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Tue, Jan. 17th, 2012, 11:53 pm
Sophie Annabelle

Sophie Annabelle Honerkamp

Born: 28 December 2011, 1:20pm

Thu, Apr. 15th, 2010, 10:31 am
Avoid Bru/Tolis Group products

I used to really like and recommend Bru, the backup software from Tolis Group. Their support was excellent, and since backups aren't my forte, I'd frequently refer clients to them. Back in the day, when you called support, it was likely that you'd end up speaking with one of the coders, and they knew their software so well that they could solve pretty much any problem very quickly.

Recently, one of my long-term consulting customers who had been using Bru's software bought a Bruapp backup appliance. Since buying it, I've learned that their support and their product engineering are NOTHING liked they used to be.

The server comes with two ethernet interfaces. My client connected one to the front-end network that has SMTP and NTP servers on it, as well as filtered Internet access. He connected the other interface to a private back-end network that has the NFS servers attached. This is the network that the backups will be done on. The Bru server was connected to the front-end network only so it could send alert emails, update its time via NTP, etc.

My client has been fighting with their support for several weeks now- the Bru server was unable to reach the Internet to get updates from Bru. Bru insisted that it was a problem with the network and there was nothing they could do about it. I checked the configuration of the Bru server- everything was correct. Eventually, I configured a port on the network switch to mirror the port that the Bru server was on. I saw only local traffic to other hosts on the same network. When the server tried to reach the Internet, I saw no traffic at all destined for the router. I suggested that there was a problem with the Bru server's default route or netmask.

After more hemming and hawing, Bru support finally came back with an answer of "Oh yeah, that's a problem. You either need to run a beta version of our next release that fixes it or only use one network interface". A few hours later, they said that they couldn't provide a beta version after all and that we'd have to only use one ethernet port for now.

So, next problem. Now we're only using the back-end network. The system can't send mail alerts, though. Ya see, the SMTP relay server is apparently HARDCODED to smtp.yourdomain.com. And that resolves to an IP that can only be reached from the front-end network. So, my client is having to put in a ticket with Bru to ask them to change the fricking mail relay server address. Except that they're not going to be able to get into the system because they've disabled the front-end network.

Is this really the sort of server you want to trust your server backups to?

There are other problems with the server, but this has been the final straw. I'm never recommending any Tolis Group products to customers again. Their support staff are condescending and unhelpful, and they seem to not give a damn about their customers. I don't know what changes over the last few years have caused this decline at Tolis Group, but I hope they wake up and do something about it.

Fri, Apr. 9th, 2010, 06:27 pm
Bad web design as a business deterrent

Disclaimer: I'm a really crappy web designer. But that's why I don't do it for a living, nor do I call myself a web designer. When I need a website for a company or organization I work with, I know to back off and call in a professional.

Now that's out of the way..

I really like tropical plants. Palms, hibiscus, elephant ears, bananas, citrus, etc, etc, etc. This winter, I lost several tropicals that I'd like to replace. Heather and I are heading to Florida on vacation next month, and I'm planning on hitting some nurseries to get some new plants. There's a nursery in Georgia I could hit instead however- it's on the way, and I wouldn't need to spend time visiting nurseries on vacation.

The problem is their website- here it is. It doesn't look so horrific at first, but just wait.

Check out all the images on the page for Hall's Hardy Almond Tree. And the ones for Brazos Blackberries. Even apple trees- this is an inventive way to point out that apple trees need colder climates. And nothing sells dogwood trees like shirtless hunky guys and bikini models randomly inserted into your photos.

Go on, roam the site, There's more. And many are even worse. There's just something mildly disturbing about the graphics on the site. Like, who in the hell has time to sit there and photoshop random clip art of models into their photos? Do you really think that helps you sell trees? Like, if some guy is on the fence about buying that pink dogwood tree, and that hot model that you poorly 'shopped into the photo is going to do the trick and get him to click that "buy" button. Or, maybe some lady would be more interested in buying a blueberry bush if she saw a photo of a hunky shirtless guy with a berry 'shopped into his hand.

Their prices on some things are good. And yet I just can't bring myself to buy from them, all because of their site. I can't even bring myself to visit their nursery in Tyty- I can't imagine what kind of person would put a site like that online. It's a little irrational, sure. It's not like they've photoshopped goatse with berries and fruit flowing from it like a cornucopia. (that's actually not such a bad idea, actually - are you listening, 4chan? Don't forget tubgirl while you're at it.)

So, it it just me? Does anyone else find the site design as subtly disturbing and bad as I do?

Update: I hadn't even noticed the Religious Videos link before. Wow.

Mon, Jan. 4th, 2010, 11:00 am
Changes to the journal (or, the "Mostly Friends-Only Post")

I've kept my LJ postings open for the most part. This is changing now - I'm going to move most of my future public posts to my (forthcoming) Wordpress blog, and I'm going to use LJ for what it was meant for.. a journal.

Tue, Dec. 29th, 2009, 05:34 pm
Websites that don't build confidence..

Worst Recruiter Website. Ever.

Either they're really that bad, or they're so good they just don't care. I'm going with the former.

Thu, Dec. 24th, 2009, 05:15 pm
Introducing Gemma Charlotte Honerkamp

I've been bad about posting in LJ.. so for those who didn't see this in Facebook, I'm now a daddy..

Gemma Charlotte Honerkamp

Born: 12 December (our 11th anniversary!), 6:05am

6 lbs, 9oz. 20in.

She and Heather are both doing very well!

Thu, Dec. 24th, 2009, 05:08 pm
Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to everyone!

Tue, Oct. 13th, 2009, 10:06 am
Shorty.com for sale

I've decided to say "put up or shut up" to all the people who have been mailing me about buying shorty.com.

It's for sale on Ebay now with a starting bid price of $11,500. The last serious offer I had was for $11,000, so we'll see if he really wants it (the extra $500 is to cover Ebay/Paypal fees). If it sells, great, if not, I'm out $.65 and get to keep my domain.

Tue, Sep. 22nd, 2009, 02:53 pm
Brilliant deduction, CNN!

Blame prolonged rains -- not big storms -- for Atlanta flood

Meteorologists told CNN that while the devastation from recent floods in the southeastern city looks like the result of a storm that formed over tropical waters, the floods are actually the result of prolonged and steady rains.

Wow. It's a good thing CNN keeps a crack team of meteorologists on staff to give them such keen insights on the news- otherwise we might never have known what actually caused all the flooding.

Mon, Jul. 27th, 2009, 09:21 am
Makin' booze...

The beer and wine making continues..

This weekend:
-Zinfandel bottled.
-Gewurzstraminer started in primary fermenter (our first white wine!)
-Oatmeal ale started in primary fermenter.

This week:
-Need to brew another Belgian ale.

Next weekend:
-Zinfandel/Shiraz blend might be ready to be bottled. I need to clean more bottles to get ready for it..
-Leffe-style Belgian ale might be ready for bottling.

We've been able to find more wine bottles from friends/family and the friendly folks at the Perimeter WineStyles store, who are holding on to their empties for us. Sadly, we're low on beer bottles (thanks in part to a defective capper that broke quite a few bottles and has now been replaced).

If anyone has non-screw-top beer or wine bottles they'd like to donate, we're taking all we can get.. In return, you'll get some beer and wine. :-)

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