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Nov 29, 2004

Cell Processor

A glimpse at IBM's new 'Cell Processor' - this will power the new Playstation 3.

The BBC also have a brief article on it.

"capable of handling 16 trillion floating point operations, or calculations, every second"

[/tech/chips] | [permalink] | [2004.11.29-18:01.00]

Interesting Links

Wired is running a Whatever happened to SGI ? story. Nice comparison with the Mac community.

Introduction to 64-bit Windows on Opteron/Itanium hardware.

An insight into the IBM Power Architecture. Also some very brief details on Power7 - it looks like IBM really will smoke the opposition in the Unix (primarily Sun and HP) marketplace.

Fan of classic cellphones - Retrofone has something to meet all your needs.

Quick backup solution - Rsync Snapshots.

The ongoing hunt for the perfect Windows - Sticky. Having come back to Outlook I can safely say that its 'Notes' feature is terrible compared to the flexibility offered by Mac OS Stickies.

Useful - WordWeb is a free 'lite' Dictionary/Thesaurus for Windows.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.29-08:33.00]

Nov 23, 2004

Windows Deployment Tips & Tools

Steven Bink has an invaluable guide to creating bootable Windows 2000 and Windows XP installation CD's. If you slipstream in the most recent service packs and script a few post OS package installs you can end up with a no fuss minimal interaction restore CD to standardise your PC's with.

Hand in hand with the bootable CD is the customised winnt.sif file which specifies as much or as little of the initial install information as you require. There are plenty of good articles on creating and customising this file.

There is also a freeware tool to help strip-out and select the components you need for installation - nLite.

[/tech/windows] | [permalink] | [2004.11.23-06:46.00]

Nov 22, 2004

Interesting Links

This open-source tool provides similar functionality to Salling Clicker on the Mac - FMA for Windows. It allows you to access your Bluetooth enabled phone (particularly the T610) from your Windows PC.

A pretty simple article but the juicy stuff is in the links to running partitioned Linux servers alongside AIX - take a look - Installing Linux on an IBM pSeries server.

Interesting but not surprising - Novell Linux Desktop review indicates its not quite ready for primetime with a few rough edges. If you didn't already know Novell bought SuSE. I guess it'll take a few iterations before it has that slick look to it that users are accustomed to in a 'corporate' product. And that enormous 'N' has to go . . .

A good introduction to Open Firmware. I'd originally thought this was just an Apple invention but it appears to have originated at Sun.

Emulation - a little light on detail but this brief article shows you how to Emulate CP/M and OpenVMS on Linux.

This is cool example of why a mainframe class OS still has life left in it yet - Simulate OpenBSD on a Vax using SIMH.

This story has been linked by many many sites but its to good to miss so - The Audion Story. A glimpse into the workings of a small Mac developers product from conception through to the release of Audion as freeware.

Audio recordings of somewhere else - One Minute Vacation.

Nifty and simple web based whiteboard - Webnote. The cool thing about it is that it also supports an XML feed so you can use it as a common 'post-board' which people can subscribe to and receive updates from.

Filched from Gizmodo - a small database of Japanese Consumer Design. Nice pictures of Nakamichi, Onkyo, Yamaha and other brands through the ages. The 70's weren't so tasteless afterall but I still maintain the vertical record player was a bad idea.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.22-17:50.00]

Nov 18, 2004

Playstation Portable

The official Sony PSP site is up. Sony still have the best design/ergonomics even if Nintendor did beat them to the market with the Nintendo DS.

[/tech/games] | [permalink] | [2004.11.18-18:28.00]

Nov 14, 2004

Interesting Links

Web development resource - Open Source Web Design.

Part of a more comprehensive review of a new Mac OS X personal-library application called Delicious Library, this particular section outlines why Mac users have such high expectations from application creators.

For font fans - The Scourge of Arial includes how to spot the font and why it has gained such widespread use inspite of its inferiority.

An overview of Suns new Niagra processor.

If you're after a nice full featured and open source vector drawing package try Inkscape. Note theres also a Windows port.

Linux - making sense of all of those startup messages that fly by at boot time.

I wish I read Japanese - apparently this RSS reader allows you to drag 'n drop XML/RDF subscriptions onto the cute furry creature to subscribe and then it will read (onscreen or aloud) out the news as it updates each subscription.

Interesting - Using Kerberos to Authenticate Linux clients against Active Directory.

I'm unsure if any of these lessons are being put to good use by the US Military - Russian Lessons from the Battle for Grozny. For excellent information and analysis on defence issue or the rise in guerrilla insurgency check out John Robbs weblog and DefenseTech.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.14-18:53.00]

Nov 13, 2004

Interesting Links

How to get Mac OS X to inter-operate with OpenLDAP. Apple really should make this kind of functionality much easier out of the box.

A nice guide to configuring Mac OS X Mail to POP from Gmail.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.13-19:41.00]

Nov 11, 2004

Interesting Links

Wow: 10Gb NICS for only $2500! Cheap at half the price. I guess someone will have the money to buy these things . . .

Using Netstat for Surveillance & Troubleshooting.

Something Apple should have included with Airport Extreme all along - a remote control.

What you see is what you mean (WYSIWYM) - Lyx Document Processing.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.11-19:05.00]

Irix Upgrade Procedure

Irix 6.5 is the current base OS. It is possible to update 6.5 'live' while the system is running and then reboot for changes to take affect. Irix OS installs prior to this will require an offline OS upgrade by booting off an external CD or trying a network boot. Pre-Irix 6 (many old Indigo and Indy machines have 5.3/5.4 installed) the disk will need to be reformated so any data will be lost unless its backed up.

Overlays (like Windows Service Packs and SUS Updates) keep the Irix OS up to date with new features and patches.

At the time of writing Irix 6.5 Overlay 26 is current (often referred to as just 6.5.26).

The most recent updates can be obtained from the SGI support site.

Odd things happen to some of our products when you update beyond 6.5.18 so be very wary of updating beyond this level unless specifically requested. The problems tend to relate to changes in particular Fortran calls in newer overlays - these seemed to have happened between 6.5.18 and 6.5.20 onwards.

Another big change of note specifically to IT is that autofs became a peer service - no need to mess around with amd. Autofs stabilised around 6.5.14 so where possible we should convert machines to using this in place of amd.

What I tend to do is download each CD and uncompress the contents to our IT SGI in vema:/export/sgi_install seperate from the core 6.5 CD's. Where possible I try to keep an older Overlay set around for compatibility reasons (6.5.16 is the old Overlay on vema:/export/sgi_install). If we had enough SGI machines we might automate updates with Roboinst.

There is an installation 'gotcha' - if you get these errors when opening an overlay for installation

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 172 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 520 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 636 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 1878 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 1879 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

WARNING: Invalid filetype "X" at line 1880 of x_eoe_6524m.idb

You need to install Patch 5086 if you make the jump from a pre 6.5.20 install to a current Irix Overlay (eg installing from 6.5.16 to 6.5.24 -> install the patch first). The patch is in /export/sgi_install/patches on vema.

You need to be root to run 'inst' the Irix software installer - here you can see a) becoming root, b) mounting the sgi_install directory and c) checking its contents d) running inst

bash-2.00$ su


octagon# bash

# cd /

# ls

CDROM/ debug/ etc/ hw/ lib64/ ns/ proc/ sbin/ tmp/ unix* var/ Desktop/ dev/ export/ lib/ mnt/ oSYSLOG root/ stand/ tmp_mnt/ usr/ web/ bin/ dumpster/ hosts/ lib32/ mnt_tmp/ opt/ s/ t@ u/ v/

# cd /export

# ls

octagon/ temp/

# ls temp

# mount vema:/export/sgi_install temp

# ls temp

6.5.16_Inst_Overlay1/ 6.5_Aug2002_Apps/ 6.5_Found1/ 6520_Inst_Overlay1/ 6524/ FW_Nov2002_Pt4/ 6.5.16_Inst_Overlay2/ 6.5_Dev_Found/ 6.5_Found2/ 6520_Inst_Overlay2/ FW_Nov2002_Pt1/ MIPSpro_7.3/ 6.5.16_Inst_Overlay3/ 6.5_Dev_Found_1.2/ 6.5_NFS/ 6520_Inst_Overlay3/ FW_Nov2002_Pt2/ oracle/ 6.5.16_Inst_Overlay4/ 6.5_Dev_Lib/ 6519_Apps/ 6520_Inst_Overlay4/ FW_Nov2002_Pt3/

# cd temp

# cd 6524

# ls

6524_Apps/ 6524_Comp_Apps/ 6524_Overlay1/ 6524_Overlay2/ 6524_Overlay3/

# inst

The inst installation routine begins

Default distribution to install from: /export/temp/6.5_Found2/dist

For help on inst commands, type "help overview".

Inst 4.1 Main Menu

1. from [source ...] Specify location of software to be installed

2. open [source ...] Specify additional software locations

3. close [source ...] Close a software distribution location

4. list [keywords] [names] Display information about software subsystems

5. go Perform software installation and removal now

6. install [keywords] [names] Select subsystems to be installed

7. remove [keywords] [names] Select subsystems to be removed

8. keep [keywords] [names] Do not install or remove these subsystems

9. step [keywords] [names] Interactive mode for install/remove/keep

10. conflicts [choice ...] List or resolve installation conflicts

11. help [topic] Get help in general or on a specific word

12. view ... Go to the View Commands Menu

13. admin ... Go to the Administrative Commands Menu

14. quit Terminate software installation


Select 1 to select the install source - we've copied all the cd's to vema so you'll see this particular machine already has some of the paths listed from previous upgrades.

Be sure to select the Overlay 1 CD first - that way inst knows to expect other CD's

Previous installation sites:

1 /export/temp/6.5_Found2/dist

2 /export/temp/6.5_Found1/dist

3 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist/dist6.5

4 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist

5 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist

6 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5

7 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist

8 /export/temp/6.5_Aug2002_Apps/dist

9 /export/temp/6.5.16_Inst_Overlay4/dist

10 /export/temp/6.5.16_Inst_Overlay3/dist

11 none (no distribution, view installed products)

12 quit (no additional distributions, return to inst prompt)

Install software from: [/export/temp/6.5_Found2/dist] /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay1/cd1

Feed inst the path for all of the other CD's which you'll need - inst will open each one and read its contents and then allow you to give it the path to another CD

Install software from: [/export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist/dist6.5] /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist

Reading product descriptions .. 0%

Setting distribution to /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist

Reading product descriptions .. 100% Done.

If you plan to install from another distribution, either choose from the list below or enter the name of a different distribution. This will allow you to make selections from two or more distributions before starting the install.

Enter "done" if you are ready to proceed with the installation now.

1 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist

2 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist/dist6.5

3 /export/temp/6.5_Found2/dist

4 /export/temp/6.5_Found1/dist

5 /export/temp/6524/6524_Apps/apps

6 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay3/cd3

7 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay2/cd2

8 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay1/cd1

9 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist

10 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5

11 done (distribution information read, return to inst prompt)

Install software from: [/export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist] /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5

Reading product descriptions .. 0%

Setting distribution to /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5

Reading product descriptions .. 100% Done.

If you plan to install from another distribution, either choose from the list below or enter the name of a different distribution. This will allow you to make selections from two or more distributions before starting the install.

Enter "done" if you are ready to proceed with the installation now.

1 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5

2 /export/temp/6.5_Dev_Lib/dist

3 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist/dist6.5

4 /export/temp/6.5_Found2/dist

5 /export/temp/6.5_Found1/dist

6 /export/temp/6524/6524_Apps/apps

7 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay3/cd3

8 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay2/cd2

9 /export/temp/6524/6524_Overlay1/cd1

10 /export/temp/6.5_NFS/dist

11 done (distribution information read, return to inst prompt)

Install software from: [/export/temp/6.5_Dev_Found/dist/dist6.5] done

When you're done (either '11' or 'done' as above) - check for conflicts via 'c' - this will list all conflict - you can use 'c'

Inst> c 1a 2a

inventor_dev.sw.lib cannot be installed because of missing prerequisites:

1a. Do not install inventor_dev.sw.lib (1279134120)

1b. Also install inventor_dev.sw.base (1279134120).

Resolve conflicts by typing "conflicts choice choice ..." or try "help conflicts"

Inst> c 1a

No conflicts

When there are no remaining conflicts hit 'g' for 'go' to actually do the install. If you run into 100's of conflicts that never seem to be fixable (either by supplying the source or opting not to install) then look very carefully at the sources of the install files and check the web - you can easily render a machine unbootable if you fix conflicts by removing everything :-)

The install will proceed as follows - depending on the processor speed this can take anywhere from 30min to an hour to complete

Inst> g

Pre-installation check .. 0% /var/netscape/communicator/mime.types not installed. See smart_config_handling preference for more information.

Pre-installation check .. 3%

Installing new versions of selected mpi.sw subsystems

Installing new versions of selected mpi.sw32 subsystems

Installing new versions of selected mpi.sw64 subsystems

Installing new versions of selected mpt.relnotes subsystems

Upgrading selected subsystems

Upgrading selected nedit.sw subsystems

Installing/removing files .. 28%

Upgrading selected subsystems

Upgrading selected netscape.plugin subsystems

Upgrading selected subsystems

Upgrading selected outbox.sw subsystems

Upgrading selected scsl.hdr subsystems

Upgrading selected subsystems

Installing/removing files .. 34%

Upgrading selected scsl.sw32 subsystems

When the upgrade is complete do a 'q' for quit and the system will do a sort of 'brain reset' that can take 30min to an hour

Running exit-commands .. 99%

Software installation has installed new configuration files and/or saved the previous version in some cases. You may need to update or merge old configuration files with the newer versions. See the "Updating Configuration Files" section in the versions(1M) manual page for details. The inst command "admin config changed" will list the affected files.

Checking dependencies .. 100% Done.

Calculating sizes .. 100% Done.

Installations and removals were successful.

You must restart your system to complete the installation.

You may continue with installations or quit now.

Inst> q

WARNING: You must restart your system to complete the installation. Requickstarting ELF files (see rqsall(1)) .. 24%

Then reboot. Fingers crossed and the system should come up again with the new OS (verify revision with a uname -R)

[/tech/unix/irix] | [permalink] | [2004.11.11-19:02.00]

Nov 05, 2004

Interesting Links

If you're interested in just how close the US 2004 election was - check this map which displays votes in shades rather than blue/red. Meanwhile Milk & Cheese sum up the general feeling regarding the results.

Interesting - Security Configuration Guides from the NSA on Operating Systems, Databases, Routers, Switches and Web Servers.

Now I'm in a Windows-centric world - this guide to using netsh to carry out network admin tasks is invaluable.

On a related note - cool stuff you will be able to do with Microsofts new shell for server administration - Monad.

The DoJ in the US will be releasing a series of documents on Electronic Crime Scene Investigation - more information at Dana Epps weblog which has a strong forensic/security focus.

A great post about why web services are better than applications for many tasks from ex-Microsoftie and current Googler Adam Bosworth.

A fascinating Word of the Day - Zabernism.

[/links/2004] | [permalink] | [2004.11.05-18:43.00]

Nov 02, 2004

What ever happened to Clippy ?

If you've ever wondered what happened to the infamous Microsoft Office Assistant then read this shocking expose - Clipped: A candid interview with a fallen celebrity of Office Suite stardom...

[/humour] | [permalink] | [2004.11.02-18:56.00]