Just Great

Well, I quickly grabbed a iPhone once it was hackable to allow other networks to operate on it beside AT&T. I have several phones on my plan with T-Mobile and I was not about to get another carrier just for one phone. I would assume Apple is seeing a surge in iPhone sales after the hack became public. I figured they would have to walk a tightrope between keeping customers happy and making AT&T happy since they gave up a lot to be the sole carrier for 5 years. Today Steve Jobs publicly announced that Apple would try and thwart hackers from unlocking the iPhone. I guess they would do this with firmware updates. Let see how aggressive they will be at blocking hackers or whether this was a statement to appease AT&T. So if you are like me, I would avoid any firmware upgrades until the community confirms that it doesn’t make your phone unusable on other carrier networks. There is a link to the full story below.

PC World – Jobs Says Apple Will Fight iPhone Unlocking Hacks


It took some time for me to get this long overdue post out. The move went smooth and the servers are now sitting in their new home and new cabinets. There were a million little things that needed to get worked out and that chewed up a lot of my time over the next couple of weeks. I wore my body out over those two weeks, so much so that I came down with a cold and then finally a sinus infection from it. I am taking some antibiotics now for it as well as some other medications to keep it under control and keep me functional. Below are some pics from the job, both of which will take you to the Flickr gallery for the job.

DSC00143_400x300.shkl Dsc00164 400X300.Shkl

What Is This Thing Called Twitter?

After hearing so much about this website and its service, I decided to give it a try. When I first thought of the premise ‘What are you doing?’, I said who really cares. Well it seems like a lot do. So I will give it a try and let you know what my friends and I think of it. Hopefully I will have something put together in the next week or so.

BFG: Shameful Support

Ever since PCI express slots were available on motherboards, I have been running dual NVIDIA graphics cards for quad displays under Windows XP. When Vista arrived I decided to design a new rig with dual 8800GTXs at it’s core. The quad displays worked fine as they did before, however now under Vista Ultimate x64 albeit with questionable drivers. The system was shaky with blue screens left and right with no logical reasoning. The driver support from NVIDIA was abysmal for both their 8800 video chipset as well as their 680i motherboard chipset. In an earlier post you saw how I couldn’t stand it anymore and I dropped Vista for the time being and went back to XP.
Well after reinstalling XP Pro I could only get two monitors operational. I decided to give BFG tech support a call for some assistance. When I described the problem I was having they quick answer was “We don’t support more than two displays on a system”. I said the unit has 4 available ports with two cards why is there no support for this configuration. He was steadfast in his answer. I informed him I have been running quad configurations in this manner with both the 6800 and 7900 series of cards. I asked what was different about the 8800 series that it cannot support quad monitors. He couldn’t give me answer a straight answer. I then stated if it is not supported why it is not displayed on a FAQ on their site or on the box. I then asked him what I should do with $1200 worth of video cards. His answer was returning them. At that point there was a long pause on my end, as I tried to keep myself from blowing up on the technician. I guess he figured I was at that stage and asked if I would like to speak to a supervisor, which I agreed too.
Continue reading “BFG: Shameful Support”

Throwing In The Towel

I am officially throwing in the towel on Vista. It just got to frustrating to handle, it was so unstable that anything could bring up a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death). I cannot blame Microsoft entirely on this one. But what I can say without a question is that NVIDIA & Apple should be thrown in front of an oncoming bullet train. They were the two companies that made my life miserable the most with Vista. NVIDIA’s role in this nightmare was not being able to deliver stable drivers for their motherboard or video chipsets. It’s not like this new OS was sprung on them out of nowhere. The final shipping version of the OS has been available for enterprise customers since November. They have been receiving a lot of flack about the current state of their drivers from their faithful fans. I just couldn’t stand my system sitting idly and then all of a sudden *BOOM* blue screen. Or my raid array being broken every couple of days and having to wait for it to rebuild. Enough is enough, I’ll give it another 3 months or so before I attempt to install Vista again.

Now onto my gripe with Apple, can someone say iTunes? Is Steve Jobs insane enough to think that by holding back on a version of iTunes that works on Vista, it will make people jump ship for Macs? Enough already iTunes worked better on Beta versions of the OS than it did on the retail version. Their latest release of the software that supposedly fixes Vista compatibility still crawls like a dog and is still not recommended for x64 versions. God to import several MP3s took about 15 minutes for processing alone.

Last night when I had the latest crash for no reason whatsoever, I had to have a little reality check. Was there any benefit at the moment to running Vista over XP? The answer was a resounding ‘NO’, not even close. Besides all the eye candy there is not much else being offered as a benefit at the moment. I could however list all the negatives, the biggest one being lack of drivers. So back to XP I went and quite frankly my system runs faster under XP then it did with Vista.

Netflix: Watch Now

I logged into my Netflix account today to find that I am one of the lucky ones to get access to the new service early. The new service shows up as a new tab on your account webpage. I didn’t go thoroughly into the movie offerings, rather I chose one off the main page that I liked. My choice was ‘Black Rain’ and I wasn’t disappointed at all at least not with their service. I will get into what went wrong several times afterwards. The first time you launch a movie you are asked to install the Netflix software on your system, which is automatic once you agree. The movie is then queued up and you are asked to obtain the play rights for the file. After you hit yes and hit play the movie then queues up for play, which happens pretty quickly. I think from the time I hit play to the movie actually playing was a matter of 3-4 seconds. The image quality was excellent, better than I expected. I am fortunate enough to have a fat pipe (30mbs down) and thus could stream at the highest settings. You have options on the main page to select the level of quality for those who might be bandwidth challenged. Below are links to several articles that discuss the service in more detail.
Gizmodo: Hands On the Netflix Download Video Service: Thumbs Up
Hackin Netflix: Breaking: Netflix Launches “Watch Now” Downloads
I almost forgot, the problem I had was with Vista constantly crashing if I fast forwarded through the movie. I am not chalking that one up to Netflix rather to Vista and the lack of any really stable drivers for the hardware I am running. You would figure if you had top of the line components they would have stable drivers. Not so as many of the NVIDIA faithful have found out the hard way. Driver status for NVIDIA hardware is just plain pitiful at the moment.

You Call This An Enterprise Firewall?

I have implemented various firewalls through out the years, but I can say with confidence that the Symantec lines of firewalls are the worst I have ever used. Well at least the 1620, but the entire line utilizes the same software which seems to be the underlying problem. I was installing two units in a failover configuration for an insurance company I service as well as a media buying firm. Both were being setup using content filtering with user authentication against their Active Directory. That’s when I came across a bug that dumb founded the Symantec support desk. Evidently there is an issue with having different levels of content filtering depending on which Active Directory group a user belongs to. I couldn’t believe that no one else has come across this bug before. They bumped this up to their global support group and to the developers. Three days later they still couldn’t give me a fix even though they were able to replicate the problem in their own labs. The real fun part was when I was informed by the support tech that Symantec was ceasing selling their hardware firewalls. That was enough for me to pack up the units and move to a Sonicwall solution for both clients. We have been extremely happy with the Sonicwall solution thus far.


Vista + Zune = NOT!

There are a lot of mixed reviews out there for the Zune. So I decided to purchase the Zune and give it a try for myself. I walked into a local BestBuy and took a look at the unit and it wasn’t too shabby looking especially the brown version. I had to inform the salesperson that they should remove the Plays For Sure tag since it is not. I get home unpack the software slip it into my workstation and off I go. First couple of screens went fine, then it checked for updates. Then to my amazement I was greeted with Vista is not a supported OS check back later. Check back later? Didn’t Vista go gold last week, didn’t they have a ton of downloads for the Betas. Maybe it’s just me but the people picking this thing up are mainly geeks in the know since there hasn’t been a huge media blitz as of yet. So wouldn’t it be wise to have support for Vista out of the box or at least downloadable by launch. There is no indication if there will be any support soon from their site so looks like I will be returning the unit. My other choice is to wipe my system in order to use the unit. I think not!!!!!
Bad move Microsoft another plus for Apple since iTunes runs under Vista.. get a clue will ya.