Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Celebrating Mothers Day

Spice Girls: Mama

Just a quick word to relate the fact that much of Europe celebrates Mothers Day on the second Sunday of May.  So that is May 8 , this year of 2016.  This includes our country of residence: Switzerland

If however your are in the UK then you missed it, because it is based on the 4th Sunday of Lent, making it March 6 2016.

And for Poland, they chose something different.  Hmm.   May 26 2016.

The roots of Mother's day are explained in Wikipedia along with even more varied dates for other countries.


The process of being a Good Mother is to Marcus and Agata critical. Usually it is interaction with the mother rather than the father that a child get's its first introduction and guidance to the world.

Of course times are changing for the better, but there are still many societies in which

- The status of women, and hence the mother, is enshrined in Law or Religious doctrine/ dogma to be below that of a man
- Mothers Day is a day on which the Mother gets to feel special, and by that I mean on every other day, regrettably much less so

- Single Parent families, especially in some countries,  are nearly almost predominantly mothers.   The guys basically piss off.  It'd just disgraceful, and stats for some racial types within this; I invite you to Google.

What Type Of Mother
Do you recognise your mother or yourself in the following [mostly Postsecret] images:  Because being a Good Mother, not merely a mother, well, that can be difficult.

All in All
To all existing mothers.  Happy Mothers day.  

To Children and Mothers.  This is the perfect opportunity to reconnect in a meaningful manner.  And by re-connect I mean contact in preference to present(s).

And to those who Plan to Be
Just the one most important thing. Please select a Partner who is going to stick around, raising children is a natural yet critically important though stressful activity.  Being a Good Mother will be easier with 2.

Pink Floyd: Mother

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Philosophical Tuesday: The Rosie Project

Subtitle: Adding Randomness to your Life

Don is lecturer in genetics at a university in University in Melbourne, Australia. He is single, on the brink of his fortieth birthday and leads a highly ordered life dominated by routines, list, structures and timetables. You can count all his friends on the fingers of one finger, unless you include, Claudia, wife of his friend Gene, lecturer in evolutionary psychology. Claudia, a psychologist herself, is Don's ad hoc therapist. The story begins with Don substituting for Gene to deliver a lecture on Asperger's to facilitate Gene latest endeavor in philandering
(Quote from Review by Peeking Man on Amazon)

This is not so much a book review but merely a recommendation and suggestion.

The Backstory
Marcus would say that in our household we are proud of our structured and organised life.    We are tidy, mindful, and often planning and calculating our Purchases, decisions and life changes to a high degree.  This often involves the Internet and Google and a lot of discussion between Marcus and Agata.

But this book is an example of the lecturer Don who has taken this structure to a whole new level.

At first it had us scrambling to the Internet to see if we had Aspergers tendancies,  we were so impressed with the books introduction!

The Life Lesson
This book teaches Marcus an important life lesson and should not be forgotten:  Via Don's search and example and ultimate self questioning we find out that happiness can not be found within a shuttered daily routine.

What is needed is interaction with the world, with its randomness, its variety,  the unexpected, the sometimes chaotic.

And then by its guided interaction you will find the things and places you like, that you never imagined you could like, and hopefully the special friends, and that one special partner that makes your world come alive.

A great read,  and one that does not fall back on Imaginary Friends or some outdated social system to provide the answers.  It asks you to look inward and evaluate.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Monday, May 02, 2016

Stepping into Microsoft Windows Server 2016

Subtitle: Technical Preview 5 has arrived

For over 6 months now Windows Server has been my test Operating system install of choice.  Why?

- I like to learn about new Windows Features
- It fully supports newer standards like secure_boot and UEFI
- It is FREE!

Yes,  simply sign up to Technet Evaluation  and you can download the software, don't forget to get your Installation Key onscreen.  And you are all done.

I've used it countless times on machines I am test installing, messing about with the odd software program, say in a secure virtual machine, or for a test PC build.   In the Linux world I'd go for Ubuntu 16.04 and in the Windows world it just has to be Server 2016 TP (Technical Preview) 5

Why  Server
For a workstation this also raises the question what would I best run? For me, again it is Windows Server and when 2016 become production I'd like to move to it from the current 2012 Server

Not for Production
Right now you be a dumbo install this on your production workstation because
- It's beta software you idiot and could trash or corrupt any data on your system

- You have to re-install between Technical Preview Releases, there is no upgrade right now

Keep nothing!  Must do a re-install

The Pros and Cons

+ Premium Software

It has all the features of Windows 10, yes, but a lot more. So there is no downside. Well, in fact no touchscreen support but for a desktop workstation this is not usually a requirement.

(Also I'd note that PIN logon is not yet supported but Microsoft Internet logon now is)

+ Reliability
On my primary workstation which I necessarily treat like a production system, I have not had a blue screen since I can remember, so that is over 5 years.  Better than our Apple OSX system for example.

+ Software Updates
Seem to be well delivered. Apart from a dodgy perio in Spring 2016, when updates did not seem to apply, now fixed, I've had zero issues with 2012 server, or 2016 server
+ Bonkers Limits 

+ Lots of  Features to Add or Explore

Why Not Server

- Bluetooth
Until server 2016 no BlueTooth Support on a modern Windows Server platform. But it IS there in 2016 server, so we are good

(I did have a workaround but to-date on Server 2012 it is still rather buggy)

- OS Software Cost
Well it is a little more expensive than Windows 10 Professional but the Standard Edition is worth the Extra in my opinion.   Anyway, right now it is free!

- Application Software Cost
Application vendors love to charge (a lot) for Server equivalent software.   2 tiny examples.

AVG Virus - regular Windows Free
AVG for server - 50 CHF per year

mini Partition Disk Utility - regular Windows Free
Partition for Server - 129 USD

- Does not Run on Server
Some software just refuses to run on Server.  It checks and says no.

Don't be an Idiot

For non DataCentre use, and given the price of memory, I'd never use the non GUI nano server.  Simpler it might be, but Windows without a GUI.  Call me old skool, but that is stupid++.   Nano server, just say no, no, and thrice no.

2016 server new features
2016 Server Updates, Storage Spaces Direct, PowerShell improvements, Containers, ReFS, Hyper-V rolling

Please follow these links to learn more

Technical Preview Root
Windows Server Blog What is new in win 2016 preview video
New in File and Storage Spaces


+ A free, ultra high quality OS with bzillions of features
- Eventually it will time out and it's expensive to buy, but worth it for a more reliable workstation OS
+ Makes a great test OS meanwhile
+ Standout features like Storage Spaces
- Can't upgrade from previous preview needs reinstall

Get Windows 2016 Server Here Free

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sunday Sermon: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

John Mayer: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room

In 2016, this is simply the state of the World that many of us inhabit.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Something for the Lausanne Weekend

Molotov Jukebox: Something for the Weekend

As part of Marcus' mission as unpaid Lausanne and Canton Vaud advocate  I'd like to promote three wonderful things to do this weekend around town

Even if there was /nothing on/ there are plenty of healthy outdoor activities to participate in, for example hiking in the mountains.

Instead this weekend:   Here are 3 choice events happening

Lausanne Carnaval

I witnessed the setup on Friday afternoon.  Basically the Carnival is a huge street party with the focus on food.

Here is the Online magazine  to read

Tour de Romandie

Many big international Cycle names take part in this Pro Cycling race in Switzerland.  On Sunday May 1, it passes within a few Kilometres of our Lausanne home.

(Note to self: Stay off the roads, we don't want to embarass those Pro's as we shoot past them :-)


In the Spirit of the Slow UP movement, which means /take things easy, relax and have a good time/   our Canton of Vaud has a LavauxUP.

I think our Canton is too posh to join the trifling SlowUp brigade.

On Sunday this weekend the lake road between Lutry and Vevey is closed to traffic.   It is open to Pedestrians, Cyclists, Scooters and Skaters.

There will be a few attraction tents serving food and alcohol

The idea is that you get to Lutry then using any of the above transport mechanisms  (i.e. not a car) you head out towards Vevey, or perhaps start at the Vevey end, and head towards Lausanne.

Lausanne is making it ridiculously easy for us to go outside and have a wonderful time.   All part of the Swiss mentality that we really appreciate, and think that we contribute to.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Testing, Waiting, Watching, Thinking

Subtitle: I Analyse

Marcus has a project this week, and that is to answer the question:

Why does my computer take so long to do things? Answer

a) It is doing a lot of things I don't give it credit for
b) There really is a configuration problem
c) Something else


Like most people, funds are not infinite.  And there comes a time when throwing money, and perhaps large money at a new computer or car or possession or thing is not the best way.

The first step is decent Analysis

And so on my principle workstation cum server, that runs Windows and UNIX and Linux and SAP and well just about anything you can imagine, and all concurrently, I have spent a day with the Windows Resource Monitor.

Sexy right?

Well quite. More than its AIX or Linux or UNIX counterparts it is very easy to understand. It is not so simple as to be dumbo (OSX Activity Monitor, are you listening !) but it's intuitive enough for me to quickly find out why my solid, but ageing (5 years+) workstation that recently is simply grinding to a halt ...

Installing two New Microsoft Builds this week  Windows 10.14322 and Windows 2016.TP5 which seemed to take an eternity, highlighted the problem.

I notice that throughout the day the aggregate Hard Disk Activity on the system rarely goes below 60MB/second. It often hovers around 80MB/sec and for long periods is well over 100MB/sec.  I mean all day.   What is going on.

Google Music Manager, what are you doing!

 Okay I see a defrag running at 150 MB/sec

And Windows Storage Spaces Tiering Agent is sucking 130 MB/sec

Making Linux media and installation is resource hungry.  But then Ubuntu 16.04 is calling

Before falling over Google Drive client really goes to town reading all the local files on the source area

Oh and using 1.7GB memory.  I never saw it get past 2GB memory.  Maybe this is the bug that is causing to constantly crash?

Yes well, only 150K files to sync, but after a few more files this whole process will crash

 VMware tanks, that was not supposed to happen

The chrome Canary browser even with few tabs open keeps reading and writing files ALL the time.   Despite the latest tweak to hard link the user directory to a very fast NVMe disk, it is constantly draining resources

Numerous programmed and user file copies daily pull down the system

Syncback, a copy and backup program runs over 10 schedules and moves hundreds of GB or upto TB daily. And pushes it to cloud where necessary. Again slowing system. Look how many concurrent files are opened! Mind boggling.

Oh and I should mention that for nearly everything except for a photo bitmap/jpeg the AVG virus scanner needs to check every file against its always increasingly large Virus Database. Again monstrously resource eating and time consuming.

VMware is sometime frantically consolidating files bringing a VM to a standstill.

So far the analysis goes like this

- Google Music Manager, why is it always reading my static music collection and fiddling around with its local database

- Google Drive. Is it crashing when it gets to using 2GB of local Memory? I'm still trying to get it sync'd and I need to manually restarted > 12 times per day. Crap right? Both frustrating, annoying and I consider giving up soon

- Syncback: Are all the daily transfers necessary. Since Synback compares each and every file, maybe .rar unused file collections from tens of thousands -> 1 file. Would save a lot of comparison time.

- Chrome Browser: Need to compare it against Firefox. Currently Chrome canary seems like a real resource hog.

- AVG: AVG Anti virus needs to read every potentially executable file on read to check it does not contain a virus. This is an additional burden to any file based transfer. But seems unavoidable.


Writing the above has been rather stressful and depressing. So John Mayer to the rescue.  Chill.


Windows 2012 Performance Tuning