Filler blog entry

I have a hell of a lot of stuff to write about and tons of work to do, but for some reason am not doing them (lazy toad that i am), but i want to put at least one thing up per week that might be of some use to people and the big stuff is taking to long to write up, so here’s something for the admins, its called unlocker assistant and can be found
(well i can be found all over the place but this is the best place)

Simply put, this means you can pull a sickly or corrupt database out of a domino server when the server wont let go of it, yes i know that theoretically risks crashing or damage the database, but quite frankly, if your going to have to bounce the box and the database looks stuffed, then your risking that anyway and it keeps the rest of the server up for the rest of the business day, i’ve used it a lot and have not had any problems at all, the server does a little W.T.F. “wheres me database” but copes with it in a few seconds, try it when your devs screw up their server and see what i mean.

On other news, it looks like i have been accepted as a speaker for uklug, this is fab and i am looking forward to it, there is only one problem, and that is i looked at the other Speakers and quite frankly I’m the only there that i have not heard of (lots of important people and one random peasant), eeek!

Long live drobo and down with lacie

The thought last week was, F**king Lacie, the bloody thing has gone and died, one Lacie big disk 1 TB had snuffed it, taking with it a huge chunk of thankfully replaceable data, sooo, time to bite the bullet and get a Drobo, i cant afford it, and should not get it, but this is the second drive i have lost in the last month and i need RAID (or what ever it uses), one surf latter and its off to Scan I go, (they were the cheapest, had it in stock and also had a special offer on good reliable 1TB drives)

2 days pacing (and frantic downloading), and it arrives, there are hundreds of normal reviews and deboxing views out there, so here is the points that the other reviews seems to miss

The dashboard app that you REALLY need (ignore what they say, its got all the groovy functionality in it), does not work on Linux, not under wine and not even under vmware (yes it loads and everything but it does not find the drobo, and i tried it in both bridged and natted modes, also it does not allow you to specify and IP address to connect to), so i go crawling to my beloved and beg the use of her XP machine (STOP SNIGGERING!!!), i had also got the Droboshare, as its currently the only way to support EXT3 with out a whole lot of farting around (it can support 2 Drobo units to 1 Drobo Share) and anywhere theres is something groovy about NAS’s rather than SANS.

Anyway, after that, is really was a doddle to setup (it also tootled of to the net and did all the firmware and such), and suddenly i had 3.8 gig of safe data space (broken up into 2TB chunks), you can rename the drives and everything, some extra notes:

1) its not too slow, i get 19Meg Sec, on normal USB drives and the same on this, and about 7-10Meg Sec on network transfer, so you can stream moves just fine.

2) its does not like surprises, ie it takes a while to warm up once it has fallen asleep, and if you suddenly do something it does not like (say attempt to transfer 1.5TB), it wants a little sulk and a quiet 5 mins to flash its lights, and don’t just turn it off (you don’t lose any data, but it acts like someone has nicked its teddy bear)

3) it knows best, even the instruction book says to leave it alone so it can sort it self out and do thing, and each time i have tried to intervene when it was taking longer than i wanted, i have just made it worse, and it simpler to just go and have a shower.

4) its bleeding quiet, nuff said

(clicking sound attacts the scums attention, and he scuttles off for 10 mins), Phew, back, my other lacie drive must have heard the swearing as it started making a very nasty clicking sound, and stoped responing, i tell you that company hates my guts, after a franting few mins i got it working by taking it to bits and spreading the parts out on paper in the cold outside (dear lord dont let it rain tongiht) and its talking to me again, backup BACKUP!!!,

back to the drobo, all in all an excellent bit of kits and well worth it if you have a couple of Terabytes of data you really don’t want to loose, and dont want to waste you money on lacie drives.

V and A Fencing

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to perform in a fencing demonstration at the V and A museum in London the results of which you can see here Doms Photos (you’ll have to scroll down a bit as dom put some roller derby photos on at the top, and I refuse to tell you which one is me as I quote obviously look like a twit), it was quite fun,but we had to cut down the swearing and abuse that is such a part of modern fencing, this is sample of what were were not allowed to say

Onlooker: so to challenge someone do you say “I challenge Thee'” and slap them with you glove?
Fencer: Nope, we yell Muther F**, and knee them in the balls.

there were medieval demonstrations of fighting, and people dress up mighty fine, as well as all the amazing things that are normally at the V&A, all well organised, however the highlight of the night was the reaction of the security guards when we arrived,

“whats in the bag?” he asks,

“swords”, I reply, he pales a bit, backs off a couple of steps and looks at the half dozen identical bags held by the rough looking and sweaty lot standing in front of him,

“im afraid you will have to leave them here” he says,

“Thats going to make the demonstration a tad boring” comes a voice, he then inspects a epee and states that you could hurt someone with it,

“not a much as a golf club” is the reply, the poor gentleman then has to watch as the rabble start the normal argument of which would be easier to kill someone with, a “wood driver” or an “iron”

how ever, now that I can go to the nationals in a months time, (work changed its plans), I have realised that there is the off chance that I might have to practice else I’ll go home to mother on a sheet of blotting paper

Linux update

My grief!!, hundreds of updates, for Linux and fire fox out at once and all their supported bits and bobs triggered a 200Meg update via the update manager, most things squeaked and squawked at the sudden change , most frightenley VMWARE would not load, but top tip of the day, if a Linux app will not load, run it in terminal and it will normally make plain its grievance and tell you what to do to fix, this all my apps have done (phew!!) and we are back up and running, but time to make another ghost style image (curtasey of Part Image and the system rescue cd)

British Library

Am currently in the British Library, which i have to say is a perfect example of when tax is put to good use, i only wish companies were run this well, from layout to ease of use to technical setup and security, a pleasure to use and to work there, As part of the design work i am doing there, i got out graphic Japan: from woodblock and zen to manga and kawaii” by Natalie Avella , graphic Japan: from woodblock and zen to manga and kawaii” by Natalie Avella, and among its interesting and insightful view points is the use of the IBM ‘nipple’ logo, is most likely based on the red circle in the Japanese flag (which is a very common design motif in a lot of Japanese products, also they had this amazing image

which apparently is what none IBM customers look like when they have not bought the right products (mumble mubble….sharepoint….mumble mumble)
(for those that think i have pinched it out of the book, i haven’t, i just googled it and there are a bunch of places that have it)

Windows to Linux

Recently i decided to make the jump from Windows to linux for all my kit rather than just a few select bits, this was strangely driven by Apple, i altered the volume setting on my apple so that i could make my ear drums bleed (I worship at the altar of happy hardcore), this went fine, until i plugged it back into itunes, and it stated quite flatly that i had altered my ipod and that it would wipe it, no cancel button no “are you sure” , nothing, nada, big brother knows best, right then Jobs you git!!! (sound of IPOD being punted across a room), im off to get a new media player (but that’s a subject for another blog),

This led to a complete hissy fit against all the big players. (damn them all to hell, if i wanted my computer to do that i would tell it to!!)

So new laptop in hand, i download the latest ubuntu and began, the following is the things i have learned from the experience, with the windows to linux software alternatives.

1) BUY VMware, yes i know its $200 per Host version, but if your doing it on a professional basis it is so worth it.

2) Download the VMware converter (its free), then using it take a vmware image of you existing installation, this means that you have all you old stuff with you and can be using all your old software, no licence keys lost, no discovery that there is no equivalent software on linux, its totally the soft option. and the more you use it the more you love it (yes i know virtual box is supposed to be faster, but quite frankly I’m looking for reliability here)

3) On you vmware box enable shared folders then basically have a drive mapped to your “home” folder, this means that you can use this as your common store (it should be known that you WILL get some file location problems when you do this for things like the lotus data directory, as linux is case sensitive on file names and there seems no consistency even in big programs like on whether they are looking for “data” , “DATA” or “Data”)

Software Alternatives:

Windows: My Eclipse
Linux: My Eclipse
Comment: Duh!!!, but i have noticed that if you’re sharing your workplace on a share folder between my old VMware windows version and the new linux version, there is some case issues on the directory names

Windows: Lotus notes
Linux: Lotus Notes
Comment: well not quite, it’s supposed to be here in 8.5, so not quite there, but have sacrificed a goat to the great yellow god

Windows: Mame32 (its an arcade emulator for the heathens out their)
Linux: Loemu on top of SDLMame
Comment: exactly the same even my logistic usb controllers work

Windows: Total Recorder (a stream ripper for radio)
Linux: streamripper (i kid you not its actually called that)
Comment: command line instead of gui, but so easy to use its embarrassing

Windows: FLashFXP (simply the best FTP client)
Linux: FileZilla
Comment: Q handling not quite as good but the best linux one that i have found so far

Windows: Outlook
Linux: Google Mail for domains
Comment: yes i know i should be using domino, but quite frankly i just want it to work, on my own mail i just want to be a user, so sue me,

Windows: Office
Linux: Open Office
Comment: yeah yeah symphony, again this is a core app and i just want to be a user

Windows: msn/sametime
Linux: pidgin
Comment: it works and its already on there, I’m happy

Windows: Better File Rename
Linux: Bulk Update
Comment: a fab improvement enabling me to use regular expressions to strip out stuff i don’t want

Windows: The Rest of the Stuff
Comment: i just works, even audio ripping tools like “sound taxi”

on the whole I’m very pleased, and have no wish to go back.

Right of Substitution

Just a little thought, as contractors we all know we have the right of substitution in all of our dealings with our clients, and we all know its is one of those things that the merry people at Her Mage’s Inspectors of Taxes look at when deciding if we are disguised employees, now there is a problem with that as for the most part it is a little tricky to implement, as often we are the most skilled member of our little companies and it can be difficult to find a suitable substitute that the client will accept, and even if you have skilled people, if they are any good they will already be at a clients site in there own major client contract,

But I would urge people to have a check with people they know in the lotus community who are managing the work from home thing, people like Matt White, Jake Howlett and Mark Haller, now these people are both obviously good (or they would not be able to survive out in the hard world), and possibly available to short work periods, (it should be noted at this point that i have not even mentioned this to Mr Haller or Mr Howlett so I am not suggesting that they would want to even consider such a idea, I only give them as examples to show that these people are out there, so no going to them if you don’t know them really well and saying “X says you can sub for me when I’m on holiday”), its just an idea, but it does help all parties (extra work is always welcome when you are constantly looking for clients).

ILUG 2008

Well after an amazing time at Ilug 2008 I have decided to return to bloggin, so if you wish to blame anyone blame Matt White , Paul Mooney and co., this time instead of just fencing im going to try to give a bit back with some tech stuff and general useful bits rather than the insane ramblings that were “stickfight”, i have never the less bunged the old stuff in as old entries. so read them at your peril.

Anyway back to Ilug, it was my first serious conference (rather than a feeble excuse to bunk off for a while), and i have to say it was well worth it, meeting good people (blogs made flesh), and learning a hell of a lot, doing the session with Ben Poole was a bit nerve wracking, but i now have the bug and am on the look out for more stuff to try and do sessions on (I have to put the muppets guide for my part of the session up here, just have to neaten it up)

never realised how much effort went into such a set up, and as we were all attending for free you felt a bit guilty, so hats of to the whole crew

Things I learnt over xmas

1) If you mix vanilla custard with Mascarpone it tastes like Walls Mr whippy icescream
2) The Popcorn Hour 110 is bloody marvellous!
3) A week is about my limit to be without my girlfriend before i start to pine (hoooowwwwl).
4) Thoughtful presents beat expensive ones every time
5) Once a tech always a tech: My father is able to take on ipods, podcasts, media tanks, nas, dvd ripping and VHS conversion in one day…Go dad!
6) Read the Bloody Manual!!!
7) i can survive about half a day with out the internet
8) God i needed a few days off!!!
9) Christmas is the worst time to not be seeing your children (worse that the rest of the year put together).
10) Family is best

Monday’s Admin….

Monday’s Admin is fresh of face,
Tuesday’s Admin can keep the pace,
Wednesday’s Admin is distrustful, rude and grim,
Thursday’s Admin has hair starting to thin,
Friday’s Admin is hiding in the pub,
Saturday’s Admin has joined fight club,
But the Admin who is born on the Sabbath Day, is a developer at heart and therefore fair prey.

Literature reuse at its worst, after a day performing my role as a ‘fill in’ administrator at my main client, when our main administrator is off for the day.