October 26, 2010

I haven’t completely abandoned my blog… yet.

In the coming weeks, I plan to update my blog with more technical posts. I’ve been busy over the past year, and have hacked a couple of devices, while improving and upgrading various PC’s.

More updates to come.

September 3, 2009

Yesterday, Microsoft released a 90-day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise for IT professionals.

The 32-bit or 64-bit DVD image can be downloaded by going to the following URL:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/cc442495.aspx

It might be a worthwhile download if you are curious if your existing applications will run on the new operating system. The basic hardware requirements are a 1 GHz or faster CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of disk space. As noted on the Microsoft TechNet web site, Windows 7 Enterprise will not be available through retail channels.

June 17, 2009

Today, I managed to install iPhone OS 3.0 on my iPhone 3G after a little trouble.

The download process went smooth, but the trouble started after iTunes began to prepare the iPhone for the software update. It failed… twice. Error 1604. I was directed to the following page each time:

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1275

I restarted my computer to no avail. My iPhone was staring at me with a black face, and the backlight was going strong. I was slightly worried, but I remembered going through my iTunes folders a few days before. I navigated to the directory containing my iPhone 2.2.1 restore file and double-clicked on it. It started the restore process. A half-hour later, my iPhone was restored to factory settings and was re-activated. iTunes prompted me to download new carrier settings from my iPhone carrier (Rogers) and asked me if I wanted to restore from backup. Next, I was prompted to restore from a recent iPhone backup and was good to go. However, the software restore didn’t go as planned…

I noticed a new Voice Memos icon on the iPhone. Right then, I knew it was running 3.0 instead of 2.2.1. I was a little puzzled. Even though I double-clicked on the 2.2.1 restore file, iTunes decided to use the 3.0 software (in the same folder) for the restore. Hey, I’m not complaining. It worked perfectly, and all my contacts and applications are available for use.

June 4, 2009

I have been running a Western Digital Raptor 74 (WD740ADFD-00NLR5) on my development PC for a couple of years. Before that, I had an older Raptor, the 740GD-00FLA with 8 MB cache. I never had a problem with either of them, except for the noise. The loud reads and writes by the drives had annoyed me in the past, and one day I decided it was time for a change.

I had run a Seagate Cheetah before (and a Quantum Atlas before that), but I didn’t like having thick cables and extra expansion boards in my computer case. I had also run two 74 GB Raptor’s in RAID 0 (backed up to a NAS device, of course). Cables. Cable terminators. Expansion boards. More heat issues to worry about. In the end, it came down to reliability and speed, and I needed both… (and before you state SSD’s, I think I’ll pass until I see some long-term numbers).

The first thing I noticed about the VelociRaptor was that it was QUIET. Really quiet. As quiet as my WD Blue and Black Caviar’s. It runs cooler and appears to draw less power as well (and no, you can’t run it in a notebook).

How does it perform? I decided to find out.

I used the same test configuration as my previous WD Blue/Black test to maintain some consistency.

The numbers speak for themselves :)

May 5, 2009

Today, Microsoft released Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) 1 (Build 7100) to the public.

Download it here.

This Release Candidate debuts Windows XP emulation mode, which something I’ve been looking forward to. Users can now install legacy Windows XP applications inside a Windows XP virtual machine. I, for one, don’t foresee myself upgrading from Windows XP unless my current business applications work correctly with Windows 7. Likewise, plenty of businesses I’ve talked to plan on using Windows XP until it’s no longer supported (sometime in 2014).

New features in this build include faster installation, more themes, new drivers and an updated build of Internet Explorer 8.

Microsoft claims the release date should be sometime in January 2010. However, many PC manufacturers will be installing it on new PC’s before the holiday rush.

Update (06/03/09):

The official release date is supposedly October 22, 2009.

October 29, 2008

I’ve helped a couple of people set up Plesk POP3 accounts on their iPhone. These instructions are confirmed working with iPhone firmware 4.0.2.

This is what you need to do:

1. Select the Settings icon on the Home screen, then select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
2. Select Add Account.
3. Select Other.
4. Enter your name, e-mail address and password. Select Next.
5. Select POP.
6. Enter your incoming mail server: mail.yourdomain.com
7. Username: your username@yourdomain.com
8. Password: should be set already.
9. Enter your outgoing mail server: mail.yourdomain.com
10. Select Save.
11. Select Yes when the ‘Cannot Connect Using SSL’ message appears.
12. If presented with a SMTP certifcate warning, select Continue.
13. Select the Mail icon on the Home screen.
14. Select e-mail account to retrieve e-mail messages from your account.

Can’t send e-mail with Rogers?

First make sure the following settings are set:
1. Follow step 1 above and select your account.
2. Scroll down to Advanced.
3. Under Incoming Settings, set Use SSL to Off.
4. Set Server Port to 110.

You can also try using port 587 with Plesk, provided the Plesk configuration is set up to allow that port. I think it’s under the Server-wide Mail Preferences and is called “Enable message submission”. This port is required for users that use iPhone 3G or iPhone 4 with iOS 4.0, 4.0.1 or 4.0.2. Otherwise, you’ll be presented with the following message:
“…rejected by the server because it does not allow relaying”.

With iOS 4.0:

1. Select the Settings icon on the Home screen, then select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
2. Select your existing e-mail account.
3. Under Outgoing Mail Server, select your existing SMTP account.
4. Under Primary Server, select your existing SMTP server: mail.domainname.com.
5. Enter in the User Name and Password and set Use SSL to Off.
6. Set Authentication to Password.
7. Set Server Port to 587.

That should allow your iPhone 3G or 4 (with iOS 4.0, 4.0.1 and 4.0.2) to send e-mail through your Plesk server without the aforementioned “does not allow relaying” error.

Still doesn’t work?

1. Follow step 1 above and select your account.
2. Scroll down to Outgoing Mail Server.
3. Select SMTP.
4. Under Primary Server, select your domain account.
5. Set SSL to Off. Go back.
6. Under Other SMTP Servers, select Rogers SMTP server.
7. Set Server to On. You should be able to send now.

For Step 6, you can also select smtp.gmail.com provided you have a Gmail account set up already.

That’s it :)

October 24, 2008

I’ve been running the Western Digital 640 GB AAKS (SE16 series) drive in my main system for quite some time now. I was happy with it until I noticed Western Digital had begun showcasing their new Caviar Black series hard drives as the ‘fastest 3.5-inch 7200 RPM drive on the market’. The Caviar Black series sport dual processors, 32 MB cache and a five year warranty (vs 16 MB and three years for the Caviar Blue).

Does the WD Caviar Black really live up to the hype? I hate to say this, but no. It actually performed slower than my older WD 640 GB AAKS with a single processor and 16 MB cache!

Don’t believe me? Take a look below!

Test configuration: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3 GHz, 4 GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800, Gigabyte P35-DS3L (F8b), Seasonic S12 600W power supply and of course, APC RS 1200VA regulated power. Operating system: Windows XP Professional w/ SP3. Both drives were imaged using Ghost 2003 and defragmented using PerfectDisk 2008 Professional. Software: HD Tune 2.55. Hard drive 1: WDC WD6400AAKS-00A7B and hard drive 2: WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B. AAM was confirmed as disabled on both drives using Hitachi’s Drive Fitness Test.

Each benchmark was run four times. Time for the benchmarks:

As you can see, the Caviar Black 640 GB doesn’t perform all that better than the Caviar Blue (SE16) 640 GB.