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Comment Bye bye copper (Score 3, Informative) 66

For those that don't understand the significance, Telstra own the "last mile" copper and HFC network in Australia (Optus own a small chunk of HFC too as mentioned above.) If you want wired internet access from anyone, you generally have to pay Telstra (directly or indirectly.) As you'd expect they've used their postion to unfairly advantage their own internet service, while delaying competitors from access to exchanges to install DSLAMS, gouging competitors for access to the copper network,etc.)

The deal means NBNCo can use Telstra's cable ducts, pits and poles to initially rollout fibre everywhere. it also means maintenance of Telstra's crappy and aging copper phone network will be handed to NBNco soon. Theoreticallly all the existing ISP's paying Telstra for access to the copper network will start paying NBNCo, instead, Because NBNCo are barred from offering retail internet services, in theory access to the network should be a level playing field.

Eventually they'll rip out the existing copper phone network, so we'll just have the optical cable.

My understanding is the NBNCo network will be a 'common carrier'; eg they provide the layer 1/2 network, any internet / cable TV / telephony / other data provider can buy access to the network and deliver internet / TV / telephony / data services over that network.
It's the same model we use for water and power in Australia, eg the power generation company doesn't own or maintain the wires in the street, and isn't responsible for connection to your house. NBNCo are supposed to operate at the same level, providing teh pipes/trucks only, if you will.

According to the pollies NBNCo can't filter the network it at the wholesale, common carrier level. We'll wait and see.

Adam Internet, Internode and others are touting 25 to 100 megabit connections, 100GB/month data at $60/month, which is significantly more expensive than the equivalent over ADSL/copper phone lines. You can buy these right now in areas that are connected (new suburbs that were prewired in South Australia, eg Lochiel Park, LightsView, etc. ) Prospect, Aldinga and other initial rollout sites in Australia will also be able to get fibre internet over this service shortly.

Comment Don't forget server cooling (Score 1) 260

Our site runs 24/7.

We have two Eaton Powerware UPS'es running our server room in tandem. They are linked so they stay in phase with each other and incoming mains power. both UPS'es run at about 40% capacity, so if we lose one, or need to shut one down for maintenance, the other can handle the whole server room. We've had problems in the past with UPS'es suddenly failing; so our critical gear runs on the assumption we'll have a UPS fail again at some point, or we can at least keep running whie we change out a UPS and/or it's batteries.

Our setup is designed to keep everything running until our diesel genset kicks in, usually within 2 minutes or so - I think the UPS'es have about 15 minutes capacity at full load. If that fails to start then the UPS monitoring software gracefully shuts everything down. We test everything every three months by simulating a power loss (ie, we put the relevant apps in maintenance mode, throw the mains power switch and watch what happens.)

The genset also powers the airconditioning in the server room. There's no point keeping your servers running for hours if they're not kept cool; they're just going to cook once your server room gets over 50 degrees anyway.
If you're expecting to run on backup power for more than an hour or so, make sure your backup power solution can handle your cooling requirements too! Also make sure your cooling comes back on when power is restored!

By the way, some people are saying "secondary site instead" - in my opinion you need both; ie a disaster recovery site and backup power for both sites.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 1174

I live in Australia.
The 240V 10A / 15A plug design works well, and usually prevents you from plugging in anything rated over 2400W into a standard 10A plug.

15A appliances and sockets are fairly rare, almost all domestic devices are designed for 240V /10A. (2400W is enough for most domestic uses). As a result most houses only have 10A outlets.

The main problem with the 15A plug design is that is *looks* like it should fit, but it doesn't due to the larger earth pin. As you don't often come across a 15A device, Joe Sixpack thinks there's a problem rather than realising the appliance is designed not to fit.

Of course, idiots with a hacksaw handy can just grind down the earth pin until it fits, or cut it off entirely. (I've seen it done for an 3500W electric grill, and the resultant melted extension cord and blackened power outlet.)

Comment Easy for users, hell for admins (Score 5, Informative) 225

I administer the free version of Sharepoint at work. (sharepoint 3.0)

It's yet another tool from Microsoft where -

All the data is stored in one large impenetrable database blob - most content is stored in two dimensional "lists", which somewhat limits what you can do in terms of building online forms etc. ALL the list data is stored in the one table, which makes it non-intuitive to make that data visible outside of sharepoint.
It's easy for end users to generate lists, calendars, annoucement pages, document stores, surveys etc etc to their hearts content, so you end up with a big sprawling mess if it's poorly administered
it's easy to add canned 'web parts" but impossble to alter the functionality of those parts. eg, try to prevent staff from seeing survey results, for example. (yes, it's possible but it's not exactly intuitive, and extremely hard without the assitance of Sharepoint designer, which was not free until recently)
Microsoft keep changing the search engine strategy for the product; Search has mysteriously failed on our implementation with few error messages to provide clues.
It doesn't really work properly unless you integrate it with Active directory, Microsoft Office, Infopath, and ideally MS Exchange. Vendor lockin for the win!

So why are we using it? Our staff love it, as it's easy for the end user to figure out; but it's an absolute pig to administer.

In terms of usage stats, I note it comes with every copy of Windows small business server. Perhaps they're including that in the usage stats?

Comment How many Vista licences running as downgraded XP? (Score 3, Interesting) 332

Having just gone through the corporate PC purchasing vendor circus once again, I find it interesting that you can currently purchase a PC with an OEM Vista licence, which Dell/Lenovo etc will happily factory-downgrade to XP for you. As an added bonus you can also upgrade to Windows 7, for free. Yay! 3 licences for the price of 1, sort of.
I assume this is still counted as a "Vista" licence in the statistics as that's waht it was sold as.

I predict a big jump in Windows 7 licences as all the corporate PC OEM and volume licencing moves to the "Windows 7" licence with downgrade rights, as that's the only way you'll be able to get XP. I'm guessing at least 80% of those will still be downgraded to XP for at least the next year. Makes the stats for Windows 7 look good, though.

Btw, I like Windows 7, I use it at home. All our work PC's are XP as our "enterprise-ready" software won't run on Vista. One vendor recently installed their latest document management system onto our Windows 2008 server, only to discover the indexing service had been replaced by "microsoft search". They hadn't tested it on anything beyond Windows 2003/XP as "that's what everyone else runs". Yay for corporate software!

Comment Interesting (Score 1) 364

I'm kind of surprised they're doing this, but if it works as advertised, I think it'll solve a lot of headaches for corporate installations.

eg, our work environment uses an interesting mix of VB6 apps, delphi, a couple of VB3 apps thrown in for good measure, plus very version-specific IBM middleware that fails to work properly on Vista (AIX terminal sessions via an IE6 activex control, mmm.)

Some of these components fail to run on IE7/Vista and our software vendor's not interested in supporting it on anything newer than XP.

Xp emulation in Windows 7 will solve our current problem getting new hardware that can run this system. I'm sure we're not the only company out there with crap like this going on.

So, on the one hand, our crappy mission-critical "enterprise" software can continue working - but on the other hand, there's no impetus for the vendor to upgrade it to work on a new version of windows.

We'll wait and see.


Submission + - Minimig: Amiga on FPGA with GPL'd verilog code (hetnet.nl)

akkartik writes: "Minimig stands for Mini Amiga. Minimig is an FPGA-based re-implementation of the original Amiga 500 hardware. In it's current form, Minimig is a single PCB measuring only 12*12cm which makes it the smallest "Amiga" ever made and the first new "Amiga" in almost 14 years!"

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