So, I started my traineeship a few weeks ago, and everything seems to be going pretty ok so far. It’s been pretty intense and overwhelming at times, but that’s because I’ve walked straight into the middle of a mammoth rollout of new devices.
The House (my codename for my employer) is introducing iPads, netbooks and notebooks for all their clients, depending on how long they’ve been with the company. This means we’ve had to catalogue just under 700 iPads. Now, that may not sound so laborious, but when you realise we had to unpack that many iPads to record its serial number, and label each one, then repackage them along with a labelled case and other accessories in a special bag, you start to understand it’s actually a lot of work. I was actually the one who numbered every single box with a marker, and matched up that number to the serial. Employees are also receiving iPads, but the majority of the rollout for that was already done before my first day. Although that’s not to say that they’re fully working yet. Mr Chief (a collective term for my supervisors at the House) has been spending a lot of time overhauling the system to accommodate for all the new devices. Previously, the House had only had a room worth of Macs connected to the network that some employees and clients could use, but now there’s about 900 iPads floating around so that’s meant some serious changes have had to be done. They’re actually going to add some more Macs to the system because other employees and clients in different divisions wanted to use them also.
In truth, processing these iPads, while there is more of them, is easier than the process for setting up each of the netbooks and notebooks. Of course, they had to be unboxed and catalogued too, but then a hard drive image must be created to ghost onto all the machines. What this means is that one machine of each type/model must be installed with all the software and settings that the others of its type are to have, as a sort of template. A copy of the hard drive is then made using disk cloning software, so it then can be copied onto the hard drives of the other machines. Once this is done, each individual machine must be logged in, connected to the network, and have all the software on it set up. This is the most time consuming part, as it cannot be done en masse.
But as the first steps in this process requires more technical knowledge than I have, I haven’t been doing any of that yet. Once the images for each of the models is ready, I’ll be able to help ghost them. Until then, I’m doing odd jobs, like labelling all the computers and proofreading the documentation that is to be handed out with them. I knew I took English Language for a reason[!] (<– that’s suppose to mean sarcasm.) Although, I have done a few more technical and technological things, such as re-ghosting an employees computer, restoring their personal data and setting it up for them, as well as using a netbook to test the wireless signal around different areas of the House, and look up clients’ passwords for them on request, as many have forgotten theirs over the Christmas break. Despite the simplicity of some of these jobs, it’s been tiring. I’m sorry if this post is kind of late…
For a lot of the time I’ve been following the trainee from last year around, who they have temporarily employed to help out with this rollout and my orientation. Mr Chief’s been giving him odd jobs too, but of a much higher grade, and I’ve been able to learn a few tricks and procedures from him. I’m just so in awe of how much he knows about the system and the little fixes he realises to employ. I can’t imagine being able to work out some of the issues and use some of the methods that he does. He showed me how to pull apart one of the netbooks the other day, and how to fix some of the possible problems that could be caused by the hardware, such as constant rebooting or failure to recognise the hard drive. One of his favourite things to do seems to be pulling those netbooks open, and pulling out the RAM, hard drive, and CMOS battery to reset them, and then booting it up while it’s still open, just to see it work. I assume it’s all stuff he’s picked up over his year, and I can only hope that I get as much out of it as he has.
Well, that should be a good enough run down for now.. I’ll tell you more probably after deployment, when I’ve done some more serious work.
Found some good software for cloning hard drives its called clonezilla, and best of all its FREE!!
The House uses Symantec GHOST, but they have talked about using FOG which is a free, open-source alternative.
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