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Still here, will be writing again!

September 27th, 2012 1 comment

Wow, hard to believe it’s been over a year since I last wrote something on this blog, most of my time has been micro-blogging on the twitters. But never fear, with Windows 8 being released, Visual Studio 2012 and Windows Phone 8 on the horizon there’s lots of content coming!

In other news, I’ve gone Mac but I’m still a PC user at heart (though Mac’s are still PCs!). So you’ll see some Mac posts from me too.

Till then, I leave you with a picture of our little guy Neo who claims not to have any idea of how the bag of Oat Bran ended up on the floor next to his couch.

Neo is a suspect but is co-operating with investigations.

(His ears go like that when he knows he’s done something naughty)

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Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools Released!

September 17th, 2010 No comments

The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the final release of the Windows Phone 7 SDK has been released! What are you waiting for, go download it and try out some cool things!

No Visual Studio installed? Not an issue, it comes with the Express edition of VS2010 and Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone as well as XNA and Silverlight tools for Windows Phone and an emulator – all for free too!

For more information, see ScottGu’s great post about it!

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Oracle releases VirtualBox 3.2

May 20th, 2010 1 comment

With the Sun now set, Oracle has released VirtualBox 3.2 finally ūüôā In particular some lovely optimisations for the newer Intel Core i5/i7 processors, Large¬† Page support (which helps significantly on Windows x64 and Linux) as well as a very welcome optimisation on the networking in VirtualBox as well as multi-monitor support for Windows Guests. Whats more RDP sessions are now accelerated (VRDP).

Amongst the changes from the changelog:

This version is a major update. The following major new features were added:

  • Following the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation, the product is now called Oracle VM VirtualBox and all references were changed without impacting compatibility
  • Experimental support for Mac OS X guests (see the manual for more information)
  • Memory ballooning to dynamically in- or decrease the amount of RAM used by a VM (64-bit hosts only) (see the manual for more information)
  • Page Fusion automatically de-duplicates RAM when running similar VMs thereby increasing capacity. Currently supported for Windows guests on 64-bit hosts (see the manual for more information)
  • CPU hot-plugging for Linux (hot-add and hot-remove) and certain Windows guests (hot-add only) (see the manual for more information)
  • New Hypervisor features: with both VT-x/AMD-V on 64-bit hosts, using large pages can improve performance (see the manual for more information); also, on VT-x, unrestricted guest execution is now supported (if nested paging is enabled with VT-x, real mode and protected mode without paging code runs faster, which mainly speeds up guest OS booting)
  • Support for deleting snapshots while the VM is running
  • Support for multi-monitor guest setups in the GUI for Windows guests (see the manual for more information)
  • USB tablet/keyboard emulation for improved user experience if no Guest Additions are available (see the manual for more information).
  • LsiLogic SAS controller emulation (see the manual for more information)
  • RDP video acceleration (see the manual for more information)
  • NAT engine configuration via API and VBoxManage
  • Use of host I/O cache is now configurable (see the manual for more information)
  • Guest Additions: added support for executing guest applications from the host system (replaces the automatic system presimparation feature; see the manual for more information)

Download from VirtualBox or get the Windows build. I’m really hoping the good Oracle keeps VirtualBox open, this is one kickass bit of kit.

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Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 (soon) available on MSDN!

April 26th, 2010 No comments

If you haven’t heard already, Microsoft have RTM’d both Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 and Office is already available for MSDN Subscribers with SQL Server 2008 R2 arriving soonishly – you can look at the download page for SQL Server 2008 R2 and download it from MSDN now (03/05/2010). There’s also a great ebook titled “Introducing SQL Server 2008 R2” available in XPS and PDF format ūüôā

I’m one of those who love the ribbon UI, its made things easier for me (helps that I really wasn’t a heavy MSFT Office user back in the days). Now everyone’s getting on board the ribbon train, even the beloved WinZip!

Don’t forget the Office 2010 Movie from last year.

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In the Zone, Creating OpenSolaris Zones.

November 22nd, 2009 No comments

I’m really enjoying using OpenSolaris as our server / NAS at home, its a different ball game to Linux but an interesting one never the less. One of the cool features of Solaris are the Solaris¬† Zones (or Solaris Containers). Zones are an implementation of operating system-level virtualisation where the kernel isolates multiple instances of the user-space available. Something like chroot but so much more. Unlike running under a hypervisor (like VMWare or VirtualBox), Zone’s have very little (if any) overhead.

As I’ve come to realise, because of the way Solaris works in general, you can have multiple (isolated & secure) Zones for each application service exposed by the server – eg. one for Tomcat, one for Glassfish, maybe both Apache 1.3.x and 2.x, MySql, Postgres etc. Whats more, you can limit how much resources these Zones can utilise. They all have their own configuration including network routing (coupled with OpenSolaris Crossbow) and you can make for one kick ass setup that won’t break another area of the operating system.

In the Zones.

Here’s a guide on setting up a new Zone in OpenSolaris, configuring it and booting it.

Me Against the Music, its all in the global zone

When we first install OpenSolaris we’ve already got ourselves into a zone (the parent to all other zones) which is known as the global Zone.

You can find this by trying out the following to list all the available zones on a virgin install of OpenSolaris.

opensolaris# zoneadm list -vc
 ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
 0 global           running    /                              native   shared

The output will be something like above. Now we can go about creating ourselves a zone for playing around in.

When working with zones, we only need to worry about three commands (damn I love that!). The zoneadm command to manage the physical zone, zonecfg command for configuring the zone and zlogin to login to the zone from the global zone.

First we have to do a bit of planning and thinking about what we’re going to do about this zone.

Here are few things to consider:

  • What do you want to run in the zone?
  • Will it need networking and have it exposed outside of the machine?
  • Where will the zone reside on your disk?
  • Would you like to limit the amount of CPUs the zone can see?
  • Would you like to limit the amount of RAM the zone can utilise?
  • Do you want to automatically boot the Zone when OpenSolaris starts?

For this post, we’re going to create a simple Zone (we won’t install anything).

Toxic Zone

Creating a zone we specify a zone to the zonecfg command.

opensolaris# zonecfg -z toxic

You’ll get something like this appearing because teh zone doesn’t exist, thats fine.

toxic: No such zone configured
Use 'create' to begin configuring a new zone.

Then you will be inside the zonecfg configuration.

Lets configure this zone to have the following:

  • Reside in /base/zones/
  • Autoboot with OpenSolaris
  • Shared IP of 192.168.0.24 bound to physical interface e1000g1

Follow me:

zonecfg:toxic> create
zonecfg:toxic> set zonepath=/base/zones/
zonecfg:toxic> set autoboot=true
zonecfg:toxic> add net
zonecfg:toxic:net> set address=192.168.0.24
zonecfg:toxic:net> set physical=e1000g1
zonecfg:toxic:net> end
zonecfg:toxic> verify
zonecfg:toxic> commit
zonecfg:toxic> exit

This will create the configuration, verify, write it and exit. You can verify it was created by running the list command again:

opensolaris# zoneadm list -vc
ID NAME             STATUS         PATH
0 global           running        /
- toxic            configured     /base/zones

Its currently in a configured state, you can read more about the Non-Global State Model in the documentation. Next thing to do is to install the zone – this will get the base packages setup and configured for use.

opensolaris# zoneadm -z toxic install

Everytime, boot her up.

Next lets boot this bad baby up.

opensolaris# zoneadm -z toxic boot

Now if we do a list again we’ll see that our state has changed to running.

opensolaris# zoneadm list -vc
ID NAME             STATUS         PATH
0 global           running        /
- toxic            running        /base/zones

Now we have to configure the zone itself – just like a real machine. For this we use the zlogin command to login to the zone console.

opensolaris# zlogin toxic
[Connected to zone 'toxic' pts/5]
Last login: Sat Nov 21 17:52:43 on pts/5
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      snv_127 November 2008
root@toxic#

After that we’re now in the toxic zone. Anything we do inside here, stays within this zone and won’t affect our global or other zones. But before we continue we really should configure our networking.

First lets modify our /etc/nsswitch.conf file with vi.

...
passwd:     files
group:      files
hosts:      files dns
ipnodes:    files
networks:   file
...

Make sure the hosts entry has dns as above. Next we need to configure the nameservers.

toxic# echo 'nameserver 192.168.0.254' > /etc/resolv.conf

That will create a resolv.conf file with the nameserver which you can get from the global zone as it would be different for everyone:

opensolaris# cat /etc/resolv.conf
nameserver 192.168.0.254

Breath on me, reboot the zone.

Now we can access the networking like the global zone. So you can do a package refresh and update-image too.

toxic# pkg refresh && pkg image-update

If it succeeds we have correctly setup our zone and its ready for use – you may want to reboot the zone however. To do this, exit the toxic console.

toxic# exit
logout

[Connection to zone 'toxic' pts/5 closed]
opensolaris#

Then lets reboot the zone.

opensolaris# zoneadm -z toxic reboot
opensolaris# zlogin toxic
[Connected to zone 'toxic' pts/5]
Last login: Sat Nov 21 17:58:44 on pts/5
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.11      snv_127 November 2008
root@toxic#

Outrageous, removing the zones.

Now how about removing this zone and trying again? First get out of the zone console and back to your global zone. Issue the halt command to shutdown the zone.

root@toxic# exit
opensolaris# zoneadm -z toxic halt

Once stopped simply remove it.

opensolaris# zoneadm -z toxic uninstall
opensolaris# zonecfg -z toxic delete

You can make sure its gone by using the list command. That’s all there is to it!

Now you can consider yourself, In The Zone.

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Four new Windows 7 Ads

October 22nd, 2009 No comments

Here’s four new Microsoft Windows 7 commercials, 7 seconds to talk about Windows 7.¬† Short, sweet functionality and to the point. Oh¬† and look, they don’t seem to need to be bashing their competitors (awww!).

Having used Windows 7 now for close to 2 months I have to say its nothing but pure awesomeness. If you have MSDN there’s no excuse not to try it out. I’ve been too busy to even blog about it ūüôĀ

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xkcd: Branding, browsing interwebs without Adblock Plus

August 17th, 2009 No comments

xkcd - Branding

So I guess you better download it now!

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Categories: General, Humour Tags: , , , , ,

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’: Google announces Chrome OS

July 8th, 2009 1 comment

I’ve been soooo busy at work (impossible deadlines as always) that I’ve been a bit silent, but alas who could not be excited to hear about Google’s venture into the netbook market just to shake things up?

It’s been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web ‚ÄĒ searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome ‚ÄĒ the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Thats right, whilst many claimed the Google Chrome browser was infact an OS, now the company has come around with an actual OS with the Chrome moniker just to confuse the hell out of journo’s who just didn’t get the difference between a browser and an operating system.

Mind you, I do use Chrome quite a bit, especially not that I’ve switched full-time to GMail, its a great browser – just missing a few addons that Firefox has to really make it shine – like Adblock Plus, XMarks and web developer like extensions.

CNet has an interesting tidbit too. Whats important here is that it will be available for x86 and ARM processors and aims for a different breed of devices to their Android platform. Its based on a Linux Kernel with a new desktop environment (so another Gnome or KDE like desktop environment). As the Google Blog puts it:

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

The idea was mocked by many several years ago, but I guess they had the last laugh now.

Confused about the direction Google is heading? You Are Not Alone, looks like Google‘s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ telling Microsoft that We’ve Had Enough, that They Don’t Care About Us and to just Beat It. They are Here To Change The World which will no doubt turn into one heck of a Thriller coming up.

I figure most of you would be Speechless by now, some may even be Scared Of The Moon but fear not, they’re working Day and Night to make sure you get One More Chance to get On The Line as soon as your hardware will allow it! Google, you Rock My World. Does anyone even Remember The Time without Google now a days?

RIP Michael Jackson.

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UPDATE: Installing CentOS 5.x on ASUS P5WDH-Deluxe

May 15th, 2009 No comments

Earlier I mentioned that getting CentOS 5.x to install on the ASUS P5WDH-Deluxe motherboard wasn’t as easy as I first thought and suggested you disable a few things (mentioned in the previous post). However today I’ve got another solution thats less headachey.

Forget disabling ACPI and booting with irqpoll, instead you will need to disable the onboard JMicron controller (mine was always disabled!) and make sure if your using a PATA optical drive you use the ICHR7 port – thats the blue IDE port in the middle of the board at the bottom at the picture.

ASUS P5W DH Deluxe

Next in the Main tab

[IDE Configuration]

  • Configure SATA As [AHCI]
  • ALPE and ASP [Enabled]
  • IDE Detect Time Out (Sec) [0]

Then make sure that JMicron SATA/PATA Controller is disabled (in the Advanced -> Onboard Devices Configuration) and re-enable the   ACPI 2.0 Support and ACPI APIC support (in the Power tab).

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Nick of Time: Seek Job Ad for Credit SuperHero.

April 29th, 2009 2 comments

Got an email from our old receptionist at Vividas who’s now working at Very Special Kids, a job ad from Seek.com.au.

Advertisment for a Superhero on Seek.com.au

Advertisement for a Superhero on Seek.com.au

It was pulled moments after, but being a guy from the internets, it was saved for future amusement. Looks like its for Dargan Financial (from title) Enjoy!

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