A MacBook and a Router Jockey

I’ve had my MacBook for about 6 months now (!) and I figure it’s time to talk about how that’s working out. First of all, the bad. My MacBook has been hit by the two known problems with MacBooks. Discoloration of the palm rest and the random shut down. Now, the discoloration I can live with although it is getting pretty ugly. The random shut downs though…that’s a big problem. I’ve determined that it happens more when the laptop’s cold. After it’s been running for a while it seems to be ok. Either way, I went into the Apple Store in Columbia MD to get it fixed. 7 days for parts. Ok, I can’t leave it. I’ll bring it back. So they call me and tell me the parts are in and I can bring it in anytime…and leave it for 5 days. Yeah…that’ll work. So, I’m hoping to drop it off next week when I’m on “vacation”. Hah!

Ok, on to the interesting bits, the usage. For about 3 or 4 months I was mostly using XP in Parallels. Ok, so not such a great test or migration of the work flow. A couple of months ago I decided to push myself to use Office in OS X more. I still have a couple of big problems like Visio and Project. I tried Crossover and it managed to load up Visio. Slowly. It’s pretty much unusable. And no, I can’t switch to Omnigraffle because asking clients to export to XML all the time isn’t really practical. So, Parallels stays for those two apps, although I rarely fire it up any more.

Now, for those other things related to the Cisco world:

*iTerm – Console app with tabs. Running through tabs with apple-arrow is pretty cool.
*Screen – good old unix app for piping the serial connection to the terminal. I use an IOGear USB-Serial cable and simply pipe it to screen.
*TFTPServer – I like this app except for one thing. I can’t just tftp a config file to it. I have to create the file (touch it) first. Sometimes I even have to restart the tftpserver once I’ve done that. I really wish it would just create the incoming file.
*TextWrangler – pretty decent text editor for being free. I really like SubEthaEdit but that costs money.
*KisMAC – Wireless sniffer. Works pretty well. Does cool things like read the SSID to you. Kinda fin to turn on while you’re driving around and listen to the mechanical voice tell you about all the open AP’s.
*Adium – iChat is very nice for chatting but it’s lacking encryption. I know there’s a way to jam OTR into iChat but it requires a proxy and that’s not my idea of cool.
*Remote Desktop Connection – Gotta connect to Windows boxes over RDP sometimes. One failing…only one session allowed at a time. I know, there’s a program that manages it for multiple connections and I also know about CoRD. CoRD is…rough around the edges.
*RANCID – for grabbing and diff’ing configs. I was shocked at how well it worked.
*CDPR – listens for CDP on an interface. Pretty useful for finding what port you’re attached to on a switch.
*Dynamips – Cisco 7200 and 3600 simulator. I haven’t spent a lot of time playing with it but what little I have…woah. I can imagine CCIE candidates would love it. And it runs great on the MacBook.

Of course, I run other things like MS Office and Firefox. But those you can get anywhere. Next up for me…maybe some more scripting or trying to get Cacti to work.

One thought on “A MacBook and a Router Jockey

  1. I, too, am a Mac and Cisco fanatic. The shell is a very powerful tool, and OS X is pretty solid.

    Okay, on to my point. It’s very easy to get around the RDP single-session limitation. Just copy the Remote Desktop app into multiple copies. Then, just fire each one up.

    I keep 3 copies of RDP on my Dock, but then i ran out of room. So, I keep the three copies on my desktop, and hit F11, to gain access to them. I named them RDP-1, RDP-2, and RDP-3. Of course, you can name them anything you want.

    It’s not perfect, but it does work.


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