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The Life of Josh

Computer Engineer, Security Consultant, and Tech Nerd.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Everyone knows I am completely hooked on new technology. I think technology to me is like shoes to many women. I see something amazing and have to try it. My tech of the day is the Nest Learning Thermostat. Check out this video and then tell me you don’t want one; (If you tell me you don’t want one you are lying.) The story behind the company is interesting as well.

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NewsBlur Subscriptions to share

To help my IT friends at my job I’m leaving, I’m trying to share things that will help them. Below is a link to my NewsBlur subscriptions. I have A LOT of Mac stuff in here. The NewsBlur system costs $2/month ($3 if you are feeling it is worth it and have spare $). It is extremely worthwhile especially since the demise of Google Reader. There’s also an iPhone and iPad app you can use on the go. The stuff in the Engineering – Mac feeds will help someone do most of what I do.

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Sodastream home soda maker is pretty cool

I just got a Sodastream machine from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Got it home and I really have to say I love it. It was simple to setup, but I will say that the samples they give are a little bit wacky. I know they probably want to drive people to try flavors that don’t usually sell, but I had no regular Cola sample which I thought was weird. Once I tried the Diet Cola and Diet Root Beer and liked them I went online and ordered a few flavors.

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Empowering End Users. Reducing IT workload.

Users having the freedom to fully use their computers even in an Enterprise. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this topic. Long ago when I began working in corporate IT I was taught that users can’t be trusted. They can’t possibly know what is good for their computer, and we must approve everything they do. We must basically suck all the fun out of the thing they use for perhaps 90% of their day. It used to make sense to me because I was always mostly a Windows guy at work while at home I was mostly a Mac and Linux guy. Where I always would get bent out of shape was when we would take Windows shortcomings and imagine the Macs had the same shortcoming. I’ll explain what I mean. Some of our users need admin rights of their machines. Because Windows, prior to UAC in Vista, was completely unsafe to run as an admin we made folks create a secondary account for admin reasons on their machine. Somehow on the Macs the same rule was in place even though OS X effectively had a better version of UAC before UAC even existed.

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Common Problem Repair system (CPRs) for Mac/Windows

Where I work I’m in charge of Desktop Engineering. We have a responsibility for every laptop, desktop, iPad, iPhone, Android, etc… device in the environment at a very high level. We create the base images that go on the computer systems, we package the software that goes out to them. There is a staff of Desktop Support folks who will implement thing my group creates, and they also provide the direct support to the users at the company. Those Desktop Support folks see a wide range of issues. When they don’t know how to fix something they escalate the issue to my group.

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Welcome back to DropBox

Once upon a time I used DropBox to sync files to the cloud and share them. Worked great. Then GoogleDrive came along and I thought they would really improve things. I switched over to it. In both cases I was paying for the storage because I use around 50Gb of space. For anyone contemplating a cloud storage/sharing service I can say beyond a doubt that DropBox beats GoogleDrive hands down. The GoogleDrive application has crashing issues, issues syncing files all the time to the point where I can’t trust that my folders are in sync, and no notification/update method for their application so I’m left to constantly go to the website and see if a new version is there. Anyways the DropBox app is even nicer now than before and I just wanted to let friends know that if you are thinking about switching to GoogleDrive…. DON’T. If you are on GoogleDrive and you see the app crashes and out of sync folders then join me over on DropBox http://db.tt/kZkRRKy3 and enjoy something that just works. Plus they have a new app called Mailbox http://www.mailboxapp.com/ which is pretty cool. I downloaded it, and hope it’s better than SaneBox https://www.sanebox.com/ but SaneBox is really nice so if it ain’t then I’ll use SaneBox. 🙂 If you haven’t looked at SaneBox I highly recommend taking a look.

Workin on the resume

Spent a while cleaning up my resume today. Never know what the future has in store so always good to have yourself organized.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/jlevitsk

EnterpriseAdmin.org

I decided to take a topic that I’m a pretty good expert at and build a website around it. The site is http://www.EnterpriseAdmin.org and it’s goal is to help people who are in similar jobs as mine. Every day my group works on making OS images, configuring AntiVirus and creating training for software. I tried to think of all the major topics I deal with and organize them in a way that makes sense. In my world I have 60% Windows and 40% Mac OS. I know I’m not the norm so I broke up topics by OS. I hope someone looks at the site and gives me feedback on things I got right and anything they think I got wrong. Something I want to add is a code snippet database so folks can post example WinBatch or shell script code to help others. That part is a work in progress in my head. If you were to use the site what is it missing to make it helpful?

Social Media updates and me

It’s been so long since I posted last. Life got kinda crazy this past year. Before 2005 everyone knew me as a pretty social person, and I would try out every social network there was from Friendster to Orkut to MySpace, well, you get the idea. I used to even run a BBS in recent history. I’m going to start cleaning up my accounts that live all over the place and get back in to knowing more about how everything works. Playing with Social Media, gadgets, reading news sites… those things made me good at my job, and I honestly have been slacking. So here and there I’ll update my blog as I clean up my accounts and if I stumble across new and cool things I will most definitely post about them.

For my first update I’m cleaning up my About.me/jlevitsk and my LinkedIn pages. AboutMe is sort of like a business card online. You put a little bit of information about you, and links to all of the Social Media sites you are on. LinkedIn is like FaceBook but for business contacts. It’s a good way to keep in contact with co-workers who have left, and not have them see your embarrassing FaceBook posts. 🙂

So welcome back to me and maybe I’ll post something interesting. For now it’s just me updating things.

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