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home :: links :: 2006

Dec 27, 2006

Inkless Metal Pens + More

Awesome - Inkless metal pen.

Useful - Turning off un-needed OS X services.

Handy Windows tool - Driver Collector. Lets you collect all the drivers from a running system before a rebuild - particularly useful if you no longer have the original driver installers.

Interesting - Early history of computer role-playing games.

Linked before but its still great for procrastination - Optical Illusions.

Rudy Ruckers webzine - Flurb. Features sci-fi short stories from people like Charles Stross. Rudy also has a series of blog entries relating to a recent trip to NZ.

Handy - Forty tips to improve your grammer.

Interesting historical contrast - Genghis Khan: Law and order. How the Khan handled his 13th Century invasion of Iraq.

Excellent - Twenty Four web tips. Nate Koechelys article on easy fluid CSS layouts looks like a great time saver.

I haven't had much luck with Windows desktop managers but the freeware Dexpot looks like it has potential.

New Scientist - Just can't get e-nough. Problems associated with to much technology.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.12.27-19:25.00]

Dec 21, 2006

Taxes + More

Looks like we may get a $10 a week tax cut. Rod Dury (of Aftermail/Archivemail fame) points out that from a business perspective giving some tax breaks may improve the economy as it would increase spending/saving and provides an interesting chart which indicates NZer's work harder but are less productive than their OECD counterparts (debunked in the comments). Rod also links to an amusing tale of the way taxation works in terms of dis-enchanting high-income earners. I always thought once you got to a certain income level it just meant you ended up getting an accountant who could do some creative tax avoision (smash together avoidance & evasion) so you pay less tax anyway ?

Handy - 10 Good Unix Habits.

Interesting - How Microsoft deals with network attacks.

Classic - You Park Like An Asshole. Someone needs to come up with some of these sites in NZ so people can send pxts of moronic behaviour - youdrivelikeanidiot.co.nz / suicidalcyclists.co.nz / insanepedestrian.co.nz / suvdriversfeelinadequate.co.nz. I wonder when cars will come with built in cameras to record trips ?

Definitely need to get a decent turntable - Walt Mossberg reviews two Vinyl to CD turntables. Bet they're direct drive (evil) rather than belt (good) . . .

Interesting - Brian Eno - 77 Million Paintings. Looks like a great way to use a plasma screen while its idling :-)

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.12.21-00:06.00]

Dec 06, 2006

Procrastination Fodder + More

Like I need more procrastination fodder - Best blogs of 2006 you aren't reading.

Also check out the finalist and winners of the 2007 Independent Games Festival.

From there I checked out Indexed. Both funny, sad and strange.

Genius - History of the button. My friend used to have a Merlin - I was super envious.

Handy - 30 essential free applications for windows. I use Firefox, Notepad2, FileZilla (occassionally), KeyNote, VLC, TrueCrypt and Handbrake. They're missing Putty and Windows Media Player Classic & Real Alternative though.

Interesting - Google System Blog. See what Google has planned for the future as well as useful tips on their services.

Useful - ABC's of IPv6.

Destruction caused by the new Wii controller - Wii Have A Problem. Looks like Nintendo are really onto a winner. A negative take on the Wii from Slate - claims the controller and sensor system makes so many compromises that it doesn't matter about the quality of the motion so much as any kind of motion at all.

Interesting - 33 Names of things you never knew had names. Also check out these strange words at Snopes. Some of these were on the tip of my tongue but for the life of me I couldn't recall them (peen, tang & ferrule).

Interesting - 50 Ways to use RFID tags.

Wonderful - Writers Resource of information organised by decade - starting with 1650.

Great resource for scientific bits and pieces - American Science Surplus. The Wanna Smash Stuff book looks great for kids :-)

Thoughts on Unstructured Storage. It would seem only 15% of data is managed the rest is not. Describes a three way tussle between database vendors, storage vendors and dba's - who will win ? As the article says - most people on the business side don't really care until it affects the bottom line - when that happens it'll be interesting to see who suffers :-)

Useful step by step guide to setting up ssh keys with Putty.

Nifty - Map of the internet by IP address allocation.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.12.06-18:21.00]

Nov 19, 2006

Data Recovery + More

Some interesting data-recovery tales from Ontrack Data Recovery. Remember to always have a backup!

New Scientist - 50 Top Scientists Forecast the Future.

Nice - Postit Pixel Art.

Geeky t-shirts - Pixel-Tools Shirts. Manys the time I've cursed the Mac bomb.

Amusing - Interesting stuff found by Google in source code.

Handy - 99 Email Tips. Some good stuff here particularly for email newbies.

Jason Kottke points to some Logic Problems.

Goes to show that even though its already been invented it can still be improved upon - the better nail.

More oddness from the Kircher Society - Chromatic Writing from Benin. And I thought writing in long-hand was a hassle . . .

Can't wait for these things to hit production - Chumby.

ArsTechnica reviews the Sony PS3. Gets a fairly lacklustre review. I wonder if it'll turn around when the games start to appear - the PS2 had a slow launch too.

Ars also review the Nintendo Wii.

Guy Kawasaki lists the 10 Things I Love About Steve Wozniak. The guy is a god.

Aaargghh - Call my PA. I've never understood the PA thing either. And of course the higher up the food-chain the more likely you are to have an EA. Don't even get me started on 'Dairy Manager'. Sigh.

Interesting - Intermine - lots of home-grown scripts to do this type of thing but this app looks like it takes most of the legwork out of finding where your space has gone and what filetypes are on your servers file-systems at an enterprise level.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.11.19-18:18.00]

Nov 14, 2006

Ms Dewey + More

Certainly if you can't beat google at their own game then snazz up the search interface and hope nobody worries to much about the results - Ms Dewey. Not that the results are bad but it just seems like overkill . . .

Funky - Self assembling robot chair.

These are amazing - Papercut Art.

I use three of these alot - Interblag. I like the ring of 'blagosphere' . . .

Storagemojo has all sorts of good stuff on storage & datacenters - new idea for rack-mount servers from Rackable. Their stuff seems kind of neat - certainly a cheaper alternative to blades. Similar to the Petabox servers used by The Wayback Machine.

Insight into the benefits of server consolidation using VMWare - VMware Both Better and Worse Than I Described. Going from 500 physical server to 25 is pretty impressive. If they're Windows boxes Microsoft must make a mint on server licenses . . .

Interesting - Reverse Dictionary. I find it a little disappointing - the results don't stand out on the page very well either.

Handy & fascinating - List of social faux pas by country/region. Very useful for frequent travellers.

One of many - Zune review from ArsTechnica. Like most things Microsoft v1.0 can be disappointing but if they stick with it then they could be onto a winner. Wonder what others will do to stay one step ahead ?

The first of the Wii reviews are coming in - PCMag and CNet. Both very positive for game play and entertainment value but lukewarm on the graphics.

First pictures of what will be the production OLPC Laptop. Looks so tiny! I think its going to be a hit and if they produce a slicker commercial variant it will sell like hot-cakes (ok maybe only to geeks).

Absolutely no irony in this domain name Official Meeting & Facilities Guide. Or OMFG. Hmmmm doesn't look like anyone has that as a NZ domain name yet (or my other favourite 'sendaselfaddressedstampedenvelope.co.nz') . . .

Wonderful - room painted to look like its from a cartoon.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.11.14-18:14.00]

Nov 05, 2006

Delicious Generation + More

Rogue Amoeba - Delicious Generation. A little curmudgeonly perhaps - the Mac world has always been a more 'fun' (remember the pointless but fun Talking Moose or Oscar the Grouch trashcan) place to be in terms of a personal computer - but there is a ring of truth to the argument about flash in the pan developers and style over substance.

Via Wes Felters Hack the Planet - LogoWiki and WikiCalc. I remember using Logo on an Apple II. Relive the experience via the web :-)

StorageMojo discusses a couple of highlights at the Storage Networking World. The inline compression looks interesting as does the flash based SAN and free iSCSI server which lets you experiment a bit with iSCSI if you grab the free Microsoft iSCSI initiator as well.

Ed Brill provides a History of Lotus Notes.

Ed also points to a Microsoft Windows Desktop Search add-in for Lotus Notes. Lets you search your Lotus mail from your desktop.

A database of Jobs-era Apple Mac & iPod gear - Designed in California.

A couple of articles on Apple@30 - Digibarn Computer Museum and Woznaik Leads Anniversary Celebration.

Handy - How to talk to a Climate Skeptic. One way or another the climate is changing - people who don't believe that are seriously blinkered. The weather patterns in NZ have changed markedly in the last 20 years IMHO.

Funny - Amusing Icons explaining Internet Acronyms.

While we look forward to some excellent rugby - the All Blacks are learning French. I love the Guardian translations at the end - "You look like a Sheila with that long hair = Vous ressemblez ŗ une fille avec ces longs cheveux".

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.11.05-17:38.00]

Oct 31, 2006

Hamachi + More

Looks nifty - Hamachi is a zero-configuration virtual private networking (VPN) application. A bit like setting up your own private LAN across the interweb.

Pretty useful place to check once in awhile - SourceForge Project of the Month.

Found on the Project of the Month link above is OpenQRM. Its basically a way to dynamically manage your server (physical & virtual) resources - check this PDF for more information. Makes for pretty interesting reading. The idea of being able to provision applications and servers with minimal lead time is becoming more and more important.

Too true - Users don't care about storage and data ó they only care about their own applications, so it's essential to deliver IT as a transparent service.

Storagemagazine is chock full of useful stuff - Backups are not archives. The ability to satisfy electronic discovery requests is pretty scarey. When you have lawyers breathing down your neck for records of email correspondence between two people that occurred over a 2 week period 3 years ago how do you respond ? Thats when products like Archive Manager come into their own.

Interesting information about Google Slack. It almost seems like a fancy version of OpenQRM - it would be amazing to see these sorts of dynamic provisioning tools in action.

Interesting things to do with trees - Arborsmith.

Funny - The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod - An Illustrated Journey.

WindowsXP eyecandy - XPize.

Wired discusses Aranofskys new movie 'The Fountain'. I liked 'Pi' but 'Requiem for a Dream' was a little to bleak for me.

Getting one step closer to having our own fabricators - Draw and Print your own Furniture.

A nice laymans guide to the SQL Injection Bug. I didn't realise it was that easy . . .

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.10.31-21:44.00]

Oct 23, 2006

DailyWTF + More

Brilliant - Daily WTF. Catalog of IT failures - the Virtudyne series reminds me of a company I used to work for.

How Joel Spolsky does an initial Phone Screen for prospective hires.

A good review of FreeNAS. Looks good - some reservations about using it in a commercial environment though (as per the comments at the end of the article).

I could only ever get two sides - Solve the Rubiks cube.

I'm not sure how they'll cope - USA bans Vegemite due to folate. I can never remember wether I prefer Marmite or Vegemite.

You can never know enough about knots - Animated Knots.

Interesting - Six Examples of Odd Sympathy. This is explored in more detail in Steven Strogatz 'Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order.

Poderosa is a tabbed terminal emulator for Windows - Poderosa Project. I'll give it a try but a shell that requires the .Net subsystem seems overkill. I suspect they'll have a hard time displacing putty.

Some inspired advertising - Great ads from around the world. Beware its a loooong page - can take awhile to load.

Richard Dawkins - Why There Almost Certainly Is No God.

"We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable."

Blasphemy - of course there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster!

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.10.23-17:41.00]

Oct 15, 2006

Meet Like Google + More

I hate meetings - How to run a meeting like Google. Especially the interminable 'lets go round the room and tell everyone what you've been up to' ones. Definitely better to have short meetings based around action points, minutes, information and deadlines - then stuff gets done and the meetings are mercifully short. Anything deep can be discussed offline and bought back to the next meeting.

A few environmental links -

* Breathing Earth shows carbon emissions and births/deaths by country

* New Scientist article on Earth without people and the same information presented as a timeline. Sobering stuff.

Amusing - Fifty ways a manager can get employees to quite. Its very Office Space / Office.

Via Jeremy Zawodny - 'Dilbert' deserves the economics Nobel - Scott Adams financial advice. Nine point plan to financial security. I've only got two of them :-(

As seen on Slashdot - Dr Dobbs Journal article on Chris Crawfords new Interactive Fiction company StoryTron. Looks fascinating. It will be interesting to see what type of stuff comes out of such a tool.

Must drink more tea - Why green tea helps you lose weight.

I need to apply these changes to my install now - Tweaking Firefox for better memory management.

A more useful error page for Firefox ErrorZilla. Looks like another must have extension.

See some of the interesting stuff coming from Adobe Labs.

The Kircher Society blog is having a roundup of death related strangeness. Pretty fascinating stuff.

A couple of good reasons why the Mac is a much more 'fun' platform than either Windows or Linux -

* A new twist on burning a CD - Disco. I love that blowing on the mic will make the smoke move.

* For Mac Laptops with a motion sensor - Skip Checker. Tap the side or move up/down to kick off an action or script.

My ThinkPad T43 has a motion sensor but all it seems to do is protect the disk and add a silly coloured icon to my tray. Runs like a dog too. Sigh.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.10.15-19:23.00]

Oct 10, 2006

Solaris Patch Management + More

Useful for Solaris admins - PCA - Solaris Patch Management Tool. Its a perl script that will patch Solaris 8/9/10 - SPARC & x86.

Retro gaming goodness via this web-java app - Virtual Nintendo.

Jason Kottke points to some Interesting Google Code Search hits.

Wikipedia article on last weeks South Park in World of Warcraft piss-take. The episode is a work of genius and I'm not entirely sure of the Wikipedia article writers realise the irony of spending time and effort documenting it ?

In light of the trailer for 'The 300' heres a slightly less fanboyish look back at The Battle of Thermopylae. Its a shame the movie is based on Frank Millers comic rather than Steven Pressfields 'Gates of Fire'. The comic is good but is limited by the medium; the book is brilliant.

Wonderful scanned magazine article from the 1950's of miracles you'll see in 50 years.

New York Times article - Long Zoom: Will Wrights new game Spore. Will Wright is the genius behind 'SimCity' and 'The Sims'.

Why marketing should create documentation - Creating Passionate Users.

Amusing - Iggy Pop's concert rider funniest in rock history?.

The Gustbuster Umbrella. They'd make a killing in Wellington - the rubbish bins in town are filled with destroyed brollies after a rainy southerly blows through town.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.10.10-22:55.00]

Oct 02, 2006

iAlertU + More

Cool - iAlertU is an alarm for your MacBook - it will even take pictures of the would be thief using the built in camera.

Amusing - RAID for the layman.

A fair proportion of the Top 100 International GDP's are now generated by Corporations. NZ is waaaay down the list at 81 below Nissan.

Be nice to your family or they'll have the final say on your tombstone.

Interesting insight into some of the design decisions surrounding the Nintendo Wii.

Also via ArsTechnica - Email is for old people. I read something about this regarding texting/IM culture in Japan and South Korea a few years ago - looks like the 'yoof' of the west are catching up.

View Flash media files using QuickTime player - Perian expands upon the number of media codecs the player will natively handle. This means you can view them in FrontRow too.

After a long posting-break GUIdebook is back with some historical scans and articles about the Apple Lisa (circa 1983).

Interesting - The Saga of Sagi Society. If its in Japan now I guess it will be in the rest of the world in a couple of years too. Bit depressing to think that technology is spawning new and innovative ways to blackmail people (granted the marks seem extraordinarily naive and/or stupid).

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.10.02-17:39.00]

Sep 27, 2006

Update on the One Laptop Per Child + More

Some interesting details on how the OLPC is shaping up.

Super geek cartoon - Unix Humour. Theres a good vi one floating around somewhere but I can't find it right now . . .

Gizmodo looks at the Sony Reader. Pretty cool. I wonder what the uptake will be like ?

Two nifty gadgets via Treehugger - the Sun Jar and the Gadget Charging Solar Panel. I'll have to search for something that will trickle charge a laptop that doesn't cost a fortune - that would be really handy - the MacBook battery life is really sucky.

Linux tablet reaches its 3rd iteration - Pepper Pad 3.

Richard Dawkins new book is popping up all over the interweb. Looks like an interesting read.

This anti-Agile programming spiel also seems to be doing the rounds - its well worth a read and provides an insight into how R & D is done at Google. I wonder how well it would translate to a team working on relatively uninteresting but important tasks such as maintaining a tax system for Internal Revenue or keeping track of fines in a Justice collection system ?

Also big news - Peter Jackson is setting up a gaming arm to his production company in conjunction with Microsoft. I wonder if he'll do stuff similar to LucasArts or a graphical Infocom ?

Completely non-technology related - Mel laments smokey bars. NZ bars have been smoke free for about 6 to 12 months now and its fantastic - you can go out and have a few beers and when you get home you don't feel the need to wash everything you wear to get rid of the smokey smell or feel like your sense of taste/smell have been eviscerated by passive smoking (then again maybe thats the alcohol . . .)

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.09.27-21:25.00]

Sep 22, 2006

Must Write Faster + More

Charles Stross writes about the perils of writing sci-fi for the near future - ideas for a new book are coming true now - Must Write Faster - IBM has a secret island headquarters hideaway inside Second Life.

Definitely a better concept than Pop Idol - My Dream App - vote for your favourite application idea.

NetXen has released a Virtualisable 10Gb NIC - it plays nice with VMWare ESX so you can carve up bandwidth per VM.

This would be amazing if it actually turned out to be true - Cringely discusses where he thinks Apple iTV strategy is going.

Something for the consumer terrorist parent - Child Safety Labels We'd Like To See. Printing these out and sticking them onto toys in a shop would be cool.

Touching in a super geeky way - an ode to a dead PowerBook G4. My favourite laptop is a close contest between my old Duo 230 and my iBook 600 - each one was a generation apart from the other but they provided me with stable computing for 2-3 years apiece which is a pretty long time in IT terms.

Congratulations to Genshin Fujinami - the most recent Marathon Monk.

Nasty - Ozone mini-hole means sun risk on Sunday. So now we can't even enjoy the weekend without worrying about skin-cancer ?

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.09.22-00:39.00]

Sep 19, 2006

Insanely Fast Climber + More

This one is for Chris - I'm sure he'll appreciate this Google video of Dan Osman scaling a vertical wall/cliff in no time flat.

The 2007 - Death & Taxes Infograph is out - see where the USA spends its tax dollar.

More excellent stuff from StorageMojo (I accidentally called them StorageMofo in the last post which sounds better but I've corrected the typo) - Mission Impossible: Managing Amazonís Datacenter, Pt I. Can't wait to read the rest. Darn good idea putting the devs oncall too - make them experience the pain they put the end user through rather than have the sys-admin act as the middle man.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.09.19-18:38.00]

Sep 17, 2006

Sleuthkit + More

Another handy forensic toolset - Sleuthkit. Now comes with Win32 binaries too. Tools include mactime which shows a timeline of file activity (unfortunately no Win32 version of this tool yet).

A handy use for an old 64Mb USB stick - Boot a Dead PC with Nothing but a Thumb Drive. Makes use of the RIP (Recovery is Possible) mini-distribution.

An IBM DeveloperWorks article on NFSv4. It looks like it addresses some of the security concerns surrounding previous versions.

Another QuickSilver / LaunchBar clone for Win32 - Colibri is like a slicker Launchy. QuickSilver was pretty slow on my old iBook but now it positively sings on my MacBook - definitely an indispensible OS X application - if you don't need all its bells and whistles try the simpler Namely.

Most IT professionals already know this but its #1 in the list of the Top 10 Most Stressful Professions. I guess its the fact that people don't seem to understand that IT systems aren't perfect and think you're making excuses for services which just winds up the client.

Useful guide to LSOF (Lists of Open Files). Apparently its the utility with the most switches - so many that it uses both '+' and '-' for its arguments.

StorageMojo on Flash-drives - Low End Streetfight. I didn't realise high-end memory sticks used RAID 0.

Charles Stross discusses the human side of Microsoft Windows - Spinning the Hamster Wheel. Definitely a lot to be said for running enterprise apps through a terminal session or web-front-end to minimise the annoyances associated with supporting the base OS.

[/links/2006] | [permalink] | [2006.09.17-03:43.00]