Archive for the “Computing” Category
This “too expensive” angle has been played out. I’ve owned Sidekick, Treo, Blackberry and even nice non-smart SonyEricsson phones. They all had their quirks and I always ended up moving to another phone to fill some deficiency or missing feature. My iPhone is much, much better than all of them.
There are a few things you use everyday like maybe your car, mobile phone, computer/notebook, and so on. I am willing to spend more on those things I use everyday if it makes like easier, less complicated, or better in some way. That works for me. However, I don’t spend money on things like cable TV, a DVD library, etc.
It’s also not about showing off or status symbols because I don’t LIKE showing off my stuff, I’m generally too modest for that. I like demoing the technology, not the products themselves.
I really think the iPhone compared to any other phone is similar to the difference between Mac OS X and Windows. The Mac may not be able to do absolutely everything Windows can do, but it does most things in a way that actually makes sense. Sometimes there is a premium to pay for this.
A illustration of the difference: Every phone matches the number of a call to a contact in the address book, and displays the name of the person on the screen. Only the iPhone is smart enough to display “Bob or Betty Newbie” if it happens to match more than one contact. Finally! It gets better, if the last names don’t match it displays “Bob Newbie or Bella Goth.” That Bob Newbie gets around.
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I’ve had my iPhone for a few days, and I put together a review of my first impressions. Read more to find out. Read the rest of this entry »
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I had a request to install and configure an instant messaging service for a couple of users who operated out of different buildings. After doing some research, I went with the Jabber/XMPP server called Wildfire. Most of the other servers I looked at seemed to require much more configuration than Wildfire. Wildfire also ran officially on Windows, which is a requirement for our more important services. It was installed and had basic functionally within just a few minutes.
LDAP configuration was easy to initially configure, but took some research to properly setup. I now have an Active Directory group that provides instant messaging access, and I can use other groups to automatically organize users so there is no need to manually manage contact lists. I also have disabled the users ability to add other users to their contact lists to keep user groups isolated.
To test the new service, I used the Spark client inside the Technology Center to see how it would work on a department scale. Everyone seemed to like it, but doubted the overal usefulness of an instant messaging service to a department with close physical proximity.
After seeing the service working well, I switched into deployment mode. I had to make the instant messaging service automatically deploy for users who needed it. The clients must automatically sign on or it doesn’t work. After doing more research, I rolled out the Pandion client to my department officially. I created a custom MSI with preconfigured settings and deployed using group policy.
Pandion includes the unique ability to use integrated Windows authentication. The client loads automatically on logon, and signs on automatically using the credentials of the users domain logon. Wildfire required a 3rd party patch to enable this functionality. Be aware that the patch I linked is only for version 3.0+ of Wildfire.
Soon after rolling out the client to my department, someone saw the client and really liked the idea of instant messaging. So last week I deployed it to another department. I have not received any feedback at this point so I don’t know how well it is going. I will post again once there has been enough time to do a proper review of instant messaging here.
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I was excited to see VMware Fusion released last week, since I missed getting into the private beta. It was a fairly large download, about the size as VMware Workstation. After the painless installation process, I copied over some of my template VMDKs for Windows XP and Server 2003 to my MacBook so I could get going as soon as possible. I started up VMware Fusion, nice interface, very clean. Now to get down to business.
I didn’t get very far. To get Fusion working at this point as intended, you must do a CD install. I’ll probably do that at some point, but.. what a bummer.
The “New Virtual Machine” wizard was a bit too friendly for me, and didn’t offer any custom or advanced choice. It felt like the old Virtual PC for PowerPC Macs. No option to connect a template drive to the new virtual machine like I can do in VMware Workstation. Oh well, I thought I would just create a blank drive and edit the virtual machine once it’s created.
Nope, the virtual machine configuration editor is essentially useless. All the options “will be editable in a future release.” No way to attach my template VMDKs. It appears that I could edit the VMX file manually, but that’s a lot of extra work! You also get a warning about debug mode, which was enabled on VMware Server.
I plan to use Fusion in my presentations instead of bringing an extra notebook to connect to the projector, I hope it becomes more functional before mid February!
Update: I took my blank VM, renamed the blank VMDK file and replaced it with my template Windows XP VMDK by renaming the template to the old file name and placing it in the virtual machine’s folder. I booted it up and it worked like a charm.
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I’ve been using Parallels Desktop for OS X (build 1848 and 1884) on my MacBook to put together demos for my Desktop Deployment seminar. I could have used VMware Workstation on my HP Compaq nc6120 like I do on my workstation, but my MacBook is faster and it gave me an excuse to try out Parallels Desktop. The following are the areas I think are important differences from my experience with VMware Workstation: Read the rest of this entry »
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I’ve noticed something new that my MacBook does compared to my previous PowerBook. Often I will use my battery into the ground and OS X will force the notebook into sleep mode. I’ll stick it into my bag until I can charge it.
If I left it in my bag until the battery went empty, the PowerBook would die. I would have to plug it in again and boot it up.
The MacBook does things a bit differently. If you leave it in your bag long enough, it will die. However, once you plug it back in and power it up again, you will see a screen similar to the startup screen, but with a progress bar. Once it’s done in a few seconds, you’ll be back to where you left off. For someone like me that leaves 10 websites open and any number of other files, this is awesome. I don’t lose anything now. I wonder why they didn’t advertise this feature!
Apple calls it the “Safe Sleep” feature. It’s documented in support article 302477. It looks like they added it in the last revision of the PowerBooks.
If you’d like to enable this on a system that doesn’t have it on by default you can try this article by Andrew Escobar.
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I just put a 160GB drive in my MacBook (pictured in the site header), what a hassle it was! I had to run to the hardware store to get the proper torx tool (T-8 in case you’re wondering).
First, I had issues creating an image (.DMG) of the 80GB drive. First I tried to create a image of the disk itself (disk0), not the volume (disk0s2). The resulting image wouldn’t mount. Not sure if it was just corrupted or if some other problem happened. I had problems formatting the external drive through the USB interface, the Firewire interface worked great.
What actually worked for me:
- Install OS X to my external HD (using Firewire!) using the least install options possible. I had to reformat the volume for no reason to let OS X install to it, no idea why.
- Update to newest OS X updates (They make changes/patches to Disk Utility that might help your imaging) to the external drive
- Run disk utility
- Create DMG of your VOLUME. It will look like “disk0s2,” not just “disk0.” Click File, New, Disk Image from disk0s2 (Yours may be different. So long as you click the correct volume in the left column of disk utility before going into this menu, it will show the correct volume).
- I’d use read/write format, but it’s up to you. Compressed seemed to be CPU limited and took longer.
- Start the process. I used Activity Monitor, disk activity tab to look at the transfer rate.
- Shutdown MacBook, install new disk.
- Boot up on external drive again
- Find your disk image, mount it.
- Partition new disk in disk utility
- Go to Restore tab
- Drag and drop the desktop icon of the volume to the source
- Drag and drop the new drive icon on the desktop to the destination
- Click restore
- Reboot from new disk
- Once you open your disk you’ll notice some new icons. Don’t delete them, they are important and should be hidden.
- To get rid of your new friends etc, var, usr go to this link: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301677
- Follow the directions (it’s just one command!)
It seems to be working so far. I wish I had the time to do a proper reinstall, maybe later! I probably should have used Carbon Copy Cloner.
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I have had a hard time finding multimonitor wallpaper for my desktop at work, but no longer! Some of these are just amazing.
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I never thought I would be ‘blogging’ but here I am. I’m not sure what direction the content on this site will go, but I suppose nobody does initially. I hope to update it often with little tidbits instead of monster posts. Feel free to subscribe to it using the Entries RSS feed.
My idea is to combine the topics of Computing (What’s cool, What’s new), Information Technology (Stories from the life of a network admin), and Instructional Technology (Supporting teachers using technology in the classroom and helping our students get ahead)
If you want to know more about who I am, and what it is I actually do, check out the “About” link at the top.
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