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May 29, 2006

Making of the Thunderbirds + More

A bumper crop of links -

Excellent bit of nostalgia - Making of the Thunderbirds.

A nice article on FreeNAS.

Ed Brill (Mr Lotus Notes) lambasts this Exchange E12 Review - E12 looks to be a major PITA to implement (then again none of the Exchange server upgrades look like they were anything other than supremely annoying). On the other hand Domino server installs have always been fairly painless and while adding features have consistantly performed better on the same hardware. Ed also points to this very useful IBM Redbook on the Lotus Notes SmartUpgrade feature to automate Notes client upgrades.

Lovely - Port to Everything. Ambrosia are cool - from their very first cult Mac game 'Maelstrom' through to their latest stuff. The fact that their coders have made Apeiron (kind of like a super-centipede in the way that Maelstrom was a super-asteroids) work with everything from old colour Motorola 680x0 based Mac through all the PowerPC stuff and OS X on PowerPC and Intel.

Looks like an excellent way to add screen real-estate - Matrox TripleHead2Go. A desktop spanning three monitors would be awesome.

Useful - Decentralized Patch Management and on the same site TCPIP Networking in Vista.

If you've ever used RISC OS on Acorns Archimedes PC's then you might like to try RISC OS Desktop for Linux - ROX. RISC OS had a drag & drop philosophy for file operations - need to save a new file - just drag the icon to the save location.

Some interesting insight - iSCSI for Exchange. Shame about the oddball licensing - you'd think if you bought the product you should just be able to use it without the need for extra license keys.

Picasa related news - Picasa ported to Linux and Porting notes on the WINE list. If you need a free iPhoto type app on the PC, Picasa is pretty awesome.

The backlash begins - Just give me a simple phone. On holiday recently my fancy work phone ran down within 2 days (it didn't help that I got paged via SMS for every helpdesk call) - I popped the SIM into my 5 year old Ericcson T28 and was able to function quite happily on a single charge for another week and a half.

Nice time waster - Damn Interesting is like a low-brow Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society. If you're a fan of 'strange but true' tales these sites are great.

An oldy but a goody - Distributed cfengine.

Those used to the open-by-default security in NT4 & 2000 Server will be pleasantly surprised by some of the improvements - Changes to Windows 2003 Default Security.

Handy - roll your own DSL - Remastering Damn Small Linux.

Nifty - Graph a website.

Like Sudo & CFEngine the Enterprise Audit Shell looks very handy for a large Unix/Linux infrastructure. I particularly like the ability to replay a shell session.

Handy Unix/Linux reference - Basic Cron.

Monopolistic Telcos beware - Fantastic Telecom Ad Piss-take. Pointer to Youtube video here. Interesting to see Telecom struggling to can the video too. Apparently the company have had the capability and capacity to roll out almost any service (VoIP, Video on demand/Video telephony, Streamed TV, multiple IP connections etc)you could imagine through their existing infrastructure and their local-loop monopoly - but they've been trickle feeding these out to people while charging an arm & a leg for the service. Now the government is releasing the local-loop monopoly we should see some service and pricing improvements - particularly with respect to broadband.

Handy OSX reference - What are all those OSX Background Processes ?

Something we all know but its shocking all the same - US Incarceration Rates. There are links to their murder rates too which are equally nasty.

Funky - Boolean Circuit Design with Quartz Composer. Creating flip flops & counters using the boolean logic in an OS X Xcode tool (Quartz Composer).

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.29-18:15.00]

May 25, 2006

So I resigned . . .

Well today I hand in my four weeks notice - time to move on.

My new role is working within a small government agencies IT Team as a Linux/Solaris admin - should be a lot more interesting than what I do now.

I've decided working on the front-line as an outsourced service provider is just not for me. As the customer facing component of an engagement it means you have to have your 'game face' on all the time and act as the key focal-point for both the client and service provider. Luckily the people on both sides were brilliant and totally professional (which is what you need otherwise you end up with a very 'us and them' relationship) so its certainly not a personality conflict or problem that led me to move on.

I was keen to go back to working back in internal IT and hopefully bring some commercial/private enterprise experience to the agency. Should be interesting.

So - four weeks to go . . .

[/tech/jobhunt] | [permalink] | [2006.05.25-19:20.00]

May 23, 2006

Inflatable Buildings + More

Neat - Wonderful Inflatable Office Space. If you've ever read the Julian Mays 'The Saga of the Exiles' series you'll remember the fantastic 'pocket' buildings that could be easily carried and inflate anywhere.

More on the greatness of Nintendo - New Mario Is Best DS Game Ever. I'd love a DS - my GBA is great fun but it would be nice if I could find some good shooters for it - something like these crazy Japanese bullet-hell games.

Nifty - Seenonslash. Amusing comments seen on slashdot. Slashdot itself has become a fairly dull place with a really bad signal to noise ratio for the past few years. Its nice to see the meta-meme pulling something humourous come out of it. The rubber-chicken comment (even if apocryphal) is great.

Fast OS switching - OS X on a MacBook running OS X, Ubuntu and Windows XP. Nothing new to VirtualPC or VMWare users but still pretty funky.

iTunes like audio player for Linux - Banshee.

Very cool - Business card circuit board complete with prototyping area. And I thought cdrom business cards were neat.

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) - Pictures of the pre-production version. No crank handle and its orange not green.

Microsoft may consider following their own advice and implement UAC.

For ska fans - Two tone keyboard.

If you like the keyboard launch capability of Quicksilver but don't use the other features you may like the simplicity of Namely.

The Onion AV Club declares the worst show on TV. Sounds evil. Not just bad but evil.

Useful - Skype RJ11 Adaptor. Skype sounds cool - people actually use it too. I always find this type of thing gimmicky (anyone remember CU-SeeMe back in '92 ?) but Skype seems to have real momentum.

Momus - The Dead Formats Society. "Archiving represents both attempting to preserve something to be remembered and leaving out something to be forgotten."

A comparison - Mac vs PC development for the same application. Phanfare developed a Mac and Windows client for their service and this is one developers view of the Visual Studio .Net IDE and XCode IDE.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.23-19:40.00]

May 18, 2006

I See Dumb People + More

OK so I know that this is really only something that appeals to a jaded IT support person but this t-shirt is genius - I see dumb people. Yes I know its patronising but sometimes you just have to vent . . .

This type of single purpose device is really appealing - especially when Nokia provide ongoing soft-updates - 770 Tablet. The new update apparently provides a better onscreen keyboard and GoogleTalk - some nice screenshots over at this 770 community site.

The last free version of PGP was 8.1 - some useful information on where to get it and how to use it over at tinyapps. Some good stuff over here at too. As someone else pointed out (Tim Bray?) - in this day and age everyone should encrypt and compress attachments. Digital signing is also one of those things that we should do (but most of us don't).

A first look at the new MacBook over at Macworld. The keyboard still seems a little odd - I remember years ago when the Duo PowerBook had all sorts of keyboard issues - my Duo 230 went through 2 of them. I guess we'll see what people think over the coming months.

Looks quite different - Managing Tasks & Processes in Windows Vista.

On an artistic note - Jim Woodring has a blog (he did the art for one of Bill Frisells albums I like.

Also Nina Paley updates her Flash series 'Sita Sings the Blues' - essentially tales from the Ramayana animated in Flash with a blues soundtrack. Pretty awesome.

Via Boing Boing - video footage of the John Cale & Lou Reed performing Heroin & Femme Fatale in Paris in '72. Includes Nico too.

Nifty - Ren & Stimpy creatorJohn Kricfalusi teaches you how to draw cartoons using examples from classic Warner Brothers cartoons.

Reminiscences - a brief Metafilter note on email applications. I'd forgotten about the 'email to fax gateway' or 'web to email service'. Or even the webs precursors Archie & Gopher.

Interesting and depressing - Top 10 Worst Corporations of 2005 compare with the Top 10 Worst Corporations of 2004. Chem & Pharma companies seem to feature prominantly.

On a final down note - My Lai II. As per one of the comments in the thread - 'what a cluster-fuck'. Seriously. Stop pissing about in other peoples countries and pretend its for their own good.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.18-22:00.00]

Siones Wedding

Best Kiwi comedy I've seen in many many years - Siones Wedding.

As a rule Kiwi comedy is almost universally dire - Kiwis themselves can be pretty funny but put them in front of a camera and the result will be largely cringe-worthy.

I guess the fact that Siones Wedding is put together by Pacific Islanders (Auckland actually has the largest Pacific Island population in the Pacific) means we get a fresh new twist on life in NZ. The movie itself is a pretty good take on the old 'men forced to grow up and act their age' - banned from their friends wedding by the community priest until they can bring respectable partners to the wedding and show some responsilble behaviour.

More information over at IMDB.

Hopefully this film sees a wider release than NZ, Aus and the Islands as it has a pretty universal appeal.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2006.05.18-01:37.00]

May 17, 2006

Shell Bang Commands

Reproduced as a handy reference. Originally the work of Kevin Lyda and posted to the ILUG mailing list.

For the purposes of these tips, every tip will assume these are the last
three commands you ran:
    % which firefox
    % make
    % ./foo -f foo.conf
    % vi foo.c bar.c
Getting stuff from the last command:
    Full line:     % !!            becomes:   % vi foo.c bar.c
    Last arg :     % svn ci !$     becomes:   % svn ci bar.c
    All args :     % svn ci !*     becomes:   % svn ci foo.c bar.c
    First arg:     % svn ci !!:1   becomes:   % svn ci foo.c
Accessing commandlines by pattern:
    Full line:     % !./f          becomes:   % ./foo -f foo.conf
    Full line:     % vi `!whi`     becomes:   % vi `which firefox`
    Last arg :     % vi !./f:$     becomes:   % vi foo.conf
    All args :     % ./bar !./f:*  becomes:   % ./bar -f foo.conf
    First arg:     % svn ci !vi:1  becomes:   % svn ci foo.c

[/tech/unix] | [permalink] | [2006.05.17-02:57.00]

May 16, 2006

MacBook Released + More

Finally - MacBook. Silly name but a nice looking machine. Available in black too. Time to upgrade my iBook I think.

True - How email responsiveness can help your professional reputation.

Useful - Shell 'Bang' commands.

Handy - Apps which run off your USB key. Includes a portable XAMPP - a full apache, php, sql install.

View and compare web font styles with Typetester.

Amusing - Everybody says get a Nintendo Wii. Its almost as if Microsoft & Sony are telling people the Wii will be more fun and cheaper but ours will do more stuff (that most people will not use...)

Might be good - 300. Frank Millers graphic novel '300' is being given the movie treatment. Its about the 300 spartans fighting to hold back the persians at Thermopylae. If you're interested in ancient history and this particular event you have to read 'Gates of Fire' by Steven Pressfield.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.16-01:00.00]

Its a Double-U

This seems to be a uniquely Kiwi thing that I've come to despise but when anyone reads or describes a web address they invariably start with 'dub dub dub' (to which I'm always tempted to say 'three men in a tub').

Granted the 'www' prefix is largely superfluous in terms of routing to the correct site these days but it is still a 'double-u' not a 'dub'.

To dub is a copy/subtitle or bestow an honour or its a musical genre.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2006.05.16-00:46.00]

May 12, 2006

Network Security & Monitoring Tools + More

Handy - Network Security and Monitoring Tools.

Looks good - Selenium - Firefox automation extension. Handy for repeating operations on websites or for testing new sites.

Coverage of the Nintendo Wii Event at E3.

Engadget interview Computer Console God Shigeru Miyamoto.

Images of the Opera Browser on the Nintendo DS.

AnandTech also goes to E3 and provides coverage of Nintendo Wii and Dells Gamer Hardware.

Viral Marketing Proposal to create some Exchange vs Notes video clips.

I'd love to see someone use these phrases - Japanese Gangsta Rap Translation Guide.

Recently the micro vs monolithic kernel (essentially Tanenbaum vs Torvalds) debate reared its head again - heres a pro micro take on things.

Useful - Linux How-to Guides. Covers a variety of topics and each one is mercifully short and to the point.

One mans quest to purchase Sun and HP gear - The Sun Doesn't Shine on Me. And how Dell kicked the other vendors asses with a superior sales model.

A great idea - Four Day Week.

Handy - CSS Templates and Guides.

Part two of an essential series - The Heart of Your DRBC Plan. DRBC is Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity.

Launchbar / Quicksilver knock-off for Windows - Launchy. Its free and its means I can minimise my mouse activity and launch apps via the keyboard.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.12-00:58.00]

May 09, 2006

Chime + More

Chime is a DTrace Visualiser for Solaris. Looks handy. On a related note this Interview with DTrace Guru Jarod Jenson would seem to indicate that the DTrace tool has a lot to offer Solaris developers - Jarod points to an example where DTrace helped speed up customer code by a factor of 50!

Nifty - a tool to help Test your firewall.

Well said - Why the One Laptop per Child Project Matters. Giving kids the tools to study, collaborate and innovate is an admirable goal - Bill Gates (and others) harping on about mobile phones misses the point.

Mark Pilgrim is seeking backup advice after having to recover 600Gb of vital data.

All over the interweb - Vim 7 has been released. Die emacs die :-)

Creating your own Fedora patched repository - Updated FC5 Network Install. The comment at the end about using boot.iso looks really handy.

The Korean Times covers the new disk technology from Samsung which promises near instant startup Instant Booting Comes Close to a Reality. It has to be said that involving Microsoft can't be a good thing. Watching an iMate KJam boot Windows PocketPC Edition is depressing - its a phone for gods-sake - I need it to start instantly!

The Times covers Nintendos Wii (nee Revolution). Looks like a fun console.

JoyStiq covers theE3 Sony PS3 Launch. The graphics look incredible - although wether the games will be any good or not is a different matter . . .

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.09-05:07.00]

May 05, 2006

Why a great programmer is worth 50 good ones + More

Interesting - Why a great programmer is worth 50 good ones. It must be tough wrangling developers and software projects. Sure one shit-hot programmer is worth 50 good ones but what happens when the person leaves ?

Handy Linux/Unix tip - Advanced 'find'.

Amusing - List of Sci-Fi Cliches.

The Guardian Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies

The Onion AV Club covers this summers new releases - Dire state of this years upcoming Movies.

Wow - Fast network gear! 30Gb/s on each port!

Nostalgia - Pressplayontape is a band which plays Commodore 64 game music. Load "*", 8, 1

Amusing - Panic Ripoffs. Panic make great OS X software and this page collects some interesting rip-offs of their software art.

Amazing sketches - Human Camera.

It had to happen - Pimp My Laptop. Certainly catchier than 'a sticker for your laptop lid'. Not as nice as the Colorware stuff either.

Handy - OS X Automator Tips. Don't think I do anything often enough to automate though.

Two nifty (and small) Linux boxes - KuroBox and the SpaceCube. The SpaceCube in particular almost looks like you could use it as a key-chain fob.

Two tools to help you keep an eye on your server / network health and well being - Zabbix and Monit/Munin.

Beatiful images from Nasa - Stars & Galaxies Wallpaper.

Interesting - What do you put on your USB key ? Hadn't thought of putting a contact address on there before - makes sense if you mis-place it though.

Office Space paraphenalia - Damn it feels good to be a gangster. Gear looks a little tacky but like the plethora of 'Vote Pedro' t-shirts it does appeal to a certain kind of person :-)

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.05-21:01.00]

May 02, 2006

This week I have mostly been listening to . . .

[/music] | [permalink] | [2006.05.02-21:46.00]

Top Ten Lies Software Engineers Tell + More

Amusing and probably very true - Top Ten Lies Software Engineers Tell. I love # 9 - "We can do this faster, cheaper, and better with an offshore programming team in India".

Looks like Dr Who's K9 will get his own show.

Another in the ongoing series - My Sysadmin Toolbox. Apt-cacher sounds really handy if you don't want to run up a full Debian repository mirror.

At last - Catapult - record video direct to your iPod (or any other storage device) from your DV Camera.

Security - Hacking apps that will run from a thumb-drive. Ideally someone would put these into a Qemu DSL image - run your own mini-hacking distro via USB stick.

Living space in a double decker bus.

Nintendo - The glory is the game. I'm not much of a gamer but by all accounts Nintendos focus has always been fun gaming over fancy technologies (cf Sony PS3 & Microsofts Xbox).

Crooked Timber posts about blogs and languages. Amazing to see the prevalence of Japanese & Chinese Language blogs. I guess it would be naive to think otherwise given the relative populations and Japans hi-tech society.

Excellent - Mac version of the Lego Mindstorm NXT will soon be available and open-source. Years ago I used LabView for instrument virtualisation with a DAC card in a Mac IIci for my Uni honours project - it seems a no-brainer to leverage it for Lego.

Free online book - How to find lost objects. I'm forever losing useful things - mainly my pocket knife and my glasses.

Drunkenbatman continues his diatribe against the dire state of OS X security and Apples lackidaisical - Everything is under control. Not.

An excellent article on the ease of use of ZFS over RAID for an end-user rather than a server admin - Why use ZFS for home ? Pertinant given recent discussion over the possibility of porting ZFS to the Mac.

Reasonably terrifying - The Attack on Iran: Why now?. Why ever ? Not entirely sure why using the 'big-stick' approach is ever likely to work given the nature and success of internal insurgency within Afghanistan and Iraq. The US better have a smarter approach to dealing with Iran than invasion or the world will become a much much scarier place.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.05.02-21:45.00]