Trevor Pott

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Trevor Pott is a full-time nerd from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He splits his time between systems administration, technology writing, and consulting. As a consultant he helps Silicon Valley start-ups better understand systems administrators and how to sell to them.
Ribbon changes in Office 2016

My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Sysadmin blog Microsoft Office remains one of the most important software products available, despite some rather nasty flaws. For me, Microsoft Office and video games anchor me to Windows. While video games seem set to remain largely Windows-only for the foreseeable future, Office is losing its grip. For a long time, I used Office because …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016

Happy Sysadmin Day!

To all you systems administrators out there, wherever and whomever you are: Happy Systems Administrators Day! That's right, ladies, gentlemen and emacs users, the yearly holiday of sysadmin day is upon us! This year marks the 17th annual sysadmin day and with any luck 17-fold increase in appreciation to some of the most …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016
An angry mob

It's time for a discussion about malvertising

Sysadmin Blog I don't know that I can afford to read the news anymore. As a columnist for several tech magazines I find this somewhat ironic, but my occupation makes the truth of it no less real. Technology can solve this problem for me, but politics probably won't allow it. News can be consumed in a few different ways. The first through …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016

Keep up the pressure on the telcos, Canada

Sysadmin Blog Bell Canada has lost their second appeal of the July 2015 decision by the CRTC requiring the opening of fibre networks by Canada's major telcos for wholesale consumption by third party ISPs. The result solidifies Canada's presence amongst the nations embracing Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and heralds a round of massive changes in …
Trevor Pott, 12 Jul 2016

When is a refurbished server not refurbished? Ask this Dell reseller

Sysadmin blog What's the difference between a refurbished server and a new one? The term refurbished has a negative connotation, conjuring images of open box returns and non-existent warranties, but in at least one case – Dell's ecosystem – that narrative doesn't quite fit. xByte Technologies is a company of about 50 people based out of …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jul 2016
Dell Poweredge R730 motherboard

Our man pops the hood on Intel's v4 engine: Broadwell Xeons

Sysadmin Blog Recently, I reviewed Supermicro's Microblade system. One of the goals of this review was to compare the new Intel v4 (Broadwell) Xeons to their predecessor v3 (Haswell) Xeons. This was not as easy as it should have been. My front line tool for benchmarking CPUs is Prime 95. Supermicro provided me with 2x Intel Xeon E5 2695 v4 …
Trevor Pott, 07 Jul 2016
Supermicro MicroBlade Chassis

Supermicro's macro Microblade: That chassis is... huge

Review Supermicro has a neat new product it calls "Microblades". Supermicro has made blade servers for some time, and Microblades are blade servers, but smaller. Supermicro sent a chassis and a pair of blades over for review. Each vendor has its own approach to server management, be that blade management or baseband management …
Trevor Pott, 05 Jul 2016
A freight train travels through the Bow Valley - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.  Photo by Brian Lasenby via Shutterstock

The problem with Canada? The price of broadband is too damn high

Opinion Openmedia, a digital rights advocacy group, has quickly become one of Canada's leading civil liberties organizations. Established in 2008 by Steve Anderson, Openmedia has run a series of successful campaigns which have made it the bane of Canada's telecoms oligopoly. Past campaigns have focused on everything from net …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jun 2016
Micron 9100 NVMe HHHL SSD

NVMe SSDs tormented for months in some kind of sick review game

Review NVM Express (NVMe) is the next generation specification for accessing non-volatile memory such as flash. Traditional technologies such as SAS and SATA are just too slow. In order to demonstrate how much of a difference NVMe makes, Micron has provided 12 9100 NVMe flash drives, 800GB each in the HHHL (standard PCIe card) format …
Trevor Pott, 27 Jun 2016
Woman cuddles 'sly-looking' Fennec fox. Photo by Shutterstock

Put storage inside the individual hosts of a virtual cluster? You're CRAZY... Like a fox

Sysadmin blog Hyperconvergence, putting storage inside the individual hosts of a virtual cluster, was supposed to save us from the cost and expense of centralized storage. Thus far, mainstream providers of hyperconvergence have largely failed to deliver on this promise. 2016 looks set to be the year this finally changes. Nutanix has been …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2016
Cortana on a Mac courtesy of Parallels 11

The Microsoft-LinkedIn hookup will be the END of DAYS, I tell you

Sysadmin blog In case you've been living under a rock, Microsoft has bought LinkedIn. Unlike many, you'll notice I'm not laughing. I am not amused. I'm am, in fact, quite afraid. In many regions – my home nation of Canada being one of them – LinkedIn absolutely dominates career discovery and acquisition. Note the term "career". Jobber …
Trevor Pott, 14 Jun 2016
Still from Music video by The Beastie Boys performing (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party). (C) 1986 The Island Def Jam Music Group

You've gotta fight... for your right... to IT

Sysadmin Blog Perhaps the greatest lie ever told is that the many are powerless against the few. This is rarely, if ever, true, yet is something that we are told every day of our lives until we believe it. This is especially the case when it comes to IT. If the many are powerless against the few, then surely the individual has no chance to …
Trevor Pott, 31 May 2016
Webcam

Crappy sandwiches, cantankerous nerds: Put user back in user group

Sysadmin Blog I am going to moderate a webinar today*. The webinar is about the real world implications of copying data and cloning VMs. The interesting bit? We're going to try this with video conferencing, live from the Wisconsin VMware User Group meeting (VMUG). To my knowledge, this has never been done before. That probably means it's a …
Trevor Pott, 24 May 2016

What's holding up Canada's internet?

Sysadmin Blog Canadian internet providers are frequently bemoaned as terrible. Americans get lots of media play about getting the sharp end of the stick from their providers, but many Canadians look longingly at the internet packages south of the border and wonder: what's the holdup in Canada? While Canadians usually like to fool ourselves …
Trevor Pott, 19 May 2016
Still from Minions cartoon trailer.  	Copyright: Universal Pictures

Hey you – minion. Yes, IT dudes and dudettes, they're talking to you

Sysadmin Blog Who are you, dear reader, and why are you reading this? If you've a yen to answer that literally, by all means please do, but the question is somewhat more metaphorical in intent. I'm not seeking an existentialist answer about your sense of purpose in life, but I am hoping that you can answer – to yourself if to no one else – …
Trevor Pott, 18 May 2016
Puzzled man displays his palms in the classic physical pose that tells other people you do not know something or are asking a question. Photo by Shutterstock

What is Hybrid Infrastructure? Glad you asked...

As part of its recent split, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced "four areas of transformation", among them the buzzword-heavy "hybrid infrastructure". But what exactly is hybrid infrastructure? Each company seems to have a different idea of what it could mean. What does HPE mean when they say “hybrid infrastructure”? How …
Trevor Pott, 09 May 2016

The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

Sysadmin blog Microsoft makes a number of truly fantastic technologies and it is legitimately at the cutting edge of a number of hybrid cloud technologies. By the same token, Microsoft is also an asshat, so any attempt to make decisions about it gets complicated and messy in a right hurry. Unfortunately, as refreshes near, making sense of …
Trevor Pott, 06 May 2016

Do you know where your trade secrets are?

Information security (infosec) is no longer a nice-to-have. It is a matter of corporate survival. Even the smallest company can be weakened by the simple loss of a customer list, ruined by the fallout from the loss of protected customer information. There's a lot more to infosec than merely hunkering down behind a firewall. As …
Trevor Pott, 03 May 2016
Monster virtual machine

Is VMware the power it once was?

Sysadmin Blog It is commonly held that if an article asks a question in the title or lede, you can safely answer no and avoid reading the body of the article itself. While not always true, the aphorism is accurate enough to be considered reliable. With that in mind, I have been asking myself, "is VMware the focal point of power in IT that …
Trevor Pott, 27 Apr 2016
Virtual machine servers. Pic: Bob Mical

Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Sysadmin blog Enterprises are slow to adopt new IT. Or is it small businesses that are slow to adopt new IT? Wait, the mid-market is traditionally underserved and overly reliant on appliances so clearly they have to be the laggards! All of this is true, and none of this is true. It just depends on your point of view. Adoption of new IT …
Trevor Pott, 26 Apr 2016
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Planning to throw capacity at an IT problem? Read this first

Not so long ago the axiom “you get what you pay for” held true in IT. More expensive hardware and software generally produced better results. With the rise of open source and open standards, this is no longer the case. In today's world, if you'll pardon the mangled aphorism, IT isn't about how much you spend, but how you set …
Trevor Pott, 25 Apr 2016

How does a business make decisions? How should a business make decisions?

As a business owner, I want to believe that I have what it takes to lead. I'm charismatic enough that I can usually convince people to do what I want them to do. I am good enough with Google that I can find out many things and I have the ability to learn a great deal about complex topics quickly. Surely I will thusly make good …
Trevor Pott, 22 Apr 2016

Defence in depth: Don't let your firm's security become a boondoggle

Information security (infosec) isn’t a game for amateurs. No one solution will do. Proper information security requires defence in depth: layers of technologies, techniques, best practices and incident response woven together into the tapestry of everyday operations. Unfortunately, hiring professionals is no guarantee that …
Trevor Pott, 15 Apr 2016
Oblivion, the movie Haleakalā Sky Tower comms desk

Breaking down more IT technobabble: 'Unified' comms... say what now?

Business occurs everywhere, all day long. In the Western world, organisations where every member of a business shows up at a single premises, does work to a fixed set of hours and only deals with customers that enter the premises is quaint to the point of nearly extinct. Even in "Ma and Pa" shops, where you could reasonably …
Trevor Pott, 13 Apr 2016
rage meme

Hey, tech industry, have you noticed Amazon in the rearview?

Sysadmin Blog Dear readers, I apologize in advance for the cursing, horrible metaphors, similes and so forth that will populate this blog. I am writing this after a day of dealing with a network cryptolocker outbreak and finally hitting that wall where I no longer care about anything except venting unto the world that silent rage that has …
Trevor Pott, 12 Apr 2016