Racking Cisco UCS C220 server

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) C220 server is a line of proprietary servers to run various applications like WLC, ACS, ISE, Prime etc. These applications are Linux based but it can also be a VMware hypervisor. The customizations of the server hardware include Web based system management of the server hardware.

On the outside, UCS C220 looks just like any other off the shelf server from HPE or Dell. Rack mounting it is a two person job. You can rack it with one person, but it is not easy.

Due to staff called away to another case, I was left alone to mount the server. The inner rails refused to be released from the outer rails. There must be a release latch somewhere, I couldn’t find it.  I did the next best thing, tried to mount to the server with the rails in the rack.  Using the equipment below as a rest, I pulled out an inner rail most of the way.  Keeping the rail between me and the server,  align the server pegs with rail side horizontal keyed slots. This leads to a strange situation.  I ran out of hands to push the server backwards to lock into the rail.  One hand is holding to the rail and another supporting the server.

I ‘jerked’ (like tossing a pizza) the server backwards towards the rack, a few millimetres and the locking clip caught. Verified that the server 3 pegs are in the rail. Supporting the server with one hand, pulled out the other side inner rail and align the horizontal keyed slots with the server pegs. Again jerked the server to lock the server.

Run a few cycles, pulling out the server to verify that it is securely fastened. Screw in the safety screws.

According to the official guide, I am supposed to remove the inner rails and attach the rails to the server.


EDC Torchlight

Carry a torchlight? Nah, there is one on the phone, courtesy of the camera flash. The number of times I turned on the flash torchlight is just a few times.

In that few instances I have really used it, the camera area got really hot and I was worried of killing some of the electronics. One day I was in a discount store and picked up a cheap single AAA LED torchlight. It is too big to put on the key chain, but small enough to throw in the bag. Now if lighting is dim, especially deep inside the network rack, hit the switch! Keep it on as long as possible, and not worry about zapping my phone.


Saving your fingers with Punisher Multi-tool

I got into multi-tool because I was looking for a window breaker for the car. (Still looking)

The Punisher multi-tool has a cool looking hex nut spanner, pry bar and bottle opener. Other than attacking tins of Milo and biscuits, I couldn’t find much use. Bottles here are twist open.

Fast forward to a job I had, moving a couple of racks of equipment. We need to recycle the caged nuts. These can be popped off using your fingers.  After 10 of them, the tips of the fingers begin to ache.

I discovered, by pressing the chisel edge into the gap between the caged nut and the rack, the spring can be compressed. Once you hear the click, a twist of the wrist the nut will pop free.

To push in the nut, place an ear in the square hole, press the chisel edge onto the opposite ear. Once you hear the click, use another hand to push the nut in and pull out the tool at the same time.

Ebay link

OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5 showing dual camera
OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5, the fifth (some say 6th) edition of the flagship killer phones. It has some killer specs to go with it. Qualcomm 835 SOC with 6/8GB of RAM. The now standard storage of 64/128GB.

The 5 looks set to be like a relation of OnePlus 2 as there is a minimal difference with the predecessor, 3T. The much maligned 2 had a processor upgrade and less NFC.

The saving grace for the OnePlus 5 stands out is the dual rear camera feature. A 16MP f/1.7 sensor is paired with a 20MP f/2.6 telephoto lens. This is to give a depth perception or bokeh effect in pictures. The items in the foreground are in focus, while the back is out of focus.

The display is the same one in 3T, AMOLED screen at 1080 x 1920 pixels. To keep to a certain look, the dual camera is offset.
This clashed with the placement of the display controller. The display panel is flipped to make space. Some users have complained a jelly like scrolling, attributed to the flip display. It is difficult to see this in a video, I managed to find this recording done at 960fps. link

If you are looking for a phone and don’t have a OnePlus 3T, I recommend this. No physical buttons to spoil, solid developer community, good specs for the long haul.

Full specs


DISA recently started using STARTTLS by default for all mail servers. DISA which runs the US Department Of Defense IT systems. STARTTLS is an encryption standard for email protocol.

Current email communications are in clear text. You can protect the message body by encryption. The cleartext message is encrypted and placed in the mail or as an attachment. The full sender and recipient address are in clear text. A snooper will be able to see it.

STARTTLS enables a TLS session just after the EHLO command but before the email addresses are sent. After the secure session is established, then email addresses are sent. This means the TLS certificates used in the encryption must be registered. Self-signed certificates cannot be used.

Now the only thing to worry about is using AES