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Strange Maps

Wednesday 28 February 2007 at 07:06 am if you're a fan of maps and geography check out the Strange Maps blog. Theres a wonderful explanation of how the left/right hand drive systems evolved in different parts of the world.

YouTube Music Video - Red Sparrowes (Live)

Tuesday 27 February 2007 at 7:13 pm The Red Sparrowes have a fine line in long song titles - check out the video for Alone and unawares the landscape was transformed in front of their eyes. Given that all their songs are instrumentals and that the majority of todays song lyrics are pretty vacuous I guess descriptive titles provide a little context.

The song is pretty trebly supplemented beautifully by the pedal-steel guitar giving it an apocalyptic western feel as the climax slowly builds into the fifth minute of the piece.

Their first album is great - particularly if you're a fan of Mogwai or Godspeed you black emporer.

The Golden Age of Computer RPG's + More

Tuesday 27 February 2007 at 06:53 am I loved Bards Tale on my C64 - The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 2: The Golden Age (1985-1993).

Interesting - NetApp respond to recent studies on disk failure profiles. As per Storagemojos pre-amble its surprising other vendors aren't all over these studies plugging their solutions to these problems we've always suspected but didn't have the numbers to justify. Lovely quote - "RAID 5 today verges on professional malpractice".

Fascinating - This is Iran, but not as you know it and also Chomsky on Iran, Iraq, and the Rest of the World.

Wonderful - Retro Steampunk Keyboard. Not sure about the white keys but its still pretty awesome.

Amusing - Mr Pichassohead. Create your own Picasso-esque portraits.

Best comic in the universe - Thirty years of 2000AD. On a related note Dave Bishop has a blog with a lot of background on 2000AD, its artists and authors - Vicious Imagery. Dave also wrote a pretty definitive history of the comic - Thrill Power Overload.

Some interesting ideas - 12 crackpot tech ideas that could transform the enterprise.

Interesting - Users Who Know To Much and CIO's Who Fear Them. I'm all for client initiated innovation but I think IT departments need to be properly resourced to deal with the demands of "Shadow IT". Want to foster collaboration then resource enterprise IM and virtual workplaces (Wikis, SharePoint, QuickPlace etc); want to allow people to plug in memory sticks and mp3 players then resource IDS and eDRMS tools to make sure documents are safe and secure etc etc

Googles Disk Failure Rate Study + More

Wednesday 21 February 2007 at 07:16 am Fascinating - Analysis of Googles Disk Failure Rate Study. Looks like MTBF doesn't mean a hell of a lot; neither does an optimal operating temperature (in fact according to the study cooler seems worse).

Open source - DVD Authoring with DVD Flick.

Nifty - Popular figures re-imagined by artists.

Interesting - 10 largest databases. Some discussion about the order of these databases and some omissions according to the comments. Still vast amounts of 'stuff'.

A couple of useful guides - Linux NIC bonding and Using VMWare P2V.

Spolsky on Seven Key Customer Service Points. 'Take the blame' is always a good way of diffusing a difficult situation.

Useful - 10 Linux commands you've never used. Pstree, lsof are both really useful but I'm not sure about the others in the list.

Kiwiana - Metafilter thread on the Haka complete with YouTube links. Useful for comparing the be-mulleted 70's All Blacks anaemic Haka to the new Tana era Haka. Also be sure to watch the All Black / Tonga Haka match-up. Series psychological warfare.

If you want to manage your iPod on different PC's but don't want to keep wiping out your iPod contents try the free and cross platform Floola. Supports Windows, OS X and Linux.

Monopoly Has Come a Long Way

Monday 19 February 2007 at 1:26 pm Interesting post by NetApps CEO on their 'Management Away Day'.

Instead of 'Death by PowerPoint' they split up into teams and ran simulated scenarios running a 'Virtualised NetApp Company'. Apparently BTS developed the simulator - interesting to see Sales and Marketing people wrestle with Engineers and watch revenues rise and fall based on the decisions made.

Sounds a lot more interesting than the usual audience participation rubbish dished up at team building seminars.

Google Co-op

Friday 16 February 2007 at 07:05 am Ever since moving to static rendering on my perl based Blosxom site I've had a broken search function (Blosxom search is a perl module that interacts with the Blosxom cgi).

I finally found a nice and easily customisable alternative to 'rolling my own' - Google Co-op. Fill in a simple form, specify what you want to search and then customise the resultant search page by including the source for the form (about 5 lines) into your own page.

I haven't bothered to customise the results - I'm just glad to have a working site search :-)

Vista Deployment

Tuesday 13 February 2007 at 11:33 am Looks like all the stuff you used to know and love about NT4, 2000 and XP deployment is out the window. Better start reading - 10 Things You Need to Know about Deploying Windows Vista.

Elevators & Small Change

Monday 12 February 2007 at 3:08 pm Bumper crop of spleen venting this month -

The Ministry of Transport (after all they certify the lift) should legislate to prevent an elevator stopping on level 1 or 2 of a building. Why the hell can't people walk up or down a flight of stairs and leave the lift free for those of us that actually need to hit the 10th floor ?

But wait there's more -

Why must people wait to be served before pulling out their wallet to pay ? There's nothing quite so aggravating as seeing someone reach the teller, barman, bus-driver, ticket booth etc and fish around for the some means of payment. Don't get me started on people that pay for bus-fare with a $20 note . . .


YouTube Music Video - The Verlaines

Friday 09 February 2007 at 12:19 pm It was a toss up between The Verlaines, Shellac and The Red Sparrowes but my inner scarfie came through and I dug up this classic Flying Nun video for The Verlaines - 'Death and the Maiden'. Typical late 80's student jangle until the waltz kicks in just before the end. Definitely a work of pop-genius. From this Wikipedia article comes the explanation of the lyrics - "You'll only end up like Rimbaud Get shot by Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine...." The lyrics above refer to Paul Verlaine, who was a French poet in the 1800s. After going into a drunken rage, he shot his lover - fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud. The Verlaines were named after the poet. "Shall we have our photo taken? We'll look like Death and the Maiden" This is a reference to a 1916 painting by Egon Schiele, which shows a woman embracing a dead man. Singer/songwriter Graeme Downes is now a music lecturer at Otago University (he completed a PhD in Mahler!)

Cisco Documentation is Useless

Thursday 08 February 2007 at 08:58 am There will be a special place in hell reserved for hardware/software vendors whose products should interoperate but whose documentation is so piss-poor it becomes a Sherlock Holmes like effort to make everything work.

As an example if your fancy new 1130AG access point won't power up the radios via a Power Over Ethernet connection supplied by an injector don't include a reference to a technote that isn't included in the box (definitely a WTF moment). Especially when the note is critical to the devices operation and would only take 2 to 3 lines of space to include in the original setup documentation.


In case anyone else runs into a similar problem heres the appropriate reference -

* Cisco Aironet and WLAN Controller Product Power Options

Of course for any of that to be useful you need to go through a painful 'discovery' process - first you have to determine why the access point comes up and pairs with the wireless LAN controller but the radios don't come up. Then you have to spot the error about power (either with a serial console session or in the controller log), scratch your head a little when it works with an ac-adaptor but not PoE, discover the reference in the skimpy setup document, look for the technote reference, discover its not in the box, search Cisco and get sidetracked with the whole IOS versus LWAPP (one will let you enable the radios via web interface the other will not and it seems entirely random as to wether the device will ship with IOS or LWAPP) and then twig that the injector is the problem and that the command needs to be issued to the access point from the controller (you can't issue the command to the access point itself unless you have LWAPP so you go through some hoops trying to re-flash the device before realising this isn't necessary).


Someone needs to give their documentation (online & print) team a good kicking.

Other than that the combination of the 4402 WLAN Controller and 1100/1130AP's works really really well :-)

Simple Way to Find Which Role is on Which Domain Controller

Thursday 01 February 2007 at 11:58 am I'm sure there's a better way to do this but this works for me -

If you need to find which FSMO roles are held by which Domain Controllers, install the Server Support Tools from the Server CD.

Then run replmon.exe, add in your DC's and you can check replication status on various Active Directory objects. If you select the Properties for a DC you can view which DC in the domain holds a particular FSMO role.

Some more info on replmon.exe:

* Microsoft's Replmon Reference

* Replmon How-to


Yet another blog about stuff.

The image in the header is mine.

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