October 2009 Archives

A little over a year ago, I uprooted my life of practically 30 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and transplanted it to Seattle's Puget Sound (which, if you're an audio guy, has a nice ring to it) ...
The Drupal Content Management System keeps getting better and better. But the learning curve is still steep and the interface is still tricky - even after working with it for several years, some gotchas keep tripping me up. That tells...
A recent Wal-Mart intrusion story inspired me to summarize the most egregious, reckless, painful, negligent, sad, idiotic examples of failures with logs and logging - "Top Log FAIL." I am pretty sure that esteemed readers of SysAdmin Blog would never, ever do anything of that sort.
IBM marketing guy Rob Weir has half of a new series of blogs The Final OOXML Update up. Readers may be surprised that I agree with many of the points he makes, among them, the importance of a balance of interests, the need for continued participation and the need for followthrough on the BRM decisions.
If you have ever had to localize your website or web app, you know that it can be time consuming, difficult and expensive. This week we (www.worldwidelexicon.org) are rolling out a new service that makes this as simple as a...
William here, talking about bringing the paper display to your door. As I wrote about in my last blog post, tomorrow's displays are here today and the technologies at the forefront of these changes are E-ink and Electronic Paper Displays...

Prior to the release of Lightroom 3 Beta we had the ability to upload our images to various online sites via the Export dialog. Jeffrey Friedl provided several excellent plugins for the Export dialog making it easy to export to these online services. He is hard at work turning those into Publish Services. By the time the final release of Lightroom 3 is ready I'm sure we will have a lot to choose from! For now, let's take a deeper look into how this new features works!

You can find Publish Services in the left side panel of the Library module. When you first start install Lightroom there are two basic services provided: Hard Drive and Flickr. Hard Drive allows you to create folders to receive images via Publish Services. This can be very useful for adding to a folder that is synched to your iPod/iPhone. Perhaps your screensaver is based on a folder of images. Make this a target and you can easily add and manage that. Or perhaps you are compiling images for a client to view and you first want to collect them in a folder from which you can FTP up to your client viewing portal. Interested? Let's take a look.

I attended the Women's Conference 2009 today in Long Beach and listened in admiration to the many tales of triumph and hope that I heard throughout the day. One panel with Madeleine Albright, Amy Holmes, Valarie Jarrett and Claire Shipman discussed "How a Women's Nation Changes Everything." The world is certainly changing. And as women evolve their role, the network will continue to play its supporting part to help them find balance, take control and follow their dreams.
According to Bonnie Biafore, author of QuickBooks 2010: The Missing Manual, QuickBooks 2010 doesn't introduce any earth-shattering enhancements. Yet, a few of its new features are handy and welcome timesavers. Read on for details about Bonnie's favorite new features in...
The virtual and override keywords are an important part of inheritance in C#, but a lot of developers run into trouble with them. This post shows demystifies virtual and override, with step-by-step examples.
There has been an explosion of interest in creating content for the iPhone in the past couple of years, and recently, a corresponding rush of libraries and frameworks to make building iPhone apps easier for those of us who are not experts in Objective-C and Cocoa Touch. Some of these libraries are targeted at web designers, some at programmers.
Both DARPA and the U.S. Air Force are working on universal translators, a concept straight out of Star Trek. While government, science and the military work to eliminate a speech Tower of Babel, we (the information security community) have been busy creating our own new Tower of Babel. As fast as language barriers have been coming down, we have been erecting an encryption Tower of Babel.
Thanks so much to those who took the time to leave a comment to our Windows 7 is Here post. We have our lucky winners, listed at the bottom of this post.
The Worldwide Lexicon is a collaborative, open source translation platform that combines inputs from professional, volunteer and machine translators. It is a best effort system that translates pages as they are served, using the best available resources at the time,...
Python's sys module includes several functions for understanding and controlling memory usage.
Zigurd Mednieks, ace telephony developer and co-author of New installation information for the 1.6 "Donut" Android SDK.
Back in February I wrote about how Linux had gone mainstream as netbooks became ubiquitous. When my Sylvania netbook died last month and the manufacturer took their sweet time responding to me I was offered a refund by the dealer. Suddenly I was surveying the market again for a good buy on a netbook preloaded with Linux. I found a wide variety of systems with Linux available from mainstream outlets and factory direct, at least here in the United States where I live. While I don't have updated market share figures it's clear, despite claims by Microsoft and their supporters, that Linux remains entrenched in the netbook market and is spreading out from there.
We recently had the opportunity to hear from author William Stanek about his view of Windows 7 and his latest book, Windows 7: The Definitive Guide. Stanek calls Windows 7 "the single most important launch of Windows in the history of Microsoft." He predicts most PCs will transition to Windows 7, and recommends all PC users get up to speed on the changes ahead.
William here, talking about the sweeping changes taking place in the world of electronic displays. Tomorrow's displays are here today and big changes are coming sooner than you think. Displays are being built into huge sections of walls, hand-held reading...
Yes! It's here! Head on over to Adobe Labs and download the Lightroom 3 Beta! Adobe continues its laudable practice of releasing Lightroom as a public beta to get important feedback from its users! Thanks Adobe! First, a word of CAUTION. This is a true beta. DO NOT use this in production! Make copies of any images you intend to work on inside the beta. There are still known, and perhaps unknown, issues to be ironed out before Lightroom 3 is ready for production work. Whew! Now that we have the warnings out of the way let's dig in and see what's new!
We are currently in a pivotal point in our world's history - the choices we make today will impact future generations. We need to change our consumptive habits, adjust our resource dependencies and create more sustainable social, economic and political models. I often get asked, "What can I, as an individual, do right now to better leverage the network and be more sustainable?" I have these 10 suggestions.
Last month Oracle announced the Sun Oracle Database Machine, sometimes referenced by Oracle as Exadata V2. At OpenWorld in October, the new Sun Oracle Database Machine was front and center with live demos outside the main keynote area and frequent mention in keynotes and breakout sessions. This blog entry summarizes what is the same and what is different between Exadata V1 (the HP Oracle Database Machine first introduced at OpenWorld 2008), and Exadata V2, the new Sun Oracle Database Machine.
We'd like to hear from those of you who are planning to upgrade to Windows 7. Tell us the top reason you're making the move to Windows 7 by leaving a comment on this entry by 12am PT, Oct. 25, and we'll choose 7 random posts to win a free Ebook version of any of our new Windows 7 titles. One grand prize winner will be randomly chosen to win print copies of all three titles.
The Fourth Quarter was Apple's most profitable quarter ever. Yesterday's earnings call was about two things. One, the iPhone Platform continues to deliver the goods. Two, the continued impressive growth of the Mac, especially MacBooks. As such, it was about the power of the platform as much as it was about the device itself.
While the web has rendered time and distance moot, the language barrier is still standing. The language barrier can be overcome through a "best effort" technique that combines inputs from professional translators, volunteers (user community), and machine generated translations. I recently wrote about this in my essay, The End of the Language Barrier. In this article, I'll describe how to build a translation proxy server (if you'd like to be a beta tester, let me know). This is a service that can be placed in front of any web server to inject translations into pages as they are served.
Like most industries, the tech industry, usually takes itself very seriously. And, sometimes that's too seriously. Sometimes, we all just need to sat back and have a good laugh - at ourselves. (That certainly includes me.) So, I really like...
sys provides low-level APIs for interacting with the system outside of your application, by accepting command line arguments, accessing user input, and passing messages and status values to the user.
Yesterday, Apple announced that they are now allowing In-App Purchasing within free apps. I think that this is a big deal, an entree into what I refer to as 'land and expand,' and yet another reason that Apple remains the gold standard of mobile computing.
I've attended a number of CloudCamps around the world, and the question as to whether systems administrators are relevant in the post-cloud world always seems to come up. Let's put this silly question to bed: your cloud needs a sys admin. A mature IT ecosystem has both systems administrators and developers. The cloud has a nasty habit of deluding programmers into thinking they no longer need sys admins.
Hi, my name is William Stanek. You probably know me as that Technology guy--and yeah if it's about Windows, servers or Internet technologies, I've probably written a book about it (or two or three or lots more). Writing's what I...
Reviewing a few long-term, continuing multi-publishing projects I have been involved in recently, I am struck that several are morphing in a particular direction. The projects might have started as publishing paper or webpages, and moved to publishing high-level XML, but increasingly the commodity that needs to be packaged and distributed (for re-skinning and re-use by third parties) is the whole indexed dataset: in effect the website (without the implication of HTML pages.) The client-person doesn't GET a webpage, they get a whole website (this is for B2B not B2C.)
We've wrapped up work on Head First iPhone Development (it's shipping now) and that gave me a chance to sit down and think about Head First in general. Going through the process with both an academic book (Head First Algebra)...
Virtual wind shear hit consumer cloud computing this last weekend. Caught in the microburst was Microsoft's subsidiary, Danger. Reports have confirmed that Danger has crashed and burned - badly. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Danger's servers...
It hasn't been a good week for managed service providers. Everyone knows about the T-Mobile Sidekick fiasco, and a few astute readers are aware of the problems encountered by Air New Zealand. In both these cases, Air New Zealand and T-Mobile relied on outside vendors that provided infrastructure and IT services to handle their business operations. Those vendors (IBM and Microsoft, respectively) had failures that cost their customers millions of dollars in revenue and damaged reputations.
I would like to take a moment to recognize this year's Nobel Prize winners in physics and highlight the role they played in advancing the sustainable network. The inventions of Americans Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith were instrumental in fueling the growth and utility of the network, which in turn fuels it's relevancy and spurs ongoing innovation...
sys contains attributes and functions for accessing compile-time or runtime configuration settings for the interpreter.
My author Ian Molyneaux let me know that his book, The Art of Application Performance Testing, has been nominated for an award by the Automated Testing Institute in the category "Best Automated Testing Book." If you've read his book and like it, please go to the site and vote for it (or for the book of your choice).

Any well developed and flexible image processing application will allow users to approach a workflow and adapt it to what works best for them. Lightroom is no exception. Many users are well familiar with renaming image files during import and applying a sequence number to each file.

Apple's iPhone Platform is a runaway success relative to just about any metric that you can throw at it, save for one. Where are the breakout successful developers for whom the platform is a 'True Wealth' inducing moment? On the one hand, it is humorous to listen to the woes of 'aspiring' millionaires quibble. On the other, there is a valid argument that Apple's push to drive volume and ubiquity via "cheap" comes at the potential cost of cultivating breakout, transformational apps that cost more, require a longer sales cycle, and thus, more evangelizing to find their beachhead.
I've had a few questions about the software I used in my previous screencasts. I created the app using Xcode for the Mac. Xcode is a developer tool, and if you want to develop iPhone apps, you'll need to download both Xcode and the iPhone SDK.
On that Friday, with no warning, the little netbook failed to boot up. I couldn't even get to the BIOS. For the third time a Sylvania netbook I owned had suffered a premature hardware failure.
With the recent release of Windows 7: Up & Running, I asked author and Microsoft MVP Wei-Meng Lee a few questions about his new book, including why his motivation behind writing the book and what this book can do for you.
There are of course public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds. There has also been talk of possible 'regulated' clouds for regulated information. The anticipated promise of regulated clouds is that customers would get the benefits of a public cloud...
The network offers us a sustainable platform for change, but to use it to its full advantage we must understand it; we must understand how it works, how it's integral to our daily lives and how its potential can be tapped more effectively to tackle our toughest environmental, social, economic and political problems.
Project Bar-B-Q is a great place to discover tomorrow's audio technology, so I was intrigued when someone on the mailing list mentioned the new Kerchoonz K-box portable speaker. Could "gel audio technology" really deliver unprecedented bass from a tiny box? The short answer is yes.
Using JSON examples in Java, C# and Perl to understand cross-platform architecture. I've been thinking a lot about architecture lately. It's partially because Jenny and I are going to do our Beautiful Teams talk at the ITARC 2009 conference next...

Lightroom has its first iPhone application! LRKeys from Baum Computer and Graphics helps you learn the many keyboard shortcuts Lightroom provides in order to make your workflow more efficient.

You moved into the cloud to save some money. Now it's the first of the month and you're looking at your latest cloud provider bill. It's not at all what you planned. How can than be? You probably did a solid ROI analysis and it clearly indicated that a cloud infrastructure was going to save you money. Welcome to the dark side of cloud computing--the world of VM sprawl. Newcomers to the cloud generally find it very easy to start up servers but very hard to shut them down. The result is a cloud infrastructure with an unfortunate number of pointless servers.
When we were working on Beautiful Teams, I was really surprised to see just how much overlap there was between getting software teams to work well together and getting them to improve the architecture of the systems they were building. That was a big learning point for me. I really had those two areas, architecture and teams, in separate "buckets." It was really enlightening to me to talk to people whose opinions I really respect, and hear them draw a direct line between better software teams and better architecture.

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