Building a Virtual Lab with Arista vEOS and VirtualBox

It’s no secret that I love Arista switches. When I wrote Arista Warrior, I was lucky enough to have a loaner switch from Arista in my home lab, but sadly they made me give it back. Since Arista is a relative newcomer to the world of Networking, there isn’t a pile of used Arista gear on eBay, so I can’t build a killer lab at home without spending thousands of dollars. As much as I love Arista switches, I’d rather spend my spare cash on guitars my wife and kids.

Understanding the plight of cash-strapped networking guys the world over, Arista has released a virtual-machine-ready version of their fabulous switch operating system, EOS. Currently this is only available to existing Arista customers, so see your Arista sales rep to get a copy. Please don’t ask me for a copy, since I will not send you a copy no matter how much you beg. Arista has hinted that they may release this into the general population, in which case I may build a Virtual Box appliance to share. Until then, you’ll need to read on and build it yourself. (more…)

Arista Warrior

Arista Warrior Book
I am proud to report that I have finished the first draft of my new book, Arista Warrior. With the tagline, A real-world guide to understanding Arista switches and EOS, this will be the first published book about Arista switches that contains all original information. It should be available for purchase by November of 2012. (Edit: now available for pre-order from!)

If you’re not familiar with Arista switches, I urge you to give them a look. I discovered them while doing a vendor comparison study for a client, and believe it or not, I only found about them because the other vendors kept mentioning them. After visiting their headquarters and meeting the people behind the technology, I was impressed. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m not easily impressed, so I figured there was something special going on, but it seemed like the world hadn’t yet caught on. I immediately contacted my editor and proposed the idea that has become this book. Roughly a year later, here we are. (more…)

Network Warrior, Second Edition

I’m excited to report that the second edition of Network Warrior is in the final stages of production and should be hitting the shelves of your favorite bookstore soon.

My goal in writing the second edition of Network Warrior was to make the new book even better than the first edition. I wanted to include as much new stuff as possible, but I also wanted to refine the original material to make it more current and accurate. I didn’t remove much information, except to replace it with newer or better examples.

What’s new in the second edition of Network Warrior? Here’s a bulleted list: (more…)

My Fragile Dead Kindle

I liked my Kindle. At least for the 30-some hours it worked. The screen suddenly stopped working as shown in the included pictures. I tried rebooting it through the menu and by holding the power switch on for 15 seconds. Neither technique solved my Kindle screen woes. The Kindle seemed to function fine. The menus worked and my computer saw it as a drive when connected via the USB cable, but the screen was toast. (more…)

Kindle Wireless Fix

Like untold others, I got a slick new Kindle 3G + Wireless as a Christmas gift (2010). It connected easily to the 3G network, but it would not connect to my wireless network at home. This was baffling, because I live in the woods and my wireless security is as simple as possible. I wrote a book on networking, and my wireless security is woefully out of date. Why? Because I live in the woods. Anyone who would get close enough to hop onto my wireless LAN would be eaten by my dogs. My dogs love tasty wireless thieves. (more…)

GAD’s Review of Apple’s Magic Mouse

When I first saw the announcement for Apple’s Magic Mouse, I knew right away that I simply had to have one. I mean just look at it! It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and it just oozes Appleness. The designe engineers at Apple really hit one out of the park with this baby. Having owned an Iphone for a little over a year now, I’ve grown to love the multi-touch interface. I figured this mouse would be a natural.

I was wrong. (more…)

GAD’s Digital Photo Management Scheme

Canon 1Ds Mark 2

I take the archiving of my digital photos seriously. My photos are the archived memories of my family. I have developed over the years, a means whereby I sort, store, and archive them. I’ve been asked repeatedly how I do this, so I thought I would write it up once and for all.

I use a Canon 1Ds Mark II camera which is 16.7 Megapixels. I also shoot exclusively in Raw with the DSLR, which yields files that range in size between 13 and 22 megabytes each. Each of thes .CR2 raw files must be “developed” using special software. The resulting .jpg images create an additional file of about  two to four megabytes. Then I may crop or alter the file, making a new copy of the full-sized .jpg. Then there are the web-sized versions and the thumbnails which are only 100k or so. After all my editing, each single image capture from my camera might consume a total of 25 megabytes of disk space with all copies considered – more if there are many versions. (more…)

Migrating from XP to OSX

Having recently bought a Mac Powerbook Pro, I had to come to grips with using a new operating system. I have used Windows XP since it was a beta in 2001. This being the end of summer in 2009, you could say that I’m a tad set in my ways when it comes to my computing tasks.

The original Macintosh
The original Macintosh

The Mac Powerbook Pro was so enticing a piece of hardware though, that I was willing to look at Mac OSX. I was no stranger to Macs having used them since my roommate bought an original Macintosh back before time began. Though at the time I liked my Tandy 1000 better, the Mac was pretty darn cool too.

Still, having one around and using one as my primary mobile computing platform were two different issues. I’m a working consultant, so I need my laptop to work – period. I also need to not be trying to figure out how to use my computer while charging my client by the hour. That’s just bad form. (more…)

Why I Bought a Mac

Apple Macbook Pro
Apple Macbook Pro

I hate laptops. In fact I have a statement that I repeat whenever anyone asks me to recommend a laptop:

“All laptops suck – buy what you like”

The purists will note that we haven’t seen a laptop in the market for over 10 years. Laptops were huge beastly things that harken back to the days of floppy disks and orange plasma screens. What we’re talking about of course, are notebook computers. The word laptop just rolls of the tongue better than notebook does, so I, like most people, will continue to misuse the word. Besides, I use it on my lap all the time. Thanks, I feel better.

At any rate, I found myself recently needing a laptop because my HP widescreen laptop blew a hard drive and developed an LCD problem that I couldn’t live with. I fixed it up as best as I could, and donated it to my youngest daughter who now uses it exclusively for important tasks like surfing (more…)