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Check out io11.com for the very best apps 0

Jan12

Well seeing as you are here anyway, let me plug a new site of mine io11.com

Its a one stop shop that finds the very best apps in every category for iPhone, iPad, android, windows & windows phone plus mac OSX.

We also need writers, so please get in touch if you are interested.

Thanks!

Get 1GB Free with Dropquest 2011 0

Dropbox is one of my unsung heroes of digitalness. Sometimes things seem too good to be true and Dropbox certainly seems to be one of those things, but in fact it is really a great, free service that JUST WORKS!

Now they are running a treasure hunt to get 1gb free storage added to your account and although the biggest biggest prizes have gone, the 1gb offer is good for everyone who completes the quest.

The is even some great guides for Dropquest 2011 and the best I have found is this one.

What are you waiting for?

Why Linux Admins Use a Mac 4

An interesting article describes one guy’s observation that (almost) all of the Linux admins on the training course he attended were using a Mac and was for some reason surprised by this.

Linux in the enterprise is still mostly a “server-only” thing and I am predicting it will stay that way for at least the next 5-10 years. Myself, I work in a large enterprise IT department consisting of approximately 1000 IT staff and developers. Almost all our servers are running on Linux or AIX, yet I can count on the fingers of 2 hands the number of people who use Linux on their laptops.

The rest run Windows or OSX to do their day to day work, even though our company offers standard Linux builds. How could it be that such a Linux/Unix focused workforce prefers to use anything but Linux on their desktops? Surely it is easier to work in a terminal focused environment especially when we have the skills to fix any issues that arise?

Let me share a few reasons and experiences why this huge group of Linux / Unix experts do not use Linux on the desktop:

continue reading »

Kinect Humble Pie – Or how the Kinect is pretty damn good! 3

I wasn’t a naysayer as such, I just underestimated the value of honest-to-goodness-fun-games. I wished for the Kinect for Christmas, not really for myself, but so that my wife and 2 year old son could perhaps join me in my hobby of choice a little more often. For my son I bought Kinectimals of course, and My Shape – Fitness Evolved for the wife to go along with the bundled Kinect Adventures.

My hopes were for an better than Wii experience and I can say it has been achieved!

continue reading »

Synology DiskStation 210J Mini Review 0

The Background (Why no love for WHS?)

As I have blogged about many times before, I have been an avid WHS user at home for a good few years (in fact since it’s first beta version) using a Tranquil PC server for its very low power consumption.

But in the last month or two, and after a few tricky recovery situations, I have become less and less of a fan of the solution I had. My demands are simple… no hassle, redundant backup of the things that are valuable to me. Which can be summarised as photographs, home movies, documentation and serial numbers (all other types of data can be replaced!).

The thing that finally pushed me into action was a recent power-cut or thunderstorm that caused the network card in my Tranquil Home Server to be fried beyond repair (no surge protection … stupid me!). I looked into the options for replacement, but because of the extremely limited space in the server, even the smallest network card on the market would not fit, and wireless is certainly not an option for a machine serving a lot of media files and performing full machine backups.

So I started looking into NAS solutions, which it seems, have come a long way in the couple of years since I was last in the market. continue reading »

Valve is God! Steam Coming to the Mac! 0

Perhaps three or four years ago, Steam was a swear word in my world. It was some buggy piece of bloatware that I was forced to use for some of my favourite games.

But for the last 2 years or so, I can only applaude valve for what they have done. Steam to me, is now THE model of what the future of desktop gaming should be modelled on. continue reading »

When Home Servers Go Tits-up! 2

I have spent quite some time on several occassions on here praising the awesomeness that is Windows Home Server. So it’s only fair that when the shit hits the fan, I spend a similar amount of time cursing the entire ancestoral history of everyone involved with Windows Home Server!
My machine is the fantastic (if terribly named) Tranquil PC T7-HSG with a 500gb hard drive of its own and an attached USB 1TB WD green power hard drive. This setup has been running around 9 months now without a single issue. I have not even needed to log onto the machine since I installed around 10 months ago as it quietly kept itself up to date and served my storage and backup needs. During that time we have had probably five or six power outages and each time its just been a case of switching it back on and it just resumed it’s duties faithfully without a murmur of discontent.
BUT, in the last week or two I have had some issues which have begun to snowball a little out of control. Occasionally I would request a file from it’s storage and it would not be available due to an “I/O error”. After a couple of days of assuming this was a new ‘feature’ of my new Snow Leopard installation, I did the unthinkable and actually went down to the workroom to physically check the machine!
What I noticed was that though the USB drive had its power light on, there seemed to be no disk activity. I cycled the power and low and behold the problem was fixed… for about 24 hours. I continued this monotonous pattern for a few days (just no time to investigate properly) until I started getting messages about file conflicts as well as the USB drive occassionally dissapearing from the storage pool. On more than one occasion I have seen messages about bad blocks and other ugly things such as extremely slow response on explorer.exe tasks such as browsing the filesystem whilst using remote desktop. Some something is seriously up with this hitherto flawless machine. Furthermore the backup service refuses to start and file transfer from the WHS machine to other machines is incredibly slow (
So I needed to make time and start to investigate the root cause. Scandisk on the larger drive seems to go extremely slowly, so slowly it hadnt got past the index scan in 8 hours (bear in mind only about 400gb of the 1tb is actually used). Getting a little panicky I thought I would start copying the REALLY important data such as photos and family videos off the machine, but this would fail on many of the files with the same “I/O error” as earlier. I unplugged the USB drive and attached it to another Windows 7 PC and tried to physically copy the files over from the drive… again more failure. Seeing as these files are so valuable I am using folder duplication for those shares (meaning a physical copy is kept on both the hard drives) which should mean if one drive is failed then I should be able to retrieve them from the other drive. So I tried to copy them directly from the 500gb internal drive…. failure!!
So at this stage I see the problem as being one of several things:
- One or both hard drives is failing
- One or both of the hard drives is corrupt
- The WHS db or ‘tombstones’ are messed up
- The actual files themselves really are corrupt and un-recoverable!
My best option right now according to the very knowledgable folks at the wegotserved forums is to try a server recovery. This is basically a reinstallation of WHS that doesn’t touch the data. In the process I will end up with a new db and all the tombstones will be rebuilt. This may be enough for me to get my important data off the machine. Then I can start using some disk utilities to try and establish the exact problems with the drives and replace them if necessary. I will embark on this project tonight and cross my fingers!
The thing that has angered me is that there is no early warning of these problems in any logs. OK I understand a total and sudden complete failure of a drive would be impossible to warn about, but this seems like a slow corruption which therefore should be detectable and thus I should have been receiving big flashy warnings on my connected machines for a few weeks so that recovering the data to other machines could be embarked on as early as possible.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress and the results in case you should hit a similar problem.

I have spent quite some time on several occassions on here praising the awesomeness that is Windows Home Server. So it’s only fair that when the shit hits the fan, I spend a similar amount of time cursing the entire ancestoral history of everyone involved with Windows Home Server! continue reading »

Dust 514 – I am VERY Excited! 0

Aug23

Video: Dust 514 – Ego-Shooter im Universum von Eve Online – Gamescom 2009 (5:18)

In summary, an MMOFPS, on Xbox360 and Playstation 3, based in the Eve Online universe, and linked to the Eve Online MMORPG universe on the PC. Those playing Dust 514 fight for control of the planets within Eve, whilst those playing Eve Online continue battling over space.

The best bit…. the two games are linked to each other so Eve Online players can hire Dust 514 players to take planets for them to profit from within the Eve Online world.

Sheer frickin genius!

Xmarks for Safari Broken in Snow Leopard – no fix in sight 4

I am in the middle of writing a Snow Leopard preview piece, but with rumours of the latest build being the gold master, I have to say Apple’s ‘just works’ slogan can be thrown out of the window if this really is release code.

continue reading »

Comments are b0rked 4

Aug19
Thanks to a nice bloke called ‘Magnus’ I have been made aware that the commenting system is b0rked with a capital 0. I did think it was strange that there was no comments on anything since April (when we changed to the new look). The problem is that you the commenter should be able to post without being registered, but you supply an email and answer a simple maths question. The problem is that you can’t see the question :)
Soooo, I need to dig into the code and see what the problem is, but in the meantime, if you log in as a registered user you will be able to comment without issue.
Thanks for your patience and thanks again Magnus for bringing it to my attention!

Thanks to a nice bloke called ‘Magnus’ I have been made aware that the commenting system is b0rked with a capital 0. I did think it was strange that there was no comments on anything since April (when we changed to the new look). The problem is that you the commenter should be able to post without being registered, but you supply an email and answer a simple maths question. The problem is that you can’t see the maths question which makes providing the answer quite difficult :)

Soooo, I need to dig into the code and see what the problem is, but in the meantime, if you log in as a registered user you will be able to comment without issue. I have posted Magnus’s comment as myself for now (couldn’t not post it when it was so complimentary :) )

Thanks for your patience and thanks again Magnus for bringing it to my attention!

UPDATE: The problem is now fixed, but I have had to introduce some stronger spam criteria instead of the maths check. So if your comment doesn’t show up straight away, then it’s in the approval queue and I will approve the genuine comments as quickly as possible. As always the easiest way to hassle free commenting is to register and then most of the checks are removed because I have the added tool of a mighty banhammer :)

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