Really Be the Master and Pass it Forward

We had a young Network Administrator that just left to join a new company. He start as a school based technology support professional working his way up to a Systems Security Administrator and finally a Network Administrator.

When he left he passed out thank you notes. I was fortunate to receive one, and humbled by his words thanking me for letting him look over his shoulder and giving him tips to help him in his career. I will miss him because he was always looking for things to learn, but was more importantly a humble young man. Below is my last interaction with him after receiving the note

Thanks for the card!

It was a pleasure working with you and I wish you the best as you move forward on your career. I want to leave you with something that I learned from reading a book called “Be the Master” by Don Jones. We are all at one time an apprentice, like in the Middle Ages where they had a blacksmith in a town and the apprentice who worked with the Master learning the craft. At some point the apprentice has to become the master, but when? That is a decision the apprentice has to make, and we are all masters at some point after learning a skill. As you move along in your career, remember a job is not your career, try to pass along what you have learned and have mastered to someone else trying to learn. You don’t have to know it all, just what you know you have mastered and what you know helps get the job or task done.

A quick example is the Remote student computer set up last year year in March. I created what I was asked to do, which was create a method and a working step by step script to set up the computers for the remote learners so that even a person uneducated in the technology would be able to follow the steps.

It was a script that did every step, and I mean every step. It wasn’t a script written for a person that knows what to do like a sysadmin, so to a sysadmin there were steps that could be removed and skipped, or the script could have been streamlined as the techie’s in our department found out. The important thing was that it worked for everyone, and I wrote it for everyone. As an apprentice the techies should have seen a better way, and that is fine and that is what should be done. Give the apprentice the full, all out way to do it and let them learn the shortcuts, let them tell you what they find in your way so at some point they can understand the long way and how you make it better.

Remember that we are always an apprentice, because to forget that is to die on the vine and rot. You are now a Master, pass it forward to another apprentice!

Automating PRTG To Add Devices And More With PowerShell

We use PRTG to monitor a variety of things within our district. It is a good program, but it has been tedious to work with to add and modify devices, groups and sensors manually or using the custom template Auto Discovery in the GUI because Paessler has not officially supported Powershell. Disclaimer 1: I did not write this module, I am just writing about it. In this post I am just going to go over getting the module, what it has in it, and some caveats to using it. In my next post I am going to go over a situation we had that I needed to recreate over 40 devices and sensors in a limited amount of time.

A blog post on the Paessler site from January 2019 has the following disclaimer about the PrtgAPI module for PRTG on the site:

Disclaimer: PrtgAPI is developed by an independent PRTG user. As the solution described in this post is not part of PRTG itself, it is not officially supported by Paessler or PRTG Technical Support.

Reading the post that this came from I am learning the Powershell commands in the PrtgAPI module. You can read more about the module and get it in the PowerShell Gallery.

You can install it through Powershell by using the following command

  • Install-Module -Name PrtgAPI

Once you have the module installed there is one caveat that I found while using it with my normal Powershell profile. That caveat is that you cannot use Exchange or Office365 modules at the same time because when the PrtgAPI was written in 2015 the author did not use an unique verb-noun structure. That means that cmdlets like Get-Group overlap with Exchange cmdlets. What I do is comment out my profile that loads all my other modules when I want to work on PRTG. Not the most elegant solution, but it works.

Here are the commands within the module by using the Get-Command cmdlet. Below is just a small sample.

PS C:\Powershell> get-command -Module PrtgAPI

Command TypeName

Go ahead and install the module, then give it a quick test drive to see what each cmdlet can do by using Get-Help for some of the cmdlets. In the next post I will go over adding a Group and the adding devices, and sensor. Cya then, and don’t forget to like this post!

Azure in 2021 – John Savill

Here is a great video for Learning Azure in 2021. I also suggest that you subscribe to his YouTube channel. I’ve been watching for some time and the breadth of what is covered is amazing. I believe you will find something that will help you, as I have in studying for my MS certifications.