> cool solutions home   > uncool solutions home   
Uncool Solutions: And you left your headlights on, too.
Reader Rating    from ratings rate this article
View a Printer Friendly Version of this Page Send this page to a friend
January: And you left your headlights on, too.
(c) 2003 The Tayler Corporation, All Rights Reserved
Colored by Jean Elmore

Winning Entries

Here are the winning entries that were submitted for January's And you left your headlights on, too comic strip. If you would like to try your hand at solving a comic strip problem with a Novell products, check out the current contest.

Here's the Question:

You've done it before... you've left the iron on, or the tap running, or the refrigerator door open. It's a householder's nightmare. Wouldn't it be nice if you could monitor the status of those appliances remotely?

Have you ever set up a monitoring system for an appliance? We're not talking typical IT appliances here -- we're talking vending machines, fish-tanks, or giant bat-signals. Tell us about the monitoring system you built.

Here are the winners:

1st Place

Wayne Doust

At a previous job, the server room a/c was WAY too big for the room and there was no way to adjust the temperature. As a result it was a chilly 15 degrees celsius in the room even in summer - it was also VERY noisy. Anyone working in the room would turn the a/c off whilst working in there. The trouble was that they would forget to turn it on again when they left and the temperature would rise to the point where you could cook a pie in there!

I found an external relay circuit on the a/c. It was simply closed when the a/c was on and open when it was off. I rigged a simple buffer to the RS232 port of an old PC with the DOS netware client and installed it into the server room. The input was redirected to a simple dos program I wrote to monitor the on/off signal. On a signal change it would write an appropriately formatted file and copy it to the input directory of the gwapi gateway.

I then setup the api gateway to look for these files and then send an email message to the IT group that the a/c had been switched on or off as appropriate.

Everyone was curious as to how I managed to connect the a/c up to GroupWise and I earned the reputation for being a hardware guru!

2nd Place

John Miller

I'm not monitoring any appliances, fish-tanks or giant bat signals, but to monitor the health of our NetWare 6 servers I use the browser-based NetWare Remote Manager. Under Health Monitor I selected Mail Control Panel. I put in our mail server's name and my email address. (Be sure to press the Save button after each entry.) I also put in the server's name in the Optional Mail From Identification. On the main Health Monitor screen I checked the Notify option for Abended Thread Count. This enables the server to email me whenever its abended thread count increments. But that's not all...

I don't want the whole abend log sent to my pager, so in GroupWise, I set up a rule for each server. Upon receiving an email from any server the rule will send a simple, one-word message (the server name) to our internet-based paging service. Now, whenever a server abends, my pager alerts me with the server's name.

3rd Place

David Poole

Set up a monitoring system for my door to my bedroom when I was in high school. My step-mother kept snooping in my room, so I set up an Atari 800XL and re-wired on of my joystick controllers. I wrote a simple BASIC program to keep track the number of times the door was open. Worked pretty well, I could determine the number of times she entered my room.

Then one day, for fun, I added a sound and graphic alert (red alert) to it, and cranked up the TV volume REAL loud...needless to say, it scared the heck out of her when she had a flashing red screen and an alarm that could be heard down the street in her face as she entered my room to snoop around.

read this month's comic and submit your solutions

Go see the newest Uncool Solutions, and submit your entry today. You might be the winner next month.

view the archived comics