So, most of you probably got here because you’re probably on your CCIE track and you’re hearing a ton about the 32-bit words in the IPv4 headers and looking for an answer to the topic. It is without question that most may never know exactly what they’re talking about when they say “word” and this can lead to some confusion. First, the definition of a word from Wikipedia is:

“A word is basically a fixed-sized group of digits (binary or decimal) that are handled as a unit by the instruction set or the hardware of the processor. The number of digits in a word (the word size, word width, or word length) is an important characteristic of any specific processor design or computer architecture.”

Essentially, this means each 32 bits, 32 different positions where the values can be 0 or 1 in binary, is a “WORD”. Thus, when they’re referencing the IPv4 header length in a packet capture, you’ll see the size of the header. That header size is calculated by looking at the raw header, generally the next position after the Type, and you’ll find a hexadecimal value, lets say D, which is 13. Thus, you have 13 different 32-bit words.

Now, 13*32=416. Take the 416/8=52 bytes in the IPv4 header. Why 8? There are 8 bits in each byte. So, the next time you hear someone mention there are X number of 32-bit words in an IPv4 header, you now have some idea of what they’re talking about.

We’ve all heard it, entrepreneurship is the “thing” that will save America. Sure, it does help; however, it is not the only thing and we can’t continuously encourage everyone to be leader because, if we were all chefs, who would be the cooks?

I walked away from being a partner in my wife’s business, not because it wasn’t successful, but I absolutely hated what I did there and absolutely hated the whining and complaining from her employees about everything and anything. I took a deep look into myself and came to the realization there are things I liked about owning a business, but I don’t like owning a business. Does that make sense yet?

As I am getting older I am changing (surprise anyone?), and I finally had the opportunity to see what it was I liked about it. You see, I love numbers, I love strategy, I love taking risks and, sometimes, riding the bleeding edge. Hence why I am a network engineer on the brink of obtaining my CCIE-R/S and my eventual CCIE-DC. I love tinkering with things and I love technology, which includes numbers and designing new layouts for networks to achieve different goals, it is entirely fun to me!

What about business though? Well, I know I don’t want to be in my 50’s taking exams to keep my certifications fresh; thus, I will steadily pick at my accounting degree and become a CPA as my “retirement job”. It still challenges my brain, allows me to stay on top of an ever changing field, we all know how often tax rules change, but is much easier on my mind as I get older and it will be something “new” and it allows me to perform the duties I found interesting in owning a business, or at least being a partner in a business without putting up with the headache of dealing with entitled people who will only demand more and give less. In the end, I am not saying everyone is like this; however, I am scared for our future as a nation because I’ve seen more entitled behavior from prospective employees in the last 3-4 years than I’ve seen in a lifetime. Whatever happened to “paying your dues” and earning your stripes? I don’t know and don’t want to deal with it any longer; thus, I woke up and realized I am really not fit to own a business, I am fit to help run one and do key jobs inside of them to help them become better and more competitive, in the IT sector for now and as a CPA when I am drinking a Corona on an Island somewhere.

Providing you’re either: 1. Using a hostname of the device or 2. You’re positive it will receive the same IP, if you’re using an IP address to connect to your machine using RDP that obtains its IP parameters using DHCP:

ipconfig /release && ipconfig /renew

As simple as that. In fact, you can use the same operation “&&” on a Linux box with a BASH shell using whatever interface configuration commands you’re using, if you don’t have a script which already does it for you.

First, lets establish some facts:

  1. These are not real, medically licensed, Therapists, like OTs, SLPS, or PTs
  2. This is NOT someone who holds a medical license and cannot provide ANY medical advice
  3. The qualifications are that you have a B.A. or B.S. in “certain fields” and you fill out of basic form to be approved as a “Play Therapist”
  4. This is not a medically recognized service when the service is delivered by a “Play Therapist” when billed to private insurance. For procedure code H0036, which is the typical code used for CBRS, to be considered a provided service it must be administered by a psychologist, not a “Play Therapist”.
  5. A “Developmental Play Therapist” CANNOT recommend any medical service. This means they cannot recommend: OT, SLP, or PT AT ALL! A “Developmental Play Therapist” cannot legally consult with a family about ANY medical service

These “therapists” are just “side workers” who basically contract with the CDSA to provide these “Developmental Play Therapy services” which, as it appears, is just a “stop-gap” before real medical services are applied; thus, these “therapists” cost the tax payer money because their services are utilized before a medical professional has the opportunity to properly diagnose. Once again, the ONLY requirement is the person hold at least a B.A. or B.S. in a “certain field” and fill out a form, no other significant qualifications are required and “continuing education” is minimal at best for someone who is NOT a medical professional.

Think of it this way, would you take your child to someone who isn’t medically licensed to practice medicine regarding a physical illness for months, only to find the problem isn’t solved, before visiting a real physician to receive a real diagnosis? Developmental Play Therapists are simply not therapists and any and all “advice” one may provide you is not real medical advice and should not be taken as such. These “Play Therapists” do not hold a valid medical license and are not licensed medical professionals.

Very recently I was tasked with deploying a new EMR for my wife’s office, a simple task because they have very simple but extremely specific needs. Like most people I leaned on my clearinghouse for advice about EMR solutions which cooperate out-of-the-box. As I had expected I was sent to a local VAR in Winston-Salem, NC to handle my needs. Now, I only wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn’t. In fact, it opened my eyes to the mistakes I made in my IT career in my very early 20’s which other customers, and my employers at the time, had to suffer through. Like most things in life, you can generally chalk it up to “young and knows it all” and most just brush you off. However, as I will outline below, this behavior, if left unchecked as you grow older (because growing up is still just an option), will linger in a person like a drunken Friday night viral infection.

As a pediatric OT and SLP operation performing home based and clinic based therapy the needs for my wife’s company were growing and the “starter” EMR solution was no longer a valid solution. If you could get someone on the phone, it was $75 each call, regardless if it was something they could fix or not, and the new “release” of software wasn’t even usable, if it were “beta” I would have been surprised. Nonetheless, we took the advice of our clearinghouse and pushed forward with a local VAR implementing a solution he recommended. From day one he never listened, it was apparent; however, we were told by many he knew what he was doing and it would be all ok, regardless of the fact we already had a firm grasp on our coding and billing, we just needed newer and more stable software. Little did we realize, we should have considered the source of the people who recommended them, people who started a business without a clue in the world and spend copious amounts of money paying others so they don’t have to learn, absolutely not our style!

Four months passed by, thousands of dollars spent, days of time pass, and we’re finally in the final stages of training. Lo and behold, nothing is setup correctly, despite the fact we brain dumped everything, a cheat sheet shall we, about the practice, providers, and carriers, all the golden information you would need to get this up and running. However, from the start of training it was apparent nothing was setup correctly, everything was out of place and it seemed as if he decided what he knew, was best, despite the fact we already do this daily, without failure. Billing was setup incorrectly, notes and how notes are completed were not just more complex and confusing than our old system, but lacked even some of the most basic things our junk EMR could do, despite the fact he promised it could do it and then some!

So, what did we get? Let’s call the guy, Jim, so make it simple. We got what Jim wanted us to have, because Jim knows best and we’re just stupid. In fact, Jim was caught in numerous lies about functionality and didn’t have the basic stuff he said was already setup done by the time training started! Did he openly admit he forgot to do these things? Nope, instead he insisted someone must have come behind him and erased all this stuff! Seriously, you’re throwing your employees under the bus saying someone just woke up one morning and deleted all this stuff just to be, what, funny? Finally, as we start to realize the software’s functionality was “oversold” and he overpromised and underdelivered, he went on the attack, big time. To sum it up, he pulled the “we have OT and SLP clinics that use this….”. Anyone who even got a D in a rhetoric class could spot the fallacy that statement triggered; however, he felt justified to use it over and over again. In fact, when I reached my end, I simply stated “Jim, it appears you disregarded everything I told you, but all the information I brain dumped on paper for you\, replacing it with your own brand of logic without first consulting with us if that is what we wanted”. After that statement I followed up with “…lets call the software vendor and see if they know how to do this, it could just be unique to you and we could all learn something from this”. Basically, doing his job for him; however, his only response was “…maybe this isn’t a good fit, well just part ways and I’ll send you a refund”. With that statement, I agreed and immediately removed his software and VPN connection and moved on with life.

The lesson here is simple, listen to your customer, above all else. If Jim had listened and, perhaps, brought in people who knew more than him, to talk about what I wanted to do it, perhaps we could have spared the headache and decided it wasn’t a great fit? However, it was obvious he believed he knew best and we were just another set of dumb business owners and licensed medical professionals he could force his will upon. If my wife would have done this alone, even she admits, Jim would have gotten his way because she knows nothing about IT and would have blindly followed his advice because who else could she have turned to?

Jim continuously failed to realize he wasn’t talking to a paper engineer or just another set of dumb business owners, he was talking to someone who understood technology, process flow, and business. Ultimately, Jim failed miserabley at two of the most key lessons in customer relations: 1. Listen to your customer and 2. Know your audience. If someone out there experienced this behavior from me, because I used to be like Jim (who is a guy in his 50’s), when I was a blossoming know-it-all engineer 18-24 year old, I am sorry and I finally got a taste of my own medicine, karma really does suck!

Listening to your customer

A little investigation into the new ChoicePA website and I start to find some interesting characteristics which really bother me, especially because this was not just built with taxpayer dollar but is also the system which permits and denys healthcare to needy families here in North Carolina. I will touch more on how ChoicePA is going to become one of the first “death panels”, for lack of a better term, for our children’s care here in North Carolina; however, I wanted to bring to light the new website is hosted on legacy software set to become end of support within 330 days of this writing (July 15th, 2015 is end of support for Server 2003 products and for IIS6.0). Read the rest of this entry »

Confused about getting QoS working on your Nexus 9300 platform (I worked with the 9396PX)? Well, if you’re coming from the Nexus 5500 platforms you’re in for a little tweaking to get this working as some things are different. I will quickly outline them and move onto some sample configuration:

  • MTU is set on an interface level
  • System defined queuing class-maps
  • egress queues (0 is default and 1-3 which are already pre-mapped using the above mentioned class-maps)
  •  Both access and trunk ports, by default, treat all traffic as if it had CoS 0, moving it into the default queue
  • QOS ingress service-policy must be applied to ports or port-channels to classify traffic

Here is some basic configuration for setting the QOS policy to classify:

class-map type qos match-all RUBY
match cos 4
class-map type qos match-all EMERALD
match cos 2
class-map type qos match-all DIAMOND
match cos 6

policy-map type qos QOS_POLICY
class RUBY
set qos-group 2
class EMERALD
set qos-group 1
class DIAMOND
set qos-group 3

interface port-channel20
switchport mode trunk
switchport trunk allowed vlan all
spanning-tree port type edge trunk
mtu 9216
service-policy type qos input QOS_POLICY

Now, let’s view the system defined queuing class-maps so you can get an idea of this:

class-map type queuing match-any c-out-q3
Description: Classifier for Egress queue 3
match qos-group 3
class-map type queuing match-any c-out-q2
Description: Classifier for Egress queue 2
match qos-group 2
class-map type queuing match-any c-out-q1
Description: Classifier for Egress queue 1
match qos-group 1
class-map type queuing match-any c-out-q-default
Description: Classifier for Egress default queue
match qos-group 0

Finally, let’s assign some bandwidth allocation around those queues:

policy-map type queuing QUEUING_POLICY
class type queuing c-out-q1
bandwidth percent 10
class type queuing c-out-q2
bandwidth percent 15
class type queuing c-out-q3
bandwidth percent 25
class type queuing c-out-q-default
bandwidth percent 50

Now, we apply this QUEUING policy to the system-qos:

system qos
service-policy type queuing output QUEUING_POLICY

I’ll update this more and more as I encounter more QoS with the 9300 platform.

This is an oldie, but goodie:

I only wish there was a link to explain more things in detail as there are a lot of people who don’t understand SNMP to the max. None-the-less, a great starting point, regardless of manufacturer, the beauty of standard protocols!

 

  • It isn’t your fault you were born into this mess.
    • As a child, you are the victim of your parent’s inability to provide a better means of living, you had no choice in who you were going to be born to, it is just unfortunate you weren’t dealt a better hand. However, God gave us all a shot at this life, learn to play the hand you have until you’re able to ask for new cards.
  • Kids will be cruel because you’re poor.
    • Just remember rule #1, it isn’t your fault you don’t have new clothes or  you’re wearing last year’s clothing; however, children will be cruel because their parents have money (a key thing to take notice on). Just remember this, a lot of the kids I went to school with, who picked on me because of my unfortunate circumstance, aren’t doing so well today.
  • Education is important, no matter what.
    • I am a high school drop out, plain and simple. I was set to fail in this life because I gave up and didn’t see education as an important resource to survive in life, I felt I could make it without it. I also needed to work for help pay bills and eat; however, that intention got shot to hell (and it will for you too because you’re too young to make these kind of decisions). High school is a critical point in your life, you’ll get to experience many things which will never come your way again. I hear people talk about their high school experiences, from the everyday goofy, prom, football games, and graduation…these are things I never got to experience and, just like me, you’ll feel left out of the conversation. Stay in school, no matter what.
  • When you’re old enough to make choices to impact your future, you’re no longer the victim.
    • I stand by lesson #1 because children are innocent; however, when you’re grown enough to make a decision for yourself, you are no longer the victim, suck it up and start asking yourself “Ask not what can society do for me, but what I can for society”. This simple quote is powerful, what can you do for others to show you’re destined for greatness? No one likes someone who pulls the victim story, people love success stories about someone pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. You have a choice, the happy ending success story or the never ending sad song of playing the victim. When I tell my story, I tell a success story, one born into poverty, the troubles I faced and how made it to where I am, never once blaming anyone besides myself for my dumb decisions, instead, I talk about the lessons I learned.
  • Quit blaming others for everything.
    • You can now make your own choices which can have immediate and long term impact on your life; however, there are things which either you have no immediate or long term control over; however, this gives you absolutely no right blame others. There is no “man” with his foot on your neck, no one gives a damn about the color of your skin any longer, people care about your attitude and how you handle yourself, you will be judged by this. I grew up in the ghetto of West Palm Beach, Florida and was treated the same by “outsiders” who only saw where I came from, they didn’t care that I was white, I was to be avoided because I was on the wrong side of the tracks because I acted like it, plain and simple. When I carried myself like a respectable human being, spoke clear English, and treated others the way I wanted to be treated, no one realized I was from the ghetto.
  • Respect everyone, even if you absolutely hate them.
    • Having spent time in a juvenile program which based itself on basic military principles, I learned the hard way I can hate a person so much I wouldn’t piss on them if they caught fire, but I still had to not only give them respect, but learn to function as one dysfunctional team. You’re not going to like everyone in this world and they’re not going to like you; however, you must treat them with respect and if you have to work with them, learn to work with them in a way that you function as one well designed machine. In life, you’re not going to choose who you work with and sometimes you’re going to wish they get run over by a bus; however, you must learn to work with them during the times you need to, after that, you can pretend they don’t exist. People are going to recognize quickly if you’re disrespecting them or choosing not to work with them, this is selfish and childish. If the other person is behaving like a child, take the high road. It isn’t a good trait to throw people under the bus or “show them out”, a lot can be said of someone who’ll stand up for someone when they’re being kicked and already down, intelligent people will notice this trait, idiots will cheer for the opposite, decide who you want on your side?
  • No one is going to throw a parade for doing your job.
    • Don’t be a show boat, every respectable adult hates this. Getting a paycheck and advancing in your career is reward enough. In the business world there simply isn’t time to pat everyone on their back each time they do their job. Be thankful for the job you have now, do it to the best of your ability, even if the job isn’t your “destination job”, see point #8.
  • Do your best at everything, no matter what the circumstance.
    • This trait will show, even while working for minimum wage, you gave it all you had. I worked at various minimum wage jobs early in life and I gave them all I had, knowing these jobs were not what I would be doing forever, the job was not below me. If you say the job is below you, you’re insulting the people who have to work these jobs to survive and feed their families. My mother worked at McDonalds for not much more than minimum wage to give us a roof and food in our stomachs, if she could have done better, she would have in a heartbeat, but she was doing all she could do. There are some people who, if they could, would find better jobs and there are some people who don’t care to do any better and prefer to just “get by”, by choice (likely the victim and/or the leeching kind who only do the minimum to get by in life by choice). The former person you have to respect, because they’re doing all they can do in a shitty situation, the latter person, while still deserving of respect, you should have no sympathy for.
  • Focus on your future and yourself
    • I only had a GED and wasn’t in college, I didn’t have the luxury of living on campus getting free meals, I had to work to survive and plan my future through hard work and self-study. Thus, I had little to no time for weekly clubbing, parties, and other excursions. I made one major mistake, I settled down with a woman far too early in life, which distracted me from doing better than what I could do now. Friends are invaluable, but do not fall into their lifestyle choices by following them into the clubs each weekend spending copious amounts of money and time into something which does not benefit you. Learn to budget your money and spend wisely, this trait will follow you the rest of your life, even when  you’re making $100,000/year. Focus on how to get out of poverty, focus on what it is you want for a career to reach the former goal. Learn to spend your free time studying and internships in the discipline you want to pursue. I worked various engineering companies before I realized I didn’t want to be a mechanical engineer; however, when I landed some time in an IT department, I was hooked and knew IT was to be my career. While it seemed fun to go out to the clubs each weekend, I knew there was more to life than living weekend-to-weekend, paycheck-to-paycheck; thus, I kept my eye on the prize on the horizon and kept accelerating until I got there, one minor goal at-a-time until I reached the end . As an example, only one guy I knew from the days of clubbing each weekend is doing well, everyone else is back to living paycheck-to-paycheck, weekend-to-weekend…except now they’re the creepy old guy in the club.
  • When you’ve made it, find someone with just as much to gain and lose to marry
    •  Once you’ve accomplished pulling yourself out of poverty, landed in your career, and have a stable life, it is ok to find someone to spend your life with. But take it from me, you will want to find someone with similar goals and has as much or more to lose than you do. Never settle on a person, no matter how lonely you are, never settle. Once you’ve become the person you want to be you’ll learn to associate yourself with the successful type of person you desire. Just remember, you have to ask yourself, I want them, but will that type of person want me? This is why you have to look for someone with just as much or more to lose than you do, because someone with nothing to lose and everything to gain will be easy to find and they’ll do whatever they can do to sink their claws in you. My ex-wife was exactly like this and this cost me a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention major monetary losses because she was at rock bottom in life and I was on the rise, she just wanted a free ride. There are plenty of women like Carolyn out there, be aware of them and leave them alone, they’re not even worthy of a one night stand, you’ll never turn a trick into a treat. However, my current wife and I met at a key point in our lives, both on the rise in our careers and looking to accelerate as fast possible. We both knew we needed to take risks and with each of us having exactly the same and more to gain or lose, we took the leap of faith and took the risks and we are pleasantly rewarded. You should evaluate our situation with the same amount of observation, learn from others failed endeavors, try not to repeat them and life will be that much easier.

In all of this, thank God for the believers who take the chance on you when you’re up-and-coming in life, they’re the ones who really did believe you.

Recently, my wife, who is also my business partner, came to the realization we were having one common problem at our office, our administrator. Nicole is an excellent clinician and is dedicated to her field like none other; however, this makes her a terrible business person because she is far too focused on helping someone. What this meant was keeping someone who clearly wasn’t fit for the job they took on and had gone far too long in that position; thus costing the company thousands in unprocessed and ill reported claims along with paying her a salary to which I have absolutely no idea what she did to earn it. Now, what makes this decision tough? Her child was a former patient and Nicole had grown close to the family. That isn’t all of it either, this woman had serious medical issues she needed to go into surgery for and would be out of commission for weeks on end and couldn’t be at the office to perform the duties of her job.

So, the prime time to have let her go had been passed because Nicole only saw that our office administrator was taking a “load” off her, that being answering phones and scheduling, which can be time consuming but shouldn’t take all of her 4 hours to perform each day. So, with the best time to have let her go already long gone I was faced with having to advise her that she wouldn’t have to work from home while recovering, because her value add to the business was absolutely zero and I would have paid her money to do absolutely nothing. So, she was told to focus on her recovery and to visit the office when she was fit enough to do so; however, it was advised she would likely just be paid her last paycheck but we were unsure if we would be in need of her services after that.

Here is something we all should learn from this scenario, learn to let people go, it could be the best thing for everyone involved. I watched this office administrator sink into a hole she could no longer crawl out of; however, someone else couldn’t see who was holding the shovel and had assumed this person was of some value, only until Nicole saw how far behind we actually were, which was costing us thousands of dollars per month. If you own a business or sit on a board where you have the responsibility of hiring and terminating people, never be afraid to cut someone loose if they’re failing at their job, it serves no good if the person isn’t able to come up to speed in a reasonable time to help support the business, you’ll only hurt yourself and those who also believe in your small business. Learn to let people go before they end up a bigger disappointment, one you’ll regret. Instead, learn from the mistake so it becomes a lesson you can use later on when deciding who to hire and when to terminate someone. Once again, terminating someone is stressful for both parties involved, but sometimes you have to learn to let that person go so they can realign themselves with a different organization, perhaps in a different role, to achieve success because they’re obviously never going to achieve it here.