Sukkot tents

At work we had a birthday lunch outside with a Sukkah tent.   These temporary structures are popular all over Israel as a place for Jews to eat and sleep in them for this festival.   Sometimes they are tents and some are shed like buildings, they are decorated with palm trees, plastic or real fruit and Christmas-style decorations, kind of all the fun of camping but just outside your house.

Just off the side of Jaffa Street, there is a huge Sukkah put on by Jerusalem Municipality.   There is local artwork being shown inside, and behind was a stage with a big free concert is on, there was some Ethiopian girls singing in their native Amharic language.   Of course there wasn’t any English commentary to this show, so I don’t know if this was a charity event.

Need software tools for network diagrams

IT stuff – skip below if this is not your thing.

This last week we got another volunteer in the IT department, its great to get some help, and also pool together ideas on we I can make IT support easier and plan for changes and improvements.

One of the projects for the future is re-do some documentation for our network.

The typical software application to do flow charts and diagrams is Microsoft’s Visio in places I have worked before.

Visio is quite expensive though and has a propriety file format, so all members of a team (and clients) need to have Visio to read the file.

I am thinking of what else I could use to do the job.   As well as cost, and there could be some free tools to do the job, there is the need for extreme simplicity, to making designing and altering diagrams easy and be able to hand over this role to future staff who will eventually replacement me.

I would like to ask my fellow IT peers, in systems admin, and those who do web design and programming, what their views are there on this.

When consulting, do you sketch out things on paper, then on chart modeling software of some kind?   Does complex projects need two or more people to work on a model before coding commences?   Or does a sketch of what’s needed get shown to the client, to check hes happy with the solution that is to be built?

I have largely ditched Microsoft’s Word and Excel in favour of Google Documents, as I like being able to get documentation on any computer, inside my network or indeed anywhere in the world with a web connection.   Plus documentation to rebuilt a server is no good, if it was saved on the one that went down due to a failed disk!!   This is an example of a cloud makes perfect sense here.

A lot of web designers are likely to be using Macs, so an app that’s on Mac and Windows, or a web based app that’s transparently usable on any darn OS/browser is good.

Now, if remember correctly Google now do a vector graphics as part of the Google Documents suite.  Having something cloud based is a huge plus, especially if there becomes a problem with a server that contains documentation.

This isn’t about knocking Microsoft or Adobe, but there is a wealth of free and open source apps, so please feel free to tell us what is the best tool for the job, and responses from fellow IT pros on your preference for ways to do this would be great. 🙂