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Keyboard Wallet + More

Wednesday 28 March 2007 at 06:40 am Geeky - Wallet made from a keyboard.

Bizarre - Goldfish living in a deep fat fryer. Only in Japan of course.

Site to share recipes - Nibblous. I'm a terrible cook but they have some pretty good stuff here and theres an rss feed so you can get a new idea delivered to your feedreader almost every day.

Heh - Ribena Rumbled. GSK laid low by some Kiwi school kids.

Dave Bishop (of 2000AD fame) is reviewing all of them - Films of Michael Caine. So far he's up to 73 movies!

Because I'm a sad geek I enjoy reminiscing about the old days - Dans 20th Century Abandoneware. Check out some of those old applications

Awesome - 10 Most Magnificent Trees. I'm not sure about the best in the world but they're all pretty impressive.

Interesting - XML Based IT Management Spec. Wonder if anything interesting will come out of this standard ?

For 2000AD fans - Progslog. A guy blogs about rereading 2000AD from Prog 1.

OS X - Some wonderful OS X screensavers.

Useful - PC Deployment with WindowsPE.

I was almost going to post this in the humour section but then I had these nagging suspicion that these guys are for real - A banana is apparently a sign that we're the product of divine creation. And GodTube ? WTF.

YouTube Music Video - Nina Simone (Live)

Friday 23 March 2007 at 12:36 pm I tend to be a dabbler when it comes to music of the non-indie variety. A few years ago if you'd suggested that I might like something that didn't have really really loud guitars in it I would have thought you an escapee from an asylum - how could anyone not revel in excessive noise and volume ?

Recently I've come to appreciate the joys to be had in other musical genres.

So be sure to check out Nina Simones - I put a Spell on You video. Truly a wonderful voice.

Theres nothing quite so nice as Nina Simons 'Sinnerman' cropping up between Pelicans 'Drought' and Nick Caves 'Fifteen feet of pure white snow'.

Microsoft Tech Briefing

Friday 23 March 2007 at 10:28 am I attended a Microsoft Technical Briefing last week. I'd never been to one of these types of things before. Being crammed into a hall with a thousand other IT people was certainly interesting if not slightly depressing (wheres the gender balance and why doesn't anyone buck the 'geek' stereotype?).

It was an all day event - most of the sessions were good although the uncomfortable chairs definitely made me lose focus about 2/3 of the way through each presentation. Microsoft could learn a little something from Apple when it comes to holding peoples interest over an extended period of time ('more demo less talky' and 'squinty fonts bad' spring immediately to mind).

The take away from the event was that Microsoft really are moving to slay the opposition in the next layer of applications and services. If Microsofts offerings are like a cake - the Operating System is the base, Office suite is the cream and then Integrated Services is the next layer of sponge. Essentially they're looking to do value-add almost everywhere - as with everything Microsoft do version 1.0 might not be that great but by the time they get to version 3.0 they'll definitely be hurting the competition.

Its also interesting that a lot of the exciting new stuff has been acquired by corporate acquisition rather than developed in house (which seems to just be going through improved iterations).

Interesting stuff included


* SoftGrid is application level virtualisation - for example you can sandbox multiple Java versions or Access versions so they run on the same machine. Looks like a great way to handle application conflicts and deployment of legacy apps.

* Virtual Server is still has a long road to topple VMWare but the new versions certainly look like they'll give ESX a good run. Particular at the high-end - it looks like their Data-center version will give you the right to unlimited Virtualised servers. If you're a Windows-only shop the licensing implications alone are pretty huge.


* Forefront seems to be the new catch-all for Microsofts Security stuff. Their presentation had about 16 different products in the 'Forefront' bucket - given the range of systems they need to protect this isn't a surprising figure but it does make their over-all offering a little confusing. What I liked were the hosted Exchange, mail archiving and mail scanning facilities (backed by stringent SLA's and penalty payouts for passing through known malware/viruses). They also have a new Internet Access Gateway (IAG) which is SSL VPN with endpoint security - lots of VPN vendors are going to struggle.

* As well as the anti-competitive aspect (if you write the OS & application it gives you bit of an edge in securing them) it does raise the spectre of putting all your bags into a single basket which many people will weigh up against ease of use and integration with all their other Microsoft apps.


* They've put all their management stuff under the - System Center banner SMS is probably the most well known tool but they have MOM (a monitoring solution), Data Protection among others in this category. Most of these have had multiple revisions under various different product names - Microsoft admits they've been remiss in improving the management aspects of their products so they've been beefing up their resources to greatly improve this line. I've tried the new MOM & SMS and they seem straightforward to install and deploy but getting them to do more seems to require some serious specialist knowledge (ie its counter-intuitive and quirky).


* Lots of Vista goodness on show - given Microsoft have done an about-face and are now promoting image-based deployment you'd think they'd make the process foolproof. They've come up with some good tools but they seem to be a bit tricky to use - Windows Deployment Services (which supercedes RIS) and Business Desktop Deployment. At least now a single image can go onto a variety of hardware. The license and activation stuff looks straightforward (you need to setup your own internal license server if you want to get a volume key).

So it looks like interesting times ahead in IT land.

Hosting Problems

Sunday 11 March 2007 at 4:31 pm Looks like I keep exceeding the SDF web quota so if you come to the site and see the generic SDF homepage that'll be whats going on. Might actually have to bite the bullet and move the site somewhere else. As part of my quest I came across Pivot which is a Blosxom-like PHP weblog engine that doesn't require a database backend. It appeals to my desire to not have to fart about with SQL just to publish content ;-) Now to find a half decent host (preferably in NZ that offers ssh, perl and php) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Actually it might be Googles Coop - site bandwidth is apparently almost 50mb every few days which is pretty excessive for a small site. The only recent change has been the addition of Googles search engine. Might see what their tech support is like . . .

Some Arty Links

Thursday 01 March 2007 at 11:29 am Fascinating - Running the numbers. Statistical imagery representing facets of the USA - see how many handguns are out there, how many painkillers are used, how many brown paper bags are used, see a painting made up of cans etc etc

If you fancy yourself as an artiste take a look at The Structure of Man - a blog with video to help you learn to sketch the human form.


Yet another blog about stuff.

The image in the header is mine.

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