Category Archives: Uncategorized

You’re Not Paranoid If They Really Are Out to Get You.

imageLooks like 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the hacked credit card.  My school’s been hacked; Many retailers have had to own up to the fact they’ve been hacked.

Just about every major retailer has been hacked.  Hedge funds have been hacked and their trades rerouted across the net.  Hacked.  hacked. hacked.

Well yesterday, I got a call from my credit card company.  Some ass-hat used my credit card to purchase auto parts, and went on a tear charging up several thousand dollars in fraudulent charges.

Another credit card cancelled.

Now I have to reset my passwords on just about every shopping site I’ve ever used. 

Meh.

Twitter Ends the Career of Another Executive

I’ve said before– I just don’t get twitter.  I deleted my twitter account a long, long time ago. 

Lets face it, a majority of the accounts are fake or inactive.  The users that are active constantly spew self centered garbage that I don’t really want to read.  I really don’t want to be bothered by people tweeting about their bathroom habits, political rants, or racist diatribes framed within a 140 character limit.

At first, I viewed twitter as a avenue for spammers and narcissistic people to broadcast the details of their lives (as if anyone cared).  Now, I think has one redeeming use case: it kills the careers of idiots.  It is like Darwinian selection in the digital age.

In any event, news broke that PayPal executive Rakesh “Rocky” Agrawal’s tenure as a PayPal’s “Strategy Director” is over due to a series of of inappropriate, drunken tweets

Rocky wasn’t the first to get canned because of an inappropriate tweet, and he won’t be the last. 

New Mac Pro on the Horizon (for me)?

Some of the early criticisms of the new Mac Pro has been the lack of upgradability, a limited set of customizable options, and an extreme price tag. 

That appears to be changing.

OWC has debuted the first Intel Xeon Processor Upgrades for the new 2013 Mac Pro.  They offer turn-key packages; ship them your Mac Pro, and they will ship back your upgraded system.  You can also install up to 128GB RAM.

Next, LaCie has announced some very nice Thunderbolt 2 drive systems, available this quarter.

Lastly, Samsung has launched a 28-inch 4K UD590 Monitor for $700.  Dell is already selling the 28-inch 4K P2815Q for under $700.

This is definitely going to be an interesting year.

A look at the New Mac Pro

For years, my home office was filled with obsolete PCs, discarded disk drives and generally looked like I was compulsively hoarding computer parts, or living in a failed computer repair business.

I would routinely purchase the cheapest PCs I could assemble.  I would upgrade even more frequently, to keep up with the demands of writing and compiling more and more code.

My strategy changed five years ago when I decided my time was becoming more valuable, and productivity was a competitive advantage in a world of outsourcing.  I decided I needed an “Ultimate Developer Rig.”

My strategy was to spend some serious cash to buy a serious workstation and not have to upgrade so often.  I had planned that I would upgrade once every five years.

Rather than build my own, I purchased an 8-core Mac Pro for my professional software development.  I leveraged VMWare fusion to run Windows XP, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Gentoo Linux. 

I could write software under Linux, Mac, and Windows, and software for embedded ARM and PowerPC, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices. 

At the time, the Mac Pro was the cheapest 8-core system out there when I compared it to HP and Dell. 

So when Apple stopped selling Mac Pros in Europe, I knew that an upgrade was on the way, or they would simply abandon the market.  Then in June, they unveiled a sneak peek of the new Mac Pro which should go on sale this month.

Ever since Apple first gave a sneak peek at the all-new Mac Pro, I’ve trying to rationalize purchasing one.  Unfortunately, I’m having a tough time doing it. 

But time will tell…

Mac Pro: Another Video Card Craps Out

I fired up my 2008 8-core Mac Pro this morning, only to find out that it has eaten another ATI video card.  That would be the second video card that has stopped working in the Mac Pro.

The ATI 2600XT was the entry level video card at the time I purchased the Mac Pro, and early adopters quickly reported issues with the cards as well as failure to wake up from sleep.  I had that exact problem and lugged the Mac Pro to the Apple store where I purchased it, twice, in hopes of a resolution.

After winding my way through unsupervised children, and zombified adults, I would heave the heavy Mac Pro onto the table to await judgement.  The Apple “geniuses” couldn’t find anything wrong with the hardware, and just shrugged.  On “genius” postulated it must be a power issue and I would need to get a UPS.

Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with Apple or the hardware.

Once the original video card finally blew out, and I replaced the video card most of the problems went away.

So now I’m presented with a conundrum.

On one hand, I really don’t want to spend any more money on fixing the aging Mac Pro when the new Mac Pros are just around the corner.  But who knows when they will finally be released for sale.

Conversely, my original plan was to turn the Mac Pro into a virtualization server and run multiple operating systems for software development and testing.  In this case, I will need more memory and a cheap video card.

Besides, after two video cards, it seems like throwing good money after bad.

In the mean time, I’ve moved over to my Mac Book Air full time, so no more Windows or Linux under VMWare until I resolve the issues.

How to uninstall code collaborator

Smart Bear’s code collaborator is an awesome product.  I’ve used it in the past and when I was asked to bring some best practices into my client’s workflow I immediately suggested code collaborator.
 
Unfortunately, my fond recollection of code collaborator was from years gone by.  The newest version’s user interface is festooned with JSF-like widgets making it repulsive.  Gone was the clean web interface. 
 
I installed it on a Linux PC for evaluation.  The installation was flawless.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like the new interface.  So I started looking at other tools.  Then came a daily email from SmartBear.
 
That is when the e-mails newsletters started.  I tried to unsubscribe.  Then the next day, I got another one.  And another one.
 
The smart bear sales guy asked if there was anything he could do to help.  I said sure, it sure would be helpful if he could send me the ipchains.  Nope.   Couldn’t help.   Huh?  Ok.
 
Then more emails.  I finally asked how to uninstall.  “just uninstall.”
 
Here is how to uninstall Code Collaborator
 
First, you have to find the code collaborator:
 
cd /
find . | grep tomcat | more
cd ./opt/ccollab_server/
sudo ./uninstall
 
Next, try to uninstall:
 
$ sudo ./uninstall
 
X11 connection rejected because of wrong authentication.
Could not display the GUI. This application needs access to an X Server.
*******************************************************************
You can also run this application in console mode without
access to an X server by passing the argument -c
*******************************************************************
 
Next, try to uninstall again:
 
$ sudo ./uninstall -c
Are you sure you want to completely remove Collaborator Server and all of its components?
Yes [y, Enter], No [n]
y
Uninstalling Collaborator Server 8.0.8001…
The following files and directories could not be deleted:
/opt/ccollab_server/tomcat/webapps
/opt/ccollab_server/tomcat/logs
/opt/ccollab_server/tomcat/conf
/opt/ccollab_server/tomcat
/opt/ccollab_server
 
Next, delete the directories:
 
$ sudo rm –rf ccollab_server
 

Windows PC Sales Slump; Pundits Argue about Windows 8

Before I say anything else, I will tell you up front that I absolutely hate Windows 8 — It is one of the worst user interfaces ever created for business users.  While I see the benefit of having a unified user interface on tablets, mobile phones and on the desktop, I absolutely loathe Windows 8.

I first had exposure to Windows 8 while developing applications for Windows.  It was like the idiots who invented the annoying clippy, the Microsoft office assistant , was promoted and given free reign to destroy Microsoft from within.

This week, some analysts correctly pointed out that Windows 8 was hurting PC sales, and Apple’s PC sales increased.  Why?  Because Apple doesn’t force you to purchase something you don’t want.

Today, there was an article in that stated that it wasn’t Window 8, but tablet PC sales which are hurting PC sales.

I would have to disagree.

Most PC users use their PCs to do work; edit spreadsheets, play games, edit databases.  Windows 8 is built for information consumers who don’t work.

Windows 8 forces a consumer-only interface down upon the users, which forces them to take several steps to get to run a desktop to run applications.

I will not purchase a PC with such a horrible operating system.  If I did, I would install Linux or turn it into a Hackintosh in a New York Minute.