Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The rest of the world makes fun of our "Telco"

Yup that's right, rats took out one of Telecom NZ's fibre paths and then just two days later a spade took out the rest of their North Island network. That's right, our major "Telco" only has two paths for it's core "carrier grade" network. So much for their "Five 9's" propaganda.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

ComCom suggests Telecom take it's own pill...

The Commerce Commission is suggesting that Telecom NZ take a quick look
at what it's (subsidiary is) asking Telstra (in Australia) to do, and
then apply it to it's operations in NZ.

Heh heh, all rings and round-a-bouts... Telecom is beating up on
Telstra (in Aussi( for doing exactly what Telecom is doing in NZ...

These guys are more one-eyed than a Canterbury fan!

64bit .Net? v2.0 only - nearly...

Came across this interesting blog entry.
By default v1.0 and v1.1 apps will only run in the 32bit mode on 64bit Windows.
And even if you force 64bit mode, using a 64bit loader/wrapper, it will only stay 64bit if there are no 32bit dependancies.
Kinda logical, but it would have been nice if they'd used some kind of 64-32bit glue, so 64bit apps could have 32bit dependancies.
Isn't that how Win9x worked with it's 16bit parts?

When is a crack not a crack?

"When it presents no real threat."
Yeah, right! Some Indian programmer breaks Microsoft's anti-piracy scheme and that's no threat?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Unrest over Microsoft's grading scheme for staff...

Looks like Microsoft's "innovative" grading scheme for staff (affecting bonuses, promotion, etc) is causing a fair amount of unrest...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Symantec Worm propogation simulator

Friday, June 17, 2005

Talking furniture?

Sounds like a university project has gotten loose!

Instant Fame

Telecom NZ have had enough of money grubbing advertising agencies...

So now they want us to come up with their adverts! Want Instant Fame?

Rather a lot of "Adult" examples...

Friday, June 10, 2005


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More Apple on INTEL

This is one of the better takes on this.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Steve Jobs confirms rumors - Apple to transition to Intel CPUs

Tom's Hardware Guide: Tom's Hard News

It's true.. [sigh] - IRam Speeds Windows XP Start Up - IRam Speeds Windows XP Start Up

It's funny, solid-state hard drives have been around for ages, but have always cost an arm and a leg... So why has it taken so long to come up with a simple little board with RAM slots and a battery? Kudos to Giga-byte for doing it! But you've flawed your system.

You're using SATA (presumably v2.0 at 300Meg/s) for the data transfer! (dispite already being plugged into the PCI slot). 60x faster? That would make the average SATA drive run at 5Meg/s.

Still, US$60 (plus RAM cost), starts looking very attractive...

Oh well, at least they'll saturate the SATA channel :)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apple to Intel announcement at WWDC?

Apple to Intel announcement at WWDC?


Just when POWER CPU's are poised to take off (thanks to being in the three leading next-gen consoles), Apple is going to switch to INTEL! Now if they were switching to AMD... (but AMD often have volume problems, so probably not a great idea)

But as this article points out, if OS/X will run on INTEL (sounds like Pentium-D or Pentium-M targets), then presumably it can run on AMD (AthlonX2 and 64?).

I really don't get it. These rumors have been coming and going for the last couple of weeks and I for one hope they're not true (I much prefer the idea of Apple adopting INTEL Xscale for some small device, though it does go against all that Apple have ever stood for.)

Please Apple, please stick with the POWER CPUs, they're about to get cheaper (hopefully, thanks to the volume of console sales), OS/X already runs on POWER, Apple have already changed CPU architecture once before (Motorola 680x0 -> POWER), applications on OS/X on POWER often outperform Windows on INTEL despite the huge gap in MHz [PentiumM/Athlon show that MHz is not king].

With the battle of the multicores now ramping up, these are going to be interesting times, and with IBM backing INTEL on it's own hardware (only servers, since it sold of it's PCs) and yet backing POWER for Apple (existing G5), Sony (PS3), Microsoft (X360) and apparently Nintendo (Revolution - not clear if this is actually a POWER CPU) and in it's Unix (AIX/Linux) servers... I wonder how much pressure IBM can bring to bear on Microsoft to develop Windows on POWER... (at which point head to head comparisons would get real interesting...)

Actually... did a little more reading... word is that the triple core CPU going into the X360 is of the POWER line, but the multi-core CPUs for the PS3 and Revolution are custom CPUs. Which still makes life interesting since MS has had to port the Xbox OS to POWER, which means that porting Windows can't be too hard... But does reduce the potential CPU volumes...

[sigh]I should stick to developing... I don't even have a console... don't really want one either...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Windows x64 home truths...

Nathan Mercer (Microsoft NZ) has been running around New Zealand, touting Windows x64 with AMD and has put some interesting tit-bits in his blog.

I was reading this article from Microsoft and noticed a few things:

  • Windows x64 does not use 64bit memory addressing, it uses 40bit! (OK, that's still 16 terabytes of addressable memory.. but still, a little misleading)
  • WinXP Pro x64 has a physical RAM limitation of 128Gig, while Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition has a limit of 32Gig!
  • One of the reasons for increased performance is the increased number (and size) of CPU registers.  Hmmm.. but we see this often with CPU revisions within x86 (SSE/SSE2 [and SSE3?] added new, longer registers).  But by and large, the main reason for performance is the increase in physical RAM, if you have it installed...
  • Security is improved. Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in this case.  Two points here:
    1. MS implemented limited DEP in software, even when you don't have a DEP capable CPU
    2. There was no reason that DEP support couldn't have been put into x86 CPUs, INTEL/AMD just need to give you a reason to upgrade...
  • Compatibility.... Hmm... if we don't use Windows x64, there's no compatibility issue...  If we do use Windows x64 aren't we glad that it's "... essentially feature comparable with the 32-bit versions."  Hmmm... that's "comparable", not "compatible".  I guess MS is starting to learn some lessons from Windows on Alpha and Windows on Itanium (OK, so the underlying CPU's weren't x86 compatible either, but they're doing it for Xbox 360...).  BTW no 16bit support at all!  No support for 32-bit drivers (better hope your printer/scanner/modem/webcam/etc vendor has released a new driver...) or applications that depend on 32-bit drivers (except MS Exchange, funnily enough...)
In summary, I'm sure this will all be moot point in a year or two, since you'll only be able to buy machines with x64 based CPUs and hardware vendors will have released drivers and no-one will notice the difference in performance, cause MS Office will be bigger and slower, Windows will have even more bells and whistles (Longhorn?) and for 90% of corporate users, a P4 2.0Ghz, with 512MB RAM, will still be more than enough to run WinXPpro with Office2003...
[I must be grumpy today, too much ranting, better do some work... yeah, like that's going to cheer me up!]

MS Snubs porting to PowerPC

Computer World article

Key phrase: "No, this is not one of our supported platforms."
Of course not, you've only recently started porting the Xbox code to PowerPC, so of course you don't "support" real Windows on PowerPC.

Key phrase: " plans to port to Power at this time."
Maybe not, but I bet MS have a team doing a feasibility study...

Given that the console market isn't as big as the PC market (thanks to corporates?), though
 it's probably pretty close, which means that whatever hardware is used in the consoles will become very cheap (OK, so in the console's themselves it's subsidised by the price of software/games).  Can you say "Server Farms"?

And if IBM are at all committed to the platform (and they're probably already doing it for the AIX/Linux community), how about multicore PowerPC blade servers?  Talk about packing a whole lot of punch in a very dense form factor.  BTW I see their existing POWER Blade fits into their standard BladeCenter, alongside INTEL based Blades... nice.

Then again, how much of the server market does IBM have (HP/Compaq & Dell are probably fighting it out), how long before IBM sells off it's server division?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Google Toolbar now supports Blogging!

Just downloaded the latest Google Toolbar and it supports blogging!.

Just a basic plain-text editor, that links to But still, makes it even easier to blog while I'm at my desktop and spot something interesting.

Now I just need something for my PDA... must take some time to find one (or an HTML email editor...)

Hmmm... I also wish had a better way to support attachments, particularly images... hint hint...

If you're really bored... You can follow my luck with the MS newsgroups...

I've got a few background issues at the moment:

  • One is Performance Monitor on my Win2k3 Dev box.
    It's gone nutz and lost all the performance objects (CPU, Index Server, Disk, etc, etc) and only displays numbers...
    Someone has previously reported this, but got no response and their post has mysteriously disappeared from the MS Web Newsgroup but thankfully still appears in Google. [Actually, and I thought I had, just found that I posted to the groups a while back on this and still no response, as an MSDN Universal subscriber, I'm supposed to get a response within 48 hours from MS or an MVP...]
  • Another is with the ISA2004 install procedure for setting up SQL as the logging back-end. [MS, Google]
    Looks like there's a mistake in the docs...
  • An older one is based around an ISAPI filter for IIS, to do user impersonation based on client IP address, but I'm still waiting on the MVP to write up his demo code.
Another issue I have, which I haven't posted yet, since I'm still trying to narrow it down, is with Index Server on Win2k3.
Just a couple of weeks ago, it went ballistic and decided that it needed to index millions of documents in directories that only had a few thousand docs.
I think I've narrowed it down to a performance setting. If you set Indexing to "instant" and there are more documents than it can scan in a given interval (haven't found where that interval is documented yet), then they just start piling up... And it gets worse if you have multiple catalos... I have three. One (System) has around 200,000 docs to worry about, another (custom for an app) has about 100,000 and the third is the standard Web one, with only about 1000 docs.
Why this happened all of a sudden I don't know and I'm sure I didn't have the Indexing set to "instant" when the problem started. I changed it to that to try and get through the indexing quicker! This seems to be an old problem [link above is for 2002], so I would have thought people would have hit it more often and MS would have fixed it so that the same document doesn't appear in the "Docs to Index" queue more than once, or for re-indexing not to get queued until the last one completes.

If I could get Performance Monitor working, I'd check out the disk activity, since CPU/RAM usage is low (on this Dual XEON 2.4GHz HyperThreaded 2Gig RAM, 2*36Gig SCSI [RAID 1], 3*72Gig [RAID 5]) it must be disk holding it back, but it didn't use to be a problem, all three catalos have been around for months and the size hasn't changed much. Oh well, I'm pausing all the catalos and then letting them index one at a time, when that's done, I'll change the performance setting (back to lazy) and hopefully they'll be happy... If not [yells]MICROSOFT![/yells]

Oh and just remembered anotherone that's in the background.
We run SharePoint Team Services v1.0 (aka 2001 I think) and it's got a quirk (pre OfficeXP sp3) of not being able to delete users once the user table get's fairly large, due to too many foreign keys. (infact SQL goes nuts and lets everything fall on the floor...)
I've followed the proceedure on the support page, twice now and it still does it...

Right now I've got it going off doing a "Server Health Check", which entails matching up all the files and DB records, making sure that everything makes sense... Which promptly got it sending out Change Notification emails [on my behalf] for things that haven't changed... I guess they were changes that were queued up in the system somewhere... [sigh] scared the heck out of some of our users when they thought I was messing with documents [I work for a lawfirm remember...]
Note to self: don't let MS products do "auto repair" functions, just get them to detect and report them. Then I can pick up the pieces without scaring the users...