Forward, positively..

March 27, 2007

Then That Made me Think…

Filed under: Work — thebestbrew @ 12:00 pm

Here’s an idea for Microsoft – it’s a freebie from me to Bill. By Powerpoint out of Virtual PC – VPCRunner.

In the same way as we can wrap-up a Powerpoint presentation into a self-contained executable, we should be able to wrap the Settings file with Virtual PC  into a stand alone file which, along with the VHD file will run the VM.

Then I could simply take my USB stick, containing my stand-alone VM and run it on any (Windows) machine with enough RAM.


Server on a Stick anyone…

Filed under: Work — thebestbrew @ 11:48 am

While messing about with the Microsoft Demo Showcase VMs and having my USB stick to hand, I looked from one to the other and back, in a cartoony manner, with realisation dawning. Although my Sandisk Cruzer is only 2Gb, with it’s high speed, could I fit a server VM onto the USB drive and run the VM usefully from it.

This is a bit frivolous, I know, and it must be old hat to some of you but for me it seems somewhat incredible that, dangling from a key ring along with the, basically, 4000 year old technology represented by a bunch of metal keys, was a relatively flimsy plastic electronic gadget containing a perfectly functional Windows server.

Now – what can I install on it and keep it under 2 Gb?

March 26, 2007

There is a Word for it – Crowdsourcing…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 5:03 pm

So much happening nowadays, it’s easy to be behind the curve. Today, I feel like I’m tied firmly to the vertical axis.

I have been disappointed and aggravated in equal measure at the increasing prevalence of news media using public reaction, phone-ins and other vox-pop methods of either filling program space or developing entire programming streams ( BB, x-factor etc are all the light-entertainment equivalent – I can just hear the banjos). I had been of the opinion that the media was becoming lazy, idiotly provocative, cheap and ultimately irresponsible in their lack of ‘real’ journalism.

How wrong was I. Those who know me know how hard that is for me to say. In fact I feel nauseous just reading the words. I was wrong.

Those clever little media meerkats were actually at the cutting edge of innovative idea development and distributed intellectual engineering. Which is about as much bullsh*t as the semantically illegitimate term in my headline. I didn’t realise they are all crowdsourcing – getting ideas, input, content etc from – well, crowds.

Just people. Phone in with your reaction to today’s headlines – even the headline doesn’t need to be factual, accurate or even a reasonable representation of events. Just something for The Crowd to react to. Come to think of it – I wasn’t wrong. Now that makes me feel better.

March 23, 2007

Marketing Like a Gorilla…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 5:05 pm

Sorry, I meant guerilla – 360 attempts to eat PS3’s breakfast


Easing Tired Bums At The UK PS3 Launch

Enjoy Responsibly…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 5:02 pm

Shameless, Evil author of Mr Hell, the Blue Monster and the gapingvoid blog has clearly conned Thresher into releasing another viral, chain reactive booze discount voucher.[DOWNLOAD COUPON HERE.] This time branded with his Stormhoek iron.

Explaining the Volvo Time Continuum…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 12:09 am

No sooner had I re-read my post yesterday on Time Travel via the Venerable Volvo …than I realised the answer.

I had been thinking. Not stewing, fuming or boiling. No aggravation, no u-turns to find a shorter queue or run up some local side-street to add distance but trim seconds from my journey. 

I was thinking about things – everything, many things, important things, trivial things. Making mental notes, arranging and re-arranging my head furniture. Preparing for my impending meeting, playing and replaying scripts and scenarios.

Basically keeping my mind from dwelling on the predicament. Hence time passed quickly for me. There’s a little technique for you, use it – safely – and see how things go.

March 22, 2007

Vista the Shrinking Violet…

Filed under: Work — thebestbrew @ 11:49 pm

While doing the VM thing with bits and pieces of the Demo Showcase (Chris Parkes’ links here..posts on the Demo Showcase) I casually observed that Vista is a clever little minx with memory (Vista does Tardis with RAM…).

Today, it slunk into a quiet little corner of physical memory measuring just under 350Mb. How small can it go? How low a bar can this funky little OS limbo under?

After a brief slumber, Vista then started re-inflating right in front of my eyes, gradually occupying more and more RAM, slowly speading itself out of its quiet corner and emerging into the light of normal activity.

Clever little Vista (1) via James Senior

Clever little Vista (2) via Matt McSpirit

March 21, 2007

Clever Little Demo Showcase…

Filed under: Work — thebestbrew @ 11:34 pm

Despite finding that the Microsoft Demo Showcase can’t really be utilised on a laptop with only 2Gb RAM, I am finding value in parts of it’s virtual viscera.

One of the components is a Windows  server which is intended to act as a Groove ‘client’ to the main Showcase server. However, this ‘client’ server has proven to be useful stand-alone as a host for a Project Server test-bed (this should come in the final version of the Showcase). This chap has an excellent step-by-step How to Create a Project Server 2007 VPC Image- The Whole 9 Yards – it’s got pictures and everything!

I can hear you now – yes it is easy enough to set up a simple Windows Server VM but when you get one on a plate…

Time Travel via the Venerable Volvo …

Filed under: Hypnosis — thebestbrew @ 11:12 pm

My normal 40 minute drive to work was extended to 1 hour and 45 minutes today – yay. Some dipstick had a small pile-up on the Edinburgh by-pass resulting in delays to many journeys.

Clever old me did the dumbest thing and tried to find a way around the trouble and succeeded in finding some excellently extensive traffic jams on the South side of town. This probably contributed an extra un-necessary 30 minutes to my journey – clever Frank.

However. The point is not to discuss my commuting travails, it is this; When I finally arrived at work, as soon as I was out of my car, I was un-aware of the extra commuting time other than as represented on my watch. It was as if I had simply sat in my own little Tardis and emerged immediately, but 105 minutes later.

Was I in an everyday trance throughout my journey (but I can clearly remember it all) or is my Volvo something of a comfortable (but un-exciting) time machine? Spooky…

March 16, 2007

From Boxes That Were Black to Black Boxes…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 3:45 pm

Decades ago, I did an occasional stint counting votes at various election times in Scotland. Blizzards of ballot papers were tipped out of black steel boxes, separated into appropriate piles and counted. The candidate with the largest pile of paper, so to speak, won. Simple. Re-Count, no problem.

Now the spectre of electronic voting, in various forms, is with us. Many people more learned (or more opinionated) than I have commented, opined and flogged their line on the issue ( a good example is Rebecca Mercuri, and Bruce Schneier knows a thing or two) – I don’t intend to do that here.

This post is to provide a link to this article The FSU report on the ES&S iVotronic used in Sarasota County in Avi Rubin’s blog. His is a comment on the FSU report – there is a link to the full report in his post. The US is leading the way, if not in e-voting, certainly in making a mess of e-voting. For heaven’s sake, all they had to do, basically, is automate an adding machine.

However, this is important because it is coming here in one form or another and we have to get it right.

March 7, 2007

Vista does Tardis with RAM…

Filed under: Work — thebestbrew @ 11:51 am

I posted recently about the Microsoft Demo Showcase and it’s RAM requirements.

Since then, I have downloaded the Demo Showcase client VM and discovered that you can indeed, with minimal allocations of memory to the client and server VMs, have both running together – communicating – on a 2Gb RAM laptop.

This is of rather academic interest because the performance is so slow you couldn’t use it with a prospective client but it does illustrate an interesting point – Vista can be your flexible friend with it’s memory utilisation.

If, before you start a VM Vista tells you that Physical Memory use is, say 45%. After you stop the VM, Physical Memory will be below the starting 45%. The memory management seems to ‘scavenge’ physical memory from somewhere. The upshot is that after closing the 2 VMs which together should have accounted for approx 75% of physical memory (having been running at around 95% physical memory usage) the resulting quiescent state of Vista was ticking over at below 20%.

The only fly in the pie was that the downloaded Demo Showcase client VM was an RC2 version of Vista which could not be activated because the VM networking was local only so all I could run on it was a browser. Grrrrr..

Deep breath, relax, it’s a Beta…

March 2, 2007

Hmmmmm, Strokes Chin Thoughtfully…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 1:28 pm

This post from Kathy Sierra, on the pre and post product delivery customer relationships made me think. It should make others think too.

Hmmmm….Taps Nose Knowingly?

The Blame, The Game…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebestbrew @ 12:46 pm

First off – I have sympathy with the people who have encountered genuine problems because of what may turn out to be contaminated petrol – Done.

But why the heck does the BBC, of all news media, insist that we have to find someone to BLAME.

I am happy that we need to establish what happened, how it came about and, if possible whether there is someone who may have been responsible. However, the media seems to be obsessed with the matter of BLAME, they tell us that the public want to know who to BLAME – not who to hold responsible.

Maybe we (that’s a generalisation) derive some satisfaction by the simple act of apportioning blame. I personally would rather allocate responsibility – for me that carries a greater sense of ongoing accountability the consequences of an action. Maybe blame is a more visceral reaction and (the greater) we actually get some relief or closure out of pointing a finger at a ‘culprit’?

Alternatively, maybe people want the more childish satisfaction of focusing attention on a perceived bully or perpetrator of ‘badness’ – could that be why the media have gleefully homed-in on the supermarkets in this case?

The result: Responsibility 0 : Blame 1

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