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Old 12-10-2017, 03:56 PM   #1
w00tus
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Question Teach a man to fish.. Semi specific guidance sought.


Good day, friends of Tux!

I've not been on the boards in a while. New job keeps me busy around the clock.

What I would like to ask of the community (man, that sounds so entitled.. Sorry if it is..) are some suggestions that may save me some time in learning what I need to know. Usually, I like not knowing where to start on such an endeavor, because I pick up so many factoids on the way that come in super handy throughout the rest of my life. However.. I have a job now where I have to come up with solutions. Fast.

In order to set myself up for success, I'll describe where I'm at:
1. My job is at a Spa (like where you go to "get your nails did.").
2. My job is to keep everything that runs on electricity running.
3. I'm a hardware guy - never had to dive too deep into software, scripting or writing code.
4. My job is also to eliminate overhead where ever possible.

Currently, all of the equipment is not a problem. Massage tables, dentist's chairs, face sand blasters.. I keep it all in good working order. This includes the main server and all of the PCs and thin clients. Again, I keep the *hardware* in good running order.

Here is the current list of what I have and things I need to make happen that I would love some suggestions of where to go to learn what I need to know.

What I got to work with:
1. Lenovo System x3100 M5 Server running Debian Stretch 64 bit.
(Beefing it up as I go. Currently have 7TB of storage space and 8GB of ram. Will be 32gb of ram ultimately and 18tb between available and cold storage.)
2. A stack of old computers that I'm currently using as thin clients.
3. Two low end store bought PCs acting as POS machine and Spa Director's terminal.
4. 2x Raspberry Pi Zero W
5. 1x Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
(I've been buying the Pis as I go because they'll be super handy in the next big project after all of the following.)
6. The domain is listed with GoDaddy.
7. Email is hosted by a sub par company.

What I need to make happen:

1. Host our website from the server. (Will get a parallel connection as soon as I can actually make the hosting happen.)
2. Host our email from the server. (Roundcube looks promising, though I'm lost making it actually work.)
3. Make a Pi Zero W with no GUI boot and go straight to an rDesktop session on one of the Windows computers without any input required from the user except plugging it in/turning it on.
4. Make a Pi Zero W with no GUI boot and go straight to an rDesktop session on the server without any input required from the user except plugging it in/turning it on.
(I've got one on my bench right now that will run rDesktop without a GUI and thus very little memory usage. I got that far. But I'm at the point of figuring out how to make it automatic to a non nerd can use it.)
5. Build a wireless router and possibly repeaters powerful enough to punch through red brick and who knows what else over a MASSIVE property that this spa resides in. So 2.4Ghz only and I can't say in good conscious that I would loose any sleep if anything broke past the 1 watt limit. I'm respectful enough of our neighbors not to use any channels that would overlap their own business.
5.1. Build a wired router to unify several wireless routers if this is the way to go. (Side note - I've read that building your own router with a motherboard filled with NICs and letting Linux do the work is by far the best way to go as far as no bottle necks and snappy response.)
6. Find a Linux alternative to this spa software called "Insight." I got the owner a free trial of NolaPro, but she's been too busy to even log in. Not that I have a problem with Insight, but the business is hemorrhaging money, so I've been helping to eliminate costs anywhere they can be eliminated. It's got to be an all in one kind of thing, otherwise these people won't use it. (POS, inventory management, payroll, etc..) If this isn't a possibility, I'll set to the task of running Insight in Wine. (And probably need a few bottles of wine..)

Here's a short list of what I would "like" to be able to happen. Though, I understand well the concept of wishing in one hand and pooping in the other to see which fills up first..:

1. I would like to stick with Debian as much as possible. I've got more experience with it and it's what's Raspbian's based on to boot. Plus, I got the owner sold on it (KDE REALLY helped) and talked into making regular donations to those fine folk's organization.
2. Use software made my revolutionary people. Small to smallish groups who just make great code and work hard at it. The owner of this place has a figure in mind of how much she would like to donate on a quarterly basis and she said she'll leave it up to me to decide how to distribute it. (Some goes to Debian, some to OpenOffice [because they're more Ayn Rand than Libre], etc etc etc..) Some of the money I'm saving this place is going to go to donations (for tax purposes I'm sure) so I'd like to channel it where it would be of the most use. I'd like to help out the guys at Bhodi. I like Bhodi better than Lubuntu (though nothing wrong with Lubuntu!!) and it'll run on a calculator. It would be way better for the ancient/underpowered computers. It's pretty good as it is (making a semi-universal distro like that seems like a monumental feat!!), but it's a work in progress.
3. Stick with Raspberry hardware. My reasons for this aren't purely emotional. I've looked at at least a hundred different prototyping boards ranging from ARM to x86 to whatever nVidia calls their processor. They just can't compete with the Pi on the performance to cost ratio. And keeping costs down is the only way I'm going to be able to make the next big project happen. The owner is already planning to send me on "vacation" after the current set of hurtles are conquered to work on "Linux from Scratch." So that I can make a set of distributions specifically for the Pi Zero and 3 to serve as a basis of said next project.

OK, I've written a novel! Sorry about that.

Thanks to everyone who was good enough to read it. Any bones you could throw me would be greatly appreciated.
 
Old 12-10-2017, 04:08 PM   #2
w00tus
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P.S.

You've probably gathered from reading all of that.. That we're migrating away from Windows. I'd like to claim credit, but it didn't take a lot to sell the idea. All the $$$ they're spending on software would be best described by an analogy of Gringots bank getting too close to a black hole. That along with my telling them about things like Simple-Scan never dying right in the middle of something time sensitive like WIA does constantly sealed the deal.

By the time I'm done with the above project and all the peripherals, there will not be a trace of Microsoft on the property.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 01:00 AM   #3
ondoho
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well you took yourself out of zero reply so i might just as well add my rant...

frist of all:
tl;dr
sorry.

you're in over your head.
you keep stating that you're a hardware guy (implication: NOT software).
you somehow managed to convince your bosses to switch server to linux.
and now you're somehow asked to take care of all of that?
forget it. you need a professional for this.
please don't take it personally; it's really too much. call me a pessimist if you want.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 01:39 AM   #4
Turbocapitalist
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Break it up into discrete tasks and then take them on one at a time. Of all the tasks listed, which one is the best use of your time right now? And what is your timeline for each one?

Again, you may need to call in outside help for some or all of the tasks.

Edit: mail has become quite hard, really hard, and that will be almost certainly best to outsource the hardware if not the actual maintenance. Many hosting providers will do mail for you.

Last edited by Turbocapitalist; 12-11-2017 at 01:41 AM.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 11:56 AM   #5
w00tus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
well you took yourself out of zero reply so i might just as well add my rant...

frist of all:
tl;dr
sorry.

you're in over your head.
you keep stating that you're a hardware guy (implication: NOT software).
you somehow managed to convince your bosses to switch server to linux.
and now you're somehow asked to take care of all of that?
forget it. you need a professional for this.
please don't take it personally; it's really too much. call me a pessimist if you want.
I'm not taking it personally.

Guess I should have said: They didn't have a server to begin with. I opted to hunt for one cheap (Got this one for ~$100) and set it up in another part of the property. My reason for this was that their desktops where failing. They where old, which usually isn't an issue. However, the wiring downstairs where they're at is.. A rats nest. Until I can either get scrubbers to try and clean the voltage or find an electrician for them that's not a drunken inbred, this will continue to be a problem. What I've been doing is replacing power supplies (cheap ones) to keep things going. So far a MB hasn't popped or anything else. I'll deal with that when it happens. I've made side money repairing PCs for years. It's not rocket surgery. I can make thin clients out of anything, since it's only a matter of remote desktoping. Thus, thin clients are a dime a dozen. A Pi Zero with the fixings ends up being around $30. I hit thrift stores and garage sales for everything else like monitors.

I was hired because I'm able to service their spa equipment. Shortly after I was hired, their other problems reached critical mass. True - these are not my problems (aside from the fact that the spa is where my paycheck comes from), however this is a good company, the owner treats me well and the employees are good hard working people that I respect. All of them are 100% aware that I am not a network administrator, certified Linux (or anything else) guru, Nobel Laureate or clergyman. I simply want to help because; There. Is. No. One. Else. We have one computer repair shop in town that will answer their phone. I found a computer of the spa's that was sitting in a closet in pieces, exactly as it was returned to them, from said computer shop. The note said it was fried and to buy a new one. No recovery of data was possible. Know what was wrong? One of the caps in the power supply popped. I didn't even need a tester because, as any of you know, it stunk. It's now their main point of sale machine, all tax records intact and hosting the thin client in the back room where people clock in.

So far, I have learned to do the following that I had no idea how to do previously:
1. I can now fix plumbing. Youtube taught me how to braze copper pipe.
2. I can now lay tile.
3. Some electrical issues have been resolved by pure magic completely unrelated to me and I can provide alibis because I'm not licensed to touch it here. But good thing for the mysterious sourceless magic because one of the nail techs got shocked and needed new panties.
4. I can cook for a banquette.
5. I can sew to some extent.

These things are not as technical or as knowledge intensive as what I've asked about here. But each one, I learned how to do on the fly and got done before the spa opened the next day. To quote the philosopher The Cable Guy, "git'r dun!"

You are quite right, I am in way over my head. I've been in way over my head since I showed up here. But if I fail, the spa fails. I'll spare all of you the boring details, but it was a sinking ship before I showed up. I can say with certainty, it's not the owner or any of the employees fault. This area exists in a professional vacuum. The people that work here with me where cherry picked from other towns (me from another state) and put through a hard "act right" training coarse. No good electricians, no good plumbers, no good HVAC dudes, no good IT people, no good contractors of any kind that can be hired. I am all these people have - they don't have the spare money to hire someone from two hours away.

I will not quit and failure is not a luxury I or anyone else can afford.

That being said, if I do not find guidance here, I will find it elsewhere. Or I won't find it. Either which way, I will learn how to do all of this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist
Break it up into discrete tasks and then take them on one at a time. Of all the tasks listed, which one is the best use of your time right now? And what is your timeline for each one?

Again, you may need to call in outside help for some or all of the tasks.

Edit: mail has become quite hard, really hard, and that will be almost certainly best to outsource the hardware if not the actual maintenance. Many hosting providers will do mail for you.
Naturally.. The email issue is top priority of all listed.

Next would be the website. I've got to figure out how to host it and manage it. It needs ssl, badly. The only way they can take payments via it is through PayPal. What sucks about that is people will buy services or products, then as soon as they receive them, they'll call Paypal and do a chargeback. Thus, getting whatever stuff they got for free. It's not a new scam. But as of yet, nothing can be done about it unless they hire an attorney to work around the clock suing/pressing charges. They NEED square or some other segway that offers theft insurance.

They can send emails and sometimes they make it to their destination. They cannot receive any emails at all.

Google will take care of the whole problem for a monthly fee. We'll have the right email and the right domain. That money simply is not there to be spent, though.

The issue it's causing is that even the owner is having to use a gmail account with people she does business with. I wasn't aware of it until she pointed it out, most of them turn up their noses at the generic domain. All of their business cards they had printed out by *shudders* vista print are now junk because of this as well.

It sucks.. But I have to get it figured out. One benefit is that I have all day and all night all week when I'm not fixing a steamer, a toilet or a massage table.

Thank you both for replying. I sound frustrated, I know. And I am. However not at either of you - I hope you believe me. My ears are still open and I'm still coming back to this thread every time I pass this terminal.

Last edited by w00tus; 12-11-2017 at 11:57 AM.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 12:15 PM   #6
Turbocapitalist
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Ok. Thanks for the clarification. It sounds like the web server and e-mail are the top priorities. If you subscribe to the strategy of taking your easy shots first, then I'd say do the web server first.

For the distro, I'd pick one that has some years of Long Term Support (LTS). Ubuntu or Linux Mint LTS editions are ok options there. Devuan is ok too.

Edit: I see Debian Stretch in your description, that's fine too

Your choice after that is Apache2 or nginx for the web server itself. Either will do. Read up a little on both and then pick one based on your interest. In order to get encryption ( HTTPS ) the current best practice seems to be to use Let's Encrypt. It has a client you can install, configure, and run automatically at intervals to keep the certificate renewed. It even makes a certificate for you if you don't have one.

Unless you're willing to maintain or pay to maintain, PHP and Javascript on an ongoing basis, I'd recommend static XHTML + CSS. If the site is really big and standardized headers, footers, and menus are a thing then I'd say look at Server-Side Includes (noexec) for those, and avoid scripting. Static site generators are all the fashion now, if more complex moving parts are needed. Jekyll and Hugo are two. However, less is more in my opinion. So avoid big CMS packages like Wordpress, Drupal, and so on.

By the way, some domain registrars also provide limited e-mail functionality as part of their package. If you have that optionfrom your registrar , you might consider it at least while getting familiarized with things. Regardless, be sure to look up the difference between A, CNAME, and MX records for DNS.

Last edited by Turbocapitalist; 12-11-2017 at 12:17 PM.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 12:25 PM   #7
w00tus
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Thank you, so much! My learning begins immediately.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 01:59 PM   #8
michaelk
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in General and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

By the way Roundcube is an email client not a server.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 02:42 PM   #9
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w00tus View Post
Thank you, so much! My learning begins immediately.
My $0.02 worth would be to consider using Google mail for Business to address your short-term needs. VERY easy to set up and cheap...like, $15 a month per user. Yes, I realize that adds up, but when you consider how much time/effort it's going to take to properly set up a mail server, including spam filters, domain names, etc., you get off easy. You can use any client (Windows/Mac/Linux), or go straight web browser. AND this includes a company-wide calendar, 30GB of storage per user, security, whitelisting you as not a spammer, etc. There are other services, of course, but I've had good luck with that one.

Get yourself breathing space, spend a little $ for something good, easy, and usable, and develop your skills. Maybe in a while after you get things chugging along and you're not in total-learning mode, you can take the plunge.

As others have said, break it up into discrete tasks. Start with smaller things to develop skills/confidence, and go up from there.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 04:48 PM   #10
vmccord
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I'm going with everyone else to outsource mail. I like hover.com. They do domain hosting and email hosting (no web hosting). You can have email boxes and email forwards and pay for each kind separately. Depending upon the situation and recipient I was able to get the right service for the right need. No way would I do email on my own anymore.

I kind of also think the management software should go to a cloud based model. The clients are then all javascript from a web page.
 
Old 12-11-2017, 09:03 PM   #11
w00tus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
Moved: This thread is more suitable in General and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

By the way Roundcube is an email client not a server.
My bad. I'll remember that for future threads. Thanks for moving it!

That's how much of a noob I am. I thought Roundcube was for hosting..

Quote:
Originally Posted by TB0ne View Post
My $0.02 worth would be to consider using Google mail for Business to address your short-term needs. VERY easy to set up and cheap...like, $15 a month per user. Yes, I realize that adds up, but when you consider how much time/effort it's going to take to properly set up a mail server, including spam filters, domain names, etc., you get off easy. You can use any client (Windows/Mac/Linux), or go straight web browser. AND this includes a company-wide calendar, 30GB of storage per user, security, whitelisting you as not a spammer, etc. There are other services, of course, but I've had good luck with that one.

Get yourself breathing space, spend a little $ for something good, easy, and usable, and develop your skills. Maybe in a while after you get things chugging along and you're not in total-learning mode, you can take the plunge.

As others have said, break it up into discrete tasks. Start with smaller things to develop skills/confidence, and go up from there.
Thank you very much. Google might end up being the only answer.. But the expense isn't in the budget at the moment. $135 a month doesn't seem like much, but I'm refilling toners to keep the doors open. Literally. Maybe after this Christmas if sales are good enough we'll be able to.

I'll take your advice along with the others and break all of this up into bite sized pieces. I still have to get results, but I'll look elsewhere than myself for the moment as an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmccord View Post
I'm going with everyone else to outsource mail. I like hover.com. They do domain hosting and email hosting (no web hosting). You can have email boxes and email forwards and pay for each kind separately. Depending upon the situation and recipient I was able to get the right service for the right need. No way would I do email on my own anymore.

I kind of also think the management software should go to a cloud based model. The clients are then all javascript from a web page.
I'll definitely checkout hover.com! Thanks.

Our needs aren't great. 100mb of space per account would probably be 10 times more than what's needed. Only three of the accounts will be used to send anything other than text (spreadsheets). I'll definitely look into them.

I agree with you about the cloud based thing. As far as I know, the owner reports all of her profits anyway, so it's not like she has anything to hide. Insanity to me, but whatever. If it's possible to have the ability to back up to an offline cold storage, that would be ideal. In case the service is terminated and tax documents, etc.. Are needed later.

I actually just got back from Verizon a little bit ago checking on a backup for our internet. Anytime there's a rush - Christmas, Valentine's day, Mother's day, etc.. The internet dies. I mean, you can set your watch by it. 10 minutes before the first person walks in the door, tripping over their own feet to give us money. Black Friday? I was throwing stuff out of the storage room to bounce off the oposite wall until I found enough junk I could cobble together to get the entire network tethered to my phone. It seemed like the business was loosing $100 a second the instant the rush began. They would go to make a hard ticket of the people's credit cards to process the transaction later and the people where freaking out and walking away. People behind them where walking away because it was taking too long. It was madness. Like my phone bill.. But they took care of it for me, so that's cool.

In case anyone has a better solution for me on this..

This idea hit me earlier while I was in the bathroom. I'm going to get the owner to switch her data package on her phone over to unlimited. It throttles after 15Gb, but even then it's still fast enough to process credit cards I think. I'll buy a hotspot (so that it doesn't cost a kidney every month to rent one and I can find one either with a lan port or I can get one which one can be added) and juice it up with the added line of mobile data. That way it won't cost any more money to use data. (I took a lunch break and went to Verizon to confirm this is possible) Next, I'll mount it on the wall right next to the desk in the main office by the server and over the modem. Between that and the modem I shall construct a very low tech eight pole double throw switch. When it's pointing down at the modem, the network is using cable. When Murphy's Law hit's the fan, they can flip it up to point at the hotspot. Bam. Internet. Only downtime is how long it takes someone to reach for the switch and the server to connect to it.

I realize this is brutal, but it'll work I'm pretty sure.

One last thing! How do I add a rep point to you guys? I didn't see the button to do so next to anyone's posts..

Last edited by w00tus; 12-11-2017 at 09:08 PM. Reason: I was typing faster than I was thinking at the bottom.
 
Old 12-12-2017, 12:37 AM   #12
ondoho
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my first reply was inspired mostly by the email server requirement; with that out of the equation it would all seem a little more doable.

anyhow, i'd like to know how/if you succeed with this.
prove me wrong!


Quote:
Originally Posted by w00tus View Post
One last thing! How do I add a rep point to you guys? I didn't see the button to do so next to anyone's posts..
that's because this is posted in General, a sort of LQ Stammtisch. don't worry about it.
 
Old 12-12-2017, 12:44 AM   #13
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w00tus View Post
When Murphy's Law hit's the fan, they can flip it up to point at the hotspot. Bam. Internet. Only downtime is how long it takes someone to reach for the switch and the server to connect to it.
You mentioned being limited to the 2.4GHz band because of several factors. One way to increase speed and reliability is to use a channel with less interference. Unfortunately in an urban environment that means a lot of poor speeds because of often unavoidable interference with neighbor networks (especially adjacent channels) and non-wifi devices.

In practice in the 2.4GHz range you have only channels 1, 6, and 11 available to you or your neighbors. Anyone using anything else is mainly just throwing sand in the gears because adjacent, overlapping channels are much worse than multiple networks on the same channel. If they are on adjacent channels, they just fight it out the whole time, slowing everybody down a lot. If they are on the same channel, they take turns, which is slow but not as slow as fighting. That is why it is good to go 5GHz when possible. There is still some interference on 5GHz but more choices for non-overlapping channels. If you want to go crazy with mapping your environment, you could put kismet on a portable machine and go to the outer boundaries of your property to measure which other networks are their, their channels, and signal strengths. However, if wireless is working for the time being, it is really much better to prioritize the other tasks.

About the points, that is probably a factor of the thread being in Non-*NIX Forums > General. When you make progress with web server and have your next questions about it, start a new thread in Linux Forums > Linux - Server. Later with networking questions, start a thread in Linux Forums > Linux - Networking. That will also help raise the visibility to people with more background in those particular areas.
 
Old 12-13-2017, 07:23 AM   #14
rtmistler
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I agree that you ought to prioritize your tasks and tackle the ones of high importance first, and do salute your drive and dedication.

What does strike me is that:
  • You seem to be doing everything except providing services to clients
  • This business seems to be there for specialty services, but meanwhile all the employees and repairs person are entirely unavailable in the local area
  • You've given the impression that it "looks bad" to have the owner use a general gmail address
The impressions I get are that this is intending to be an exclusive, full service salon where people spend a great deal of money for optional services to make their selves more happy and content. I.e. not a place where they are visiting for medical reasons. Impression is a great deal of the business.

Yet it strikes me that the very thing I see in a lot of small places, is that they are totally unwilling to invest in the growth, or even maintenance of their business. And as typical, this is across the board. It's not just IT or equipment, but also real equipment repairs, and it makes me wonder if disposable salon items are also sparingly purchased.

Whatever the business, I've always found this to not be very long, term maintainable.
 
Old 12-14-2017, 05:57 PM   #15
w00tus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
my first reply was inspired mostly by the email server requirement; with that out of the equation it would all seem a little more doable.

anyhow, i'd like to know how/if you succeed with this.
prove me wrong!


that's because this is posted in General, a sort of LQ Stammtisch. don't worry about it.

That's the spirit! lol.

I'll keep you posted in this or another thread. But I'll message you as I make progress.

I did get to delegate my first task just a few minutes ago. Their website (bella-derma.com, btw) was having issues. It only took a few seconds to realize that my web page design class 18 years ago wasn't going to do me a lick of good. I found the phone number of the guy who originally built it. Possibly because I had my finger's crossed, he agreed to fix the piddly problems. (I think he was done before we were even off the phone.)

I would have messed around with it more, but another steamer broke on top of the mound of other work I have on my plate today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
You mentioned being limited to the 2.4GHz band because of several factors. One way to increase speed and reliability is to use a channel with less interference. Unfortunately in an urban environment that means a lot of poor speeds because of often unavoidable interference with neighbor networks (especially adjacent channels) and non-wifi devices.

In practice in the 2.4GHz range you have only channels 1, 6, and 11 available to you or your neighbors. Anyone using anything else is mainly just throwing sand in the gears because adjacent, overlapping channels are much worse than multiple networks on the same channel. If they are on adjacent channels, they just fight it out the whole time, slowing everybody down a lot. If they are on the same channel, they take turns, which is slow but not as slow as fighting. That is why it is good to go 5GHz when possible. There is still some interference on 5GHz but more choices for non-overlapping channels. If you want to go crazy with mapping your environment, you could put kismet on a portable machine and go to the outer boundaries of your property to measure which other networks are their, their channels, and signal strengths. However, if wireless is working for the time being, it is really much better to prioritize the other tasks.

About the points, that is probably a factor of the thread being in Non-*NIX Forums > General. When you make progress with web server and have your next questions about it, start a new thread in Linux Forums > Linux - Server. Later with networking questions, start a thread in Linux Forums > Linux - Networking. That will also help raise the visibility to people with more background in those particular areas.

Tons and tons of red brick.. 5Ghz just can't punch through it. I have a concrete drill. If I had a big spool of Cat5 and a few extra router's it wouldn't be an issue..

Thanks for the advice about splitting up this post as I go along. I didn't think about that and might not/most likely wouldn't have later.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
I agree that you ought to prioritize your tasks and tackle the ones of high importance first, and do salute your drive and dedication.

What does strike me is that:
  • You seem to be doing everything except providing services to clients
  • This business seems to be there for specialty services, but meanwhile all the employees and repairs person are entirely unavailable in the local area
  • You've given the impression that it "looks bad" to have the owner use a general gmail address
The impressions I get are that this is intending to be an exclusive, full service salon where people spend a great deal of money for optional services to make their selves more happy and content. I.e. not a place where they are visiting for medical reasons. Impression is a great deal of the business.

Yet it strikes me that the very thing I see in a lot of small places, is that they are totally unwilling to invest in the growth, or even maintenance of their business. And as typical, this is across the board. It's not just IT or equipment, but also real equipment repairs, and it makes me wonder if disposable salon items are also sparingly purchased.

Whatever the business, I've always found this to not be very long, term maintainable.

Thanks. The priorities seem to change daily if not hourly. The subject of this post is constantly fighting for top priority possition. Every day, something will be on fire. I go to tend to it and on the way, something else prings up that's even more direly in need of my attention. While I'm letting the first thing burn and dealing with the second, a third, fourth and fifth ignite into an inferno.

I just typed up a huge story about what happened at the end of business hours yesterday and realized I was just belly aching, lol. It was a cluster though.

I do a lot outside of servicing the clients. Simply put though, if the business fails, so does my job. I realize it's a problem within my character, but I know I'll have a pang of guilt for some time to come if I know there was something I could have done differently.

It is for specialty services. I'm not 100% what, other than pedicures, massages and something called "Reike." (Not sure of the spelling either.) I brought that up to the owner once while she was complaining about not being able to find quality people in "the spa industry." Why not move to another location? She's got some kind of mission she's on with it. You can read all about it on their site. (bella-derma.com)

I think I've mispoken on that point. She (the owner) says it looks bad. I've come to discover about this area that most, if not all, of the people around here are the most judgy lot I've ever even heard of. If you're not wearing the right kind of shoes, out come the pitch forks and torches. So I didn't really question her when she told me this. I also try to be invisible while on the property. I choose cloths based on how well they tolorate solder splatters.

Yeah, it's not a medial place. If you're the kind of guy who gives his wife an allowance so she'll go shopping every day so she'll get out of your butt, she's the type of woman who comes here. "Appearence is everying" goes doubly so for this place I'm told.

You're 50% dead on. If the owner was just a greedy miser, swimming in a pool of gold coins in her penthouse like Scrooge McDuck, laughing at me while I toiled away dumpster diving to save her a quarter of a penny.. I either wouldn't have agreed to work for her, or I would have quit the instant I saw said pool of gold coins. (Not that her being rich would have bothered me - just if she made my life hard for no reason.)

However, I get to see her bank accounts on a semi regular basis because I help to cut corners and requisition funds from anywhere they can be found/canibalized/etc. I can't really say why, since it's her personal business. But I happened upon the reason why she and the business are on skid row a while back. "T-shirt says it all" is the best way to describe it. From looking at the cash flow data (I gave a stab at doing her financials too - and like the website, pointed her to a pro) it's obvious that if this business can survive until the next busy season, it will be doing ok and after a few years, baring calamity, will have pleny of cushion for the slow months of the year.

I just hope with the recovered budget won't come a more expensive replacement IT guy, lol. (I'd hate to go ham..)

Yeah, some of the equipment sucks. Especially the steamers. Though, many of the machines here are pretty good quality, they're just old. And they're all pushed pretty hard.

You're right. The way things are going, they can't go for very long. I'm just hoping I can help keep it duct taped together while improving what I can until things pick up.
 
  


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