Definitely a better concept than Pop Idol - My Dream App - vote for your favourite application idea.
NetXen has released a Virtualisable 10Gb NIC - it plays nice with VMWare ESX so you can carve up bandwidth per VM.
This would be amazing if it actually turned out to be true - Cringely discusses where he thinks Apple iTV strategy is going.
Something for the consumer terrorist parent - Child Safety Labels We'd Like To See. Printing these out and sticking them onto toys in a shop would be cool.
Touching in a super geeky way - an ode to a dead PowerBook G4. My favourite laptop is a close contest between my old Duo 230 and my iBook 600 - each one was a generation apart from the other but they provided me with stable computing for 2-3 years apiece which is a pretty long time in IT terms.
Congratulations to Genshin Fujinami - the most recent Marathon Monk.
Nasty - Ozone mini-hole means sun risk on Sunday. So now we can't even enjoy the weekend without worrying about skin-cancer ?
Its interesting that this research is supported by the Royal Society of NZ via their Marsden Grant program.
Coincidentally one of my best friends ('Hi!' Shaun) is also a recipient of a Marsden Grant for this - "How small is a liquid? Precursors to melting in nanoparticles".
I can't claim to understand it but I can fully appreciate the importance of having your work acknowledged by New Zealands most prestegious research awards.
Microsoft have a number of tools to facilitate this - primarily SharePoint and Project Server.
I ran up a Project Server for a Pilot program and ran into a few annoying glitches that I thought I'd document for anyone else that came across them -
* First if you install and run Project 2003 Pro and get a "The command is attempting to use a webpage from the site gbui://blank.htm/" error which loops endlessly then you need to check this Microsoft kbase article (ID 887028). Methinks they rushed this product out the door a little quick.
* Second if you try to talk to a Project Server you end up with a blank login screen - because MS Project 2k3 Pro doesn't use a standard MS authentication system - it uses security libraries from Internet Explorer. Nice. There seem to be several reasons why this happens - many people suspect it is due to security restrictions enforced by McAfee VirusScan. In a nice bit of buck-passing McAfee point to this Micrisoft kbase article (ID 899341) - note that the hotfix didn't fix the problem and the fix is only available if you call Microsoft who will send you the details to download it anyway. Even if you uninstall the McAfee product it doesn't make any difference. Sigh.
* A clean PC build worked OK though which got me thinking it had to be a build problem. We got a consultant in to investigate and between us we came up with two fixes - (a) try installing IE7 (or repairing IE6) - this seems to replace a corrupted or old version of a critical IE dll that only seems to be important to Project authentication and a better fix is (b) on the server set server side policy - 'Impersonate a client after authentication' and add in the domain account used to run the Project Server service.
Other than that Project Server looks like an interesting tool - all configuration and data gets stored in SQL so you can run up multiple app servers and point them at the database and they just work. Kind of cool.
We installed in a fairly minimalist mode - just using IIS - instead of SharePoint which would have been overkill (and it broke other apps on the server).
In terms of usage - the idea is that a PM (Project Manager) uploads a project to the server and his 'resources' can update their individual task progress via a web interface (does require an Active X control so its IE only). Updates, approvals and task assignment trigger notification emails to both PM's and Resources.
The catch is of course that you need to have business buy-in and you'll also need a specialist Project-guru or Business Analyst to actually manage the server based projects and do basic administration (eg IT maintain it and the Business administer it). Like most back-end Microsoft products you need specialist skills to administer the product as well as some good domain knowledge to actually make use of it.
There are a few good resource for anyone looking into implementing a Project Server -
* Microsofts Project 2003 Site
* Project Server Experts
* Project MVP FAQ's
The 2007 - Death & Taxes Infograph is out - see where the USA spends its tax dollar.
More excellent stuff from StorageMojo (I accidentally called them StorageMofo in the last post which sounds better but I've corrected the typo) - Mission Impossible: Managing Amazon�s Datacenter, Pt I. Can't wait to read the rest. Darn good idea putting the devs oncall too - make them experience the pain they put the end user through rather than have the sys-admin act as the middle man.
Two recent security related posts from them -
* SecureRDP is a free tool to add an extra layer of security to RDP. You can accept/deny incoming RDP connections by IP, Mac address or Host name. Handy for locking down server administration only to admin PC's.
* TinyApps points to SSLExplorer which is an open-source SSL VPN solution. A two part setup guide is available form Toms Hardware - part 1 and part 2. Looks like a really really handy way of offering secure access to a small internal LAN without having to roll out a full IPSec based VPN solution.
A handy use for an old 64Mb USB stick - Boot a Dead PC with Nothing but a Thumb Drive. Makes use of the RIP (Recovery is Possible) mini-distribution.
An IBM DeveloperWorks article on NFSv4. It looks like it addresses some of the security concerns surrounding previous versions.
Another QuickSilver / LaunchBar clone for Win32 - Colibri is like a slicker Launchy. QuickSilver was pretty slow on my old iBook but now it positively sings on my MacBook - definitely an indispensible OS X application - if you don't need all its bells and whistles try the simpler Namely.
Most IT professionals already know this but its #1 in the list of the Top 10 Most Stressful Professions. I guess its the fact that people don't seem to understand that IT systems aren't perfect and think you're making excuses for services which just winds up the client.
Useful guide to LSOF (Lists of Open Files). Apparently its the utility with the most switches - so many that it uses both '+' and '-' for its arguments.
StorageMojo on Flash-drives - Low End Streetfight. I didn't realise high-end memory sticks used RAID 0.
Charles Stross discusses the human side of Microsoft Windows - Spinning the Hamster Wheel. Definitely a lot to be said for running enterprise apps through a terminal session or web-front-end to minimise the annoyances associated with supporting the base OS.
It looks like professional desktop workstation (Windows, Linux and OS X) class machines will pack a fair bit of power in the very near future.
Took delivery of a new 1.8GHz Core Duo MacBook yesterday - copied all my stuff across from my old 600MHz G3 iBook in about 2hrs via crossover cable (if I'd had a firewire lead I could have used the built in migration assistant to move all my stuff over).
The best I can say is that it works exactly the same as my iBook but much much much faster. I just got the cheapest model with no frills - I might see about adding more RAM at a later stage.
The Maglock power-lead is very funky and works as advertised, the slot-load DVD is a nice touch as is the built in iSight and FrontRow Remote - can't see much use for either of these other than taking pictures of the cat when she decides to sit on the keyboard.
The 60Gb disk is almost full - I have about 15Gb free - once I try Parallels for some Virtual Machine goodness that'll be all my space gone. I think I'll probably rationalise my iTunes library - its just a subset of the stuff on my PC anyway.
Battery life seems a little disappointing - the cell seems bigger than the iBook battery but on a full charge I see about 4hrs of life with minimal power management - thats the same as my iBook with a 3 year old battery (which showed 6hrs when it was new).
I'm looking for Intel binaries for my favourite apps - I tend to live in NetNewswire and Safari for the most part with occassional forays into Mail, iTunes, Terminal and iPhoto so there isn't that much I need to track down. My old non-Intel apps work surprisingly well in PowerPC emulation mode - Apple is to be commended for the work they've invested in making a seamless transition across archs and OS's.
I've christened the new machine 'Mr Hoppy' after Ivan Dobskys psychotic space hopper sidekick from Monkey Dust.
Once I'm happy with the transition I'll need to try and unlock my iBook DVD (currently set to the wrong region for NZ) before selling it. Then again it would make an ideal Ubuntu system . . .
Pitchforkmedia are running an interview with label founder Corey Rusk and they also have a list of some of the best records from the labels history. Lots of musical goodness on the list . . . Slint, Big Black, Rodan, Brainiac, June of 44, Shellac, Girls vs Boys, Don Cabellero, For Carnations, Butthole Surfers.
"The corollary of that rule�the rule that the great people are never on the market�is that the bad people�the seriously unqualified�are on the market quite a lot. They get fired all the time, because they can�t do their job. Their companies fail�sometimes because any company that would hire them would probably also hire a lot of unqualified programmers, so it all adds up to failure�but sometimes because they actually are so unqualified that they ruined the company. Yep, it happens."
Joel doesn't take into account the fact that people can get a little bored with what they do and decide to move on - then again if they were truly passionate about what they did in the first place they'd stick around.
I guess there problems came as a result of over-pricing their gear, not forseeing the graphics-card revolution on the PC and their doomed foray into NT workstations.
I quite liked IRIX.
And then there were three - Solaris, AIX and HP-UX . . .
Useful to prevent people getting carried away with permissions - Remove the security tab using group policy
A simple script to locate files which arent work related. Useful to discover where all your precious disk space has gone.
Nifty free tool from Stardock - Bootskin lets you customise the Windows XP boot 'animation'. Handy if you decide to add some extra branding to your corporate hardware (esp. laptops which seem to get nicked with frightening regularity).
Certainly come a long way since I played with my first set back in the 70's - I think it might have been either Set 460 Rescue Unit or Set 360 Lunar Lander.
You could take it even further by offering a web service which generates custom linux installs for USB sticks which provide specified services - eg a web page with a check list of common services and applications - select whatever you like and it creates a custom install which fits onto a bootable USB stick or CD.