Sunday Oct 28, 2007

Leopard Apps

My migration to Mac OS 10.5 is complete. I chose to do some housecleaning / backup, then start with a clean install. Here are the applications which I use and had to install.

Thursday Jun 14, 2007

Mac OSX VMWare Fusion beta and hostonly networking

I have been using VMWare Fusion Beta for Mac OSX since it was first released in beta. I have been using several VMWare images which require a static IP address on a hostonly network. Although the latest beta versions of Fusion support hostonly networking, it does not yet allow you to specify a specific network to use for hostonly networking. The following steps are how I manually configured hostonly networking for Fusion (beta 3 and 4).
$cd /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion
You can run the script to setup the hostonly network, but it does not give me a chance to specify my network range, like I can on the Linux version of VMWare Workstation with the, or directly in the Windows version through the GUI. These steps allowed me to force the network range to be the desired range.

First Stop vmware networking:
$sudo ./ --stop
Then check to see what network range was auto assigned to hostonly networking:
$ more config
vmnet1.hostonlyaddress = ""
vmnet1.hostonlynetmask = ""
Now grep the files in this directory to see where the network range is used:
$grep 192.168.157 \*
config:vmnet1.hostonlyaddress = ""
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_HOSTADDR
locations:answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET

We see that config and locations reference this network range. Now edit these files to be the network range we desire, in my case, I want 192.168.159

Then we need to edit the vmnet1 dhcp configuration:

$cd vmnet1

Now also edit the network range in the dhcpd.conf file.

Start networking back up

$cd .. sudo ./ --start

Now VMWare networking is configured properly, and the VMWare image which is configured for hostonly networking on the network range will be reachable from the Mac.

One last step if you want to enable name resolution of your VMWare image in the local hosts table for the Mac so you don't have to always reference an IP address to reach the image, follow these steps (standard Mac OSX configuraiton):

Open the NetInfo Manager (under Application\\Utilities) utility.

Under machines, add new entries for your VMWare image IP address and FQDN you want to use to access it. These entries only require a ip_address and a name to be defined.

now startup the image and it should be accessible on your desired hostonly network range.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007

Back in Black

I'm not talking about the AC/DC song, although I was a huge fan when it came out. I'll take a break from my normal tech postings related to share a few comments written about Sun today. Here are a few which I see now. Seeing these messages a great way to start the day.
  • "Wall Street has welcomed Sun Microsystems Inc. back in the black"
  • "Premarket Movers: Sun Micro Shines"
  • "Sun Micro shares surge following upbeat report"
  • "Sun Micro shares climb 9% on company's upbeat earnings"
  • "first quarterly profit in years as revenue increased."
  • "Earnings were above what Wall Street expected."
  • "It's clear from our vantage point that Sun is moving in the right direction,"
  • "new CEO Schwartz is steering the company on the right path after several years of market share losses and inconsistent profitability."
  • "U.S. stocks open higher on newfound hope for techs"
  • "First Albany raises Sun Microsystems to buy"
  • "it has "gained utmost confidence" that Sun can deliver on its 10 percent-plus operating margin."

This was one of my favorites: "Somebody slap someone. Sun Microsystems has turned a profit."

Of course, not all comments were completely rosey, the Motley Fool has been consistently bashing Sun as an example of the .com bust, so it's no surprise that they have reservations about Sun's outlook:

"Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or an incoming train?"
Let's all do what we can to prove that it is light, not a train.

Sunday Jan 07, 2007

1 1/2 hours well spent

Well you win some, you lose some. Here was 1 1/2 hours well spent. Give the online game Samorost2 a try if you want a short diversion. The first level is web based and free and is worth trying.

I found a link to the to a game which was nominated for "Best Web Browser Game" in the "Excellence in Visual Arts category" as well as several other awards. I gave it a try and was reminded of the excellent experience with Myst many years ago.

I just lost 1 1/2 hours of my life

I'll admit I'm a hard person to buy gifts for, but when I got the DVD Nacho Libre I was interested in watching it, but did not expect much.

I am a fan of some of Jack Black's recent movies: King Kong and School of Rock
However, I found it difficult to find any redeeming qualities (or even a few chuckles) in Nacho Libre. There's 90 minutes gone I can never get back.....

Saturday Jan 06, 2007

I am Iron Man - which superhero are you?

I listened to a bit of Black Sabbath as a teenager and was fond of the Iron Man Song, but that is not what I am referring to. I ran across a link to this quiz site on another Sun blog. This quiz is worth taking if your looking for a quick diversion. Answering this quiz is completely (self) subjective, and some of the questions are comical. I took the quiz, then had my wife take it answering for me, and both resulted in the same superhero result.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

[Read More]

Friday Dec 29, 2006

Treasure Hunter or the Hunted

Over 3 years ago a Sun collegue of mine described Geocaching to me. It is good fun when you have some kids to entertain and it is good exercise. The basic premise is you use your GPS device along with the coordinates / clues to find a "geocache". Once you find it you can sign the log and some caches have "treasure" inside. These are usually trinkets that are of little or no value, but kids love it since you never know what you may find, and you always bring along something to leave behind if you take something out. I have gone a few times when nieces and nephews are in town, or as a good diversion for my son. I have had a few interesting adventures hunting for geocaches including a runin with an armadillo.

[Read More]

Friday Aug 25, 2006

Ubuntu XGL - eye candy test

So I've been meaning to try XGL since I upgraded to Ubuntu 6.06, I recently saw a video which shows it in action and thought it was time to give it a whirl.

I followed this simple guide to set it up, and in minutes (More information here), I was ready to test it.

Get your dramamine out because the default settings can leave you dizzy quickly, bouncing and wobbling is pretty cool, but I found the default setting anoying, this can be configured with gconf-editor

Even though the graphics are stunning, I'm a bit annoyed by some of the minor quirks. I'll give it a try for a few days and see how it goes.

There are sites everywhere with info about XGL, one of the things I did not find right away was what the controls are to fully utilize XGL features. Here is a list of some things to try:
  • Switch windows = Alt+Tab
  • Arrange and view all windows = Moving the pointer to the top right screen corner turns on or off; clicking a window will zoom it to the front
  • Switch desktops on cube = Ctrl+Alt+Left/Right Arrow (or moving your mouse to the edge of your screen and rolling your mouse wheel)
  • Switch desktops on cube with the active window following = Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Left/Right Arrow
  • Rotate cube manually = Ctrl+Alt+Left-click and grab an empty desktop space.
  • Make window translucent/opaque = Either with the "transset" utility or Alt+Mouse wheel (or right clicking on a window's title bar, and selecting the settings from 'Appearance')
  • Zoom in once = Super-key+Right-click
  • Zoom in manually = Super-key+Mouse wheel up
  • Zoom out manually = Super-key+Mouse wheel down
  • Move window = Alt+Left-click
  • Snap move window (will stick to borders) = Ctrl+Shift+Left-click
  • Resize window = Alt+Right-click
  • Bring up the window below the top window = Alt+Middle-click
  • Slow-motion = Shift+F10
  • Water = Hold Ctrl+Super key, and move mouse
  • Rain = Shift-F9
Note: The default Super key is the "Windows key" on most keyboards.

Thursday Aug 24, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06 tweaks

First off I prefer Solaris 10 over any other OS, and I'm not saying that because I work for Sun. I'm saying that because that is one of the reasons I work for Sun. But I have a few laptops which I run Ubuntu on and have for a few years. The latest release 6.06 is a huge step forward in useability. For those who do not, check out these links to get started:

For those who do use Ubuntu, check out this list of Hack Attack: Top 10 Ubuntu apps and tweaks (I especially like number eleven, Spinal Tap).

Wednesday Aug 31, 2005

A Chink in the Fiber?

I talked about my new FIOS service recently and the speed increases. This serves both my phone and internet access, so downtime is a major inconvenience. My service went out for the first time today (internet and phone). I had not lost service in 2 years on my old fashioned copper DSL. Now to be fair there is a bunch of construction happening around my community and when we called in, we were told that a crew had already been dispatched to find the break in the fiber and fix it. Since there is all this construction, this may have been an issue even for old fashioned copper wires. Luckily I still had internet access thanks to my Treo. I'm back up now after a little over 2 hours.


Wednesday Aug 17, 2005

Need for speed RESULTS


I now have the FIOS service installed. The speed tests after installation varied greatly, but here is a recent test to compare to the before tests:

Again, using the speed testing tools at, I measured the line speed on my current connection to / from various locations arround the US. The result:
  • SF - 5,532 down / 1,758 up
  • LA - 5,674 down / 1,762 up
  • DAL - 10,832 down / 1,771 up
  • CHI - 8,053 down / 1,767 up


While I wanted to see a 10x performance boost over the before numbers on both the upload and the download speed, The download speed varies greatly (by time of day and all other variable factors with the internet in general). The real positive note here is the upload speed seems to be pretty consistent and greater than 10x the performance. Since my original problem was the upload bandwidth when using Vonage VOIP and WebEx, this is a huge improvement. Further testing and experience is required to see if the latency is a factor. I did no pre tests and have not done any post latency tests yet. I did use my Vonage after installation, and all was well.


The installation took about 4 hours, and was very straight forward (with one exception). A few devices were installed in the garage (an ONT - Optical Network Terminal and a BBU - Battery Backup Unit). Then a cat5 cable was run from the garage into the den. The phone lines are also run over the optical network and connect now through the ONT. The battery backup is supposed to keep the phones lines active for 4 hours in the event of a power failure. The cat5 cable which comes into the den is terminated to a D-Link Broadband Router (supplied by Verizon). This removes my dependency on the DSL modem and allows be to use my existing router (supplied by Vonage) if I choose to. My understanding is that the WAN side just needs to support PPPoE. That's a project for a different day. Now the problem I alluded to earlier. The fiber which was buried in my lawn last week did not work. I was told it was either defective or damaged during installation. They had used several Ditch Withces to do the installation and were supplying a great deal of force on the cable with a winch during the installation so my guess is it is the latter. In any even, Verizon was great in this situation. They called in a crew to bury a new cable and immediately place a temporary cable above ground so I was not out of service during the work. They buried a new cable in a few hours (this time, I noticed, using more manual labor than Ditch Witches and winches). Then the technician came back out at the end of the day and switched from the temporary fiber to the newly buried one, and all was well. My lawn is a bit more tore up now since the second cable was laid, but it will grow out and is a small price to pay for the results.

Monday Aug 15, 2005

Need for Speed...

The problem:
I often work from home using a Sunray into office, phone via Vonage VOIP, reqularly host WebEx meetings, of course have multiple computes and am frequently downloading large files (new sw builds, etc.) I have DSL service and the biggest problem (other than slow download times) is vonage quality suffers at the other end of the line due to the limited upload speed of my DSL. I've been a DSL subscriber for nearly 8 years now, and it just is not enough anymore.

The specs:
Using the speed testing tools at, I measured the line speed on my current connection to / from various locations arround the US. The result:
  • CA - 1254 down / 127 up
  • LA - 1331 down / 134 up
  • DAL - 1375 down / 129 up
  • CHI - 1373 down / 129 up

The solution?:
Last Spring, Verizon put fiber optics in my entire subdivision (and all others in surrounding cities) in North Texas. Needless to say I was eager to get the service. I had called verizon several times to request access and checked to website reqularly (Verizon FIOS). Last week I noticed a few installations in process in my subdivision, so I again called and it was ready. The installation is scheduled for 8/16. On 8/12 they sent a crew to run the fiber from the curb to the exterior of my house. To my surprise, not only was Verizon quick to act, but they also responded in force. 5 trucks each hauling a trailer (4 ditch witches and an air compressser) got the work done in an afternoon. This crew seemed large to me, but perhaps they were doing some on the job training? In any event, I was pleased by the quick progress (my lawn is a bit tore up, but does not look bad).

I selected to 15 Mbits down / 2 Mbits up package. I will post the results of after speed tests and experiences after the installation is done.



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