It's hard to imagine doing my job as a network engineer without utilizing a TFTP Server. Whether I'm backing up and pushing configs or upgrading IOS, being an engineer without a TFTP Server would be sort of like trying to be a mechanic without a pair of pliers. Sure, you could probably work around not having them, but if you could only have one tool in your toolbox that's the one it would be.

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) is a lightweight protocol developed to help make pushing images and configurations to network devices and appliances fast and easy. When you think about how it works, it's pretty much just like it sounds. It's lean and mean - UDP based and without any sort of authentication - it gets the job done quickly and effeciently. Many different types of devices utilize TFTP from cable modems to CSUs and from routers and switches to firewalls.

TFTP Servers have come a long ways over the years. The latest version of the SolarWinds TFTP Server is a great example of this. Multi-threaded, faster than greased lightening, able to handle large files (up go 4GB) in a single transfer, easy to install and configure, and with a small footprint it's probably installed on more network engineers' laptops than any networking tool out there.

You can of course download this free tool from the SolarWinds.Com website along with all of the other free goodies out there. You don't even have to say "Trick or Treat".

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Well, it's not actually little - it's sort of humongous - and as a matter of fact it's not "a" friend of mine but it's written by several good friends of mine, but I've been spending the week in Chicago and I've always wanted to have an excuse to talk like a gangster so I just couldn't resist.

What I'm talking about, as I'm sure you're wondering by now, is the new Orion Product Blog.

The Orion Product Blog is a special blog written by the Orion product managers (with occasional guest posts by our chief architect, our engineering leads, and yours truly) to help keep everyone that uses Orion informed on product updates, best practices, tips and tricks, and etc. The Orion product managers are the resources in the world for information on Orion and this new blog offers a direct conduit from them to you.

For now, you'll want to access the Orion Product Blog here on Thwack but very soon you can expect to see some direct integration of the blog within Orion itself. For now, feel free to setup an RSS feed web resource within one of your Orion views and you can subscribe to the feed from both the Geek Speak Blog (the one you're reading right now) and the new Orion Product Blog.

I can't think of too many companies that would expose their product managers like this so don't miss out on the opportunity to have an active relationship with these folks. Read the blog, comment often, and give us your input. Together we can make Orion even better!!!

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Well, after a couple of weeks of vacation and a couple of days of either a nasty virus or some weird sort of altitude sickness, I am back in Austin and back in action. Wow what a ride it has been...

You see, as anyone who has traveled with me can attest, nothing just "happens" with me. Every second of my life somehow becomes an adventure. Whether it's the fishing trip in Canada that somehow cost an entire town its electricity or the time I accidentally spray painted my bathroom blue, life with this geek is never simple.

For instance, today I decided to work from home as I was still running a bit of a fever and didn't want to take a chance on getting anyone else here at SolarWinds sick. So, I got up, took some meds, caught a bit more sleep, and then decided to get cracking. Took me about 10 minutes to remember that I'd just moved and that I didn't have internet access at my new place yet. So, I packed up my stuff and headed over to a friend's house. Problem is, she's old-school and doesn't have wi-fi. So, I swung by my old place and picked up a Netgear WAP I had been using and brought it over to her place.

Well guess what? The power supply somehow went bad in between uplugging it at my place and plugging it in at hers (like 15 minutes). So, now I'm walking around Best Buy in my pajamas buying a new Cisco 802.11n WAP (yeah, try asking one of those dudes an intelligent question about a WAP at 10:00 a.m.). Problem is, when I get it home they've idiot-proofed it to the extent that you can't actually make it work. For instance, the installation application it comes with won't work unless you have a wired NIC in your laptop. Dude. How much sense does that make? I finally manage to hack my way around their cute little UI and setup the wireless security and routing and away I go.

By this time I've discovered that I've got literally a few hundred e-mails and several voicemails that I should probably respond to. I should probably mention that I suffer from a bit of Attention Deficit Disorder and it seems to hit hardest anytime I'm supposed to be working on slides. So, of course, I do the e-mails and etc (mabye I have time for a quick blog post and maybe some Tweeting?).

The real goal for today you see is to build the slide deck for the seminar that I hope to see a lot of you at in Atlantic City on Thursday. I've got notes out the wazu as I've been thinking a lot about this event but slides, well, they're still "in development". Which gets me to thinking, do we really need slides? What if we just all showed up in a big room, got a whiteboard, and went through the agenda without the slides? Sure, someone from the marketing department is probably going to read this and have a seizure and I'm fairly certain that someone in PR and/or legal is going to try to cancel my flights and it's even possible that I may get an e-mail telling me what color markers I can use (we're a publicly traded company now afterall) but hey, I've always liked to live a little on the wild side...

So now I ask myself, am I trying to convince myself of the sanity of this plan because I despise building slide decks or simply because I'm tried of sitting in seminars that are all slides and no content and feel more like a marketing event than a technology event?

Well, to find out you'll just have to show up in Atlantic City on Thursday for yourself...

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For the next few weeks my travel schedule is going to be sort of crazy so I thought I'd provide everyone with an update and also a heads-up on some upcoming events where we might be able to talk in person.

From October 8th thru 16th I'll be on vacation at about 11,000 feet in Colorado. If you're curious about exactly where I'm going copy and paste these coordinates into Google Earth and zoom on in...


After that, I'm headed out to Atlantic City where SolarWinds is hosting a free seminar on network management best practices. This will be at the Trump Taj Majal on October 22nd. You can go here to sign up.

Then we're headed out to Washington DC for an event with Network World on October 27th where we'll be talking even more great technology. More on this to come...

We're hosting a Geek Speak webcast on Network Configuration Management on October 29th (my birthday no less) and invites will be going out for that here in a few weeks.

Part #2 of the customer training on NetFlow will be held on November 5th. This is going to be a great session as part #1 gave us some great information on what people wanted to learn in part #2 and we'll spend most of part #2 configuring network gear for flow export and discussing the configuration parameters.

Later that month on November the 19th we're hosting the Geek Speak webcast part #2 of the QoS series we've been doing. I know that a lot of people have been waiting on this so I'm excited to be able to offer it.

So, mark your calendars and if you're going to be in any of these cities while I'll be there look me up. There's also a good chance I'll be in NYC on the night of October 22nd so keep that in mind if you're in the city and looking to get geeky.

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Next week I'm going on a trip to the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado where I'll be climbing up, over, and around mountains for about 7 days. Yesterday, during some time I had allotted to building slide decks, I found myself suddenly in Google Earth (another great example of cool technology) mapping out some of the treks I would take. As a result, I decided to run down to REI and get myself a water filter/purifier so I wouldn't have to pack as much water with me in the field.

What I ended up buying was such a great example of cool technology that as a technologist I simply had to share. It's a hand-held UV light that is used to purify drinking water. You simply fill up your canteen from a stream or lake, shine the light into it for a frew seconds, and badda bing - safe, clean drinking water.

This is really some cool stuff. It got me to thinking that maybe someday instead of having large facilities to chemically treat water we'll simply run fiber optic cable down the inside of our water pipes and treat with UV rays. I wonder if the same science could be applied to swimming pools? The possibilities seem endless...

Not only that, but as you're probably aware UV light is a significant defense against vampire attacks. I realize that statistically the chances of being attacked by a vampire, especially here in the US, are slim but you never know and I'd rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the undead.

What cool technologies have you ran across this year that are worth sharing?

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