*prod*

Ah, still seems to work then. Excellent….

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Egyptian Scaffolding (better Ben? :-))



IMG_8044, originally uploaded by c1t0d0s2.

Given there aren’t many trees around in Sharm, it amazes me the amount of wood that is used as scaffolding. Huge hotels being built with millions of bits of wood. Morocco was similar. Seems quite effective though ๐Ÿ™‚

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Grrrrr Oracle (again)^2

Grrrrrr… Oracle Enacts ‘all Or Nothing’ Hardware Support Policy.

We knew it was coming, remains to be seen if we can afford it. The fact that they seem to base the number of tech contacts you can have on multiples of $250k maintenance fees doesn’t sound promising. Sure, 24/7 support is nice, but we don’t (largely) use 24/7 – we don’t have any 24/7 staff to make use of it!

Policy doc (warning, PDF) for those who are really interested

I’ve just emailed our account manager at his @sun.com address. Got an autoresponse saying he is out of the office until thurs – sent from his @oracle.com address ๐Ÿ™ Rub it in…

Unless there are some surprises to come in pricing this could be the end of Solaris/Sun for us.

Sucks ๐Ÿ™ Still, could have been worse. Could have gone blue…

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Grrrrr Oracle (again)

I’m sure you base your business decisions on this blog, so please just stop it FFS. You are getting annoying now (yes yes, it could have been IBM, I know)

Solaris no longer free to use

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AppleTV strip down

My AppleTV has been getting noisy recently, and also seemed to be running hot (yes, I know they always run hot – this was *really* hot). Given I’ve a day off today while our living room is attacked by the fireplace people I thought I’d have a look.

Firstly, getting the rubber cover off of the back is tricky – the glue on mine seems to have lost all of it’s “rubberyness” and is not brittle. This means I’ve now got three pieces of rubber to fit to the bottom instead of one (of course, it could just be I’m too impatient picking it off carefully ;-)). Anyway, onto the indards…

As suspected, it’s the fan that is dying. Annoyingly this appears to be a rather rare (ie, impossible to find) model – made harder to find a replacement by the fact that it’s side venting.

Apple part number is Apple P/N 603-9928

It’s a delta fan (aren’t they always?) – Delta BFB0605LB

Damn you Apple and your fancy design. Grrr.

Anyone got any ideas for a replacement? I’d be tempted to leave the lid off but that exposes live PSU which is apparantly frown upon with kids around. Bah.

AppleTV fan delta BFB0605LB
AppleTV fan delta BFB0605LB

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Grrrrrr Oracle….

Oracle claim they will plough more effort/money/monkeys into Solaris. This is a good thing IMO. However, they also seem to have made a move that is going to make Solaris harder for people to use/dev/playwith on a small scale. Oracle have stopped users being able to download updates without a contract. This sucks.

A couple (?) of years back sun started making a lot of SunSolve only available to contract customers but *security* fixes were always available to all.

It seems that this has to be a real Solaris contract, HW maint isn’t enough:

Note that hardware warranties or hardware-only support contracts do not provide Software Update Entitlement.

Also, it seems that you are meant to have a software contract on all machines you install updates on. This means (AFAICS) that if we are building some dev/test/POC boxes on older machines that have dropped off of contract then we are not allowed to download and install *any* patches:

“Software Update Entitlement” means the right to access and download a Software Update for a product, for installation and use only on systems covered by an appropriate and active Sun support contract for that product

This sucks.

Also, I’m not liking the tone of:

Sun and Sun authorized service providers invest substantial resources to provide quality services from fully trained and qualified field engineers. Only Sun and Sun authorized service providers have the right to escalate problems to Sun’s engineering team, and to access Sun’s proprietary tools and information which are necessary to provide customers with quality and timely support.

Larry did say he was coming after the 3rd party boys…

Of course, most of this won’t actually affect us at all as we have HW/SW maint on all of our kit (well, we do now – it remains to be seen if we can now afford the renewal) but it’s not the nice warm fuzzy Sun that we know of old.

Of course, the old warm fuzzy Sun seemed particularly crap at making money – something Larry is pretty good at.

I wonder if they will offer some level of site license for Solaris. That could be interesting(1). Mind you, would mean selling your soul to Oracle to able to afford. Oh, hang on….

(1) s/interesting/bloody expensive/

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more faster interwebs ftw

After my wireless went screwy, and then our Sky box started to bugger about I had a look at what I could get from VirginMedia.

I don’t like Sky. I’ve never liked Sky. I’d like HD but I refuse to pay more for it so a V+ box looked appealing. After doing the sums and chatting a couple of times with VirginMedia customer retentions I managed to get a deal where I had a V+ box downstairs, a V box upstairs, all the channels (which gives me all the on demand stuff that isn’t an option on Sky), a phoneline and 50Mbit broadband all for a few quid less than I was paying Sky, TiVo and Virgin. Seemed worth a punt, so it was all installed a couple of days ago.

The phoneline…. well, it’s a phoneline. Not much to say there. Calls are more expensive than BT were but we don’t use it enough to care. No caller ID though (well, without paying an extra ยฃ2.50 a month).

TV service seems ok. It’s not TiVo, but hopefully when the VirginMedia TiVo makes an appearance I’ll be able to upgrade to it. Being able to record two shows while watching a third is handy, but not really something that we couldn’t live without. HD is HD. There isn’t as much as there is on Sky, but then it doesn’t cost me extra so I just see that as a nice bonus. Installer didn’t have any of the newer Samsung boxes on the van so we have a SA box – although it’s not badged SA anymore – this one is badged as a Cisco. It’s a bit laggy at times, but not too bad and given we are used to the TiVo (where you tell it to turn over, it then sends IR commands to the Sky box and then there is a second or so MPEG lag) this isn’t a major problem. The on demand stuff is *really* handy – we will use that *a lot*. Would be nice if they launch a remote web/SMS record interface (it’s rumoured) but it’s hardly an essential.

Broadband…. Wow. Not sure I’ll be able to downgrade again, 50 MBit is nice – the faster upload is really nice ๐Ÿ™‚

speedtest result

So far, I’m happy ๐Ÿ™‚ It was nice ringing sky and telling them to get lost – but sad killing the TiVo sub though ๐Ÿ™

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Amazon scare me…

Woke the Mac up this morning, and was presented with a warning that I’d not unmounted a disk correctly. Uh oh…

Seems that for the second time, my 1TB external WD MyBook has crapped out and just clicks ๐Ÿ™ Bit of fiddling with powercycling and percussive maintenaince has got it back online again but I think this is it’s final warning. I need a new hard drive.

Just as I’m pondering this Entourage pops up new email from Amazon.co.uk:

“Are you looking for something in our External Hard Drive category? If so, you might be interested in these items”

Arggghhhhhhhh

Amazon killed my hard drive! I’m going to have to order one now, I know it…

Samung Story Station is tempting – it’s the big knob to control the pimp lights that tempts me (yeah, I know, sad really :-))

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Maplin USB Multimeter and MacOS

Over the weekend my trusty old multimeter gave up the ghost (it must be 15 years old so I can’t complain really). A quick hunt around the local area revealed nothing of great interest so a lunchtime trip to Maplins was sorted. A short while later and I’m the owner of a “True RMS Autoranging Multimeter with USB PC Interface”.

Just had a quick play – seems quite nice for the price (although the label instore did suggest that 30 quid was half price clearance). Fairly fully featured, including Tranny testing for Foo (I’m sure there are websites about that) and Capacitor measurements along with a temp probe. Backlit as well which I hadn’t realised. All in all, quite nice. The software provided however is windows only.

A little bit of playing and I’ve got it working nicely on the Mac. First, download the serial-usb widget driver from http://www.silabs.com/. Install and reboot (yes, a reboot really does seem to be needed).

Once it’s back, download and install qtdmm – I used version 0.8.12 which seems fine.

Then into the cofiguration page and set Digitech QM1537 as the meter and then select the usb port from the drop down list. This might be different on your machine (I had two listed for some reason – the first worked fine).

That should be it! Make sure the meter is in USB mode (hold the USB button until it switches) and it should all work. If it doesn’t work at all, check you have the correct USB-serial port – try the other one ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have readings on screen that don’t appear to agree with the meter than double check you have the correct settings for the meter – I originally tried to set it all up by hand and although it was talking, it appeared to display random numbers! Also, it seems that maximum sample rate is one a second (turning it up in qtdmm appeared to make no difference). I’ve not tried sniffing at the actually serial port to see what it sends but I suspect it’s not rocket science. Job for another day I feel ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope this helps someone

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Macbook wireless slow and unreliable – possible fix?

For the last couple of days, the wireless on my Macbook (alu unibody) has been unreliable. Packet lost to the router of 20-40% at times!

Having a look around, it seems that the once wifi-free locality is now rather stuffed with Sky and talktalk wifi access points – all clashing and it seems that the macbook is particularly sensitive to this. Michs laptop could see two wireless networks and was fine. My Macbook could see up to 10 at times ๐Ÿ™

After much faffing with channels etc (making no useful difference) I was just pondering ordering a true N access point and jumping to a (hopefully) less cluttered 5GHz setup then I stumbled across a forum post suggesting that turning your router to “G” mode instead of “B and G” fixes it. Slightly suspicious of this info I figured I’d try it….and bugger me, it’s working.

YMMV, but it seems to have worked for me ๐Ÿ™‚

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