Friday, December 30, 2011

Reasons Greetings

In these Seasonal times let us learn to live, learn, postulate and most importanly smile

the end && Happy New Year to all :-)

Software Terrorists

In the same way that any airport flight bag scan, search, prodding, shoes off general humiliation reminds me that I will never forgive terrorists,  I can also never forgive any Software Virus writer.

As a consequence my anti Virus software has to well, read every byte of every hard disk file or network stream and pattern match it against a set of tens of thousands of potential threats.

No wonder some Apple computers seems to be running faster. The discriminatory targeting of Windows computers mandates the use of increasingly heavy and time consuming prevention routines.

But even I was shocked when I by accident started using Windows Resource monitor

I have noticed for periods of over 2 hours after startup on a >20CPU server is via the avgchsva.exe process reading file after file.

Here is the explanation:

AVG is presumably attempting to hash tag every file on my system.

No wonder I have had 2 x SSD disks fail recently,  AVG is reading the disks to death!

But let me repeat the blame and animosity are firmly targeted at virus writers.  You are indeed trash and I do not wish you well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcome Acer Revo 3700

Postponing any of our computers entry to Silicon Heaven is something Agata and Marcus take pride in.

Our technology is used and then reused.

And so it is that the Acer Revo 3700 computer that Agata has used for a year as her sole desktop computer has been retasked.

Her new role is as a personal work workstation.  It says a lot about technology that this 200 GBP computer is powerful enough to perform this task: browsing the web, downloading GigaBytes of AIX code and fixes, running Lotus Notes and Sametime, and even UNIX activities via cygwin

The Acer Revo is quite literally tiny!  Less than the size of the smallest keyboard and about 2cms thick

There is a decent BIOS with lots of settings to twiddle

The 128 GB Crucial C300 SSD is installed

4GB of memory is now installed - the maximum for the Atom processor

As a home media workstation initially I tried using Ubuntu

Later when the workstation was handed to Agata, Windows 7 was installed.   Her Sports programs e.g. iTunes / Runkeeper,  Garmin Training Center run better there, plus the touch screen software to her Dell ST2320 touch screen required Windows 7.

Since Agata now has a brand new shiny silver unibody Windows computer  (details to follow) it was time to recycle

Here then is the final workstation reinvented for Corporate Use.

My main employer allows users to use their own computer equipment so long as you comply with a challenging list.  What did I learn that I need?

  • Poweron Password
  • Hard Disk Password
  • Workstation must be locked to desk
  • Desktop Screensaver set to 30 minutes or less and require a windows password to unlock
  • My AVG virus scanner is not allowed, I must install Symantec Anti Virus the settings of which I cannot view, change or maintain
  • You must run Symantec Firewall control software
  • You many not use or have installed any Peer to Peer software utilities
  • All Windows shares need authentication access
  • Any locally stored Lotus Notes Database ust be Encrytped
  • Via secpol.msc you must configure Windows Accounts to have >7 characters, max password age 90 days, min password age 1 day, password history >7
  • Window latest service pack must be installed
All of this I pretty much approve of .  However I still fail the final test ...

Because my Hard Disk is not encrypted.  I can't use Bitlocker because this requires TPM hardware which I don't have.  I can't use the preferred PGP desktop since it's certified for 32bit Windows only. 

I am awaiting an explanation.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fat for Christmas

I listened to the latest episode of the BBC World Service Business daily with a mixture of fascination and horror.  Mostly the latter.

The episode is called: The Business of Fat

Click on the link to listen.  It is worth 18 minutes of your time.

The overall angle is that it is perfectly okay for people to exercise less and become fatter and even obese.

And the consequence is that they will need larger cars, larger furniture,  larger clothing and even larger toilet seats.

I suppose I should pinpoint my distaste.   Larger is fine.  A large, fit, not fat, not obese person can live a good life.

But as obesity sets in, you are likely to die early, likely to be a significant burden on the state, to be a concern to friends or family due to health problems, and consume a less fair proportion of goods and services compared to others.

Of course self criticism is where it all starts.  And the above graph shows that shortly after my Triathlon accident I had to stop exercising and gained at least 5Kg.  Since then I have tried very hard but I am still at least 3Kg over desired work.

Must try harder.  How about you out there?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

USB Portable Disk Drives

Agata rightly made me follow through and sell or gift away my extensive collection of 2.5 inch form factor,  IDE disk drives.

I think I sold my last 4 drives including a quick insertion case and cables for 20 CHF.   Now that was a bargain.

Right now I have had an urgent need to restock ....   2 SSD 2.5" drive failures in less than 1 month.  To name and shame:

Crucial C300 64GB && Crucial M4 256 GB with time delayed failure  (fail after < 1 hour after power on)

I never had any trouble in over 10 years with rotating 2.5" drives so it was time for a reorder.  Here are the results ....

  • A survey narrowed in Samsung S2 and M2, 1TB drives in sealed external cases

  • The HD Tune Information is shown above
  • You can clearly see the speed advantages of USB3.0
  • I'm going to keep the M2
  • The S2 is going to be dismantled so I can use the bare drive in an existing server.   It is actually cheaper to buy this cased model than the bare drive.  Unbelievable!


Monday, December 26, 2011

Even More Pixels

I am not a great favour of mediocrity so putting up with either one of my 2 Corporate Laptops takes some doing.

The insane Swiss Keyboard I have already commented on.  This is easily fixable by simply plugging in an Excellent compact Microsoft Arc Keyboard.

Next is the Screen.  A meagre 14 inc screen and a pathetic 1366x768 pixel resolution is next on the upgrade list.

Whilst it really pains me to spend my money on upgrading this Corporate Laptop the factors are

  • I asked nicely and the Corporate told me to get lost
  • The cost of a Samsung S24A300B Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen is 169 CHF from Digitec
  • So for most people this is less than a days work
  • For this smallish outlay then I'll have a workable screen that should last some years

  • OKay, I am sold.  I bought the screen

So to come to the title of this post.   How many screen pixels are sitting on my desk these days. Yes 15.08 Million Pixels. Enough for today.  In 2011.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011 All is Well

Well the title refers to how nicely Marcus and Agata are settling into Christmas.   We didn't precisely calculate but probably for the last decade we've made the effort to visit friends/family for Crimbo.

This year.  We are resting at home thank you :-)

More precisely:

The Swiss Carac  (Green icing on top of a pastry cake full of chocolate paste) consumption is rising

Rashida's  soiree was an excellent lead in to Christmas and Haruki kept me entertained

Marcus was busy building another yet faster computer in the Study.  In the last 2 days it's taken over 15 hours. Most of the complications to do with the incompatibility of the AT&T Network Client with x64 Windows 7

Time for a decent Christmas Run.   Still carrying a rucksack but lighter without water and office clothes I managed a faster run than usual.

Back home and of course I had to watch the Queens Speech.  I think this is obligatory for all British abroad.

Now although I have a work deadline of Tuesday December 27 I think I can start on that 07.00 December 26 not that the infrastructure is prepared. Now it is at last time to relax with Agata and The Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest.   Exciting I can tell you

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Euphoria

In theoretically Christrian countries we have reached Christmas Eve, a day where most people can manage a smile and I could begin to quote Luke 2:14

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

Ignoring the fact this is a quote from a Christian bible a belief in any God could render the above phrase true, and with some selective editing 

on earth peace, good will toward men  

on earth peace, good will toward all sentient beings

is a phrase that even those who don't believe in Imaginary Friends can agree to.

Now we have the phrase corrected I have a 3 step plan to get everybody into a Euphoric mood

1.  Check out the informative Graphics Below

What a Wonderful World

My time is now

Singing Christmas Hedgehogs

2. Listen to the Disc Fries Liftoff  mixtape (or it's too hardcore pick an Avicii Levels Remix,   say this one )

2.b.Optional, but recommended: Imbibe  a Glass of Wine or Pint of Beer 

2.c.Optional.  For UK residents, watch How Not To Live Your Life.  Christmas Special

3. You are now tasked with going outside and shaking hands, smiling and wishing

seasons greetings ||  on earth peace, good will towards all sentient beings 

to 20 people you have never met before.

Attenborough - Wonderful World
Disco Fries:Liftoff