OTRS – Import Configuration Items From Outside Sources

OTRS — Jeff Eske on August 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

OTRS’s web services only work for tickets and articles.  At the present time, you can’t really manipulate other items within OTRS via web services.  One of the things that we’d like to be able to do though is to leverage our LANDesk information within OTRS.  We would like to be able to automatically create CI records within OTRS and populate them with LANDesk data from our users’ PCs.

I’ve been experimenting with a way to get our LANDesk information into OTRS.  The method that I’ve come up with isn’t ideal by any means, but it seems to work.  OTRS has an import/export utility that can actually be used to bring in outside information.  First, you need to create a template from within the OTRS Admin interface.  Once that’s done, you can then setup a cron job to actually run the import/export script, utilizing the template that you created.  You’ll also need to create a directory where a LANDesk data dump can land.

The basic process would be:

1> LANDesk runs a search for Items and creates a delimited text file of the items.  Once an initial run of ALL Items is done, this should probably just be for any Items that have changed since the last run.

2> The LANDesk data dump file is dropped to a directory that’s accessible to both LANDesk and OTRS.

3> The OTRS import/export script is run and imports the LANDesk CI information into OTRS.  It creates new Items, or updates existing Items

4> Rinse and repeat.

Our environment is static enough that we probably won’t run the whole process more than once or twice a day, but it could be done more often.  In a future post, I might walk through the whole process of creating the template, etc.

UPDATE – 10/3/12:  I ran into an end-of-file (EOF) error when running the import script. I’ve noted what I did about it here.

UPDATE – 6/19/13: I’ve added an entry describing how to create the necessary import template.  You can read that here.

Jeff Eske

Vizify Page

General,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Just signed up for an account at vizify.com.  It seems to be pretty cool.  I have an account at about.me, but don’t feel quite sure what I should do with it.  vizify on the other hand, does all of the work for you.  You sign up, connect it to a couple of your social networking account and VOILA! it stitches together a pretty cool, trendy-looking page.  It makes you feel artistic, even if you aren’t!


New TODO List Manager

Programming,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I’m starting work on a new TODO List Manager.  The hope/plan is that it will be available online via website and available offline via a mobile app.  I’m hoping for a very simple, minimalist design that will do what I need it to do.  I know that there are several good ones out there, but they’re all more cumbersome than what I’m looking for.   I’ve wanted to learn some new stuff (HTML5, jquery, mobile app development, etc.), so I figure I’ll use this as an opportunity to try to incorporate it all!


“New” Indoor Rowing Machine

Health and Fitness — Jeff Eske on August 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

In past years, I did a fair amount of bicycling, but as I’ve gotten older, and drivers seem to have gotten worse, I’ve become less inclined to ride.  I’d love to do triathlons, but swimming like a rock and bad knees makes that kind of a “no-go” at this point.  I wanted something that allowed me to train with a minimum of time/travel, but that had a competitive component to it.

A few years ago, I read an article about indoor rowing, written by Clarence Bass.  Indoor rowing looked like a great idea. I could train at home, but still compete against people worldwide.  For me, competition is VITAL to me really sticking to something.  If there isn’t an opportunity to always getting better, then it’s hard to accel.  I let the rowing idea kick around in my head, but never really did anything about it.  (more…)

“The Cloud” – A Little Black Rain One or a Wispy White One?

General,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

Here’s a cautionary tale that’s pretty interesting.  In short, hackers wanted a Wired journalist’s 3-letter Twitter handle, just for fun.  In the process, they deleted his gmail account (and 8 years’ worth of email), remotely wiped his iPhone, his iPad, and his Mac (in the process obliterating his only copy of photos from the first year of his daughter’s life).  It was basically a Perfect Storm of failures.  Like I say, it’s interesting, but pretty scary.  Something to think about as more and more of our lives get wrapped up in “The Cloud”…

TheRegister had an article about it.

Mat Honan’s personal account about what happened:

It’s a cautionary tale that points up a concern of mine – the interconnectedness of everything digital, and the shortcomings of some providers in protecting that information.  I’m definitely sitting down and reassessing the connectedness of my digital life.  I’ve been tending towards more consolidation of things, to simplify things for me.  The problem with that, obviously, is that it also simplifies things for people that AREN’T me but want to pretend to be…


Microsoft’s new webmail “client” – outlook.com and why I’m dropping gmail

General,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I’ve had a live.com account for a few years now, but haven’t really used it.  The one thing that I do use it for is the Family Safety feature.  With 3 kids in the house, it’s a nice extra layer of internet protection.

To this point, I haven’t really used the Hotmail/Live email side of things, outside of checking the messages that Family Safety gives me.  Well, now that Microsoft announced the new Outlook.com interface, I decided to give it another try.  Now that I’m almost a week in, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to ditch gmail and stick with Hotmail/Live/Outlook.com.  gmail, and its Conversations has always annoyed me to no end.  I tend to prefer my mail to be chronological, not grouped together.  I know, you can supposedly disable that, but that STILL doesn’t solve the problem of how the gmail client on my Android phone works.  I’ve NEVER been able to get it set so that I can just see a simple listing of my GMail Inbox.  That, along with Google looking over my shoulder to see my email and watch where I surf, has pretty much turned me off to Google’s products.  I understand the idea that I have to give a little to get free stuff, but it’s still too much for me.

Anyway, last week, I went into gmail and set it to forward everything over to my live.com account, but still save a copy.  I’ll leave it that way for a while, then probably eventually set it to delete off of there.  Since they’re generous with their storage though, I may just let it pile up.

Setting up both my personal Android phone (Droid) and my work phone (iPhone) to check my live account was simple.  Hotmail/Live/Outlook.com only supports POP and ActiveSync and not IMAP.  Fortunately, with both phones, that’s not an issue.  Both of them support ActiveSync and, in fact, the iPhone has a Hotmail choice for setting up an account.  The nice thing about ActiveSync (and IMAP) compared to POP is that you can see all of your online folders.  This is great if you sort you messages into folders.

So, going forward, I’m going to start using Live.com account a lot more.  I’ll be able to stay logged into it and not worry, at this point, about Microsoft building a dossier on all my online activity.  Hopefully this will work out in the long run.



App.net sounds good but…

General,Programming,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

imeem.com founder Dalton Caldwell’s Audacious Proposal to create a paid-for messaging service sounds fine, but I think there’s a “but” that hasn’t been brought up yet.  I’m not sure what the “but” is, but my guess is that there will be more revenue generation than just membership fees.

Dalton proposes charging his users/developers for use of the service.  On the signup/promotional page, he lists 3 tiers – Member, Developer, and Pro with corresponding prices.  He talks about supplying APIs, documentation, etc. to differing degrees, depending on Tier.  That’s all well-and-fine, but I don’t understand who covers the infrastructure costs as things ramp up.  What happens if I build the next Twitter, or Facebook, using his API(s) and it’s a huge success.  Suddenly, I, the $100/year developer am incurring thousands of dollars a day in bandwidth usage, due to all of the non-paid users accessing my Twitter-killer service.  Who eats those costs?  Or, are all of my users going to have to stump 50 bucks to access my app, to cover there usage?  Is the membership price just padded to cover that?

Don’t get me wrong.  I hate being poked, prodded, and stalked all over the internet.  I really and truly hope it works, but I’m just not sure without seeing more specifics, like an actual business plan.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.



Targeted Ads Getting More Targeted

General,Web Stuff — Jeff Eske on August 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Is it just me, or are targeted ads getting more targeted?  For a while now, ads have been semi-relevant to my interests.  In the last couple of weeks though, it seems like they have gotten much more targeted. In fact, in some cases, they seem to almost mirror (Google) search results from my past searches…  I keep forgetting to logout of gmail, so I’m thinking that could be the problem.  Since Microsoft announced their new Outlook.com interface, I’m seriously considering switching.  I’m not really a Microsoft fan, but over the last year or so, I’ve become less of a Google fan also.


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