Just sharing some of my inconsequential lunch conversations with you... RSS  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

xobni time to respond

Oops, xobni analytics found out my "Time to Response" is getting worse by the day! From 2 hours last year to near 6 hours this month! Oops, hope my boss isn't reading this...

Mental note to self: stop accepting so many work and interruptions - it is clearly disrupting  my throughput.

PS: my "Follow Up Delay" report is also interesting, but I'm too embarrassed to show you mine...

One point to Ubuntu

Ubuntu VPN client does something really neat and simple: it allows you to configure the routable subnets! Isn't this what we all do? Some manual "route add" of our remote subnets to the ppp interface? I have a PowerShell script for Windows and a bash script for Mac OS just to do this simple setting. At last a clean and simple useful usage on Linux :) Carry on :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cool xobni Outlook plug-in

Here's a must I'm trying out (it's free!): xobni. Xobni is the Outlook plug-in that saves you time finding email conversations, contacts and attachments. Here's what it does:

 

Lightning fast email search.

The email or person you're looking for appears as you type
Learn More

Hello, threaded conversations.

Email how it was meant to be read, with conversations in context

Email analytics.

Rankings, graphs, and statistics detailing how you and your contacts use email

Quick attachment discovery.

Historical attachments available instantly without searching

Navigate your inbox by people.

Discover email's social network - quickly identify a contact's manager, business partner, or assistant

Phone numbers extracted from emails.

Contact details pop into the sidebar - never search for a phone number again
Learn More

Your personal assistant.

Schedule appointments with a click of a button - Xobni automagically finds open slots in your busy schedule.
Learn More

 

 

Except for the search index duplication (with Windows Search), where I have some doubts, xobni is a must! I'll post my experience here in a week.

The Mojave Experiment

This is hilarious! Microsoft disguised Vista as "Mojave, the next Microsoft OS", and tricked people into test driving it. The result was obvious: everybody though Mojave was great!

Why? First of all because people like to be part of something new. But above all, Vista's problems seem to be emotional ones. Vista was not what some of us expected, so Vista has now a negative irrational and emotional handicap to get by.

This cool experiment (hope it is true, not just marketing) seem to prove that all that Vista's worst problem is it's brand. This is a strange new scenario for Microsoft - at least at a generalized level.

VMware ESXi Hypervisor Now Free

<update>

ESXi is the thin client hypervisor integrated on the server hardware. ESX is still a payed product. Pity.

</update>

Yeap, VMWare is still responding fast to Microsoft products. Is this better than the benchmarks we have not being reading about Hyper-V performance?!?!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fighting for my rights paid off

Here in Portugal ISP customer rights are often neglected by our ISPs. I change my ISP operator every now and then, always looking for better quality of service and price.

A couple of months ago I changed back to Zon (NetCabo). I was used to the poor technical service all ISPs observed, but I wasn't prepared for this: I was offered a 47€ monthly fee, and was charged 53,6€!

After a couple of days wasting hours on the phone trying to correct the value, I finally gave up and asked for the contract cancellation. The operator said they would have to redirect the call to a "special team".

The "special team" are the folks they redirect the calls to maintain the customer. They tried to offer me a deal, which I refused. I told them I already had my deal, they just weren't honoring it! I told them they where proposing me what I already had making it look like a gift!

And then the "special team" very politely offered me 42€ monthly fee. Uau, what a nice proposal! I've accepted it immediately!

Let's hope that this verbal contract works better then the first one.

<update>

My service remains same as before:

  • cable tv (classic)
  • 8Mbps/512Kbps (no traffic limit)
  • phone (traffic included for Portugal land lines)

</update>

PS: the actual offer was 40,09€ - I've used the prices with the original 21% VAT for a correct comparison - VAT was lowered to 20% from the start of the contract.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SQL Server 2008 still in Q3

A corporate vice president within the Microsoft Server and Tools business announced that SQL Server 2008 will be included in the August price list. According to InfoQ and many others, this would be a sign of an early August RTM.

Apparently this won't happen. ArsTechnica view:

Microsoft is still expecting the new version to arrive sometime in Q3. As Andrew Fryer put it on his blog: "Bottom line—It will be out sometime in Q3 when it’s ready," the fact that it is available on August's price list does not guarantee that it will become available then.

Andrew is probably right.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hyper-V vs VMWare Player

When I started writing this post, the title was "Benchmarking Hyper-V". But I've quickly realized the limitations of the few tests I've collected. Anyway, here they are.

The first limitation of my test is clear: I should have tested Hyper-V against VMWare Server, not against the Player.

The second limitation is the test itself. I quickly looked for something that supported multi-cores, ran standalone and presented fast results. All I could find was Orthos. Orthis is yet another prime solver tester (a version of Prime 95), and it is good enough for my first "kind-of" benchmark.

So here are the results (1 minute CPU test):

 

VMWare: 281.75 GFLOP

Hyper-V: 514 GFLOP (245 + 269.5)

 

Ok, not fair, I should really test against VMWare Server, where I could run 2 cores... But this is what I really use. I'm virtualizing my desktop, and VMWare Server video driver is too sluggish to use as desktop - though Hyper-V is not significantly better...

I expected more from Hyper-V, being para-virtualized. Though not as fast per core, Hyper-V is clearly faster using my DualCore. And it runs smoothly on my Windows Server 2008 - VMWare Player needs 64bit driver signature recognition to be shut of.

So, and for the time being, I'm porting my VMs to HyperV. Until I really need a lot of memory, then I will probably run back to VMWare, who knows.

A last curiosity: for those like me that are used to application virtualization, having both cores at 100% on the guest  and both idle on the host is strange. Understandable, yet strange.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yet another .NET community guy at Microsoft

Ok, this is just beginning to get silly, now it was CastleProject's Hammett's time. As I've mentioned earlier:

Yet another .NET blogger and open source contributor sets sails to Redmond. Now was Rod Conery's time, the SubSonic guy, and the lucky team is yet again ScottGu's dream team.


I'm afraid this trend can turn against Microsoft in the long run. These people were in fact working for Microsoft's interests, just out of Microsoft's roll pay. They were helping creating great software over Microsoft technologies, and creating communities around it. And they were credible, not just because of their recognized competence, but also because they were independent. Hope they keep up with the pace they had.

The good thing is that he will continue working on Castle.

Hanselman, Haack, Conery, Hammet... When will this end?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Running my old VMWare machines

VMWare Player drivers are still unsigned, so the only way to run them on Windows Server 2008 x64 is to accept unsigned drivers on boot time.

More: Windows Server 2008 uses too much memory, so I have looked for an alternative. The answer was dual booting with a stripped down version of VMWare: TinyXP.

Yes, I know, TinyXP is now as legal as it should, but what the hell, I do own a legal XP license.

Installing TinyXP was quiet simple. The stripped down version uses only 50MB of memory - 42MB without explorer. After installing NVIDEA and wireless drivers, and replacing explorer with VMWare console (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\WinLogon Shell), I have a minimalist VMWare host.

I had an option that I didn't try out: Linux. Though legal, I have some doubts about sync/clocking problems, drivers performance, and I'm afraid I wouldn't use less memory.

And having an XP around to solve x64 incompatible drivers / apps is a must!

Where did my memory go?

After some months using Windows Server 2008 x64 as a desktop, and after installing some of these, one thing's for sure: memory usage starts low, but doubles with ease.

So I've decided to measure memory usage on a new laptop I've just received, a Dell Latitude D830. Here's what I got:

Description

mem

mem delta

Installed Windows Server 2008 x64

392

392

Stopped some useless services

372

-20

Installed HyperV

445

73

Stopped HyperV services

415

-30

Installed Windows File & Search services

432

17

Installed Office 2007

465

33

Removed  Groove Utility on startup

446

-19

Installed Visual Studio 2008

496

50

Stopped SQL Server services

470

-26

Installed NVIDEA driver

525

55

Stopped NVIDEA utilities on startup

500

-25

Installed wireless service

525

25

Installed Desktop service

555

30

Started Themes service

555

0

Activated Aero

615

60

Installed driver bluetooth

615

0

Installed and starting  Messenger 8.5

700

85

driver wireless

730

30

Starting Outlook

830

100

Starting FeedDemon

880

50

Update: Mobile Center: +12MB

 

Like always, we start with an acceptable 392 MB usage, but we always end up getting near 900MB with great ease. Just to get to a minimal usage. And I didn't throw a web browser here...

Here's the same list ordered dependently by memory usage:

Description

mem delta

Installed Windows Server 2008 x64

392

Starting Outlook

100

Installed and starting  Messenger 8.5

85

Installed HyperV

73

Activated Aero

60

Installed NVIDEA driver

55

Installed Visual Studio 2008

50

Starting FeedDemon

50

Installed Office 2007

33

Installed Desktop service

30

driver wireless

30

Installed wireless service

25

Installed Windows File & Search services

17

Started Themes service

0

Installed driver bluetooth

0

Removed  Groove Utility on startup

-19

Stopped some useless services

-20

Stopped NVIDEA utilities on startup

-25

Stopped SQL Server services

-26

Stopped HyperV services

-30

 

Outlook and messenger on top, as expected. Interesting how Aero doesn't suck that much memory. And yes, search services mem can probably depend on how much you're indexing.

Throw in some Firefox and IE, some Visio, Excel and Word  docs, a Visual Studio debug session and your favorite Virtual Machine, and you'll quickly asking for the other 2GB of RAM you didn't get (yet). Oh well, nothing new here, just glad to know where did my memory go :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mission Statement Generator

Here's a great mission generator. It can be quite helpful writing missions like:

Our challenge is to authoritatively restore long-term high-impact materials while promoting personal employee growth.

Thanks for the link, Cab_Ux.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

mstsc /console vs. mstsc /admin

Oops, I missed this change. It seems that on RDP6.1 the switch was substituted by /admin. Yes, that lifesaver switch to get to the console. That switch we all used to install applications and close lost sessions. And it seems like it does different this according to the remote OS. What a mess, here's an article about it.

Thanks for the tip, Cab_Ux.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

VOIP on my Mobile

For some strange reason, my HTC official ROM doesn't support internet calling. So I've followed a friends link (thanks Rasteiro), and installed internet calling support (ftp://xda:xda@ftp.xda-developers.com/Hermes/WMXL_Support_Files/WM6VoIP.CAB). Though it works, it has it's problems (calls "forced" through the speakerphone, erroneous information messages, ...).

So now I'm trying fring. fring is a mobile internet service that enables you to access your social networks on-the-go, make free calls and live chat with all your fring, Skype, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo! and AIM.

I'm using it over my WiFi back in home to talk to land line over voipcheap.com. But wait, my phone signature already give me that for free, with way more quality. So why do I do it?

Because I can. Because it's fun. Because I can reach more people over all those networks. And probably because there is no better way to waste half of my phone battery on no more then half of hour call... :S

Development Catharsis :: Copyright 2006 Mário Romano