Epic Change

… and a new blog platform as well.

Or more precisely, the new blog platform is necessitated by the change. That change is:

A new job.

That’s right, and not only a new job, a new company. I have decided to hang up my Microsoft FTE spurs and take up with a new (to me) company and go back out in the field as a consultant to help companies recover from ransomware attacks.

It will be a challenging new job, but I’m much more hopeful about my future opportunities with this new company. Plus, the “stress” of the new job can in no way compete with the demoralization I’ve been subjected to in the last couple of years at Microsoft. It once was a great company to work for, and likely still is in other organizations, but the one I was most lately in had become toxic and hostile.

I start the new job in a couple of days. Which, of course, leads me to my next topic: platform!

Because as a MS employee I had a full MSDN subscription, I also had a free Azure subscription and I used it to host this blog and to test out other technologies as well. Now that I am leaving, I have migrated off Azure and moved the blog to WordPress.com to be hosted. This should provide me with an even more stable, updated environment, but it comes with the loss of my favorite theme. You will notice the stark appearance of this one.

It will take time for me to find the right template and graphics to make the site “mine” again.

And with this new job, perhaps I will begin to write more again. Perhaps I will have some more mental bandwidth again.

Perhaps, even, some happy thoughts and pictures.

Updates and News

You may notice that the web site is missing a few things… like all of the pictures. Well, apparently, this was a planned change that I somehow missed in my flurry of emails. The backend database that serves this web site on Azure was migrated off the service and onto a standalone hosting platform and then disconnected. They were kind enough to provide my the backup of the file, so I still have all of my archived data. What is missing, though, are my pictures which are still in the old directory structure, but not linked to the new location and posts. I’ll have to go through the links and download them… Lots of work to do … again.

And Now For Real News

Maybe not terribly exciting to you, but I’ve added yet another airport to my list: OGG, or the main Maui airport which we visited for a vacation a couple of weeks ago. I’ve updated the list and now have 95 airports on it that I’ve visited over the years.

Maybe I should add some pictures of Maui? Probably.

This Barren Land

It has been quite some time since I last blogged. in fact, it’s been since our trip out here to the land of mountains and rain. But it’s not this area that’s barren – it’s my blog.

Yes, it’s been a while but I have been busy: busy with the new job and getting oriented to a new way of working. I have a team now, and that’s new for me – no transitioning in and out of a project never to see them again, no flying to and fro. It’s been a real change for the better I feel. I will be starting in a new office this coming Monday. We moved one building over and now I have a window in my office. I’ve also been busy trying to orient to the area and learn where things are, where the good restaurants are, where the stores are.

Fortunately, we just decided to extend our lease when the current one is up. We’ll get to live in the same house for a couple more years while we deal with renting and then hopefully selling our Virginia house.

I’m really glad that we moved our blogs to the cloud: our server was down for two months while we moved from apartment to apartment to house. Now, we’ve been able to cut down on the number of computers I’ve been using in the house. Previously, I was using 5 computers just host the home’s “infrastructure” and web sites. Now, we’re down to 3 which should save us a bit of money on power.

Now, my next task for the sites is to clean up what little data remains on my old web server, make sure it’s on the blogs, and then shut it down.

Most are done, but one more site remains.


700 And Counting

I’m done with the “cleanup” of my site – which entailed updating links and adding photos to the site that were missed in the upgrade.

In the course of this I noticed that the last post is #700. I’ve had a lot to say over the years – some good, some boring. But, it was nice to go back and read many of the things I had posted.

Also, you may notice that I have removed the old photo gallery. I did this for a few reasons. First, my effort to “cloudify” my sites by removing them from my home server resulted in no place to put that particular gallery. Second, the software for that gallery application had become unmanageable on my server and needed to be changed or removed. Third, I’m no longer comfortable having all those pictures out there with the amount of unauthorized use of copyrighted material going on. My pictures had been “reused” a few times without my permission.

So, it’s gone. What’s left are some few items that I chose to post and write about. The bulk (over 5,000) of the pictures, though, are now offline.

To The Cloud!

After dealing with power outages, being hacked, and now WordPress updates that break my server, I’ve decided to migrate my blogs up into the cloud. Yes, the cloud. Some are going to wordpress.com for hosting, but this one is now hosted in Azure as a web app. I’m doing this a kind of a training experiment so that I can learn more of how it works. Plus, it’s a good comparison point to see how wordpress.com is hosting theirs.

Hopefully, this will free up my web server resources and allow me to pare down my internet service costs so that I don’t have to pay for business level service just to host.

I do have some cleanup to do as some links may not work properly. Please be patient. 🙂

Server Down!

Obviously not anymore, but the day before Thanksgiving, after hearing the UPS battery warning telling me that it was time to replace it, I decided … well, it was time to replace it.

So, I invested in a slightly more powerful UPS unit and got it home. I shut down the host server, unplugged it from the old broken UPS, removed the old UPS and replaced it with a new one, plugged everything back in and… nothing. The switch worked but the server was DOA.

Seems it gave up the ghost right at that moment and the power supply just died. I ordered a new one and presto, we now have a web site again. This time, I’m ordering a backup power supply – especially since the server supports hot-swappable redundant power supplies and they are only $39 a piece. I think they were much more when I originally bought the server.

The box came this evening and I simply inserted the new power supply and plugged it in.

It’s simple when it works… and frustrating when it doesn’t.

A Return To Normalcy

Whatever that means…

[WARNING: More Geeky Stuff Ahead!]

I had been running the site and all my servers behind a hardware firewall [not a smart one] as an interim measure since during the disk repairs, my TMG server didn’t come back. Why didn’t it come back? I’m not certain I will ever know the in depth truth, but it comes down to this:

When I finally tried to make it work again, nothing I could think of worked, not removing and re-adding network cards, not rebuilding and reinstalling the server from scratch – nothing.

So, last night while trying to put Laura to sleep with technical talk [Really – geeking out totally puts her down!] I verbalized several ideas that I had. I had even begun to think that my hardware might have “just failed” at the precise time that I shut down and moved a file on my hard drive. Right.

One of the ideas I had, though, was to delete the virtual switch on my Hyper-V server. Since that was the least destructive method to try, I did that first.

Lo, and behold! It worked. I then proceeded to reinstall all the Forefront TMG software and patches on the server and re-import all the application hosting settings, which is now how you’re seeing this page. This is a much more secure firewall for those inside and out.

My best guess is that there was some cached setting in that virtual switch that I could not clear when I “moved” the server from one disk to another. Once I recreated the switch, traffic began to flow just fine.

Now, I can sit back and relax… and wait for Windows Server 2012 to be released!

Then the upgrades start again… 😐

UPDATE: Windows 8 just released (http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/08/01/windows-8-has-reached-the-rtm-milestone.aspx) It won’t be long until Server 2012 is available for me to upgrade.