INFO300 - Hardware/Software - Spring 2010

F I N A LPoints have been posted, am only expecting late work for two students with excused absences. Please check them and let me know any errors you might see. Points will go to the Registrar late in the day Monday.

Current Topics:

(3/23 - 25) Demo Setup and Secure a Linux Firewall/Router/Server: See below for details.

(4/6) LAN Project: The Boss has just come back from the site visit and sent the Memo about the network. Please check it over below and get all your questions asked. We'll be going over it in class likely Thursday. The due date is May 4th, printed copy delivered in class and an electronic copy delivered as a single document attached to a VCU-originated email to the instructor. See below for details

Rack Layout: The Boss sent along this sketch for the rack layout in the network room. Please get it into your LAN diagram, including the IP assignments. And please make it neat and clean, better than the sketch. Any questions, please ask.

Oddest Places to Find Linux

(4/13-15) Demos and Q&A in class about working at the linux command line for Hands On Linux tasks. Demo'd several network admin tasks, like tailing /var/log/secure, &c, &c. Into and out of vi, preached about the value of mastering vi and other primitive editors like Windoze ed and edit. Reset passwords for those who forgot, and pleased to see a dozen or more logins from those in class who were pounding on via wifi.

(4/13) Tech Briefs: Topics were chosen in class 4/6, some still have no apparent interest in the tech marketplace. See below for details discussed in class on the 13th about the Tech Briefs and the opportunity to do some webwork at the command line. The Progress Report referenced is at The server for this exercise is at

(4/15) An example of a winning project: This gentleman submitted well-researched briefs of about 6 or 8 pages each, and posted the briefer versions on-line. Every deadline was met with no whining about how complex this task is, and there were a couple dozen pages of 'hilited facts', and I consider it an honor that the scholar involved updated me on these important topics. Points I dock from those who don't do as well are in his honor...

(4/15) Rubric for scoring the Technical Briefs with suggestions for getting max points.

(4/20) Last Topics:

The Exam: Those who would like to take the exam will be given another sampling of questions from earlier quizzes for twice as many points as before.

Resources for Current Topics

Demo Setup and Secure a Firewall/Server

LAN Project: Bill of Details and Network Diagrams for an office LAN

(Assigned 4/6) Specs for this project are delivered in the memo below and verbally in class. The network rack for the small business involved is put together similar to the one demo'd in class and sketched on the board. Students are asked to get together purchase orders, a summary of purchase and on-going costs, and a detailed diagram of the network rack & premises wiring.

Memo From The Boss Start on LAN Project, quick intro to networking security, firewalls & LANs.

Visio is recommended for the diagrams -- it's free thru the MSDNAA. Excel makes it easy to do the Bill of Details (POs, and summaries of up-front and operating expenses). Most students put the final document together in Word and copy/paste the diagrams and bill of details into it. Open Office users can add 'Dia', an open-source, Visio-like, 2D CAD software that plays well with Open Office.

This is an exercise with technical drawing tools. Hand-drawn diagrams are not acceptable.

Here are general requirements for the project.

Tips for Pro work:

Where & how to get MSDNAA software.

This will be due toward the end of the semester to allow plenty of time to develop pro-level skills with the tools...

Hands-on Linux

It's a pleasure to see students interested in installing Linux for a server or dual-booting a machine. Either way is a good way to get your eyes and hands on *ix and there is a lot of value in that. 64bit Vista users, beware, investigate carefully, backup your stuff, use the right distros! You _can_ wipe out your OS doing this! Here's some recent advice... Virtualization is all the rage for 2010+. I'm always encouraging students to pay for VMWare which appears to be the most-used proprietary virtualization software, or get VirtualBox for free, or investigate Red Hat Enterprise's virtualization scheme. Don't stop at Dual Booting! Do Virtualization, get a machine that'll run a few Server OS, DBMS, and Apps comfortably, figure out the Virtual LANs, Firewall your LAN. These are all valuable skills that lead to careers involving Network Admin and Security!

Technical Marketplace Briefs, Hands-on Linux, and WebWork

Timely delivery is one of the essential requirements for both these exercises. Progress not demo'd on the class' Progress Pages by the time due will get zero points. Late papers will be docked five points for delivery after the class meeting where they are due and another point deducted for each midnight that passes before delivery.

Printed briefs shown at least five days before the last class may be critiqued and scored on the spot and if re-work would net more points another copy submitted on or before Friday the 11th of Dec will be considered as a candidate for full points. Please do not send me anything to review in email, or ask for critique and scoring during the four day period before the last class.

Past Topics

(1/19)Syllabus with course objectives, textbook info, rules for submitting papers, &c.

Quiz #1 Topics

Quiz 2 Topics...

Upcoming Topics

Another look at the LAN project; critique prior submits; Demo of Pro features in Visio: Layers, templates, connections, connectors, zooming in. (Similar exist in the FOSS equivalent, Dia). Check out Visio Cafe!

Quiz #3 Topics