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Customer Service Hold Music

Have you ever called technical support and while waiting on hold you are subjected to the worst music ever? Sometimes hold music is pleasant, sometimes it's really stupid music, and sometimes vendors have the audacity to include advertisements for the next big thing they're trying to sell you. FYI Vendors, it's bad timing to try to sell me something when I'm calling about another one of your products that is broken!

Depending on the size of environment you support, you are likely familiar with calling an assortment of technical support numbers and then waiting for the next available representative. 

Just for fun, what are the best, worst, and most unique hold music selections you've been subjected to? Here's my list:

Get your External DNS Checked


Just ran across a cool, free service on - Cricket Liu's DNS Advisor. This little widget probes and prods your external DNS to see if there are any problems or vulnerabilities, then spits out a fairly in-depth report for your viewing pleasure. 

I pointed their tool at my domain and got information that I was mostly aware of. However, it was still a nice sanity check to see that things are configured how they should be. Here is a list of some of the categories it checks:

Why will always beat

Someone recently challenged my favorite DNS server by saying (a Google DNS server) was only a single digit to remember.

Oh yeah? You can keep your I can type exactly 892 milliseconds faster than your simply because I've got my left and right hand going at the same time. Not to mention the carpal tunnel syndrome I'd get from typing as much as I type I have to shake out my right wrist every time I try to type it.

Now, if someone were to bust out a

Cisco Shutting Down Flip Camera Business

Cisco announced today that it will be restructuring its consumer business segment. Part of the fall out of this move is the destruction of the Cisco Flip, previously discussed on Tekcert earlier this year. Not much of a surprise since most smart phones have HD cameras built-in and that market has been exploding over the past few years. Who wants to carry around multiple devices anyway?

Cisco Launches Certification Virtual Labs (Powered by IOU)

Wow - just got this in my inbox today: Cisco launches their own certification-based virtual labs. Once I clicked the link (and waited 2 hours for it to actually load in the browser), I noticed the following:

"Cisco Learning Labs for routing and switching are real bundles of practice labs, powered by Cisco IOS Software on UNIX."

Woooooow. Interesting to see the phantom Cisco IOU now coming out of the closet and going mainstream. Perhaps this means GNS3 will soon be a quasi-supported lab option? that a bullet hole that just appeared in the drywall by my monitor?

Here's the direct link to the Cisco Learning Network Store page where you can get the lab information.

Firefox 4 Status Bar

If any of you out there use Firefox and have recently upgraded to Firefox 4, have you noticed they got rid of the status bar at the bottom of the browser? I'm so used to mousing over links and looking at the status bar to see where they go before clicking, it's been puzzling trying to figure out the behavior of the new Firefox status bar. Sometimes it's on the bottom left side, sometimes it's on the bottom right side. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for it - and quite frankly it's maddening. 

Compare this to a speedometer in a car. Imagine if it was left out or changed in the 2011 model car you just bought. Every time you glance down to check your speed, it's not there! Or it is, but on the left side or right side! It's enough to drive you nuts!

Microsoft Patch Tuesday April 2011

If you are running Microsoft Windows, get ready for the Tsunami of Patch Tuesdays. Tomorrow, our Redmond friends are releasing a massive 64 patches to their software, nine of which are rated as Critical. In addition to the nine Critical patches, there are eight labeled as Important (the second highest rating). This is definitely a record for the number of patches Microsoft has released in a single patch cycle. If you support a Windows environment or applications running on a Windows platform, get ready for potential issues tomorrow (or whenever you pull the trigger on installing the patches).

Here's a link to Microsoft's Security Bulletin for April 2011

Check Point Next Generation Firewall Passes NSS Labs Test with Flying Colors

NSS Labs is at it again, this time testing Next Generation Firewalls. They have pitted the Check Point Power-1 11065 against several tests and the results look promising. You might be asking yourself "what the heck is a next generation firewall?" At first glance, it looks like a term a vendor invented to sound better than the competition. However, the industry is using the phrase to identify a new breed of firewalls that do more than just filter packets.

Show Output Redirection

It's always nice to come across a command you don't use very often and feel like you've struck gold. Eureka! It's like panning for gold and finding a gem. While searching for something totally unrelated, I came across a list of show output redirection commands. Now, I'm sure many of you have seen and used these before, but for those of you who haven't (or have and simply forgot about them like me) here you go:

GMail Motion

...and when you need a break and just want to smile, check out GMail Motion:

Sonicwall Packs a Punch...

Okay, I never thought I would be posting this...Let me first say, I LOVE my ASA5505 - without a doubt, one of the coolest little boxes Cisco ever produced.

...but then I saw this little Sonicwall TZ 100, which pretty much does everything the ASA5505 does at a third of the price...and toss in SPAM, content filtering, and unlimited connections? ...uhhh... ASA5505 still looks cooler. AND it's heavier...

Cisco Secure ACS Vulnerability

Cisco has released a Security Advisory regarding a vulnerability that exists in some versions of their Secure ACS software. The vulnerability allows a remote, unauthenticated user to change the password of any user account without knowing the previous password. This doesn't apply to certain accounts such as "off box" authenticated accounts like LDAP or RADIUS. Also, it doesn't affect ACS system admin accounts; only user accounts are affected. However, the risk of someone taking control of an account with level 15 access to a Cisco device warrants fixing this right away.

Affected versions are Cisco Secure ACS version 5.1 with patch 3, 4, or 5 (not patch 6), or Cisco Secure ACS version 5.2 with no patches or patches 1 and 2 (not patch 3).  If you are still running version 4.x, you aren't vulnerable to this attack.

Infoblox offering a Free DNS Book

Want to learn more about DNS? Then pick up this free book from Infoblox while their supplies last. 

DNS on Windows Server 2003 was authored by Matt Larson, Cricket Liu, and Robbie Allen and covers just about everything you need to know to manage DNS on a Windows 2003 server. Granted, most organizations have already retired their 2003 servers for 2008 or another platform, but the content is still fairly relevant and there are chapters that are focused on the technology rather than the operating system specific implementation tasks.

So, what do you have to do to get the book?

Check Point Mobile Access for iPhones, iPads

Are your end users requesting that their iPhones have access to corporate email? Does the guy down the hall keep bugging you to let him VPN in with his Android phone? Did you just get an iPad for your birthday and you are secretly working on a way to use it at work instead of lugging around a laptop? If so, then you aren't alone. Companies around the world are facing a massive trend of end users wanting to bring their own gear to work and access corporate data (i.e. email, internal websites, network shares).  What is an IT implementor to do?

ASA5510 to ASA5505 Easy VPN Server / Client Configuration Sample

A recent configuration of mine...thought I would save the template for
future use. Useful if the ASA5505 has a dynamic IP where you can't build
a typical site-to-site VPN.

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