Thursday Jan 22, 2009

Apple OS X Desktop On Sun Ray

If you're tired of doing the VNC route to remotely display an apple desktop, check out AquaConnect!  AquaConnect brings an RDP Server to OS X Server.  This means you can use our Sun Ray Windows Connector to display a Leopard desktop on your Sun Ray and couple it with hot desking and stateless goodness!.  Here's a couple of shots of Sun Ray and AquaConnect from MacWorld

(Photo's courtesy of Chris Kawalek)

Friday Aug 29, 2008

Apple / AT&T Condone iPhone Theft?

Less than a week after getting my wife an iPhone 3G, it was stolen.  Here's what I've learned.  Neither AT&T nor Apple care that your phone was stolen.  AT&T will not black list the IMEI or SIM, meaning that whoever stole the phone can go right down to AT&T and get the phone switched over to their account with ZERO questions asked.

Apple will not black list the serial number and will allow it to be registered with iTunes, just by plugging it into the computer.

Even if you deactivate your phone service, the iPhone (either model) basically becomes a fully functional iPod Touch.

Condoning theft is a strong accusation, but it would be simple for either AT&T or Apple to brick the phone.   Furthermore they refuse to offer insurance on the iPhone (far more expensive phones are insurable) which begs the question why?  I'll tell you why, because AT&T get a new customer with the stolen phone locked into a two year contract, the theft victim has to continue paying for two years with no option but to pay full market price ($499 USD) to replace their phone AND get locked into another two year contract.  Luckily you can drop the 3G data plan at will, and luckily we still have her old Motorola RAZR.  Otherwise, we'd be out of luck and spending at least $150 USD on the most basic of phones.

The rotten cherry on top of this crap cake story is that I bought the phone with my Corporate American Express Card since that's the card I have on file with AT&T to pay my bill with.  American Express offers a great service called Buyers Protection that covers you from damage or theft in the first 90 days.  It's complimentary service available on every American Express Card...EXCEPT the Corporate Card.  Nice.

I've given both Apple and AT&T a lot of my hard earned money and they flat out don't care.  I honestly think "iPhone Theft" is viewed as another revenue stream for them.

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

Product Review - Apple Airport Extreme Base Station 802.11n w/GigE

Update:  As I find solutions to these problems I'm updating this post.  I felt it was very hypocritical of me to not allow Apple Support a chance.  I've been in the direct firing line of an angry customer who was ready to throw my product in the trash when in fact there was nothing wrong with the product.

Apple might do a lot of things right, iPods, iPhones, Macbooks, Operating Systems to name a few.  What ever magic they have, they sure don't share it with their networking folks.

I've had a Linksys WRT54G for several years and it started getting really flaky.  To the point that it wouldn't do certain things like allowing a DMZ host or port forwarding.  It was time for a replacement.  Since I move a lot of big files around my home network, I thought I would go for a router based on the 802.11n draft.  Since the Airport Extreme is price competitive and had GigE for the built-in switch, I thought I'd give them some of my dollars versus Cisco/Linksys.  What a huge Perhaps a mistake.

Here are the issues I've had, and I'm not alone.  Almost every issue I've had has been experienced by many others on Apple discussion forums.

  • Unit drops all wireless connections, need to reboot the router to recover.  -This happens several times a day.  My 12 year old is now convinced that Apple sucks. Solved!
  • Unit crashes when moving data from airport disk.  -This almost always at around 600 MB. Solved!
  • 3rd party Wireless G clients cannot connect using WEP or WPA/WPA2. -Had to rely on MAC ACL for security.  Solved...Sort of.  See Update 4.
  • Shoddy VPN throughput.  -Sun Ray from home is unusable due to packet loss.  Solved!

Many of the folks on the discussion boards are on their 2nd or third AEBS after returning them to the Apple store.  That's far too forgiving in my opinion.  Twice maybe, three times?  No thanks.  I'm going back to Linksys, even though I threw away my box and will have to pay a "re-stocking fee".

Update 1:

Apple Support believes all my problems are caused by interference.  They could have a point.  I've used channels 1, 6, and 11 and it looks like so have my neighbors.  Trying channel 9.  If this is stable, will try WPA next.  Could also get rid of my "legacy" G gear and go to the 5 Ghz ranges (pure N) which it seems I would be the only one for the time being.  iStumbler is a must have app for troubleshooting wireless networks!


Update 2:

Lowered MTU to 1364 and Sun Ray from Home is functioning normally again.  Will take screen shots for another importance of MTU blog posting.

Update 3:

Changing channels did seem to fix the Airport Disk and large file transfer problem too.



So far so good 









Update 4:

3 of my six older 802.11b/g devices will now connect via WPA/WPA2.  However, two of my most critical devices, SMC 2870W bridges out to my lab will not connect over WPA or 128 bit WEP (the WEP Key the AEBS supports).  Temp work around until someone sells a decent 802.11n bridge is was to fire up an older AP I had out in the garage (loaded up with OpenWRT) and chain that to the airport for these devices.  Of course they are now on a different network and I have to go change all the fixed IP's out in my lab.  Not a good solution, but most likely the fault of these older devices.  On the plus side, I may move all the 802.11b/g devices to this AP and put the AEBS in pure 802.11n mode.

Sunday Aug 26, 2007

iCrimes and Misdemeanors


We've all heard the horrible stories of people being beat up (or worse) for their iPods.  I saw the (d)evolution in the iCrimes saga this morning.  A brand new AT&T store right next to the Golds Gym I go to was broken into.  The glass on the front door was demolished for the old fashion smash and grab.  It was around 5:40 AM when I pulled into the parking lot and the Alarm/Private security company was just getting there so it must have just happened.  Hmm....I wonder what the crooks were after?  Must have been some Pink RAZR's.  Yeah, that's it.  I parked close enough to see in the store, the only other damaged area was...the iPhone area.  Surprise, surprise.


My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


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