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Oregon

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

I really like visiting the state of Oregon, from Portland all the way down to Roseburg. While I haven’t been to the eastern side, the western side is beautiful, and there is also a lot of OpenNMS history there. The City of Portland uses OpenNMS, as does Earthlink Business Solutions (currently across the river in Vancouver, WA, but with a data center in Portland). Ken Eshelby, who works for the State of Oregon, has one of the most amazing installations of OpenNMS I’ve ever seen (he takes my definition of OpenNMS as a platform very seriously).

But my heart always resides with Oregon State University down in Corvallis. When I first started out on my own back in 2002, OSU was the second organization to purchase a Greenlight project. They’ve been using it for ten years, and last week they invited me back to do a “Tune My OpenNMS” project in order to get them on the latest version and to show them ways to maximize how they are using the tool.

The “Tune My OpenNMS” project (once called “Pimp My OpenNMS” but we had a client warn that he could never submit a purchase request with the word “pimp” in it) is three days long, so I decided to come in a day early to visit friends down in the Peoples Republic of Eugene. Sunday we sat outside drinking microbrews and feasting on salmon caught off the coast, and on Monday I got to go hiking in the Tamolitch Valley.

The area has both old and new growth forests, and there are some pretty extensive lava flows. Here’s a picture of my friend Kate where you can see the lava starting to be overgrown with brush.

The path we took followed the McKenzie River, which made me wish I had brought along my waders and fly rod, but since I didn’t I had to content myself with just pointing out those places where the monster trout would live.

Our destination was a place called The Blue Pool. This is a small pool that contains (so I learned) a lot of dissolved silica. While it shows up as white on the tree trunks and rocks downstream, in the still water of the pool it shows up as an incredibly rich blue (as it scatters blue light). There were once falls on one side of the pool but a lava flow covered them up. There is still water flowing under the rock and it comes out under the water, so they call it a “dry” falls.

I said goodbye and headed up to Corvallis Monday night. On Tuesday I met with Joel Burks at OSU and we got down to business migrating their existing 1.6.7 install to 1.10.5. For lunch we met Bill Ayres (OGP) who was one of the leaders of the OSU OpenNMS project until he retired, and the three of us had a lot of fun.

One night we drove out to Newport to eat seafood at Local Ocean. It was amazing.

I also got to see the controversial mural located downtown that illustrates atrocities committed by Chinese soldiers against Tibetan monks.

I thought it was quite the coincidence that I was in Corvallis when a news story broke that wasn’t about OSU athletic scores.

I didn’t get a paper accepted at OSCON this year so this was my only trip to the area, and I had missed it. I hope to return soon.

Super Bowl XLVI

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Congratulations to the world champion New York Giants for winning Super Bowl XLVI.

I’ve been an NFL fan since I was nine years old. I was born the year before the first Super Bowl, and my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, won Super Bowl IX on my ninth birthday, so I’ve always had a soft spot for the game (NFL expansion has made sure that my birthday will never fall on Super Bowl Sunday again). In all those years of watching football, I have never seen the situation where one team wanted to let the other score a touchdown, and to watch an offensive player tried his damnedest not to score one.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without Papa Johns Pizza, and this year I got to order from the brand new Pittsboro store. Here is a screenshot of the OpenNMS store monitoring instance:

I ordered our pies about 2pm for a 5pm pickup and it went flawlessly (included getting 50% off by using the promotion code “CANIAC” since the Carolina Hurricanes had won their last game). We had some of the gang from the office and other friends over, and it was a nice respite from trying to get OpenNMS 1.10 out the door.

The commercials could have been better, however.

Livestong – the New York Marathon

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

My good friend and our company president will be celebrating his 50th birthday by running in the New York Marathon (his first).

He is doing this to raise money for the Lance Armstrong “Livestrong” foundation.

Every little bit helps, so if you can contribute please follow the link.

Eleven Years

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

It was eleven years ago today that OpenNMS was registered as project 4141 on Sourceforge.

Wow. Doesn’t seem that long. Here’s the post from last year’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Sys-con Media Rates OpenNMS Number One

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

I’ve spent the first half of this week teaching an OpenNMS course. It’s a lot of fun and we have a great class (the next one is in May if you are interested).

While I was talking to the students, one pointed out that he was able to get permission to attend the class because he was going to learn about “the number one systems management tool” available. While I didn’t disagree with him (grin) I did ask how he came by that information, and he pointed me to a Sys-con Media article published last month that compared 11 systems management offerings, both open and closed source.

I had missed this article, but it ends with:

OpenNMS 1.6.10 scores better than the competition, and is thus a better server monitoring software. Its basic features include a faster configuration process, web interface, compatibility and advanced features, such as “better automatic corrective actions”. OpenNMS is also free of cost.

OpenNMS rated a 7 out of 9. Of the other 10 products reviewed, there was one 3, three 4’s, four 5’s and two 6’s.

I, of course, think OpenNMS should have scored a 9 out of 9. The two areas that we missed were “Mobile Access” and “Integrated Maps”. Since the review was against 1.6.10 (versus 1.8.10 which is the latest stable version available) it didn’t have access to the iPhone app, and we have both greatly improved the built-in OpenNMS mapping feature as well as added an integration with Google Maps, Mapquest and Open Street Map for the remote pollers.

It was still nice to come out on top, however, and I hope this gets even more people interested in OpenNMS.