Friday, March 10, 2006

RAID: A Guide For All

RAID = Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. You've heard us talk about it on the show. To most people i's black magic, despite it being fairly easy to do (in some types of arrays) and a very good solution for safekeeping of your data.

If you want to know about RAID; what it is and how to use it, I suggest you click on the link above and follow along as this multi-part article is published. The link takes you to Part 1.

With hard drives as cheap as they are, mirroring one's primary drive is a good way to ensure that if your main drive goes kaput, you can merely rearrange them and boot from the mirror drive. It's virtually as simple as that sounds, too. You probably need to check this out if you're not already up to speed on RAID.


Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification

Patch Tuesday is March 14. Looks like 2 security updates, one for Office (which is "Critical") and one for Windows (which is "Important"). And, the normal Malicious Software Removal Tool, which I thought was Defender now? Or is that the subscription version? Please post in comments, if you know.
Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification

Alienware announces Aurora ALX with quad SLI - Engadget

You thought dual SLI cards was enough? Already they've been passed by a QUAD SLI!. Alienware strikes again with bleeding edge, kewl, top of the line computers. And their cases, are just too kewl :)
Fans of excessive computer performance and palpatation-causing pricetags, steel yourself for Alienware’s latest, the Aurora ALX (big time flash hog, consider this a warning), featuring quad SLI NVIDIA GeForce cards. They're claiming full 2560 x 1600 resolution gaming (that'd be native res on Apple's 30-inch Cinema Display and Dell's 3007WFP) on the dual-core AMD Athlon 64 FX-60-based box, which also features (surprise, surprise) a liquid cooling system. How much? Well, uh, it starts at $6,929, but we configured one online to just shy of $8,800 (without monitor and peripherals). So, just how much do you love gaming?

I'm reminded of spending $300 on a video card, to play a $50 game. ;)
Direct Link to Build your own, which has specs and a gallery, etc., etc.
Alienware announces Aurora ALX with quad SLI - Engadget

RIAA Says Future DRM Might “Threaten Critical Infrastructure and Potentially Endanger Lives”

Even so, the RIAA and such want research into DRM by security analysts forbidden by the DMCA. It's pretty scary. Best have a look at this one.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Google buys Web word-processing technology

A while back, I wrote about Writely a web-based word processing application. I said it was a good chance to try a web-based app and reasonably functional.

Lots of folks must have felt that way because the site (which is still technically in beta testing stage) has a waiting list for prospective users. Just last week, I joined a collaborative book project and we intended using Writely as repository and tool for the entire project, until we learned that the beta has a 500 kb file size limit, which simply doesn't suit our project's needs. Yes, we could have worked around that, but decided not to, in an attempt to avoid confusion.

Today it was announced that Google bought Writely. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and even the co-founder of Writely is not yet sure what it all means, according to her blog on the Writely site. Plus, Google is hiring coders to work on improving Open Office. Evidence is piling up and, frankly, no one can tell me Google is not planning some offering in this sphere. They're pouring in too many resources to have any other plan.


Extend Your Windows Clipboard

The link is to a review of ClipMate, a fairly pricey, but very nice clipboard extender for Windows XP.

I have applications for just that purpose I use in Linux. It is amazing how much having a small selection of items in the clipboard can speed some work. Those are fairly simple and usually hold 10 items or so. That's all I need. Real power users might want something like ClipMate, but there are also myriad alternatives at places like and that provide various levels of services. In Windows, I seem to drift between one app and the next, never really settling on any one for the long term.

I'd recommend you read the review to get an idea of what is available and, should you decide ClipMate is more power than you need, go find another application at no cost.


The Battle of the Duelling Toolbars?

It's about Microsoft's new search abilities at their "Live" site. The author has obviously not become immune to hype yet, and depicts the whole thing as a battle between MS and Google. While it is that, right now it's more about delivering a decently comprehensive search result from the new site.

The FireFox support is not quite there yet so don't bother trying it, but I actually did do some searches using IE 6 and found it to be okay. Perhaps a bit slower than Google, but as I was searching for two really obscure Linux files (that I have not been able to find using Google) that may be forgiven.

Yes, I found my files and got what I consider to be fairly good results on several other searches, as well.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How-To: Make a surface mount soldering iron - Engadget

In MAKEzine spirit, Engadget has spec'd out a do it yourself SMT soldering iron, for under $20 they make a simple reflow tool. I admit I thought of Jack first.
No telling what this tool will motivate him to do.

How-To: Make a surface mount soldering iron - Engadget

IBM will not use Windows Vista - but will move to Linux desktops

Several years ago, IBM said they would quit using Windows in their daily business. They waffled for a while, then admitted it wasn't going to happen any time soon.

Well, the time has finally come. IBM has decided to bite the conversion bullet.

Make no mistake about it; there are high costs to be paid in converting from Windows desktops to Linux and GNU software or any other scheme. And IBM doesn't get off any easier because they are a heavily biased Linux user and seller. Still, once those costs are paid, the savings will take over and reflect the wisdom of your choice forever after.

In my experience, when compared to XP Pro, Linux does not offer all that much of a performance benefit, nor a reliability benefit. That, of course, is ignoring the costs of virii, worms, etc. that plague Windows. Eventually, I'm sure Linux will have some of the same problems in this area, but for now it does not and I specualte it's more secure design may well keep it from being the stationary malware target Windows has been for many years now.

In servers, Linux often delivers a reduction in the amount of active administration needed per machine. I doubt that will carry over to the desktop realm. Users are users and some of them can screw up an anvil. Nothing is proof against these people.

Every Linux booster I know is heralding this move by IBM as the death of Windows on the corporate desktop. Nothing could be further from the truth. But it is a step in the right direction and will bring desktop Linux closer to the fore than it has been.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mac OS X patch faces scrutiny

While not the tempest in a teapot Apple seems to think this is, neither is it something that can be ignored. Mac users need to know about this, for sure. And it just might be that everyone should read this and learn a little bit about security.


Scientist: Complexity causes 50% of product returns

How many VCR's still don't have the clock set?

The offensive rests!


Monday, March 06, 2006

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 03-05-06

This is a repost of the On Computers Radio Show Podcast for 03-05-06. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 03-05-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 03-05-06. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Perils of Personal Pages, outlined by SANS.

Wow, this is something that grabbed my attention, and since I mentioned which "qualifies" though its not mentioned specifically. As always Caveat Emptor, even if you haven't "bought" anything.

SANS - Internet Storm Center - Cooperative Cyber Threat Monitor And Alert System

Official Google Blog: Robots and writers and Googlers, oh my!

Google has been videotaping the presentations that have been offered for their employees, and now they are available at google video.

Now, with Google Video, we finally have the opportunity to share many of these "from the Googleplex" presentations with the world. They include our Authors@Google talks (don't miss "How to survive a robot uprising" author Daniel Wilson) and the regular engEDU tech talks. Grab coffee and get comfy for this one on "Scalable Learning and Inference in Hierarchical Models of the Neocortex," for example.

the post closes: "Of course, you can access them all on your own schedule. And if you want to see them in person, feel free to check out our recruiting video."
I know that this is a broadband brat post, but I think that most of our readers have broadband. And might enjoy it. :)
Official Google Blog: Robots and writers and Googlers, oh my!

Settlement ends Blackberry case

From the BBC:
The maker of the Blackberry e-mail device has reached a $612.5m (£349m) settlement to end a dispute that could have closed the service in the US.