10 January 2009

Ahh, networking and more networking.

Knitting is a remarkably social thing. Seriously, a crazy number of people I know I know because of knitting and if I were to try to diagram the connections, I would not be shocked to see how many of them come back around to a certain choreographer in NYC.

And through said choreographer, I know the lady who knows the dude (Hey Dave) who helped me get my network up and running today.

Yup, all the piece parts are in place and there's a solid interim solution (hardware firewall) that affords me the security and functionality to work toward the goal of a total transition from old software firewall to new software firewall.

When I bought the lap top, I also picked up a flat screen and the thinking was that I'd use the flat screen with the lap top.

Then I got the brilliant idea that I'd plug the flat screen into the the new Linux box and crib the Xconfig info so I could use the flat screen in place of the dying honking huge CRT connected to the old Linux box.

I hadn't implemented that "brilliant" plan but Dave and I decided to try it today as part of the "hmm, this isn't as simple" punt plan.

If you ever find yourself getting that great idea, it may still be one but if you connect it while another monitor's attached, it just clones the info and doesn't yield anything terribly helpful.

Still, we pressed on and connected flat screen to old Linux box -- no way, no how, not happening. Old X-windows (FVM) not having anything to do with this new-fangled monitor and monitor equally not loving the Linux box.

Enter the CRT. Some years back when the monitor attached to the Windows box died, flat screens were still too pricey for me to justify the cost, so I sprung for a Viewsonic CRT. Little did I know just how good a decision that would turn out to be. Old Linux X-configurator tool speaks CRT. It isn't perfect, in part because the old CRT really was top of the line for its time, but it works well enough for now.

Ditto on the I found the router story. Since the router only has four ports and I have way more devices than that, I ended up connecting the switch to one of the router ports. The net result is that I have three open ports and some unused NICs.

Biggest adjustment for me is that I have to stop thinking of the old Linux box as the IP associated with my domain because that IP/domain name now refers to the router. Within the network that's just a minor, "oh yeah" moment.

Outside the network it's a "oh, can't check email remotely" until and/or unless I open up some other ports on the router and redirect to the appropriate internal IP.

After Dave (thanks again Dave) left, I manhandled the huge monitor off the desk and onto the floor by the door as step one in getting into the hands of the electronic recycler.

It is an interim solution and the transition will be a slow one rolling out in phases.

All of it takes a back seat to having the network upgraded and functional so I can start classes next week.

I'm guessing that tackling Samba to make communication between the boxes inside the internal network a bit easier will be one of the first major projects.

For now, I'm just ecstatic that I'm not coping with the old switch's bandwidth limitations and the dying monitor with iterative blind root logins to:

/sbin/ifconfig eth1 down
/sbin/ifconfig eth1 up
log out

And then there's the luxury of being able to answer my email without having to fight with Cygwin or a dying monitor.


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