Dashing my hopes

I was fortunate enough to be able to take the last week off from work.  Didn’t go anywhere and the kids were still in school.  But, I did have some time to work on the Cobra.  In a nutshell I got all of the wiring in wire loom and routed where it’ll go in the car.  The rear harness is clamped in place but I ran out of clamps so the front is only hanging there.  Got more clamps but didn’t get back to that.  I spent the rest of the time working on the dash.  I went through cutting down most of the old dash wires to bus blocks I put on the firewall.  Then I began cutting the holes in the dash.  I got Stewart Warner gauges from Breeze so the holes aren’t the same size as the standard dash.  I just about have all of the holes cut.  The only ones remaining are for some of the switches.  I still haven’t decided on how I want to handle the headlights.  I might do a pull and turn type knob but I might just use a toggle switch.  Can’t cut the last hole until I decide and I can’t mount the gauges and start wiring them until I drill all of the holes.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I’ll post pictures sometime in the next week or so.

I’ve decided I have another problem that needs fixing.  The garage gets too damn cold.  When the wind blows it pushs the doors in to the point you can see quite a bit of sunlight coming in around the side.  I’m not really sure how to fix that since there’s already weather stripping on the outside of the door that’s supposed to be stopping that.  Add another item to the to-do list.

Still, it was nice to see some progress.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel and when the wiring is done I’ll feel better about making progress.  It’ll be back to mechanical stuff and things like e-brakes and loose ball joints.  🙂

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IOGear Serial on OS X…Finally!

Well looky here.  Took them a while but there is a native Intel driver for the GUC232A USB to Serial dongle!  Since I decided to rebuild my MacBook I needed to get the serial dongle working again.  Figured I’d check the IOGear website and the driver is there.  I installed the DMG, rebooted and it’s working perfectly!  No fiddling with anything to get it to work.

Also, instead of messing with a shell script I just added an alias to my bashrc.  “cc” (Cisco Console of course) now opens the unix app “screen” and points it at the IOGear tty.  Works great!  Much simpler than before.

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The MacBook is back

Took the MacBook in to the Apple store to get the heatsink and dirty palmrest problems fixed.  That part seems to be fine now.  However, for some unknown reason they decided to replace the optical drive also.  Maybe there is an internal recall.  Ok, I’m fine with free upgrades.  Unfortunately the second CD I put into it wouldn’t come out.  Yeah…thanks for the upgrade.  I managed to get it to slide out by gently prying the opening a little wider.  So, they either gave me a bad drive or they installed it incorrectly.  Either way, I’m not too happy with them about it.  Hopefully it was an isolated incedent.

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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.


Ah, VLAN ACL’s.  You have been my nemesis for days!  Ok, here’s the trick to get them to work.  Perhaps it will be obvious for others but it wasn’t to me.

The ACL’s must use wildcard masks!  That’s right, the CatOS tab help only says something about regular masks and nothing about wildcards.  So use wildcards.  For instance:

set security acl ip acl_name permit arp
set security acl ip acl_name deny tcp any eq 23
set security acl ip acl_name permit ip any any

And then:

set security acl map acl_name 100 statistics enable

Then you can see what’s happening with:

sh sec acl tcam interface 100

CatOS will happily accept a non-wildcard mask and then do absolutely nothing.  No indication things aren’t working right.  I got this suggestion from the cisco engnenineer working on this project with me but I then did find some reference to a wildcard mask in a show output.  Thanks Cisco CatOS dev team!

2 crazy months

I’m finally nearing the end of one of the most intense projects I’ve been involved in.  It began as a 3 month schedule that we had to shorten to 2 months to get it done by the end of September.  Well, here we are on the last day of the month and things are pretty close to being done.  Almost all of the hardware is in and only a few configuration items remain.  Most of the my next two weeks will involve tidying up and writing docs.  I’ve spent the last 2 months working mostly 10-12 hour days and almost every Sunday in September.  And last weekend I got sick.  Knowing I couldn’t afford a couple of days off was difficult.

Anyway, now that I’m past it it’s time to get my head back on other things.  Things like the family and around the house stuff.  Working on the Cobra and finishing my CCVP.

Oh, before I forget I should announce the opening of a new forum.  http://www.originalcarconcepts.com is my attempt at starting a place catering to people desiging and building unique cars.  Much more than engine swaps it will focus on full ground up designs.  I’ve already managed to get a couple of people to sign up.  Hopefully it will grow over time.  Check it out if you are interested in such things.

Over the next week or so I plan on posting about some of the lessons learned from this latest project.  It involved a whole lotta switching so expect that to be the focus.