IT Pro Tuesday #18
Mega List of Tips, Tools, Books, Blogs, and More
Hello IT Pro,
This week is a mega list of all the items we’ve featured to date, broken down into categories, for you to explore at your leisure. I hope you enjoy it.
EveryCloud Email Security Offer
Until the end of October 2018, we’re offering IT Pro Tuesday readers a special deal: Free Email Continuity with the purchase of our Email Protection (Spam/Virus Filtering with over 250 five-star reviews) or above. We’ll also throw in a competitive swap out, which means you won’t be charged for the overlap period between your start with EveryCloud and when your current service would renew. For example, if you have 6 months left on your current service and purchase 12 months with EveryCloud, we’ll provide you with 18 months of service for the price of 12 — that way you won’t lose out!
If you’d like to learn more, get a quote and/or set up a demo/trial, just send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now on with the tools. As always, EveryCloud has no affiliation with any of these unless we explicitly state otherwise.
MailFlow Monitor is EveryCloud’s free, cloud-based, round-trip tool that sends you an alert as soon as there is an issue with your email flow. Settings are adjustable to allow you to choose how much of a delay is acceptable and which types of bounce alerts you want to see. Helps you get to the bottom of a problem before users have even noticed it.
mRemoteNG is the next generation of mRemote, open source, tabbed, multi-protocol, remote connections manager. This was recommended to us by ‘Oliviamcc’ who firmly believes “it is much better than Putty (SSH), Citrix, VNC, RDC, etc. “Make sure you figure out the credentials hierarchy, it works a treat and saves time every day”.
TreeSize Free. Find and free up your or your user’s free space. TreeSize Free tells you where precious disk space has gone. I’ve seen this recommended in too many places to mention.
PDQ Inventory and Deploy. A software deployment tool used to keep Windows PCs up-to-date without bothering end users and a systems management tool for tracking and organizing hardware, software, and Windows configuration data.
Clean. I use this on my Mac to automatically move my desktop files into monthly folders each day. It saves a load of time because I just save all files to my desktop and they’re then processed later that day. I appreciate a lot of people will want windows equivalent but I can’t find anything, so please leave comments on the blog post or reply to this email and I’ll include the best one next week.
trace32.exe | cmtrace.exe. “It’s part of Microsofts SCCM suite from a few years ago, can open very large log files and display them as they update in real time. Has saved me an insane amount of time over the years. Also looks cool and is portable.”Thank you for the recommendation local_admin_user.
ISPConfig 3.1 is the next generation of the ISPConfig hosting control panel with a completely renovated UI and a lot of new features.
BlueScreenView scans all your minidump files created during ‘blue screen of death’ crashes, and displays the information about all crashes in one table.
Windows System Control Center (WSCC) helps to view, organize and launch utilities. It acts as a repository for various utility suites. When installing WSCC for the first time, there is an option to download and install 270 troubleshooting tools.
Monitor Active Directory Group Membership Change. This PowerShell script will monitor the Active Directory groups and notify you by email if a change occurred since the last time it checked.
ADModify.NET is a tool primarily utilized by Exchange and Active Directory administrators to facilitate bulk user attribute modifications.
There is no reason to RDP into a server once you have the RSAT tools installed. You can manage any aspect of your Windows infrastructure using these tools, and use RunAs if you need to log on as a different user.
Attack Surface Analyzer. Attack Surface Analyzer takes a snapshot of your system state before and after the installation of product(s) and displays the changes to a number of key elements of the Windows attack surface.
AWS Free. Many people aren’t aware that AWS offer a free tier. Here you can create your own practice environment, replicate problems and generally learn a lot.
The Dell Warranty Checker. Thank you to Matt Fry, EveryCloud’s Head of Support for this suggestion. The Dell Warranty Checker allows you to check the warranty on Dell systems. It allows you to enter the service tag to check the warranty or import them via a text file (Checks line by line). You can also export the warranty data to a CSV file to use in other applications.
NetCrunch Tools 2.0. 10+ Essential IP tools for administrators including DNS Audit, Ping Scanner, Port Scanner, Network Services Scanner. Thanks mrojek who explained “Recently updated freeware from AdRem.12 useful network tools and scanners that runs on Windows.”
SQL Fiddle. A tool for easy online testing and sharing of database problems and their solutions. Thanks for the recommendation rosslib who said “You can build schema and run queries. Good for running a quick test.”
Regexr. After last weeks regex cheat sheet and number of people recommended RegExr which is an online tool to learn, build, & test Regular Expressions.
Switch Miner. Ever have trouble figuring out what’s connected where? Switch Miner is a port-discovery tool that can help locate all the devices connected to any switch. This handy utility can also discover and scan neighboring switches via CDP. And best of all, it’s free!
LetsMonitor.org is a free service that alerts you when your site certificates are misconfigured or nearing expiration. Notifications can be sent to multiple contacts.
RBLmon helps you proactively solve mail-delivery issues. This fully automated online service tracks your IP addresses against the most-popular real-time blacklists (RBLs). The moment any of your IP addresses are found in a monitored RBL, RBLmon will send an immediate email notification to alert you, so you can get busy solving the problem.
WizTree helps you quickly find the files and folders using the most disk space on your hard drive. Rather than searching the drive and checking each file to determine size, WizTree gets its information straight from the NTFS Master File Table — which means it happens almost instantaneously. While this approach makes WizTree faster than any other type of program in this category, it only works with NTFS filesystems.
JuiceSSH is a simple, intuitive Terminal client for Android with SSH, Local Shell, Mosh, and Telnet support. Features a full-color Terminal with adjustable font size, keyboard including special characters, plugins, and key import/export/generation.
“Passwords are like underwear. You shouldn’t leave them out where people can see them. You should change them regularly. And you shouldn’t loan them out to strangers.” Source Unknown
“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.” An Unknown SysAdmin.
“If you want immediate feedback, always make changes in production” Source: Unknown.
“It’s easy to forget that the ultimate goal of systems administration is to make systems, applications and services available to people who use them to get their jobs done. A good systems administrator must be able to communicate and get along well with others.” Source article here.
Are you being effective or just efficient? “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” This can make all the difference whether you’re a SysAdmin, CTO or MSP. The way I think about this is essentially; are you being very organized (effective) working towards your specific goals (effective), or just being organized, feeling good about it, but achieving little. Read more about this in the “Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker.
Speed up your mouse pointer. Mine is at max. Try it. It’s strange for the first hour, then you get used to it and get everything done faster.
Windows Key + directional arrows will move and resize windows. (I.e., Windows Key + Up will maximize the window, windows key + left will snap it to the left of the screen and make it full height, WK + right will do the same but on the right side of the screen, WK + down will minimize the window.)
From greatshittywifi: “For Windows desktop cleanup I just wrote a simple batch script. Make yourself a folder called “sorted” or something and in it a subfolder for common file types “jpg”, “png”, “gif”, etc. Then open up notepad, and paste this in:
move *.jpg “F:\sorted\jpg\”
move *.png “F:\sorted\png\”
move *.gif “F:\sorted\gif\”
Save it with a .bat extension, and voila! I’m sure you could modify this approach to detect file extensions, then mkdirs and move everything from a for loop if you want to go that far.”
Quickly Find a MAC Address. Rather than going through network dialog windows or scrolling through long lists via ipconfig, simply open up a command prompt and type getmac. It’s quick, and easy, especially if you have multiple NIC interfaces.
Import PST files to Office 365 Exchange. For all of you Office 365 users, this is an option you need in your armory.
Here’s a simple trick for physically tracing unlabeled server-room cables: Slide a velcro loop or binder clip along the cable until you reach the other end.
Use a mobile app barcode scanner to input IT hardware inventory. Just scan, then copy and paste instead of entering manually. You’ll save a little time and eliminate the possibility of introducing typos.
Sysadmin Today. EveryCloud was featured on this podcast and it is hosted by a (now) partner of ours, but it’s mostly about his experiences as a Sysadmin.
DevOpsCafe. The new Season is now live from this impressive podcast by John Willis & Damon Edwards, which includes interviews and stories from the world of DevOps & System Administration.
The Admin Admin Podcast. A British IT Admin Podcast I stumbled across “for people who work in the Real world of IT. If you are a sysadmin or want to learn more about servers this podcast is for you.”
Iron Sysadmin Podcast. This podcast features expert sysadmins covering all manner of topics of interest in their field. Since 2016, Iron Sysadmin has been covering the latest industry news, ideas, strategies, and chat — always with a focus on the practical needs of real-world sysadmins.
TechNet for Microsoft. The TechNet Library contains technical documentation for IT professionals using Microsoft products, tools, and technologies.
OmniSecu.com. Free Networking Tutorials, Free System Administration Tutorials and Free Security Tutorials. So much here.
TechGenix. Azure, Powershell, Active Directory Tutorials and more. Tons to learn.
SysAdmin Tutorials. Organised neatly into subjects from Microsoft to Cisco, you’ll find easy to follow videos for SysAdmins and IT Pros generally.
John Lambert’s Office Lures Presentation “has some high-quality training material for common phish attacks that are a more subtle than the usual Nigerian prince. John is a security researcher at Microsoft and is a solid twitter follow as well if you like seeing emergent threats and nature hikes simultaneously.” Thank you for the tip ReallyLongUserName01.
Thoughts I’ve been pondering
ASAP is Poison. When everything is urgent, nothing is. Don’t get a reputation as the ASAP gal/guy, or nobody will take you seriously when you really need them.
The best travel jacket we’ve seen
BAUBAX 2.0. This one was found by my business partner Matt Baker. If you have to travel a lot with your role, you’ll love this.
SCOTTeVEST. The last travel jacket I included had the most clicks to date… Not sure what that say’s about you guys… Secretly wanting to travel the world on a motorbike? Anyway, staven11 threw this one in the ring.
The Ultimate IT Admin Knife
Maker Knife. This one came from our own team. It’s very cool and now you’ll look forward to cutting those cables!
MS Exchange Guru. This is actually run by a friend of ours (you’ll note the MailFlow Monitor banner) who has helped us with a number of challenging exchange issues. It’s amazing for all things exchange and email.
LandScape by Alen Kremlj. This great overview lists the various vendors in each space.
explainshell.com. A website that explains shell commands. If you are unfamiliar with certain commands or switches this will give you a breakdown of that specific command.
Spiceworks.com. It’s a bit of everything for IT. IT Pro forum, product reviews, free software and tutorials. Check it out, we’ve been using it for years.
KrebsOnSecurity. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Brian but even prior to this I was a fan of his honest, clear and informative site. It’s a source I trust for all things security.
GFI TechTalk is an online community for IT pros. Experts weigh in on the latest technologies and ideas in system administration. Features news, insights, and tools.
Awesome Sysadmin. “A curated list of amazingly awesome open source sysadmin resources.” Thank you ReallyLongUserName01 for the suggestion. There is so much good stuff in here.
Experts Exchange. We’ve found this useful over the years to learn more about a particular topic, but also to dig deeper and get answers to tricker technical challenges.
400+ Free Resources for Sysadmins. Thanks DZone and Morpheus Data for this list of free resources for DevOps engineers and System Admins, or really anyone wanting to build something useful out of the internet.
4sysops is an online community for IT professionals. “In our weblog, experienced IT pros cover the latest technologies in system administration, cloud computing and DevOps. On our news page, you’ll find updates about new developments in IT, in the wiki users can share their IT know-how, and in the forum, members can ask IT administration questions or discuss the latest hot IT topics. The most active members are rewarded with a monthly bonus.”
Reddit SysAdmin Multi: /r/netsec/r/networking /r/pwned /r/linuxadmin all in one! I’ve just worked out you can string multiple subreddits together, so I thought I’d share.
Wahl Network is a weekly technical blog with a focus on data-center technologies, business challenges, and new products and solutions. The site was founded by Chris Wahl in 2010, with a goal of providing technical solutions for SysAdmins.
The Practice of Cloud System Administration: DevOps and SRE Practices for Web Services, Volume 2 is a comprehensive guide to cloud computing. Using examples from Google, Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and others, concepts are explained such that practical applications become clear. Major topics include designing modern web and distributed systems, using the latest DevOps/SRE strategies, and evaluating your team’s operational effectiveness.
The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. A great read to geek out on, packed with tons of stories about how our modern IT world has come about, including how the first programming language was written by a woman during the 19th century.
Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators. “It is essentially an ethnographic study of system administrators. The authors videotaped and otherwise documented SA’s over a period of time and were able to break down a number of fascinating incidents and how to improve the art. I’m disappointed this hasn’t been recommended reading for all SA’s and maybe more importantly, their bosses, who too often don’t really know what SA’s do.” Thank you very much for point this out AngryMountainBiker.
The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage. As one review says: “A great read. If you’re a Unix sysadmin, like me, you will recognize and empathize with a lot of the concepts. If you’ve been doing sysadmin work for more than a decade, like myself, then you’ll remember the old technologies as described in this book — the modems, the bulletin boards, the days before “ssh” … If you’re a new-school sysadmin, then you will be surprised to see a lot of things haven’t changed in the world of Unix: telnet is still around, the “root” account is still around. The foundations of Unix were laid in the early 1970s. The events of this book took place in the 1980s. And many of the command line tools are still in use today.”
Time Management for System Administrators: Stop Working Late and Start Working Smart. I’m a big fan of time management or more specifically using the time we have to be as effective (not just efficient) as possible. This book had been recommended to the team as it tackles this subject specifically for SysAdmins.
The Practice of System and Network Administration: Volume 1: DevOps and other Best Practices for Enterprise IT (3rd Edition). As a recent review puts it “This book is a crucial library item for any System or Network Administrator regardless of how many years you have under your belt. I picked up the second edition when I first became a sysadmin and it helped me a lot throughout my career. I was very excited when it was announced that this third edition was coming as the second edition has not aged well. The third edition is the perfect, much needed update to the second edition. This new version is definitely now up-to-date and should hopefully give us another decade of service. I definitely recommend this book for the sysadmin in your life or in your office. I always recommend it to my colleagues as it contains valuable information for your career. In fact, buy a few copies because if you loan this book out, I doubt you’ll get it back!”
Ghost in the Wires. This is the intriguing true story of Kevin Mitnick, who was the most-elusive computer hacker in history. He broke into networks at the world’s biggest companies, all the while being pursued by the Feds. The complex cat-and-mouse game that ensued ultimately inspired permanent changes in the way companies protect their sensitive data.
Essential System Administration is a practical, comprehensive guide for the Unix sysadmin, covering all the fundamentals required to run AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, Tru64, and more. Organized to fit the system administrator’s job, it discusses higher-level concepts and the procedural details to carry them out. This updated version covers: DHCP, USB devices, the latest automation tools, SNMP and network management, LDAP, PAM, and recent security tools and techniques.
Ultimate List of Cheatsheets for a Sysadmin. ServersAustralia put together this list of cheat sheets containing everything from Apache to Drupal.
GeekFlares Cheatsheets List. Last weeks cheatsheets were extremely popular, so following the same theme we searched for an additional list and this is the best we could find.
OverAPI.com is a site collecting all the cheatsheets, all!
Regular Expressions Cheat Sheet by DaveChild. Our Email Protection Service allows the use of regex to manage inbound and outbound mailflow. Our support team passed us this handy cheatsheet which includes symbols, ranges, grouping, assertions and some sample patterns to get you started.
Spamresource.com. One close to our hearts. There is so much useful information in here on spam prevention and deliverability.
LoneSysAdmin.net. “Hi, I’m Bob Plankers. I am a virtualization architect, system administrator, storage administrator, network administrator, end user, project manager, and developer.”
10 Things is a blog on assorted technologies, strategies, and techniques of interest to the IT professional. Content is broken down into informative 10-point lists, so it’s always a quick, concise read.
All About Microsoft. Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley’s blog covers the products, people, and strategies that make Microsoft tick.
The Daily WTF. Founded in 2004 by Alex Papadimoulis, The Daily WTF is your how-not-to guide for developing software. We recount tales of disastrous development, from project management gone spectacularly bad to inexplicable coding choices.
IT Pro Comedy
The Expert. This one made me laugh, having been on both sides of the table. Ever been in a meeting like this?
A Good Twitter Follow
A Slack Channel
PowerShell Slack. “We have had a Virtual User Group on FreeNode IRC since before PowerShell was generally available, and we added a PowerShell Slack chapter years ago. Join the thousands of members getting real-time assistance!”
Have a fantastic week and as usual, let me know any comments.
Graham | CEO | EveryCloud
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