Thursday Jul 02, 2009

You'd think I know where I am when at home

Been mucking around with the ipodtouch having rescued it from the family for the last week. I have been subject to the "can't find your location" feature while at home. Google points me at Skyhook Wireless' site at GetSatisfaction and I discover that like Plazes, it uses a database solution, in this case run by Skyhook, who explain how it works on their site. This means that you need to be connected to the net to discover your location, but since that's true of the map application, its not too onerous a constraint.

For a 'touch, I need to find out my router's MAC address, which is harder than I'd like; it doesn't seem to display in the control panel. I was pointed at NetStumbler, but it has to run on an operating system it supports with wireless. NB this seems to exclude Vista 64 and obviously in retrospect my desktops, so on my third install I finally discover the address and use it to update SkyHook's database. I need my Longtitude and Latitude for this, which I have never bothered to record, so I used http://www.streetmap.co.uk to get this because its easy.

I had to wait ten days, but its working now.

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Monday Jun 22, 2009

When WiFi's no good

I installed Joikuspot on my new Nokia E71 and this works quite well as a portable gateway. It uses the E71's wireless chip to turn the phone into an internet gateway for wifi devices. Some services were restricted by my network provider in Greece, but definately an additional way to connect my 'touch and laptop to the internet when on the road. This was pointed out to me by Sean Harris.

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Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

3D Worlds, Sun steps up to the plate

Sun has some 3D acceleration software designed to optimise the performance of 3D Worlds, called the Sun Visualization System . This was pointed out to me by Constatin Gonzalez, who has written about it on his blog, "Making 3d work over vnc", and thought I'd be interested due to my articles on VNC and remotely accessing more business oriented 3d Worlds. He pointed this out to me after reading with my experiments with VNC Lite, which he has also played with. The Sun software runs on Linux and Solaris, so its no good for Neverwinter Nights, and I can't imagine it'd work inside a Virtual Box.

Anyway I have enough Virtual Box experiments at the moment without adding to them, so I doubt that I'll be trying this.

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Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

Using a Virtual Box service

I want to run a web service inside a Virtual Box container and consume it from initially the host OS, but later from other systems. This article describes how I accessed an apache served page from and Ubuntu 8 VM.

Using Virtual Box 2.0.2, I read the manual version 2.0.2 chapter 6.4 which talks about allowing the host to utilise port services on a guest. I have a windows host, and a Ubuntu Linux guest.

Despite the problems I have with the IT provided build, fortunately I have cygwin on the machine and so have an easy to use scripting language. Most importantly I have a rigourius 'cd' command with directory completion, my tcl and python shells are a lot fussier about the windows xp 16/32 bit name translation. So in the folder containing the program VBoxManage.exe, I create a script containing the following code,

# need to force the shell, wonder how you do that

USAGE="$0 [make | [rm|remove] | help ]"

case $1 in
make)   echo $0 make proxy
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/Protocol" TCP
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/GuestPort" 80
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/HostPort" 80
         ;;
rm|remove) echo $0 remove proxy
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/Protocol"
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/GuestPort"
        ./VBoxManage.exe setextradata "Ubuntu 8" \\
                "VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/apache2/HostPort"
        ;;
help)   echo $USAGE ;;
esac

exit

I run the script with the argument 'make'. The token "Ubuntu 8" agrees with the VM name, and the token apache2 is afaik, anything I want so long as it agrees. Having run the script, I can boot Firefox in the host OS instance and see the guests default web page, using the URL http://127.0.0.1. Oddly, http://localhost is resolved as something else, but I expect its the apache configuration file that does this.

What next, snipsnap?

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Thursday Apr 17, 2008

Revolutionary business, revolutionary I.T.

My colleague, Ambreesh Khanna, presented on how the growing use of Microfinance, is changing IT architectural requirements, and the risk management criteria. [There's a number of references on google, or exalead, but the Guardian reported on how Mohammed Yunus won the Nobel Peace prize 18 months ago.]

So while it costs a bank a certain amount to manage a customer, if its liabilities to its customers are small, then the risk can be managed in a different way. If a bank has 1000, € 500K loans in its book, only a small number of defaults cause a problem, whereas, if  its portfolio is reversed with  ½ million, € 1000, then many more defaults are required to cause a problems. It also changes the nature of the traffic. Many low volume payments, mandate an IT and banking efficiency that will need to borrow from the web 2.0 architectures. Ambreesh also wrote about microfinance on his blog.

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Thursday Oct 05, 2006

The road to somewhere....

A swift drink before the flight home with Chris Gerhard, and I tested out Benkler's theory that much of the drive to cheap computing and the over supply is in the 'lumpy' nature of computers and the consumer sector. I thought that the OpenSolaris "Appliance" project might be able to leverage these factors. He thougt not and reminded me of the compelling argument, that as greater bandwidth to the home became available, people would move their IT to utility. They don't want the fans and power draw in the house, and they want reliable disks; managing backups will never be a consumer activity. We also discussed the essential necessity of caching within the network, something known for years by the video on demand people & also considered what it might take for games to be served over the network to thin client devices.

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