Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Ferrari laptops coming soon

According to this report in El Reg, Acer will soon be padding out their range of Ferrari laptops with two new models: the 1000 and the 5000 (to complement the current 4000). Both models use AMD's dual-core Turion 64 X2 processors, and the 5000 is a black and red carbon fibre machine with a 15.4" widescreen display (the 1000 has only a 12.1" display).

I would think that these two (especially the 5000) would make fine machines to run or on. If he hasn't got one already, doubtless Casper will be getting his grubby mitts on one! My Ferrari 3400 is fast enough, but I wouldn't mind getting a fully loaded 5000 (two cores are better than one, right?). Given how strapped for cash I am, it'll be a while...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Galaxy server--the X4600--coming soon?

I've just been perusing Sun's documentation site, looking for X4200 documentation. At the page that lists the servers, I noticed an entry for the Sun Fire X4600.

Given that the X2100 is two core 1U, the X4100 is four core 1U and the X4200 is four core 2U, I reckon the X4600 is a four core 6U machine. What that extra 4U buys is anyone's guess, but I suspect that more SAS drive bays would be top of the list, and perhaps a memory expansion card. A CPU/memory card also fill some of the space, but that would go against the naming convention (assuming I parsed it correctly, of course!). Time will tell...

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Sun storage product I would like to see really soon

Ever since the September 2005 introduction of 's Galaxy servers (the X4100 and X4200), and more recently the T2000 CoolThreads server, I've been convinced that Sun needs to add an entry-level, SAS-based, direct attached, JBOD drive array to their storage portfolio. The array would be 1U high, and hold up to 8 SAS disks, that are presented as two external UltraSCSI320 busses. The user would be able to connect the two busses together to have 8 disks on one bus, or, for performance and redundancy reasons, have 4 disks on each of two busses. In other words, an 8 disk, SAS based, version of the StorageTek 3120 SCSI array. Of course, the array would also have two hot swappable PSUs.

A fibre attached variant of this array could also be introduced, as could a 2U version with a 16 drive capacity.

With the availability of low cost, high performance servers like the X4200 and T2000, I think a matching drive array would sell like hot cakes--especially if they're priced right. I think Sun's current entry level S1 is over priced at $3695 (list) for what amounts to a case, PSU, and a couple of disks. I think if Sun could introduce an array like I described above for $1995 entry price ("small" model: dual PSUs and two 73 GB 10000RPM SAS disks), they'd be on to a real winner.

Here's a picture of my hypothetical array I mocked up in The GIMP:

I think a Sun X4200 + an UltraSCSI320 HBA + one of these arrays, using ZFS on or would be really cool. What do you think?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New programming article published

My latest article, Programming in the Solaris OS With Privileges, has just been posted on the Sun Developer Network (SDN). The article describes how to write privilege-aware and applications.

In addition to Zones, DTrace, SMF, and ZFS, the ability to break down the traditional "all or nothing" powers bestowed upon UID 0 processes is another reason adopt Solaris 10 now!

That's enough evangelising for now; enjoy the article!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bon voyage, Jim

I've just read that my friend (and Sun's Community Manager), Jim Grisanzio, is moving to Japan in July. Having moved from England to Canada in 1999, I know the sort of things he's going through. All I can say is that despite the differences in culture (admittedly relatively small in my case), the strain on our finances, and the upheaval of leaving friends and family behind, I've not regretted the move one iota. Best of luck with your move, Jim san!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The amusements of being divided by a common language

Being a native Englishman (now living in Canada), the American bastardization of the English language really irritates me at times. But the same language gap provides for much amusement at times.

One of the contenders in the current season of The Apprentice is English. A couple of times during interviews he's said of someone "he's such a wanker!". Given the American TV channels' preponsity for bleeping out swear words and other supposedly offensive things (Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" is a prime example; it's a breast, people! We all have them...), I was surprised that they let this word though unscathed.

Then it occured to me: the censor-dudes don't know what a wanker is. Wanking is a slang word for masturbating, and while it isn't quite up there with the f-word, it's not the sort of word one would hear in polite conversation! Depending on context (as so much slang does), a wanker can either be a term of endearment between friends, or, as presumably intended on The Apprentice, used as a pejorative.

Well, it tickled my funny bone. I guess I need to get out more... :-)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The law isn't quite as big of an ass as I thought...

Last January I blogged about how someone here in Canada was sueing the host of a party at which someone got inebriated and then drove home, injuring this woman. It was this person's position that the host of the party was responsible for the actions of his guests, was therefore negligent in allowing that person to drive, and therefore was fair game for a law suit where she sued for millions of dollars in damages. Last Friday the Supreme Court of Canada handed out their findings, and at last some sense in the law has been shown: individual adults are responsible for their own actions; the host of a party cannot be expected to babysit their guests, and therefore cannot be negligent in the evnt that one fo their guests chooses drive whilw under the influence of alcohol.

Bravo is what I say. It's about time some common sense was applied to the law, and people started taking responsibility for their own actions. The idiot who chose to drive while drunk is the guilty party here, no one else. And before I get flammed for this, remember: I'm writing this as a teetoal who thinks that there should be 0 tolerance for drunk-drivers.

We now return to our usual, more technical, babblings...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Apple to port ZFS to MacOS?

According to at least one story, Apple are thinking about porting latest file system, ZFS, to MacOS. I think this is a great idea; given the amout of people who use their Macs for video editing, which requires HUGE amounts of disk space, ZFS will be a Godsend.

Of course, I can't resist making this suggestion: given that Macs are now embracing x86 (but why on Earth Intel rather than AMD's Opeteron?!), why don't they just base their whole OS on ? I may be a little biased, but Solaris is the most powerful and advanced OS on the planet; the combination of Open Solaris with Apple's Aqua GUI would be pretty cool! If this combo ever surfaces, just remember where you read it first! :-)