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Jan 31, 2007

Simple Way to Find Which Role is on Which Domain Controller

I'm sure there's a better way to do this but this works for me -

If you need to find which FSMO roles are held by which Domain Controllers, install the Server Support Tools from the Server CD.

Then run replmon.exe, add in your DC's and you can check replication status on various Active Directory objects. If you select the Properties for a DC you can view which DC in the domain holds a particular FSMO role.

Some more info on replmon.exe:

* Microsoft's Replmon Reference

* Replmon How-to

[/tech/windows/activedir] | [permalink] | [2007.01.31-22:58.00]

PowerShell + More

Microsofts PowerShell (ex 'Monad'). I'll have to give it a go (can't be any worse than 'cmd') . . .

Cool - Gliffy - Web based Visio/Dia clone. Free (for now). A little rudimentary but most Visio diagrams are pretty basic anyway - you can also export as svg, jpg and png. If Google bought these guys and offered an 'appliance' or service with their existing mail, calander, word processor, spreadsheet, blog-engine and search engine they'd do pretty well.

Nasty - Micro Drones' Killer Intent. Swarms of killer drones with explosives - sounds like sci-fi.

These things are getting ridiculously small - Via's incredible shrinking mobo - Pico ITX. 1Ghz in a 10 x 7cm package!

I'd love one of these - Macintosh Collection. The basement could use a dart-board and pool-table but that might ruin the ambience ;-)

Handy advice for insomniacs - 10 Foods for a good nights sleep.

Interesting - Apple returns to the ARM for the iPhone (?)

Amusing - An elephant solves a multitude of problems. For anyone thats ever felt the need to waffle or add a touch of humour to their exam answers.

Funny and serious - Tom Scott - Aussie Water Problems. Australia has really really serious water problems.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.01.31-17:30.00]

Jan 30, 2007

New Header - Womens World Cup of Cycling Race Wellington 2006

Another new banner image of the Womens World Cup of Cycling courtesy of Wayne Fisk (aka Stickboy on Flickr). Wonderful motion blur.

Be sure to check out his other piccies on Flickr. Check out his 'toytown' Wellington images - they make the city center look like a model-train enthusiasts diorama.

On a related note - other friends have some great photos of recent trips on Flickr too - Runswithhandsinpockets and Fergy.

[/headers] | [permalink] | [2007.01.30-21:37.00]

Datacenter Research

Seems to be very little information on picking a data-center to host your infrastructure servers - plenty of information for collocation, website hosting etc but not a whole lot to help you pick someone to entrust with your core kit.

If you're interested in a DIY data-center these sites contain some useful information:

* Good guidelines (if a little dated) for Data-center requirements (cooling, power, security, connectivity and staffing/accessibility)

* Data-center Resource Site

* Sun's guide to Planning a Data-center

Some great remote management kit is available too - remote control your systems via Web-browser:

* Raritan 64 Port IP KVM - even allows you to dial in via modem in an emergency when your LAN link dies

* Raritan 20 Port Power Strip

* OpenGear 8 Port Serial Console Server - make out of band adjustments to your switches, Unix and SAN gear

[/tech/datacenter] | [permalink] | [2007.01.30-01:23.00]

Jan 29, 2007

Remote Reboot

Found via the Nagios site:

* Servprise WebReboot - looks really useful if you can't get direct access to your gear and need to physically kick your systems.

In a similar vein:

* Dataprobe iBoot - web enabled power strips and sockets.

Along with a console server and/or an IP KVM to provide remote control (particularly out of band depending on the situation) being able to have some control over when systems go up or down is pretty vital if you don't have convenient access to your kit.

[/tech/ultimate] | [permalink] | [2007.01.29-01:47.00]

Site Stats to Date

I haven't done a round-up of the site statistics in awhile:

From this graph it appears I'm averaging around 240 - 280 visits a month. Based on the number of return visitors it would seem people stumble on the site by accident via a search engine hit and never return :-)

People that do get referred by search engine (98% from Google and 2% from Yahoo) are usually looking for information on resetting a Cisco or fixing Domino database corruption. Keyword analyses also indicates that people come poking around looking at ideas for setting up a server room or creating a system run-book.

The stats come via the free Statcounter - which is highly recommended. Works painlessly and doesn't require much code on your page.

[/stats] | [permalink] | [2007.01.29-00:10.00]

Jan 26, 2007

Wireless 3G Routers

We're lucky that our Telco provides a unified corporate WAN solution that encompasses everything from plain old POTS to high-speed fibre interconnects. They're also a mobile carrier - when you combine their mobile 3G with their WAN solution and delegated Radius administration it means you can offer your clients seamless LAN access at 3G speeds from their laptops (which they love because they find VPN complicated).

With these two gizmo's setting up ad-hoc offsite LAN's is going to be a whole lot easier (although your wallet may feel the pain depending on your 3G data-plan) -

* LinkSys Wireless 3G Router

* D-Link Wireless 3G Router

[/tech/network] | [permalink] | [2007.01.26-02:02.00]

Jan 24, 2007

VirtualBox + More

YAVM (Yet Another Virtual Machine) - VirtualBox goes open-source. Looks like it runs Vista and is cross-platform (Windows & Linux with an OS X alpha).

Ex Java developer doesn't regret moving to Cocoa - In Which I Think About Java Again, But Only For A Moment.

Humour - Get a Firstlife. Piss-take of Secondlife (popular Virtual Reality environment).

For the luddite in you - P-Mail. Like email only slower. I'm tempted to send these through the internal mail system instead of email.

Fascinating - The making of an Al Qaeda Operative. The insight into groups of young, smart disenfranchised men congregating to find some meaning to life is a little frightening (shades of 'Fight Club').

Looks like theres now a Asterisk (Open Source VoIP/PABX) ISO - Asterisk. It looks like a few small companies are starting to offer Asterisk as an out of the box solution to businesses too.

Another X10 like solution for your home - Indigo. Looks like a nice solution if you have a spare Mac Mini. I'm surprised this technology hasn't been 'consumerised' by now.

Fantastic - anti-consumerist ATM splash screens.

Open source - Docvert - convert Word documents to open formats.

If you're after a simple DIY appliance for web/email try out this CentOS (based on RedHat) / BlueQuartz (based on the old Cobalt appliance) ISO. I installed it via VMWare and was impressed by how straightforward it was - one thing I did miss was SAMBA for basic workgroup file-sharing but it seemed to cover everything else and you can always install SAMBA from an RPM.

Genius - Self-charging smoke alarms. Great idea.

Also over at Make - How to photograph smoke.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.01.24-17:28.00]

Jan 16, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Fugazi (Live)

I'm not a huge Fugazi fan (although 'In On The Killtaker' is a great album) but something about the groove on this track from their first album is totally infectious and you'll be rewinding and playing it over and over again just to hear the syncopated groove and stop-start rhythms - Waiting Room.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.01.16-03:35.00]

Jan 15, 2007

MacFUSE + More

With the recent release of MacFUSE you can now do cool stuff like mount remote file-systems via SSHFS on your Mac.

Looks like PayPal are offering two-factor authentication. We use something similar for VPN access and it works very well; I believe many banks are also moving to similar two-factor schemes to combat fraud and increase security for their clients.

Interesting - if Laws and Government worked like Computers. Points to an article entitled Lawyers Aren't Evil—Fairness and Morality Aren't Their Job.

New Scientist - New materials. Love this - Dilatants - fluids that get more solid when stressed or Auxetic materials - materials that get thicker when stretched.

Interesting - How to freeze a snowflake.

Number patterns - Why 6174 is a fascinating number.

Kiwi academics paper on Vista - Vista is the longest suicide note in history. Why all the DRM might not be a good thing. He also has a humorous aside about the inanity of import/export regulations - My life as a Kiwi arms courier.

Gadget humour - Idiottoys. The anti-Engadget :-)

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.01.15-00:03.00]

Jan 14, 2007

Services You May Find Useful

Useful services you can trust from friends & colleagues - almost all of them are based in the UK but theres a few NZ ones in the list:

* IT Consultation & Help in Cambridge, UK - Cambridge Helpdesk

* Scientific & Technical, Design Documentation & Help Authoring in Cambridge, UK - ScriboScience

* MacVector - Mac DNA/Protein Sequencing - recently spun-off from Accelrys

* Internet Security & Consulting - Liverton - Web/Mail Marshal & SEEMail specialists among other things

* Web Design, Development & Hosting - Face

* Handyman Services - MrLex

These are all firms either started by people I know or who have a key part to play in the services they offer.

So be sure to support small business :-)

[/misc] | [permalink] | [2007.01.14-02:51.00]

Jan 09, 2007

Apple Goodies

Apart from the iPhone, Apple also gave more details on its AppleTV.

I guess once you switch to an essentially x86 PC architecture you've got to start coming up with some other ways to innovate. Hopefully this diversification won't affect Apples core business areas (Mac OS X & Macintosh hardware).

[/tech/mac] | [permalink] | [2007.01.09-19:43.00]


From MacWorld 2007 - iPhone.

I wonder how good/bad it will be ? Looks promising so far.

Big risk for a small company (comparitively speaking of course) to get distracted by telephony . . .

[/tech/mac] | [permalink] | [2007.01.09-18:26.00]

How IT Execs Sell Out Their Organizations + More

Interesting - How IT Execs Sell Out Their Organizations. Most IT shops have a direction favoured by their CIO (eg open-source vs proprietary, off the shelf vs developed in-house, insource vs outsource etc) - some CIO's can be pretty flexible and will look for the best-fit - others can be pretty dogmatic.

Fascinating - Why blurring sensitive information is a bad idea. Because its simple (if you're mathematically inclined) to reverse the blur. I have heard that similar techniques can be used to retrieve serial numbers filed off weapons used in criminal activity.

Interesting - Things you need to know before interviewing for a game programming position.

Security - NSA's latest security guide for Operating Systems.

Life as a shareware developer - The life and drama of a Mac shareware developer. Interesting to see the dichotomy between people complaining about price increases versus sales increasing as the price went up - to the majority of people that actually used the application it was worth the increased cost. Also a cautionary tale of a Mac developer whose plan to sell his application went sour and since released it as freeware - xPad.

Insight into how Jobs thinks - What Jobs told me on the iPhone. Also why its unlikely they'll announce a Tablet anytime soon. For that keep an eye on the OWC/Axiotron announcement.

Similar thinking from NetApp & EMC - The Year of iSCSI.

CES goodies - Sony TP1 (Toilet Paper 1 ? wtf !?), a black OQO 2, the Nokia 800.

I can barely play 'twinkle twinkle little star' - for those with more skill check out The 100 Greatest Riff Guitar TAB's.

Dana Epp points to an interesting Microsoft Security video article - Defending Layer 8: How to recognize and combat social engineering.

Microsoft announced some goodies at CES - including their Home Server OS. Heres a brief article about contrasting styles - Apple vs Microsoft / Style vs Substance.

Don't forget to play MacWorld 2007 Buzzword Bingo - lets see what Mr Jobs has lined up for the faithful today. Ars is also running a live blog of the Keynote.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.01.09-00:55.00]

Solaris ZFS Tips & Tricks

Configure the /devices directory to make physical disks available for use:

# drvconfig

Creates /dev entries for hard disks attached to the system:

# disks

List available disks and format them:

# format

You can activate the ZFS web gui:

# /usr/sbin/smcwebserver start

Access it via your browser:


Create a mirrored disk:

/usr/sbin/zpool create -f testfs mirror c0d1 c1d1

Replace device in mirror:

/usr/sbin/zpool replace -f testfs c1d1

Create the snapshot:

/usr/sbin/zfs snapshot testfs@test_snap

Access a snapshot through the .zfs/snapshot directory at the root of the filesystem.

Excellent ZFS cheat-sheet over at Unix Admin Corner.

A useful step-through for adding disks to Solaris over at KernelTrap.

Great blog with tips on using Zones with ZFS and securing your Solaris system - Clingan.

[/tech/unix/solaris] | [permalink] | [2007.01.09-00:23.00]

Jan 04, 2007

First Links of 2007

First links of 2007 -

From the other side - Visiting an offshore training camp for developers. Certainly a new insight into outsourcing.

Fantastic Apple/Nintendo collaboration spoof - Podfondo.

Via the Kircher Society comes Jim Bumgardner’s Time Graphs - these are Flickr infographs graphing photos via date/time metadata. Pretty nifty.

Be your own shrink - Solutions for ten commen psychological problems. A bit pop-psy but some of the advice particularly when it comes to interacting with people are spot-on.

Handy - What does 200 calories look like ?. Some other well written answers to interesting questions on the same site too.

Chocolate - an in depth investigation (its a ten part article!) into one of the worlds most expensive choccies - What's Noka Worth ? This stuff can be up to $1700USD a pound depending on how you take it. If you're not a chocoholic the verdict is that its worth what people are willing to pay for it (although Noka appears to have some false advertising which makes it seem more exclusive than it actually is) but there are much much cheaper alternatives which are just as good.

If you're after turntable accessories try Turntable Basics. Linked off here is a work of true technical beauty - the Redpoint Turntable is amazing. The arm-pods and belt-drives are isolated from the platter - hideously expensive but excellent engineering.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.01.04-02:24.00]

Jan 03, 2007

Cyclic Fashion

Aaargh - why oh why is 80's fashion making a comeback ?

Don't children (teens, tweens and young adults) realise how stupid their parents looked back then ?

Big hoopy-frame sun glasses & earings, grey jeans, wide belts, silly boots, stripey tops with pastel t-shirts. All we need now is a resurgence in perms, leg warmers and shoulder pads to complete the picture.

Lets hope 2007 sees a throwback to the relatively normal 90's.


[/spleen] | [permalink] | [2007.01.03-20:56.00]

James Brown RIP 1933 - 2006

Truly a sad day.

Some excellent obituaries from Popmatters: The Last Soul Brother - James Brown, Pitchfork and the BBC.

Lots of good stuff on YouTube as well - you to can experience the genius of the Godfather first hand

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.01.03-04:20.00]

Kiwi Art

Some interesting Kiwi artists -

* Michael McCormack - you get a wonderful feel for a variety of Wellington locations from this Island Bay artist.

* Michael Riley - definitely a nice slice of Kiwiana in his photorealistic Weatherboard paintings. You gain a whole new appreciation for weatherboards once you have to strip and repaint them.

Theres some cool stuff available via Affordable Art too.

[/misc] | [permalink] | [2007.01.03-00:41.00]