Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2007 No comments

Gmail IMAP Support Makes Email Archiving Practical

October 30th, 2007 No comments

I was thrilled to find that IMAP access was finally turned on for my Google Apps for Your Domain account. All the email for the ReWinD Blog is handled by Gmail (and my web hosting is provided by asmallorange.com if you were wondering). I absolutely love the services I get from Google, the generous storage for all the accounts, great uptime, custom web interfaces for my iPhone, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. IMAP gives me instant access to my inbox anywhere, anytime.

But here’s the real advantage of IMAP – you now have two-way syncing between your email client software and Gmail. Not only can you download messages from your Gmail account, you can also upload messages to your inbox or other folders. This works in real-time too. As quickly as you can upload a message to your Gmail account, you can view that message through the web interface or from another IMAP client. There are lots of neat tricks you can use here, but the most practical result for most people is that you can import your old archived messages into Gmail with drag and drop ease.

You can create a new account in your email client for your Gmail account using IMAP and instantly see your inbox and all your labels (can we just call them folders?). You can drag messages from another account or a local folder into your Gmail inbox or to a label using that same client software. This is enormously useful because now you can use the blazing speed of Google’s search engine to comb through all your old email by uploading it to Google and making it available through your Gmail account.

My biggest complaint about Outlook on Windows was that searching folders with hundreds or thousands of emails was frustratingly slow. Part of the reason I switched to using Gmail for my own domains was to take advantage of the speed of searching through emails through their service. In fact, it is so fast that I really stopped using folders completely and just started searching with keywords using Google’s web interface. Now I can transfer all my archived email from the last 10 years or so to Google and get that incredible search speed for thousands more messages.

I did a quick test using some messages from another account and was able to retain all the information about sender, proper dates, etc. That’s really hard to do with a POP3 account (using redirects and all that is a pain). This is dead simple.

My next post will be a practical step-by-step guide to setting up your own IMAP account with Outlook so that you can transfer messages to Google and starting reaping the benefits of being able to search through thousands of messages in seconds.

ZFS Updates in Solaris 10 8/07 (Update 4)

October 5th, 2007 No comments

I finally got around to upgrading my Solaris box to 8/07 (Update 4). I guess the most significant comment I could make is that it was almost entirely uneventful. I had to check my SAMBA config because the services run slightly different in this update. Still very easy and quick.

I chose to download the single compressed DVD image again (only available when downloading to a Windows box) and then burned the DVD from there. It takes a while to download and then a while more to decompress the DVD image, but everything worked on the first try. I took my server down to boot from the DVD and run the upgrade install process and everything was updated in short order.

I upgraded my ZFS storage pool with “zpool upgrade” and that was done in few moments. I love the succinctness of ZFS commands.

One of the new features I’m excited about is “zpool status -v” so that I can more easily get a list of files that are showing errors. I’m away for the weekend, but I’ll check this more thoroughly when I get back home.

The other thing I need to check is to see if the “disappearing cursor” bug is fixed in this update. Boy, that one is annoying when I switch into the GUI desktop.

For those of you that don’t get all fired up about ZFS, you may be excited to find out more about the new containers functionality and the support for running Linux binaries in a container.

Categories: Technology Tags: , ,

Who wouldn’t want a big-ass table computer?

June 21st, 2007 No comments

Sorry, but this had me laughing out loud…

Categories: Technology Tags:

Back from Hiatus

June 8th, 2007 No comments

With all the buzz in the air this week about ZFS, I knew I had to get blogging again. Unfortunately, starting up again after taking a few weeks off to get through finals is proving harder than I thought it would be. I needed something to get me jumpstarted again and this week’s coverage of ZFS has been the kick in the pants that I needed.

Categories: Technology Tags: ,

Attack of the Data Storage Robots

April 8th, 2007 3 comments

droboI was pretty intrigued by the short bit Scoble wrote about Drobo today after Gizmodo posted their story. Data Robotics has come up with an almost idiot-proof external storage array. To hit the highlights, it connects to a Mac or PC with USB 2.0 (480 Mbps theoretical maximum) and requires no special software – Drobo manages the storage all by itself – so it just looks like a big USB drive to your computer.

There are a few features that I really appreciate about their solution…

  • There are simple LED indicator lights that tell you if the drives are healthy and if the array is getting full.
  • SATA drives are added through the front of a very slick tool-less chassis. The drive chassis may be the coolest feature I’ve seen – I’d like to have that setup in my server case.
  • Drobo makes sure that your data is protected.
  • You can expand the size of the array at any time by adding additional drives (there are four slots) or swapping out smaller drivers for larger drives.
  • It supports both Mac and PC hosts
  • The external case has a cool design that I wouldn’t mind seeing on my desk.

It might not be ideal for everyone. It’s still an external drive enclosure so it requires a host computer and cannot be connected to ethernet directly as Network Attached Storage (NAS). I’m not sure how quiet it is either, which would be important for a HTPC media storage application. That said, it could be a great solution for the photographer or graphic artist that needs a large storage solution that can protect her data and still grow over time.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, I highly recommend the demonstration video on the Drobo site.

About the only thing that I don’t like about Drobo is the grammatical error in their tagline, “Drobo – whose minding the storage.”

For those looking for a NAS, this newish solution from Promise looks interesting. Of course, I like my personal budget server (based on Solaris), but it doesn’t have the convenience of these stand-alone solutions, even if it does cost a lot less and have more flexibility and capabilities.

Initial Solaris Transfer Speeds

April 7th, 2007 No comments

Using my Gigabit switch, I was able to transfer 1.25GB in 51 seconds by copying a file from my MacBook to my Solaris box. That’s 200Mbps if I convert the terms. I’ve heard of people getting close to 400Mbps on Gigabit networks, so I’m going to try and see what I can do to speed this up. In particular, I need to look into jumbo frames on both the MacBook and the Solaris box to see if there’s anything I can do to push up the speed.

I’m going to try and finish the install writeup this week. I took a lot of pix of the screen during install, but a lot of the images came out blurry (handheld P&S camera against LCD screen) I’ll try to clean up what’s usable and finish writing up the process I used.

Joost Beta

April 6th, 2007 No comments

Joost released beta invites to another wave of people yesterday and I finally got mine. I haven’t had a chance to look at it thoroughly, but my first impressions are pretty positive. Joost is an interesting combination of streaming servers and P2P filesharing to help speed up downloads. They also have made deals with Viacom to showcase a number of their properties including MTV and Comedy Channel programs.

What's Joost promotion video

The only real downside is that Joost still looks like internet video. In full-screen mode, the resolution isn’t quite high enough for my 1680 x 1050 display. It looks a little sharper in windowed mode where (I believe) it’s scaled to 1:1 resolution.

That said, my son and I watched the soccer channel for 15-20 minutes to watch a highlight reel of exciting goals from European matches (can Zidane strike the ball, or what?!). It was great to browse programs in Joost and pick programs similar to what you might see in an onscreen guide with your cable or satellite box. The playback bar lets you grab the pointer and move back and forth in the program quickly.

One thing I haven’t played with much yet are the Joost widgets that let you chat with other people watching the same program, rate the program, set favorites, share videos with friends, and so on. Apparently Joost is going to open this up to outside developers so that people can create their own widgets and share them with the world.

All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic about the future for Joost and internet TV in general. I think that the on demand, a la carte programming that a service like Joost makes possible is going to create a bunch of opportunities for consumers to get exactly what they want, when they want.

Exclusive Scoop on Google Vinyl

April 1st, 2007 1 comment

After my groundbreaking investigative reporting on the upcoming 2.0 release of Delicious Library, I’ve been inundated by more rumors than a ValleyWag tip line. I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter about a secret project at Google codenamed “Google LP” that frankly didn’t make sense until just this morning.Gmail Paper
Most of you are likely familiar by now with Gmail Paper, an amazing new offering from the wizards of Mountain View. You can get hardcopies of all your email sent to you at no charge, albeit with large red ads on the back of each page. All visual attachments are also sent to you, whether those be documents or image files (no word on whether or not the glossy photo paper also has red ads on the back or not). In the notes, you’ll see that the only attachments that are not supported are audio files like MP3 and WAV files. Here’s where the secret project comes in.

Apparently, while investigating alternative methods of high-density data storage and reliable backup medium, Google has patented a new process for permanently recording audio information onto a new type of disc made from a copolymerized version of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate with small amounts of carbon black added. These improvements apparently build on the legendary work (patent # 4472295) of Fox and DiMarco, now rumored to be Google Fellows. These discs are somewhat resistant to dust (they can be wiped clean with distilled water when combined with other surfactants as additives to act as grease solvents, particularly for fingerprints) and can therefore be reliably used as removable media with a special “player” that can read the information imprinted on the surface of the vinyl disc.

This system is platform agnostic and will apparently work independently of any operating system on your computer. There is absolutely no need to be concerned about compatibility with your digital media player device. In fact, the audio output is said to be compatible with any equipment that has stereo phono input jacks.

This is where it gets exciting! Even though this project wasn’t ready for simultaneous release with Gmail Paper, this new system will allow Google to inscribe your MP3, AAC, WAV, etc. audio file attachments to these new PVC discs which Google will then mail to you for playback on the required player device. The player devices are available from a variety of manufacturers although they will be hard to find in most mainstream electronics stores for some time, although there are reports of the players being seen in high-end audio shops and, surprisingly enough, in pawn shops and thrift stores.

Here’s the final evidence. You’ll notice that in the images announcing Gmail Paper that the woman in the first picture (You click) is listening to audio content on her computer. She obviously wants to archive this material to physical media as well. BUT PICTURE #2 (We stack) WAS SUBSTITUTED AT THE LAST MINUTE when it was clear that the secret audio project wasn’t ready. Here is the original image that will go out again when the audio file support is ready.

Google Vinyl is coming, and it’s going to rock your world!

BREAKING UPDATE! – I’m trying to confirm if targeted audio ads are going to be placed on the disc between tracks or if red text ads are going to be printed on the surface of the disc. The latest rumors point to the possibility of both methods being used. There are also unsubstantiated rumors about less expensive ad placement for advertisers that don’t mind having their content show up when the discs are played backwards. The craziest rumors are that the highest priced placement will be audio ads *embedded* in your audio files at levels that are imperceptible to the conscious mind and therefore don’t affect the audio quality of your files. These are called subvinyl or perhaps sublaminate ads. Something like that – the audio was a little scratchy on the message I received.

Much Rejoicing Over New Version of Google Notifier for Mac

March 31st, 2007 1 comment

If you launch Google Notifier for Mac, you’ll be prompted to “upgrade” to the latest version. I’m thrilled to report that this latest version 1.9.97 works perfectly with Google Apps for Your Domain. All the links in the pull-downs will take you to the appropriate page in the hosted versions of Google Apps Mail or Calendar.

I tried to find release notes to find what else has changed in this release but have been unsuccessful in the last 2-1/2 minutes. In fact, when you get to the “What is Notifier?” page in Google Help Center, the link for information on the Mac version of Notifier goes nowhere (404 error).

I reset Safari to check for the bug where Mail notification would only work when you had logged in from Safari first. So far, no signs of that bug either.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the invaluable Gmail+Growl for Google Notifier which allows you to run all the Notifier notifications through the Growl notification notifier. 😉

Have I mentioned that I love Google Apps?

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , , ,