I was a slow study when everyone around me was suggesting I move to a Mac book pro.  After all, my tools are all windows based.  Aren’t all network engineers using windows? Let’s evaluate the situation:

  1. Putty
  2. Visio
  3. Ping

Well…  I must say… now that I am officially a convert, I much prefer iTerm and ssh over putty.  I have grown to love Omnigraffle over Visio.  WOW….What have I been missing my whole life? 🙂  And well…. Ping pretty much works everywhere.

Now…  Let’s talk about one very important topic when it comes to a network engineer’s toolkit.  Serial connectivity.  Every network device has a serial port and every engineer needs to be able to access that serial port.

Challenge number 1:

Computers these days, whether they are desktops or laptops, rarely come with serial ports.  I found a cheapo USB to Serial cable that I have been underly impressed with but it seems to work enough of the time for me to get the job done.  When it does work, I can see it like this:

mymac$ ls -al /dev/tty.usb*
crw-rw-rw-  1 root  wheel   18,   4 Jan 25 16:12 /dev/tty.usbserial

I then use the handy dandy screen utility.

mymac$ which screen
/usr/bin/screen

mymac$ screen /dev/tty.usbserial 9600

Screen is the emulator.  tty.usbserial is the tty I am using and 9600 is the baud rate.  (9600 is the standard with most network devices)

For those who don’t want to type in that every time, you can always create an alias.  I do this in my .bash_profile.

mymac$ more .bash_profile
alias 9600='screen /dev/tty.usbserial 9600'

The first time you create an alias, you will need to restart your shell for it to take effect.

now, typing in “9600” will automatically open up a screen session using the above settings.   Good luck!  If anyone can drop me a link to a USB to serial cable, that would be fantastic.  the one I am using reboots my mac randomly and sometimes does not show up as a tty.  <dohp>

More to come on Omnigraffle and how cool iterm2 is.  🙂

I found a great screen howto also.

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