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Distance Multimedia: 4 score & more

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On a Monday permanent reference link
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pixel September 3, 2007 -- It is another holiday in the U.S. (and Canada). It likely will rain, a fitting end to a "Summer of Rain" in Austin. I've listened to the three songs I usually listen to on Mondays, by the Boomtown Rats, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, and (The Rev.) Al Green.

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Desktop virtual machines (DRM bites me, too) permanent reference link
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(1972) "I can hear the fireworks...        
And it's almost Independence Day." - Van Morrison

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pixel July 4, 2007 -- I can hear the fireworks. It is Independence Day.
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pixel However, back to virtual machines, the device drivers provided by Fedora, VMware and/or Windows 2000 do not seem sufficient to work with the Content Scramble System (CSS) Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme used with most commercial DVDs. Whenever I would try to play "Jurassic Park" with ShowTime, it would either simply hang or complain of some CSS problem and then hang.
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pixel I have a few non-commercial DVDs. One DVD that my grand-daughter's other grandfather made of her birthday party plays just fine with ShowTime running in the virtual machine. So virtual machine performance passes my test, but this application (playing DVDs) doesn't seem very usable.
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Upside Down (Windows over Fedora 7 Linux) permanent reference link
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pixel June 18, 2007 -- For some time I've wanted to make better use of a fairly robust X86 machine that was mostly generating heat and wasting electricity while performing minimal duties as a Windows file server.
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pixel Eventually, it dawned that I should try turning the software upside down. Instead of running Fedora in a virtual machine on Windows, the raw hardware could run Fedora and the Windows file server could be relegated to a virtual machine on VMware on Fedora.
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Real Virtual permanent reference link
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pixel May 21, 2007 -- Sometimes I feel overly cautious as I re-engage with virtual machine thinking. When IBM, Microsoft et al aggressively tout the advantages of deploying servers as virtual machines, what's the sweat? Last month I plunged into decisions and experiences with virtual machines in the "real world" -- production environments. Alas, there was no time for writing stories then, and the thoughts are fleeting.
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Free code meets free sectors permanent reference link
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pixel March 28, 2007 -- My wife dryly prefaces nostalgic comments with "back in the McKinley administration" (at the turn of the previous century). In the McKinley administration, telegraphs were normal distance communication. In 1927, the baud became a measure of transmission speed. In the 1990s, Andy Grove and others at Intel spoke of "free bauds" in anticipating Internet hyper-growth. Joe and I repeated (paraphrased?) the Intel-speak as "free MIPS meet free bauds" in our Barriers Breaking Down chapter.
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pixel Though Intel did and does charge for processors, their prices in the mid-1990s were likely a few (U.S.) dollars per MIP and today are likely below a penny per MIP. At a free WiFi hotspot, megabits of Internet access are literally free. The smallest allocation unit of most disk drives is a 512 byte sector. 500GB disk drives are readily available for under $200 and have roughly a billion sectors, so the marginal cost of a disk sector is under 0.2 micro-cents.
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pixel In the last week or so, I've become re-enamoredVRM with virtual machines and am using them to gobble up tens of millions of sectors with free software.
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Looking at and past the windows permanent reference link
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(1965) "Same old places and the same old songs...        
It's the singer, not the song." - Jagger/Richards
(1929) "You may forget the singer, but don't forget this song." - A.P. Carter

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pixel January 19, 2007 -- My head hurts from all of the explorations I've allowed myself, such as
  • Trying to make Windows XP, PuTTY, SSH and Samba cooperate so that I can securely access Windows shares (and Samba shares of Linux file systems) off-premises. An aggravating battle, not for the faint of heart, but I won.
  • Helping a friend, a 20-year Mac user, recover an eMac which OS X had helped mess up. (He seems to have "won" but seems forced into testing his disaster recovery procedures.)
  • Exploring PmWiki and MediaWiki to try to "evangelize" a new church Wiki. I tried both, on IIS on NT4 Server, on Apache on NT4 Server, and Apache on Fedora, FreeBSD, and ubuntu. MediaWiki is way too hard to work with for my purposes. PmWiki is delightful on Apache, and probably OK on supported IIS, but I never got it to work on IIS/NT4.
  • Continuing to clean up self-certified SSL connections for IMAP, LDAP, sendmail and other things I'm probably forgetting.
  • Reading lots of what others have written recently about Vista and OS X.
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If the details are not of interest to you, here are some summary suggestions:
  • IMO, not one of the prominent platforms (Linux, Mac OS, Windows) does everything well. Not even close.
  • It is easy to find staunch advocates of each platform and dramatically contrasting writings extolling OS X or Vista or Linux.
  • Except for the staunch advocates of a particular platform, not one of the platforms is good enough to get excited about.
  • The next releases (Fedora/ubuntu 7, Mac OS 10.5, Windows Vista) are not that much better than the predecessors.
  • Personally, there is no urgency to upgrade to Vista or 10.5, certainly not enough motivation to spend money. (With free versions of Linux, there's a little more curiosity basis for exploring the upgrades.)
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Looking out the windows permanent reference link
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(1965) "Same old places and the same old songs...        
It's the singer, not the song." - Jagger/Richards
(1929) "You may forget the singer, but don't forget this song." - A.P. Carter

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pixel January 2, 2007 -- While the "real world" mourns President Ford and ponders the past, present, and future of our planet, many in cyberspace find now the time to ponder hardware, software, and Internet platforms.
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