Thursday, May 20, 2004

Tcl_Dev_Kit 3.1 - Building TclApps

Tcl_Dev_Kit 3.1 - Building TclApps

So for the last week I have been messing around with this Expect script, fondly known in my office as the WardGUI, it will allow a NOC technician the ability to choose a specific community switch location, then the slot and port number associated with a specific house and finally the services that need to be enabled for that location. The script works, needs some spit and polish and to actually have some files to pull the variables from but it delivers the goods on my one test switch. (Please see the UTOPIA project if this makes no sense to you.)

So then I decided I needed to get fancy and as I like to consider myself a bit of a *nix nut let's add some fun to the mix. Originally the GUI part was going to be driven from the web but then I got the bright idea I could wrap this whole thing up in a pretty little TclApp - this would allow me to run it on my happy Mac, the Windows XP box I have been beating the script out on or the FreeBSD box I originally wrote the Expect script on. Now the people in the audience are watching this and someone just whispered, "you know you could do that on all those machines with a web interface?" Yes, I know that but where's the challenge and besides I am building it and you're not, so leave me alone.

To most programmers this would seem quite trivial - they could more than likely knock this little doodad out in a day but to a non-programmer (I build networks man!) this has been quite a struggle. ActiveState is doing their best to help me accomplish this with their documentation, and demos. I will let you know how this thing turns out.

If anyone has any good TclApps that I should take a look at let me know. Might as well learn how to do this right the first time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

SecurityFocus HOME Infocus: TCP/IP Skills Required for Security Analysts

SecurityFocus HOME Infocus: TCP/IP Skills Required for Security Analysts

This article brings to point something that has bothered me off and on for awhile. You need the skills before you claim you can do it.

For several years now I have been interviewing network engineers. I have a standard that I have been following that involves a 15 page Excel spreadsheet that contains basic questions that most CCNAs should be able to answer. During the process of giving out this interview I have had various reactions - several gentlemen have left in tears - to having one engineer actually point out an error in my questions. He got hired immediately.

Interviewing has gotten tougher in our industry - before you put a resume out there make sure you understand everything you claim you know. You don't have to be able to recite the specific RFC details assocaited with MGCP.

I encourage young engineers to understand the OSI model, play around with the TCP stack, learn how things communicate, but don't forget to take the time to understand the architecture within your computer and it's relation to the OS's - Windows XP, Linux, FreeBSD.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So I decided it was time to start logging again. It has been so long since I last touched the keyboard.

I now live in Saratoga Springs, UT. A small little town with great aspirations of becoming a little larger town. Hey, it has a grocery store, movie rental store, a gas station, and two pizza parlors.

The city building leaves a little to be desired but then it's paid for. If the city ever need s to move, our city council can walk outside and bolt the wheels back on.

I moved here to Utah from Colorado because I was finally convinced that there was a need for FTTH (Fiber To The Home) The project I am currently working on is called UTOPIA. A very unfortunate name but all in all a very interesting project.

I have been involved with the project for over a year now. I have had a range of responsibilities including and not limited to speaking in front of several city council meetings, the Utah Senate Transportation & Public Utilities & Technology Standing Committee, and anyone else I could get to stop and listen to me.

My current title is Director of Integration and Security. Many would think what an amazing title, you must have so much responsibility. Well they would be right about one thing - I currently have 7 projects open on my desktop that require my attention by the end of this month. We are after all a start up and everything that comes with being a startup has landed on or near my desk if it has anything to do with integrating this network.

Oh and don't forget I also need to make sure we are secure about what we are doing. I picked my CISSP up at the start of this project and fortunately the things I learned concerning Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, Cyber Incident Response, and Forensics have all come to be useful. Still not sure why I need to remember how tall a secure fence needs to be and why again it needed 3 strands of barb wire.

Well that's enough for now. I will be trying to relay my thoughts, interesting articles etc. through this interface to the world.

Interesting tidbits of the web I have found.

I love this. I really need to get one - maybe I could carry it around with me at night , bound to be better on the environment than a battery.

Newspaper Kites
This is an important skill to know. Whether you build a kite for yourself or children, this will always manage to bring a smile. Paper airplanes are acceptable on rainy days but nothing is better than a blustery March day and a kite pulling at your arm.

You should take a look at least once a week if you are in the technology business. It's always better to know that you have a system that has a major compromise than it is to find out 2 days later when a script kiddie has crashed your web server into the ground. Remember the moment you connect to the net you are working without a safety net.