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Community Vibe

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Hi everyone... it looks like there are people here who are really trying to make me eat my words about July being the winningest month.

 

We've got a contest for those of you with the creative bug coupled with the ability to remotely fix an issue and save your vacation -- Isn't that all of you?

 

You know, we've all been there: the phone call you are dreading comes as you are about to get on the plane... heading for the vacation you haven't dared to take. And, just as you begin to board, everyone turns their eyes to you as your phone begins to play the "work" ringtone (don't even try to deny you have one -- mine is The Godfathers).

 

Well, we're looking for your stories... how did you save the day? Head over to the contest page for more info and come on back to post your stories. There's an example over there, but it lacks pictures... don't you really want to add a few pictures of what you saved? I'm jealous already.

 

The contest will start August 12th and runs through September.

 

 

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

MTorok

Happy SysAdmin Day

Posted by MTorok Jul 26, 2013

So, it is here. We've arrived. There were some bumps in the road, there always are...  

 

Happy SysAdmin Day 2013, my brothers and sisters.

 

Take a moment, get up from your desk, escape the cube, and walk out the front door. Then, turn around and look at the building you just left and realize, the business it houses needs you. Without you, it is just a large brick/cement behemoth with random wires and electrical pulses shooting through it. Without you, the heartbeat goes erratic and soon ... well, that isn't good.

 

You keep the rhythm and the lifeblood flowing. You are the one that lays down the steady backbeat and, while you might find occasion to riff and show your ability to walk a bass line or fill a momentary silence with pure awesome, you are the constant and the necessary beat everyone returns to. We thank you.

 

Our winners will be announced today for the SysAdmin Contest, please head over and check out the handiwork of your colleagues in the field. Winners will be announce on the page at noon central time. The meme battle has been a blast. Thank you all for your participation.

 

And, we thought you might enjoy this tongue in cheek look at the lifestyle...  Apologies if your policies don't allow YouTube. If that's the case, here's a link for later enjoyment? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU92ryHp_Fg

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Michael

MTorok

July is the Winningest Month

Posted by MTorok Jul 2, 2013

So, I’m a bit of a Charlie fan… at least when he is completely bats and off his rocker and on talk shows, but sadly winningest is a word, even if MS Word doesn’t like it.

 

Again… what the H-E-double hockey sticks is Torok talking about? Well, in celebration of our winning our independence, celebrated by the overuse of a Chinese invention making seriously cool colored shapes in the sky and big bangs, we are about to embark on a July of winning. Indeed, 4 different ways to win are lurking on thwack.

 

  1. We are holding over our SolarWinds Saved My Bacon contest and keeping it running through July.
  2. We are launching another cool quiz, this one focused on Dameware.
  3. We are, of course, continuing our iPod drawing from Ambassador thread responses.
  4. And, it is the month of SysAdmin Day. Come on over and submit a meme… leave it to the community and see whose meme reigns supreme.

 

Yeah, it’s going to be a serious month of winning… though I rarely trust my memory… this could easily be the winningest month evah.

 

Still eating my cereal with a fork…

Michael

MTorok

SysAdmin Day 2013

Posted by MTorok Jun 26, 2013

Here we are again, brothers and sisters. The month of glory leading to our day in the sun comes... and goes much too quickly.

 

The last Friday of July, if you are wondering what the heck Torok is talking about, is SysAdmin day. This year, we've gone ahead and put together a meme cookoff. I have no shame, I stand before you like Christian Slater in Pump Up the Volume (1990) - IMDb, more like he actually is, not what he says he's wearing... and when someone is cratering my site and I have to ban IPs, I still dig up Iron Chef classic and watch a few minutes. The eel battle is one of my favs, but the tuna battle... come on, who doesn't think dessert ice cream when they hear tuna? I digress. Here's the challenge: We want your SysAdmin memes.

 

We offer you the meme standoff, the cookoff, maybe not Hell's Kitchen, more classic Iron Chef. A good healthy slice of user folly and/or misconception is what you're serving up in all its wriggling glory. How are you going to saute' that meme? And, given the choice between the one-liner and the 6-tile meme, we want to know, Whose meme reigns supreme?

 

What is at stake? Your fame. Your chance to go viral. Let the boiling pot overflow. Let the judges have a taste (it's you, too). Let's bring this on!

 

Oh, we're also giving away a MS Surface RT with keyboard/touch cover for the highest voted meme... . We've heard a lot of noise about BYOD... we deal with it daily. So, we thought you might be more interested in having a hack at the Surface RT: The first tablet that's ready for the enterprise | TechRepublic.

 

Second place gets a Samsung Chromebook 3g and third a $100 ThinkGeek.com card. We tried to get the contest approved for international here, but we've sadly been constrained to North America, again. We'll keep trying.

 

As I said, you can enter either or both the 6-tile, What-I-do styled meme, or a single-tile meme styled with your irony, wit, and wicked hot searing humor unleashed.

On July 1, the doors of the stadium will open and you can enter here: SysAdmin Day Contest 2013.

Need more info... feeling unschooled? Check the SysAdmin Day Contest 2013 FAQ.

 

Don't forget the legal handcuffs, here...SysAdmin Day Contest 2013 Terms & Conditions

I'm sure the poetry lady would love to send me a note now... I'm waiting.

 

So, let's do this thing.

 

Michael

eating my cereal with a fork since 1990

So, I have to tip my hat to our very own Blade Server. ...I mean he's definitely got me putting down the Prancercise and picking up Solarcise.

 

 

You know... I'm not tipping my hat, my hat is off.

 

Are you ready to loosen the blood pressure cuff and Solarcise?

Let's get it done and stay f IT.

 

Michael

Hi everyone,

So, things have been rather exciting lately on thwack. It looks like a lot of folks find the new navigation an easy adaptation and that got us thinking. We love working with our user experience department here. We know that we do the right things when we involve them and we all involve you. So, this past weekend, we rolled out two changes.

  1. We added a UX Participant field to your profile. If you are interested in working with our UX team, at your convenience and for the opportunity to secure 2000 points, change the field from No (default) to Yes (I want to be involved). A touch later in this blog, I'll step you through that process.
  2. We also added a feature I'm rather jazzed about. If you haven't noticed, I'm not huge on upgrading or adding features to the community without some evident goodness. The Links menu is all about the goodness. One of our longtime community members pointed out that you cannot bookmark overview pages in the community... like Network Management or PatchZone. So, I saw this as an unnecessary limitation. We've remedied that, as of Friday night.

 

Check the UX Box

 

So, how do you choose to help out our UX team? You can always reach out to me (Michael Torok) or Danielle (DanielleH), now, you can also reach out in the UX group (User Experience). But, even better than that, there's a checkbox in your profile and we will reach out to you.

When a new test needs to be conducted, our UX folks are always looking for people both familiar and unfamiliar with the products, website, thwack, et cetera. You can easily raise your hand by going no further than your profile in thwack.

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of your name, and then click Edit profile & privacy.
    ProfileDropDown5-6-2013 11-31-05 AM.png
  2. Scroll down until you see the Possible Ux Participant field. We default to No, because we really do want you to want to do this and not bug you if you don't.
    ProfileField5-6-2013 11-14-24 AM.png
  3. Change that radio button to Yes, and then click Save.
  4. Your Profile will now show your selection.
    ProfileYes5-6-2013 11-16-26 AM.png
  5. We will run a report and privately pull those of you who want to participate into a list for our UX team. They will reach out to you when they need participants. You will receive 2000 points to spend in the store when you are called into a study... Easy, right?

 

Add Your Own Favorites to thwack -- Internal or External Links

 

Now, I've got to say, I'm pretty darn excited about this one. Of course, we are always looking to make thwack as easy as possible to navigate. But, we are also interested in having you use thwack as hub for your IT explorations. To help with both of those goals, we've implemented the Links plugin. Check it out!

  1. Log in to thwack. The Links menu is only available to members of the community.
  2. In the navigation bar, near Search and Browse, you'll find Links.
    Links5-6-2013 11-11-21 AM.png
  3. Click the down arrow. You'll find the five (5) links we've inserted. Click Edit.
    LinksEdit5-6-2013 11-11-56 AM.png
  4. On the Edit Your QuickLinks page, type the label and URL (internal or external) that you want in your Links menu, and then click Save.
    LinksEditPage5-6-2013 11-12-23 AM.png
  5. Take a look at your updated Links menu. Notice that your links are above those we added. They take precedence. Also, your links are available only to you. They are associated with your profile. You must log in to see the Links menu.
    LinksUpdated5-6-2013 12-31-32 PM.png

Have a great week everyone.

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

Of course we listened... actually. That's what we do.

 

Anyway, over the past year, we've done a huge amount of growing and thinking on the community side and sometimes we got it right (ideation comes to mind...vote on those feature requests) and sometimes, well, we missed a bit (what the **** is a space?).

 

So, we spent the last two weeks working with our designers and our UX folks to come up with, test, and implement our new navigation. Some things to note...

  1. Spaces are gone. That construct just didn't work for you or for us... everything really was a forum, so why call it something else? Forum is back.
  2. We split the general forums from the product-specific forums. Any product-specific forums will now be located under Product Forums:
    ProdForums.png

    Any general discussions will go on in the General IT Forums... that includes the Ambassador posts, so keep a look out here:
    GenITForums.png
  3. We renamed a few forums, but we hope they are self explanatory, for example, General Networking became Network Complexity under the General IT Forums and General Log and Event became Security and Compliance. If you are looking for anything and cannot find it, always feel free to reach out to me (Michael Torok) or Danielle (DanielleH). We will get  you where you want to go.
  4. We dropped the Groups tile off the top of the site. Groups are not gone, but we heard most people are invited in a different way. So, if you are looking for groups, you can still find all of them under Community in either of the new menus:
    WhereAreTheGroups.png
    And you can find your specific groups by clicking on your name, and then selecting the Forums & Groups tab. From there, you can selectively filter on those groups you follow or those you're a member of.
    MyGroups.png
  5. As with Groups, you can find all the blogs together in either of the new menus, also:
    AllBlogs.png
  6. Looking for the Free Tool forums? They aren't gone... you'll find them under Tools in the Product Forums:
    FreeToolForums.png
    Clicking that link will let you browse all the forums of all our free tools.
  7. Lastly, we renamed Social Groups to just Groups... again, that's just what we call them?

 

If you are seeing any kind of strangeness in the nav, like these gaps:

NavWeirdness.png

Press CTRL+F5 and it should clear up with a hard refresh of the page.

 

Please feel free to reach out, as I said before, if you can't find what you're looking for. We're interested in hearing your responses and reactions to the changes.

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

MTorok

Game on!

Posted by MTorok Apr 9, 2013

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I've been able to share some exciting news that didn't deal with mopping the floor with galactic foes... and, as the anniversary of our re-launch is upon us, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak of what tomorrow brings, both literally and figuratively. We are rolling out the latest gaming module on thwack. Indeed, you are probably reading this the day it arrived (my literal tomorrow). I've got to say, the module looks pretty slick. And, yes, I've a favorite feature... of course I do.

 

But first, lets take a look at the visuals, the nav changes, then I'll talk favs. And, let's start at the top right. There's a new feature up there next to your name... you see your points. But, if you click on your points, you get a drop down dialog of Your Reputation.

RepCenterNav.PNG

Here you can see your cumulative points, your level, the next level and a quick status bar to tell you how close you are to the next level. You'll also see a suggested mission and a More button under that. The More button navigates you to your Reputation tab in your Profile.

RepTab.PNG

On the Reputation tab, you can really see a nice breakout of your latest Activity, Missions (those you've complete and those you have left), the Places you've earned points, and your Ranking overall and amongst your friends.

 

Check out Missions:

MissionsCompletedMissionsLeft.PNG

 

And Places (you can see that I've earned points in the NPM forums, but no badges...at least on our staging server):

PlaceSpecificEarning.PNG

 

And Ranking (on the staging server... I've also got crazy skilz with the point collection (AKA, called admin rights abused)):

Ranking.PNG

 

So, what is my favorite new feature?

Me in Three...

This allows you to select 3 of your earned badges that you feel represent you and make them show up when people hover over your name:

RepMeIn3NewHover.PNG

The first time you hover over yourself, you'll see something like the above capture. Navigate over to the Reputation tab (click Reputation in the dialog or go to your profile or click More after clicking your points up top-right... many ways to get there), hover over the down arrow near your badges, and then drag and drop:

RepMeIn3.PNG

 

When you're done, you'll see your representative badges when you hover over your name on the boards:

MeIn3Done.PNG

 

This is just part of the coolness... explore, there's a lot to experience.

 

Oh, and I wasn't kidding about the figurative tomorrow. We have heard your suggestions and have struggled with our Forums and Spaces navigation ourselves. I think you'll like what is coming next.... we're going to rejigger the top tiles a bit. Going to get some UX testing on that later this week. Stay tuned.

 

And, yes, thwack remains a forum for information. You are not required to do any of this stuff to get what you need here. We just like to think we make the work a bit more fun and finding and providing information a bit more rewarding.

 

As always, feel free to reach out to me Michael Torok or DanielleH with any questions.

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

Okay, folks... I am shaken to my geek core. I guess I can see the justice in letting Ripley beat out Hiro (though I still think his swordsmanship and crazy driving skills should have been considered an equal match for Ripley carrying an alien baby...okay, still bitter), but the notion that a computer that can open and close airlocks and bore you to death with its drone should move on and leave Wintermute in the dust? Really? Alright, as with all things thwack, we don't manipulate the numbers, edit the posts (except for vulgarity and such), or delete just because we disagree... But, someone do me a favor and explain that travesty to me.

 

In any case, Fleet 16, stage 2 of the thwack IT Pro Contests, is open and we've had some fun, check out TiffanyNels' post (The Intergalactic Kegger Continues) to see what we've done and then have some fun voting. Interesting to see the IID progress, though the logic against it doing so was quite aptly explained, hats off to tcanniff for his defense of a C3PO win in the prequel.

 

I'm thinking Prefect has a good chance. You can't beat the towel.

Solo will take out Picard's tool, but maybe not Picard.

River must out-brain HAL.

Much to Tiffany's chagrin, I think Q will take the Doc, TARDIS or not.

Ripley, if she can outwit Hiro, can certainly out do Number 6.

Borg over MAL.

IID over Spock, leaving Spock quite broken by his exposure to the infinitely improbable.

I don't see how Kaylee can take Paul... just can't get my head around that one.

 

I still like my original picks, but we must adapt.

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

Hi everyone,

I wanted to reach out, as we have a number of new members of the community and returning members, and re-familiarize you with your preferences screen. Earlier this morning, we were a touch over zealous in wishing you all a happy Pi day and zapped our welcome message in the process.

When we put it back, I immediately received a number of emails about being welcomed to something you were already an active part. I went searching... I don't like confusing people, especially when we make mistakes.

#1, I included a staging link to Getting Started. That was definitely not intended.

#2, I realized just how many of you have this setting turned on in your preferences.

I'm super glad you have this setting on, but if you want to stop getting notified when a new system announcement is set, you can turn it off. Of course, this is how we notify you of system maintenance and other down time and issues, so you might really want to keep it and forgive me my lack of coffee this morning.

But...

To adjust your preferences:

  1. Click the down arrow next to your name -- top-right of the window.
  2. Select Preferences.
    Preferences1.png
  3. On the preferences window, set Everything in my Communications page to Off.
    Preferences2.png

 

Meanwhile...

I'll see you on the boards,

Michael

Hi everyone,

I'm super excited about our Alert Central Beta offer, so I thought I'd try to remind those of you who might not have checked it out yet or those that are putting off entering for some reason.

 

If you scope out the beta of SolarWinds Alert Central (Survey Monkey survey to get in the beta program) and you hang out at any other IT forum locations on the web, you can easily enter the contest. All you need to do is download the beta, have an opinion about it, and post that opinion on another IT forum with a link back to www.swalertcentral.com.

 

Let us know about your post in our Alert Central Beta group and you get 300 points. Every 600 points gets you an entry into the sweepstakes. You can get up to 1500 points (5 entries) through participating in the survey, and those points (any points you earn) can also be used in the thwack store.

 

Now, I'm really not a big "enter and win" kind of guy, but who doesn't want to go to SXSW and partake in a brewery tour? And really, what better way to spend Valentine's Day than finding out if you've won... wait, okay, that might be pushing it. But, it sure would be a cool Valentine's gift, no?

 

Even if you don't enter the contest (really? it includes 2 round trip tix to Austin), check out Luke... gotta love the internal talent here at SolarWinds... IT Alert Management can be a Real Pain: Fix it Free with Alert Central! - YouTube.

We'd love to see you here.

 

Meanwhile...

I'll see you on the boards,

Michael

Hi all,

Here at SolarWinds we are known for a number of things:

  • We embrace change. If you are here and you don't, you are miserable.
  • We tenaciously hold on to the things that work.
  • We never give up (we refocus *grin*).
  • We never forget where we came from (or "from whence we came"... to avoid that prepositional ending).
  • When we fall down, we get right back up.

 

All that said, I was and remain cautious when introducing spaces to the community. I understand the need for a space for each product, that just makes sense. But, when program managers, product managers, product marketing folks, and others come asking for their own custom spaces, you better believe I look for the community up side, and there better be one. We launched the EoL/EoS space because we found it difficult to find end-of-life data for multiple vendor devices. We saw a need and are now working to sate that need.

 

We are not done with our updates to EOL Lookup. How could we be? But, I'm writing this to let you know that we believe we have made improvements on the search (please let us know if the IE10 fixes we put in place help?) and we've added over 1000 more Cisco devices to the lists.

 

We do have a vision. We want to create a one-stop shop for our customers to find this information. And, I want to point out, that this is not some SEO move or attempt to do anything other than provide information you might find helpful as you deal with vendors EoL'ing and EoS'ing your network devices. Again, as we continue to hear of security breaches and the need to bolster our network defenses, one significant way to make sure we stay secure is updating vendor software and ensuring our devices stay up to date.

 

Knowledge is power. Knowledge offers opportunity. And, knowledge helps you prepare for both the inevitable and the unknown. When you know support for your devices is coming to an end, you can prepare for that other conversation -- the conversation with the CFO about updating the server/switch/router closet. Much better to have that conversation in advance than when you are scrambling to plug holes and sandbag the perimeter only to find you cannot update your IOS.

 

We hope you find this rev helpful and please provide feedback either in the comments here or you can direct message me Michael Torok -- reach out. We are listening. Oh, and to see how you might combine this service with your Network Configuration Manager install, check out Jiri's post here: SolarWinds EOL Lookup: Which of My Devices Will Become End-of-Life?

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

Hi everyone,

We're asking you and everyone you know to come check out our security survey (SolarWinds Security Survey) and give us your opinion and tell us a bit about what keeps you up at night when it comes to your network's security.

I'm sure you are all thinking about compliance, threats, and security breaches rather regularly, even without the notion of a looming Cyber 9/11 and Janet Napolitano ('Cyber 9/11' may be on horizon, Homeland Security chief warns | Security & Privacy - CNET News) -- though, it doesn't hurt to have a big boot reminder every once in a while, right?

 

Let us know what is on your mind. The survey runs from 1/24/2013 to 2/24/2013. As a touch of incentive, the first 100 entrants will receive a $15 Amazon gift card.

 

Check it out.

See you on the boards,

Michael

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to get the word out, in case you missed it, about our store updates. We've added a number of items, from rubik's cubes to ear buds to light-up yo-yos to mobile device wedges.

puzzletag[1].jpgtoearbuds[1].jpgtoyoyo[1].jpgtoMobile%20Stand[1].jpg

Having seen the gap between the 150 point mark, we felt the need to fill it... you know, like that stocking hanging flat and lonely from the mantle just a few short weeks ago.

 

Anyway, I thought I'd point you over to the store (Store | thwack) again and also let you know that the mobile wedges are super cool. If you are one of those folks that need to put your phone on your desk because it is the house of all meeting and appointment and birthday reminders... nevermind the "go pick up the boy from school" reminders (wait, that might just be me)... the wedge absolutely rocks it. It sticks to the desk and holds your phone at a nice 45(ish) degree angle.

 

So, check out the new swag -- the wall walker is kid tested and meeting interrupter approved! My last core team (where we talk all things thwack) saw one hit the glass and walk autonomously down... DanielleH

wallwalker[1].jpg

 

Not to leave any staff favs out, check out the mousepad, etch-a-sketch, scramble puzzle, and a nifty screen cleaner, too. Somebody here loves her mousepad...

mousepad[1].jpgand etchersketch[1].jpgand scramblepuzzle[1].jpgandscreencleaner[1].jpg

 

And if you're anything like me and require all my gadgets to do 10 things and then complain about the battery, next time you use the GPS, plug in one these USB power/charger deals for the car and drive without worrying about killing your juice.

carcharger[1].jpg

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

Hi everyone,

So, I'm on break, but I'm realizing that I rarely let myself be on break. I don't degrid well.

I've checked email all weekend... the weekend before Christmas. Today is Christmas Eve, the day before I am off for the week. I've set this up to go live on the 1st, knowing full well I'll be watching to make sure it does.

 

The week before, I ran across an article that has been haunting me a bit. It is in the print version of Information Week, December 17, 2012, "Always Connected, But Always Distracted," by John McGreavy. Yes, I still read dead trees. I love books, but that is completely off topic. I'm sure you can find the column online. It is in the Secret CIO section.

 

Anyway, if you haven't read it, you might give it a go. It isn't much longer than my blog here, but the message that I took away was twofold. One, we are very able to see attitudes and behaviors in others that we should identify in ourselves. Two, there is a time to de-grid and you better know it and do it. If you are lucky, you observe yourself in others and recognize yourself. Less lucky, you do what McGreavy does and express to your loved one something you don't see as your behavior and have your behavior pointed out to you. Even less lucky, you read it in Information Week, and think: wow, that's me. Way less lucky? You never know. You never take that moment and realize that what used to be incredibly self-bolstering and helped you feel good once, i.e., that you always answer and are always on call, has become a cage and an unnecessary one that no one asked you to lock yourself in.

 

We are concerned about BYOD, but are we just as concerned about our dependence on devices in lieu of human connection? Are we concerned that we must always be "on," always connected, and always available?

 

See you on the boards,

Michael

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