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Think IPM

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PSA: Citrix Netscaler Builds temporarily offline.

imageSam Jacobs alerted us that the Citrix Netscaler build versions for 11.0 and beyond are no longer available for download from Citrix’s website.  No reason listed why it was pulled from the shelves yesterday in the KB article, just a notice that revised builds will be posted soon and progress will be updated on the article: 


This seems like it could have been a security flaw which prompted Citrix to pull the builds but that’s just speculation on my part.   In any event, if you are running one of these versions, you should keep an eye on the article or this blog for updates and then patch your Netscalers soon after.

And if you do know why the firmware was pulled, let us know in the comments.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Smart Home Lessons from Hurricane Irma

imageFlorida is a great place.  I love living here but every so often, between September and November, it gets a bit intense.  This past week, #Irma rolled through the state.  It came fast and furious and was pretty unpredictable (at least to me).   We prepped the best we could and waited.   From a Smart Home perspective, it hit in 3 phases. 

The first was the initial bad weather that rolled through.  I had some automations already set up related to the extreme weather.  Some examples were shutting the Rachio sprinklers if the winds measured higher than 15 mph.  In general, those high winds would make the sprinklers less effective and to prep for the hurricane, we issued a 5 day rain delay on the controllers to help dry up the ground to soak up the anticipated rains.  Another automation checked wind speed and flashed the lights in the house if winds reached 50 MPH to notify us to be on alert and possibly get into our safe room.  The system also verified that all windows, doors and garage doors were not open and would have alerted us via TTS if they were.   Using the Skybell HD was a great way to ‘see’ outside during the actual Hurricane until …


The next phase to hit was the power outage.   An IOT Smart House is pretty crippled when the power goes out.  Some surprisingly helpful exceptions to that were the Nest Protects and the Hue Go Lights!  Irma hit us very late at night and when the power went out in the neighborhood and house, everything was really dark.  Even moon light was not really useful since most of the openings in the house were boarded up with plywood. (Side note – Plylox clips are amazing for putting up boards!)  Once the power went out, as we walked around the house, the Nest Protects kicked in with their pathlight feature.  Since the Nests also have a battery backup, we had amazing ceiling nightlights kicking in as we walked around the house.  I don’t honestly know the battery life on these things but we lost power for almost 6 days and the pathlights worked every night.   We also knew from the pathlight that the Nest protects were still in fire notification mode in the event of a fire, they would still be working.   The Nest thermostats also provided light to us using their internal battery and motion detection.  Walk by one in the living room and it lit up providing some light at night.  Unexpected but awesome side benefit of an already great product.  

The Hue Go lights were something that we knew would come in handy.  They charge up and provide a 3 hour battery operated portable light.  We had 2 of them and each one lit up a room on their own.  We did have to scramble a bit to get them charged in the daytime but I used a fully charged APC UPS unit for that.   It worked out great and I’m glad we had them for the hurricane.

The last part of the hurricane experience was power restored but no internet.  Most of the devices came back online pretty quickly when power was restored but almost all of them required at least the local Wifi network to be functional and controllable.  The Alexa echoes were pretty useless without internet. (although they provided a LOUD notification once it came back).  The Wink controlled devices were also pretty useless without internet.   There are some hacks to allow for local control but I haven’t implemented them yet.  This is now on the todo list.   Hue lights worked like a champ but I did have to dig out the app on my phone.  Home Assistant also worked pretty well controlling what it could on an automated basic over the local Wifi.

I’m pretty pleased with the prep we did and the expected results.  No major property damage and no injuries.  It was somewhere between a Category 1 and 2 when it hit us.   For next time, we are hoping to have some solar panels and a Tesla PowerWall to keep us afloat for the outage.  We’ll have to see how all that works out.

Be sure to check out the rest of my #IOT posts by clicking the hashtag link.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Multi Room Audio for the Echo! It’s finally Here


Image result for multi room audioSo I’ve written about my Sound/Voice set up at the house before : Giving Voice to the Smart Home

At the time, I really just wished that Amazon would release the ability to group their Echo devices up similar to Google Chrome Cast Audios and give the ability for a user to play synchronized music over all of the devices giving whole house surround…

The time is now.  Here is Amazon’s official Press release.  I’m super excited about this development and glad it is finally here.   It looks like support is for almost everything except Spotify and SiruisXM right now (promised in the future) and there is no support for Amazon Tap just yet.  No indication on whether it’s coming but I don’t see why not.

Some of the neat stuff it can do is be controlled from any of the group echoes.. so play, pause, resume, skip, next, thumbs up/down and volume control all work across the devices and can be ‘heard’ by any of the devices in the group.

Time to start filling my house with DOTS now.


Be sure to check out the rest of my #IOT posts by clicking the hashtag link.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Not attending VMworld? That’s no reason to not follow along from home (or work)!


VMworld 2017 is happening today (Monday!) in Las Vegas!  If you didn’t make the trek out to the desert, understandable but that is no reason for you to miss out on all the great announcements and information!

VMworld will have it’s own streaming TV channel - http://www.siliconangle.tv/vmworld-2017/ 

Here you will be able to watch days of interviews with company and tech leaders in the virtualization space.  This is like walking around the solutions expo without all the free T-Shirts and pens.

Like every year, the Keynotes will be streamed live for everyone.  Be sure to point your browser here.

If Twitter is your thing, #VMworld hash tag should provide excellent real-time commentary on the events and keynotes. vExperts from all around the world will be weighing in with their opinions.

Of course, don’t forget all the blogs.  Every announcement, event, party and session will probably have a blogger diligently writing a summary for your consumption.  If you don’t know where to look, check out the Planet v12 feed from VMware.

Enjoy the conference no matter where you are.


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Monday, August 21, 2017

PSA: vSphere Patch can break working NVIDIA GRiD set ups. (And don’t look directly at the sun #SolarEclipse2017)

I was working with a client today and going nuts trying to figure out why the NVIDIA VIB was not loading correctly in the vSphere 6.0 environment.  We pushed the VIB via Update Manager like I have done in the past. (See Note Here) Yet the XORG service was refusing to start.  XORG is needed for shared vGPUs.  If you do 1 to 1 pass-through, you can get away with out it.


No errors in the Xorg.log but you can see the issue when trying to restart it manually.   Unknown command or namespace graphics host refresh.  Not terribly useful but unique enough that a little Google-Fu lead me to this KB article. 

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2150498 - After upgrading ESXi hosts to ESXi600-201706001 Hardware 3D graphics functioning fails

As of today, there is no resolution for this fix so be very careful when upgrading any ESXi hosts with NVIDIA GRiD cards in them.


So at this point, our only option is to rebuild the hosts using an older version of ESX that does not have the patch installed.  Since the patch was released on June 6, 2017, I would advise using the 6.0U3 ISO released on February 24, 2017 and then carefully patching it up to a newer build version being sure to NOT apply patch ESXi600-201706103-SG.

If all goes well, the vGPUs should be available again for the Virtual Machines to use.

Oh and Next eclipse : April 8th 2024.

Image result for solar eclipse 2017 

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