Introducing Cisco UCS S-Series

Does this mean Cisco is officially getting into the storage market?

Today Cisco announced the Cisco UCS S Series line of storage servers.

S-Series-fronts-series-logoNow the more eagle eyed among you may think that the new Cisco UCS S3260 Storage Server looks very much like the Cisco UCS C3260 Rack server (Colusa), well you wouldn’t be too far off, however the S3260 has been well and truly “Pimped” to address the changing needs of a modern storage solution, particularly an extremely cost effective building block in a Hybrid Cloud environment.

The C-3160/C-3260 was particularly suited to large cost effective cooler storage solutions, that is to say the retention of less / inactive data on a long-term or indefinite basis at low cost, use cases being, archive or video surveillance etc.. The fact is data is getting bigger and warmer all time time and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. And even on these traditional colder storage…

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Posted in GNS3 WorkBench

Automated Document Revision Information Reference

On the cover of the documents I produce I like to put the print date and a version number.


But sometimes… I forget to update the version number, even though I’ve updated the Document Revision Information on the inside pages:


So, I went looking for a solution that would automatically update the front cover every time I added a new version number in the Document Revision Information table.

After several attempt using the { =MAX(Above) } field in the Document Revision Information table (which didn’t work well because it had to be placed in the last row of the table using hidden text if you didn’t want it printed) I figured out that I could apply the MAX function to a Bookmark reference, and that if the table was bookmarked, I could reference the Rows and Columns in the table.

Here’s the steps I took.

Step 1: Bookmark the table.

Select the table, and choose Insert | Bookmark, name the bookmark and click Add.  I called my Bookmark DocRevisionInfoTable (MS doesn’t allow spaces in Bookmark names).


Step 2: Formula reference to DocRevisionInfoTable

Now go to the front cover where you need the latest version number calculated, and:

  1. Press <Ctrl+F9> (Windows) or <Cmd+F9> (Mac OS X) to insert a field code.  This will make a stylised pair of braces appear – {} with the cursor between the braces.
  2. Enter the following text between the braces

{ =MAX(DocRevisionInfoTable A:A) \#"#.0#" }


  1. Press <F9> to update the field


A little explanation:

The field { =MAX(DocRevisionInfoTable A:A) \#”#.0#” } works like this:

DocRevisionInfoTable is of course the name of the table.

A:A defines the first row of the table.  According to this document, I should have been able to use C1 to define the first column, but that didn’t work for me.

\#”#.0#” is a format descriptor.
The \# says “this is a number format”
The “#.0#” says “print all digits before the decimal point, and at least one place after the decimal point”.  This means that version 2.0  will print as 2.0 rather than just plain old 2, and if there is a version 2.01 the extra digit after the 0 gets printed too.




Posted in Microsoft Word, MS Word Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Conditional Page Break in MS Word


For many years I have put up with using MS Word’s Insert | Break | Section Break (Odd Page) (now Layout | Breaks | Section Breaks | Odd Page in Word 2016) to force a page break when you want a new chapter/section/heading to begin on an odd page.  Now this works fine, except that if the Section Break (Odd Page) is placed on an odd numbered page, an extra even numbered completely blank page gets inserted to enforce the condition.  No big deal really, unless you don’t like completely blank pages.

And right now, I have a requirement to ensure that there are no blank pages in a document I am writing – the text “This page has been intentionally left blank” is supposed to be added to blank pages.

[Aside: I refuse. I cannot stand seeing intrinsically false statements – like “This gate must remain closed at all times” and “This page has been intentionally left blank“. I will be putting “This page has been intentionally left for you to record your own notes.”]

So I had to finally solve my problem.  How to add conditional page breaks in MS Word so that if I was about to insert a Section Break (Odd Page) I could add my own page break and “This page has been intentionally left for you to record your own notes.” text BEFORE the Section Break (Odd Page) so that there would be no completely blank even numbered pages.

Here is how I did it – this is “How to insert a conditional page break in MS Word”

  1. Press <Ctrl+F9> (Windows) or <Cmd+F9> (Mac OS X) to insert a field code.  This will make a stylised pair of braces appear – {} with the cursor between the braces.
  2. Enter the following text between the braces, using<Ctrl+F9> (Windows) or <Cmd+F9> (Mac OS X) to insert nested fields as you go

{ IF { =MOD({PAGE},2) } = "0" "" "{QUOTE 12}Notes."}

  1. Press <F9> to update the field
  2. Now select Insert | Break | Section Break (Odd Page) or  Layout | Breaks | Section Breaks | Odd Page to insert the section break immediately after the field

Tip: Press <Alt+F9> (Windows) or <Option+F9> (Mac OS X) to reveal/hide the field codes.


Lets look at the part of the nested expression:
{ IF { =MOD({PAGE},2) } = "0" "" "{QUOTE 12}Notes."}

  • Firstly, {PAGE} returns the current page number, and {QUOTE 12} is a page-break character.
  • { =MOD({PAGE},2) } divides the page number by 2, and gives you the remainder, which must be either "0" if {PAGE} is an even page, or "1" if {PAGE} is an odd page.
  • The {IF  } construct evaluates the expression { =MOD({PAGE},2) }="0" and prints”” (nothing) if it is true (even page) or prints "{QUOTE 12}Notes" if the expression is false (odd page)
  • Note: the quotes around the "0" are optional, BUT if omitted, there must be a space between the = and the number
  • Note: I could have achieved the exact same result by saying:
    { IF { =MOD({PAGE},2) } = 1 "{QUOTE 12}Notes." ""} [Note the space between = and 1]
  • Note: I could have actually put a page-break character in the IF expression instead of using {QUOTE 12}, but it is not as readable.

Optional extras!

You could easily change the expression to in fact completely replace the Insert | Break | Section Break (Odd Page) or  Layout | Breaks | Section Breaks | Odd Page function if you did not want to use the section break at all.  The following would add a page break {QUOTE 12} followed by a additional page break that would only be applied if the new page was an even numbered page, which could be useful if you wanted to start new chapters on odd pages, but didn’t want to use the section break at all. [Note the space between = and 0]

{QUOTE 12}{ IF { =MOD({PAGE},2) } = 0 "{QUOTE 12}" ""} Heading Text on Odd Page

Read my other MS Word rant here


I thought I’d found an answer on this site, but unfortunately the example given had unmatched braces, and was missing the quotes around the "0" (or space before) in the IF expression, so I had to search further.  This excellent tutorial helped me fix the unmatched braces, and the MS office support site made me twig about the missing quotes around the "0" (I later discovered that leaving a space between the = and the number would also do the trick) and finally macropod[_2_]’s comment on this post is where I discovered that {QUOTE 12} would insert a page break.





Posted in Microsoft, Microsoft Word, opinion, rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Want a Time Machine for your Datacenter?

Here is a great post from Colin at discussing his thoughts on the new Cisco Tetration Analytics – which works well with ACI – if you have the right hardware!

What’s that server doing?

Like me, you’ve probably been asked that question many times, usually when looking at reclaiming resources, planning migrations or simply enforcing your company’s security policy.

And if the answers to the above questions cannot be answered in a timely manner the old method was simply to power the workload down and see what broke or who screamed, unfortunately in this day an age that is no longer a reasonable approach.

In a world where we are ever moving towards network white-list models where all flows are denied by default, except those specifically allowed in the policy, visibility into what the applications are doing and how they interact with each other are now critical to understand. The 2 last projects I have done enforced a network white-list policy and mapping all the required application flows involved a lot of detective work and traffic capturing to establish what…

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Posted in GNS3 WorkBench

Packt extends 50% discount

Great News! PACKT are having extending the promotion on the GNS3 Network Simulation Guide until April 30 2016

Use the code JKTKU50y when ordering to get the discount or use the link to get 50% off the normal price!

My original post about the publishing of the book will give you more details!

Posted in GNS3 WorkBench

50% off GNS3 Network Simulation Guide

PACKT are having a promotion on the GNS3 Network Simulation Guide until March 6 2016 Update: Promotion has been extended till April 30 2016

Use the code JKTKU50y when ordering to get the discount or use the link to get 50% off the normal price!

My original post about the publishing of the book will give you more details!





Posted in GNS3 WorkBench

I Bought a MS Surface Book, so now I’m really P…d off with Apple

Why am I annoyed with Apple?

I’ll get back to that, later. But first, let me tell you about my “Surface Book” experience.

The Microsoft Surface Book was a compromise to begin with.  I wanted, in order of importance:

  1. Touch screen technology – with precision (ie with a fine-point stylus). I do powerpoint presentations every day for a living. And I want to be able to draw over the slides better than I can with an iPad.
  2. Lightweight.  The one thing I didn’t like about my old 17″ MacBook Pro was the 3Kg load. But I’d be OK with 2Kg.
  3. 1 TB SSD. Preferably 2TB
  4. Intel i7 processor. I run lots of VMs
  5. As large a screen as possible. 17″ would be good, but I know that that is impossible with a touch screen and still under 2Kg

The Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book were by far the leading contenders on #1 & #2 above, but both fell short on the SSD – although I believe in the US you can buy a Surface Book with 1TB SSD.

So it was the slightly larger screen size that made me decide on the Surface Book over the Surface Pro4, even though both are smaller than I want.

And what a horrible story that has been so far.

I have to admit that I thought it was strange that the sales rep in the shop told me “Don’t leave it for long periods on standby”

Hello? This started ringing alarm bells. I’ve had a Mac Book Pro since 2009, and I only ever put it on standby.

And now you might begin to see where I am coming from. I have got used to beautiful precision and elegant notebooks. MacBooks to be sure.

So when I took my Surface Book out of the box, I could see that some effort had been gone to to try and emulate Apple packaging, but the device held within is not nearly as elegant.

But the real clanger was when I turned it on.  It booted up, but didn’t find any wireless networks. I couldn’t log onto the device. In fact, attempting to enter my email as a login-id was a challenge, because every time I hit the @ key I got quotes instead.

And the Date/Time was stuck on 21:39 Dec  12 2015!


So I got onto Microsoft Support (using a Mac). To their credit, I opened a chat session and had someone attend to me within 5 minutes, and that person even called my mobile from Seattle to avoid the tedium of typing.  But after “Holding down the Power Button and the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons simultaneously” a couple of times (which brought up a “Surface EUFI” screen – whatever that is) I was old that he best option was to “take it back to the store where you bought it“.

So I have bought a dud. And I feel so frustrated and angry – not so much with Microsoft but with Tim Cook and Apple.

Why Apple?

Because if Apple had kept up its history of innovation in Personal Computers, Apple Laptops would now be shipping with touch-screens and stylus pencils. 

And then the choice would have been easy.  Instead, Apple have abandoned PC Innovation and concentrated on the more glamorous phones and tablets, and I believe stifling PC development so they would not take sales from the iPads.

So now I’m stuck with MS quality, rather than Apple quality, and it is not a pretty place.


Postscript: 2015-01-15

I returned the Surface Book to the Microsoft Store today, and they gave me a refund without any hassle.  Turns out that they were much more familiar with the problem (they say it is more of a Windows 10 thing, rather than a Surface Book problem) at the MS store than they were on the support line, and they offered to fix it on the sport (which they did anyway) or give the refund I’d already asked for.

Throughout this exercise I must say that the support “effort” from Microsoft has been outstanding, even if the advise from Seattle was a little off the mark.

When they bring out the 1TB version in Aus, I might re-visit the store.

Posted in Mac OS X, Macintosh, Microsoft, opinion, rant, Surface | Tagged , , , , , , ,