277 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009
Do some maths!
Wrong! Back in April I was in Las Vegas on holiday, so before I went I did some research on MacBook prices. Below is my workings for US price + 8.1% sales tax then thrown through the exchange rate of the day. I think the difference in the region of £200 or more in each case speaks for itself...
MBA 11" (1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
$999 + $81 (8.1%) = $1079 = £654
MBA 13" (1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$1299 + $105 (8.1%) = $1404 = £851
MBP 13" (2.4GHz Retina, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)
$1499 + $121 (8.1%) = $1620 = £982
Being a Linux guy and not taking too much notice of anything MCSE, that sort of revaltion does shock me! You would like to think that for some sort of certification you might have to demonstrate your knowledge, rather then recall it for a multi-choice.
Many years ago I became an RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) in which the exam was in 2 parts. The first was you were plonked in front of a PC with a deliberately-borked setup of RHEL and told to fix it so that various end user functions could be accomplished. In the second part you were given a config/feature list and told to rebuild the PC so that it conformed to the config/list.
All the above was done without notes. Also it was open-ended enough so that if, for example, an email server was required it was your choice if you wanted to use sendmail, postfix or anything else you could get your hands on. And to top it all off you had to sign an NDA as not to make it easy for anyone else!
My certificatoin has now lapsed (and then some), so I guess I should get it renewed at some point. If only I could get the company to pay for it and give me the time off...
Funnily enough Mark Kermode did one of his video blog thingies on this subject (see linky below). There's apparently an unwritten rule where journos see films whenever, but hold off publishing their reviews until the official opening.
All well and good, but "The Man" (for it is he), has now started showing films as previews to the public up to a week or so before the official opening. The reasoning behind that is so that by the time the critics publish their scathing reviews more punters would have already handed over the green stuff. The flip side of this, is that anyone who goes to one of these previews can just as easilly then bang out some vitriol on Twitter/FB...
Re: I for one
My main beef with the Mail app on iOS and MacOS is the lack of an advanced "just let me get on with it" option with regard to setting up an email account. Both insist on trying to guess the various settings based on your email address, which never works when you have your own domain. And then there is significant faffing about when trying to set up authenticated SMTP. On that point I never got it to work on MacOS and just gave up and installed Thunderbird. I believe the trick with iOS is to try and set it up, let it fail, then try to set it up again to which is then decides to work.
Re: "Disney and Lucasfilm are, of course, saying nothing about the plot"
Given that JJ Abrams is involved, you forgot there will be some crappy deus ex machina time-travelling concept.
Having had a very quick play with RHEL 7 to see what it was all about, I'll be grabbing this next week as the bulk of our servers are CentOS 5.x/6.x. Mind you, not looking forward to all those potential upgrades at some point!
Great little box
I hope this new functionality is pushed out via firmware update as I purchased a WD TV Live about three weeks ago!
It's a great little box and indeed plays almost everything I've managed to throw at it so far.
Re: It'll not work in the real world
@Jason, have you ever had your bags wrapped in plastic to try and prevent such occurances? Or does that incite the light-fingered ones to more baggage damage? Just wondering as I had mine wrapped done flying into Jo'burg and out of Cape Town and everything seemed to survive.
Re: I still want my 1TB iPod "Classic"
The good thing about the iPod "Classic" etc al is the storage space, namely > 100GB. For ages I wished Apple would have made a 128GB iPod Touch. but they didn't. So eventually I went from my 160GB Classic to a 64GB iPhone 4S. Annoyingly I have ~62GB of music/audiobooks/etc so I have to use a smart playlist to strip things down to fit onto the iPhone.
Now there is a 128GB iPad (insane flash price mark-up, but at least I got mine from the US), which can hold all above media as well as various apps and has enough space for video. So I'm hoping the iPhone 6 (or whatever it's called) comes in a (stupidly overpriced) 128GB flavour, but I'm not holding my breath...
WooHoo go cloud!
“Office365 is beginning to look like a very poor choice for mission critical services.”
Strange that! Surely there must be at least one person in such an organisation that points out the obvious (to most of us) eggs-in-in-one-basket situation? I guess they're not shouting loud enough or have nice enough PowerPoint (ahem) presentations to spell it out.
Other cloning tools are available
Interesting from a corporate and incremental Parallels point of view. But they seem to have deliberately forgotten tools like SuperDuper! (which is what I use) and Carbon Copy Cloner exist. In fact I'm also pretty sure you can use the built-in Disk Utility to clone a disk, but I don't believe that does incremental copies.
A cynic would say this is just a puff piece for Acronis, esp as El Reg hasn't added a bit of journo stating that other cloning tools are freely or cheaply available (albeit with a slightly lower feature set).
I was working for AT&T at the time and found that strip to be very close to home and therefore extremely funny. With that new logo we referred to Lucent as dog turd technologies.
User: Is server X down?
Me: Are you asking me, or telling me?
Re: 3 changes not mentioned...
Thanks for the quick synopsis! Haven't been paying too much attention, but I knew that grub2 was on the cards.
After having a (very) quick shufty at docs for grub2 and systemd I agree that someone has decided to replace something quite straightforward, with something a bit more complex, for no real gain.
I've got a few RHEL 5 boxes about, but the bulk is CentOS 5/6, so just installing RHEL 7 now to see what I'll have to get to grips with!
Re: Solaris clone
Interesting, as I recall when Solaris went from 9 to 10 out (mostly) went the init scripts and in came all that svcs/milestone stuff which to me seemed like some overcomplicated version of (RHEL) services.
We never really made it to Solaris 10 here and by that time had already started mesing with RHEL 2.1.
I think a lot of people's concept of Apple does have a wiff of style over substance. Though to me Beats really are style over substance!
X-15 checklist, nice! I have a bit of a soft spot for the X-15 after building a model of it as a kid. I've also seen the one hanging from the ceiling in the Smithsonian.
Hmm, I wonder if my 2008 MacPro will make the cut for supported hardware? Time to cross my fingers...
Re: When BYOD works for me
I'm a Linux Sys Admin who has to put up with what the company provides. Hence I prefer to use my own kit...
When BYOD works for me
On the subject of BYOD(ish) for my remote needs I can use Citrix Receiver or VMware View to connect into a Windows desktop env from my Mac or iPad. Both are very useful for weekend/out-of-hours support that being a sys admin usually incurs. Because I'm an owner of fruity tech I also have become the unofficial Apple support bod when it comes to linking BYOD kit to the office.
I also have a 2005/6 vintage work HP laptop which is still running XP (recently rebuilt) and that can use VPN to get in. But it runs like a dog nowadays, so I prefer to use my own kit.
There's no choice for BYOD when it comes to phone, so I still have a work Blackberry and my own iPhone.
I can't stand the conversation view. After a few replies I find it almost impossible to find (and respond to) what I'm lookign for. At least on the web front end you can turn the damn thing off, unlike the phone apps...
Similarly I had to fudge a filter to turn of that damn important email stuff. I just want a plain old inbox where the newest messages are at the top. I don't want some algorithm moving email about where I won't see it because it seems to think it knows what I'm thinking.
Still, bit of a shock that it's been 10 years!
I started with a Psion Siena (the 3 series was a bit too expensive for me at the time, as was the 5): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Siena It was OK, though kept falling out of my top pocket. It allowed me to to keep track of my overtime in the run up to Y2K and the dot com boom!
After that I went to a Palm V, which I quite liked and in the end turned out to be a bit more useful than the Psion. Strangely I had sort-of dismissed my mate's Palm III (or soem varient) to get the Psion, so I could have saved myself money/grief.
The Palm was replaced by a Dell Axim X3i or X30 (I forget which). Whilst on the up side it had such nice things as a colour screen, WiFi and Bluetooth, it also had the nastiness that was Windows CE (or whatever it had been rebranded as at the time). To be honest it was a nightmare to configure as you were never really sure if settings had taken or not given the "not-quite-Windows" look/feel. Not helped by 3rd party software that was thrown on top. I recall that sorting WiFi out was a particular hassle.
Then that went, and I must have moved to phones I could sync with PC, so that would be S-E T610, Nokia N70 then N73, a work Blackberry 8900 Curve, an iPad2 and finally an iPhone 4S. And for a small device to do stuff I had an Asus EEE 701 for a while, which was great!
My wife has asked me to upgrade her 2007 MacBook. It's currently on 10.6 and it looks like it will only go to 10.7 (and some software she wants to run requires 10.8, but that's another story). So this evening I'll run some backups and clones and probably try and upgrade tomorrow. Hopefully it will still work after!
Meanwhile my 2008 MacPro is running 10.9, but I'm now a bit wary that the next OS X point release will not support the hardware. That will be a pity as it's still going strong (the odd hard drive and DIMM aside). I don't really like the new MacPro (or how much it will cost to more-or-less replicate what I have now), so it looks like I'll end up with a Mac Mini and loads of daisychained devices with the need for more power sockets...
I note that quite a few Sony shops in the UK (most of which were franchises I seem to recall) have also closed in the last few months.
Though to be honest even as a bit of a Sony fanboy I found their stores to be lacking in products on display. It's almost as if they didn't make AV amps or more than one BR player....
I finally saw a new Mac Pro the other day. Whilst it's an interesting concept, the fact that it starts at £2500 and will require external storage counts me out. So my 2008 Mac Pro will soldier on, but it's only a matter of time until the next release of Mac OS X decides not to support it.
Annoyed that I'll probably have to replace it with a Mac Mini and some sort of external storage that will no doubt require more cables everywhere and yet another plug socket.
Knowledgeable/experienced volunteers a must!
Some years ago I visted Vulcan XH558 at Bruntingthorpe whilst it was still being rebuilt. My friend and I were in the separate cockpit display that they had and ended up having a chat with an ex-RAF bod who used to do some of the electronic/comms on various Vulcan flights. Very enlightening it was too. It made the experience of seeing a Vulcan a lot more entertaining.
AT&T in Europe
AT&T (or at least the original AT&T, opposed to at&t of now) didn't seem to do very well on this side of the pond. Having worked for them twice in various guises I have found this out the hard way.
Quite a bit of Dell kit here, though it's been a long time since we had to speak to Dell themselves. Usually we figure out what we're after, use the website to get a full config and then send it to a few VARs for quotes. And usually the lowest quote wins, and it's usually a lower than what Dell can offer.
Some VARs are better than others of course. Once I was after a server with 2 disks mirrored for boot/apps and a single SSD for some RRD files. That option wasn't on the Dell config, so I asked 3 VARs if what I was after was possible. Only 1 VAR managed to tell me it was possible to do what I wanted and then provide the solution.
When I didn't get any mail on Saturday morning I figured something was up. The support/config website took a while to load and was a bit useless (and it said all was well).
I figured that Twitter would probably know what was going on, and it did.
I have to agree with other commentards, in this day an age a hosting company having such an outage is a pretty poor show.
"to ensure that an open-source firmware for the new router will be available for download"
Given the amount of time it took Linksys to bring out newer firmware for my X3500, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Re: better, how?
Over the past year we've inherited a lot of HP kit, and we're mainly a Dell shop. So I've got to see things from both sides. We have 3rd party hardware support, so I can't comment on any differences there.
We run a mish-mash of RHEL/CentOS and both Dell and HP provide firrmware updates for (Enterprise) Linux distros. I would say that HP's SPP/MCP is probably a bit more distro-friendly than Dell's OMSA, but they will both do RHEL and SUSE based distros.
From a firmware point of view getting hold it it (via the web) is easier for the Dell kit, as getting any info out of HPs website can be hit and miss. I also prefer the Dell OMSA method of getting a running server to update itself, rather than HP's SUM (I think) where you have to register a server and push it out. On a brief play with the latest version of SUM I found it to be quite dumbed-down and not as forthcoming with information on what you're pushing out to where.
For a one-off (ISO) boot firmware update I much prefer HP's Smart Update DVD than anything from Dell. Mainly as the HP method actually manages to update the lights out card you're probably using, whereas the Dell versions don't.
Which brings me on to lights out cards. Dell's DRAC offerings have improved quite a bit over the years, and iDRAC7 is pretty good. They must have been looking at HP, as now for the 'Enterprise' version where you can use the dedicated LOM port, a license is needed. Though I'm pretty sure you can still use the console, unlike HP's iLO3 where that's what you need the license for. With the iDRAC7 I'll say that it seems to have a better awareness of the other hardware in the server. So before you might have to run up the OMSA front end to see what was going on, but this (or a lot of it) now seems to be integrated into the DRAC, whereas as far as I know you'd have to fire up HP SMH separately.
One thing that HP iLO is still better than Dell iDRAC is the actual console. They both use Java to do all the hard work, but the iLO console is pretty rock solid. The iDRAC is still very flakey and will freeze/dropout at the most inopportune of times, usually on CentOS when the kernel selection screen kicks in...
On reflection, I think I slightly prefer HP kit but Dell isn't that far behind.
A small claim to fame for me is that my very first flight was in a Chipmunk and I was even allowed to briefly take control. Even better was the second (or third?) trip where some beginner aerobatics were attempted. I say attempted as my first loop ended in a stall, so I was told to try again. Happy days!
It must have been at the end of 93 when a friend of mine told me of a new game where the monsters turned the lights off at it was pretty scary. The university's networks ground to a halt under the original IPX multiplayer version.
A year or so later on my placement year I'd 'aqiuired' a small server for use as my desktop machine, so I threw on MSDOS 6.22 (with NT 3.51 on top). After hours I'd boot into DOS, load up the drivers and we'd deathmatch for a few hours.
And a year on from that (back at university) I'd started downloading the mods (Aliens and Star Wars being my faves), and even made my own maps, the best of which was a copy of my halls of residence. Every room had it's own theme vaguely related to the occupants. Not sure what Andrea the strange Italian made of his room really being a gateway into hell...
Big thumbs up to ID for this groundbreaking game!
Re: The Big Five
I did wonder about this, as PlusNet is owned by BT (but is a separate business). I guess PN et al would need a separate cort order to block things.
Meanwhile a quick bit of jiggery-pokery later and nastytorrentsite.com on 220.127.116.11 becomes nastytorrentsite.fu on 18.104.22.168, Google t'interweb spiders do their thing and it's back to normal.
I use Zenoss Core (the FOSS one) on a more system/application point of view. I've been using it since v1 and it's now v4.2.x. It takes a little while (and some Python) to get used to it, but it seems to be OK for my needs. I've written customised SNMP-based collector plugins to talk nicely to boxes running Dell OMSA, HP SMH or a plain shell script for VMs.
For all things syslog, instead of spamming Zenoss direct, we route all syslog messages via some central logger servers which run syslog-ng. syslog-ng is a replacement for normal syslog and it's pretty powerful in that you can create filters to match patterns etc and also re-arrange the actual message or override certain parts of it. This is handy when an application message, for example, says ERROR, but for some strange reason it actually has a level of critical. So in our case we tidy up messages (and filter out the crap) to make sure they're vaugely useful when they hit Zenoss. We've also customised the actual dashboard alerts and emails that Zenoss produces to make it a bit more useful.
However our US colleagues just seem to throw *everything* at Zenoss without a care, as such the front end is unusable as it has thousands of messages on it, and it just spams us all constantly as they take no care in trying to get quality alerts out of it. The result is very much "boy who cried wolf" and I've just set a rule up in Notes to ignore anything that comes from their servers to stop my mailbox hitting 100% every weekend.
Re: my favorite Internet Explorer Commercial
My fave IE ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB9fhjnJcB0
Unfortunately MS decided not to use it.
Just this very afternoon my old XP box at work was replaced by something slightly newer and more powerful running 7, with IE9.
Is X Y?
As a sys admin people frequently appear in my vacinity and say things like "Is box x running slow?" or "Is box X down". And I reply by saying "Are you asking me or telling me?".
Good for Mr Dell I'm sure, not sure about his staff though...
I look after 300+ Dell servers, and the odd DRAC dropout aside they're generally OK kit. So I hope this means that Dell (the company) will continue to shove out servers.
On the other hand due to personal experience, I hate those vulture capitalist scumbags Silver Lake with a passion. So if there are any Dell staffers reading, get ready for redundancies as that's SL's MO when it comes to making money.
I had something similar some time back when they were NTL. For a while my cable TV quality was horrible. Eventually an engineer was sent out and it was discovered that when one of my neighbours signed up, someone thought it would be a good idea to spur off my connection than to run a new cable out.
That was one of the reasons I dumped them. The other was by being bombarded with offers to use their broadband, which when contacted they said wasn't available as I was in an ex-C&W area. So why keep askign me and puuing leaflets in through the letterbox then...?
I suspect the lack of RT love is somewhat due to MS being rather late to the party and thier app store is (obviously) rather bare compared to the equiv iOS and 'droid. Plus calling it Windows, when it can't run existing (x86) Windows software also probably doesn't help.
Ironically it's for those reasons that I think the Pro could be moderately successful.
In both cases sales could be hampered by the general negative portrayal of Windows 8 (on the PC) due to TIFKAM. More irony in that TIFKAM is probably OK on touch devices. I was right when I said calling three different OS Windows 8 and foisting the same (mainly touch-based) interface on them all would not be a good idea.
At the moment I use VMware View Client and Citrix on both Mac and iPad. Being able to get to my trusty work Win 7 VM at home is a blessing. Esp on the iPad where I can usually sort out a quick work emergency without leaving the sofa. Though admittedly somewhere between Win 7 VM, VMware, iOS and more VMware some of the keyboard mapping gets a bit squiffy, no # for example which is a bit of a problem for a Linux guy!
Whilst I'm not a great fan of RDP (always seems to be slow and cumbersome to me) it would have come in handy the other weekend when my VM was playing up, the Citrix servers were down for maintenance and my work laptop has a dead CMOS battery which meant that the VPN client refused to work as the time/date was wrong. In the end I had to throw VMware View on my own Win 7 VM on the Mac (via Parallels), connect into another work VM and then remote desktop to my PC to run the VMware vSphere client to see what my work Win 7 VM was up to...
SGI, now there's a name (or ref to the orig Silicon Graphics Inc) I haven't heard for a while!
I recall visiting my friend who worked out near SF back in 1997 and we went to (old) SGI to play on some flight sim thingy where you sat (moveable?) pods and wore headsets. That was pretty impressive at the time.
We've got a PURE radio (DAB/FM/WiFi/Internet) in the kitchen that the missus likes to use at various times. I guess we've got a good signal (London) so I don't have any complaints. Though to be honest it is only used to play a handful of the main stations (I'm sure they're all on FM). And it's plugged into the wall, so no power problems. I'm pretty sure my amp has got DAB, but I never use it to listen to the radio. So even with it working in my house, I'm still pretty meh about it all.
Re: Desktop App Stores
In my case the answer is not entirely. Whilst I have got a few bits of software from the App Store on my Mac, most of it comes from external sources. I'd prefer to retain control of what I want to install on my own computer and where it comes from.
Re: For killing flies.....
I haven't seen them much over here (not that I've been looking), but when on holiday in South Africa a few years ago I became very proficient in smash-zapping flies. Also when they were at rest on a surface I learnt that if you v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y moved the racquet toward them and then as late as possible made the swipe then you'd usually get them as they attempted taking off.
One thing to note is not everything in the air is a fly and some wasps down there don't die when swiped, they just get very angry (like HULK angry)...
Local storage please!
Looks like I'll be hanging on to my 4S for a bit longer then. Potentially I could have gone for a 5S if it came in a 128GB flavour, though that would have cost a fortune SIM-free. I mean Apple are never going to put in an SD (or similar) slot, so it's going to have to be internal. They probably expect us all to plonk everything in the (i)Cloud and use all the 4G to drag it down...
All that aside I'm a bit meh about the 5S.
A long time ago I did some of the RedHat certification and got myself an RHCE. To do that required sitting in a classroom all day and fixing/configuring a PC to do various things. No notes were allowed and it was just you and the PC. The concept being that you had proven (under an NDA as well!) that you had the technical skills to get stuff done. I believe that some of the (higher?) Cisco certification also requires hands on.
I don't see the point of having paper-based or online (multiple choice?) questions for technical products when it comes to showing you know something. Surely the proof of your skill should be shown by actually doing something. I must admit when I looked at some of the Sun Solaris certification some time back it was based on mechanical learning and multiple choice qustions and I wasn't impressed.
Windows is Windows is Windows, except for those Windows
I can see why people would like/use a Surface Pro - tablety, does Windows stuff and you can throw on existing x86 software. Costs a bit though. Still horses for corses.
Surface RT on the other hand fails mainly because it's marketed as a Windows tablet, but won't run the aforementioned existing x86 software. We know that, but does Jo(e) Public. Meanwhile the same Jo(e) Public may also get a bit upset when the latest Angry Birds (or whatev) is not available on the MS apps store, whilst all their iOS/Android friends are playing. Oh and I don't think they'll be overly bothered about having a version of Office. Doesn't seem to do the iPad and various Android/Linux slabs any harm.
I'm sure creating two devices that look very similar, have very similar sounding names, both run "Windows" and at two different price points is not helping either. As I've said before trying to push something called Windows 8 on 4 types of device with 2 (I think) different architectures is not going to end well. I know what Microsoft were trying to do and it has failed pretty badly.
They'd have been better of dropping the Windows brand for the phone/RT tablet and creating something different. Apple have MacOS and iOS, Google have ChromeOS and Android. The Pro is probably the only sensible thing to hand the Windows brand on.
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