For me as an engineer working out of the European Support Center, getting to BrainShare often also means I'll spend a week working out of our Provo office in the week prior to that. This week I spend quite some time with the people testing ZENworks Configuration Management, it has been great to see how much progress we've made since we shipped our first beta at the end of January. Beta 2 is looking good and I'm looking forward to show this to some customers at BrainShare next week.
Downside of my stay here in Provo will be that I won't be able to see the Formula 1 race in Melbourne, Sunday is the start of the season and it will be interesting to see if the BMW Sauber team is able to make some progress this year. Last December they had a new supercomputer installed to do calculations on their aerodynamics, it's quite impressive to see the computing power they use to do these calculations (rank 60 in the Supercomputer TOP500 list), and yes, this system has some SUSE Linux as a base OS :-)
If someone knows a stream on the Internet that shows the race in Melbourne, let me know in the comments...
Submitted by: rvanherk on Thu. 03.15.2007
Many customers get to BrainShare to learn about the Novell products, BrainShare however isn't just about Novell educating it's customers it's also about customers educating Novell. For many of the Novell employees it's a perfect opportunity to get feedback on things they have been working with, talking to people in the lab or during a session does give a huge amount of info for us at Novell as well.
The Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions at BrainShare are a special type of sessions where we've got open discussions about certain topics. The idea behind these sessions is to have customers share their thoughts and experiences on certain topics, with this customers can learn from each other but at the same time these sessions are a great opportunity for us at Novell to gather some info on customer experiences and expectations. This year I'm moderating three different BOF sessions, “ZENworks in a WAN environment” (BOF140), “Architecting and Scaling your ZENworks solution” (BOF142) and “Tips and Tricks on Application Packaging” (BOF240). These sessions will be a great learning experience for me as well, having people discuss issues involved with WAN links and scalability just at the time that we are working on our new generation ZENworks will give me some great info that I can take with me and feed back to the test-teams that do scalability tests.
Looking forward to Share some Brain next week :-)
Submitted by: rvanherk on Mon. 03.12.2007
People will be amazed about what we as support engineers can get out of a network trace.
In general logfiles are the first thing to look at when you run into some issues, logfiles however do not always get you to the root cause of an issue. In some situations a network trace is the perfect way to get the information about what happens and at what exact point thing's go wrong. Taking a trace however isn't always easy, many customers are using high-end ethernet switches and taking a network trace will often require some assistance from the people managing the infrastructure so that they can take the trace from a monitoring port on the switch.
The first thing I always ask to a customer if they need to take a trace on the workstation side is if they have an old ethernet hub available somewhere. Just connect the problem workstation to the hub and connect a second workstation to take the trace. Unfortunately these day's it isn't that easy to find an old hub, many customers replaced their old hubs with a switched environment and the old hubs just get thrown away as garbage. So now you know, if you still have some hubs available, please don't throw them away but keep one or two as a troubleshooting tool, at some point in time it might save you some time.
Submitted by: rvanherk on Tue. 02.06.2007
Last week Ken Muir wrote about the Windows Vista HELL and his problems after he installing Vista on his dual-boot workstation. During the install of Vista the install will just overwrite the MBR and as such that will be the end of your dual-boot configuration.
Today a few of my friends from Novell Australia pointed me at an article about Linux and Vista in Linux Magazine, great reading material for everyone using both Vista and Linux. Would have saved Ken some time ;-)
Submitted by: rvanherk on Mon. 01.29.2007
Like many others at Novell, I always prefer to do life demos when I need to deliver a session. A running demo environment allows you to be flexible while doing a presentation and in general the audience finds it more attractive to see the real thing. In some situations however it's more easy to just show some Flash presentation with a recording.
Today as was preparing myself for a demo I need to deliver next week, and due to the fact that the time I've got to run this demo is very limited, I decided to play safe and use a Flash presentations instead of running a real product installation. To create demo's like this I'm using Wink, it's a great freeware tool that allows me to capture what happens on the screen (both Windows and Linux) and allows me to edit what I've captured. I can add “Next” buttons so it will hold the presentation while I'm running it, it allows me to skip some of the time it takes to perform the install and I can export the demo into a Flash or EXE file (you may guess what I'll be using to run the demo on my SLED workstation ;-) ).
Are you using screen captures for training or demo, and if so what tools are you using to create these? Any tips or tricks?
Submitted by: rvanherk on Sat. 01.20.2007
Don't you hate that, when something you've worked with for several years, something that you just can do with your eyes closed, if something like that gets changed?
Well, that's what Novell just did, we changed our filefinder and moved our patches to the Novell downloads site. Unfortunately with the old filefinder and the patch-building process behind it, we where running into more and more limitations and as such it was time for some change.
OK, so is this new tool the perfect thing? Hmm, I still need to get used to it and many of my customers and co-workers seem to have the same feeling. Probably we all just have to get used to the new download page and have to get familiar with the search options, however I know there are several issues and enhancements that are being worked on (like the problems for people in France that have some difficulties to get access to the patches).
If you want to know more about downloading patches through the new system, have a look at the FAQ page that got created for this (this page will probably updated when some additional questions will be asked frequently).
Submitted by: rvanherk on Thu. 01.18.2007