Saturday, November 29, 2008

difference between the home and the enterprise

This post tries to compare how the home is similar to the work place.

Somehow most people are impressed with the amount of IT stuff i have in my home. To be honest, it used to be more impressive with a full height rack and all my mounted equipment.

Since marriage and children, its scaled down to a 9U rack with the simple contents of:

1. cable modem
2. wireless router
3. cat6 patch panel
4. 16 port switch
5. network attached storage

The rack nicely tucked away in the store room out of site. My machine count has scaled down considerably as well.

1. Windows Vista Desktop - Media Center, Games, Vmware, etc
2. Mac book pro laptop - my main "workstation"
3. Boring work laptop with office apps
4. Xbox 360 and Wii

So in terms of space, it doesn't take up a ton of space as its just these 2 visible computers most of the time. However, this excludes my multiple mixers, audio interfaces, synths, guitars, amps, speakers, mics, effects pedals, drum kit and PA system. Which of course is another story.

So going back to the story about how the home is similar to the enterprise. In fact I believe the home is the smarter enterprise.

For infrastructure, described by my equipment list, it shows a concept of a front end and back end. Front end being where all the user interfaces are (laptop and desktop) and the back end (network and storage) which are neatly tucked away.

Notice, I didn't put the "servers\services" in the backend. Basically I think that data or information is the most important. Applications, services and servers have upgrades and change, these are destructable. Data doesn't change, it gets migrated.

There are examples of business functions and how they work in the home:

Finance and Human resources - Online Banking, Open Office Suite to collect and compile data, Yahoo\Google email groups, Google sites, for publishing of policies and Spreadsheets for controlling payroll.
Sales, Marketing, Advertising and Media - Blogs, Google sites, Myspace, Facebook. Email groups.
IT Department, Your kids, which you will realise is more of a cost that everyone likes to spend money on without producing tangible results. Also collaboration software like Skype and Internet Messengers or other voIP providers.

So, the facts are that, there isn't explicit costs in setting up IT infrastructure in the home. There are concepts like outsourcing to different service providers leaving you to only manage content. There also isn't a huge cost involved and there is also high availiability with "cloud" computing. As long as our internet service provider doesn't muck up. Even then, we have mobile broadband as an alternative backup connectivity or our DR site being our parents place.

My conclusion is that there is almost no difference between a home and the enterprise. Sure there may be more users, but there also a lot more ways to go around the problem.

Since we are getting so good at managing IT at home, why is it still a problem in the enterprise?

The answer is in the question. Management which is the highest cost to the business and the most ineffective. Machines, functions and services are just tools and the problem always lies between the keyboard and the chair.

Best OS for PC laptops - Ubuntu

This post is inspired after fighting Vista during my years as a "Microsoft" consultant. Now that I am no longer bound in M$ space, I've bought a mac book pro and also been downloading different distros of Linux for my other machines. Of course, my desktop will still run Vista Ultimate because of windows media center and my Xbox 360. No i'm fair, I think Windows still has its place.

But the focus is on the best OS for laptops. I've just installed Ubuntu 8.1 and I have to say, I'm really blown away. I've also downloaded Fedora, but based on the install size of Ubuntu, I think I'm going to keep it on Ubuntu. Its so easy to use and everything works, no fighting with drivers, etc. Which is the massive thing about Vista, the reason why you need 30+ days to activate your version of Windows if probably because you expect it to break within that stated time, and yes, it always does. I will need to install my laptop at least 2 - 3 times to get the right install for Windows. Jeez, if Windows was headed to the open source and stability of Unix way, it is certainly doing a great job making it difficult to install like the early distros of linux.

I'm not sure whether to say whether Vista is a easier system to use if you're a total computer idiot. However, if you're a computer idiot, any operating system would not make a difference

So, basically if you want a laptop operating system that you don't want to spend too much time fixing. Try Ubuntu, just kill your windows partition altogether, who needs it?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just when you think its safe to use Vista

Well, as I dropped my occupation as a consultant for microsoft stuff, I might as well complain a bit about my own pangs for using Vista.

I've been using Vista for quite a while now on various desktops and laptops, and its failed me several times and somehow always saved itself after some re-install or patch or issue. To be honest, I really started to like to use Vista, its stable, simple and effective minus the initial setbacks.

Initially it couldn't burn ISOs. Actually it couldn't burn anything at all, everytime you put in a CD it asks if you want to format it. Even non blank CDRs. You need to google and dig out some special software, The best I've seen is ISOrecorder. That of course worked after a re-install with a later build.

After the CD burning drama, it couldn't recognise all my devices, so I had a pile of peripherals lying in a corner of a room. Even after device drivers were created for some devices, I've already moved on to the 64 bit version of Vista and the whole driver saga continues. I still can't use my Sony Net MD with 64bit Vista. I'm probably going to try to VM the software and drivers. I actually solved the driver issues by buying a mac, at least all my peripherals are usable now.

Still Vista is great for corporations because it is cheap, easy to manage and control. Its stable, lets the laptop sleep properly and lets you surf the net and check emails. The enterprise version or business versions are good enough.

I have even moved to Windows 2008 64 bit for workstation and was very pleased with the results. Since then, I've downgraded back to Vista Ultimate for media center as the Hauppage HVR-1100 WinTV does not work with Windows 2008. But there was one thing I've done different from just fighting vista. Next to my Vista desktop is my Mac Book Pro!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Google sites

Here's a great alternative to sharepoint if collaboration needs to be deployed quickly without the microsoft mess.

The only downside is the 100MB quota. Have no time for blogger now. Goggle sites is rocking.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Photos from Samsung i780

For someone who uses a digital SLR most of the time, the camera is really disappointing, but its just as bad as all camera phones, even the crappy 5 mega pixel ones.

Indoor close up shot using normal mode

Night shot of the Yarra river using night mode

samsung i780 gps software

Since I've got my Samsung i780, I've been mucking around the with GPS function, since its the only new feature that my previous now dead phone did not have.

I got the phone for $388 from Starhub, with another 2 year contract. The phone came with its own third party GPS software, Navfone.


Its not too bad, just is really horrible about warning you about ERP in Singapore whether or not it is active.

I also called Navfone support twice to try to get the phone setup as the instruction manual wasn't too informational. Eventually I got it working.

The irritating factor of the software is that everytime you want to use it, you have to specify the port the GPS is on.

Tom Tom with port splitter

Unfortunately Tom Tom would not work without the port switcher software activated. Thats the real pain factor. You need to turn on 2 applications to use the GPS even though Tom Tom looks a lot more user friendly than Navfone, the concept of initiating the use seems rather consistent or even more problematic in port splitter

From a user perspective I actually feel that port splitter actually turns on the GPS so the battery runs out faster even though you are not using Tom Tom as it activates the GPS port.

Google maps

My favourite software at the moment, the only con is that it requires broadband, i.e. the HSDPA connection always on. The fine tuning with the GPS is also useful and it does not need any funky port splitter to activate the GPS either.

It doesn't give you driving instructions, but you don't need to buy maps. If you are travelling, you probably wouldn't be driving and walking around the city with google maps is great for getting you back to your hotel.

I suppose if you have some good data plan and have a phone charger handy, using the GPS is very useful and fun to use to.

dead pi

Well, I guess it has to happen at some point. the home automation raspberry pi has died. Much to do with the stupid Strontium mini SD card. ...