is no more – it now redirects to 🙁 Didn’t take them long to roll out the new styles! (but then, I guess they have had 9 months to get it all ready :-)).

Best thing is that the bloody annoying “Recommendations” fly out menu on has died with the migration \o/

I did watch most of the Oracle presentations yesterday, as well as following Apples iPad launch. Both left me a bit “bleh”.

The iPad is shiny, and I’m sure once I’ve had a play with one I’ll decide I need one. But, it’s not quite there IMO. $500 is tempting price but why so much extra for 3G? Also, I already have a data contract on my iPhone – why can’t I use that? Bluetooth the ipad to my phone, share the data and I’ll be really tempted (I’d be willing to pay a bit extra a month to cover extra data usage). Anyway, time will tell if Apple have again managed to come up with something market changing – I’m not convinced (yet :-)).

Oracle and Sun was also a bit of a non event for the bits I’m really interested in. Talk of the T processors was good – they aren’t being scrapped then. Very little talk however of the sort of servers we might buy – T5220 type boxes. Will they still be developed? Will the new coolthread CPUs be affordable to us? Nothing much was said.

The suggestion that support will be simplified is also rather worrying. While Sun support can be a pain in the arse with all the options (they are currently trying to work out if we are supported for DSEE7 under JES for example), it has been affordable to us at the lower levels (generally, Silver support). If Oracle really want to simplify it to one, easy to understand level it’s going to be gold equiv at least. Can’t see it not going up massively – probably to a point where we just can’t justify it 🙁

The other big worry is how Oracle will merge the two middleware stacks. Glassfish is going to stick around, but some of the other components it was less clear. Given we are about to deploy DSEE and OpenSSO Enterprise I was hoping for some more reassurance that they weren’t going to be scrapped. DSEE will stick around I’m sure – but OpenSSO? Less clear…and even if it does, will we be able to afford to renew the contract in 18 months time?…

Glad to hear that the rumours of massive cuts to Sun staff (well, the ones who are still left working there!) didn’t prove to be true. Quite the opposite it seems – Oracle are employing more. This is a good thing(tm) IMO.

Still, the next few months could be interesting to see how it all pans out.

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It’s been a while, no, I’m not dead. Just not really posting anything on here 🙂

Anyway, happy now Tony? 🙂

Could be an interesting day tomorrow firstly, Apple event – *finally* the Apple tablet will make an appearance? Sounds from the rumours it’s going to be more iphone than mac though so I’m less interested (well, a bit less ;-)). Definitely interested in iPhone OS4 and any new phones given I’ve just dropped out of contract…

Secondly, and probably more importantly, the Oracle Sun webcast. After the EU finally gave the go ahead for the takeover (seems to have been going on for *ages*) it’ll be interesting to hear what Oracle really plan to do with Sun.

Dropping mid range storage seems obvious. Sun are not all that strong in that area – better alternatives are around. Similarly, tape is probably out IMO (but openstorage kit more likely to hang around?). Solaris isn’t likely to be going I’d imagine – dropping that makes no sense if oracle are serious about selling the entire stack. Sparc I’m less convinced on. The T series boxes are neat in many ways, and crap in others. The high end FujitsuSun boxes with the “real” Sparcs in are just too expensive for us. I know Larry has suggested that Sparc isn’t going away but I can’t see how they can justify designing their own CPUs when there are options like the nehalams available. So, high end stays with Fujitsu, lower end becomes x86 only? Would be a shame…

The software stack is rather more murky. Java won’t be going anywhere, that’s for sure but there is a lot of overlap in the middleware – Appservers, identity/access management and to some extent, the comms stack have massive overlaps that will have to be cut. Be interesting to see what gets slashed from this lot. Virtualbox feels rather out of place – and isn’t ever going to be VMware. global desktop somewhat safer though I’d imagine given Oracle are massive users of this. Given how open Oracle are (ha!) it’ll be interesting to see how they view the opensource everything model.

We are just about to roll out OpenSSO on Glassfish with DSEE all running on a pair of coolthreads boxes so I fully expect oracle to announce they are scrapping all of that lot. Still, if only we had a nice new shiny Oracle Appserv license…

Oracle have already said MySQL isn’t going away (and was largely the cause of the EU delays) but it will be interesting to see how/where they market this. Still, some level of marketing will be novel – sometimes it’s just too much like hard work trying to get Sun to actually sell you something! No wonder they don’t make money.

In terms of staff cuts, there has to be some. Rumours of 50% seems rather drastic (but then, something drastic has to happen – Sun isn’t working as it stands). Hope friends and contacts at Sun are ok. Sun support has always been some of the best. Hope that isn’t cut too much – marketing and sales should IMO be feeling a little nervous though :-/

Oh well, should know a bit more this time tomorrow eve…I suspect I’ll get around to posting something around July 🙂

Bye bye Sun?

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First, we have a bit of a “security incident” on the main webserver at work. Turns out we were fairly lucky – lessons learnt last time something similar happen saved us (firewall *outgoing* connections++).

Still the same old issues of too many web authors publishing any old crap to the server and no real resource to police it or provide services to help check stuff and keep things upto date. Still, on the plus side, it seems to have provided the kick up the arse we needed to attempt to sort stuff out!

Secondly, an slight cockup on the SAN migration project that we are rushing through (to avoid the ridiculous fee HP want for next years maint) meant that a disk that was presented to our live exchange node was accidentally presented to our passive node, mounted and then a db copied onto it. Exchange got rather unhappy about this (fair play, it’s hardly it’s fault!) but the fact that everything in exchange is stuffed into a (now corrupt) DB added to the fact that DPM (Microsoft backup product) shat itself *again* last friday has made the recovery somewhat painful…and still far from complete. Fall out from this one could be rather wide…but at least it gives us some justification for spending money on a real backup system and not some crap from Microsoft that is unreliable.

Still, it’s not all bad. Mike is visiting next week to do some security work for us. looking forward to catching up and no doubt sampling a few fajitas. Also, took sprog1 to Silverstone for the Renault World Series 2009 event last weekend – fantastic free day out. Jake got to see a real F1 car (or rather, hear which is even more impressive) and now wants to go to a grand prix….not quite so easy/affordable 🙂 Had a chance to play with my camera for once (really ought to make an effort to use it more – been far too lazy recently.

Renault World Series - Silverstone 2009

Still, looks like this weekend might be quiet at least – was supposed to be doing some slightly scary migrations of our sun cluster to the new SAN – seems that due to an oversight/cockup during the hassle of the other incidents no one actually booked the downtime so it might all be on hold for a while… Ho hum…

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Went into town today – first time in months and was surprised to find it so busy that I had to park on the top floor of the shiny new car park (£1.10 an hour?? Blimey).


What a load of crap! Seems the seagulls use it for target practice (yes yes, I know it’s got my thumb in it… crappy iphone camera)
a load of crap

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So, the last GP for quite sometime at Silverstone was today.

Except I can’t quite believe it will be. Bernie the poison dwarf said there would be a British GP (come on, no one believed he would pull that one…). Even Gim^H^H^HMax said F1 would be back at Silverstone in 2010. In the same way as FOTA heading up a new championship isn’t likely to happen IMO, I can’t see the British GP ever disappearing from the calendar.

The BBC seemed to be playing up the history side of things more than ever. DC wasn’t saying all that much and both Brundle and Hill (conveniently connected with BRDC) seemed to be convinced that the “other place” wouldn’t be ready. The “other place” being Donington Park who I notice on their website are now branded the “New home of the British Formula One Grand Prix”. We shall see 🙂

Apparantly Silverstone have already started to pinch events from Donington next year. Given the endless problems with Doningtons plans I can’t see the GP going there… and if what wikipedia says is true (it’s on wikipedia so it *must* be true)

The race will also be the first one to be accessed by public transportation only, as cars will not be allowed to enter the facility. The close by East Midlands Parkway station on the Midland Main Line from London to Sheffield is central to this idea

A Grand Prix you can’t drive to??? Can’t see that working…

I plan to be at Silverstone next year for the GP 2010. I’m even hoping for pints of something other than bloody Fosters. Anyone else fancy it?

And if I turn out to be completely wrong, who fancies the FOTA championship race at Silverstone next year? Tickets might be a bit cheaper 🙂

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I seem to start every blog post (not that there are many :-)) with some comment about being crap at posting. Seems that once again it’s been months – oh well.

Spent the last couple of weekends finally building the deck I’ve been pondering for yonks. At the bottom of our garden we have a large slab of concrete that isn’t level, floods towards the back quite regularly and is generally a bit ugly. It was laid in bits by the builder guy who owned this place before us and as such was all over the place. He used to park his van and store bricks’n’stuff there. Since we removed the fence (which added an extra 10m to the garden!) we have been pondering what to do with it. Digging it up and grassing it would be best – and seemed like rather a lot of work. Given it’s 18 sq m of 6-8 inch thick concrete with no way of getting a skip nearby that idea was a bit of a non starter!

Paving it would have required rather a lot of leveling as there is around 8 inches of difference in height between corners (or maybe just lay a patio with a hell of a fall :-)) so a raised deck seemed like an obvious solution. Can’t say I’m a huge fan of decking really but in this situation it seemed ideal.

After much planning/thinking (we cleared the site in 2007!) and much hunting around a shedload (or should that be a deckload?) of wood was ordered from Channel Woodcraft – fantastic local company who we *so* much cheaper than the sheds it wasn’t funny. This was soon delivered (along with a free BMW wing mirror….) and dumped on the lawn.wood
That started the clock ticking – could I build the thing before the grass died 🙂

Trip to Jacksons up the road to pick up a pergola and a shit load of screws and stuff from Screwfix and toolstation and I was set.

2 days and I’d built brick piers for the corners supports and the pergola base and sorted out the frame. Another day and the pergola was up \o/deck frame

Another couple of days and the decking is mainly fixed. Will stick up a finished photo once I’ve built the step etc and finished the front off (and, it’s not dark outside :-).

Things learnt:

  • Impact driver is a wonderful tool. I’m so glad I bought a decent drill/impact driver set. *Well* worth it.
  • 2nd thing learnt is that impact drivers *eat* batteries. Soon discovered why the set came with 3 batteries!
  • Planed wood is soooo much nicer to work with than the cheap stuff.
  • Jacksons stuff is expensive. However, you really do get what you pay for…
  • 700 quid gets you a *lot* of wood. It’s bloody heavy :-/
  • Still, nice to see that just as I finished building it in 25 deg heat it starts raining. Guess I’ve missed summer this year then…

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    Blimey I’m crap at keeping a blog upto date. I would suggest facebook but I’m crap at that as well. Been playing a bit with Twitter recently and while I have spells of fiddling with it I’m still suffering a bit from the “what is the point aspect”. Are people really interested in by every move (no)? Still, it does give me a chance to waste time while sat on the train to London – something I seem to be doing far to freuently for my liking recently…

    Right, must be off – must do some research before todays meeting with sun. Need to see what @schofe is tweeting about fern leaving This Morning…

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    Finally, a few days in London that don’t need me to be sat in a training course all day! Spent a couple of nights staying County Hall on South Bank (around the back by the bins – not the posh bit :-)) with the kids. Jake has been pestering to go to London for a while and given we had our merlin passes from last halloween we thought we would go and stay near the London eye…

    First day we spent at the Science museum and the Natural history museum. As always, excellent :-). Kids particularly enjoyed the science museum where a good time was had with candles and balloons full of hydrogen and building a rocket with a pringles tube. Natural history museum was heaving by the time we got there but Jake was happy as he managed to get to see the animatronic T-Rex again.


    Sunday was spent abusing the merlin passes. First we went on the London eye (good, but a bit misty)…then we did the London aquarium (ok – not sure it’s really worth paying for a the moment as it’s a bit of a building site till March). Then we went to Madame Tussauds – somewhere I’d not been before. This was really busy but I quite liked it. Not sure it’s worth the entrance price though. Had I have paid full price for it I’m not sure I’d rate it tbh. Kids liked it though 🙂

    Steven Spielberg waxwork

    Also got a quick snap for typo – I did ask him to sort out your connection and got about the same level of service as the indian call centres give

    Richard Branson waxwork

    Then, back to the hotel for something to eat before doing the eye a couple more times. I think I prefer it at night – all the manky bits of London are hidden when it’s dark 🙂

    London eye at night

    Then for our final day we spent a few hours at the Tower of London as Mich has always fancied going along (and I’ve not been since I was about 10). This isn’t a Tussauds attraction so we had to pay but if anyone is thinking of going swing by a station and find the “2for1” leaflet… well worth it to save 17 quid. We got there not long after it opened and it was pretty good. Was getting stupidly busy when we left. Quick wander along the river so Jake could go have a look at the Monument (which reopened today it seems – must climb it sometime) and then back home before the trains got horrific. Knackered now 🙂 Back to work tomorrow 🙁

    Must work out how much we would have spent if we hadn’t had the merlin passes…got loads of photos to sort through as well…

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    Having had a bit of look around the sales for bargains, I’d pretty much given up (Argos seem to have scrapped their 50% discount on lego sets 🙁 ) when I noticed Comet offering a 1TB My book drive for only 63quid. As this is less than most places are selling the bare drive that it contains for this appeared to be a bit of a bargain.

    Reserved it online and went to pick it up where I noticed the 1TB model was listed on the shelf as 149 quid….and the 500GB one was reduced suspiciously to 63 quid.

    Predictably, the guy returned with my reserved 500GB drive… I pointed out the reservation that showed it was a 1TB drive and with a couple of looks he said something like “wow, thats a bargain – must be online only or something, I’ll override the price”. Excellent. Bargain 1 🙂

    A couple of weeks ago my TomTom install on my ancient Ipaq decided to stop working. No great loss, it was so old that the maps we getting too far out of date to be useful so I’d promised myself a new TomTom. Given I’m off to Wales tomorrow for a wedding (wtf have I done with my suit? How can I lose a suit!) I figured I’d find one today. No one seems to have any reduced in the sales so I found Argos had one in stock (just the cheapo basic model) and reserved it.

    Drove to Ashford to pick it up only to be told by the guy on the till that “the reservation has been cancelled, sorry”. I asked him what that meant and was told “it means the reservation has been cancelled”. Well, yes….great. After he stood looking at me for a while he realised I wasn’t exactly pleased with his explaination and asked if I’d like to speak to his supervisor. I suggested this was a good idea and he wandered off. A few minutes later and someone else arrived to confirm that yes, the reservation had been cancelled. He said there wasn’t anything they could do as they didn’t actually have any in stock so I asked him for some compensation for my petrol and time. He instantly responded with “sorry, we can’t do that” and then smiled nicely. We stood there for a while, me looking at him. Him nervously looking at the growing queue of people waiting and me just standing there before he offered “would you like me to get the manager?” (I guess that’s better than asking if I’d like him to get security :-)) to which I suggested that yes, that would be a great idea.

    Eventually someone comes to tell me that the problem is that the delivery was cocked up and they were sent a couple of XL models (130 quidish) instead of the 90 quid one I had reserved. I responded with “that’s great, I’ll take one of those then” and watched a wave of relief wash over his face….only to vanish when I followed up with “but I don’t want to pay more than the 90 quid thanks”.

    A few more “discussions” and he eventually agrees \o/

    Seems the external HD isn’t listed on comets site anymore – and the TomToms are all out of stock in Argos now 🙂

    So, all in all, a couple of bargains and I’m happy (even if they weren’t exactly in the sales!)

    Now, where the hell is my suit!

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    No, he isn’t being whipped by them this time. His interview after the FIA meeting on how to save the F1 teams some cash amused me. His claim that every start (race or test) of a F1 car tends to cost around 5 million quid was backed up with the wonderful “5 million is quite a lot of money, you could buy a house with 5 million”.

    Yes, a 5 million quid house. Real world calling… 🙂

    Still most of the proposals seem fairly sane – although a shared box? Not sure how that’s going to work….and how Mclaren will bitch when their breaks and the Ferrari one doesn’t 🙂

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