My attempts to build a super computer from old parts
Categories: Software, OSX, 164 wordsSend feedback • Permalink
Hell, why not. Every other blog on the interwebs has these silly little 'tips'.
So, I recently purchased a bunch of CDs and added them to iTunes. Now, how to listen to them all?
I'm a shuffle kind of person, so I use the "Recently Added" smart playlist. However, it does repeat, which is no good. So, what to do?
Pretty simple really. Duplicate the "Recently Added" playlist (right click, and select duplicate). Then edit it (right click and select edit), and add a new criteria (click the + button, moron), and select the criterion "Plays" and is and 0. Make sure "Live updating" is checked (it should be, unless you've been stuffing around with the default settings in iTunes).
The effect of this is that your recently added, non podcast (that's the default) media, that you have not played will be on this list. So, in theory it should shuffle through, removing items as they are played. Or not. iTunes does some counter intuitive shit.
Categories: OSX, 359 wordsSend feedback • Permalink
So, Mountain Lion is looking like a July 25 release. Apple have released docs for Mountain Lion Server, and the move from big iron enterprise Unix continues. Server Admin and WorkGroup Admin appear to have been dropped, NetBoot isn't mentioned but NetInstall is. Interestingly, FTP looks like it is back in the GUI. PPTP VPN looks like it has disappeared again.
The big problem, and I might be the only person who thinks this, is that whilst a lot of the power is still there (they are still using BIND, Apache, RADIUS, OpenLDAP, Perl/Ruby/Python etc etc), their is precious little documentation on it. And where Apple used to have a reasonable training and certification program, it has all but disappeared (the Open Directory section of their 'Advanced' Admin guide is barely 7 pages). Good enough if you don't care about best practice and are happy to set up an ad hoc server by trial and error for a small business that's not too fussed about downtime when you realise you need to rebuild the server because the DNS name you gave it in the first instance was wrong. But if you want to use the real power that Unix offers, you really, really need to know your stuff.
I have found a temporary solution for the pains of 10.7/10.8. I am running Snow Leopard with a Lion Server VM. Likely, I will clone this and create a Mountain Lion VM. I've not found /any/ software that I need yet that is Lion specific, but this will likely happen. If I didn't need to find my way around it for work, I doubt I'd touch it. But FileMaker and Adobe tend to support only a couple of versions of the OS for any release, so the day that Snow Leopard becomes untenable draws closer still.
There is the possibility of moving to Linux, and running all instances of Mac OS X as VMs under that. I'm not sure if that would break licensing conditions or not. I seem to recall it being licensed for VMs running on Apple hardware, I don't recall mention of running the VMs under an Apple OS.
Categories: Software, Mac, OSX, 98 wordsSend feedback • Permalink
I must say that the naming of 10.8 struck me as a little odd in the context of past names.
Mountain Lions are in fact the same species as Pumas (and arguably Panthers). This requires a closer look.
10.0 - Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
10.1 - Puma (Puma concolor)
10.2 - Jaguar (Panthera onca)
10.3 - Panther (Puma concolor OR Panthera pardus)
10.4 - Tiger (Panthera tigris)
10.5 - Leopard (Panthera pardus)
10.6 - Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia)
10.7 - Lion (Panthera leo)
10.8 - Mountain Lion (Puma concolor)
So, a cynic might say that superficially 10.8 is an improvement on 10.7 but is really 5 (or 7) steps back.
Categories: Hardware, Networking, 322 wordsSend feedback • Permalink
Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes.
-- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS
Many moons ago, on the original AmigaOne beta testers mail list, one of the mailers referred to their gigabit sneaker net. An external hard drive which they would walk home from the office with.
In networking terms, bandwidth is the capacity of the network to transfer data. If you ignore the underlying medium (which really doesn't matter), you can see that sneakernets often have very high bandwidth. Take a 3TB external drive. Over 10 mins (600s) the unidirectional bandwidth is 50 gigabit/s (assuming 10bits/byte). Of course, if you also need to transfer the data from a system to the 3TB drive, and then to another system, bandwidth is greatly reduced.
But back to the quote. Let's assume some 1.5TB LTO-5 tapes. Let's assume a rather conservative capacity of the station wagon of 5000 tapes. That's 7.5 petabytes. Over an hour, that would be about 16terabit/s, or Sydney to Melbourne about 1.5tbps. Which doesn't compare too badly to a fibre optic link.
Of course, sneakernets or stationwagon-nets may have high bandwidth, but there are two big issues to consider. One is that these nets are half duplex. If you require a network technology that allows you to communicate back and forth a lot, something involving time critical dynamic data processing (like gaming), it's not so great. The other thing to consider is transferring to transport medium from the system. Maybe with a hard drive, this is not such a problem. You could keep your home folder on an external hard drive or, maybe the whole system on a removable bay. But for tape, which is necessarily an offline medium, you lose a lot of time in the transfer.
However, if what you need to do a one transfer of a large amount of data, sneakernet or car net, will usually outperform ADSL, SHDSL or even 10mbit fibre.
Categories: Hardware, Mac, 952 wordsSend feedback • Permalink
For a while (about 6 years) I was buying and selling on eBay to earn a little cash, and indulge my interests in hardware. As a result, I managed to own, for periods of time, a variety of Macs.
It's just a list. And I must admit, I feel a little like this guy.
Interesting, is that I've only ever owned 1 68k Mac (I have a long standing project on the backburner to get MacOS 8.1 running on a 68060 Amiga).
Quite a few nubus Macs. At one point I was going to build a Beowulf cluster of 6100s, inspired by this guy. But discoved that only 2 of the 5 I had acquired worked, so not much of a cluster. I upgraded one of them to a G4, making it one of the slowest G4 macs in the world (I think 300Mhz, on a 66MHz 6100), and scored some 128Mb SIMMs to upgrade it to 264Mb. There are rumours of 256Mb SIMMs, but I've never seen one.
Power Macintosh 6100
Power Macintosh 7100
I had a quite a few PCI Power Macintoshes, and various bits and pieces for them, including a ZIF carrier card and a few G3 accelerators. I had one with the AV card, and used it a few times for live video capture. I wouldn't mind getting a 9600 (or maybe a 7500), and upgrading it a bit to get OSX running on it. I think, theoretically, you can get 10.5 running on one.
Power Macintosh 7300
Power Macintosh 7500
Power Macintosh 7600
Power Macintosh 8500
Power Macintosh 8600
Power Macintosh 9600
And quite a few beige G3's, which were good back when G4s were still too much. The Beiges allowed you to use IDE drives, the CPU was on a ZIF and easily replaceable/overclockable, had built in everything plus 3 PCI slots. I had one running a Voodoo5 at one point, as well as Radeon 7000, firewire and USB2.
Power Macintosh G3 desktop
Power Macintosh G3 minitower
PowerBook G3s. I managed to get a near mint PowerBook G3 Pismo back in 2004. I still think it's the best laptop Apple made. The case design is far more beautiful (sensuous even) than anything else they've made, had most of what you'd want in a laptop for its time (and quite a few years after, too), and could be relatively easily upgraded. It had a cool feature which allowed you to swap out the optical drive for another drive (floppy, zip, hard drive) or second battery. And had a CardBus slot for expansion.
I upgraded it to 768MB RAM, 500MHz G3, 80GB hard drive, and a CardBus Airport compatible 802.11g card.
I sold it to pay for an overseas trip, and regret it still.
PowerBook G3 Wallstreet
PowerBook G3 Pismo
Very briefly had a 5 flavours iMac G3 tray loader. The only G3 iMac I've owned, and only one of two iMacs I've owned.
iMac G3 tray loader
Nearly every PowerMac G4 they made, except the later Mirror Door and Firewire 800 models which never seemed to be good value for money. The PowerMac G4s were the computers I started the transition to Mac from Windows on. I bought an AGP, which I upgraded and sold, then bought a Digital Audio, which I upgraded and sold, and then ended up with 933MHz Quicksilver, which I kept until I got my G5. I managed to upgrade from the AGP to the G5 without ever spending more than I sold the old computer for.
The Digital Audio was what I kept the longest. I had a 733MHz model, which was the top end in its day. The DA had a few advantages, basically the same as the QS (QS 2002 supported drives larger than 128G, cheaper, a 133MHz bus, gigabit ethernet and a 4x AGP slot which meant more upgrades possible for the Video card. The only downside was the 3 RAM slots, although in its day 1.5GB was more than enough. I got around the 128GB drive limit by using a SATA card, with SATA drives.
There were quite a few upgrades along the way, flashed and modified G5 Radeons, SATA cards, PCI airport compatible cards, USB 2 cards, CPU upgrades, dual screens. I think I ended up with dual 21" screens. I still have a couple that have I got free or very cheap. Currently, I am upgrading a Gigabit with dual 7447a CPUs.
PowerMac G4 PCI
PowerMac G4 AGP
PowerMac G4 Gigabit
PowerMac G4 Digital Audio
PowerMac G4 Quicksilver
PowerMac G4 Quicksilver 2002
PowerMac G4 Mirror Drive Door (bought dead for parts, and never worked)
1 eMac, briefly. At the time I bought it I had a G4 with a 21 inch screen, so 17inch was not so impressive.
Another bargain. All it needed was a new power adaptor. Kept this for some time, until I got a cheap, slightly faulty, white MacBook.
PowerBook G4 1.5GHz 15"
Mac Mini's are good a 2nd and 3rd computers. The G4 had a couple of flaws, some of which persist, firewire 400 and one 10/100 NIC. I think the Mac Mini's could benefit from dual NICs and maybe eSATA, although USB3 might do the trick on both counts, particularly in the server version.
Mac Mini G4 1.42GHz
Very cheap Xserves. I still have the G4 Dual, but had to scavenge the PowerSupply to repair another Xserve G4.
Xserve 1.33 G4 Dual
The dual 2GHz G5 was my first G5, and I had it from late 06 to late 07. No major upgrades apart from a 9800Pro, 4GB RAM, airport/bluetooth, and several hard drive upgrades. It was bought faulty, and repaired. I sold it anticipating the rev B Mac Pro was imminent, but ended up buying a very cheap 1.6 a month or two later to use until the 2008 Mac Pro arrived.
PowerMac G5 1.6GHz
PowerMac G5 2GHz dual