* Posts by Geoff

25 posts • joined 19 Nov 2006

Apple wrongfoots iPhoneys

Geoff

Been available longer than that...

The boss picked one up in Thailand back in November, so I'd suggest they have been on the market for a little longer than that. It looks cheap and nasty as you'd expect, but you would be surprised how easily people are duped by a nock off with an apple logo on it.

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Chrysler grows iPod Peapod

Geoff

Who would be dumb enough to buy one?

30 miles @ 25mph on an 8 hour charge... And it looks uglier than a Fiat Multipla?

Not to mention, how are you supposed to wind down the windows, there's no recess and the doors are the wrong shape! Or are you going to waste your battery further by using Aircon all the time?

I hope someone at GM gets fired for this blatantly stupid concept.

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British boffins perfect process to make any item '100% waterproof'

Geoff

@ Jon Brunson, Re: Ooooo

What you want is an Olympus Stylus 850 SW, small 8 Megapixel digital camera, waterproof up to 10m depth and shock proof to 1.5M. I have one and it's brilliant, takes fantastic pictures and video underwater.

No need for silly waterproof cases.

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Serco buys US government reseller

Geoff
Thumb Down

Serco with botch this...

Like they botch everything else.

I've both worked for and Contracted to Serco for 4 years in total, I can tell you that they are not geared up to be a reseller, they dont understand the business because they work on low margins and services, they do not know how to sell products. The best thing that Serco can do, is leave this business completely alone to run itself, but that isn't what will happen, some management bigwig will walk in, impose "Serco Culture" on the company, lower the Margins to make the business "More Competitive" and in doing so, the profit of the business will drop out of the floor and it'll collapse, much like what happened with ITNet.

Serco is doing this, because it wants to provide IT Services to US Government, it's got aspirations to be the next EDS and a it has a few UK Government IT contracts in it's bag, most of which are run appallingly, although no more appallingly than their nearest competitors.

If Serco wants to stay successful, it should stick to Trains, Prisoners and Maintenance Services.

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IT pay jumps as skills gap widens

Geoff
Paris Hilton

@ Dan, Re: Not really for everyone

I disagree with you. You dont need to have a server farm at home to maintain your proficiency in IT. Actually, most of the things I have chosen to specialise in are cost prohibitive in terms of setting up a home rig and I chose them for this very reason. In any case, success in IT is not about grabbing on to the latest trend and training up for it, it's about finding a niche other people aren't covering, because it's difficult to get in to, if you do this, your skills have a better shelf life and they are more valuable, yes there is less work, but you will get paid more for it, which smoothes out the bumps.

I started out in IT in 2000 as a Windows Support person, dealing with Citrix (and by this I mean MetaFrame / Presentation Server / XenApp) primarily, it would be safe to say that I rode on the back of Citrix for about 5 years, because it was a niche product to start with, so any experience of it was good enough for an employer and then by the end, I was very good with it and as a result, much in demand. I still do a bit of Citrix now, but only really because I come across it in pretty much every environment I go in to, which means everybody has skills in it now, so consequently it's near enough worthless as a marketable skill.

If I had to start from scratch now, I wouldn't choose to study Citrix, because there are too many people that are very good with it (and too many people who claim to be good with it that can pass an interview, which is equally as threatening). As an example, of this, I have skipped the whole Cisco track, never bothered with an MCSE and I've not bothered studying for VMWare either, why? Because everybody else is playing there already, why study for the hot skills, when all it attracts is hot competition and then in a year or two you have to train for the next thing.

Paris, because she's got skills

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Microsoft should buy Rackable instead of building custom computers

Geoff

Apple would be a better suiter for Rackable

Apple is a hardware company with a huge online services presence, they dont really have a large server Range. A range of power efficient, highly scalable servers would be an excellent string to Apple's bow, plus Rackable play well in a specific niche, which is Apple's sort of market.

If not Apple, then Sun would be my next contender if it had the money, they like to be associated with the high end in dot com.

Previous poster is absolutely right, Microsoft will never buy a credible server vendor because it makes it look like they have aspirations to compete with their Channel, they would be mad to compete with their Channel, Microsoft doesn't sell direct, it sells through a channel, primarily by bundling.

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Apple to announce handheld games console at WWDC?

Geoff

Re: So-called rumours...

When you think about it... when Appled launched the iPhone / iPod Touch, they were actually launching a new software platform as well.

You have to remember that Apple Primarily thinks of itself as a Software Company and always has.

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Only insanity would lead Apple to make a mobile chip play

Geoff

Storage play?

These chips are used in NEC's storage line. At the moment Apple produces the XServe RAID, which is a low end storage system, what if Apple is looking to produce a Midsize / Enterprise level storage system based on OSX? If they could build something easier to run than a NetApp, then it would sell like hot cakes, practically zero training requirements, simple setup and management, ZFS filesystem to do snapshots and point in time restorations, time machine interface to do restorations. I think these could well end up in an Apple branded NAS device, if not a NAS/SAN hybrid device.

There is definately a market for storage at the moment and it's one of the few places where other manufacturers have an entry into media organisations where Apple has a traditional customer base. These devices are also high margin, which fits with apples sales philosophy.

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BitMicro gives 1.6TB SSDs some SCSI lovin'

Geoff
Go

Re: Why the obsolete interface?

Because SCSI is not obsolete when it comes to enterprise gear, it is still used in the majority of high end storage arrays due to it's reliability and high speed. If I wanted to sell lots of these things, I would put it in a form factor where I could easily punt them to the big NAS and SAN storage companies, e.g. EMC, NetApp, HP, IBM, Sun. All of which use SCSI disks for their fastest storage.

Interestingly, a technology like this would significantly impact on the performance for Storage, at present a major limiting factor on NAS and SAN gear is the "seek time" or the time it takes to move the disk heads before a read or write, NetApp goes some way to get around this with their WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) technology, in which NetApp writes data to the closest free space, instead of moving the heads to the next contiguous space, NetApp then write a pointer to the data in a table called an inode table.

The traditional way to improve performance on storage is to use many smaller disks so that you increase the number of spindles and therefore your capacity to read and write sequentially.

In the case of SSD there are no disk heads to move, so the performance for other storage vendors will be massively improved while the benefit to NetApp will not be as great, it'll be interesting to see benchmarks when SSD's become used in the mainstream, especially how it affects the SAN vendors.

Also it may well be possible to gain very high performance from a smaller array, once the bottleneck of the disk heads is removed, although this will depend very much on contention introduced by the bus technology which is being used to connect the SSD's to the storage controller and the speed of the memory itself.

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Paris Hilton exits missionary position to save Universe

Geoff
Go

Paris Hilton dumps starving Rwandan's for starving blondes, who's skinnier?

And more to the point, who's better educated? My moneys on the Rwandan's.

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Leopard data loss glitch uncovered

Geoff
Stop

This bug has not been around since panther...

As I am using Tiger and regularly use this method to copy files from my Mac to my NAS with a flaky wireless router, it's never once nuked any data.

Check your facts @ Jeff Paffett.

This will be a good reason for me to hold off on the upgrade to Leopard though as it's one of the things I do automatically, I could easily black hole alot of data.

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Microsoft hawks Home Server

Geoff

Or alternatively...

Get something less than half the size, for half the price, that uses half the power, wont be immediatley suceptible to every windows virus on the planet and will also work with a Mac or Windows 2000 or... you get the idea.

http://www.lacie.com/uk/products/product.htm?pid=10882

I've had a smaller version of this for a year now and it works like a charm.

Another case of too little too late from Microsoft, punting yet another crock of re-canned windows bloatware.

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Laggard Apple lets Leopard virtualize

Geoff
Thumb Up

VMWare

Is likely to be first to Market here, with a version of ESX for Macintosh, that uses EFI instead of BIOS. It would be such a tiny change for them, ESX probably even supports EFI already.

The question is... how long before Apple buys Parallels and starts shifting bigger boxes to carve up a later "Big Cat" OS into many Kittens? It would be interesting to see an Apple take on a VDI model for distributing media around your house from your Apple iHome (TM) media hub, it could potentially mean cheaper end devices with less hardware.

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Speed-cam fines topped out in 2005

Geoff

More likely...

Wasn't there a review of whether Speed Camera's caused more accidents than they prevented in 2006? At one point the government put a freeze on introducing new camera locations, pending the outcome of the review, so camera's were not being put up in new places.

This meant that people would have learned where they were and hence where to slow down. I think this also affected the mobile camera's for about 2-3 months.

The 2% is probably due to the lack of mobile camera's and new camera locations.

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Virgin Media pins hopes on the broadband donkey

Geoff
Stop

Re: Virgin Broadband soo slow

Rubbish!

I have been using Virgin (Formally Telewest) for years, the service has always been good (on the broadband front at least), the TV service has gone down hill since NTL took over and started a channel spat with sky, but thats by the by. I get great speeds on my Broadband service in Cheltenham and I always got good speeds in Bristol too, the former Telewest Network was excellent.

I moved to Cheltenham about 2 years ago and was forced, by nature of the flat I was renting at the time to use an ADSL supplier on a BT line, the connection was rubbish, it was slow, it would go off randomly and stay off for hours, days sometimes, the support line was awful and worse, I had to deal with two companies when I had a problem with my phone line.

My line developed a fault when someone moved into the previously vacant flat upstairs (I assume BT tech knocked the wire in the wiring closet), I called out BT to fix my line as the voice wasn't working either, when they eventually attended a week later they fixed the voice, but the ADSL wouldn't work, I rang them up and they told me that I would need to ring the broadband supplier (freedom2surf) because they only supplied the voice. So despite the fact that they fixed the line, they wouldn't re-connect the broadband equipment!

So I rang broadband supplier and they had to raise a call... with BT! Who then took another week to even look at it, only to tell me the line was not of sufficient quality to have broadband service! I had to go back to my ISP again who had to schedule someone to replace the line. Eventually, I just gave up as I was moving house 3 weeks later anyway.

I went straight back to Telewest / Virgin when I moved and never again will I tolerate BT and their half baked services.

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Microsoft vs European Commission: the verdict

Geoff

Re: So what about

"Apple bundling the amount of software they do? They also include a proprietory media player and browser as well as loads of other crap. Where is the lawsuit against them?"

Apple install iTunes, Quicktime, iMove, Safari and a few other Apps.

Microsoft install Windows Media Player, Movie Maker and Internet Explorer.

On Linux you usually get a standard install that includes a browser a media player and some other software. You dont always get a choice at setup there either, it varies by distro.

One thing though, Quicktime bundled with a Mac isn't the full thing, it doesn't do Full Screen and several other things for that matter, you need to buy the Pro version or get another media player to get full functionality.

Another difference with Apple, is that if you dont want to use the App, you drag it to the wastebasket and install something else. Linux is the same, you just remove the package. Ever tried removing Internet Explorer?

Apple gives you what you need to get going, you need a browser so you can get to the web to download another browser. Microsoft do the same, so do almost all of the Linux Distro's, the Difference is, that after you've got going, you cant remove IE on Windows, but you can remove Safari on OSX, or Firefox on Linux.

Apple is primarily a software company, their hardware is designed to show off their software. It's why they dont sell their hardware without it. If you buy a Vaio, you get windows and several sony supplied or built Apps that add extra features to utilise the hardware to it's full potential. With Apple they just make it look neater as they control the OS.

You could have picked a machine with Linux if you wanted (if you could find one, good luck finding a laptop with any other OS in consumer world: BSD, Solaris? You'll be lucky), otherwise your going to end up with Windows, from whichever manufacturer you choose to buy, and if you end up with Windows, you end up with IE and WMP, in fact you may even be forced down the windows route because of a dependency on a peripheral or software that doesn't work with anything else, accessibility hardware for example.

So what we're saying is that, if you have a requirement for Windows your forced into taking the entire MS Windows Stack, not just the bits you need and once you take it, you have no need to look for anything else for your other requirements and this puts other manufacturers at a disadvantage. If you buy a Mac you buy it for the software anyway, thats why it is not anti competitive for Apple. Incidentally Apple pre-installs office trials alongside it's own iWork, you dont see Microsoft pre-installing StarOffice alongside MSWorks, do you?

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SCO files for US bankruptcy protection

Geoff

Old SCO --> Tarantella, now owned by Sun.

SCO originally Sold the SCO Product to Caldera and rebranded itself as Tarantella around a new product for Application Delivery which was Citrix like but for Unix Platforms, they purchased another product from New Moon to Cover the Windows side of the equation. They branded the products as Secure Desktop for Unix and Secure Desktop Terminal Server Edition, Caldera later rebranded itself as SCO.

Tarentella was later bought by Sun and the New Moon Product (Secure Desktop - Terminal Server Edition) was licensed to ProPalms, some staff transferred with the Licensing. Propalms still sell the product as ProPalms TSE. Sun rebranded the Unix version as Sun Secure Global Desktop.

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Creative pitches Zen against third-gen iPod Nano

Geoff

Re: wot... no ogg?

They probably aren't supporting Ogg because the chipset in use doesn't support it. AAC, WMA and MP3 are supported by the main chip vendors, who funnily enough all want to sell their chips for use in iPods and WinCE based devices.

Ogg isn't supported by these chips, because the manufacturers of these devices dont demand it, and why would they? They all have their own proprietry DRM mechanisms to support in preference, as well as the key selling point, which is that the device plays MP3. Why spend money to support Ogg when everyone uses MP3 and the average consumer associates downloaded music with the MP3 brand?

The only people who really care about device support for Ogg are geeks, who to be honest will just hack the device with a firmware update anyway. The average consumer doesn't give a monkeys and it's the average consumer who predominantly are going to buy these things.

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VMware prepares Fusion dump for Mac crowd

Geoff

Article misses key feature... Unity!

Completely misses the key differentiator between Parallels and VMWare in not commenting on the Unity feature. Unity lets you use an application inside a VM in "seamless" mode, in a similar way to the way Citrix provides published apps. It also lets you put Apps from inside a VM onto the Dock so you can call them directly without having to go through the polava of having to launch the VM first.

I think this is possibly the best feature that Unity has, it allows you to have a windows app and a mac app side by side and do copy and paste between the two without minimising or using awkward key combinations to jump between the VM and the host.

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BSkyB buys Amstrad

Geoff

Transition only I expect

I expect that Sir Alan will only manage the transition of Amstrad to Sky, he'll likely leave to work on one of his other business' afterwards, within 12 months I would guess. A transition period will undoubtedly be part of the deal as Sky will want the company to integrate well into it's existing Business and not drop the ball, especially while they are lagging technology wise behind Virgin Media. Amstrad is actually not a bad pick for them as Amstrad has done some digital services in the past (even if we all do laugh at the emailer phone and that crap webTV product that they had a few years ago), either way, there is bound to be some IP of use to Sky in that.

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Sonnet Tempo SATA Express 34 ExpressCard eSATA adaptor

Geoff

Re: Different standards...

There is a reliable ethernet Storage standard, it's called iSCSI, the majority of the major SAN vendors support iSCSI, but notably NetApp are a major iSCSI supplier who recently started producing low end kit for the small business channel (www.sorevault.com). As far as I'm aware OSX supports iSCSI, windows certainly does and it's possible to use either a hardware or software based "initiator" in the form of a Host Bus Adapter or a software driver that works in conjunction with an ethernet controller. It works by using SCSI commands over TCP/IP.

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Will Murdoch swap MySpace for Yahoo! stake?

Geoff

Newscorp are no better

Yahoo are definately the lesser of the two evils here, NewsCorp is even worse at corporate social responsibility.

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Cisco and RSA work on recipe for SAN encryption

Geoff

Decru competitor?

Sounds like a competitor to Decru in the works, EMC is obviously not happy that NetApp owns the main provider of Storage Encryption, so feels like it has to turn it's own.

Have to say that Decru has the first mover advantage here but you cant deny the fact that EMC and Cisco are both pretty heavyweight, I'll be interested to look at this technology when the Disk encryption version appears later, as I've previously done work involving Decru's encrypting SAN attached disk and they work pretty well as an Appliance solution.

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VMware follows paravirtualisation path

Geoff

Concavity?

<pedantry>

Actually your description is incorrect, concave means to curve inwards, since when does a spade help you to make something curve? It helps you dig holes and you could legitimately use one to dig a square hole!

A spade would be a manual cavity excavation device, personally though, I would be more entertained by a manual cavity stimulation device, instructional video's on their use are far more interesting.

</pedantry>

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Gear4 BluEye iPod-phone adaptor

Geoff

I have had mine since last friday...

I have had mine since friday 10th November and I have to say that it works ok, there are a couple of niggly bugs, but nothing major.

1. If you dial a call from the phone and the call clears from the other end the headset will not automatically flip back to music.

2. After making a call, when the BlueEye does not return to audio mode, it will not receive the voice from the phone when you make another call, unless you manually flip the BlueEye back to iPod/Radio first

This isn't too much of a problem as you can quickly hit the play button on the BlueEye and then make your outgoing call, but it is a bit annoying, I am sure it will be fixed in the next firmware. I have tested with a Samsung SDH-D600 old style Nano 2GB and an iPod Photo 40GB.

Gear4 have great customer service, I had my BlueEye on pre-order follwing the reg review some months back. I actually rang them prior to receiving my BlueEye as I was going on holiday and I was afraid the package would be dispatched and returned by the courier while I was away, the next day I received an email from Gear4 telling me they had dispatched my BlueEye, and that I was the first in the world to own one! I also got a slip through the door from the delivery company the same day, saying I would need to pick up the parcel as I wasn't in to receive it.

Now that is service, highly recommended!

Geoff

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