Monday, August 31, 2009

The Campaign for the Real Terabyte

This weekend was the occasion of a 4TB upgrade to my principal home Server. But then I got to thinking; why did my disk manager sees each disk as a mere 1862.89GB. The reason for the missing 2048-1863 = 185GB is the now officially validated redefinition of Kilo, Mega, Giga, and even Tera Byte quantities.

Call me old fashioned, but no amount of Standards Body redefinition is going to stop me believing that

1KB = 1 Kilo Byte = 1024 Bytes

1MB = 1024 KB = 1048576 Bytes

1GB = 1024 MB = 1073741824 Bytes

1TB = 1024 GB = 1099511627776 Bytes

And now Apple is the latest conspirator ...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Days In the Village of Lausanne

Well the time is just past 11am on Sunday and I have just cycled back (uphill) from Lake Leman in Lausanne after a truly delightful Baby (i.e. short) Triathlon.

To give other competitiors a chance Saturday training included a characterically wrong, long swim, long cycle and BBQ/party.

So it was with a large hangover that I groaned out of bed and cycled down to the lake this Sunday morning at 7am.

Setup begins, not easily visible my 11 year old bicycle with a brand new 81 gram Carbon Fibre seat. I hope the bicycle will make it around the course without self destructing.

Pre race dip

Ready for the start

Swimmers fighting it out

In transtion, Agata shouts hurrying up insructions. Without her I might be stopping for a picnic my transitions are so leisurely

On the hill as usual, I catch people up. Only 3 people passed me on the hills during the 20Km, but on and descent I have to slow, I'm worried the old bicycle wont take the stress.

On the run

Last lap and I decide to speed up

The finishing notice board tells me I am short, I know this already

What has made the day even more charming was that I had the support of Agata who shouted me encouragement at all times, and as well as 3 other familiar sportsmen (like the fellow Jussy runner & Belerive swimmer) who wished me well on the day. Lausanne as ever is small enough to make these nice, random connections.

Thanks again Lausanne, we love it here!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Hail the Reader

My name is Marcus and I used to Browse my favourite websites for new content.

I feel like I'm standing up at a support group against Internet addiction. But, in a surprising move I have discovered and fallen in love with Google Reader. In other words, instead of constantly going to your favourite website looking for updates use Google Reader to subscribe to an equivalent RSS feed.

  • Automatically be presented with just updates to each website (RSS feed)
  • Read items are automatically grayed out
  • You can tag and share items with your contacts
  • Saves soooo much time!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bring Back the Slap

When I walk down the crowded high street in London the unruly behaviour of some kids gets me thinking that a parental slap might be the very least that the child needs.

New Zealand it seems has had similar thoughts and held a referendum on the subject

The result ... well in New Zealand at least: The slap is back

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waste not, want not

I'm not sure how many times I could possibly admit to concur with parental indoctrination but the phrase "waste not, want not" is deeply imbedded within my mind thanks to them.
Some say this phrase derives from Psalms 23
, this seems unlikely, but I would comment that this evening whilst replacing the above worn out tyre with a new racing clincher in preparation for Sundays triathlon the phrase came readily to my mind.

I selected the Michelin Pro 3 tyre, because it has great grip and also good puncture resistance, even though the streets of our town Lausanne are normally velvetly smooth, you do meet the occaisionial nail.

In another order from Wiggle in dear old England (Swiss shops obviously just don't stock these parts) I found the 185 gram, thinner 700x20C tyres.

1 hour later and only thanks to the help of Agata who put up with my expletives admirably the tightest tyre I've ever fitted to a road bike was installed. It's now pressure testing at 120psi ready for a test ride this Thursday.

I'd also like to talk about my new 81gram (yes that is less than 100 grams !) saddle but that would be a story for another day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Never a good time to buy

I suppose hypothetically if I had just gone and spent about 25Million Swiss francs on some new IBM P6 computers, well I'd feel just a bit let down to find out that the IBM Power 7 (P7) replacements are waiting in the wings. You know, faster, cheaper, DDR3 memory capable.

Full specifications should be out within the week.

I guess this fierce activity has its parallels in the domestic market with the September 2009 launch of Microsoft Windows 7, and mobile Intel Quad Core, Nehalem generation based Capella processors.

Ars Technica talks Power 7

Friday, August 21, 2009

Changing the IP

In the "simple" but not necessarily good old days changing the IP address on a UNIX system was a single one line command ...

ifconfig en1 netmask 0xfffffe00

This changes the interface en1 to the IP(v4) address of

Then in AIX we were introduced to the ch command family. In general AIX has a parallel set of commands to ch(ange) or ls(list) parameters.

chdev -l en1 -a netaddr= -a netmask='' -a state='up'

AIX also provides smitty so you can perform all of this from an ASCII or Graphical GUI interface

But in today's complicated world of Virtualisation this might still not be enough. A large IBM AIX installation running a P6 frame might have a pair of Virtual Input Output servers (VIOs) controlling all the Ethernet and Storage Area Network (SAN) Disk and Tape IO. And inevitably these Ethernet IP streams will be separated by subnet and VLAN.

So when we changed the IP address we also had to consult our private table

We move to a new IP range of, this means the VLAN is changing from 224 to 204. The VLAN definitions are not done in AIX or in the VIO. They are set via the supervisor Hardware Maintenance Console (HMC)

Select the correct Virtual Logical Partition (VLPAR)

Select the Virtual Ethernet Adapter known to the client partition and linked to the VIO server

We update the VLAN ID for the Ethernet, and now the changed IP address on the client is able to communicate throught the VIO server, out via a Physical Ethernet (trunk) to an Ethernet Switch Port which recognises the IP address of and VLAN of 204 as a valid configuration and passes the IP packets to the router.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Desperate Copy

Advanced Copy is the term I would use to obtaining a publication before its supposed release date. Many Londoners would be familiar with this experience. A decade ago, late on a Saturday night perhaps after a spot of dinner and the theatre you would seek out the pre-release copies of the Sunday Times being sold by select street vendors.

But then marketing departments brought this idea mainstream:
On a retailers shelf if (in August) you are faced with 2 magazines; one dated August and the other dated September, you might be more likely to buy the September one, reasoning:

The September magazine is clearly more recent.

And so we are now in a ridiculous position that the copy date on the magazine is almost arbitrary! I just picked up the October 2009 issue of Winding Road Magazine, and it is the middle of August.

So my point is this:
Those of us who cherish our magazines are moving to electronic not paper magazines. Distribution times are instantaneous, the original reason for future dating (that of distribution times) is no longer valid, and the second reason (marketing .. wow it must be really new) if null and void if everybody else is doing it also. So please publishers, when I read my nouvelle magazine in August, let's have it dated August!

PS: To get started with electronic magazines consider the PDF version of Winding Road, a good starting point for any Car enthusiast.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The signs of a good Holiday

Holidays are perhaps always too short, unless you are a dictator in which case returning home might present a few unwelcome suprises.

For us, our mini break back home in Warsaw has proved yet again too short.

We found a Swiss Bakery in Warsaw!

3 Warsaw rarities: An un-potholed road, a cyclist and a delicious scarcity of cars

Lucky we did not buy that penthouse on the left. View now ruined.

It is Sunday and the shopping centre is packed with frantic shoppers

Football hooligans of the world unite, white walls everywhere await you.

Thanks Pierre! Your screen means we have some decent pixel real estate at last.

Our local Olympic sized pool, Agata and I have a lane all to ourselves.

Beautiful, loved, old and shiny

Parking Polish style

Traditional Cake shop

Traditional Cakes

An unwelcomingly vulgar American invasion

Please no paparazzi

Nissan Navara stockpile (better unregistered than on the roads though)

New style tram outside Mokotov shopping centre.

Mothers block is now refurbished.

One of our many parks

Grafitti row is still going strong

Flowers for Jesus

It is a game, count the crosses. More crosses, more holy

It's bird eat bird not dog eat dog here

An arty bridge

Yoga in the park

Did you finish with the inoculations yet?

Ah, memories of days spent in the SAP building, Warsaw

If overpriced coffee houses are the barometer of an economy, Warsaw is up there with the best of them

Warsaw's only speed camera (sic)