Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mobile phones don't mix with toilets

I didn't think I would ever do it, but finally it happened. Recently I managed to drop my Nokia N70 down the toilet. Well, not directly but I was using it at the time and went to the bathroom. Usually if I have it with me, I put it on the side away from the toilet itself, but this time I placed it on the water tank.

As I picked it up shortly afterwards, it slipped out of my hand and even though I tried to stop it, it was too quick. Even though it was only submerged in the water for a second or two, it started flickering. It didn't look wet inside when I took the back off, but I did try it with some hot air. A little later on, I tried switching it on, it did turn on but didn't make it through the full boot up. I tried it a few times that night, but then left it off for around 4 days.

I had my fingers crossed the next time I switched it on and thankfully it worked and has been working since. I was only really worried that I could potentially lose some data that was stored on the phone itself that I wanted, as most of the data was on the memory card and that was working.

It is insured, but I was more worried about the data, as some of it was not bakced up. After checking it, there was not that much that was in danger but at least somethig good came out of this experience.

I'm not going to take my phone near open toilets again or if I do, take extra special care. I've been through quite a number of mobiles since I got my first one in 1999, but I've only lost one (it fell out of my shorts as I was getting off a flight) and not broken any yet but this was a close shave.

I guess I was just lucky, as many people have lost phones in water based accidents. I know a few people who have most more phones than most people would believe so I'm not doing too bad. At the moment I'm using the N70 and N73, but I'll be getting the N95 shortly, which should be good, having the build in GPS and 5 megapixel camera.

Post ID: 783, posted by jase at 03:48 AM
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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sony X-Black display

I'm going to get one of the new Sony X-Black TFT displays quite soon. Having experienced the quality
of these displays on my lsptop and PSP, having one on the desk for use with a desktop system would be great.
It's something I don't need but would like, so no doubt I will get one. In some ways I prefer the better
quality that a CRT display can provide over a TFT but with the technology moving forward, things can only get better.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Things going wrong

When using older hardware and software that has not been used for a while I sometimes forget certain things that have to be done to get it working, as newer releases of software do a lot of it automatically these days. We forget how easy it is, in comparison to say 10 years ago. After pondering over why I could not get Solaris 2.6 to see some tape drives, I later recalled it was because drvconfifg isn't as good as devfsadm. You have to run the tapes command after if you don't reboot using boot -r to get it to see the connected tape drives.

Not many people we have to deal with still use 2.6 so the old methods are forgotten a lot of the time and although something simple in this case, it could have been anything. It's so much easier when you are aware of the older methods as well as the new ones.

Post ID: 743, posted by jase at 07:06 PM
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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

PSP price in the USA

Of course, being able to get a PSP in the USA works out a lot cheap for us. One of my friends is over in New York at the moment and has got one for roughly 140 which is the price they are going for without import tax added. I should have asked him to get me one rather than order one off the Internet as I would have saved a load of money.

Post ID: 741, posted by jase at 07:39 PM
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Friday, April 22, 2005

Nokia 6310i

The Nokia 6310i that I have been given as a work phone does not work, the signal seems to keep dropping so I arranged for a replacement. The one I received was also faulty, but now have another one that appears to be okay. Those models are not very good so I may just use one of my old phones instead or use my Nokia 6600 when I get my yearly upgrade next month.

I've not had any problems with Nokia models before but the 6610i appears to have a number of problems. It's mainly used as a business phone so companies use them a lot, maybe Nokia don't bother putting as much effort in when working on models that are aimed for business use as lots of people I know who have them have experienced quite a few issues and have had a number of replacements.

Post ID: 735, posted by jase at 04:11 PM
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Friday, April 15, 2005

Xbox 360 and PS3 launch

It's being reported that May 12th is going to be the first public showing of both of these up and coming consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Microsoft has the advantage of launching the Xbox 360 over the entire MTV network, it'll be showing at 8pm in the UK. I'm sure they will be well worth the wait!

Post ID: 728, posted by jase at 12:32 PM
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My PSP has arrived, but...

I've got my PSP, in fact I got it last weekend. The only problem is, I don't currently have any games for it. I thought you at least got one included with the value pack, but that is not the case. At least not for the Japanese release that I imported.

I've ordered a few games now, USA versions, which will play fine on my PSP as there are no region limits on the games but there are for the UMD films that are starting to come through. I'm sure it won't be long before that slight problem is rectified anyway.

Luckily I've not got any dead pixels on my display, which is good considering most people have stated they have some. Until the games arrive though, it's just going to have to sit there!

Post ID: 726, posted by jase at 10:38 PM
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

PSP - The ultimate portable console

I've ordered a PSP via Lik Sang as I didn't want to wait for the UK release, which is not until June. It should be here in a few days and hopefully mine won't have any dead pixels on the screen, it seems a lot of people are reporting issues, but not all units are affected. Apart from the display issues, most people appear to love the PSP. There have already been some details released to gain access to a built in browser, but I'm sure that Sony will release updates that will allow for this and other functionality quite soon.

Check out some videos of some of the games already available, the quality is really good, especially because of the new Sony X-Black TFT screen technology. My new laptop has one of these screens and the clarity is amazing, it's just that the PSP screens have been having issues but hopefully they will be sorted out soon if not already. Due to the the facility of live tracking, I can see that my package is on the way so I should get it within the next few days, tomorrow hopefully.

There have already been a number of games released with support for playing games over the Internet, with plenty more that will follow in the months to come.

Post ID: 710, posted by jase at 01:59 PM
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Monday, March 28, 2005

Want a small Linux box?

I've seen some great devices on sites such as Linux Devices before, including systems running Linux that are built as very small units. Of course, as time progresses, so does technoogy and there are a number of new units that can now be purchased as ready built systems or as kits. They are getting smaller, this embedded Linux system could come in handy to sniff data for example. It's called Picotux and it said to be the smallest unit that is currently available. It features an ARM7 CPU clocked at 55 megahertz, running uClinux kernel 2.4.27 & Busybox 1.0. It has support for 10/100 megabit half/full duplex as well as a serial port.

There are other alternatives that I have seen, such as the Gunstix range. Also check out their Gumstix cluster project. I've wanted something like this for a while, so I'll probably invest in one of these to play with shortly.

Post ID: 708, posted by jase at 10:29 PM
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Blu-Ray, HV-DVD or HVD?

The battle of the next generation of storage to replace DVD has been going on for some time now but as consumers we don't appear to see any progress being made. It's really all about who is backing what and because the film companies have such a big impact, it may well not be the best of the three that makes it for technical advantages but rather because it has the most support for what the industry wants, copy protection for example.

If we're talking about storage, Optware HVD and then Blu-Ray would be my first and second choices. The amount of storage available on all three technologies beat the current state of what the DVD can offer, the data transfer rates are also better. A lot of the big names like Sony, Panasonic and Pioneer are all backing Blu-Ray but most of the big names in the film industry are showing more interest for HV-DVD because it offers AACS (Advanced Access Content System) protection.

Blu-Ray does not currenly offer any protection so although it allows for a lot more storage, it also does not offer any protection at the moment. If Blu-Ray can incorporate AACS or another protection that proves to work better than CSS the war will probably be won a lot more easily. Without any protection it looks like Blu-Ray will not be given the chance to change the way we think and use storage on cheap media.

HVD does not offer any protection at present either, but I'm sure this will change as the development program progresses. What consumers want is for the next technology to be decided quickly, so products start to hit the market earlier. At the moment, people are having to wait because the industries can't make their minds up.

I'm sure all the comsumers would go for storage over protection so right now most would choose Blu-Ray or Optware HVD. Of course, in the eyes of the film and software industry for example, they also care a lot about a decent protection system. What they are forgetting is, eventually it will be broken anyway and although maybe not as quickly as with DVD CSS, it will happen and all that money that will have been invested in creating the protection will have been wasted.

Check out this Softpedia article and decide on which you would like to see as the most used replacement for DVD.

Post ID: 696, posted by jase at 10:25 AM
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Fuel cell motorbike

If you are a fan of motorbikes, you'll probably be interested in the new fuel cell based bike called ENV (Emissions Neutral Vehicle) that has been designed by Intelligent Energy. Apart from having virtually no emissions, the bike is silent. No engine noise can be heard, which I think for most people interested in bikes is like what enjoyment no sound from the engine of a car would give to someone who likes cars.

In terms of technology, it's quite an achievement, looking at the specifications you'll find that it can acheive speeds of 50 miles per hour but maybe more with modifications and run for at least 100 miles without needing the cells to be recharged or swapped. It also looks quite nice, not very bulky and probably a lot lighter than a normal motorbike. Read the Rubber Magazine article for more information.

Post ID: 695, posted by jase at 11:41 PM
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Monday, March 7, 2005

Proper keyboard or laptop keyboard?

I much prefer using a proper computer keyboard to laptop ones. I'm more used to proper ones, but even so I think that the keys are easier to type on. The Sony ones are nice, but the keys are closer together and sometimes can cause more mistakes to be made when typing at higher speeds.

I also tend to keep touching the touch sensitive pad on the laptop as I am typing because I am used to hitting the space bar mostly with my thumbs, but on a laptop it means I activate the pad so the cursor moves somewhere else which causes my typing to stop.

I might get a USB keyboard to plug as that would solve my issues and save using the laptop keyboard for when using a normal one isn't practical. I've also got a nice mouse to use as I prefer a mouse over a pad when possible.

Post ID: 685, posted by jase at 11:39 AM
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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

New server

I've recently got a new Dell PowerEdge 750 server online, its specification is as follows:

* 1 x P4 3.4Ghz CPU with HT.
* 2GB RAM.
* 2 x 250GB SATA drives, in RAID-1 configuration.
* 2000GB of bandwidth available per month.
* 40GB compressed disk based backup, backed up at a remote location.

The new backup system has a number of advantages over Veritas NetBackup, I think I'll be swapping the other system that currently uses NetBackup over to this new disk based system shortly. Now it's a case of updating things and getting services setup that are required, but doing in a standard way, which fits in with the configuration of the existing servers.

I'll post some updates relating to the progress of all of this in the next few days.

Post ID: 662, posted by jase at 05:14 PM
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Monday, February 7, 2005

Vodafone 3G & GPRS

I've picked up a Vodafone 3G/GPRS data card so that I can get online, as at the moment there is no Internet access where I am staying down in London, but that will be sorted out once BT install the phone line. Having the 3G/GPRS card will mean I can get on from most locations which will be good.

At the moment I am connected via GPRS as the 3G signal is not too strong around here. It's slower but it works. I've got the medium package which allows for 79MB of data included per month, which should be more than enough.

I find it quite funny that Vodafone put on the content block for which you have to pay 1 to have it removed. They have my birthday on my account so they know I am over 18, yet the block is still in place by default. Obviously it is another easy way to make money as most people will want it removed as you can't access a lot of legitmate sites with it on!

The data card software is rubbish, that really needs some work. It is far too slow and hangs quite a lot. Itg does have some handy features though, but the crashing is not one of them. I'll have to try some other locations in the house to see if I can get a better signal strength on the 3G side. GPRS will do for the short time in which I'll need to use it before the Internet pipe is activated.

After the laptop arriving on Saturday, I've got some software installed and obviously the wireless working at home plus the data card too. Having access to the Internet on the move and when away from home was something I had been meaning to sort out for a while as up until now I've always had to locate places to get online which is something that now can be avoided.

Having access, especially for business purposes is mandatory, now I've sorted it I doubt I'll be able to do without it in the future.

Post ID: 657, posted by jase at 10:02 PM
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Friday, February 4, 2005

I've finally got the laptop ordered

I've been having problems ordering my new laptop but I am pleased to announce that payment has now been taken and I'll be getting the laptop tomorrow, next day delivery. I'm also probably going to get a Vodafone 3G data card and contract, which will allow me to get online via the Vodafone 3G network in most locations.

The speed will be quite fast and when in the range of a wireless access point, the speed will be 11Mbps or higher, between my laptop and the access point, but probably not that high to and from the Internet, but enough for what would be required.

Post ID: 654, posted by jase at 12:56 PM
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Monday, January 24, 2005

An expensive laptop?

I've been looking to purchase a nice laptop for myself and after looking around, I think I have found the most expensive laptop ever, over at Ebuyer. It's obviously a mistake, but it costs 23084.84 including VAT. Isn't it a shame it was not an error making the laptop very cheap. I've seen this happen before and the company in question has to deliver on the price, it's not very often they can get out of it.

I can't see anyone buying that laptop, they've not got any in stock anyway. I wonder how long it'll be before it gets corrected. Check the listing of the most expensive laptop out!

As for my choice, I think I'll probably be going for the Sony Vaio A297XP. I'm still looking around, but I think that one should do nicely. Although, some more memory would be better but I could put this in later.

There are also a numbr of duplicate entries I've noticed on Ebuyer for the same laptop models, only one is out of stock and the other isn't, the one in stock also being cheaper. They need to clean the product index up!

Post ID: 642, posted by jase at 11:32 PM
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Thursday, January 13, 2005

iPod Shuffle

There is a new iPod in town, the iPod Shuffle. It comes in 512MB or 1GB versions, so even less capacity than the iPod Mini selection. Not ideal if you have a lot of music, but if you want something really small and light then this would be the ideal choice providing you don't want to store a lot of music as woulf one of the iPod Mini models.

I recently got my iPod Photo 60GB model from the states. I'll be able to fill the 60GB easily, when I get round to putting more tunes on it. At the moment I've put about 10GB worth of music on there. The new iPod Shuffle starts at a low price as well which is another thing to consider as the prices of the iPod units are still quite high. I know I always compare the disk capacity to buying an actual hard disk which for the same money, you'd get a lot more storage space than you do when buying an iPod.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Broken televisions

As strange as it is, there have been three televisions all go down in my house recently, but I'm sure I know why. The first one is quite an old one, so a component probably blew. The other two were fine but they had been stored in colder places for a while and not used.

When they were recently switched on after being moved from where they were located they stopped working shortly after being turned on. The cold temperature must have caused an issue, going from quite cold and not used to a warmer climate in the main part of the house and being switchred on for the first time in a while.

They have all been repaired now though but I'll have to ensure that they are stored in a warm place when not in use, the freezing cold air didn't go down to well obviously!

Post ID: 622, posted by jase at 01:06 AM
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Thursday, December 9, 2004

Server upgrade

I'm having some more memory and another hard disk installed in the server my blog is hosted on today. The system was using quite a lot of swap so more memory will address that and although another hard disk is not required, it'll be used for backup & extra storage.

Eventually I'll probably have the system running a RAID 1 mirror which will go hand in hand with the existing Veritas tape backup, although this might be changed to automated disk based offsite backup combined with automated Rsync backups as well at some point.

Monday, November 22, 2004

400 GB SATA disks

There are a number of 400GB SATA hard disks appearing on the market at the moment. I've read some reviews on a few models, from Seagate and Hitachi. The cost of the Hitachi Desktar 7K400 is a lot cheaper than the Seagate and the tests done in most cases point in the direction of the Hitachi, if you're looking for better performance.

I'm thinking about getting one and putting it in my FreeBSD system and using it as a file storage unit, if I get a few disks I can setup software RAID too. I've read a few reviews of the Hitachi 7K400 and the Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 and of course a comparison of drives is usually done from the testing of the drives. The Hitachi comes out on top mostly and for the price, you also make a decent saving compared to the Seagate offering.

I think I'll be getting one or two of the 7K400 drives shortly, unless of course by that time another model is out or another brand releases a better product at a better price. One thing is for sure, it will not be too long before we are able to buy 1TB hard disks.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Bluetooth headset

I've just ordered a generic bluetooth headset, as the price has been dropped. Usually I'd check reviews and previous customer comments but didn't bother in this case so I hope it's a bargain rather than a cheap rubbish product.

Some of the more expensive ones I've seen have been reported to be rubbish but I could not find anything relating to this one. I'll have to wait until it arrives. I'll post my thoughts once I get it. It does not have any advanced features since it is a basic one, but the ones that did have the more advanced features that I read comments about were not scoring very well in the quality areas, with regards to build quality and audio quality.

I've just got a new layout of bill come through from Vodafone which makes it a lot easier to read and supplies more detailed information that before. I noticed that I have a load of minutes to use which made me think, I'll get a headset that way I might use the phone more by not having to hold it or have it on loudspeaker. I'll have to see about that idea but it'll come in handy either way.

For anyone that wants one of these, go and visit My Memory. The total price comes to 20.94 which includes delivery.

Post ID: 546, posted by jase at 10:47 PM
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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Netgear FS526T

I've just got a Netgear FS526T switch to allow me to run most of my network at 100Mbps rather than 10Mbps which is what it all runs at now, due to having just a hub that supports 10Mbps.

The FS526T also has 2 gigabit ports so they might come in handy at some point. I was looking to get a nice Cisco switch, to allow me to play with SNMP more and also have the ability to do come configuration from a switch point of view with IOS as the only IOS stuff I have done at the moment is with a Cisco 1000 series I have got.

I decided against that at the moment, for various reasons but I'll probably end up getting one soon, it'll also help as I'm eventually going to get CCNA certified & who knows from there. The FS526T has a simple web based interface to allow you to configure it but is not very complex and the options are limited, it also has a very loud built in fan which is a bit annoying if located in a room where you spend most of your time by your computers.

Other than that, it's pretty good. Well built and quite small. It comes with good instructions for initial setup, if you need help and also supplied are mounting brackets to house it in a rack if required. All round, a decent little switch so I have found so far, but lacking in SNMP & command line. Obviously if you're looking for a more heavy duty switch then you would want to go for something with full capabilities but as an addition to the network where all you require is a basic switch then it is perfect.

I don't need all the 26 ports that the FS526T comes with, but they are always there for future expansion. One thing I don't like is the fact that the web configuration interface can't be switched off from what I gather so if configured with an IP address available to the outside then anyone can connect to it. Of course they can't login, but you should filter it at your firewall instead if you have one, for extra security.

Other than that it's a great unit!

Post ID: 545, posted by jase at 11:35 PM
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I'm finally on my replacement TFT!

I've now received my new replacment TFT display and I must say that I'm so glad to be back using a nice big display that is clear. That is half of the mission completed, the other half is securing my room to prevent further equipment being damaged.

The options include, but are not limited to:

* Getting a lock fitted
* Getting my own seperate room alarm
* Moving out
* Emplying a security guard

Maybe some of the above options would not be appropriate or even possible right now. The lock will work wonders.

Post ID: 540, posted by jase at 10:36 PM
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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Lost or stolen

I'm not sure which is the vase at the moment, but I've still not received my replacement TFT display. It seems that the courier has lost it but that could mean a number of things, such as someone has stolen it.

It's slightly annoying but it just means I will have to wait for another one arrive as Relisys are currently out of stock of the model I have got. Then again Parcel Force might locate my delivery and same me any more delay, that is of course if it has not been taken by someone. Maybe the label came of the package.

It also sounds like someone might have carried out the perfect crime, who knows. Although, depending on how you look at it, it might not be classed as a crime unless someone gets caught. I don't mind, as long as I get a new display soon.

For me this is not the first experience I've had with packages being lost, tampered with and such. Maybe there is an opening for some kind of secure mailing service as the couriers these days just don't seem to be able to complete a fairly simple job.

Post ID: 538, posted by jase at 10:32 PM
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Friday, October 15, 2004

Broken TFT display

During my time in Germany, my brother decided to have a play with some of my equipment and due to leaving the power plug for my 19" Relisys TFT display half plugged in, it seems that although it was working when I got back and rectified the situation, the TFT & or PSU has been damaged and after the display going blank but not switching off - I can't get anything more than a slight, very dark image to display from the various imputs on multiple machines I have since connected.

It is only a year old and has year onsite cover from Relisys so I have arranged for a new replacement which should be here shortly. I'm having to use an old 14" monitor I have at the moment which produces quite a bad image. It makes me respect having a nice TFT when forced to using such a small display again.

I'm going to get a lock on this room to keep my brother out when I am not here. I've had instances in the past too, but have not got around to it yet. I'm not going to waste any more time sorting the lock out. The other option would be to get my own place, which is something I'm sure I'll be doing in the not so distant future but for the moment, the lock is the solution.

Post ID: 536, posted by jase at 10:46 PM
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Sunday, September 26, 2004

New laptop - Sony Vaio K195HP

I've just ordered a new laptop, not for me, although I will no doubt be using it a little and also probably have to sort out any future troubles with Windows, as I always do. It's a Sony Vaio K195HP.

The specification is as follows:

* Intel P4 2.8Ghz
* 512MB RAM
* 40GB HDD
* 15" TFT
* CD-RW/DVD ROM

As well as all the usual stuff you would expect from a laptop these days. It should be here tomorrow, as I selected the quicker delivery. I'll be looking to purchase one sooner or later only I will be going for the best specification available. The model I selected here will be more than enough power for what it will be used for. No gaming really, just all the usual type of applications most people would run on a notebook.

It's smart looking and as usual a good product from Sony. I've not heard any bad things about the Vaio models, so we shall see how it performs.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

XBOX chip

I was going to have a play with my XBOX in the days I have free before I go back to Ibiza but it seems that something has happened since I last switched it on before I went to Ibiza. The chip light is on but the XBOX just boots normally now. I may have changed a setting but it does not look like this is the case. Maybe the chip has come loose or something else.

I'm going to have to open it up and check. From what I have read this is probably the case as there is nothing to suggest a hardware failure. I was looking forward to spending some time on it, but now it will have to wait until I fix the problem. Just seems a bit strange since I have not moved it or anything since I last switched the unit on when the chip was working. I've tried booting the system in various ways and it does not look like a settings option.

Post ID: 474, posted by jase at 08:57 PM
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Saturday, August 14, 2004

SIM card to blame

It looks like it was the SIM card that has been causing the problems I am having abroad using my phone. Thinking about it, I have had the current SIM card since the end of 2001. Back then I probably had other issues as well, like barring and such. Now all of that has been sorted out, it seems like the SIM card is the only remaining issue.

I've got a new card through with my Nokia 6600 so I have copied off the contacts and messages and just had the new SIM card registered. Before I requested the change, I tried dialling a number in the USA and it just produced a tone and disconnected. After the change, I have tried and it connects.

Looks like I won't have any further problems now and should be available via my mobile when abroad. Just goes to show, don't overlook anything as being an issue. I would not have thought an old SIM card would stop me dialling international, but it looks that way.

Post ID: 473, posted by jase at 03:33 PM
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Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Microchips without circuit boards

Is this the next stage?

It is an interesting idea but seems at first, something that would take a lot of wrk to get right but if it was successfully tested and rolled out, new hardware any indeed anything electronic with circuit boards could then use it.

Chips would still have to be stuck on boards but there would be no need for wires or connections as the technology would allow for wireless communication between chips. Easier design and layout of boards would be an advantage as well as less time to produce.

There are other technical issues that have to be dwalt with, but if the problems with heat and such as solved so the chips can comminicate without data loss then the work will have paid off. With increased bandwith that would be available from this design, we'd be able to see the current bottlenecks in systems removed and overall system performance would increase.

A number of companies are playing with the idea, such as Sun Microsystems.

Check out the article here.

Post ID: 463, posted by jase at 06:33 PM
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Monday, August 2, 2004

Xbox chip

I've just got around to getting a chip for my Xbox, I got one at a discounted price via a friend and he fitted it for me since he has the same chip and has already fitted his so that saved me a job. Now I've just got to find the time to have a play with it. I'll probably play about with Linux on it and various other things, maybe fit a larger hard disk too.

I've got the Xenium v1.6 chip. More updates to come regarding what I do with it, as and when! Although it might be a while, with going away and such.

Post ID: 461, posted by jase at 12:11 AM
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Sunday, July 18, 2004

The all new iPod

The all new iPod has been released, Newsweek has a sneak preview.

Not only are the new models cheaper that previous models, there are also a number of enhancements such as an extended battery life, click wheel that was introduced on the iPod Mini as well as other improvements.

I've still not got around to getting a portable music player yet, but soon enough I shall. I'm really going to have to get someone to ship one over to me from the USA to take advantage of the cheaper prices as over here in the UK, we always pay over the odds!

Post ID: 446, posted by jase at 07:02 PM
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Friday, July 2, 2004

iPod & iTrip

I'm going to get round to getting an iPod, probably the 40GB one. Also using the addon iTrip I would be easily able to transmit to a radio in the close vicinity. The distance is limited, but after reading this document, it seems quite easy to extend the distance to which you can transmit over - quite easily.

I suppose you could take things further and use some other kind of transmitter which you can buy from Maplins, and apply more power to the output using an amplifier, like the kind you would use on CB / HAM radio.

Using that method, you would really be able to tramsmit over a longer distance but my just following the instructions on the Engadget article, you can extend it slightly.

Now, I just need to get the iPod - Import from the USA, save on the duty and overpricing in the UK! You can also now integrate your iPod in your BWM car.

Although, the Archos devices are pretty good only quite expensive at the moment. With 80GB models available, that's a lot more capacity to store movies and music - the best thing being able to watch movies on the move!

So there is an investment at some point I think.

Post ID: 430, posted by jase at 11:08 PM
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Thursday, July 1, 2004

Sony NW-HD1 / HMP-A1 / VGF-AP1

Sony have just let loose details of this new hard disk based player. It comes with a 20GB disk and enough memory you should never see any skipping whilst playing music.

It is quite small too, clocking in at 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.4cm and looks quite smart. Just another contender for the ever popular iPod range. There are also a host of other players which you can choose from but the iPod still has the majority market share.

I'm still to get a disk based MP3 player, but I'll get round to it soon, as well as that nice new laptop and PDA. Maybe I should have a word with Santa?

There is also the Sony Vaio VGF-AP1 MP3 player, which was recently launched & the new video player HMP-A1 - They all look nice and all have enough space, but will they prove to be popular? Obviously the cost is an important component of the equation.

The other thing to remember is that the MP3 players will only play music encoded with the Sony ATRAC 3 format. I'm sure converters will be available and it will not be much of an issue, but this may put a number of people off buying these products.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Xbox Next specifications

Various sites are reporting on the details of Xbox Next which have been leaked, that is if the document is genuine.

Obviously leaks can occur for many reasons, one of them being the fact that people love to gossip and tell other people hot news and such and also it can sometimes be a nice marketing idea or to set some kind of expectation within the market and then beat it with something better in the end.

Time will tell. I'll be looking forward to the new console, I've got one of the next generation chips for my existing Xbox but have not got round to fitting it yet so that will be done quite soon so I can play about with the Xbox - I wonder if there might be as much fun to be had with Xbox Next with regards to modification?

Post ID: 419, posted by jase at 05:56 AM
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Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Nokia 6600

Tomorrow I should be taking delivery of my Nokia 6600. I already have the Bluetooth USB adaptor which means I have something to play about with tomorrow night. I've been waiting until now so that I can get the handset for free as part of my upgrade. It has been a long four months wait!

I've seen a load of applications that will be handy plus come over a good amount of information on the Internet, so will post up more on that later.

The Bluetooth and fact I'll be able to login to systems via my phone is what I have been looking forward to the most as it will makes things a lot easier when on the move.

Post ID: 397, posted by jase at 12:16 PM
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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Voice recognition, on credit cards

Just read about this over at The Reg. Sounds like a very interesting idea, but will obviously need a lot of work to reduce the size of cards.

The technology is great when it works, but the implmentation of it might be hard. With chip & pin only just being rolled out, I think it'll be a while yet before we see anything like this on the high street.

It's an interesting look at things to come though and will reduce the amount of fraud.

Post ID: 355, posted by jase at 03:01 PM
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Saturday, April 17, 2004

It came...

Now it's in. All formatted and ready for use. Now comes the tedious part, moving all the data over from the other 120g disk and cleaning it. The other disk in this box is the boot disk, which could also do with being defragmented. The only problem is that for some reason, defrag does not work - it also causes data to be lost, as I have found.

So I'll avoid that one, at some point it looks like - as usual - a fresh install to clean things up.

It's like a never ending story. Just another reason why we mostly choose *NIX.

Post ID: 347, posted by jase at 09:12 PM
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Friday, April 16, 2004

New hard disk

I've ordered a new hard drive - a 250gb sata, which should be nice. It will hopefully arrive today which means that I can fit it tomorrow and start sorting data out. The other disk that is fragmented can be cleaned. Of course since this will be going in the Windows box, it'll be an interesting journey.

We'll see...

Post ID: 346, posted by jase at 08:08 AM
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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

iPod earphones, stand out from the crowd

I'd heard about this recently, but it has appeared on more news sites, that people are looking out for the infamous white earphones that indicate you're an iPod user and then stealing it from you!

You'd probably be more safe just walking down the road using your mobile phone! In this example, the guy obviously said yes when asked if he was carrying an iPod - stupid answer.

Even though this guy was in the Birmingham area, I think the term "Mean streets of Bimingham" isn't really justified - I think that guy just needs to be more street wise!

Being from just out of Birmingham myself I can tell you it's not that bad, this was just an exceptional case, maybe of user stupidity as well. Like anywhere it just depends on the area, Birmingham being the UK's second city is quite a big place. I've never had any problems here or anywhere else but then again maybe I am more street wise.

Time to change the headphones on your iPod?

I think not, just use some common sense and you'll be fine.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Nokia 7610

Recently Nokia have announced the Nokia 7610, which has a built in 1 megapixel camera. Now, they are not the only company to be releasing mobile phones with 1 megapixel cameras built in, but this is the first one sporting 1mp form Nokia.

It can do a resolution of 1152 x 864 pixels and has a built in 65,000 color screen, 4x zoom, along with mp3 player. It's a tri band phone, two models will be available:

GSM 900/1800/1900
GSM 850/1800/1900

Of course the phone has all of the usual stuff you would expect, so should be a good seller. It is powered by Nokia's Series 60 UI on top of the Symbian OS.

So I was planning on going for the 7600 shortly when I get my upgrade, or should I go for the 7610 instead? Depends if the 7610 is like the 7600 and able to play N-Gage games. I'll have to do some investigations.

Post ID: 320, posted by jase at 11:19 PM
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Sunday, March 14, 2004

Sun Fire V20z

The Sun Fire V20z is another nice new bit of kit which has just been released, along with a list of other enterprise servers. The V20z is an entry level based server which does the job, well. It also has the added benefit of looking pretty nice. It's always an advantage when you have a box that looks nice too.

I recently saw this server along with some other new kit at the recent Big Breakfast event that I attended in London. Of course, the V20z is powered by the new AMD Opteron processors so although small they pack a mighty punch.

I can see these being snapped up by ISP's and other companies / individuals that require 1 unit servers over existing systems by Sun and other companies.

So, what are the specifications?

* Processor: 1 or 2 AMD Opteron 200 Series processors
* Up to 16 GB of DDR1-333 SDRAM
* Network Two 10/100/1000-Mbps BaseT Ethernet ports
* Network management One 10/100-Mbps Ethernet port with integrated switch
* Serial One TIA/EIA-232-F asynchronous (DB9) port
* SCSI One Ultra320 SCSI interface (internal access only)
* USB One USB 1.1 port
* Expansion bus Two 64-bit PCI-X slots: 1 full-length at 133 MHz, 1 half-length at 66 MHz

* Internal disk Up to two hot-swappable 3.5-in. x 1.0-in. Ultra320 SCSI drives
* Internal DVD-ROM (optional) One Slimline DVD-ROM drive
* External disk (optional) Sun StorEdge 3310 SCSI array ***
* Sun StorEdge 3510 array ***

*** Support available soon

* External tape (optional) Sun StorEdge L8 ***
* Sun StorEdge L25/L100 ***
* Sun StorEdge L700 ***
* Sun StorEdge SDLT320 ***
* Sun StorEdge SDLT600 ***
* Sun StorEdge LT02 ***

* Solaris 9 (x86 Platform Edition), update 6 (32-bit)
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 for AMD Opteron (32-bit/64-bit)
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for AMD Opteron (32-bit/64-bit)
- SUSE Linux 9 Professional (64-bit) (Community Edition, customer-provided)
- Microsoft Windows 2000 (WHQL-certified) (Customer-provided)
- Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (WHQL-certified) (Customer-provided)

* Solaris 9 Operating System (x86 Edition) (Available April 2004)
- Standard Linux distributions

* Solaris OS (x86 Platform Edition) support available soon
* Networking ONC, ONC+, NFS, WebNFS, TCP/IP, SunLink, OSI
* MHS, IPX/SPX software, SMB technologies
* XML Management Command Line over SSH (in-band and out-of-band),
* IPMI 1.5 (in-band and out-of-band),
* SNMP (out-of-band only)

* Power 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz, 465 W PFC supply, dual redundant fans
* Operating temperature +10 C to +35 C
* Nonoperating temperature -40 C to +65 C
* Operating vibration 0.15 G z-axis; 0.10 G x- and y-axis, 5 to 500 Hz sine
* Nonoperating vibration 0.5 G z-axis; 0.25 G x- and y-axis, 5 to 500 Hz sine
* Operating shock 3 G, 11 ms, half-sine

* Height 43 mm (1.69 in.)
* Width 430 mm (16.94 in.)
* Depth 724 mm (28.5 in.)
* Weight 16 kg (35 lb.)
* Enclosure Fits into most 19-inch wide racks.

So there you have it. Nice to look at & packed with the hardware you need to run a reliable server. Of course, it also depends on what software you run on it, a *NIX OS would be taking advantage in full the hardware within. Anything else, leaves a lot to be desired.

Although you might have to pay more, generally you get what you pay for - so paying more for the hardware will probably pay for itself in the end, via the extra reliability you get.

I might go for something like this at some point, if not a desktop system like the Sun Blade 2500.

Saturday, March 6, 2004

DVD drive - power calibration fault

I seem to be getting power calibration errors with my Pioneer 106 at the moment. I'm using the same media I've been using all along and have tried other discs in the pack but the error still occurs. I've also tried burning at lower speeds although this did seem to work. Either the drive is going faulty or the lens needs a clean. I've also rebooted and that did not help.

I'm going to get a cleaning kit and if that does not solve it - I'll get a replacement, probably the new Pioneer 107.

I've not tested it with CD's yet, since getting the error I've only been burning DVD's. I hope it is not dying, I can't be bothered with having to ship it off and get a replacement. The drive before this went funny as well after no time at all which was annoying.

It always seems to be the devices with moving parts that usually fail!

Post ID: 298, posted by jase at 08:04 PM
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Monday, February 9, 2004

Nokia 6600

After seeing this model and having a play about with the one my friend has just got, I think I am going to get one. It'll only cost me 10 as well in four months as it'll be my upgrade. If I just get one now it will cost a lot more.

The 6600 is packed full with features and has quite a nice design. Main things for me is the Bluetooth features and ability to run N-Gage games, as of course this is a Symbian phone. There are also a number of handy applications available, from Putty through to MSN messenger clients.

The list of features is long and varied - this is a nice handset!

For a good review, with pictures and specifications check out the review on Hardware Zoom.

Afterwards when I get a nice new PDA / laptop - this handset will be great to use with them.

Post ID: 265, posted by jase at 10:49 PM
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Saturday, January 10, 2004

Apple iPod vs ...

I've been wanting to get some form of portable MP3 player for some time. I've been looking around and was thinking about getting a new cd player which can play mp3's as well. The problem with a CD player is they are quite bulky. The iPod and other MP3 player's such as the Sony range which use memory sticks are a lot smaller, except they cost more.

Looking through what is available, the iPod seems the best choice. The 40GB model would have plenty of space and in time there will be models released with even more capacity. The advantage that the iPod has is, being very small and light, it will fit into a pocket easily.

The design is pretty plain, but it would do. There is also an iPod Mini now, which is smaller, a better looking colour and stores less - but obviously costs less.

The technical specifications, as listed on the Apple site:

---

4GB, 15GB, 20GB or 40GB hard disk drive
Holds 1,000, 3,700, 5,000 or 10,000 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format
Stores data via FireWire or USB 2.0 hard drive

Customize main menu
Create On-The-Go playlists
Rate songs
Shuffle songs or albums
Repeat one or all
Sound check on or off
20 Equalizer settings
Backlight timer
Display contrast
Alarms on, off or silent
Sleep timer
Date and time
Display time in menu bar
Contacts sort and display by first or last names
Clicker on or off
Languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Display (4GB model)
1.67 inch (diagonal) liquid crystal display with blue-white LED backlight
138-by-110-pixel resolution, 0.22-mm dot pitch
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Display (15-, 20-, 40GB model)
2-inch (diagonal) liquid crystal display with blue-white LED backlight
160-by-128-pixel resolution, 0.24-mm dot pitch
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Size and weight (4GB model)
Height: 3.6 in
Width: 2.0 in
Depth: 0.5 in
Weight: 3.6 oz (104 g)

Size and weight (15GB model)
Height: 4.1 in
Width: 2.4 in
Depth: 0.62 in
Weight: 5.6 oz (158 g)

Size and weight (20GB model)
Height: 4.1 in
Width: 2.4 in
Depth: 0.62 in
Weight: 5.6 oz (158 g)

Size and weight (40GB model)
Height: 4.1 in
Width: 2.4 in
Depth: 0.73 in
Weight: 6.2 oz (176 g)

Up to 25 minutes of skip protection
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 (32 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF (Mac only) and WAV
Upgradable firmware enables support for future audio formats

Earbud-style headphones with 18-mm drivers using Neodymium transducer magnets
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
Impedance: 32 ohms

Dock connector
3.5-mm stereo headphone jack
Wired remote connector
Environmental requirements

Operating temperature: 32 to 95 F (0 to 35 C)
Non operating temperature: -4 to 113 F (-20 to 45 C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

Built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery
Playtime: 8 hours when fully charged
Standby time: 1 month when fully charged
Charging via FireWire to computer system or power adapter
Fast-charge time: 1 hour (charges up to 80% of battery capacity)
Full-charge time: 3 hours
Charging via USB 2.0 to computer system or power adapter (iPod mini only)
Fast-charge time: 1 hour (charges up to 80% of battery capacity)
Full-charge time: 3 hours

6-pin FireWire connector
AC input: 100V to 240V at 0.4 amp maximum
Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
DC output: 12V at 1 amp maximum

---

So, as it goes - they are the best you can get really. Unless you wanted to go the CD way. I've checked an iPod out, and they are quite good. The volume was nice and loud just how I like it. I think I'm going to have to invest.

The cheapest I have seen for the 40GB currently, is 379 inc VAT.

Another option is for me to order one from the USA, but I would probably have to pay import tax so the savings would not be that great. I could wait for someone I know to come over from the USA and bring one with them.

I've checked out some good places that look out for the cheapest prices on products, but nothing listed in the UK is cheaper than I have found.

If anyone has seen the 40GB cheaper, let me know!
As why should we pay more, when we don't have to?

Post ID: 228, posted by jase at 10:00 PM
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Monday, January 5, 2004

Storage Course

I'm back at Watchmoor Park again this week doing a Sun Storage course. It's going well but after getting to bed at 5am this morning, I could do with some sleep.

Time to get a drink and carry on! I'm sure I'll have some updates as the week goes on about what I've been up to.

Right now I'm too tired to think.

Post ID: 222, posted by jase at 03:05 PM
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Sunday, December 21, 2003

HD DVD

After reading about the new line of HD DVD blue laser based drives that are currently being developed (and some already announced) I came over the HD-DVD: One Format Only site.

In an already confusing world for some people, I guess having multiple standards is going to make the game even more fun. I don't think that there will be one standard, it'll be more a case of getting consumers to use the new higher capacity drives and media.

For example, if movies were released on the new dics and hardware was purchased to play them, you could have a 2 DVD movie on 1 HD-DVD or more than one movie on a HD-DVD.

There are a lot of options and manufacturers are currently in a battle to get their devices out first. Sony has already started shipping their own new format which they are calling PDD (Professional Disc for Data).

NEC is already showing demos of their first new blue laser based product.
It's all good, technology is moving forward and shall always continue to do so.

The Sony product allows 23GB capacity discs, plus another two specifications which are being put forward - one with 15GB of sorage capacity on a single layer and another with 30GB on duel layer media as well as a 20GB re-writible.

All this extra media capacity will come in handy!

Post ID: 205, posted by jase at 03:46 PM
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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Sun helps the SETI search

Sun are donating some hardware to help power the search for life out there in space. Which is good. Maybe I should enquire about getting some Sun Fire 15k's to help number crunch some distributed.net projects.

Now that would be nice of me!

It's always good when big companies donate hardware and the like to good projects. Of course, there is always the publicity aspect but that goes without saying.

Post ID: 201, posted by jase at 11:06 PM
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Saturday, December 13, 2003

New box

I've just put a new box together for my brother, it didn't take long to build. All that needs doing now is for me to install an OS, which I shall do in the next few days.

The specification of this box is:

AMD Athlon XP 2800
Samsung 512MB DDR 400 RAM
Western Digital 120GB SATA HDD
Pioneer 106 CD/DVD RW
Sapphire 256MB 8X AGP graphics card
Panasonic floppy drive
Microsoft optical mouse
BTEC Keyboard
Gigabyte K7 Triton Series motherboard
Logitech speakers
And a nice case...

As for a display, he's going to use my spare 17" Mitsubishi for now. He can probably get a nice TFT himself later.

This is a nice Christmas present for him (not from me though, from the parents)

Post ID: 197, posted by jase at 08:54 PM
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Saturday, December 6, 2003

Sony Ericsson P900

The new P900 is looking pretty nice and is packed full with features. Personally, at the moment I want the Sharp GX20, but since I've not had the GX10i for long I think I'll wait for the next model to come out.

The GX20 has a much better display and camera, the pictures produced are the best I have seen from a phone so far. The only downside to these phones is that they don't have Bluetooth functionality. Well, they could have a lot more, but that's one of the main things I want.

Anyway, back to the P900.

Some of the main features of this phone, include:

* Triple band (GSM 1900/1800/900)
* MP3 audio / MPEG4 video
* Bluetooth
* GPRS
* Java support
* Touch screen

And lots more...

This phone looks like it's one of the best available. Packed full with features and has a nice design, but not spoilt by being too big or heavy.

If you want the full low down on specifications, check out the Sony P900 pages.

A nice review of the phone with a good selection of pictures can be found over at Mobile Review.

I think this will be a good seller this christmas, but I'm not sure on what the availability of it is in the UK at the moment. I'll have to go to a mobile phone shop and find out.

Post ID: 187, posted by jase at 07:59 PM
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Tuesday, December 2, 2003

PS3

Just reading The Register, I noticed this article about the PlayStation 3. Is the picture shown, a concept art design picture of the PS3? It looks pretty smart and I reckon even if it is not official, Sony could learn something from it.

I guess we'll just have to keep waiting & hope the hardware in the PS3 is wicked as well.

Post ID: 183, posted by jase at 08:50 AM
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Friday, November 28, 2003

I want a Sun Fire 15K

It has been another good week, although I am happy to say I'm back home now. Over the next two weeks I'll be in Coventry at another Sun office, but since Coventry is near to me, I'll not need a hotel.

At some point soon I'll be back down in Surrey doing more courses, which will be good - more beer etc. Today, before coming home I went over to the Sun HQ not too far from Watchmoor Park and had a look round. Amongst it being a very nice building, I checked out a Sun Fire 15K server which is pretty meaty and costs 4 million - check out the specifications:

-----
* Number of processors: Up to 106 UltraSPARC III Cu 1.2-GHz processors.

* System Interconnect: 150 MHz Sun Fireplane redundant 18X18 data, address and response crossbar interconnect.

* CPU/Memory board: Up to 18 Uniboard CPU/Memory Boards, each holding 4 processors and up to 32 GB memory, providing up to 576 GB memory per domain, and common design across theb entire Sun Fire 3800-15K server family.

* MaxCPU Boards: Supports up to 17 MaxCPU boards, each with 2 processors.

* Redundant System Controllers: Automatic system failover of System Controllers, automatic failover of clock and management functions, with no service interruption to users.

* Availability: Full hardware redundancy, Hot Swap CPU, Memory, I/O, Power and Fans, Upgrades, Online upgrades, Journaling file system, Concurrent maintenance, Full data integrity, Redundant network connections, Redundant storage connections, Hardened operating system kernel, Hardened I/O drivers.

* Dynamic System Domains: Up to 18 fifth-generation Dynamic System Domains allow secure, fault-isolated, dynamic partitioning of resources within a single server.

* Operating System: Solaris 8 Operating Environment (10/01 or later)

* Power/Fan: Full redundancy of power and cooling systems
-----

You can do some serious number crunching with one of those. Actually, you could do even more if you got hold of one of the special units to allow linking of multiple Sunfire 15k's. I don't think they have been publically released yet as they are still under development, but there is one sitting next to the Sunfire 15k I saw earlier.

I also checked out the Sun Fire B1600 Blade Platform which is very nice. Also the brand new, not yet released Sun Blade 2500. I would have got some pictures, but since I was on a tour, did not really have time.

Some of the new kit is a lot better looking as well, some of it looking very nice to have on your desk. I'll have to see if I can get any discount!

Post ID: 179, posted by jase at 07:23 PM
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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Sun kit

So far yesterday and today we've been working our way through the Sun hardware range, starting off with the early Sparc's all the way through to the Sunblade 1000. We'll be checking our some newer models later in the week, some of which have just been released and won't be in real circulation yet.

It's interesting to see how the designs have changed through time. I must say I prefer the new models not only for their better specifications, but better layout as well. Obviously there are some differences compared to a PC, but not anything really major.

Post ID: 176, posted by jase at 03:07 PM
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Thursday, November 20, 2003

ISS release appliance

ISS, who I'm sure you're aware of, have released their first hardware appliance. Well, actually there are a selection, all part of the Proventia G range. IDS products as far as network monitoring goes, just usually log attacks. Now it seems a transition is taking place where new products can help prevent attacks as well. A good combination of a hardware and software solution will be a good addition to any security policy.

I'm not aware of anyone using one of these ISS devices, but I'm sure some reviews will appear soon.
A new toy to play with, if you will.

Post ID: 170, posted by jase at 01:47 PM
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Thursday, November 6, 2003

Exploding Nokia handsets

First I have heard of this kind of thing, but it certainly made me laugh reading this story. Using an unsupported battery from a third party company was said to be blamed, but still, I wouldn't expect my walkman to explode by using unsupported batteries.

So now you don't even need any explosives!

Post ID: 148, posted by jase at 06:26 PM
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Thursday, October 23, 2003

Sony Cybershot DSC-T1

Sony have launched a new slim, fast 5 megapixel camera, the DSC-T1. It looks quite nice and ideal if you want something small and compact. Check out the specs over at DC Resource. There will soon be a review, but because it is so new, there isn't one at the time of me writing this!

Sony have also launched another small 2 megapixel camera, the DSC-U40. Which is a more cash friendly camera.

I've got the Sony DSC-P9, a 4 megapixel camera which is feature packed, well built & compact. I've had it for a year now and I am pleased with it. The quality of pictures is excellent and also when getting pictures printed the quality is just like a normal print - You probably would not know it was taken with a digital camera.

At some point I will probably upgrade to a newer higher megapixel camera, but for a 1MP increase at the moment there is not much point in spending all that money. There are other brands producing good cameras, but I prefer to stick with Sony on this one as not only can I get Sony equipment cheaper, as far as their products go I'm usually impressed. The T1 doesn't have a real zoom, only a 3x optical. One of the reasons it is so compact. I'd prefer to have a camera with a zoom on, the P9 has a 6x, which is part mechanical and part optical and does a pretty good job.

Since I've got a few memory sticks (256mb, 128mb and some smaller ones) I have a lot of space even when shooting some movies, so I always work at the highest quality level the camera can do (2272 x 1704).

Sony are meant to be releasing an 8MP camera shortly, so quite a jump from the range of 5MP cameras. Really the quality difference would mostly be noticed when printing off pictures and mine are usually for online use but I get some printed sometimes.

I'll probably get a few more years out of mine and upgrade when the MP rating is higher.

Post ID: 107, posted by jase at 11:17 PM
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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Hardware Hell... or Hardware Harmony?

Just reading JZ's blog I came over this post about his hardware troubles. I found it interesting, as it is one of those types of problems that really annoy you, no matter when they occur!

Luckily, I've never had any problems like this when building new boxen, for myself or at work / customers. Each time, it has been a case of putting the bits together and boom...all is well!

A few months ago I put together my new box, the spec is as follows:

* Intel P4 2.4Ghz
* 512MB DDR RAM
* Samsung 20GB IDE HDD
* Maxtor 120GB IDE HDD
* Liteon 52X CDROM
* Pioneer 106D CDRW/DVD-RW/+RW
* Old Gfx card (Got to change this)
* Onboard networking / sound on the motherboard (Gigabyte 8PE667 Ultra 2)

Which pretty much sums that one up. It is nice, but I've just built another new box... the spec of this one is:

* AMD AthlonXP 3000
* Samsung 512MB DDR RAM
* Maxtor 120GB SATA HDD,
* Sony 52X24X52 CDRW
* Sapphire Radeon 9600 Atlantis 256MB DDR Gfx card
* Onboard sound / ethernet on motherboard (Asus A7V600)


So 2 nice boxen there for me to play with.
My old box (P120) which was switched on for most of the time it was my main machine (up until March this year, heh) is still running fine, after all this time. I've upgraded bits on it, but only ever had to change the HDD which became faulty. I think I'll use that box for something else now. The first new box is switched on all the time and is running fine so far, the other new box is built, but has no OS yet!

Points to learn? Well, hardware can be reliable, as I have found, but it can also be unreliable as we find at the most unexpected times. Whatever happens, I always prefer to build my own. One of the main things people make mistakes with is buying incompatible hardware...so check if you're not sure! In second place must be rogue static discharges killing your equipment!

Friday, August 29, 2003

New Hardware

Well since I've just been paid, I was thinking about spending money on upgrading my old boxen. New motherboard, cpu, case and ram should do the trick.

But then I thought, spending more money I don't have...


Ahh, fuck it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

New job, new boxen!

I've started my new job, so have been busy with that. Hence why I have not been uppdating as much, but hopefully I might muster something up every day in future?

We shall see. Anyway, today (my 2nd day) the bits for some new boxen came at work, one is mine, not sure what's going to be done with the other two. They are AMD 1.5GHZ, 512MB RAM, 40GB HDD, 52X CD-ROM. Sound, gfx and networking all built in to the boards. Two I built up from scratch and the other one I just replaced the board, CPU and memory.

Tomorrow I'll ghost the drives. There are a load of boxen sitting aroung which could be used for something, so I'll see if I can get some in use for running FreeBSD, OpenBSD & or some other OS's. Check out Ben's blog, he does not like hardware much! Why? See here you might want to check Tom Gilder's entry about hardware too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

HDD Storage

Whilst browsing Slashdot today, I noticed a post regarding a story on new HDD storage techniques. Current technology is always being replaced and although in the HDD world new technologies have allowed for faster access times and more storage, the backbone of the storage method in the drives has not really changed.

Until now...

This article talks about the changes. An interesting read...with drive capacity in the 200+gb volumes already, it makes you wonder what will be the entry level capacity of desktop pc's in the near future!

I think we'll need all this extra capacity, with all the P2P based downloading most of us do these days!

Monday, July 21, 2003

New DVD Writer

Well the new DVD writer is now installed, I returned the old one & got a nice new Sony CD-RW (52X2X/52) which is better than the original MSI one I've had relpaced (48X16X48). I don't really need the new one, so I'll probably just sell it or use it in another box for install / backup purposes.

It's only early, but I think I'm going to get some sleep for a bit as I'm in one of those moods, where you don't know what to do...bored? Sleep is the only way out!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

DVD Writers

Well I have decided to get one. I've been looking around at the various drives on the market and decided upon the new Pioneer 106.

Looking around for the best price, I headed over to The DVD Forums to check out the Bargains forum. As expected, sites listed are selling cheaper than anywhere else I've seen. The usual price both online and offline in shops is around the 150 mark for the OEM drive.

SVP Communications are currently selling it for 129.99 including VAT! A nice saving and good reports about this supplier.

It just goes to show it is always best to do a little bit of shopping around!

UPDATE: The drive has just arrived! nice and fast delivery, I only ordered yesterday!

Monday, July 14, 2003

CD writers

Today I was in the process of burning a cd. Ok, quite a common thing to do these days. Correct. It was however, a data cd, so I set about burning it at 48X... so far so good. Burnt fine, cd image copied to cd and all is good.

Or so it seemed.

Soon after I decided to burn another mpeg file, at a slower 12X (I usually use this speed for all burn jobs). Anyway, the writer started making some wierd sounds...great! Try again, same! Damn. Well, although the writer still appears to work, it makes very odd sounds, like there is something stuck inside. Annoying when the drive is only 3 months old, like the rest of this box.

My point is hardware can never (die) at the correct time and instead of giving some warning, it just happens all in one go, but it still works you say?! True, but for how long? I'm going to replace it now & probably get a DVD writer too.