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Nov 29, 2005

OPML (Again) + More

Whatever glitch I had in my OPML Editor disappeared and my OPML Blog is up - so far it only has a few test posts and a new header graphic (the Wellington Skyline). I'm not sure what I'll use the OPML site for - may just playing around with opml / xml / enclosures.

FYI - OPML is an XML format for Outlines.

From Dave Winers extensive background developing Outliners (More), Scripting Environments (Frontier) and web-authoring tools (Manila, Radio Userland etc) - the new OPML Editor looks very similar to his past work (if you've used Frontier a lot of the OPML Editor is very familiar). Outlining is a great way to structure almost any kind of list or hierarchy which readily lends itself to authoring web pages.

You can even use OPML Editor with your own web server or Wordpress hosted site - details here for Wordpress and here for hosting your own OPML community server.

I love this story of completing a Notes Server upgrade in three hours (most of the time was copying the mail files). Upgrading Exchange is a major nightmare.

On a related note - Ed Brill also points to this weblog by Alan Lepofsky containing useful Notes / Domino hints and tips.

If you didn't already know Word 5 for DOS is a free download from Microsoft. Handy if you want a powerful word processor on your USB toolkit. Although getting it to uncompress and setup does seem to be a hassle. Actually you can still get some classic DOS based word processors - XyWrite still seems to have a following and heres Wordperfect.

If you're after a tool to act as a 'brain-dump' repository try NeoMem - I think I might use it in place of KeyNote which I've used in the past but doesn't seem to handle graphics and password protection very well.

Looks like Firefox 1.5 has been release (no announcement yet) but check one of these mirrors.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.29-21:04.00]

Nov 27, 2005

OPML + More

Just trying out Dave Winers OPML blog/outlining tool (available free for Windows & Mac) - my test site is over here.

More on the joys of ZFS. It actually sounds really really good. I wish I had a pile of hardware to try this stuff out on...

A two part piece on Exchange 12's new features - part one and part two.

Via Adminfoo - Nine principles of Information Security.

Useful - Exchange DR. It all looks horribly painful.

In fact Windows DR in general is horribly painful - if you have a DR setup be sure the hardware is *exactly* the same as whatever you are recovering or a System State / Full-restore (ditto a disk image) will render your machine unbootable (and you need to boot from a Windows CD and try and do a repair). Its interesting to note that many Backup vendors sell Bare-metal restore options to their backup software so the implication is of course that its a PITA to use your backups to restore anything to a non-identical system - which is probably what you'd be doing in a DR situation - as opposed to just doing a server repair / restore on existing server. At least on a Unix system you just restore the config files (mostly in /etc) and the binaries for any applications (usually self contained in their own directory structure) and you're away. Sigh.

The only decent option for failover or DR in Windows would appear to be running a parallel setup offsite with a 'fat-pipe' you can do a nightly synch to (or more regularly for domain controllers / mail etc). I guess if things went really pear shaped its a question of priorities - login, print, file access would be a primary concern but depending on the nature and spread of any failure / disaster it maybe that even getting power will be a problem (or even staff to do do the DR).

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.27-23:05.00]

Nov 26, 2005

More ZFS + Wait theres More (at no extra cost with a free set of steak knives)

John Siracusa laments the current state of filesystem thinking and suggests that Apple should look into Suns recently open-source'd ZFS. I'd still like to see some concrete examples of what happens if a disk fails under ZFS . . .

From the Register - Supercomputer 05. Some nice blade systems on page two of this article.

For the real geek - a Ethernet crossover adaptor keyring. Don't forget that you can make yourself a super 5 in 1 cable if you have the patience and inclination.

This was all over the web last week - Put your mac to sleep via SMS. Of course you can substitute 'sleep' with almost any scriptable action. A little like this old article on Monitoring your house via your mobile phone.

More freeware goodness - 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities. Largely win32 but some multi-platform.

Firefox extension - Piggy Bank. Looks kind of interesting. Some of its usefulness looks to be related to being able to query resources that aren't global yet (eg Google Maps doesn't have much additonal data for countries outside of the US, Canada and parts of Europe). The meta-data features do look handy though.

Handy for presentations or web-pages - Yotophoto allows you to search and use thousands of royalty free images.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.26-19:47.00]

Nov 23, 2005

Datacenter in a Container + More

Interesting Cringley article on Google distributable datacenters. 5000 CPU's into a shipping container dropped off at each of the world 300 peering points providing distributed storage and searching. Have to take it all with a grain of salt but its a fantastic idea.

A great ArsTechnica Christmas Gift Guide.

I picked up a cheap Wacom Graphire tablet to try my hand at digital sketching. Some nice Corel Painter tips over at Wacom. Its actually much harder than it looks but definitely easier than using a mouse.

Lego-like Stackable La Cie Drive Enclosures.

IBM's R & D guys have an interesting guide to their Blade systems. Pretty heavy going but its worth a quick skim to see how they deal with management and storage issues.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.23-00:35.00]

Nov 20, 2005

Really Bad Powerpoint + More

Seth Godin discusses Really Bad Powerpoint (PDF). Recommended reading for anyone that gives a lot of presentations. From a 43Folders thread discussing presentation tips. An excellent presentation example in streamed-Flash on Indentity 2.0 - love the simple stream of conciousness type effect - its almost like Princes 'Sign of the Times' video.

Useful - Get serious about securing Internet Explorer. I especially like the 'How to Bury IE' Active Directory GPO option.

Data Recovery Myths. I hadn't heard the 'Freeze It' myth until coming back to NZ. A professional Data Recovery outfit can get some (if not all) of the data back - usually at a fairly hefty price - then again what value do you place on your information?

Some excellent Papercraft Models. Particular the block puzzles at the end.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.20-23:25.00]

Nov 18, 2005

Ultimate Services (Updated 21-Nov-05)

Much like my Ultimate Server Room I'd like to be able to have the following Services (much of this is obviously cribbed from previous workplaces) -

Single Consolidated Authentication - doesn't need to be single-sign-on (although that would be nice) but there should be a single user database feeding into various services for authentication. Remembering multiple ID's & Passwords may aide security but it drives people nuts. Even if the username and password is common that would be sufficient to keep most people sane.

In an ideal world HR would create new user ID's as part of the new hire process and retire ID's when people leave. This can be made reasonably simple via a simple web form so that non-IT staff could keep it up to date and to which others can have access to as a corporate directory. This would be one of those things where IT would put in a lot of up-front development effort but once up and running it should be operable in a very 'hands-off' mode such that IT wouldn't need to be involved in anything as mundane as creating new users :-)

No new services should be implemented unless they can be integrated into the single login/password system.

Unfortunately most enterprise meta-directory services are hideously expensive. For mere mortals this kind of means you have to roll-your-own (eg MySQL, LDAP, lots of scripts) or use a prepackaged solution (eg Active Directory, Services for Unix).

If you have secure external services (eg VPN) then require a separate username and password from internal services.

For Groupware/Email I'd recommend Lotus Notes. Outlook and Exchange may be what most of the world knows and loves but its insecure and a nightmare to admin.

For Web-browsing go with Firefox.

If you can't stretch to a commercial mail system then a good secure IMAP/POP/SMTP system should do the trick with something like Thunderbird as a mail application.

For productivity its hard to go past OpenOffice.

For storage I'd recommend a Document Management System with a web-interface. I personally like SilentOne which is a commercial NZ DMS. I've also had some experience with FileNet's DMS and it seems to do the job but feels overly complicated. Alternatively there seems to be a bunch of Open Source DMS/Content Management Systems in development too.

For desktops home directories and profiles would redirect to server shares (depending on what people are doing of course - if they generate gigabytes of data on their machines theres no point shovelling it backwards and forwards across the LAN) either as folder redirection (Windows) or mount-points (Linux/Unix). This will mean anyone can log into any machine and get their 'stuff'. Laptops are more of a problem - either leave them working locally with some kind of scripted file sync or use the atrocious Offline File Sync tool for Windows (the only Unix/Linux alternatives seem to be rsync or similar tools like unison).

An intranet with a personal web space for each staff member is also fairly vital for any organisation to aide communication and collaboration. Integrating into the DMS would be handy but not absolutely vital. Something like Zope / Plone / Ubuntu would be cool. Whatever is deployed to peoples desks should be standardised and stripped back - minimal extra applications, locked down permissions and centralised management/configuration.

The desktop has to run on hardware - for WindowsXP or Linux then Dell's Optiplex or Latitude line is pretty good and you get the three year onsite warranty which is hard to beat. For MacOS X you can really only go with Apple. As with the servers its handy to have spare RAM and hard-drives to swap for faulty components. For the majority of staff a small-form-factor machine is more than sufficient (who needs all the extra drive bays and pci slots these days unless you're doing a specialist task ?).

There is the Bastard Operator From Hell part of my brain that wonders if a number of these services couldn't be run either via the web and/or terminal only to obviate the need to install anything at all on a desktop.

Many years ago I read of a Travel Agency that bought up a large number of Macintosh LC class machines (the old Pizza-box LC I, II and III) and installed the PDS slot ethernet card. Running OS 7.5 or thereabouts with everything accessible through a terminal back at the main office Unix server (eg email and travel bookings, finance system etc) and with ClarisWorks for basic productivity. Cheap easy to replace hardware, minimal security problems and no virus issues. I bet they moved to more capable machines and acquired a raft of additional support issues.

[/tech/ultimate] | [permalink] | [2005.11.18-03:53.00]

Nov 17, 2005

$100 Laptop + More

Looks like MIT have unveiled their $100 laptop, crank handle charging and adaptable orientation. Looks pretty nifty. More details here and over at MIT.

Apples move to Intel seems to be going faster than expected - looks like the new year might hold some goodies from Intel wrapped in a PowerBook form.

Nice retro scrapbook design. Hard to believe we used these things only 5 years ago.

Don't try this at home - Physics behind 4 nifty demonstrations - including dipping your hand into molten lead.

Suns ZFS has been released into the wild - some background information and a roundup of links on the topic.

A collection of Nagios plug-ins over at Nagios Exchange with a broad range of supported systems that can be easily monitored. Its good to see its Nagios is alive and well - it seems to be taking forever to get version 2 out the door. Once you get your head around the way you configure things its very very easy to use. My only gripe is that changing multiple configurations can be a little time consuming (but I believe the way this is handled in v2 is different anyway).

Pitchforkmedia seemed to be unreachable for most of yesterday but they're back so I've linked to their list of The Worst Album Covers of All Time.

Via Dana Epp - Portknocking. Who would have guessed this technique would have grown big enough to warrant its own section of the interweb. Portknocking is very cool - essentially you connect to a series of ports on a server in a special sequence (the knock) to trigger a particular action from the server.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.17-22:51.00]

Nov 16, 2005

Text Adventures + More

The Wall Street Journal has an article about Keeping the Text Adventure Genre Alive.

Useful - Using Active Directory Group Policy to restrict USB storage keys.

A list of some of the best OpenSource Mac Software.

A wonderful old article from Byte back in 1977 by Steve Woznaik about creating the Apple II (and Apple, Apple I and II+ among many other things . . .).

A seat switch - switch something On while seated and Off when you get up.

Interesting - reviews of weaponry used in Iraq by the people that have to use them. Sounds like the US Army is relying on a lot of equipment that dates back 40/50 years (M14 rifle, the .45 pistol and the .50 cal heavy machine gun).

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.16-19:50.00]

Ultimate Server Room (Updated 06-July-06)

Just a place to dump information on what I would consider the 'Ultimate Server Room' setup that should be something most mid-range IT-shops should be aiming for. Most of this information comes direct from previous workplaces.

Decent UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) that covers the room and supply (not individual machines on a server or rack basis) - with a mains cutover switch should the UPS fail. This should provide at least 90 minutes of power to core servers (firewall, dns, dhcp, email, external internet presence, switches and routers). Having a couple of spare small UPS units on charge is always handy so if need be you can run a PC/Laptop off it if theres an extended outage.

Ability to remotely power-cycle hardware. Something like these products on offer from 42U. Tied into this is the use of KVM over IP and ILO (Integrated Lights Out) - which lets you get console access via the network (usually you point a web browser to the ILO NIC and you'll see the console). All of these tools let you get to your server remotely.

Servers with dual-power supply, dual-nic's (onboard not on a riser card) and RAID arrays (onboard not on a riser) for redundancy. I'm not a huge brand nut but Dell seem to be pretty good value for the price and their incident management based on service tag + extended warranty options are pretty good too. Ideally with kvm ports in the right locations (eg on the front and back like these Petabox systems. For x86 based machines I can't see the point in opting for more expensive Compaq/IBM gear (and their product serial numbers are way to long ;-)

Spare parts for servers - having a spare hotswap power supply (a nice Dell feature), RAID disk's, NIC's. These may be a luxury but when a disk or power supply goes down being able to plug in a replacement immediately buys you valuable time while you arrange for warranty support. Also if you figure the spares into new purchases you'll have the right parts for the right machines (and if you have a good relationship with your account manager you can often wangle this stuff for free).

Redundant server switch backbone for the dual teemed NIC's (eg each NIC goes into a separate switch port and they're teemed to one IP address).

Redundancy for core internal services. DNS, DHCP, NIS, Domain Controller, Active Directory sitting ready to go on a secondary machine (Windows or Unix based depending on what the function is). Low volume services such as these should be consolidated onto a single server with a secondary slave available. A spare system with everything installed and with plenty of disk space should be available to pick up the slack should a core service that isn't replicated fail (eg file, print, mail, intranet) - a nightly rsync/robocopy should keep the data on this system up to date and act as a handy backup if there is a problem with the tape backup.

I really enjoyed this article over at Adminfoo - Why I'm Not a SAN Fan. I kind of agree - the vendor lockin aspect is a little scarey. Granted at some point you'll hit the limitations of direct-attached (difficult to expand and a pain to backup) or NAS storage (limited by the transport medium for throughput - TCP/IP packet size) but until then its best to consider all the pro's and con's of a SAN very carefully.

A business-critical service such as email should where possible be clustered (Lotus Notes / Domino handles this quite well). File and print services can usually be cut across manually fairly easily if need be. External/DMZ services (firewall, mail relay, ftp, web) may be clustered or have a failover (many organisations will have a secondary internet link / firewall should the primary one fail at a different site).

Tape based backup with offsite storage - SuperDLT's seem to be pretty reliable and fast nowadays with plenty of capacity.

Nice Comms racks - Chatsworth make excellent ones.

Server racks that slot together and have sensible rail mount systems that don't require cage-nuts. Dell racks work this way and are much simpler to manage.

False floor with lift-up panels to hide away cable runs between racks.

Suitable airconditioning and ventilation with fire-suppression and remote environment monitoring.

Suitable alarmed security (access card, key, combination lock etc).

And if the resources were available a full DR setup offsite (at least for core services) :-)

All server room details would be maintained in a run-book with information pertaining to each server, its hardware details, serial numbers, tags, age, support-status, purpose, services, maintenance history (hardware/software) etc.

Monitoring of the network and server / service status. Lots of excellent Open Source tools for this - Cactii / MRTG, Nagios / Big Brother, ntop etc etc. Some form of paging or notification when services fall over is a must.

I'm sure I'll have more to add as I think of things. Next I'll create an 'Ultimate Services' entry for the software side of things I think ...

[/tech/ultimate] | [permalink] | [2005.11.16-04:29.00]

Powersquid + More

Finally an evolution in powerboard design for the modern age - the Powersquid. Stops those badly designed ac/dc adaptors (for phones, pdas, mp3 players, digital cameras etc) taking up to much space on a conventional board.

Awesome flash time-lapse rendition of a sketch.

First-look - Hands on with the new XBOX 360.

Interesting - Some of Microsofts server software products will be moving towards 64-bit only versions.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.16-00:03.00]

Nov 15, 2005

This week I have mostly been listening to . . .

As my messing around with Blosxom seems to have horribly messed up my file timestamps I thought I'd up the number of new posts.

So on my iPod Shuffle for the last few weeks I've been listening to:

Dead C, June of 44, Mudhoney, Minor Threat, Godflesh, Palace Brothers, Husker Du, Earth, Curtis Mayfield, Flying Saucer Attack, Dinosaur Jnr, Pavement, Massive Attack, Lauren Hill

[/music] | [permalink] | [2005.11.15-22:32.00]

BlosxomSK + More

A plug for the Blosxom Starter Kit. Has everything you need to get up and running. One catch though - when I pointed it to my Posts directory it reset the timestamp on a bunch of them which was pretty annoying. Now to spend some quality time with 'touch'.

As I have a thing for quality keyboards its only natural that I point to the Virtual Typewriter Museum.

Looks like Suns new Niagra chip is pretty impressive.

This is a great hack - the iBone - lets you pause your iPod and then reroute your incoming phone call through your earphones.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.15-00:39.00]

Nov 13, 2005

Copland + More

As well as being a famous Composer, Copland was also the name of Apples never completed successor to System 7.x - Lowendmac has a brief rundown on its history.

Alan Moore has some interesting things to say about the comic industry and terrorism.

A nifty Unix emulator in javascript.

Comms - All you ever wanted to know about a T1 but were afraid to ask.

Great collection of Optical Illusions.

The Ultimate Serial/Crossover Lead.

Tim Bray discusses Word-blues - I had a similar problem updating my CV. In the end I tried to keep edits in OpenOffice but the evil recruiters want it in Word rather than PDF. Word does suck mightily for this type of stuff. First pass on a document is usually simple its the ongoing maintenance that drives you nuts. Tim also revamped his Resume in html/css which looks pretty tidy - he's posted his resume template online too.

A collection of handy sed one liners. Sed/Awk/Grep are all horribly useful but my Regex skills are pretty woeful so I usually find it more hassle to find the pattern and match it than do it the painful way in a text editor, Word or Excel.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-22:41.00]

Spleeeeeen (as Ren & Stimpy would say)

Probably one in a series of grumpy-old-man type rants

* People that press the 'cross' button at a pedestrian crossing repeatedly or after its already been pressed once under the the mis-guided belief that this will make the light change any faster than it normally would.

* People waiting for lifts that do the same thing.

* People that ride a lift up one or two floors and down two or three floor - use the stairs!

* People that overtake you (either walking or in a car) and then slow down to the point where there was no point them overtaking in the first place.

[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-21:33.00]

Brendan McCarthy

Brendan collaborated on one of the greatest comics of all time - Rogan Gosh. This site collects together information about his career and samples of his work.

[/comics] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Paper Macs + More

For those of us that can't actually afford the real thing here are some Paper Macs.

Wiki - TiddlyWiki really seems to be progressing nicely. TiddlyWikiTutorial shows you the basics.

All sorts of cool stuff over at Information Aesthetics. Lots of different techniques and technologies for visualising information.

Over at Lifehack - Over 100 Quick/Easy Healthy Foods.

For the geek who has everything how about a Coffee-cup Mouse.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Linkies (Updated 28/05/05)

Recently finished Ken MacLeods book 'Newtons Wake'. Pretty good stuff. I'll be trying some more of his books along with some other related hard sci-fi authors - Charles Stross and Alistair Reynolds. PS - my ex-boss (hi Rob!) heartily recommends Alastair Reynolds work too.

Excellent Article about some of the changes in OpenBSD 3.7. Shame to see they don't appear to be getting any recognition for their work on OpenSSH or their fixes to Apache.

Nice PalmOne Lifedrive review. Doesn't really go into its potential as a multi-media powerhouse. Apple really does need to look out or the iPod will be left behind by the competition.

Yet another switcher - Security expert gets fed up with Windows and moves his company over to the Mac. Documents the switch here. Love the bit about the new Intel CEO spending some time each week removing spyware from his daughters PC. Then again the problems described could be avoided by using any OS other than Windows. Also cheap hardware has its place. Lest we forget the hideously overpriced, underperforming Macs of the late 80's and 90's.

Databases - A bunch of useful MySQL Tips.

This looks cool - RetroBox sells ex-corp IT hardware. Some nice deals.

Nice - Hacking Amazon Images.

Humour - Alternate covers for sappy romance novels. The funny thing is you could do the same with most trashy sci-fi/fantasy cover art too.

Super-geeky - via BoingBoing comes a vi command reference on a mug. On a related note BoingBoing creator Cory Doctorows favourite t-shirts.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Blosxom Plugins

Bear with me as I experiment with the Reading Room in the right sidebar (note I haven't added my own books in yet - these are just the default ones).

[/tech/perl/blosxom] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Obsolete Hardware & Software

At the moment this is just a place-holder for my interest in 'old & quirky' equipment.

For example the Apple Newton, 3Com Audrey - both failures from a commercial stand-point but both remarkable technologies for their time. Both also have strong user-communities working to enhance the platforms.

[/tech/obsolete] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Interesting Links

Learn about how computers work by Building an Apple I Computer.

Interesting use for a Palm - use it as a CPU display for your PC with PalmOrb.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

"Hannover" - The next (post 7.0) version of Lotus Notes

Ed Brill discusses the new features in the next version of Notes nicknamed "Hannover". Looks pretty cool. They still insist on the custom widgets which means you always get a slight disconnect when switching from Notes to another Windows app but this gui is starting to more closely resemble Office 2003 / Longhorn - based on these screenshots.

[/tech/domino] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Useful CVS Links

A good Introduction to CVS

A followup article on CVS Administration

OReilly has compiled some CVS Tips

Nice Feature comparison of Source Control Systems

What is Subversion ?

There is also a Tortoise SVN Client which integrates with Windows Explorer.

[/tech/unix/cvs] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]


Looks like a great perl GUI toolkit front-end - Sprog. The article demonstrates who to put a Sprog filter together to turn a web based phone list into an LDIF (LDAP Interchange Format) file. Sprog sourceforge project is here.

[/tech/perl] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]


Are there any to see?

[/music] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Woot! First post.

Testing blosxom.

[] | [permalink] | [2005.11.13-04:42.00]

Nov 10, 2005

More Useful Cisco Stuff

I noticed lots of search engine referrals from people looking for Cisco information. Particularly lost passwords and terminal settings. I came across this page of tips. Essentially it contains some pointers to obscure Cisco site documentation - Password Recovery Procedures and Break sequence for various terminal emulators.

Some more info over at Manucomp - Cisco Tips and Tricks.

[/tech/network] | [permalink] | [2005.11.10-21:22.00]

Nov 09, 2005

Matrox DualHead2Go + More

Fascinating device from Matrox that allows you to span a single video connection to two monitors. Nice writeup on the DualHead2Go at ArsTechnica.

Empire magazine have a list of the Top 50 Independent Films. I'm not entirely sold on the top 5 - they're all good films but I'm sure there are better picks...

ArsTechnica are also lamenting the Fall of SGI. Although IRIX is quirky and some of SGI's hardware was horrible (it was either massively over engineered or totally cheap and nasty) they came out with some pretty definitive UNIX workstations and servers. The article links to this more detailed eWeek piece on SGI's demise.

Another plug via Adminfoo - EventlogXP is a freeware tool which essentially takes Microsofts anaemic Event Viewer and kicks it into the 21st century. Generally faster with more feedback and more features (eg it lets you save a list of servers rather than opening them one at a time or having to come up with a custom mmc).

To much link goodness - OpenGear Terminal Server. Open Source hardware. Not the Microsoft Terminal Server of course but the far more useful kind - lets you hook up to Unix/Cisco gear for serial console goodness. I would have loved one of these in my last job - hunting for cables, gender changers and adaptors used to drive me mental (all to fix a headless unit that needed a fsck or someone to type 'boot'). Only $149US and it comes with a web interface - no need to poke around in HyperTerminal.

Unix Guru Universe has some good daily Unix tips - you can even get them mailed to you.

Ilikejam derides Audiophile paraphenalia. The $30k speaker leads and $450 'wooden knob' definitely take a the cake.

Found via BoingBoing - some fantastic sculptures of hand-made machines which don't do much of anything by Arthur Ganson.

Robert Cringely discusses Microsofts shift to Web Services. You can see what they're trying to do over at

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.09-19:35.00]

Nov 04, 2005

AOpen Mini-mac clone + More

The Taiwanese vendor AOpen has a new Mac-mini clone - looks pretty nifty but not quite as slick as a Mac-mini in terms of finish. Then again even the Mac can't compete with the Hoojum (formerly Netbox) goodies.

A collection of brief reviews fn some freeware Mac software tools and utilities from a switcher.

Useful - Ten IOS Cisco Tips.

Horribly geeky t-shirt which I'm keen to get.

Adminfoo has all sorts of cool stuff in there like this commentary on Petabox servers. Putting the ports on the front is such a surprisingly simple thing - its slightly mental that more vendors haven't twigged to its usefulness. I like his comment about ditching RAID in favour of data replication across cheap servers. The one thing going for RAID is that it might buy you enough time to switch over to something else if one disk fails. Looks like Capricorn-Tech do Petabox servers. Nice.

On the same site - Ten Commandments of a Sysadmin.

Dana Epp explains how to debug a BSOD. Again found via Adminfoo.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.04-03:58.00]

Nov 02, 2005

Game consoles + More

Great article at ArsTechnica about the Upcoming game consoles from Sony, Microsoft & Nintendo. Interesting that they're all using IBM PPC variants.

Fascinating - Ten very surprising things about Iran.

Geek Eye Candy - Screenshots of various Open Source applications and Operating Systems.

A nice review of the new iMac over at

How to make your own OpenBSD bootable CD.

Just finished Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds. Great book and much faster paced than his previous Revalation Space. Some slightly odd discontinuities in terms of the way things jump around particularly towards the end of the book but still pretty worthwhile. In a mammoth book buying splurge I also picked up the final in the series Absolution Gap as well as Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Should keep me in reading matter until Christmas at the very least.

Secure LDAP - Paranoid Penguin. Nice rant in the comments about how 'backwards' it is in this day and age to have to mess around with all these config files just to update user details - actually the rant seems to have disappeared since I last read it. I guess in a company using LDAP you'd whack a web front end on the admin interface...

A nice article Linux Virtual Memory - Is Swap Space Obsolete - "No" appears to be the answer.

This is too cool - ChipPC fits into a wall. If I had an office full of admin types that didn't need any kind of serious horsepower this would be cool - boot them all via Citrix/Linux and move the load from the desktop onto the server and inset the desktop into the desk or wall.

Useful - PowerPrompt looks really handy - opens a cmd prompt which allows you to run tasks with SYSTEM rights on a Windows machine. Handy when you need to kill a task (say via services.msc) and Task Manager gives you 'Access Denied'.

[/links/2005] | [permalink] | [2005.11.02-23:05.00]