t use the tool. Continue reading “rancid and cvsweb”

Books have arrived!

The UPS delivery man rings our doorbell every time he drops off a package… unless it contains books. That means I only know my new books arrive when I trip over the box.

The first copy of NFA
You can still smell the fresh ink...

I’m pleased to report that, in addition to the useful technical content, this books contains 30% more insolence than my previous work.

I’ll be giving away several copies for reviews. If you’re interested, I’ve posted details here.

Cisco virtual bridge interfaces

Use a Bridge Virtual Interface when you want to have multiple router interfaces act as members of a single Ethernet collision domain, or bridge two separate network segments together.  Lots of wireless bridges use this function to attach their wireless clients to a local Ethernet.  Start by defining the bridge group:

router(config)#bridge 202 protocol ieee
router(config)#bridge 202 route ip

Then put some interfaces into that group:

router(config)#int faste31
router(config-if)#bridge-group 202
router(config-if)#int faste32
router(config-if)#bridge-group 202
router(config-if)#int faste33

Then, create the BVI interface:

router(config-if)#int bvi202
router(config-if)#desc new server cluster
router(config-if)#ip addr 198.22.62.65 255.255.255.240

Your BVI interface should be up, and all these formerly “router” ports should now be a transparent bridge.

(Why am I using BVI instead of VLAN on a bunch of Ethernet ports?  This particular switch is configured as a router, and it really wants to treat all the interfaces as router interfaces.  It insists it doesn’t know how to configure a VLAN.  I’m certain that Cisco has a reason for this, but their explanation might put me off my feed.)

Free (for some value of free) Books

My author’s copies of Network Flow Analysis should arrive later this week.  While my publisher sends review copies to all of the likely reviewers, I’d also like to give my readers a chance to get in an the free review copy goodness.   If you’re willing to write a review for your blog, Amazon, or (preferably) both, I might have a free book for you. Continue reading “Free (for some value of free) Books”

Request Tracker serialized workflow

RT offers many ways to manage workflow, but most of them create a separate ticket for each part of the workflow.  The tasks at my company are mostly serialized:  a request comes in, is worked on by person A, who hands it off to person B, who hands it to person C, who closes the request.  Opening a separate ticket for each of these isn’t efficient.  (The situation is different for parallelized tasks.)  I want a method to easily pass tickets from one person to the next. Continue reading “Request Tracker serialized workflow”