Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Workload Diversity

In the past few days at work, I've done the following:

* Troubleshot a EBCDIC codepage problem transferring IFS files on a i5 / iSeries / AS/400 machine.
* Built a circular log file tool on a HP (Tandem) Non-Stop Kernel machine.
* Recovered an old UltraSparc machine running Solaris 2.5 for use in some testing.
* Tested and fixed problems in our product on z/OS.
* Troubleshot a problem with our defect tracking web service, which I finally tracked down to a bad ethernet cable to the switch.
* Repaired the wiring for our magnetic lock / keycard door.

If I go back a few weeks, it gets even more diverse:

* Code and test a new release on AIX, Solaris, z/OS, and Windows. (Which also runs on i5, HP-UX, and Linux).
* Tested and supported a stripped-down version of our product on IBM 4690, a point-of-sale system that's sort of cross between CPM and OS/2.
* Troubleshot a problem using an undocumented Windows API on Windows Server 2003, including problems with access rights on domain users.
* Rewrote a major portion of our I/O routines for z/OS.
* Done basic system administration on AIX and Solaris.

Mounting ISO images on Solaris

This week at work I needed to test some of our product CD images before they went out the door. We need to use Rock Ridge extensions to make the long filenames readable on unix. In the distant past we'd physically put the CD's in different unix boxes to test them. Well, now almost all of our unix boxes are at an offsite datacenter, so it's harder to test them. We can't just test on Linux, because it understands Windows-style Joliet extensions just fine.

I found that Solaris has a loopback driver that let me mount the cd image:

mount -F hsfs -o ro `lofiadm -a unix.iso` /mnt/iso

then when you unmount, you have to remember to tear down the loopback device you created:

lofiadm -d unix.iso

Pretty cool.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Title Your PuTTY's

Every day I end up with at least a half-dozen PuTTY sessions open to various unix and other POSIX-ish boxes. By default PuTTY titles each window with the hostname, but when I have multiple sessions to a single box, it's hard to keep them straight. I was happy to see that PuTTY handles the same title escape sequence as xterm, so you can programmatically change the window title from the host you're connected to.

Just set up an alias, function, shell script, .profile, or even your $PROMPT to echo the right sequence and you'll be able to title your windows, whether they're PuTTY sessions, xterms, Gnome terminals, or almost any other Linux terminal session package.

The sequence is: <esc>]0;<title><bel> where <esc> is the escape key, 0 is a zero, <bel> is control-G and <title> is the title you want to set.

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