Keeping it all straight
Posted on 1 Sep ’11 by Earl
I’ve worked in IT support and management a long time, and often its involved working remotely from home doing everything from user support, application installation/upgrades, programming and web design. Even recently, working part-time for a non-profit organization, it’s often from home I offer support or work on projects. In addition, my wife sometimes works from home as well.
I enjoy the experience of working from home and like having the capability of doing it as much as possible.
Yes, I’ve often thought of paring things down to single laptops but feel there would be too many compromises at this point in time — my profession and experience has ingrained in me redundancies and back-ups are good things.
I can’t automatically buy-in that simplicity is ‘always’ best by its very nature. But I do believe even the complex can provide a simple and reasonable experience if properly designed and managed. Simplicity for the sake of simplicity alone can seem a great luxury — until you suffer a critical failure. So it’s often a trade off.
I’ve also files and data accumulated over the years which I wouldn’t enjoy starting over on. In my case all backups and other critical functions are by design automated resulting in little daily operational overhead to the inherent complexity, and I never miss a back-up.
Speaking of complexity, many of today’s newer devices/appliances have wireless/wired network capabilities as well.
For efficiency, and to help my older memory, I’ve created and keep updated a home network diagram (seen above.) I use the drawing/diagram application OmniGraffle Pro from the Omni Group for this diagram. This diagram is nothing new — I posted about it in 2006.
The convenience of using a drawing program supporting layers, as OmniGraffle does, is the ability to use different overlaying layers to contain separate parts of the diagram or represent different types of information. Layers in OmniGraffle Pro work much like layers in Photoshop in you can individually display or hide them. In the case of this network diagram I’ve used layers to separated devices by location and to separate different types of information about the devices. For example, what you can’t see in this shared version is additional layers of information listing IP and MAC addresses, serial numbers and dates of service.
Simply deciding which layers to display quickly determines how simple or detailed of a diagram you have.
I found this diagram very handy when something unexpectedly stops working or when I’m planning a change/move of equipment.