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Mar 31, 2006

Apple 30th Anniversary + More

No news at all from Apple on their impending April Fools day 30th Anniversary - people are starting to worry. The 20th Anniversary Mac was very cool for its day. Will they try and top it ?

Wired - Thirty years of Apple GUI's.

Grown ups that still think they're children - GRUPS. I must be a GRUP . . . you can kill me before putting me in sensible clothes.

I remain slightly sceptical about these cookers -WoodGas Cooker. How can a few twigs and leaves generate enough heat to boil a pot ? I guess it does work though.

Interesting - Speculation on the future of science. "Triple-blind experiments will emerge through massive non-invasive statistical data collection--- no one, not the subjects or the experimenters, will realize an experiment was going on until later."

Daniel Dennett - Darwin's defender. The american Dawkins - whose book 'The Selfish Gene' also celebrates a 30 year anniversary.

Extracts from a recent book on a womans experiance of dressing and acting like a man for several months - Double Agent.

Ten year anniversary - Happy Birthday WebObjects. Sounds like a great tool - Apple should make this free or open source to encourage acceptance.

More Apple stuff from Wired - Thirty years of Apple hardware.

These guys are coming up with all sorts of good stuff - Altiris 'Juice'. Lets you install and run your applications in a self contained 'cage' - similar to a VMWare-lite.

If you can't virtualise your servers then having a good recovery/migration option is essential - Acronis Server Imaging. Lets you do a bare-metal restore to different hardware. Given how shite Windows (and the application software that sits on top) is at making it easy to migrate services from one system to another this type of tool is starting to become more popular.

More useful management and disaster recovery software from - SMA. My old boss is now selling this stuff. Love the ability to switch services to another datacenter in 30min as per one of the customer comments. The website is big on features but a little light on documentation/examples which is a bit of a shame - apparently its a super scheduler so you can script automate all sorts of events which I guess means although it won't build a new server it can kick off a script to do it for you. An interesting example of its use in an NZ datacenter.

Then again if you have OpenVMS it sounds like you'll be safer still. A distributed cluster would almost make you bullet proof.

Handy - Nice vi/vim cheat-sheets.

Neat - Charlie Fox Publishing. Couldn't find it on google so I thought I'd link to it and maybe people could find it by proxy. Always have to support the underdog. I'll have to ask Andrew if I can have a read - 'The Waiting Pig' sounds like a classic.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.31-02:17.00]

Mar 29, 2006

This week I have mostly been listening to . . .

On my iPod shuffle for the last few weeks (from 24th March onwards):

Violent Femmes, Velvet Underground, Billy Bragg, Godflesh, Bailter Space, Swervedriver, Sigur Ros, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Clash, Radiohead, Faith No More, Helmet, Bob Dylan, Headless Chickens, Red Sparowes, Jesus and Mary Chain, Raveonettes

Many thanks to a kind soul who had the patience to rip some vinyl to mp3 so I didn't have to :-)

Post inspired by Jesse.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.03.29-05:46.00]

Mar 26, 2006

Music List (Updated 25/03/06)

Red Sparowes - At the Soundless Dawn - 5/5

Instrumental rock - take a listen if you're a fan of 'Godspeedyoublackemperor' or 'Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Shall Live Forever'.

Sigur Ros - Takk - 5/5

Ethereal largely instrumental (with occassional unintelligeble vocals) post-rock from Iceland. Their latest album is almost 'pop'.

Arcade Fire - Funeral - 3/5

Bought on the basis of seeing them perform on 'Later with Jools Holland' - pretty good but not as good as some of the reviews would make out.

Pelican - Australasia - 4/5

Metal for 'Mogwai' fans.

Sleater Kinney - The Woods - 3/5

Bought on the strength of several reviews - turns out their sound has morphed into a cross between the 'White Stripes' and 'Jon Spencer Blues Explosion' - I preferred their earlier quirky-pop sound from 'Dig Me Out'.

Arcwelder - Pull - 4/5

Like a cross between 'Stereolab' and 'Husker Du' - driving repetitive alt-rock.

Don Cabellero - Don Cabellero 2 - 4/5

Instrumental math-rock. Probably their best album.

Jesu - Jesu - 5/5

The new more sombre 'Godflesh' - less rock more drone, less anger more resignation.

Dinosaur Jr - Ear Bleeding Country - 5/5

Excellent compilation of Dino Jnr material from their 'You're Living All Over Me' start right up to the last album before J Mascis went solo. As usual the earlier stuff is best - I think they started to turn just after 'Where You Been' IMHO.

Godspeedyoublackemperor - Yanqui UXO 4/5

Not as good as their earlier albums but certainly a worthy release with super-tight Steve Albini enhanced production.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.03.26-21:04.00]

AjaxWrite + More

A new breed of application - AjaxWrite Launched. From the founder of Linspire. They will endevour to release a new (and free) web/ajax application every few weels to replace bloated Microsoft Office applications. Only works in Firefox 1.5 or above.

Apple should make this easier - OSX Network Domain for sharing files on a network.

Two articles on transitioning from one architecture to another - Adobe Engineer comments on the difficulty of porting to Intel OSX and a Microsoft Engineer follows up with his comments on the difficulty of porting to Intel OSX. The first article also has a comment buried in there from an Apple engineer too.

Named after a type of biscuit - Drost Effect.

Some of these are brilliant - Optical Illusions Blog.

Handy Howto - High availability NFS.

The market wants to know what happens to Apple after Steve Jobs ?

Hopefully this will bring some performance improvements as well as new bells & whistles - Firefox 2 Features.

Rumour - Leopard to include virtualisation ?

People write about the strangest things - UK Conservative MP laments the demise of the Marmite Bottle. Related links - Wikipedia - Marmite, Vegemite.

ArsTechnica looks back at Five Years of OS X.

The excellent GUI Guidebook gets its own domain and thousands of new images and a few new articles. They've also added an rss feed.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.26-20:38.00]

Mar 25, 2006

Reading List (Updated 25/03/06)

Since I can't get the reading room blosxom plugin to work as a static sidebar I've grabbed the contents of my reading list and appended them to this file. I'll try to keep it updated whenever I complete a new book.

Anthony Bourdain - Kitchen Confidential - 5/5

Don't eat the fish on Mondays and never eat the hollandaise sauce. Great insight into the work required to become a professional chef. And an excellent read to boot.

Antony Beevor - Fall of Berlin 1945 - 4/5

Terrifying and very well written account of the last days of the Third Reich. Written from many different perspectives - you get a real feel for what it must have been like if you the misfortune to be on the ground ahead of the Russian advance in the last 6 months of World War II. Antonys book on Stalingrad is meant to be just as good.

Stephen Donaldson - Runes of the Earth - 5/5

I'm a huge fan of his books and this is an excellent followup - his writing style can seem a little overblown but a read of his sci-fi novels show he can write gritty dialog just as easily as flowery-fantasy prose.

Neil Gaiman - Anansi Boys 4/5

Not as good as 'American Gods' but still a very worthwhile read.

Alastair Reynolds - Redemption Ark -4/5

Last in a series - some great ideas but the storys pacing does let it down a little. A good read for fans of 'hard' sci-fi.

Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code - 3/5

A nice way to spend a day or two - if you like this definitely read Umberto Eco's 'Name of the Rose' and .Focoults Pendulum' which cover similar ground (but better IMHO). Actually Warren Ellis also goes over some of this stuff in his 'Preacher' series too :-)

Mark Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - 5/5

An excellent insight into a childs mind who suffers from a form of Autism. One of the best books I've read all year.

Alastair Reynolds - Revelation Space - 4/5

Second in a trilogy - more good ideas but pacing lets it down. The idea of the 'inhibitors' is definitely an excellent (and realistic) new spin on the 'angry aliens are awoken to destroy humanity' concept.

Charles Stross - Singularity Sky - 4/5

Highly recommended sci-fi - excellent combination of ideas in this 'post-singularity' novel.

Iain Banks, Alastair Reynolds, China Mieville and Charles Stross have pretty much revitalised a stale genre.

Ken MacLeod - Newtons Wake - 3/5

Another 'post-singularity' novel - not quite as good as Charles Stross but still worth reading.

John Pilger - The New Rulers of the World -4/5

One of those books that will really wind you up and make you wonder wtf is going on in the world. John Pilger is in a similar class to Noam Chomsky but has a much more down to earth and humanistic take on some of the worlds problems (he's also much easier to read).

Simon Singh - The Code Book - 5/5

Fascintating look at the evolution of code creation and code breaking - right up to PGP and Quantum encryption.

Iain M Banks - The Algebraist - 5/5

I love his Culture novels - this isn't one of those but it is just as good (also definitely better than his recent non sci-fi output).

PS - how cool is google ? You can query 'amazon 0670030414' (eg a books ISBN number) and get results returned on the book at Amazon.

[/books] | [permalink] | [2006.03.25-21:04.00]

Mar 22, 2006

Windows DNS Annoyance 101

Why in this day and age can't you do something as simple as pointing to a share via a DNS alias on a Windows box ?

Apparently it requires a registry hack (even on Windows 2003). Sigh.

[/tech/windows] | [permalink] | [2006.03.22-22:53.00]

Mar 20, 2006

Vote for Pedro + More

Finally got around to seeing Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty good. Possibly over-rated but enjoyable all the same. School in the American mid-west must be pretty dire . . .

A little bit 'fanboy-ish' but this Times article - How Apple Ate the World discusses the companies place in modern culture.

Instructions on dual booting your intel Mac with XP. I think most people will wait for VMWare or VirtualPC . . .

Not many updates but the Nonadmin wiki tracks information regarding LUA (Limited User Account). With the rise in viruses, trojans and spyware locking down user access is becoming more of a necessity.

They do in NZ - Does Novell still have mindshare. ZenWorks and eDirectory sound horribly useful and better than their MS counterparts. GroupWise on the other hand is dire from what little I've seen of it.

Still going - New gear from Cray.

More interesting writing from Guy Kawasaki - The Art of Recruiting. Some interesting insights. I like the 'interview as a project' description.

Two useful guides - Creating a Subversion Repository (Windows centric) and a guide to the /proc filesystem.

I remember this book from my primary school days - I have to concur that the running with scissors thing scarred me for life too. Good to see Struwwelpeter is getting an update for the younger generation.

A great series over at MAKE magazine - The Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge - Top 25 Inventions of 2006. Be sure to read all parts - Part I, Part II, Part III, IV, V.

The future of gaming - Wired Article - Dream Machine. Spore looks like a great game.

On a related note - there seems to be some good stuff at this years 2006 Independent Games Festival. Rumble Box and Darwinia look pretty neat.

If you're stuck for something to watch try out some of the items on The Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s. Not entirely convinced by the order but there are definitely some greats worth checking out.

Fascinating - Demonstration for Cutaway Technical Illustrations using Adobe Illustrator. I love these diagrams (even more so when I was a kid) - this one took 720 hours - a solid month of work!

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.20-18:48.00]

Mar 16, 2006

Stylus Album Art Challenge + More

Stlyus Weekly Album Art Challenge. I can only get a couple of these each week. Give it a try.

Rich Siegal author of BBEdit (product catch phrase - "a text editor which doesn't suck") gives his impressions of the new MacBook Pro. Builds his product twice as fast as his previous G4 PowerBook.

Looks like someone has given the NZ State Services Commission a beating with the clue-stick and they're taking the feedback onboard regarding recommendations for open source software use within Government.

Assuming they don't get toppled this is probably pretty close to the reality of Google in 20 years. Taking personal search to all new levels. Combined with RFID tagging soon the mighty G will know the whereabouts of everything and everyone :-)

Cool - Phil Zimmermans Zfone - OSX/Linux encrypted VOIP app.

Cool value add - iWoodNano. As mass produced items become more and more prevalent this type of personalisation is going to become more and more popular and hand-made quality items are going to get more and more expensive. I wonder when some old crusty is going to put his wood work skills to use and churn out high end luxury usb optical mice made from oak, walnut or rose-wood ? Doh - looks like someone has already done it in stone and leather too.

I could never get it to work - DFS Replication. Looks horribly useful though.

How commmitted is Microsoft to .Net - Detailed look at how Microsoft has avoided using .Net in any of its major products. Minimal use in XP, Server 2003 or Longhorn/Vista.

Cool - Foredge Book Art. Looks like the site is getting hammered so its limited to a homepage for now. Amazing to see the workmanship though.

Manage all your shell variables with Sheepdog. My days of switching between bash, csh and ksh are long gone but I can see the attraction of such a tool for those working in a multi-shell environment.

Nifty - LED Monitoring via parallel port and perl.

Awesome - Psychotic cat.

Finding free Palm stuff can be a hassle - at least at PalmOpenSource its free and with the source you can mess around with the code. Interesting that theres a Spectrum and Amiga emulator available now for those machines with the grunt to run them (eg ARM based).

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.16-04:43.00]

Mar 15, 2006

This week I have mostly been listening to . . .

On my iPod shuffle for the last few weeks (from 1st March onwards):

Thelonius Monk, Minor Threat, Unwound, Black Grape (I've been having Quorum MP3 Jukebox Flashbacks), Refused, Queens of the Stone Age, Godflesh, Mercury Rev, Husker Du, Aretha Franklin, Scorn, Earth, Straitjacket Fits, Cosmic Rough Riders, Spirtualized, Bailter Space, Dinosaur Jnr, Swervedriver, Robert Johnson, Pelican, Temptations, Godheadsilo, Sigur Ros - going to see them live in April - Woohoo!

Post inspired by Jesse.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.03.15-03:14.00]

Mar 13, 2006

102 gigabytes per second of sustained read/write performance + More

Wow - IBM breaks speed records with new version of file system. Pretty stellar performance.

Also via ArsTechnica - Vista doesn't support EFI. Which is what the Intel based Macs use. I thought the Itaniums used EFI too ?

More screenshots of the Office2007 interface. I'm not entirely convinced by the look but I guess it will blend in nicely with the Vista gui. Microsoft tried something similar with its personalised menus and they just seem to drive people insane - OK so if you hide something you never use then it gets rid of clutter which is fine but if you don't know in advance that something is hidden and why then you're going to be annoyed looking for features you know are in there but you can't find.

I have a personal liking for silly pieces of overpriced hardware (ref my Apple fixation). So its interesting and a little sad to see what SGI has planned for the future.

An inside look at how Google does what it does.

Amusing - the CIA was involved in producing the 1955 animated version of George Orwells 'Animal Farm'. Crazy.

I'm back doing disk-imaging - I was looking for a magic boot cd which included drivers for almost everything under the sun but alas I couldn't find it. After trawling the interweb I came up with the Universal TCP/IP Boot Disk which even detected the latest Broadcom gigabit NIC. So two thumbs up :-)

As per Chris' comment Gnome is getting better and better. Take a look at some of the new bells & whistles in version 2.14.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.13-00:36.00]

Mar 12, 2006

Uninstalling stuff from Windows

Because Windows is really annoying when it comes to keeping track of rubbish that gets installed it can be a pain to uninstall stuff.

Luckily Microsoft realise the aggravation of using its own software inventory mechanism and provide a way to remove an application automatically via command line.

msiexec.exe /x {00000409-78E1-11D2-B60F-006097C998E7} /qn

Where {00000409-78E1-11D2-B60F-006097C998E7} is the unique product 'GUID'. Its stored in the registry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{product GUID}

Definitely one to remember.

[/tech/windows] | [permalink] | [2006.03.12-23:21.00]

Mar 08, 2006

John Cleese isn't a fan of my home town + More

Amusing - John Cleese bags Palmerston North. Its not all bad but I can see how it would be a little depressing for some people - at least its not Canberra ;-)

Gadgets - The Top Ten Geek Watches. The Fossil Frank Gehry Watch is definitely my favourite.

A new version of the apache/mysql/php based KnowledgeTree DMS has been released. Its starting to look pretty slick.

The first IronCoder competition has finished - each contest features a new theme. The first featured Mardi Gras as a theme and resulted in a bunch of 'interesting' OS X hacks knocked up in 24 hours.

Great idea - Fourth Ammendment Luggage Tags. That way when customs search your stuff they have to 'break' the ammendment.

Wireless - Seagate to release first wireless hard-drive.

This Flexible USB Hub looks like a great idea.

Monitoring - Munin is a mrtg like server monitor.

Databases - Ten of the biggest mistakes developers make with databases.

Interesting - What makes Harvards network tick. 125000 workstations moving 150 to 200TB a day!

Oddly intesting - using Lisp to solve Einsteins Riddle. 24 Billion permutations resolved in 4 seconds is pretty good going.

Joel Spolsky - Top Five (Wrong) Reasons You Don't Have Testers.

An inside look at MetroWerks in the 90's. MetroWerks wrote the definitive development environment for the Mac in the late 80's & 90's that helped ease the transition to PPC from 680x0.

Cool - How Apache use Solaris Zones for code builds. They use twenty Zones (equivalent to virtual machines) for various projects on the same Sun V40Z server.

Origami - some shots of the UMP/Origami product.

Humour - a bit of an old clip but still a work of satirical genius from Australian comedians CNNN - Which country should the US invade next?

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.08-02:27.00]

Mar 06, 2006 Hate + More

Brett Simmons of NetNewsWire opines upon the crappiness of Apples The interviewer has a useful plugin which strips off some of the Tiger-interface-hokiness. The interview also points to the free Mail-act-on which addresses a few shortcomings by adding keyboard shortcuts for common actions. Its interesting that email applications seem to be getting more annoying with time rather than less annoying . . .

Long overdue - KDE Light / SimpleKDE. If you're tired of all the graphical gee-gaws that seem to be make up a modern GUI return to a simpler time via SimpleKDE which attempts to provide all the GUI goodness without the complexity. Or just use Ion ;-)

I found this interesting - Wordpress on a stick. Run a Wordpress blog using PHP, Apache & MySQL running from a USB memory stick. Handy for testing. The T2 site also hosts a number of other related Wordpress 'Howto' guides.

We got pounded by heavy 100kmh winds Friday and Saturday night. I'd hate to have been in the ferry making the Cook Strait crossing. Eight hours in a storm (normally a three our trip) would be murder. I've crossed in similar circumstances back in 1995 - not pleasant but I did manage manage to avoid throwing up. More local news - The NZ State Services Commission releases guidelines for Open Source licensing. And the amusing thing is it appears as if Microsofts Law Firm Penned the Report - so the neutrality is a little suspect.

Cool - Compendium of Self Annihilating Sentences.

For the mechanically minded - Gif animated engines. If you're interested in how mechanical engines actually work.

Interesting - Why PHP Sucks. I'm no coder so I couldn't possibly comment. . .

This doesn't sound good - OSX Hacked in less than 30min. Not much detail unfortunately. Certainly come a long way since the old Crack a Mac challenge in the late 90's.

Build your own Debian system via a web page - it will step through a wizard and then present you with a downloadable iso image.

I've read about half of these - To Kill a Mockingbird tops Librarians must read list.

Martin ‘MC’ Brown writes some excellent Unix Admin Tips. Articles appear on IBM's developerworks site.

ArsTechnica reviews the Mac Mini Core Solo. Looks good. Shame about the integrated intel graphics - still doesn't seem to detract from its performance in its target audience though.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.06-04:53.00]

Mar 03, 2006

Windows Password Reset + More

I've occassionally had to use password reset tools on Windows boxes before - usually Linux based. Just had to use it again and the tool I used is a boot CD from Petter Nordahl-Hagen. The CD version worked a treat and includes SCSI drivers for a number of RAID controllers - especially handy for server systems.

Handy - Clack Router is a free java based network simulator.

Useful tip - Migrating Outlook Express Email to Notes. Could have used this a few years ago :-)

Who says they never do anything fun - Microsoft brings DDR to email.

Interesting ArsTechnica reviews the new MacBook. Funny that they compared it with a Dell running OS X 10.4.4 - the Dell must be at least half the price. Not sure how Apple is going to stop people doing this though.

Gizmodos Low End Theory article discusses the ins and outs of the typewriter industry. Which links to and their $600USD IBM Wheelwriters - these things must be the Bentleys of the typewriter world at that price. Still I bet they have a nice keyboard action...

Humour - If Microsoft designed the iPod packaging.

Useful - freeSSHd. Win32 SSH server allows you to setup your own encrypted connections.

Humour - two video games created by people who don't like video games - Penn & Tellers Smoke & Mirrors and Takeshi no Chousenjou - the first makes you drive across a desert for 8hrs in real time and the second makes you sing karaoke for an hour while trying to kill the level boss.

Creepy - Worlds most deadly bacteria.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.03.03-02:24.00]