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Mar 27, 2007

Keyboard Wallet + More

Geeky - Wallet made from a keyboard.

Bizarre - Goldfish living in a deep fat fryer. Only in Japan of course.

Site to share recipes - Nibblous. I'm a terrible cook but they have some pretty good stuff here and theres an rss feed so you can get a new idea delivered to your feedreader almost every day.

Heh - Ribena Rumbled. GSK laid low by some Kiwi school kids.

Dave Bishop (of 2000AD fame) is reviewing all of them - Films of Michael Caine. So far he's up to 73 movies!

Because I'm a sad geek I enjoy reminiscing about the old days - Dans 20th Century Abandoneware. Check out some of those old applications

Awesome - 10 Most Magnificent Trees. I'm not sure about the best in the world but they're all pretty impressive.

Interesting - XML Based IT Management Spec. Wonder if anything interesting will come out of this standard ?

For 2000AD fans - Progslog. A guy blogs about rereading 2000AD from Prog 1.

OS X - Some wonderful OS X screensavers.

Useful - PC Deployment with WindowsPE.

I was almost going to post this in the humour section but then I had these nagging suspicion that these guys are for real - A banana is apparently a sign that we're the product of divine creation. And GodTube ? WTF.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.03.27-18:40.00]

Mar 23, 2007

YouTube Music Video - Nina Simone (Live)

I tend to be a dabbler when it comes to music of the non-indie variety. A few years ago if you'd suggested that I might like something that didn't have really really loud guitars in it I would have thought you an escapee from an asylum - how could anyone not revel in excessive noise and volume ?

Recently I've come to appreciate the joys to be had in other musical genres.

So be sure to check out Nina Simones - I put a Spell on You video. Truly a wonderful voice.

Theres nothing quite so nice as Nina Simons 'Sinnerman' cropping up between Pelicans 'Drought' and Nick Caves 'Fifteen feet of pure white snow'.

[/music] | [permalink] | [2007.03.23-00:36.00]

Mar 22, 2007

Microsoft Tech Briefing

I attended a Microsoft Technical Briefing last week. I’d never been to one of these types of things before. Being crammed into a hall with a thousand other IT people was certainly interesting if not slightly depressing (wheres the gender balance and why doesn't anyone buck the 'geek' stereotype?).

It was an all day event – most of the sessions were good although the uncomfortable chairs definitely made me lose focus about 2/3 of the way through each presentation. Microsoft could learn a little something from Apple when it comes to holding peoples interest over an extended period of time (‘more demo less talky’ and ‘squinty fonts bad’ spring immediately to mind).

The take away from the event was that Microsoft really are moving to slay the opposition in the next layer of applications and services. If Microsofts offerings are like a cake - the Operating System is the base, Office suite is the cream and then Integrated Services is the next layer of sponge. Essentially they’re looking to do value-add almost everywhere – as with everything Microsoft do version 1.0 might not be that great but by the time they get to version 3.0 they’ll definitely be hurting the competition.

Its also interesting that a lot of the exciting new stuff has been acquired by corporate acquisition rather than developed in house (which seems to just be going through improved iterations).

Interesting stuff included


* Virtual Server is still has a long road to topple VMWare but the new versions certainly look like they’ll give ESX a good run. Particular at the high-end – it looks like their Data-center version will give you the right to unlimited Virtualised servers. If you’re a Windows-only shop the licensing implications alone are pretty huge.


* Forefront seems to be the new catch-all for Microsofts Security stuff. Their presentation had about 16 different products in the ‘Forefront’ bucket – given the range of systems they need to protect this isn’t a surprising figure but it does make their over-all offering a little confusing. What I liked were the hosted Exchange, mail archiving and mail scanning facilities (backed by stringent SLA’s and penalty payouts for passing through known malware/viruses). They also have a new Internet Access Gateway (IAG) which is SSL VPN with endpoint security – lots of VPN vendors are going to struggle.

* As well as the anti-competitive aspect (if you write the OS & application it gives you bit of an edge in securing them) it does raise the spectre of putting all your bags into a single basket which many people will weigh up against ease of use and integration with all their other Microsoft apps.


* They’ve put all their management stuff under the ‘System Center’ banner – SMS is probably the most well known tool but they have MOM (a monitoring solution), Data Protection among others in this category. Most of these have had multiple revisions under various different product names – Microsoft admits they’ve been remiss in improving the management aspects of their products so they’ve been beefing up their resources to greatly improve this line. I’ve tried the new MOM & SMS and they seem straightforward to install and deploy but getting them to do more seems to require some serious specialist knowledge (ie its counter-intuitive and quirky).


* Lots of Vista goodness on show – given Microsoft have done an about-face and are now promoting image-based deployment you’d think they’d make the process foolproof. They’ve come up with some good tools but they seem to be a bit tricky to use – Windows Deployment Services (which supercedes RIS) and Business Desktop Deployment. At least now a single image can go onto a variety of hardware. The license and activation stuff looks straightforward (you need to setup your own internal license server if you want to get a volume key).

So it looks like interesting times ahead in IT land.

[/tech/windows] | [permalink] | [2007.03.22-22:28.00]

Apollo + More

Looks like it has potential - Adobe Apollo.

Cool - Ponoko. Kiwi startup looking into putting 3D printing to good use. Check out the Blog & Dowse Gallery exhibits for some examples of whats possible.

Nifty - Bluetooth Proximity Sensing in OSX. This guys written Applescripts to lock and unlock his screen as he moves away or returns to his laptop.

Useful Cisco tips - TCP Mag. Nice articles and Q & A sections.

I can vouch for this - Outlook 2007 Performance. You can actually see each letter hit the screen as you type as if you were using a typewriter.

A must have sticker for support staff & coders everywhere - It Works on My Machine.

Linux GUI Goodness - Beryl Bling. Nice eye candy!

ArsTechnica - Vista Review.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.03.22-18:27.00]

Mar 16, 2007

Universe + More

Innovative interface for checking out the news - Universe.

These things just get smaller and smaller - LinuTop PC. These guys are also selling lots of small/micro-formfactor PC's - CappuccinoPC. The cases are predominantly ugly - someone really needs to give PC's a serious design overhaul.

Fascinating - StrangeMaps covers the last German Colony. Looks like great fodder for a novel/movie.

Create your own - Apple Rumours. Shame it doesn't generate a Apple style ad to go with your choices :-)

Cautinary tale from Jeremy Zawadny on RAID - Linux Software RAID vs. Hardware RAID. Be sure to have good backups. He also mentions RSnapshot - if you don't have a SAN or NAS with snapshot capability this might be a useful alternatve.

Tripwire alternative - AIDE. Generate regular secure checksums for your key Unix systems to detect any tampering.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.03.16-20:48.00]

Mar 13, 2007

New Header - Waikawa

The Marlborough Sounds from Waikawa Bay - the picture was taken from our Bach bedroom window. Lovely place and the weather was so good even I got sunburnt.

[/headers] | [permalink] | [2007.03.13-18:00.00]

Mar 11, 2007

One Laptop Per Child GUI + More

Looks interesting - OLPC Interface.

Some nice Mini AJAX Apps. The mini IM window is great. I had a popup from someone in Tech Support at a company website while browsing their FAQ section and they were able to help me immediately - now thats service!

For OS X - ZX Spectrum Widget. Lovely retro gizmo.

Looking good - LinuxBIOS including X. Pretty amazing.

As per a previous post - Pivot is a lightweight PHP based blog-engine that doesn't require a SQL backend. Nice and simple.

Lots of new info on Spore and its developer Will Wright.

Horribly addictive - Flash Game - Virus. Similar to Tetris / Connect Four.

[/links] | [permalink] | [2007.03.11-03:55.00]

Hosting Problems

Looks like I keep exceeding the SDF web quota so if you come to the site and see the generic SDF homepage that'll be whats going on.

Might actually have to bite the bullet and move the site somewhere else.

As part of my quest I came across Pivot which is a Blosxom-like PHP weblog engine that doesn't require a database backend. It appeals to my desire to not have to fart about with SQL just to publish content ;-)

Now to find a half decent host (preferably in NZ that offers ssh, perl and php) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Actually it might be Googles Coop - site bandwidth is apparently almost 50mb every few days which is pretty excessive for a small site. The only recent change has been the addition of Googles search engine. Might see what their tech support is like . . .

[/tech/web] | [permalink] | [2007.03.11-03:31.00]

Mar 08, 2007

Printable Cold Sores

If you're after some subversive anti-corporate humour try printing a bunch of these Printable Cold Sores onto acetate and affixing them to the next airbrushed billboard model you come across.

[/humour] | [permalink] | [2007.03.08-18:42.00]

Film Trailers

Back from a few days down south and I'm reconnected to the interweb - here are a couple of trailers that caught my eye:

* Paprika - looks like a promising anime from Japan. The quality of the animation looks stunning.

* Black Sheep - similar to Peter Jacksons early splatter-core days is a Kiwi horror that makes you think twice about sheep.

[/film] | [permalink] | [2007.03.08-18:32.00]