Dr. StrangeRAID, or, how I learned to stop worrying and love ZFS

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So now that we’ve chosen to go with Solaris and use NFS for our filesystem, let’s consider how we’re going to use ZFS to best suit our needs.

So let’s say that I have four 1Tb disks lying around which I want to thow into my new file server. At some point in the future, I’d like to upgrade my capacity by replacing one or all of the disks with larger ones (say, 2Tb).

How do we go about it?

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iPhones and Ringtones, Oh my!

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Pay? Fuck you!

Pay? Fuck you!

When I got my new iPhone 3G last week, the first thing I tried to do was to put a few custom ringtones on it so I could have something different to my coworkers – we’ve all got iPhones thanks to the fact that my company lets us have them at cost, which is nice, but when one phone goes off everyone reaches for their pocket.

Initially I couldn’t see a way to do it. There’s no way you can just right click on a song in iTunes and ‘convert to ringtone,’ and when you search for ringtones on the iTunes store, you get a stack of horrible noises not worth spending money on. Not to mention the commercial software out there to convert tones for you. I ended up Jailbreaking my iPhone so I could scp the files straight to it.

But there is a way to convert your songs. It’s quite simple, and doesn’t require any extra tools or money to be forked out, and doesn’t require jailbreaking.

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Rant: Apple and Steve Jobs

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[image title="jobsandwoz" size="thumbnail" id="242" align="right" linkto="http://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/jobsandwoz.jpg" ]I admit that this is probably a terrible place to start apon my great return to the interwebs, considering the massive polarity between Windows people and Mac people, and the inevitable shitstorm that is created any time the two names are mentioned together in the same paragraph, but hopefully the two sides will stop their petty bickering for a moment and hear me out.

I think Apple is great. I use an Apple at home for my designing/ publishing/internetting/musicing/porning, and am quite pleased with it. It’s not for everyone, but I like it (plus it gives me a nice break from using a Windows PC all day).

However, there is something that Apple has done to earn my ire.

You see, Apple have realised that they make so much money from the new versions of their computer operating system, OSX, that they may as well push this same mentality across to their handheld divisions.
Their new iPod Touch and iPhone products now give users the option to upgrade to the latest version of firmware for a fee of $25. A firmware upgrade, which would normally cost precisely zero.

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R2D2 Mailboxes? Awesome!

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Old, but still cool. Hey, we get news a little slower downunder.

For the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, the US Postal Service enlisted a special little fellow to collect mail. R2-D2 mailboxes were deployed to cities all over the US to the delight of fans.

Fricken’ awesome :)

Telstra’s “Faster Broadband”

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[image title="imatejasjam" size="thumbnail" id="309" align="right" linkto="http://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/imatejasjam.jpg" ]Telstra. Love them or hate them, they’re a fascinating group to watch. Since the beginnings of broadband internet, Telstra has been trying to function the same as any other business – make a product that only you can offer, convince people it’s the best thing since sliced bread, then sit back and watch the profits roll in.

Unfortunately for Telstra, this didn’t quite fit in with their corporate model – mainly due to old policies which were a hangover of the days when Telstra was a government organisation. When ADSL was introduced, Telstra was forced to allow other providers access to their copper network – the cornerstone of the Telstra empire. If they couldn’t control that, what did they have?

Now Telstra is concentrating on services which it doesn’t have to share with the other kids in the class. Namely, their Cable internet infrastructure and their 3G mobile network, NextG.
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Why Australians don’t (and won’t) have Unlimited Internet Plans

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[image title="australia_population_density" size="thumbnail" id="325" align="right" linkto="http://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/australia_population_density.jpg" ]Australia is the “Land Of The Wide Open Spaces”. Because of the sheer distances involved, it costs an arm, leg, six puppies and your first three children per kilometer to lay cable anywhere. God’s Own Earth Mate might have almost the same amount of land-mass as the USA does, but our national population is on par with that of the state of Texas. We’re spread out, and we love it that way. The USAians by comparison are squished up close, so over there the costs of running the cable infrastructure makes more sense. There’s more customers per square mile across the entire USA that here, by a factor of twenty or more. Extrapolate that, and that means (roughly) that every kilometer of copper or fibre laid down costs we Aussie customers twenty times as much.

“But I live in a city, they live in cities too!” Sure you do. Sure they do. But we city dwellers have always subsidised our rural cobbers with their telephone service. It was that way back when what is now Telstra was part of the Federal Government’s Post Master General, so it’s been kept that way (much to the current Telstra’s constant grumbling). More than half of your phone bill goes towards the personnel and equipment that keeps our country unified over stupendously long distances, by running copper and fibre out to the ten percent of the nation’s peoples that don’t live in cities and major centres. They want the internet too!

Via MacTalk

Engineering Marvels: The English Electric Lightning

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[image title="lightning_f1_f3" size="full" id="379" align="right" linkto="http://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/lightning_f1_f3.gif" ]In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the interception of Soviet long-range nuclear bombers was a very worrying topic for Western Military leaders. Models such as the Tupolev Tu-22 were already in development, and could reach Mach 1.5 at 40,000 feet – more than a match for the existing sub-sonic fighters of the age. It was predicted that they could deliver a nuclear payload to British or American cities and be totally unreachable by existing fighter aircraft or surface-to-air missile systems.

The British needed something to stop them, and they favoured speed, accuracy and power to do that. Their response was the development of the English Electric Lightning. The Lightning (not to be confused with the P-38 Lightning of WWII fame), is a second-generation Jet Interceptor. They were designed to climb rapidly to ceiling height and engage a bomber with high-speed missiles, and they did it astonishingly well.

So, what makes the Lightning an Engineering Marvel? There are a few reasons. Click Read More to find out.

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Australian Broadband – Where to go from here

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In the past I've argued that Telstra is not to blame for the entire country's woeful broadband connections, and if competing carriers wanted to supply faster internet connections then they should roll out their own infrastructure. It's also been my point that carriers have no interest in rolling out their own network because it's much easier to turn a profit if you just make like a remora with Telstra, onselling their incredibly expensive ADSL services.

Past changes have allowed increases to internet access for ordinary Australians and greater overall choice and speed. In 2002, two years after Telstra's initial deployment of ADSL, Unbundled Local Loops were offered by Telstra to their wholesalers. This made it possible for wholesale providers such as OptusNet, Internode, iiNet and others to connect customers directly to their own DSLAMs, bypassing Testra ADSL Wholesale. This was essentially the first step towards releasing the stranglehold on Broadband which was previously held by Telstra.

There were also explorations into other technologies, such as Telstra's 17Mbps and Optus' 10Mbps Cable internet services as well as a number of Wireless internet providers.

So how badly off are we now?
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AMD fights back in the battle of the Quad Cores

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AMD described its forthcoming quad-core processor, codenamed Barcelona, in a session at today’s Microprocessor Forum. Details of the new microarchitecture on which the processor is based (codenamed K8L) have been known for some time now. Still, the event brought some new info, and here are some highlights that I’ve culled from some of the reporting on it. (Read more for links).
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