27 May 2011

worst receptionist ever

Receptionist: "Dewwey, Billem and Howe, CPAs, how may I direct your call?"
Me: "I need to talk to Sally please."
R: "A lot of folks are out today for the holiday weekend, let me see if she's in."
sound of handset against fabric
R (muffled, but still intelligible): "Sally are you in today?"
Sally (muffled, quieter, but still intelligible and recognizable): "Nope."
sound of handset against fabric
R: "I'm sorry, but she's not in the office today, can I direct you to someone else, or her voicemail?"
Me: "No thanks, I'll send her email."
Me (muttered under breathe as I hung up): "learn to use the mute button, idiot."

Email went out about 5 minutes after that conversation.

She replied to the email 2 minutes later.

16 May 2011

Keeping it Classy Rochester!

on the way to prom limo stop shopping trip to get Red Bull, AMP, bottled water and condoms. Keeping it classy in #rochmn.
On the way to prom limo stop shopping trip to get Red Bull, AMP, bottled water and condoms. Keeping it classy in #rochmn.

30 December 2010

Open Source predictions for 2011

It was interesting today to read two different takes on a prediction of opensource success in 2011. One from my friend Tom, who was reacting to a post from a peer to his management chain. They both got a lot that I agree with, but I think they both also blew it on a few parts. I suspect for a simple reason: they're too close to the subject. Having a couple years where my paycheck didn't directly depend on the subject has, I think, given me a bit more objectivity. So here's my take on the same set of questions.

  • Will ChromeOS from Google be an interesting player, will it merge with Android, and will it replace Windows on hundreds of millions of desktops? Yes / maybe, on one hand I hope so (leverage development efficiencies), on the other I hope not (android has turned into a cluster fsck that I hope chromeOS won't. / not this year, probably not in 2012 either... (I think Tom's just jealous he didn't get a CR-48 ;P, Bob gets full marks from me.)
  • Will Android devices surpass those from Apple? Depends how you define "surpass". Quality? never. Volume? possibly in aggregate. (I think we're all in agreement here.)
  • Will one tablet maker emerge that will clobber the iPad in market share? Not snowball's a chance in hell. (all in agreement.)
  • Will some flavor of Windows be more significant than Android on tablets? No way. (ditto)
  • Will we see more open source apps on the most popular smartphone platforms? Apps? Officially, no. Unofficially, yeah, jail breaks will add apps, and a lot of those will be open source. But I think the more common space here will be the under the covers stuff, not the apps. In that space I expect to see more open source library code brought into smartphone space. (I think we're all pretty close here... though Bob's a bit, vague. ;)
  • Will Linux gain further market share as people continue to flee from Solaris and install new servers for new applications? Tom hit the nail on the head here... Unix for Unix swap... boring. But I think it will happen as people flee from Oracle and the crashing remains of once mighty Sun.
  • Will there be more lawsuits around the use of open source in smartphones? I think it's a safe bet to say there will be more lawsuits based on software period. All kinds of software on all kinds of devices. It's going to continue to happen until we as a society step back and address our broken patent system in the area of software.
  • Will Windows Phone 7 beat out Android phones or iPhones? if I had to pick between the two, it might beat Android simply because microsoft will learn from the mistakes being made in the droid camp. So on the quality scale it might... quantity... nah, I think it's starting too late to have a chance.
  • Will LibreOffice pass OpenOffice in downloads? Will *what* pass OpenOffice? The fact I have to go look up what that is should tell you something.... Oh, this is OOo with a new name, and more fallout from Oracle buying Sun. Maybe, if they get the word out better.
  • Will open source virtualization via KVM start to gain market share against VMWare and Microsoft HyperV? Yes.
  • Will the “open cloud” become more significant and more widely implemented? I doubt it. Cloud comes at two scales: the companies that host their own just because it adds a bullet to some IT department todo list and startups that are the software equivalent to a fabless foundry. The startups goto the major players in the cloud, the AWS types, who don't seem to care about "open cloud" much. The companies goto their IT supplier of choice and buy a system, they don't care about open or compatible really, because they're the only ones using the cloud. So they will keep using whatever the IT company supplies, and they will keep 'innovating' faster than the open standards can keep up. Nailing Jell-o to a wall anyone?
  • Will Windows Internet Explorer continue to lose market share to Firefox, Chrome, and Safari? Probably. But they have a chance with IE9 and HTML5 to maybe stop the bleeding.
  • Will Diaspora replace FaceBook? Sadly, no.
  • Will any open source system replace WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla in the top three of open source content management systems? Doubt it, but you never know.
  • Will 2011 be the Year of the Linux Desktop? Haha. No. That was, at best, in 2008 or so... before windows 7 came out. Real unix users have already moved to OS/X on the desktop, and windows 7 doesn't suck just enough to be better than the versions that came before it. Sorry GNU/Linux desktop fans, you had your chance, the desktop market was wide open to you... if all the efforts put into all the competing code bases had been aligned you likely would have had a resounding victory. But you forked yourself silly and competed with each other instead of working together, so none of your 20 desktop systems, or 40 email clients, or 12 web browsers, or 92 editors, or 420 minesweeper clones will ever really have any success on the desktop. No, Linux will remain in the datacenter and embedded in devices, unknown by the vast majority of users... because they won't care how the service works, just that it does. That said, where Linux on the "desktop" has a chance, is actually the embedded space... ChromeOS. The concept here is pretty solid, I think google is on to something with this. A large portion of what my parents, my in-laws and my wife use computers for these days is all on the web. The thin client we all wanted back in the day is here... it's ChromeOS as implemented on the CR-48 (and hopefully better devices in the future)!

03 September 2010

Fall Cleaning

Some people do Spring Cleaning, I tend to do Fall Cleaning. In this case, this fall I have a bunch of bigger ticket electronics gear to clear out, some of it is still quite viable. (I've been downsizing the home network lately... out sourcing stuff to google, S3, etc.)  So before I go post craig's list adds, or eBay auctions, I wanted to give folks I actually KNOW a chance to grab up any of this gear.  If you see something you're interested in, make me an offer.

1. Power Mac G5 quad. The biggest, fastest G5 based system Apple ever made, kitted out with 4x 2.5Ghz G5 processors, 3GB of ram (2x1G + 4x256M), 250G + 500G SATA drives, GeForce 7800GT graphics (dual DVI), DVD+RW DL Super drive.  Full specs from apple: http://support.apple.com/kb/SP37 .  Apple replaced the entire logic board for this just at the end of it's Apple Care, so that's all been gone over with a fine toothed comb (they spent HOURS testing it trying to figure out what the failure was, finally took it apart to find the issue.)  It will run 10.5, but I'm selling it with the factory 10.4 image (sorry, my 10.5 upgrade is the family pack, and I still have a G4 mini using part of that license.) Also happily runs ppc64 linux. :)  I have the original packaging, keyboard, mouse etc.

2. Storm iM3075 case. http://www.stormcase.com/StormCaseSizes/StormiM3075.htm (note mine DOES NOT have the foam, it is an empty case... you can add custom foam easily yourself though.) This puppy is unused. I bought it based on an online tool that asked what you needed to pack, and told you what case it would fit in.  I was in a hurry and didn't question it's math until the case arrived. It's quite large, far larger than I actually needed to transport my gear in. I bought a smaller unit and LOVE it. If you have a lot of gear you want to bring along securely, this is for you. I could see photographers fitting an entire studio worth of camera and lighting gear in hear for a mobile studio setup. This particular size also appears to have been very popular with scuba/dive shops when I was looking for it... dunno what it is about this size, but several carried only it and a few very small ones (like just big enough to keep your wallet and some papers in) They also seemed to price gouge the folks that bought this, charging nearly double it's cost.  Again I have the original box, plus it has all the tags and such on it. I would have returned it to the manufacturer, except that since it had to be built to order it was non-returnable. It's been collecting dust in the corner of my office since.

3. custom raid server case w/ system. This is a full height server case with 6x 5.25" drive bays outfit with adapters for 3.5" drives and a pair of massive 120mm fans with thermal controls and lint filters. There's also room for 2 or 3 additional drives in an internal frame on the other side of the partition. The system uses a mobile athlon (amd64) cpu fitted out with a large thermally controlled fan. Plus two more thermally controlled fans. The end result is a very quiet server with a LOT of storage space. Currently outfit with 3x pci ide cards and gige. Just add storage (and an OS) and you could have 3TB of storage for an additional < $500. (current prices on newegg.) Spend a bit more and you could do 12TB for around $700 more I'd guess (if you catch the 2TB sata drives on $99 specials like I did a few weeks ago). This system was designed to be a mythtv/freevo backend server (could do front end too I suppose) quiet, lots of storage. I have the tuner cards for it too if anyone is interested in it as a basis of that kind of project. (pcHDTV)

4. IBM PC300PL, the steel cased one, not the plastic desktop one. 6565-84U 600 Mhz Pentium 3, 640M memory, optical drive, 1x 1G ethernet, 2x 100M ethernet. (hard drive is dead, you'll need your own.)  This system was a great home server / router for years for me... the harddrive on it finally died, and my solution was to migrate the few services left on it out to the cloud instead of rebuilding the entire system on a new drive. Very quiet and low power/heat, loved this box, I just no longer have use for it.

5. SamSung SyncMaster 213T.  1600x1200 in a 21.3" screen. $200 + shipping

6. Baby Björn Travel Crib Lite - Blue. These things are amazing. I'm just sad our little boy has outgrown it. :(


20 August 2010

Notes from my talk at the Twin Cities SMUG on Pro Workflow with SmugMugPro

This is a links list for the talk I gave at the Twin Cities SMUG in August about using Photo Hosting by SmugMugPro to sell photos.

Photo by Josh Hackney

Important caveat: we're going to talk about the tools SmugMug Pro gives you, how you employ those tools is going to be unique to your business model/market.
Full notes about what I spoke on after the break.

Read more »

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29 July 2010

Why men should support the fight against breast cancer

As I sit here writing this, my son is playing on the floor next to me. He keeps asking "mommie, where are you?". She is off playing poker in support of breast cancer. A cause I fully support. ;)

So why should us guys go pink? Here are 3 reasons:

1. BOOBS. You're a guy, right? This should be obvious if you like girls.

2. Cancer is cancer, and it all sucks. The cure for breast cancer just might save your prostate some day. You know, that thing you are supposed to get checked periodically down there behind mr fun? Yeah, that.

3. Was #1 not clear? We are talking about breasts here... boobs, tits, melons, gazongas, righty & lefty, flopsie & mopsie... Whatever you call them, they're awesome.

(and yes, I'm probably going to catch hell for this post.)

(and no, none of those links are to SmugMug galleries... because our TOS kinda make it a boring search.)

27 July 2010

time to move along for my home raid.

Back in January I wrote:

Now hopefully by then, Drobo will have a newer droboshare that's compatible with the bigger arrays like the S... and connects via eSATA or FW800. And hopefully they also have a larger enclosure (6-8 drives) that doesn't have all the extra enterprise features... or has the droboshare built in.

Drobo recently wrote:

You told us what you wanted, and we listened.

Wow. I'll say they did.

That's almost a perfect solution to my home network storage needs. Close enough that I just bought one with 3x 2TB SATA-II drives. (plus it will inherit a 4th from the current raid that replaced the last dead IDE drive.)

What got me moving? Another dead IDE drive. Plus the root file system's USB key is dying... which seems to be killing the userspace parts of the NFS subsystem... which is killing file access for the clients that depend on that storage. (Namely my desktop, Cory's desktop and my laptop.)

Wait, "Root filesystem's USB Key"?

Yeah. This box was built many years ago, when I was an embedded linux hacker at work. The setup is pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. The box boots from two USB keys, one is 128M and the bios sees it as a USB Floppy (so it's bootable), the other is 4G USB key that the bios doesn't see as bootable, but it will recognize as a USB HardDrive. This means that when grub (on the smaller /boot key's bootsector) comes on line, it can access the larger / key via basic bios calls. That key contains the rootfs which is mounted readonly. (The rootfs does have a small number of directories that symlink out to the raid array for read-write storage... /tmp, /var, /home, etc... but generally speaking, the *OS* runs out of a read only image. But the kernel build date is a shade over 4 years ago... and it wasn't a "current" kernel then... I remember rebuilding it by hand because I updated some stuff in the distro which pulled in a glibc update which wanted a kernel update and I refused to upgrade to a new version when I could just patch the compatibility into the one I had working with all my mythtv hardware at the time. (forums said I'd be broken if I upgraded... I didn't wanna risk it.) The bulk of the distro is even older... just a few targeted updates trying to get various things working over time. Many of which never did.

The hardware is pretty fly too... It's a standard "server" tower, with 6x 5.25" bays on the top half of the case. Those bays hold the 6 drives of my raid array, with a custom mounting for a thermally controlled pair of 120mm fans. Great cooling with very little noise. The rest of the system was spec'd out similarly.... the cpu for example is a mobile athlon6. Why mobile? because it gives me the ability to dynamically clock the processor down to 800Mhz for power savings and more importantly to make it quieter. Once upon a time, this box also had my mythtv tuners and a display board and optical digital audio out. The tuner had mpeg encoding hardware, and the display had mpeg decode hardware... so I could be recording one show and watching another and the CPU could remain at 800Mhz with a low load level. Even with software raid. It would suck to have that ability killed by a loud system. :)

I'll probably add the case and system board for that box to the pile of stuff I need to eBay.

So enter Drobo, and their droboApps. Some of the things I was trying to make work, are available as apps already. Firefly and fuppes for example. Other things are just built right in... like AFP. It will be nice to move off of NFS as the main access method here, since this is largely a Mac household now. It looks like I'll be able to migrate the few things I have left on the server to the Drobo with just a little bit of coding. (At least one of them might make for a good DroboApp if I do a little polish on it... will have to see how well it works on the Drobo FS. I worry that it might choke on the compute requirements... I had to spin the processor up to 1600Mhz when this job ran nightly. Or the pre-reqs.) Now I just have to wait patiently for it to arrive, so I have my serial number and can go create my account on their developer site to get a look at the SDK and see what my options are.