Entries Tagged as 'Computers'

XenSever

When Citrix purchased the rights to XenServer™ they heated up the battle on the virtualization front by legitimizing (and commercializing) virtualization technology based on an open source code base.  Then they added enterprise capabilities to manager a virtualization farm and went head-to-head with VMware; they they struck an alliance with Microsoft to support Hyper-V based technology as well (and Microsoft added support for Xen based technology to their product).

Now Citrix has fired a new volley by making XenServer as well as XenMotion and XenCenter absolutely free.

These aren’t scaled down versions of the product; Citrix has adopted the model to sell support and maintenance contracts to enterprise customers as well as a few add on products.

XenServer was already a good value for enterprise virtualization, now it’s an incredible value for enterprise virtualzation as well as small business and even pro-sumer (home users who want or need more than simple desktop virtualization).

At minimum, any company looking at moving to or enhancing their virtualization platform would be totally irresponsible if they didn’t consider evaluating a product like XenServer before making a decision (and it’s very likely that they’ll find XenServer the most economical solutions since it includes essential components that would add considerably to the costs of a Microsoft or VMware solution).

xensource.com

Originally posted 2010-05-02 02:00:52.

Windows 7 – Multiple Displays

I have multiple displays on both my “high end” workstations.  The one I’ve been testing Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on happens to have two nVidia 9800 PCIe display adapters and three 22″ LCD display panels (I plan on hooking up a 37″ LCD TV to the forth output when I upgrade my 42″ Plasma TV).

The three panels worked great with Vista Ultimate x64, and I didn’t have any problem doing a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on the machine.  The monitors didn’t default to the same arrangement they did on Vista — but it was easy to reorder them.

One problem I’ve noted (and yes we can partially blame this on the PC BIOS) is that if I boot the machine without any of the monitors powered up, I get a different primary monitor and non of the other monitors are active (I can force them active).

This problem is all to reminiscent of the SATA drive problem I found installing on multiple drives — but there’s really no apparent way to force Windows 7 to always pick the same default monitor (whether they are on or off).

So yet another feature that worked fine in Vista that’s broken (or at least changed) in Windows 7.

Make sure you have all your monitors on; or at least your primary monitor; when you boot up Windows 7!!!

 

NOTE:  This problem appears to be related to multiple identical display adapters, and appears to not be an issue if you just have two displays on a single card.

Originally posted 2009-11-19 01:00:03.

Disk Drive Temperature / Airflow

I upgraded both of my workstations (one Windows one Linux) to have a mirror pair as the secondary drive…  which added a third drive to each of the cases (the cases are setup so that you can have five 3.5″ internal drives and four 5.25″ external units)… the 400GB SATA-2 drive in the Windows machine keep producing SMART warnings that it was getting close to the recommended maximum temperature, and I decided it likely had to do with the fact that the power management of the motherboard slowed down the main case fan which reduced the airflow.

The case actually had two cutouts for fans in front of the disk drive array, so I wired up a couple fans for each one off a single power connector, put the fans in and now the drives are running cooler (the 3TB SATA-3 drives in the mirror in the Windows machine are much newer drives and run much cooler).

Keep in mind, that the cooler your drives run, the longer they’ll probably last and the fewer problems you’re going to have — plus when you run drives close to their maximum recommended temperature you’re going to see thermal re-calibrations which are going to make your computer look like it’s hanging or at least stuttering.

While I don’t think you should get crazy with fans, you should insure that any location in the case that has a heat producing component should have airflow — and many fans come with speed adjustments so you can run them at their lowest setting and provide enough airflow while minimizing the fan noise (which can be deafening if you have lots of fans).

One last thing — make sure when you buy fans you buy good quality ball-bearing fans — if you don’t, you’re just wasting money and asking for a fan failure (plus way too much noise).

Originally posted 2013-07-10 08:00:16.

Firefox 3

For those of you how are Mozilla Firefox fans, version 3 has been released.

 

You might also be interested in Mozilla Thunderbird for email; Mozilla Sunbird for calendaring or Mozilla SeaMonkey which is there all-in-one.

If you’re a Mac user, you might want to try Mozilla Camino; it looks like a Mac application, but uses the Mozilla rendering engine.

http://en-us.www.mozilla.com/en-US/products/

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/

Originally posted 2008-11-12 12:00:30.

Seagate Firmware Issues

If you own a Seagate hard drive in the Baracuda 7200.11, or Barracuda ES.2 (SATA only), or Maxtor DiamondMax 22 series you might want to read on…

Seagate has confirmed that a number of issues customers have been seeing in 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, and 1.5TB drives is because of an issue with firmware (it also affects other drives, but apparently is seen most often in the “larger” drives).

There have been a number of write ups on the internet about this problem, and Seagate released firmware SD17 in December 2008 which they believed fixed the problems; and then SD1A in January 2009 which again they believed fixed the problems; but reports indicated that these firmware revisions may actually create one of the very problems Seagate is attempting to address.

The firmware issues can adversely effect the drives performance or it can render the drive totally useless (brick mode).

In an effort to prevent worse PR than Seagate is already suffering for this problem, they have stepped forward to assure everyone that they are working on the issues, that the drives have five year warranties (three for Maxtor), and that they will pay the costs for data recovery service if the drive bricks and cannot be used.

I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone that Seagate is a California based company; and California has a “lemon law” and fairly strict consumer protection when a vendor advertises products that are supposed to have some feature and fail to deliver on that promise.  It’s unlikely Seagate will allow this problem to spin out of control, the financial liability is simply too high for them (we’re talking about potentially being forced to repurchase almost every drive they’ve sold for the past three years AT THE PRICE THE CONSUMER PAID for it if they don’t fix the problem soon.

You can view more details in the knowledge base article below, and subscribe to updates.  You can also view many rants on these issues by doing a web search.

Originally posted 2009-01-22 01:00:02.

DVD Backup

Before using software the backs up encrypted media please check the laws in your country and insure that you are in full compliance.  In some countries there may be conflicting laws, make sure you understand the issues before proceding.

DVDDecrypter was one of the absolute best utilities for decrypting DVDs for legitimate backup purposes; you can still find copies of it on the internet, and you can read all about it and the end of it’s development.

Now DVDFab is probably the best product for Windows.  Three’s a free version, as well as two different commercial versions of it for sale by the developers.

Originally posted 2008-11-30 12:00:51.

NetBeans for C/C++ on Windows

 

I’ve been a fan of the NetBeans environment for developing for a long time.  Yes, there’s a great deal of resistance to it because it’s not OpenSource (it’s an Oracle sponsored project), but it’s free for Windows, OS-X, and Linux.

Many think NetBeans is only an IDE for Java development.  That’s definitely not the case.  NetBeans will do Java, HTML5, C/C++, Fortan, Groovy, PHP, and many more (with plug-ins)… and works with both Tomcat and GlassFish (GlassFish is actually bundled with several NetBeans packages — but you do not have to install it if you’re not going to use it).

NetBeans is written in Java, and you need not only a JRE (runtime), but also a JDK (development kit)… on Java.com (also an Oracle project — they purchased Sun) you can download bundles for many operating systems including JRE, JDK, and NetBeans (you can also install them individually).

Getting NetBeans and C/C++ to work on Linux is a snap, you just need your development tools setup before you install / run NetBeans.  I’d considered install on Windows pretty straight forward as well, but since I’ve helped two different people get it working in the last week, and several a few months ago I’m going to write a quick list of the steps involved.


 

While not all of these steps need to be done in the order I’m listing them in, unless you really know what you’re doing (and why would you be reading this if you already know how to make this work), just follow the steps.  If you have any problems getting this to work, use my contact page — I definitely want to improve my instructions (no — I’m not going to put screen shots and make it a guide for people who’ve never seen a computer before… it’s a development environment, so I’m working on the premise you either know C/C++ or you’re taking a class in it).

At the end of the article are some links that might help (please search the internet if the links are broken).

  1. Download and install the latest JRE (or the one you’ve been told to if taking a class).
  2. Download and install the latest JDK (or the one you’ve been told to / matches the JRE).
  3. Download and install the latest NetBeans full package (it’s the right most column, if you’re worried about disk space, don’t install GlassFish).
  4. Download and install MinGW in C:\MinGW
  5. Run the mingw-get-setup.exe file and select the C++ compiler, development environment, MSYS
    base (we’ll install the rest in the next step).
  6. Download and install MSYS into C:\MinGW\msys\1.0 (watch the navigation pane to insure you don’t get an extra 1.0 in the path).  Let the install “normalize” (that’ll remove duplicate copies of tools.
  7. Add the following to the Windows path (you will need admin rights — if you don’t have admin rights then you’ll have to launch NetBeans through a batch file that adds them to the windows path before executing NetBeans).
    • c:\MinGW\bin
    • c:\MinGW\MSys\1.0\bin
  • Launch NetBeans and do the following:
    • tools->plugins
      insure C++ is installed/enabled
    • tools->preferences->C++
      if necessary add the MinGW toolchain and accept defauls (NetBeans should locate all the required components).
  • Now just create a “Hello World” project and insure that it works.

 


 

Originally posted 2015-02-07 15:00:29.

gOS – Nothing but ‘Net

Strike two — another candidate falls by the way side.  Don’t worry, this isn’t baseball so I’m not feeling the pressure of striking out (just yet).

gOS is a descent Linux distribution, and it works — in fact it works nicely.

The applications that come bundles are heavily dependent on Google; and it really doesn’t follow the Mac look and feel very completely (you would have to scab on a better theme and my feeling is that way too advanced for the target audience). 

gOS is also missing most every multimedia capability that an average user would want.  That’s allegedly to avoid legal issues in many countries, but the fact of the matter is if you can’t play a DVD or most video and audio streams a person is likely to find it’s just not an acceptable OS for the general public.

If you want something fairly basic that works when you install it and doesn’t require much fussing, but you’re not interested in multimedia this might be a reasonable choice; but you’re probably better off to stick with a distribution that doesn’t carry the weight of Ubuntu (something derived directly from Debian or built from scratch).

gOS

Originally posted 2010-01-05 01:00:48.

Virtual Server 2005 R2 with Internet Explorer 8

You’ve probably read my rant on IE8 and how broken it is.

If you have IE8, and you need to use Virtual Server 2005 R2 (and perhaps previous versions as well), and you’re tired of having to select compatibility mode manually all the time…

You can add a customer header to your web site to force IE8 into IE7 (compatibility) mode.

However, on a workstation (XP, Vista, etc) that means all of your web sites will force IE8 into IE7 mode; on a server (Server 2003, Server 2008, etc) you can set the header on only the virtual server web site.

Why Microsoft doesn’t issue a hot fix for this is totally beyond me… seem like it would be trivial for them to make the web service app send the META tag; or they could actually address the compatibility issues.

On Vista you’ll find the menu you need via:

  • Computer->Manage->Services and Applications->Internet Information Server->HTTP Response Headers->Add

And the Custom HTTP Response Header you’ll set and value is:

  • Name:  X-UA-Compatible
  • Value: IE=EmulateIE7

On other versions of Windows you just need to get to the IIS management console figure out how to set the custom HTTP header on a site (remember, workstation versions of Windows only have one web site so depending on the version of  Windows you’ll see either ‘default’ or nothing listed).

Originally posted 2009-08-27 01:00:02.

PDF Creation

PDF (Portable Document Format) was developed by Adobe Systems in 1994 but as of July 1, 2008 it’s an open standard (ISO 32000-1:2008) and there are a host of tools, many free, that allow you to create, view, and work with PDFs.

If you need to create PDFs on your Windows machine from various applications consider Bullzip.  It installs a printer (uses GhostScript lite — it will install it for you if you don’t already have GhostScript) that allows you to “print” to PDF.  It’s totally free, and totally worth it.

For more advanced PDF manipulation, you can learn how to use GhostScript or try out the PDF Took Kit (Pdftk) form AccessPDF.

You’re probably better off to do an internet search on GhostScript, but here’s where you can find links to information and downloads.

Originally posted 2008-11-25 12:00:47.