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October 16, 2009

» Blogrotate #2: The Weekly Roundup of News for System Administrators

Welcome to week 2 of Blogrotate. It was a short week due to Thanksgiving (Canada) and Columbus Day (US), but the world of IT is always buzzing. So as they say at the race track, pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er.


Have you ever wondered how much trouble can be caused by a single typo? This week a single typo in a script to update all zone files for the .se (sweden) TLD (top level domain), dropping the entire .se domain off the internet for almost 2 hours. Royal Pingdom has the full story in “Sweden’s Internet broken by DNS mistake”. This is why we need tight controls on change management. It’s called testing guys. Sweden. Give me a call.

Facebook now has 30,000 servers and produces 25TB (that’s tera-byte kids) of log data per day. The Data Center Knowledge site has some interesting details in “Facebook now has 3000 Servers”.


Lot’s of buzz this week about T-Mobile’s service disruption and subsequent loss of users data. Discussion over whether the problem was a cloud failure or not was one hot topic. Data Center Knowledge discussed it here in “The Sidekick Failure and Cloud Culpability”. Ars Technica had some more on the cloud debate with “T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger data loss is bad for the cloud”. It looks like most or all users will have lost their data due to the lack of backups, see “Some Sidekick Users May Recover Data” for more. I am sure there will be more fallout from this one.

Enterprise Storage Forum has an interesting evaluation of the limitations of cloud computing for corporations, specifically due to bandwidth limitations and hardware error rates. See Henry Newman’s article titled “Why Cloud Storage Use Could Be Limited in Enterprises”.

Nate Anderson over at Ars Technica has an interesting read about fear mongers who say our beloved intertubes are going to die in “The Internet is about to die. Literally die!”.

Operating Systems

IT Wire claims “Microsoft teams up with Family Guy to sell Windows 7″. That’s just sad. If they are going to glorify Windows then I really can’t see how they can funny it up. I am guessing Seth will get to pan Microsoft just to spread word that Windows 7 is coming.

VMWare has announced that their new “VMware Fusion will support Windows 7 in more Mac-like way” says IT Wire. This “Unity” feature looks a lot like VirtualBox’s “seamless” mode. Check out the You Tube video “Unity in VMware Fusion for Mac OS X” to see it in action.

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation gave the keynote address at the Maemo Summit and said that he thinks Linux could be the dominant OS for mobile phones and devices. Ars Technica has more in “Will Linux be the dominant OS for consumer electronics?”.

And from the wicked cool idea department

An interesting study from McCormick University on using your PC’s existing hardware as a sort of sonar to detect when you are there. See “Research Group Uses Sonar for Computer Power Management”. They plan to use this as a method of detecting if you are close to your computer and to turn off your screen if you are not, then turn back on again when you return. The group is currently looking for guinea pigs testers to evaluate if there is any real world power savings. The link to the software is in the article. Hey, if my TV remote control can do it, why not a laptop?

That’s all we’ll have time for this week. Come back again next week for more Blogrotate and, as always, feel free to speak your mind or post your interesting stories in the comments.

July 23, 2008

» MS Windows Vista Tips for Administrators

I found myself, as a fresh member of The Pythian Group, losing precious moments just to change a few standard administrative settings on my new laptop with Microsoft Windows Vista. Having found the answers, I’m sharing them with you so that you can save some time, or spend it more pleasurably out in the summer.

User Account Control (UAC)

Too many prompts and confirmations for admin tasks? Set “Elevate without prompting” for “User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode” under Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Local Security Policy -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options. Ref: UAC on Wikipedia.

Windows Vista Features

By default, telnet is not installed with Windows Vista. To (re-)enable it, select the Telnet Client check box in Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> “Turn Windows features on or off”. Then, Windows Features dialog -> Telnet Client. Now you may use telnet from the command prompt as you are used to in XP. Ref: FAQ on


Adjust for best performance (this applies to XP too). Select the radio button next to “Adjust for best performance” in Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Performance Information and Tools -> Advanced Tools -> Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows -> Visual Effects.

Mounting: Do not mount a local share on the same system

I’m used to creating a secondary disk partition to store all user data, but this time I forgot to do that before I filled up almost whole disk. As a workaround, I created a new folder named DATA, shared it locally, and mounted it as network drive.

At first, I was quite happy as it would save me time on data movements when a space issue occurred on one of the partitions. Later, though, I started to observe strange behaviour — freezing of the whole system, while working with data on the mounted drive (especially while doing parallel actions like file copying, installations, etc.). A few days later I gave up debugging frozen processes, and unmounted and removed the share; everything works fine now. Have you experienced anything similar?

If you know these already, I apologize, and add that if know more Vista tips, please put them in the comments below. But definitely stay tuned, more tips coming!

Have a nice one, Jan Polnicky.